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Runes & Norse Mysteries

Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby DPhoenix » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:45 pm

loona wynd wrote:My thing about Runes is that Runes are a Norse sacred mystery and most people either ignore that fact or have never heard of it before. For me Runic work is about connecting to the Norse Gods and the culture. The word Rune comes from Runa meaning Mystery. Odin himself plucked the sets of runes out of the well of Mimir. This for me illustrates how they are sacred mysteries of Germanic Paganism.

I know today they are more often used as divination sources than they are magical and ritual tools. I have no issues with the divination uses. I have found that many of those associations have some ties to the mystery and magical force with in them. I just wish more people understood that they are a sacred part of Nordic/Germanic Paganism and not just another divination tool like Tarot cards.

With the Runes I more fear them becoming marginalized as a divination tool rather than dying out. I would rather see Runes as a sacred mystery and magical practice be rare and nearly gone than see them used as divinitory tools. Historically that is not a use we have been able to prove as a ritual language and as a set of symbols for sacred mysteries yes. There have yet to be found any lore references to runes as a divination tool.

Seidr is one Shamanic tradition I am interested in. There are many different European Shamanic traditions. Seidr is one of them. Hedge witchcraft is another form. I believe that the Celtic traditions had their own trance tradition and practices as well. The Greeks had Oracles which used shamanic and trance techniques to contact spirit. Trance work is something which can be found in most cultures, typically by a specific sect or members of the community.

If I were to focus completely on Anglo -Saxon and Germanic witchcraft I would be using Galdr and Seidr as practices. For me that are Norse magical traditions and should really be studied and engaged in within that context. For me the cultural aspects are key in the meanings of the practices and spirits involved. Remove the cultural context and the practices are not the same any more.

Ogham is a Celtic practice. I have had no interest in Celtic magical practices so I have had no interest in Ogham. However I would treat Ogham the same way I would treat the runes. They are a sacred part of a specific culture. I would have to study that culture as part of my study of Ogham.


(thought I'd start a new topic on this :) )

I don't know how many people use runes strictly for divination. I personally don't use them for divination, I have my tarot cards that I use for that... and I suppose the same argument you're making for runes could also apply to the traditional tarot deck because they hold a vast amount of wisdom... bringing the willing participant closer to the Divine.

For me the Runes are a powerful correspondence that I incorporate into my spells, bags, amulets etc. And though they do have a lot to teach I don't see anything wrong with someone using them as a divination tool. Over the years I've seen people use various tools in a general sense... then out of the blue take a deeper interest into them. So I'm of the opinion that it's good when someone picks up a set of runes because at some point there's a good chance they'll want to learn more about them.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby Xiao Rong » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:06 pm

So I can't help but think that this post is at least a little bit directed towards me, since I was referenced in Kassandra's previous post ... so I'm going to try to explain my relationship with the runes. (warning: long rant incoming, touching on some fairly personal subjects for me. Apologies if I've misread your intentions, Loona, but this was a rant that's been needing to come out for a while!)

Kassandra is right when she says I draw a lot of inspiration from contemporary media (see "Pop Culture and Spell-work", also the subject of a recent brouhaha on the Pagan blogosphere). Incidentally, I am also an avid gamer. However, both of these are quite separate from my study of runes. I actually became interested in runes because I attended a workshop on them led by one of the foremost scholars on the history of runes.

I feel like a lot of this is touching on themes about cultural appropriation. I think about this a lot, since, as someone who is Chinese-American, I don't have a "genetic" claim to the Norse mysteries (as some who identify as Heathen or Asatru strongly believe you need to have, in order to really authentically recreate this historical tradition). Actually, I don't feel like I have much claim to any heritage, since there is a lot of Chinese folk religion (which I grew up with, to some extent) that is inaccessible, linguistically and geographically (and pretty sexist, I might add), and even though I grew up in America, I have never, and will never, fully feel like I'm a plain, no qualifiers needed, unhyphenated "American". However, I am pretty immersed in Western intellectual tradition, which Norse mythology figures fairly heavily into, so this is what I tap into.

So far in working with the runes (and yes, I've mostly done divination, although I'm aware of its historical uses, both magical and mundane - I just don't actually feel like I need to perform magic that much in general), I have found that it's true that it's very important to understand the full context in which the runes originated. Otherwise you'll misunderstand a lot of it (for example, the role of fire and ice in Norse mythology, where ice is a dangerous and destructive force and fire as healing and life-giving, which is somewhat at odds with a lot of other Western traditions). And indeed, the runes have given me quite a lot of insight into the wisdom of Nordic culture.

That said, I have no interest in recreating an actual historical tradition. How can I? I am not a Heathen, Asatru, or even a polytheist. I came to Paganism via the feminist Goddess movement; in large part I was drawn to the feminist Goddess movement precisely because it did not lay claim to a historical path, but to try to boldly strike out on a new one (with the exception of the myth of matriarchal prehistory, but that’s a discussion for another time). Runes give me insight into the past, of a different world that went by different rules, and in doing so gives me new ways of imagining the future (which means a lot to me, since I studied human geography and discourse in college). I won't claim to be an expert on Nordic culture, or even an expert on runes (hell, I don't even speak any of the languages. Even if I were to being practicing Galdr and Seidr now, this would not give me a more “authentic” claim to the runes). I won't claim that my practices are authentic. While I respect historical perspective, I am far more interested in incorporating runes into my feminist Goddess witchcraft practice, in ways that are meaningful and useful to me, situated as I am as a woman of color in the 21st century in America.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby Alura Noel » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:48 pm

The interesting thing about paganism and anything wicca related is that anyone can emphasize whatever they want in their practice. People can choose to make their own path. Not follow one way only or another. Whatever feels right is the way to go.

Xiao, I can see why reading that would make you think it was directed at you a wee bit. There's no need for me to say it but do whatever works for you. People will respect you and admire you for creating and forging your own way. That's amazing in my books.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby loona wynd » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:21 pm

The post was not directed at any one in particular. In all honesty it was about what my experiences have been when talking about people who have an interest in the runes. Many never even hear of the Rune poems or anything. Many just hear of Runes as divination and leave it at that. There are far more books out there on the topics of Runes regarding their uses in divination than there is on their actual lore and history. This is something that has always been my issue. Many even seem confused when the subject of the magical and spiritual mystery aspect if brought up.

Xiao, since you felt the post was originally directed at you I want to address two things that you have said. First: you said:
Xiao Rong wrote:However, I am pretty immersed in Western intellectual tradition, which Norse mythology figures fairly heavily into, so this is what I tap into.

So far in working with the runes (and yes, I've mostly done divination, although I'm aware of its historical uses, both magical and mundane - I just don't actually feel like I need to perform magic that much in general), I have found that it's true that it's very important to understand the full context in which the runes originated. Otherwise you'll misunderstand a lot of it (for example, the role of fire and ice in Norse mythology, where ice is a dangerous and destructive force and fire as healing and life-giving, which is somewhat at odds with a lot of other Western traditions). And indeed, the runes have given me quite a lot of insight into the wisdom of Nordic culture.
That quote right there shows me that you have studied at least to an extent the origins of the runes and the culture. You are not at all the type of person I am thinking about. That post proves it. You understand where it comes from in culture and how they may have been used. This is a significant stance different from many other people I have seen or heard of using runes in divination or magic.

I really appreciate that. You honestly have no idea how much it means to me that you have put in the time to study runes and the Norse culture. You aren't an expert but at least you have done some of the contextual study that I was talking about. Once you have done the contextual study you can go from there where you want.

Secondly you said:
Xiao Rong wrote:That said, I have no interest in recreating an actual historical tradition. How can I? I am not a Heathen, Asatru, or even a polytheist. I came to Paganism via the feminist Goddess movement; in large part I was drawn to the feminist Goddess movement precisely because it did not lay claim to a historical path, but to try to boldly strike out on a new one (with the exception of the myth of matriarchal prehistory, but that’s a discussion for another time). .Runes give me insight into the past, of a different world that went by different rules, and in doing so gives me new ways of imagining the future (which means a lot to me, since I studied human geography and discourse in college)
I never expect every one that uses runes to recreate the Norse or Germanic ways. I just expect a bit more research than reading a book or two on Runic divination. That only gives you a small view about the runes as divination sources. Understanding the mystery and cultural contexts simply adds to the understanding and meaning of those symbols.

Finally and this is really the key point that I want address.
Xiao Rong wrote:I won't claim to be an expert on Nordic culture, or even an expert on runes (hell, I don't even speak any of the languages. Even if I were to being practicing Galdr and Seidr now, this would not give me a more “authentic” claim to the runes). I won't claim that my practices are authentic. While I respect historical perspective, I am far more interested in incorporating runes into my feminist Goddess witchcraft practice, in ways that are meaningful and useful to me, situated as I am as a woman of color in the 21st century in America.
That part right there is key. Every one that uses runes today even those in Norse and Germanic reconstruction practices are working with them in a new way now. They are working with them in ways that are based on the world we live in today and ways that work with their practices and understandings. They just use historical basis as a starting point and form relationships with the symbols based on research of history, modern use, and personal experiences.

You have done the research to have gained the wisdom of the past and the inspiration of the present to work with them as you see fit and understand. That is something to understand about mysteries. We all experience and understand them in a different ways. Historical references to symbols and practices can offer keys to accessing mysteries, but in the end we must experience them and work with them in a way that we understand them.
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Re: Nordic shamanism: Seidhr & Galdr

Postby Vervain » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:09 pm

First, Kassandra, thank you for posting these videos! I haven't been able to watch them through yet but so far they look very interesting and I'm glad to have been exposed to something I otherwise probably wouldn't have found. :)

Next, Loona Wynd, I hope you don't mind if I have a few questions for you.

loona wynd wrote:My thing about Runes is that Runes are a Norse sacred mystery and most people either ignore that fact or have never heard of it before.

What makes you think that people [who know about runes] don't know that they are a Norse sacred mystery? On the contrary, most of the people I have met who knew anything about runes knew much more about where the runes come from than about each rune's purpose. If anything, I find people think they are simply letters and do not know they can be divinatory! I'd be interested to hear why you say this.

loona wynd wrote:I know today they are more often used as divination sources than they are magical and ritual tools. I have no issues with the divination uses.

Great!

loona wynd wrote:and not just another divination tool like Tarot cards.

The Tarot cards are by no means just another divination tool. They have an incredibly rich history in gaming as well as divination, and many MANY witches today and for decades have used them in magickal practice. Their storytelling powers are so potent that they are used in certain types of therapy, and the unique and rich symbolism and artwork of each individual tarot card and deck adds an amazing amount of power and focus to spellwork. I speak from personal experience as well as a decade of research. Am I picking up the sense that Tarot is somehow inferior to Runes for being only divinatory? Even if it was simply that, that seems like a stretch to me. All systems have their differences but I don't think that alone makes one better than another. Am I reading you wrong? Please correct me if I am.

Tarot was a divinatory tool before it was a magickal one, and Runes were (probably) a magickal tool before they were divinatory; but it is important to remember that Tarot/Tarocchi/etc were first a game, and Runes were first an alphabet--a "futhark." It is easy to forget that the runes were used all throughout Norse culture as a writing system, something we think of as being very mundane, because as modern witches the mundane and the spiritual are so separated for us. It is our job to meld them back together. To the Norse, the power of writing was not mundane--it had mundane uses, but the ability to write is incredibly magickal in every sense of the word... or do we disagree here?

I also find it interesting that you seem to be looking down on the idea of divination in general (please correct me if I'm wrong). As a reader of Tarot, runes, Lenormand, various oracles, et cetera, I find it hard to understand why divination seems to be, in your worldview, a much "lesser" kind of magick. It is true that it can be an easy gateway into other magickal practices, but divination can be a very deep magick in itself, and incredibly helpful. As someone who reads regularly for others (family, friends, strangers, you name it) as well as myself, and has seen the amazing help that it (Tarot especially) can be for people as a means of guidance, reassurance, comfort, and urgent messages from the Universe, it feels to me very much like a very noble and deep magick. Tarot especially only becomes deeper and more telling the longer you study it, and I have found runes also become more magickal and personal the longer you work with them, for magick as well as for divination. I'd be interested to hear whether you've had very negative experiences with divination--I'd be happy to help if you've gotten stuck, or if you're just curious and uninformed.

Furthermore, while it is true that there is not sufficient evidence to definitely say that the same people who wrote with the runes and did magick with them used them for divination, there is definitely not enough evidence to say that they didn't, and the Norse certainly did cast some sort of lots for divination, runic or otherwise.

loona wynd wrote:With the Runes I more fear them becoming marginalized as a divination tool rather than dying out. I would rather see Runes as a sacred mystery and magical practice be rare and nearly gone than see them used as divinitory tools.

It makes me sad that you would rather see the runes die out than be used in a way that is (if it is not a way the runes WERE historically used, which we can't say it wasn't) heavily based on their historical uses. The fable of the Dog in the Manger might be relevant here. I really hope I've read you wrong, and please alert me if I have--I don't mean to offend, I'm just trying to be clear on what all is being implied here.

loona wynd wrote:If I were to focus completely on Anglo -Saxon and Germanic witchcraft I would be using Galdr and Seidr as practices. For me that are Norse magical traditions and should really be studied and engaged in within that context. For me the cultural aspects are key in the meanings of the practices and spirits involved. Remove the cultural context and the practices are not the same any more.

It is true that the practices are not the same when you remove the context, but that does not mean they are not or cannot be beneficial, even drastically so. I did eventually come to Norse lore and decide to adopt Hel and Odin as my foremost Lord and Lady, but that is a quite recent development whereas I have been studying, writing with, reading (reading writing and reading for divination), and working with the runes since even before I really found Paganism. If my personal practice of using the runes for nine years before I came to adopt certain Asatru practices/beliefs and follow Hel and Odin offends you, then I am sorry for you. You may yet decide that there is more to be gained by studying broadly than you now believe, but of course that is your personal journey and not mine. In any case, you are very lucky to be able to be 100% informed on all topics you incorporate into your magickal practice. Would that we were all so fortunate!

loona wynd wrote:Ogham is a Celtic practice. I have had no interest in Celtic magical practices so I have had no interest in Ogham. However I would treat Ogham the same way I would treat the runes. They are a sacred part of a specific culture. I would have to study that culture as part of my study of Ogham.

Of course you would need to study Celtic culture to properly understand Ogham and how it works; but that doesn't mean that anyone who wants to adopt the use of Ogham in their practice needs to follow Celtic deities or adopt all or even other parts of Celtic belief systems. If there was never any cultural exchange, the world would be several millennia behind where it is now. We improve ourselves by exposing ourselves to a broad range of material and processing it critically and creatively.

I'd love to know if I've wrongly interpreted anything you said here, and I'm sorry if in my response to my misinterpretation of your post I have offended you. I'm just really kind of lost and want to clarify what's being said, as I feel that much of what I'm reading doesn't quite click.

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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby Xiao Rong » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:21 am

It's all good, Loona Wynd - like I said, the question of what a Chinese-American like myself is doing studying the Nordic runes has been bugging me for a while, and it's good to get it out of my system and put it into words.

I feel like the runes are fairly inaccessible if you don't do research. I guess maybe I haven't met that many of the kind of runic diviners that you're talking about, but it seems to me that you don't do research on runes then you can't even do basic divination - it'll just come out garbled and meaningless. It's probably one of the least accessible methods of divination - anyone can buy a set of runes, but you have to do at least a little bit of research in order to get anything beyond fortune cookie wisdom. Any introductory rune book worth its salt is going to talk about the rune poems and stuff. I guess I just don't know of many people who seriously attempt to use the runes and don't know anything about them.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby loona wynd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:31 am

Xiao Rong wrote:It's all good, Loona Wynd - like I said, the question of what a Chinese-American like myself is doing studying the Nordic runes has been bugging me for a while, and it's good to get it out of my system and put it into words.

I feel like the runes are fairly inaccessible if you don't do research. I guess maybe I haven't met that many of the kind of runic diviners that you're talking about, but it seems to me that you don't do research on runes then you can't even do basic divination - it'll just come out garbled and meaningless. It's probably one of the least accessible methods of divination - anyone can buy a set of runes, but you have to do at least a little bit of research in order to get anything beyond fortune cookie wisdom. Any introductory rune book worth its salt is going to talk about the rune poems and stuff. I guess I just don't know of many people who seriously attempt to use the runes and don't know anything about them.
Then you haven't really met any Ralph Blum Rune users.....
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby Xiao Rong » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:50 am

Not really! At my last local Pagan group meeting, we were talking about runes (my suggestion, haha) and someone brought a copy of the Book of Runes by Ralph Blum ... Then someone else asked a question, and she drew a rune, and read out loud the interpretation. But she by no means considers herself an expert, or even an amateur on runes; she just has a set lying around.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby Holdasown » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:56 am

In the Northern tradition at least the runes are not just symbols but individual spirits. That's why the runes are blooded, it's an offering of sorts. I think this is why some people are drawn and some are not, some can use them for divination and some can. I would agree you should have some knowledge of what each symbol means and have read the poems. Just so you have some idea what is going on. I personally tried divination and failed. I love them spell work,galdr and writing. I would never tell anyone they were off limits or accessible for only for Heathens. I do think they work with some people better and differently than others. If your someone who can work with spirits in general you may be able to read them directly without worrying about meaning and interpretation. I am if it works use it kinda person.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby firebirdflys » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:35 am

Diana Paxon has a very very good book called "Taking up the Rune"s, which I highly recommend to anyone who's is interested in the Runes for any reason, also anything by Edred Thorsson is pretty good.
I would stay away from Ralph Blum, as his work has been criticized as being non-authentic, however he may be largely credited for bring the Runes to the attention of many.
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Re: Nordic shamanism: Seidhr & Galdr

Postby loona wynd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:20 pm

vervain wrote:
Next, Loona Wynd, I hope you don't mind if I have a few questions for you.
Please ask away. I will let you know I have read this response about 5 times before I have hit reply. I wanted to make sure that I not only read the reply and heard what you were saying and asking, but that I didn't respond emotionally which I could have done in the past.

vervain wrote:
loona wynd wrote:My thing about Runes is that Runes are a Norse sacred mystery and most people either ignore that fact or have never heard of it before.

What makes you think that people [who know about runes] don't know that they are a Norse sacred mystery? On the contrary, most of the people I have met who knew anything about runes knew much more about where the runes come from than about each rune's purpose. If anything, I find people think they are simply letters and do not know they can be divinatory! I'd be interested to hear why you say this.
Its been personal experience is all. Most of the people I have spoken to about an interest in runes have only ever used them in a fashion of related to divination. Typically they have picked up one of the divination rune sets out there and read the book with the set. That is how I started, but once I looked for rune books I saw numerous Germanic/Norse Pagan books come in and knew that there was something more to them.

vervain wrote:Great!
I started with them as a divination tool. I started with the Ralph Blum set. To be honest they read for me right away and made sense. Though when I used them in that fashion something seemed to be off. There was something that was off so I stopped using them and decided to not use them any more until I had read more and done a lot more research into their history and use. I'm still not there.

I tried to dabble and use them in a spell based on limited magical and spiritual research and going mostly with the divintory meanings. The spell worked but had a nasty side effect. There was employment gained but mental health suffered. Odin punishes those who act foolishly with the Runes and their powers. I experienced that punishment.

vervain wrote:
loona wynd wrote:and not just another divination tool like Tarot cards.

The Tarot cards are by no means just another divination tool. They have an incredibly rich history in gaming as well as divination, and many MANY witches today and for decades have used them in magickal practice. Their storytelling powers are so potent that they are used in certain types of therapy, and the unique and rich symbolism and artwork of each individual tarot card and deck adds an amazing amount of power and focus to spellwork.
That's not what I was saying. Tarot cards have psychology and numerological symbology in them as well as cultural symbolism in them that is very powerful. I really don't know much about tarot cards. I have never really looked at them for anything more than a divination tool though I know they are much more than that. I know they can be used in spell work and ritual work, I just have never seen them as such.

vervain wrote: I speak from personal experience as well as a decade of research. Am I picking up the sense that Tarot is somehow inferior to Runes for being only divinatory?
Actually it would be the reverse if that were true. I would actually put tarot above Runes. Tarot symbolism seems more universal than the Runic symbolism which in divination universal concepts are typically more what you look for.
vervain wrote:Even if it was simply that, that seems like a stretch to me. All systems have their differences but I don't think that alone makes one better than another. Am I reading you wrong? Please correct me if I am.
You really are and it's my fault for not really being clear in that regard. In all honesty I love how varied the systems of divination are. I've explored the Iching and had some interesting results with that system. I've explored a system called the Oceans Oracle which is complex yet simple using nature symbolism when you think about it. I as I mentioned did a brief exploration of runes as a divination tool and had effective results. I most often actually work with a deck called the Spirit of the Wheel medicine cards. This has been the oracle deck which has proved to be most insightful for me. I do posses several different Tarot decks and different Oracle decks. I love to explore divination as a way to develop psychic development and guidance.

vervain wrote:Tarot was a divinatory tool before it was a magickal one, and Runes were (probably) a magickal tool before they were divinatory; but it is important to remember that Tarot/Tarocchi/etc were first a game, and Runes were first an alphabet--a "futhark." It is easy to forget that the runes were used all throughout Norse culture as a writing system, something we think of as being very mundane, because as modern witches the mundane and the spiritual are so separated for us. It is our job to meld them back together. To the Norse, the power of writing was not mundane--it had mundane uses, but the ability to write is incredibly magickal in every sense of the word... or do we disagree here?
On that fact we agree. Writing was a sacred act. The swords that had runes on them were actually often beserkers. Berserk were sacred to odin or they were massively known to be associated with Odin. The Ring saga explains this part. Regardless the ties with the runes on the sword and the becoming of their animals (bears or wolves often) in battle the beserkers can be traced to Odin. Even the smiths of the swords and armor who crafted the swords with the runes could be connected to Odin.

vervain wrote:I also find it interesting that you seem to be looking down on the idea of divination in general (please correct me if I'm wrong).
Nope. I love divination. In all honesty while I want to develop my skill as a reader and could see myself becoming a professional psychic reader, I am a bit afraid of my psychic abilities and intuitions when it comes to readings. Every reading I have ever given families or friends, or even just basic acquaintances at a summer camp have been so spot on that it scares me to an extent.

I give my natural innate ability in part due to when I was born. My birthday is during the time of old Samhain. Samhain is known to have been basically any time between October 30th and November 7th. I was born on November 7th. This tells me that I was born at this time for a reason. This is a highly psychic time of year. It may be one of the reasons I have been so skilled with basically any form of divination right away. It still scares me to an extent, which is something I am working on.

vervain wrote:As a reader of Tarot, runes, Lenormand, various oracles, et cetera, I find it hard to understand why divination seems to be, in your worldview, a much "lesser" kind of magick. It is true that it can be an easy gateway into other magickal practices, but divination can be a very deep magick in itself, and incredibly helpful. As someone who reads regularly for others (family, friends, strangers, you name it) as well as myself, and has seen the amazing help that it (Tarot especially) can be for people as a means of guidance, reassurance, comfort, and urgent messages from the Universe, it feels to me very much like a very noble and deep magick. Tarot especially only becomes deeper and more telling the longer you study it, and I have found runes also become more magickal and personal the longer you work with them, for magick as well as for divination. I'd be interested to hear whether you've had very negative experiences with divination--I'd be happy to help if you've gotten stuck, or if you're just curious and uninformed.
Oddly enough I don't consider oracle types of divination magic necessarily. That doesn't mean I don't discount their value. My mom often has me do a reading for her a few times a year. She does this because while she is a skilled tarot reader herself, she does not trust her readings for herself and would rather some one else give additional insight. How surprised my mom remains at my readings to their accuracy and my advice with them often scares me as I said above. I feel that I do need to get over this fear of my accuracy and accept it for what it is. I also need to accept that if I am going to ever fully embrace the roles of the priesthood I am going to have to embrace and develop stronger skills with divination.

If you are wondering what types of divination I would consider more magical I would have to say Channeling is one of them. I would also say that scrying and spirit work (trance work like shaman spirit divination and the like) are more magical. I would say that tarot is magical in a way but those types are a bit more magical. The reason is that there is a trance state and a type of reality involved that is deeper and different than that with tarot readings (at least in my experience).

vervain wrote:Furthermore, while it is true that there is not sufficient evidence to definitely say that the same people who wrote with the runes and did magick with them used them for divination, there is definitely not enough evidence to say that they didn't, and the Norse certainly did cast some sort of lots for divination, runic or otherwise.
True. We know that Odin often consulted Mimir and the Fates (oracles) for advice and wisdom. We also know that he performed significant self sacrifice in order to obtain the Runes (the hanging himself on Yggdrasil sacrificing himself to himself and seeing then within mimir and taking them up). So divination was a part of their culture. Though it was feminine. Odins associations with Seidr is actually something he did get ribbed for by other Gods. Spirit knowledge of that sort was considered womens domain.

But I'm getting off track lol...So yes. We can confirm from both the Eddas and the various Sagas of the Germanic cultuers that divinations of various sorts were used. We don't know exactly what systems were used or how they were actually interperted in their times. We do know that oracles and fortune telling played a role in Germanic lore. This is key in that knowing ones Wyrd and Fate based on Oorlog allowed for some personal decision on how to go about making that happen. Fate, Wyrd, and Oorlog are intertwined with Norse and Germanic lore. Being able to tell ones Wyrd, Fate, and Orolog is infact divintory in nature. This is part of the nature of Nordic Shamanism and the sorts of Mysteries they experience and explore.

vervain wrote:.
loona wynd wrote:With the Runes I more fear them becoming marginalized as a divination tool rather than dying out. I would rather see Runes as a sacred mystery and magical practice be rare and nearly gone than see them used as divinitory tools.

It makes me sad that you would rather see the runes die out than be used in a way that is (if it is not a way the runes WERE historically used, which we can't say it wasn't) heavily based on their historical uses. The fable of the Dog in the Manger might be relevant here. I really hope I've read you wrong, and please alert me if I have--I don't mean to offend, I'm just trying to be clear on what all is being implied here.
Fable of the dog and the manger? I don't know that I am familiar with that fable, Would you be willing to share that with me here?

vervain wrote:
loona wynd wrote:If I were to focus completely on Anglo -Saxon and Germanic witchcraft I would be using Galdr and Seidr as practices. For me that are Norse magical traditions and should really be studied and engaged in within that context. For me the cultural aspects are key in the meanings of the practices and spirits involved. Remove the cultural context and the practices are not the same any more.

It is true that the practices are not the same when you remove the context, but that does not mean they are not or cannot be beneficial, even drastically so.
I wasn't saying that they weren't. I was merely saying that removing the cultural context removes a significant part of the cultural and historical powers and forces behind those symbols. Its the same for basically any symbol and practice.
vervain wrote:I did eventually come to Norse lore and decide to adopt Hel and Odin as my foremost Lord and Lady, but that is a quite recent development whereas I have been studying, writing with, reading (reading writing and reading for divination), and working with the runes since even before I really found Paganism. If my personal practice of using the runes for nine years before I came to adopt certain Asatru practices/beliefs and follow Hel and Odin offends you, then I am sorry for you.
It doesn't offend me. Not at all. What you do is your own buisness. Nothing is what it was before. Every one today practices something that they make their own. They may draw from historical inspiration but it is their own views and practices based on their experiences and world views.

The fact that you were eventually led to add Hella and Odin into your practice says something. Perhaps your previous works with the runes were guiding you in that direction. I can't say for sure. I don't know. I am not you. I do think there is some significance that you eventually came to a Germanic practice after years with the Runes, even if it was not directly related, but that is me.

vervain wrote: You may yet decide that there is more to be gained by studying broadly than you now believe, but of course that is your personal journey and not mine. In any case, you are very lucky to be able to be 100% informed on all topics you incorporate into your magickal practice. Would that we were all so fortunate!,
I do extensive study before I enage in any practice. Some people have called what I do armchair Occultism, but in reality it is a mixture of practice and study. I read several different books on a topic before I engage in the practice. This way I feel I have an informed base before I explore. There is no reason today to not have read more than one source on a subject before engaging in the practice. E-books abound as do websites and forums.

I have explored a few magical techniques in practice before reading and doing more study on them and I have been burned. This is why I encourage people to do more study before engaging in practice. The exception being books that state in the beginning they are meant to be used as workbooks. In which case doing the exercises as you read and explore that book is acceptable and encouraged, though often times there is recommended reading for the lessons and exercises in those books. In which case I suggest reading those materials along side the practice and development of those workbook skills.

vervain wrote:
loona wynd wrote:Ogham is a Celtic practice. I have had no interest in Celtic magical practices so I have had no interest in Ogham. However I would treat Ogham the same way I would treat the runes. They are a sacred part of a specific culture. I would have to study that culture as part of my study of Ogham.

Of course you would need to study Celtic culture to properly understand Ogham and how it works; but that doesn't mean that anyone who wants to adopt the use of Ogham in their practice needs to follow Celtic deities or adopt all or even other parts of Celtic belief systems. If there was never any cultural exchange, the world would be several millennia behind where it is now. We improve ourselves by exposing ourselves to a broad range of material and processing it critically and creatively.
No where in my post did I ever say that some one had to accept or recreate Germanic practices in order to work with the Runes. I suggested that there be significant study of the home culture involved though which includes atleast having if not in worship practice a passing familiarity with the various deities and spirits mentioned in the lore and associated with the Runes, the history of that culture, and a look at the source texts in order to gain a greater understanding of the roles of the Runes and of their significance. Once some one has a basic concept of those background ideas they can work with the mysteries and forces and develop a practice and understanding that is their own and is appropriate to modern life.

To be honest most people who have adopted a recon style philosophy to their study and practice admit that there is no way that they can completely recreate the practices and religion of the ancient Norse and Germanic tribes. Many of those practices would be unacceptable today. This applies to basically any recon practice. They can however work within the confines of modern society to create something in the spirit of the ancient religions. Which is what any one who practices Runic magic does.

Your example with Ogham was perfect. You actually got where I was going with the whole Runes as a Norse mystery and being sacred to the Norse practices. To understand Ogham you would have to study the culture which includes the deities, the lore, and the ways Ogham would have been used as we know. That doesn't mean modern users are limited to those practices, but it does form their base for contact and development.

For me the Runes are no different. They are used today in ways that are not like they were used historically. That doesn't mean the study of their roles in the past, the historic culture, and the lore is not important to working with them. I actually think it means we need to study that more in order to gain better insight to how they may be used today. The past presents keys to the use today.

The mysteries and forces behind the runic symbols are as real and as powerful today as they were back in the ancient times. The forces and the meanings behind them have not changed, How we experience and how we can relate to them has changed. So ho we use them is possibly changing as well, but that still doesn't mean historical traditions and uses of the runes and their powers should be forgotten or ignored. If some one can engrave runes into their stove for prosperity and health as was a tradition in the past I say it should continue as a respected practice and maybe even revered for being as close to the origin as possible.

I am not a recon. Though I do often empl0y their thought modes of practice and philosophies when working with a new magical system. For me Runes in magic and spirituality would be approached Recon style at first simply to gain as much knowledge as I could before putting it into practice and gaining experience (wisdom).

vervain wrote:I'd love to know if I've wrongly interpreted anything you said here, and I'm sorry if in my response to my misinterpretation of your post I have offended you. I'm just really kind of lost and want to clarify what's being said, as I feel that much of what I'm reading doesn't quite click.
I'm glad you asked me questions. Its actually nice to finally find a place where I am asked questions and I feel I can respond and not have been attacked or on the defensive. I can honestly see where you came from in your posts and where you would get the ideas that you have put forward. I hope that I made some things a bit more clear for you. If you have further questions please ask me and I will do my best to answer.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby loona wynd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:29 pm

Xiao Rong wrote:It's all good, Loona Wynd - like I said, the question of what a Chinese-American like myself is doing studying the Nordic runes has been bugging me for a while, and it's good to get it out of my system and put it into words.
.
I am not a folkist or a purist in that respect. I believe that the spirits and forces of various cultures will call who they will. This is why while I may believe in all Gods and spirits I don't have to worship them. Not all of them have called to me. Though I can be respectful and acknowledge them and their cultures in meditations and the like if asked and invited.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby loona wynd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:34 pm

Xiao Rong wrote:Not really! At my last local Pagan group meeting, we were talking about runes (my suggestion, haha) and someone brought a copy of the Book of Runes by Ralph Blum ... Then someone else asked a question, and she drew a rune, and read out loud the interpretation. But she by no means considers herself an expert, or even an amateur on runes; she just has a set lying around.


My question first here is: Did the reading and interpretation make any sense?

secondly:
Yeah. Most of the people I have run into have only read Ralph Blum or the works of people who have been inspired by and taught by Ralph Blum. His works are considered questionable and laughable. So when these are the only types of people you are experienced in dealing with it will color your perception and understanding of Runic diviners.

That being said I am working on being much less judgmental. So far the posters here have shown that they at least have some semblance of an idea of what study and exploration actually entails. This for me is a significant change and one that I am happy to see. I hope this remains the trend as it has renewed my hope in the genuine seeker.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby loona wynd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:39 pm

Holdasown wrote:In the Northern tradition at least the runes are not just symbols but individual spirits. That's why the runes are blooded, it's an offering of sorts. I think this is why some people are drawn and some are not, some can use them for divination and some can. I would agree you should have some knowledge of what each symbol means and have read the poems. Just so you have some idea what is going on. I personally tried divination and failed. I love them spell work,galdr and writing. I would never tell anyone they were off limits or accessible for only for Heathens. I do think they work with some people better and differently than others. If your someone who can work with spirits in general you may be able to read them directly without worrying about meaning and interpretation. I am if it works use it kinda person.

I agree. I don't think that Runes are limited only to Heathens or other forms of Germanic Paganism. I think that since overall the Germanic pagan culture is accessible to everyone (I've found no evidence of lore where blood oaths to be only for certain people and of a certain place) runes should also be accessible to every one. That being said I think they should at least spend time studying the culture they come from which includes the Gods. I even think that performing a thank you ritual or something to the Gods and spirits of the Germanic tribes would be appropriate when working with Runes if you are not specifically worshiping those deities. That thank you ritual and offering I find is a symbol of respect and honor. In the Germanic traditions honor and respect for honor are big, Which is why I mentioned a thank you ritual here.
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Re: Runes & Norse Mysteries

Postby loona wynd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:44 pm

firebirdflys wrote:Diana Paxon has a very very good book called "Taking up the Rune"s, which I highly recommend to anyone who's is interested in the Runes for any reason, also anything by Edred Thorsson is pretty good.
Excellent recommendations. I have seen them recommended several times myself. I have scanned through them and read parts of them as well. I don't own copies of them so scanning and skimming was the best I could do. However I got a lot out of those scans and skims and could see why they are the most recommended books and authors out there,
firebirdflys wrote:I would stay away from Ralph Blum, as his work has been criticized as being non-authentic, however he may be largely credited for bring the Runes to the attention of many.
BB, FF

Agreed and guilty as charged, Before I even knew what they were I was gifted with his basic divination rune set. I mentioned my experience with how effective it was for me above but also how empty it felt.
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