Crafting Your Own Rune Set

 

One of the most fun and creative activities in the norse magick pathway is that of making or crafting your own set of runes. These can then be used in casting and divination, made into charms and talismans and used in many other rituals and norse practices. Before showing you how to create your own rune set I should mention a few things. Firstly you need to decide what kind of runes set you want to make. In this article we will be talking about the elder futhark runes but you can adapt this method to cover any rune set that is preferable to you. Secondly there is two different ways you can make these runes, either way is acceptable, its a matter of personal choice, these are Traditional and Modern/Non Traditional methods, I will cover both but this article mainly covers Traditional. Finally as with all magick practice this ritual can be adapted to suit your needs, this is just the way that I do it and it can be used as a starting point to make a more basic or more elaborate way of practice that suits your magickal journey and methodology.

 

Firstly let us take a look at the traditional method, Originally runes were carved into Wood, Bone or Stone and being even more specific the wood used was Ash, sacred to the Norse and representative of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Do not however worry if you can not acquire Ash wood, there are many great types of wood you can use and you don’t have to use wood at all, there is always the other two options of Bone and Stone. Pebbles make great alternatives to wood as long as they are smooth and uniform in size. When collecting the wood or stones it is good to first make an offering to both the Landvaettr, preferably at a cairn and Jord. Gather an offering of fresh natural water or as a second best tap water and create a small cairn near to where you will collect the material. Kneel in front of it to first make the Landvaettr an offer of thanks

 

“I CALL UPON THE SPIRITS OF THIS LAND,

HAIL WIGHTS AND GUARDIANS ALL,

PROTECTORS OF THIS BOUNTIFUL LAND
I OFFER THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO USE THIS SACRED SPACE
AND IN RETURN I OFFER THIS BREAD AND WATER

(place some bread and pour some water on the cairn)

HAIL SPIRITS OF THIS LAND, HAIL THE LANDVAETTR.”

 

Next stand roughly central to the area you want to collect the wood or stone and facing north or east (both are sacred) ask and thank Jord for the material you will be taking

 

“HAIL JORD

MOTHER EARTH
GODDESS OF THIS LAND

DAUGHTER OF ANNAR AND NOTT
YOU WHO RESIDES IN THE 9 REALMS

ODIN’S FIRST

WILD AND FREE

PROTECTOR OF NATURE

I THANK YOU FOR THE USE OF THIS HALLOWED AREA

I ALSO OFFER THANKS FOR THE ITEMS I WILL USE

AND IN RETURN OFFER THANKS WITH THIS WATER

(pour water on the ground)

HAIL JORD.”

 

You can then take the material needed either by collecting the stone or cutting a branch from the tree you want the wood from. In some magickal paths it is commonplace to ask the tree to take the wood and in some to only use wood that has already fallen, although fresh cut wood is preferable, use your own way to collect the wood and if that means fallen wood please do so, and as a side note try and take only as much as you need not 3 or 4 branches at a time.

 

Now that you have your material cut it into 24 pieces for each rune or however many letters in your chosen rune set or get together 24 pieces of stone or bone one for each symbol of the elder futhark. Next we need to look at methods of traditional carving.

 

 

So when you perform the ritual you will be carving each rune on to the piece of wood, stone or bone and you want to have all your required tools ready so as not to interrupt the ritual. Traditionally a sharp blade would be used to carve or chisel into the chosen material, something like a dagger or another sharpened stoned. They would then be anointed in blood from either a sacred animal or more commonly the person making them thereby attuning them to the set of runes. If you want to use blood use only a few drops in water enough to turn the water an orange colour, there is no need to drain so much blood that you are covered in it. For this use a sharp dagger, an athame or for a more modern twist a lancet any of these tools are sufficient. If not and you or your path doesn't agree with blood magick you can always create a Tiver or a sort of traditional paint made from ochre powder and a few drips of oil, preferably linseed oil to paint the runes. You can if you like add the blood to the tiver to create a more traditional tiver variation. Again make sure all this is ready before you start the ritual.

 

Ok so what are the non traditional methods for creating runes, well firstly you can use just about any material to use as your rune stones, a really common idea in modern magick is to use colourful minerals or gemstones to carve the runes into or even plastic, metals and gold or silver the sky is the limit. Secondly you could use modern tools such as a wood burning pen to burn the shapes into the wood or an engraver to carve into the stone, bone or other object. Another fantastic idea is to create a set of Rune cards, similar to tarot using your arty skill or a computer to generate the images. As you will see it is not really what you use but the actual act of creating the runes and the power of the intention.

 

The Ritual

 

Ok before you start the carving of your runes you need a quiet place to perform the ritual, if outside somewhere private or off any main tracks or land where you can be disturbed, a garden is preferable and is where I like the most. If inside use your magick space or somewhere personal to you, free from distractions. Once there set up a Ve or Altar dedicated to your chosen Deity, I prefer Odin but Bragi or Freyja are also a good choice as is a general one to the whole Aesir. Face it North or East. You will need an offering of water taken from either a stream or river or even rainwater, any natural source of water is preferable but if you can’t get it then ordinary tap water is acceptable. You will also need an offering of Bread and mead or if you cant get mead, beer or wine is also acceptable. Upon the Ve place an offering bowl (if Inside), a bundle of Mugwort incense or a fruit based incense like citronella, a candle and all of your offerings along with your rune material ready to be carved into and any tools needed for the carving or painting. In a small bowl pre mix your Tiver or blood solution. Finally building a small cairn near the Ve in honour of the land wights but only if outside.

 

Sit facing your Ve and perform a 5 - 10 minute meditation to get you in a relaxed state. The next thing to do is if your outside offer thanks to the land wights for using the area, this is best done at a small cairn. Sit or kneel at your cairn and offer a prayer to the Landvaettr.

 

“I CALL UPON THE SPIRITS OF THIS LAND,

HAIL WIGHTS AND GUARDIANS ALL,

PROTECTORS OF THIS BOUNTIFUL LAND
I OFFER THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO USE THIS SACRED SPACE
AND IN RETURN I OFFER THIS BREAD AND WATER

(place some bread and pour some water on the cairn)

HAIL SPIRITS OF THIS LAND, HAIL THE LANDVAETTR.”

 

Light the Mugwort incense and candle and sit in front of your Ve, Recite Sigrdrifa’s Prayer

 

“HAIL DAY, HAIL SONS OF DAY;

HAIL NIGHT AND HER DAUGHTERS;

LOOK UPON US WITH FAVOR,

AND GRANT US VICTORY.

 

HAIL TO THE GODS!

HAIL TO THE GODDESSES!

HAIL THE ALL-GIVING EARTH!

BLESS US WITH WISDOM,

WITH AN HONORABLE TONGUE,

AND HEALING HANDS,

FOR THE REST OF OUR DAYS.”

 

(If you can do the prayers in Old Norse)

 

 

 Now perform a Hammer Rite or any hallowing and protection ritual depending on your magick path to defend and hallow the area. Before continuing it is also good to thank and make offering to Jord for using the earth and area for your needs. Face your Ve and make a prayer and offering

 

“HAIL JORD

MOTHER EARTH
GODDESS OF THIS LAND

DAUGHTER OF ANNAR AND NOTT
YOU WHO RESIDES IN THE 9 REALMS

ODIN’S FIRST

WILD AND FREE

PROTECTOR OF NATURE

I THANK YOU FOR THE USE OF THIS HALLOWED AREA

AND IN RETURN OFFER THANKS WITH THIS WATER

(pour water on the ground next to the Ve)

HAIL JORD.”

 

 

Next you will also need to invite and invoke your chosen deity to the ritual area be it Odin, Bragi or any of the Aesir. Stand or sit in front of the Ve and offer prayer and offering to the deity

 

“HAIL (DEITY)

GOD/GODDESS OF (?)

SON/DAUGHTER OF (?)

I CALL UPON YOU TO COME TO THIS HALLOWED PLACE,

AND WATCH OVER THIS RITUAL IN YOUR NAME

IN RETURN I OFFER THIS BREAD AND MEAD

(place bread and pour mead on the ground, not where Jord offering is, or if inside into offering bowl)

HAIL (DEITY).”

 

Ok we are now ready to begin, whilst standing at your Ve pick up your first piece of material and your chosen method of carving tool or painting tool. Begin to carve or paint your rune shape into the material, as you do focus on the intent of the rune so for Gebo for example focus on the words gift and joy and any other words you found during your learning of the runes. Chant the name of the rune nine times before completion of the rune and upon completion pass it very quickly through the flame of the candle to consecrate it. At this point anoint with the tiver or blood.

 

When all the runes have been completed drop them into a cloth bag and wrap the whole lot in black material ask for the invoked deity to Protect and empower the runes

 

“HAIL (DEITY)

GOD/GODDESS OF (?)

SON/DAUGHTER OF (?)

I OFFER THANKS FOR YOUR PRESCENCE AT THIS HALLOWED GROUND

AND FOR WATCHING OVER THIS RITUAL IN YOUR NAME

I ALSO ASK FOR YOU TO EMPOWER AND PROTECT THESE RUNES

HAIL (DEITY).”

 

Begin to close down the ritual as you have already thanked the deity finish by first thanking Jord, Keep facing the Ve and thank Jord

 

“HAIL JORD

MOTHER EARTH
GODDESS OF THIS LAND

DAUGHTER OF ANNAR AND NOTT
YOU WHO RESIDES IN THE 9 REALMS

ODIN’S FIRST

WILD AND FREE

PROTECTOR OF NATURE

I THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING USE OF THE SACRED EARTH

HAIL JORD.”

 

Remove your Hammer rite and/or any other protection or hallowing ritual that has been cast and clear down the area, before totally finishing head over to your cairn, kneel or stand in front of it and offer thanks to the Landvaettr

 

“I CALL UPON THE SPIRITS OF THIS LAND,

HAIL WIGHTS AND GUARDIANS ALL,

PROTECTORS OF THIS BOUNTIFUL LAND
I OFFER THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO USE THIS SACRED LAND

AND HONOUR YOU IN RETURN
HAIL SPIRITS OF THIS LAND, HAIL THE LANDVAETTR.”

 

You have now completed the Ritual.

 

 

Over the next 9 days keep your runes in a safe dark place, taking them out but leaving them wrapped in the black cloth everyday to ask your deity to protect and empower them. After the nine days your runes are fully ready to be used and with a final thanks to the deity you have a usable rune set.

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