Rune Book Reviews

              Rune Book Reviews

Helrunar by Jan Fries A Manual of Rune Magick ISBN,1869928385

At first glance, the cover of this book looks promising with the suggestion of Othinn's "Glory Twigs" but overall and on closer inspection, I personally found this book wanting in many areas, least of all in rune lore. Fries is one of the better New Age Rune authors and although this book is acclaimed by many of his fans as a stroke of genius, I hold a different opinion.

In the first instance, the book suggests to offer a magickal system as well as a manual of instruction? What is the basis of this rune magic claim, experimentation? No book can do that effectively and whilst this work is generally not useful for any sort of realistic or even viable reconstruction of traditional heathen practices, I question the accuracy of the contents being chaotic or dubious at best and outright fabrication at worst!

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law on page 9 of this book's Introduction says it all for me. Another New Age eclectic mix and match with a glossy cover pic!

** Rating 2 Stars

Uthark Nightside of the Runes by Karlsson Thomas ISBN,9197410217

This work has been suggested to be an an introduction to runosophy, the wisdom of the runes, and to practical rune magic. The book seems to be offering an introduction to a *rune magic that is constructed around practical work with the runes in the contemporary world. So in a nutshell, modern occultism via experimentation using a  very flawed theory  that the runes have a dark and sinister side? I would very much like someone to show me any evidence whatsoever of *runosophy in the historical heathen context?

No credible rune scholar to date supports the Uthark theory of the late Sigurd Agrell, professor at Lund University and it seems strange how his controversial ideas on rune sequencing seems to appeal to the eclectic  Neo Pagan fraternity? Could it possibly be the "Its a kind of *magick" book appeal?

Introduction; The Secret Wisdom of the North; The Uthark and the Runes; Runosophy; Man and His Souls; Northern Sorcery and Practical Runemagic; Rune Yoga; Runic Divination; Runosophy and Qabalah; The Uthark and the Nightside of Runes.

Final note: What has the Qaballah got to do with the runes? Save your money folks.

*Rating 1 Star

Thorssons Way of The Runes by Benard King ISBN 0-00-713603-X

This is essentially a reprint of his former work The Elements of the Runes but it is a wonderfully straightforward book, that makes good use of the historical/archaeological source material. Whilst there are some issues on this book I am at odds with, in general and as a value for money book, it is well worth a read for the newbie/neophyte to runes who wishes to ground themselves with some basic information.

On page XIV of his introduction he states:

Please Note, There is no single book which can ever tell you everything you want to know about the runes. Exploring the runes is a highly personal quest which involves making decisions for yourself and because of this you will need both time and intuition to appreciate them. Making a commitment to the runes and the faith which lies behind them involves discovering a whole new way of life. The full potency of these symbols has yet to be discovered, and only those prepared to be committed to the quest will come close to a full appreciation of what they have to offer.

***Rating 3 Stars

The Galdrabok: An Icelandic Grimoire by Stephen Flowers

Publisher: Red Wheel Weiser (September 01 1989)
ISBN: 087728685X

The Galdrabok is split into two parts: a history of ancient (particularly Icelandic) *magick and a variety of Icelandic and Teutonic magic spells. In the second part in that book with the bindrunes is a book called Huld and is written around 1850 - the book) is a mixture frome Iceland, Denmark and probably some cabalistic ideas from England.   Flowers does not mention this mix or the writing timelines in his book, he actually avoids it. The book contains a large portion of Christianized "spells" which show what our ancestors were up against in fighting these un-believers. As a spell book it is basically overrated, but in its ability to show the horrors of mixing traditions it is priceless. Much of the translated material comes from an Icelandic medical text in a 17th century manuscript known as AM 434a 12mo; This manuscript is currently held at the Arnamagneś institude in Kobenhagen, Denmark

At any rate I certainly would not pay the rather over inflated prices the book sellers are asking for this book today but because a lot of effort has gone into this work by Flowers despite the mixing of traditions, I would say it is worth a read to satisfy your curiosity.

**Rating 2 Stars

Rune Rede Wisdom & Magic: For the Life Journey by Raurik Grimnisson

Publisher: Capall Bann Publishing (2000)
ISBN: 18163 1081

This book is cited as a readers guide  on an easy path of information gathering and practical applications. Its lore contents the book claims extends from the earliest period of rune usage to the present. However the material therein seems to clash in many ways with the book's preface first line?

***This book has been written in answer to the increased demand for traditional rune lore.***

There is to date no archaeological or recorded evidence whatsoever to suggest that the methods which the author goes at length into to describe are verifiable heathen runic practices. But rather I fear this book extends and explores the more popular ceremonial magical practices prevalent today with Neo-Paganism and is in my opinion seriously lacking any real heathen lore practices. What we have instead are great leaps of faith into newly made up traditions more suited to eclectic neo paganism rather then heathenism.

Page 36 of the book gives an illustration of the Nine Worlds within the context of a schematic very akin to the Cabalistic Tree of life? I doubt very much if our heathen ancestors viewed the Nine Worlds in this context or indeed had the time for any such nonsense as life was generally harsh, life expectancy short and warfare prevalent during Elder times. These ideas are also reminisce of Thorson's earlier works such as The Nine Doors of Midgard pgs 57  Fig 3.1 The Pattern Of Yggdrasil.

To further back his arguments, the author introduces the ideas and theories of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake in Chapter 6 The runic Code with Dr. Sheldrake's work called, "The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance & the Habits of Nature"

***Challenging the fundamental assumptions of modern science, this ground-breaking radical hypothesis suggests that nature itself has memory. The question of morphogenesis - how things take their shape - remains one of the great mysteries of science. What makes a rabbit rabbit-shaped? How do newts regenerate limbs? Why are molecules shaped the way they are? Why do societies arrange themselves in certain predictable patterns? According to Sheldrake's hypothesis of formative causation, these questions remain unanswered in part because convention is hobbled by the reductionist assumption that finding the answers to such questions is largely a matter of figuring out the machinery of nature, of getting to the bottom of an ultimately mechanical universe. But Sheldrake suggests that nature is not a machine and that each kind of system - from crystals to birds to societies - is shaped not by universal laws that embrace and direct all systems but by a unique "morphic field" containing a collective or pooled memory. So organisms no only share genetic material with others of their species, but are also shaped by a "field" specific to that species.***

See also:

Ref:  MORPHIC FIELDS AND MORPHIC RESONANCE An Introduction by Rupert Sheldrake

Overall I feel that this book is suited to practitioners of ceremonial magick rather then it's claims to be traditional rune lore. This it certainly is not!                                  

**Rating 2 Stars

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