By Keith Healing
Just over twenty years ago my life changed. I didn’t realise it at the time, but that is often the way - big changes are easy to spot; it’s the small ones that snowball that sneak in under the radar. This change was the result of something I bought in W. H. Smith’s in Salisbury. I was at college in Bournemouth and, during a weekend at home I discovered part of my overdraft I hadn’t spent and so wandered into Salisbury with the thought of remedying that situation. I was probably looking to get a new LP (CD’s weren’t around) but I walked out carrying Ralph Blum’s Book of Runes. If I’d known then what I know now I would have bought a different book, but I didn’t – so I didn’t.
I thought that the runes would be a different version of Tarot – something I’d attempted to use and had very little success with, and for a few years that proved to be the case. Reading Blum’s little book I gleaned enough to be able to interpret the runes, albeit in a very stilted way and I thought that was all there was to it. I made a few sets for myself and through reading other sources had discovered that Blum was mildly incorrect with some of his interpretations, wildly innaccurate on others, and had not acknowledged the mythology or reasoning behind them at all. However, it meant little other than an annoyance. They were an interesting toy, and after a while they ended up, like most toys, on the top of a bookshelf.
What I didn’t realise was that they had wormed their way deep into my psyche.
A couple of years ago I dusted them off, burnt the set that had sat unused for so long and made a new set. And they clicked. Suddenly, I began to understand them and understand the depth of self-knowledge they can help uncover. I also, finally, began to understand how they work. I also began to understand why they are different from Tarot, or any other divinatory or magical system.
The one thing that sets the runes apart is history. They have been with us for nigh on 2,000 years. They were developed from the outset as a divinatory and magical tool. They are the only true magical tradition that is still with us based and developed in Western Europe. They encompass ideas that were initially Norse, but that were taken by the Saxon English and made their own, and without recognition of these concepts they are simply, as I first believed, an interesting alternative to Tarot, rather than a tool that encompasses a complete outlook on life.
They are a fantastic resource for modern life, providing a direct link to the depth of folklore that England revels in as well as a method of self-exploration that is second to none.
If you would like to know more about the runes, if you would like a reading or would be interested in courses to learn their use, then please contact me.
This article was posted by Keith Healing