Since the runes are a vital part of the pre-Christian northern European mythology, worldview, and spiritual practice, I thought it would be fitting and helpful to provide some recommendations in this field. This list assumes no prior knowledge of the runes, just a willingness to understand them on their own terms.
As with anything else in life, different approaches are appropriate for different people. This list reflects that necessary diversity, and includes works from several different perspectives that all have something to contribute to the modern study of the runes and practice of runic magic last updated November What you learn from the runes directly, through experience and intuitive insight, is always more important than anything you read in a book.
The books on this list are numbered according to their newbie-friendliness. When you do, I automatically get a small commission on your purchase with no extra cost or hassle for you whatsoever.
Runes 101: Meanings, Magic & Misconceptions
That qualm aside, I think that, overall, this is the best single-volume introduction to the runes and runic magic out there currently. Futhark is extremely thorough and well-informed, and I recommend it very highly. Earlier editions were published with the in my opinion better subtitle A Handbook of Esoteric Runology.
The contents of this section are all firmly rooted in traditional Germanic lore, but go well beyond it.
Any student of the runes will get a lot out of Runelore , whether as a standalone book or in conjunction with Futhark.
About Rune Reading
The first two installments are Futhark , 2 above, and Runelore , 3 above. The book includes numerous different methods and pre-established rituals for rune readings, runic divination, etc. It really takes you step by step through the whole process, from creating and charging the necessary tools to what to expect from the outcomes. There are several claims in here that no scholar in this or any related field would take seriously. Nor, at the other end of the spectrum of the expectations people usually bring to the runes, does it offer prepackaged rituals, spells, etc.
I do not want you to adhere to my dogma… but to explore with an open mind in the joy of self discovery.
"The Magic Fateball"
Its primary strengths are its psychological depth and its applicability to true self-transformation. Click here to view or buy Helrunar at Amazon.
Sweyn Plowright probably has little but contempt for some of the books on this list. The Rune Primer is probably the only book on rune magic out there where the author goes out of his or her way to separate factual information from the sources on the one hand and intuitive insights on the other, and to eschew the latter in favor of the former as much as possible.
Personally, I find some of the general thrust of this book to be quite simplistic and lacking in philosophical nuance.
Simplistic though some aspects of it may be, it is indeed a refreshing antidote to some of the cringe-inducing tripe and groundless wishful thinking that have been written on the runes — which is to say, a rather large proportion of the field. Click here to view or buy The Rune Primer at Amazon.
The Ultimate Online Guide to Norse Mythology and Religion
Pollington discusses the origin of the runic characters, their meanings and associations, their variations across the Germanic world, their linguistic properties, their historical uses, and more. Since Pollington is first and foremost a scholar of the Anglo-Saxon world, the Old English runes get much more treatment here than they typically would in an introductory work like this. Click here to view or buy Rudiments of Runelore at Amazon. Click here to view or buy Runes: Reading the Past at Amazon.
Click here to view or buy Runes and Magic at Amazon. Runes: Reading the Past by R.