Taking Up the Runes

Author: Diana L. Paxson

Publisher: Weiser Books

Published: 2005

ISBN: 9781578633258

Synopsis: Although many of us first encountered runes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, this sacred alphabet is by no means a fabrication for books or movies. Similar to Hebrew letters in the sense that each symbol contains a meaning that transcends its original function as a letter, the runes are practical, flexible, and effective symbols with a variety of uses. Today, the best known application of rune lore is divination: chips or stones marked with runes are drawn, cast, or laid out in patterns like tarot cards. In Taking Up the Runes, Paxson delves into the ancient historical meaning of each rune and explains their contemporary uses and meanings. We discover that the real power of runes comes from inside ourselves when we find the wisdom and power within each symbol and internalize them.

Review: I’ve only read a few books on Runes but this one is certainly my favorite of the lot.  It satisfied my curiosity for the academic side of Runes, as well as the intuitive side.

I found the book very interesting to read, and the manor of writing very easy to understand and certainly very much interest grabbing.  In other words, I wasn’t bored reading it.  I loved how she provided the ancient meanings of the Runes and the modern take on it.  It certainly gave one the option of going with either or mixing the two depending on where your meditations take you.

I know that a lot of people said the book was a bit Wiccany…Unless they meant the Rites, I didn’t see it.  As to the rites and spells,  you can always tailor them to fit in with your path, no one said you had to take the them as is…They do give a good idea of what these rites and spells might look like to a person who has never put one together before or is too new to the path to put their own together just yet.

All in all, this is a good place to start if you want to learn about the Runes as it has a little bit of everything, and from what I read was put together from teaching a course.  So the book is great for self-study or for use in a group as a text book to teach Runes.

**Recommended to me by my awesome friend Lairbhan who blogs about the Runes and other Witchy/Druidry things on her blog.  You might want to give her a look see at : http://lairbhan.blogspot.com

The Rune Primer A Down-to-Earth Guide to Runes

Author: Sweyn Plowright
Publisher: Rune – Net
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781847282460

Synopsis: Historical facts about the runes in plain English. This book looks at what we really know about them and how we know it. There is also a discussion of the popular authors of esoteric runology, and a chapter exposing the myths and misconceptions about runes perpetuated in many popular rune manuals. The Primer will provide you with a basic factual foundation of rune knowledge, and enable you to sort the useful gems from the rubbish in your future investigations.

Review: This book was a delight to read. Its aim is to discuss the runes in a brief and to the point style, to stick to known facts and established conventions taking into consideration the cultural and religious context. It fulfills those aims perfectly. The style of the writer is very simple and very readable. The simplicity is sometimes very deceptive because but the time you finish a chapter you’ve actually gotten quite a bit of information, but it was so simple it slipped into your mind with no effort.

The author gives you a very simple outline of the history of Runes, an explanation about where the names of the Elder Runes came from and how, and the different types of runes known. The book also provides the meanings for each rune and how the author got it, but what I loved the most were the chapters on known books and authors for runes and myth busting. I especially LOVED the myth busting chapter.

An excellent book to have if you are interested in Runes and it complements the book Runes by R.I. Page, because read together you get the maximum benefit with this book explaining simplistically the history in the Rune book.

Runes (Reading the Past)

Series: Reading the Past
Author: R.I. Page
Publisher:University of California Press and the British Museum
Published: 2007 (Fifth edition, Originally published in 1987)

Synopsis: In Orkney, Shetland and the Scottish Islands, in Ireland, the Isle of Man and above all in Scandinavia, travelers still come upon great memorial stones, inscribed with the curious angular alphabet called runes. This is the story of these inscriptions from the earliest Continental carvings of the late second century A.D. through to the Viking age.

Review: This is one of the shortest books I’ve read, and one of the most sarcastic (not in a good way). The author comes across as very condescending towards people who see the Runes as a magical system. Let me say this, while I do agree with the author’s point that since religion is a part of everyday life for the peoples he talks about and so that makes using the Runic alphabet as a vehicle of writing down sacred things, incantations or even use it for divination a normal part of life for them, I don’t agree wit his attitude or tone of voice but that is my bias and certainly not his problem. Having said that though, this is actually a very good and concise introduction to Runes IF you can get over the tone of the writer. The 64 pages of this book took me two days to get through when it would normally take me only half an hour to an hour tops.