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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes
This little gem of a book measures 13cm x 10cm with 8 Chapters but contains therein, a wealth of useful information about the fuŽark runes that is aimed at the rune novice. It contrasts strongly against many other popular New Ageist themed rune works but in doing so, "The Rune Primer" is different because it dares to directly challenge the many false and deliberately...
Published on 7 Dec. 2006 by Rig Svenson

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but slightly negative
I was looking forward to receiving this book as I've been studying the Runes. It was an interesting read but sadly slightly negative as the author focuses on finding fault with those who are not true to the origins. It's each person to their own and I found the negative comments rather distracting. I will keep the book as a reference book as the information on the symbols...
Published 18 months ago by snooze


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes, 7 Dec. 2006
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
This little gem of a book measures 13cm x 10cm with 8 Chapters but contains therein, a wealth of useful information about the fuŽark runes that is aimed at the rune novice. It contrasts strongly against many other popular New Ageist themed rune works but in doing so, "The Rune Primer" is different because it dares to directly challenge the many false and deliberately created myths surrounding the very fabric and nature of the runes. Written by an intelligent heathen author and attested with researched information, the author voices his opinions in an objective fashion as he attempts to put the record straight on so much of the misinformation existing out there today on these enigmatic symbols.

If you are caught up in the confusing dogma surrounding the runes or have no idea just why so much postmodernist nonsense came about on ancient runes and runic matters, than this book is certainly a very good starting place to separate the wheat from the chaff. A lot of misinformed ideas are given about the fuŽark runes from various sources and those who propagate such nonsense are clearly identified. This newer edition contains 175 pages of printed material, that's 90 more pages than the author's original submission "Runic Primer".

Furthermore the author benchmarks 1970s as a transitional period when the runes found a renewed interest, a sort of postmodernist renaissance of all things considered magical and in particular divinatory tools, the runes falling into this category. Key figures cited by the author in this chronology of runic contributors stemming from the 70s are JRR Tolkien, Michael Howard, Ralph Blum and off course Edred Thorsson is known as Dr. Stephen Edred Flowers. Freya Aswynn and Kveldulf Gundarsson are also discussed. I knew both of them during the early 90s, Kveldulf briefly on two occasions and at a reconstructed Seidr session I took part in with him and therefore can verify that the author's subjective observations of these two Ring of Troth characters are indeed very accurate!

This revised edition has Three Rune Poems and the Runatal, original text and new translation with notes, the Gothic Alphabet plus useful websites and a more books for further studies list. In conclusion, allow me to quote a passage from stanza 27 of Voluspo also known as The Wise-Woman's Prophecy. Here the WÖlwa turns from her memories of the past to a statement of some of Othin's own secrets in his eternal search for knowledge (stanzas 27-29)

I know of the horn of Heimdall, hidden

Under the high-reaching holy tree;

On it there pours from Valfather's pledge

A mighty stream: would you know yet more?

Read this book and you will! A boon to any new student of runes and it does what it says on the title, "A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes".

My heartfelt congratulations therefore goes out to Sweyn Plowright and I highly recommend this book to all those who search for truth devoid of the glossy New Ageism so prevalent runes today!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recomended, 10 Nov. 2007
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
This is perhaps the best book anyone who is interested in the subject could buy as a starting point for further study. It sets the record straight about some of the fantasist nonsense that has abounded in most publications about the runes. It further sets you on your guard against accepting all that you subsequently hear and read.
The book is not overly long. There is no useless padding here. in fact you can read it in a few hours. However you can actually feel that you have learned something when you have finished.
My only criticism is the part of the book's `Myth Busting ` section in which author deals with the Metagenetic theory of Steve McNallen. In justifying his (the author's) stance against the `Folkish' elements of Asatru the author states that `' Although all of my known ancestors were fair blue eyed northern Europeans, each generation further back I find double the number of ancestors (2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparent, etc). You do not have to go too far back before the number of ancestors is so huge that some are certain to have been from different regions of the world''. This statement implies that the amount of individual ancestors as individual people doubles every generation. By that calculation each person would have 30 generations back a total greater than 10 billion individual ancestors (approximately 3.3 billion more than the current world population). This thinking is obviously wrong. Modern populations and peoples have sprung from relatively few people and if you believe the theory of some geneticists most 'Europeans' are descended from only seven males who lived around 40,000 years ago.
Putting aside that fault (that in essence comes from the need to make statements to suit modern multi-cultural sensibilities) I wish this was the first book on the subject I had read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Indispensable Introduction to the Runes, 23 Jun. 2009
By 
Christopher A. Smith (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
This excellent book, written by an author with long and extensive experience of esoteric runology, gives exactly what it promises: a sound, no-nonsense introduction to the Nordic runes. In the author's words: "It is intended as a starting point. Not a complete volume of everything, but a basic foundation from which anyone can begin their studies from an informed perspective."
Unlike some other writers, Sweyn Plowright does not make any unsubstantiated claims or indulge in unwarranted speculation regarding the interpretation of the runes. Everything in the book is based on primary sources (e.g. the Eddas and the Rune Poems) only. After a brief introduction and a chapter devoted to putting the runes in their historical and modern context, Plowright discusses the genuine, old sources with particular attention to the Old English, Old Norse and Old Icelandic Rune Poems. The translations of the Rune Poems deviate a little from some others that I have read; unfortunately, I do not have enough knowledge of Old English or Old Norse to judge which translations are more valid (learning these is high on my agenda!) He then goes on to describe the modern runic revival, dominant concepts in runology (ųrlög, wyrd and hamingja), esoteric interpretations of the runes, resources (including a discussion of popular authors, many of whom Plowright has met in person) and closes with a chapter on `myth busting'.
So thorough is the author in debunking modern myths or at least placing them in their proper context that the reader may come away feeling like he or she has been deluged with copious amounts of cold water. However, it is important then to read Plowright's closing words: "It may be tempting to seek an escape from an imperfect World, but it is far more noble and rewarding to face the real World, appreciate what we have, and see the wonder that is right in front of us."
My favourite quotation from the book: "His [List's] interpretations were largely based on the 18 riddles or spells mentioned in the Havamal.. [these] were unlikely to have referred to futhark runes. The word `rune' can also refer to a spell or mystery" - a point of view with which I completely agree.
This is not a book that will tell the beginner how to get started with rune magic or divination, but it is indispensable as a foundation for putting further studies in their proper context. I can thoroughly recommend it not only to aspiring rune magicians but also to experienced ones who may need to re-examine much of the `received wisdom'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best introduction to runes I've ever seen, 21 April 2015
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Having been interested in runes for some 30 years now, I was pleased to find that this little book is the most honest and factual book on the subject I have ever read outside of the sphere of academic publications. It is not a long book, for the simple reason that the author has decided to stick to the verifiable facts, and there really isn't a great deal of historical material to go on. If you're interested in the modern day "spiritual" applications of the runes, or in the speculative re-creation of what our ancestors might have done with them from the perspective of "living history", I don't think there's a better book on the market to give you a solid grasp of the essentials, and of what is factual and what is not (ie: 99% of what's been written about them). Some reviewers have disliked the authors criticism of some of the popular New Age/Neopagan authors, but these criticisms are absolutely valid, and need to be said. Although the book is short, there are plenty of links and references given which the reader can use for further investigation. The author does have a few prejudices of his own (eg: he clearly likes the idea of "rune magic", despite the scarcity of historical evidence for it), but in such cases, he clearly tells the reader that the matter is controversial, and that he's made a personal decision to come down on a particular side of the fence). Overall, if you're looking for the typical New Age/Neopagan fantasy type books on runes, you probably won't like this book much, but if you care about real history, I doubt you'll find a better introduction to the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful, 25 April 2012
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
This book is exactly what it promises itself to be: a down-to-Earth, no-nonsense approach to the runes. This book is a starting point intended to allow the student of the runes to make up their own mind and continue their studies in their own direction. The author makes no unsubstatiated claims and always states when there is no clear evidence or conflicting evidence. The chapters devoted to the pros and cons of several other prominent authors on the subject and the chapter on 'myth-busting' were particularly helpful in deciding my next point of study.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, 24 July 2012
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
This is pretty much the best book you can get on the subject of runes without going into fine detail.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but slightly negative, 19 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
I was looking forward to receiving this book as I've been studying the Runes. It was an interesting read but sadly slightly negative as the author focuses on finding fault with those who are not true to the origins. It's each person to their own and I found the negative comments rather distracting. I will keep the book as a reference book as the information on the symbols is helpful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, 28 Jan. 2014
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TriciaN (Carmarthen, UK) - See all my reviews
Not what I expected at all. Less a book on divination using runes, than a detailed examination of the origin of runes, and a fairly scathing attack on uninformed "New Age" interpretations. I would recommend this book before reading any with more fanciful ideas.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best beginners book on Runes, 18 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
This is by far the best book to buy if you are starting out studying the runes (or have become lost in the deluge of New Age confussion). The information is accurate and to the point giving the reader a firm basis in developing their own 'down to earth', path to rune study without the delusions of the New Age movement. Included are the Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon Rune Poems; information on the various FUTHARKS and FUTHORCS plus construction of Rune names, Soul Lore and Wyrd, the Gothic Alphabet and known historical uses. There are also discussions on the most popular authors of rune books, a book list for suggested study and a section on the truth behind most of the current misguided 'tales' concerning runes and their use. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great purchase, 16 Feb. 2009
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T. Smith "Aelfric" (Suffolk England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes (Paperback)
Good book and a great addition to the bookcase! very readable and accesible, a lovely book in the Author's no nonsense well researched presentation.
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The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes
The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes by Sweyn Plowright (Paperback - 12 Nov. 2006)
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