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Rune Elements
Rune Elements
Rune Elements
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Rune Elements

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Sometimes, the best way to learn something is to do it. This book will take you by the hand and show how to actually make, finish, care for, and use the ancient runes in a way that is more "How to" than most books on the subject. This is specifically meant for the individuals who want to learn the uses of the Elder Futhark, not just the esoteric meanings and history of them. You'll learn about the various ways of making runes, bind-runes, talisman, and charms, as well as the many uses for them, both traditional and modern. Everything from the tools and techniques to the materials and accessories you might employ… all is explained in detail from a runemaster with over 30 years of practical experience.
Release dateJun 30, 2020
Rune Elements
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Lliam S. Herneson

Lliam S. Herneson has been learning and practicing the use of runes for over 30 years and has been teaching others the skills he has developed over that time. His DIY approach to teaching runes has been well received in classes, workshops, and seminars for many years now.

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    Rune Elements - Lliam S. Herneson


    About The Author

    Lliam S. Herneson has been learning and practicing the use of runes for over 30 years and has been teaching others the skills he has developed over that time. His DIY approach to teaching runes has been well received in classes, workshops, and seminars for many years now.


    To my family: My wife and daughters who offered the subtle and invaluable support needed to keep me focused when distractions might otherwise have derailed this entire book. I never say it enough, but I love and appreciate you to the ends of the earth and back. Thank you so very much.

    The solitaries of the silver broom: Without the inspiration and support of my coven family, this book would not have found its way onto these pages. Thank you, Mark, Amy, and all my coven kin.

    Copyright Information ©

    Lliam S. Herneson (2020)

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher.

    Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

    Austin Macauley is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In this spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers; however, the story, the experiences, and the words are the author’s alone.

    Ordering Information:

    Quantity sales: special discounts are available on quantity purchases by corporations, associations, and others. For details, contact the publisher at the address below.

    Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication data

    Herneson, Lliam S.

    Rune Elements

    ISBN 9781643786933 (Paperback)

    ISBN 9781643786940 (Hardback)

    ISBN 9781645364887 (ePub e-book)

    Library of Congress Control Number: 2020905461


    First Published (2020)

    Austin Macauley Publishers LLC

    40 Wall Street, 28th Floor

    New York, NY 10005



    +1 (646) 5125767


    A general shout out to all the rune masters and students of history who continue to keep this ancient knowledge alive. Without all of your dedication and commitment to study, research, and ancient lore, this rare and beautiful art might well have slipped into obscurity. Thank you all.

    Runes and Tarot

    Runes are one of the oldest tools for divination and magic we have archeological and historical evidence to support. These ancient symbols emerged from the Teutonic cultures of Western Europe, nearly two thousand years ago, as both a system of writing and as an oracle. The form of these runes evolved over time to become what is now recognized as the ‘Elder Futhark.’ Though other variations have also been recorded, the Elder Futhark holds sway as the predominant choice for rune lore in today’s esoteric community.

    Much debate continues over the origin of the tarot, though that’s understandable since a lot of the historical references date back only as far as the Renaissance. Prior to that, other tools of similar function were employed, but they weren’t in the form of a ‘card’ until paper production had become more common and affordable. While there may be some traditional imagery associated with the individual cards and their accepted meanings, the variety of decks, artwork, designs, themes, and even the number of cards per deck make it an extremely diverse tool for divination.

    In any case, this book isn’t about the historical origin of runes or tarot. Instead, the intent is to bring the reader some insight on how each of these tools work, and how one can utilize their unique divination qualities individually, and in tandem. And for those who wish to draw even more upon the runes while still utilizing tarot, there is the Rune Tarot, a deck inspired by the traditional imagery of the tarot but with runes added to each and every card. Some of the runes may be hard to find at first as they have been incorporated into the design, but like so many things, once seen, they can’t be unseen.

    Each of these tools of divination are effective in and of themselves, but when used together, in tandem, they become something more than the sum of their parts. Since they approach divination in similar ways, they do have a common foundation, but the methods used vary greatly, which serves to provide a much more in-depth reading than either can do on its own. Additionally, the way they tend to play off one another opens a whole new avenue of understanding, both in the tarot and in the runes, which was previously difficult to recognize. Unlocking that connection is like opening the door to an entirely new way of understanding these tools of magic.

    I often describe the use of runes and tarot together in this way: The tarot are like the scenes in your movie, but the runes are like the script. They each provide important information, but in very different ways. Where the card might show action to be taken, the runes often show the motivation to take that particular action, or how the action might be successful.

    For example: If the Four of Swords appears, it may indicate a need to rest and recover… to take some time and do things on your own for a while so you can think and make decisions. The rune that accompanies the Four of Swords would then indicate what you need to rest and recover from, and/or about what decisions need to be made during that time. Perhaps you should take some time to consider your relationships, or maybe your financial situation, or your career goals?

    Let’s say that the Four of Swords is then accompanied by Fehu. Taking both the card and the rune meanings into account, reading them together, we now have a more focused attention on both the meaning in the card and the meaning in the rune. Normally when I see Fehu, the first thing that comes to mind is money. It is the rune of prosperity and wealth after all. So now I balance that very general meaning with the general meaning of the Four of Swords, to give yourself time to think, reflect on recent events and experiences. What events and experiences? Those pertaining to your finances and wealth. This is then a time to start planning, learning from past mistakes or successes, and putting those lessons into action for future financial efforts.

    So as you can see, there is a lot more focus on the meaning hidden in the tarot when we have a beacon to guide the intuitive mind toward certain aspects and ideas. From there, the intuitive then ferrets out the fine details of the meaning to give a clear, understandable message for the querent. In the example above, we’ve taken the very general meaning of ‘introspection and reflection,’ and added to it the very general meaning of ‘finances and prosperity,’ and this resulted in ‘reflection and introspection about finances and prosperity.’ The conclusion is very simple, but is there any doubt the focus has narrowed down considerably, both for the rune and the tarot card?

    The card alone is rather general in its meaning, and this is by design. When we read the cards, the intent is to give the reader’s conscious mind something to focus the intuitive mind upon. If this is too specific, the reasoning and logically conscious mind has too much influence, and the intuitive mind is drowned out. At the same time, if too little information is available for the conscious mind to use, there’s little focus for the intuitive mind to guide it. The rune assists in this process by narrowing the scope to a more specific area, without becoming too specific.

    Likewise, this also provides a more specific meaning for the rune interpretation. After all, the runes are very simple symbols and hardly carry the intense variety of images tarots provide with each card. Reading runes is a true test of one’s own intuitive abilities, and well it should be. When we add the details from a tarot card, however, suddenly the most significant meaning of the rune becomes more clear and easier to apply. The rune says ‘finances, prosperity, and growth.’ What about them? Four of Swords says ‘introspection, reflection, rest.’ Conclusion, don’t take action yet. Get a plan, make a budget, take some time to think about it so you can be more effective.

    This is just a very small sampling of how to draw more information both from tarot and runes. This book will provide examples, strategies, exercises, and practical methods for getting the most out of your divination practice.

    Rune Lore 101

    Rather than hashing out all the historic and archeological significance of runes, this book will cover the more practical uses and functions runes can be employed for in modern life. If you wish to study more about the history of runes, by all means, do so. Not only is it fascinating, but it will only enhance your understanding and appreciation for the runes overall. Moreover, the history of the runes, such as it is, allows us to have a degree of liberty when determining the original meanings of them as a whole and individually. Since much of the history of the time was passed in the form of spoken words – poems, songs, and shamanic ritual mostly – little written lore remains, giving the modern rune wielder only a hint of a taste of their original purpose and might.

    Most of what we supposedly know about runes is really years of study, archeology, and a lot of conjecture. This isn’t to say that it isn’t accurate. Quite the contrary. Enough corroborating evidence has been uncovered to support the interpretations and the esoteric meanings of the runes, but it does leave the door open for the individual to add a distinctive flavor to the use of runes without compromising convention in any way. That’s just a long-winded way of saying, If it feels right, then use it.

    In the pages that follow, I’ll be using some of the most common interpretations and meanings for the runes, but I will also be adding some of my own flavor as well. I encourage the reader to take this information, and all other sources you can find, with a grain of salt. Learn what you can, let it blend and mix in your thoughts and feelings, then find what meaning best suits the rune for you. Keep it true to the root meanings, of course… but don’t be afraid to add some elements not previously discussed.

    That said, let’s get right into the subject of runes themselves.

    The Mystery of Runes

    The most fundamental element of rune lore is the very name ‘rune,’ which means ‘mystery.’ And this is another reason why adding some of your own energy to the rune is completely acceptable. A mystery is something to be solved, a hidden meaning, something not entirely understood. If someone were to say, I got it! I figured it out! This is what this rune means! then it wouldn’t be a Rune anymore, would it?

    Runes are symbols of power, meaning, purpose, phonetic sounds, stories, and human experience. They are used for divination, magic, writing, charms, talisman, and countless creative concepts that tend to build upon one another as we become more adept in their use. In this work, we are going to cover just a few of these practical uses, getting a little more familiar with how they feel and what they can do. As you become more attuned to the runes, other uses will likely dawn on you all of their own accord.

    It’s been my experience that there really is no wrong use for runes, but you do sort of need to know what you’re doing for them to do anything at all. Without the proper understanding of the runes or what they mean, they are just so many lines on paper – or wood. The same can be said for any written language. If you don’t read Chinese, and you see some Chinese writing, most likely your conscious mind recognizes the characters for some such writing, but then you completely disregard making any effort to read them. They are, for all intents and purposes, just a bunch of lines on paper… meaningless to you.

    It’s probably safe to say that no one reading this now can actually read or speak ancient Norse. It’s been a dead language for centuries after all. Even modern Norwegian is as far removed from the ancient language as modern and olde English are from one another… though even more so in the Norse, since we at least have many written examples of olde English, and it was a spoken language not very long since.

    However, there are ways to get a message through without the need for words. For example, take a look at this image, think of it as bright red in color, and guess what it means.

    If you guessed this means ‘STOP’ you’d be right, and you probably didn’t even have to read it to understand the message. That’s because symbols have meaning too… In fact, they comprise a whole area of study all their own called semiotics. The study of symbols is one that oversteps the boundaries of language, and allows us to explore meanings that are connected to a more subconscious level of our awareness.

    Here’s another example I often use in classes when teaching runes.

    I usually get about a 50/50 split on this one. Half see that and say, Pirates, the other half say, Poison, and of course, they’re both right. The symbol is the same. Context is the only defining difference between the two. If I put it on a black flag, then it’s pirates. If I put it on the side of a bottle, it’s poison.

    Runes are much like this as well. The symbols each mean something, yes… but the meaning can vary depending on the context. Context is then determined by the way we use the runes in that particular instance. The ‘mystery’ of the runes is how we coax the meaning and power of each rune from the simple image based on the context.

    This is true of any divination tool, but particularly so when it comes to Runes since they do have so many meanings for each and so little to go on as to which meaning is most relevant… other than the context. To draw an analogy, I could just use one word, SEX, and get a slew of possible meanings, ideas, thoughts, images, etc…. But If I add it in context of FIRST NAME, LAST NAME, AGE, SEX, suddenly the context automatically eliminates nearly all of the other possible meanings, leaving us with a clearly focused interpretation of that particular word in that particular context.

    Symbols of Power

    Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,

    dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,

    dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,

    dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?

    – ‘The Elder or Poetic Edda’ (Sæmund’s Edda) translated by Olive Bray.

    The most common question I get from those who are new to runes is, Do they work? What they really mean is, How do these little letters have power in them? The answer is both simple and obvious. They don’t! The images we see, these little lines, or as some call them, stick-figures, are not magic in and of themselves. I mean, they’re just little lines. There’s nothing magical about lines. Or is there? To truly answer this question, let’s consider the power of symbols as a whole.

    In the examples given above with the stop sign and the skull and crossbones, we also have little more than just lines. Granted, they are more extensive and complex than a single letter, but even a single letter can have great meaning when used in the proper context. When you get, or used to get, a report card, you wanted to see the letter ‘A’ not ‘F.’ That’s just a single letter, just a few lines… but is there any doubt that the particular letter in that particular context definitely had power over you? It represented something significant. It suggests intelligence, hard work, skill, talent, practice, etc…. all valued and assessed in a single letter.

    When you get a contract or an agreement of some legal meaning, they tell you to ‘Sign on the X.’ You could put your name all over that document – at the top, on the sides, in the middle of the page, wherever – and yet none of that would hold any great significance. However, once you put your signature beside that ‘X,’ suddenly this piece of paper with words on it becomes a legally binding contract. It has power… all due to a single letter taken in context.

    The cross or crucifix can be depicted by two intersecting lines… and taken out of context, it would hold no influence or power at all, but when it’s put in the right place, with the right emphasis, it changes from ‘two lines’ to a holy symbol recognized all over the world. Of course, the meaning has to be learned first. A child who’s never seen one before still only sees two lines, even when taken in context, until they learn what it’s supposed to mean. So context indeed, but also the interpretation of the observer matters greatly…which brings us to the next topic.

    In order for anything to have power, it has to possess some influence based on what has been learned by the observer. If someone didn’t know the history of World War II and the Nazis, the Swastika would be a common symbol seen in various cultures around the world, from India to the Native American tribes. They wouldn’t know about the dark past it earned during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, or the hatred it came to represent. It wouldn’t be seen in the context of that historical reference, and so would have no connection to those negative connotations.

    Once the meaning is learned, then the observer connects the image to those meanings, and the symbol suddenly has power. When you see a bottle with skull and crossbones on the side, you’re likely going to treat it more carefully than you would a bottle labeled water or milk. The bottle hasn’t changed, and as we agreed earlier, the symbol is just so many lines that make a picture. But once the connection of that symbol to its meaning is understood, you don’t treat the contents of the bottle the same way. The symbol, in effect, has power over you. It gets you to think differently about what’s in there. It makes your emotional state more cautious than relaxed. You might think of danger, pain, sickness, or even death… just by looking at that symbol.

    Seeing the same symbol on a flag carries a whole new set of meanings. You might think of ships, buried treasure, cannons, swords, Johnny Depp, etc…. Again, all this just by looking at a symbol. Someone driving along the road who sees the big red octagon is compelled to stop at the intersection… because that symbol has meaning significant to them in that situation. In that way, symbols all carry power, but only if that symbol is recognized, accepted, and taken in context.

    So, the short answer is indeed: No… runes themselves have no real power. The power of the runes is only present for someone who understands the runes and is able to read them in proper context. In that case, yes… runes have very real power. They are, for all intents and purposes, magic. They have the power to make someone think, feel, and even react in some way… which is the very definition of power. And yet, it has to be clearly emphasized that this only works if the one reading the runes understands what they mean.

    This is why those familiar with the principles of magic say, The magic is in the witch, not the stuff. So, this begs the question… why use the stuff?

    Vibration and Frequency

    There is a lot of material on the Law of Vibration these days, so rather than going too deeply into that, I will just summarize the concept.

    All the universe is made of energy. Einstein gave us the theory in his most famous equation, e=mc², which means, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. The abbreviated meaning is that mass is basically highly condensed energy. The frequency – or vibration – of that energy then determines what that mass is. The frequency of iron is different than the frequency of gold, for example. The frequency of the energy in the stuff is constant… which is why iron doesn’t spontaneously turn into gold.

    In classes, when I ask, Why do we use ‘the stuff’? The most common answer I get is that it gets the one using them to focus. That is to say… it allows the person who uses the stuff to think and act a certain way. In essence, ‘the stuff’ is a collection of symbols too. They convey a specific meaning or intention that the user understands, accepts, and views in context. Very often the stuff used in magic is preferred to be made of specific material. Iron cauldron, colored candles, salt, water, wood, crystal, etc….

    A wand is little more than a stick. To those who are not familiar with the meaning of a wand, that’s all it will ever be. But when the meaning of the wand is learned, understood, accepted, and taken in context, it becomes something more. It becomes a conduit for intention and energy, directing them. Physically, it’s still just a stick, but then again, physically the poison label on the bottle is just a piece of paper. It isn’t the physical thing that has power. Rather it’s the meaning of the thing that has power. So, in the hands of someone who understands, accepts, and takes the meaning in context, the wand has power too.

    But the stuff that the thing is physically made of also gives us certain thoughts and feelings as well. Most people are fascinated by the structure of crystals. They are beautiful to look at, come in hundreds of shapes, sizes, colors, etc…. and no two are the same. Picking up a crystal seems to automatically turn on that ‘fascination’ button in our consciousness. We want to look at it, look into it, to touch the surface, to feel the smooth sides and sharp edges with our fingers. One might say it actually makes us want to learn more about it… experience it in some way… as if it has some power to do that all by itself.

    Here’s a better example. I like to use this one in my classes too.

    When you wish to make a love spell, you might choose to include roses. Roses are beautiful, they smell sweet, and

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