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Taking Up the Runes: A Complete Guide to Using Runes in Spells, Rituals, Divination, and Magic [Paperback]

Diana L. Paxson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £21.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Taking Up the Runes: A Complete Guide to Using Runes in Spells, Rituals, Divination, and Magic + The Poetic Edda (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser (1 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578633257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578633258
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Here is a complete guidebook for use of the runes in spells, rituals, divination, and magic. In a series of chapters dealing with rune pairs, readers will learn the historical meaning of each individual rune and their use and meaning now, in contemporary culture. At the end of each chapter there are rituals and spells for all levels of ability which help internalise the attributions, meanings, symbolism, and use of the runes.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE FIRST MEETING OF A RUNE STUDY GROUP, or the first time you set apart to formally begin your study of the runes, should be used for organization and orientation. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than most 11 April 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a well written compilation of the ideas of modern popular esoteric rune authors (Aswynn, Thorsson, Pennick, etc). It should not be taken as a book about historical pre-Christian rune use, but seeks to adapt more recently invented techniques and ideas into a religious setting based on Germanic mythology.

Seen in this light, the book is a useful reference of current popular rune usage. It will not appeal to the more re-creationist or academic rune students, but offers an abundance of examples of New-Age and ecclectic adaptations of the runes. Although it does go beyond the New-Age manuals by seeking to present these ideas in a "Northern Tradition" context, I would have liked to see more distinction made between modern and historical information.

Although this book is firmly in the "speculative" category, it does present some historical background, and is a cut above the New-Age fluff that dominates the majority of esoteric rune manuals.

Sweyn
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heathen-tastic 5 Mar 2012
By Mick CD
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book is a definitive guide to all things runic - from the basic meanings of each rune to the use of the runes in rituals and magic. It is a rich and valuable source of Norse knowledge breathing life back into the old religion, hailya and thank you Diana
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compendium of information 26 May 2005
By Freysson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of the problems with a lot of books on runes is the lack of originality, followed by the tendency to see runework as another magickal system. This work does none of the above.

Yes, she goes through the meanings of each rune-but in easy to understand ENGLISH. While not being afraid to use the old tongues (there are a numbers of quotes from the Norse and other languages), they are not necessary to the text itself. She does summarize a lot of what the better modern runic sources have before giving her own slant on a subject. Additionally she takes the runes in pairs, often using one to shed light on the other. This is a book scholars would not be ashamed to own, but that is useful to newcomers to the runes.

Where this work really departs from previous works is the practical and magickal working. This is firmly situated within the practice of the religious revival, rather than making a neo-magickal order type of work. It has rituals which are for the growth of the group, as well as the individual but which focus more on personal growth than on trying to win the lottery. While no shying away from practical magick, she reminds us that this was not about magick for magick's sake, but was about living for today and within the context of community. She points out that Odin, upon obtaining the runes, promptly began using and teaching them, as opposed to immediately ascending to some transcendent plane.

I believe and hope that this is the first of a new wave of works which focus on practices as part of the religious tradition rather than a separate search for power or transcendence. If for no other reason this work would be worth the purchase price. However above that it carries a lot of the lore and mindset that someone starting out in a Norse centered religious practice should have as well as that needed in going beyond the basics. Well Done and well worth having!
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Standard 14 Jun 2005
By S. parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Paxson has given us the new primary text on using the Runes. She has compiled what there is to know about the symbols into a single volume, bringing divinatory and spell-binding meanings together in a way that makes the meaning and power of each rune clear. The poetry is good, the ritual structure sound and the insight into both ancient lore and modern adaptation profound. In addition she lays it all out in a series of 'classes' that allow students to learn the material in an orderly way.

Highly recommended
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit new agey but better than many 2 Nov 2009
By Christopher R. Travers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this work, renowned fiction author Diana Paxson tackles practical rune-uses in magic, divination, and ritual. The book is obviously intended to be a sort of popular guide rather than a more serious piece. While there are places where the book misses the mark, there are places where it is fairly good as well. It is a good introduction to more serious works but it is not, by itself, a complete guide.

First the good:

I appreciate the fact that the author provides a fair bit of structure in her approach to runestave meanings. This is an important step which is missing from many books on the subject. This is important because it helps individuals make up their own minds and arrive at personal synthesis in this area. Some of the discussions of how to run a study group are helpful as well.

I also appreciated the fact that the rune poems were given in the original languages with inline translations. This helps to encourage individuals to think about the poems as being in their original languages and hence try to investigate their own translations. When I do a second edition of "The Serpent and the Eagle," I will probably follow that approach.

Now the bad:

As the author points out, the Runes are a cultural expression of a specific set of people at a specific point in time. Unfortunately she then compares spiritual systems to foreign food and suggests that we can mix and match as we find it helpful with very little structure. Much of the approach from that point on ends up much more reminiscent of Hermeticism and related traditions and there is a clear Wiccan influence. (Among other things she refers to menstrual blood as "moon blood" without noting that Germanic languages and traditions see the Moon as a male mythological figure.) This is unfortunate because it provides a shallower approach to the tradition as a whole.

A second problem occurs with the treatment of the Old Icelandic Rune Poem. The original sources include two sets of material not covered in this book. The first is a set of glosses in Latin (Aurum for Fe, Umbre for Ur, Saturnus for Thurs, etc). Often times, the investigation of these glosses provides important material for understanding the Runes. In some cases, this can be very interesting. For example As is glossed as "Jupiter" and Naudh is glossed as "opera" (meaning "work").

The second set of material omitted are the listings of leader titles alliterating with the stave name. Once again, these can be quite important to understanding the staves.

Additionally I think there is some merit to the criticism of the bibliography, which is robust in some areas, lacking in some parts, and way off in left field in others (a substantial number of contemporary fiction works by the author and others appear there).

My other complaints are mild and not really the author's fault. The pages are printed on off-white paper which is designed to make the book thicker than necessary. The font is made larger than necessary. There are white space issues with the first page. Really the book design looks like it was done either to make the book appear more substantial than it is, and the book design seems remarkably amateurish for a publisher like Weiser. The cover mentions the author's fictional works which are really unrelated to the current book. If you are a book design nerd, you won't be able to stand this book.

Overall:

I think this book is alright in its proper context. Certainly if someone wants to get into the Runes from a Wiccan background this book and "A Practical Guide to the Runes" by Lisa Peschal are good choices. However, it is not a serious textbook and is not meant to be. I would recommend it to some people but not others, hence a 3 star rating.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than most 9 April 2007
By S. Plowright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a well written compilation of the ideas of modern popular esoteric rune authors (Aswynn, Thorsson, Pennick, etc). It should not be taken as a book about historical pre-Christian rune use, but seeks to adapt more recently invented techniques and ideas into a religious setting based on Germanic mythology.

Seen in this light, the book is a useful reference of current popular rune usage. It will not appeal to the more re-creationist or academic rune students, but offers an abundance of examples of New-Age and ecclectic adaptations of the runes. Although it does go beyond the New-Age manuals by seeking to present these ideas in a "Northern Tradition" context, I would have liked to see more distinction made between modern and historical information.

Although this book is firmly in the "speculative" category, it does present some historical background, and is a cut above the New-Age fluff that dominates the majority of esoteric rune manuals.

Sweyn
The Rune Primer
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is "it" when it comes to the Runes 1 Feb 2007
By Robert D. Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you ever wanted to learn the runes, here's the first book you should pick up. If you already know about the runes and want to learn more, here's the next book that should be on your reading list.

Her coverage of the runes is more than adequate, she cites historical evidence and personal observations about the meanings of the runes, and also gives a straightforward, no nonesense summary of what other authors in the field have found about the runes. The exercises she provides are great, the historical background she gives is spot on, informative, and not dry and boring like many authors would have done. The idea of working the runes in pairs is unique to this book, as is the fact that she gives helpful section for both solitary study and group work.

As for the reviewer who claimed that theirs came very cheaply made, I don't find mine to be so. It has stayed together for three re-reads now, and shows no sign of falling apart, nor has it ever smelled.

The best. Period.
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