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A Practical Guide to the Runes: Their Uses in Divination and Magick (Llewellyn's New Age) Paperback – 1 Jul 1989
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About the Author
Lisa Peschel is an artist, writer, and Wiccan.
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We first need to accept and understand there's two ends to the runic spectrum; Historical and Magical. Most writers and people will be somewhere between these two points, both believing runes have a magical property while having a correct historical origin and use. My big gripe with Peschel is that she is 100% purely magical. Runes have a history behind them, and Peschel does not touch in depth on history at all, barely covering the fact in the introduction. This then is not a "practical guide to the runes" but a "magical guide to the runes". Which is fair enough.
Personally I don't think she does a very good job of translating what the runes magical meanings are, having read from writers on both ends of the spectrum, it seems to me Peschel is trying to be another Ralph Blum. I read Ralph Blum as my first ever introduction to runes when I was a child, and now being an adult I'm more driven somewhere to the middle of the spectrum. Like Blum, Lisa tends to waffle on a lot about rune meanings in divination not giving any clear answers, in fact some rune's meanings sound suspiciously alike. At least Blum makes each rune have its own definite meaning, whereas Lisa manages to obscure the barriers between runes. Personally I think it's the fact she constantly references how a rune is affected by other runes, which is exactly the part we should interpret ourselves, and doing what she does it feels like she's putting words into our mouths.
Admittedly, Peschel does at least say that the runes will mean something personal to you and that you have to come to your own conclusion what they mean, and do lots of reading on the subject, which is a very nice excuse, but why she then managed to write a book on the subject is beyond me. The book seems suspiciously "matter of fact" on what the runes mean and how things should be done, which is surprising given that most in magical community seem to always go on about "there's no wrong way" to do or divine something.
If your looking to get children or young teens into the subject, this is perfect for them. It's a relatively simple read, nice and short, and easily read within a few sittings. Once you are however more familiar with runes, both their history and other writers points of view, then this book is a bit like a game manual to a professional video game player, it's cute and all but very obsolete.
If you were wondering where a good start to the subject of runes is, Ralph Blum's "The Book of Runes" would be better value for money than this, but you wouldn't be too far wrong with Peschel.
Oh and obviously if you're neopagan/ asatru / Esetreu then this, while it might amuse you, is not how to interpret the runes, you'll want to see books on the Futhorc/ Younger Futhark for that.
If you've bought your first runes there is no better accompaniment!
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