on 3 August 2006
MacLeod and Mee's 'Runic Amulets and Magic Objects' augurs a new era in our knowledge of the runes and how they were used in talismanic and amuletic magic: the author's analysis of rune amulets from Scandinavia, England and Europe is exciting and profound stuff, casting new light on the mysterious enigma of such formulaic runic 'charm-words' such as 'Alu' (which in their view has nothing to do with 'Ale'), 'Lathu', 'Laukaz' and so forth. They analyze runic amuletic inscriptions in the light of a proposed five-fold structure of composition evident in Runic talismans from the early period to the Middle Ages - fascinatingly they derive this talismanic five-part typology and other major elements of Nordic rune-sorcery to the North East region of Alpine Italy in the centuries BC and specifically to elliptic votive inscriptions made within the cult of Artemis Orthia, whose epithet was Raetia, 'divine mistress of words' - a cult whose archaic North Etruscan origins are probably those of the runes themselves, transmissions into the Germanic world from the Raetia sanctuaries of the Italic Alpine region. Really cutting-edge stuff which illumines our knowledge of the historical background immensely.
The chapters of this work deal in-depth with the various aspects of runic amuletic magic and Germanic talismanics, covering the calling upon gods, spirits and heroes, love, desire and fertility magic, protective martial and enabling magic, healing talismans and leech-craft, the extensive field of Christian rune-magic (despite the Galdrbok, an area much neglected in this age - almost forbidden in fact!), tombs, death and cursing magic - the runic formulae and inscriptions being examined in rich depth and detail which really expands one's knowledge of how the rune-magicians and rune-sorceresses of the old Northern world worked their arts and created these talismanic power-objects.
This is probably the best work I have read to date on the Runes and amuletic traditions in old Germanic Magic: (it's primarily written for an academic readership but the keen-eyed practitioner of Gealdor-orientated talismanic magic will be delighted by the many practical insights into traditional rune-work which can be gleaned from its pages.) But for anybody wanting an illuminating, refreshing and profound exploration of the employment of Runes in ancient amuletic magic in the Northlands, Mindy MacLeod and Bernard Mees have written a truly magnificent tome which can be very highly recommended indeed.