I’ve decided to take on the challenge of familiarizing myself with the Nordic runes to the point that I can successfully divine with them, at least in a non-professional way. I bought Lisa Chamberlain’s introductory book on the subject and have elected to pursue the more traditional approach of Edred Thorsson and Nigel Pennick and not the eclectic and inclusive style of Ralph Blum. Chamberlain’s brief explanations of the divinatory use of the runes aligns well with the way I read the tarot, so I don’t anticipate any major hurdles in adapting to them. I’ve been aware of the runes since the ’70s but the literature available at the time seemed to come down on the light side of persuasive, so I chose not to “bite.” That seems to have changed for the better now.
I have yet to buy a set of runes, but I don’t think I’ll be making my own either. The rune sets carved on semi-precious stones don’t seem to be well-regarded, so I’m thinking of going for a wooden set. However, it seems that many of the runes have reversed meanings, and I can’t see how a round disk cut from a branch and carved can lend itself successfully to deciding whether a symbol is upright or reversed the way a rectangular presentation can. What should we do if it winds up oriented 90 degrees out from either the upright or reversed position? Chamberlain is silent on that possibility.
The process of drawing three runes from a pouch appeals to me since it differs very little from the way I pull stones for geomancy. I also take to heart Chamberlain’s caution that the runes may be best read for oneself rather than for paying clients, since the results can be intensely personal. I don’t mind having a private oracle at my disposal. The symbols appeal strongly to the graphic artist in me and I’m looking forward to getting to know them. More to come when I get my own set and begin working with it.