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on 30 August 2017
Bought this for my daughter. (I've had my own copy for years!). Good down-to earth, common sense guide to the runes. Not fluffy. Love it, and refer to it every now and then, even after 15 years.
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on 20 November 2015
I purchased this for research purposes. Firstly, I've never been a fan of Freya Aswynn as she has been terribly unpleasant to some friends of mine in the past. It's interesting to note that in the introduction she does speak negatively about people in her life, and although she doesn't mention names, I think it says alot about an author if they are happy to air their disagreements with individuals in a published book, not to mention the fact that if you know her or the people she has had a disagreement with, you will know perfectly well exactly who she is referring to! It's a bit like putting a (not so) thinly veiled post on facebook. Anyway, as with any story like that, there are two sides and it's a shame because I wasn't expecting it and personally it sets a peculiar tone and nasty taste to the book. However, most readers are unlikely to be connected to those matters and it will be irrelevant to them. I felt the book worth reading as she has worked with the runes for so many years I am sure has a very close connection with Odin, I didn't feel my research of the runes would be complete without reading it. It's a fair book, and I appreciate her woman's perspective on things, although she misses the mark in a few places. It is clear she has worked deeply with the runes for a number of years. She doesn't always quote every source she uses, and many things she includes are wiccan with norse paganism or runes overlaid. I wouldn't refer to this as a key text, and its certainly not the best book out there on northern mysteries but Aswynn has some interesting perspectives. If you are wiccan interested in runes or norse magic you will certainly be able to connect to this book.
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on 7 September 2013
I bought this book as it was recommended as a beginner's book on the Runes.
I was expecting great things from this book, from the fact that it was recommended on multiple sites to the blurb on the back cover.
So I eagerly sat down to read, take notes etc.
However this is one of the handful of books that I refuse to finish.
My main problem with this book is it is written with a very Wiccanish style, which is great if you are one, but I am a Heathen.
I don't need to look at the runes through a ceremonial magic view, I would prefer a Northern one(Which is promised by the title).
Aswynn doesn't differentiate between genuine norse belief and her New Agey-Wiccany belief.

Secondly this book is written with a very feminist viewpoint which is completely unnecessary for this kind of text.
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on 7 June 2011
Well, my opinion is that the author did a good job in refreshing the northern tradition with her own UPG-insights. Yes, this isn't a book for strict Recons ( the lore and nothing but the lore-type).
So, instead of criticising for her poor scolarship, we should honour her for the fresh insights that so many (male) authors seem to lack.

Foremost, we should consider that there was no official Northern Tradition and that there were many opinions and ways to honour the gods and nature forces. Women had their place in the tradition and were as important than men were in the tradition.
Freya Aswynn does reclaim the part of Women but in no way is this a men-hostile feminist book.

Although,I'm in favour of the book, I'm a bit annoyed by the many references to Aleister Crowley. That figure has nothing to do with the northern tradition and shouldn't be mentioned here. Also the Year festivals could be named by their Germanic name and not their Wiccan/Celtic name Maybe that's the reason why so many criticise the author for the Wiccan/ceremonial influences.

But if you ignore these facts, this book is really a usefull asset for your library.
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on 27 June 2015
I was slightly put of by some of the negative feedback on the book being rather Wiccan. But I did buy the Book, and I love it. I felt it gave a different insight to the runes, I learnt a few snippets that I will definitely put into my practice. The only Wiccan approach I can really point out, is that there is a Wheel of the Year inside, with 3 runes appointed to the 8 festivals, I don't personally see anything wrong with that, I'm not Wiccan by nature and Don't follow the Wheel of the year, but for some people that have a fondness for the runes and would like to incorporate them into their more modern practice then It's a nice little touch. There is also a correspondence chart inside that gives the runes a God/Dess, element, Colour. Which again is not very Norse, but it's a nice Modern touch. And I think if we are keeping our Ancestors Knowledge alive then all is good.
Worth buying.
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on 23 September 2003
The problem with this book is that Aswynn's approach is one of a ceremonial magician/occultist with a heavy Wiccan influence. If you don't know anything about ceremonial magic you could end up with the impression that this is truly a book about Norse beliefs and Runes when it isn't. Aswynn does point out that she approaches from that angle but doesn't differentiate what parts of her book are truly Norse and which are ceremonial magic or wiccan ideas. If you know enough to separate the two then you probably don't need this book in the first place!
It's probably okay for Wiccans who want to look at the runes but not set foot outside their own heads. It isn't any good if you want genuine Norse lore or a really good look at the runes because of the way it is presented.
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on 18 October 2009
A well know 'Volva' within Asatru/Heathen communities, the author (who was originaly a member of the Odinic Rite before moving onto the Ring of Troth) could have written a book expressing her knowledge within Asatru/Heathenism, has instead written a book that is sadly more in line with modern Wicca than anything traditionaly Asatru/Heathen. Lots of highly specultive material (these being mostly her own original ideas)on a New Age bent. The academic side seems poor and there is a strong feminist theme running throughout. Considering the Asatru/Heathen lore the author was privy too, this seems a sadly poor effort. If you want to view the runes on a modern Wiccan theme, then this is the best book for you, otherwise not recommended.
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on 6 September 2016
This is an amazing book on Runes, from an Author who is well known for her knowledge and expertise with the Runes. There is an amazing section on a new Runic Divination tool which Freya designed herself, very good.
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on 19 September 2003
Contrary to the blurb on the cover, this book isn't particularly Northern or Norse. Aswynn, who to be fair is honest about her approach and background, tackles the runes from the perspective of a Ceremonial Magician rather than a Germanic runeworker. If you are Wiccan or a ceremonial magician you will recognise a lot of the framework.
If you want a book purely on runes and germanic beliefs this isn't helpful. There is a lot of clutter from ceremonial magic, wicca and general psychology (Jung), occultism and New Age theories that have nothing to do with the Runes or Northern religion. Probably about a tenth (if that) of this book would be useful to you. By the time you've weeded out the dross you'll wonder why you bought it. Also, if you are capable of weeding out the dross, you obviously don't need this book in the first place because you know what you are doing.
It gets two stars because Aswynn tries to be honest about her approach and at least looked at the Rune Poems.
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on 7 July 2016
Freya Aswynn is very very knowledgable. A must have book for anyone studying the Runes.
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