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on 4 March 2014
If you know nothing about runes but are curious about them then I can definitely recommend you start with this book. It gives you a brief but detailed history of the runes. Enough to whet your appetite but not overpowering. It goes into how to put the runes to a practical use but without giving you the 'definition' of each rune. It is explained so well in the book that you must put your own interpretation on each rune, rather than just "this means that, and that means this". The Norse Gods and the mythology surrounding them also gets a brief but concise mention. Whoever said this book was "fluffy" and "new-agey" definitely hadn't read through as it is written in a very practical manner, with sources and appendices to back up what has been said.

Whether an accomplished rune-caster or just someone who wants to learn more about them and the various ways in which you can use them then I would highly recommend this book. Definitely one of the best on runes that I have read.

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on 18 February 2010
I have always had an interest in the Runes and I bought this book because it was published by Avalonia and I usually enjoy their publications. This book by first time author Katie Gerrard was an excellent introduction to the Runes and one I strongly recommend to Pagans and Witches who want to learn how to work with the Runes. I find that many books on the Runes are either too simplistic, or to the contrary too academic and complicated. Odin's Gateways provide an excellent balance. Mindful that I am not an expert on the subject, I would say that this book, due to the passion, practical advice and research it combines, provide the ideal book for the beginner interested in exploring the Runes.

Magic is a practical subject and one which should be expressed in our daily lives. Odin's Gateways provide the reader with the tools and some well trodden pathways along which we can learn about the runes from someone who has a strong and natural passion for the subject. I like that the book is not too dense in pointless historical information, it provides what is necessary and instead focus on the practical of which there is plenty. I also loved the practical, almost shamanic journeys to meet Odin and through the Gateway of the Rune. Even though I have done and lead many such pathworkings in my life I still found that I got a great deal from actually doing the workings. Likewise the practical advice and ideas for working with each rune has provided me with a lot of food for thought.

This book is one which I will now have on my recommended readinglist for new coven members and will also be the first I will recommend to anyone expressing an interest in learning more about the Runes. Great work!
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on 18 February 2010
Over the past 17 years or so, I have read virtually every book on runes published in the English language. Each one has taught me something new, but with the exception of Kveldulf Gundarsson's Teutonic Magic, I didn't feel any of them stood alone as a single volume, easy to use, but still comprehensive book on the subject. Odin's Gateways is a fantastic book. It covers enough of the historical information on the runes should the reader wish to find out more - but not so much as to be too dry; it gives one of the best guides to shamanic journeying with the runes; it covers voice work and runic invocations in ways totally new to me; and it gives equal importance to the divinatory and non-divinatory magical uses of the runes. It also introduces Odin, the god of the runes, with a love and respect that can only come from someone who has a deep and profound relationship with Him.
After reading this book I have been inspired to go back to the runes and reacquaint myself with them, using the tools and techniques that Katie Gerrard suggests. Thank you for reminding me why I find the runes so inspiring, powerful and humbling.
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on 26 February 2010
As someone who does not know a great deal about the runes, I was very impressed with how approachable this book is compared to other's I have seen. Written in a clear concise and very readable style, the book packed (for me) just the right blend of facts, background history and information, useful tips like how to chant the runes, and interesting interpretations and verbal illustrations to bring a greater depth and richness of understanding to each rune. The history and use of the runes are described in general at the beginning of the book, followed by sections on each rune, which makes up the main body of the book. The sections on individual runes contain both a concise and rich introduction to the meaning of each rune, and ideas as to how they can be used in magic ('Galdr') and suggested meanings for personal divination as well as divination for others. The book contains a beautiful and easy to follow pathworking to meet Odin, and I really liked the section on meeting the runes, which helps the new user 'tune in' to the energy of each rune, and build an intuitive link to them - so important when doing divinatory work. Happily, the author has also thoughtfully included at the end of the book a list of suggested reading, so that the reader can move from this excellent introduction to books that will deepen their understanding of the runes, and the Norse culture they were a part of. All in all, a great read and very recommended for anyone wanting a good introduction to this fascinating divinatory system.
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on 31 January 2010
For many years I have been meaning to learn about the runes, but have never managed to get around to doing it. My interest in the subject was always fighting against the potentially off-putting side of the runes: the fact that the subject is so enormous. The runes are vastly more than a divinatory tool - they represent a broad spectrum of energy, sounds, spells and wisdom, which can be used in a great many ways. They provide a connection - certainly academically, possibly spiritually too - to our ancient Norse ancestors. Seeing how large the topic was, and finding a lot of the books on the subject impenetrable, I never managed to get very far with it.

This is why Odin's Gateways has been such an excellent discovery for me. Gerrard's book renders the process of learning about the runes, in their many forms, effortless and hugely pleasurable. Her enthusiasm and love for the subject, as well as her great knowledge, come across in every sentence, and her meaning is always clear and honest. She shares her personal experiences as well as presenting the views of others, and always makes the distinction clear between what she's learned from studying ancient texts and what she's gained from her personal practice. She is so passionate about the runes, and about teaching them to others, that the book is nearly unputdownable.

I'd recommend Odin's Gateways to anybody who's interested in picking up the runes - or developing their understanding more deeply. The book is both an excellent guide and a fascinating personal record.
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on 16 May 2011
Odin's Gateways is well researched and well written book. However I would class this as a basic grounding in the runes. You will find all the usual definitions and background along with a nice starter section on bindrunes and galdor, and the author pleasingly avoids the temptation to try to fit the runes into more 'tarot-style' divination techniques. Buy this book if you are a beginner or need a good honest foundation to your library. Then go and buy D. Jason Cooper's Esoteric Rune Magic which for my money is a much more useful read.
Esoteric Rune Magic: The Elder Futhark in Magic, Astral Projection and Spiritual Development (Llewellyn's World Magic)
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on 25 February 2010
I like this book very much and wish it had been available years ago when I first started exploring the runes and Norse mythology. It stresses that learning the runes is a personal journey, covers the necessary background and then moves on to journeying, galdr and spellcraft, divination and craftwork. The author's love of the subject and long and dedicated involvement is clear in every chapter. The reader is guided through a range of practices into finding for himself or herself what Odin and the runes have to teach, and this is one of the great strengths of the book. Those who already have a relationship with the runes may be led to find ways to widen and deepen it or give it new life.
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on 18 February 2010
This is, above all, a practical, hands-on guide for the complete beginner. After a brief introduction to the history of the Runes, the book explains each of the elder Futhark Runes in turn before moving on to practical advice on how to use them in galdr (magic) and casting (divination).
The author explains the Rune meanings with reference to the Old English Rune Poem and the Old Norse Rune Rhyme, but for some reason omits the Old Icelandic Rune Poem. There is a fairly compact `Bibliography and Suggested Reading' section at the end, with a clear distinction between primary and secondary sources, and the author refers to the relevant books with footnotes throughout. Unfortunately, she does not cite exact page references or even chapters.

Some of the interpretations of the Rune meanings stray pretty far from my own, but it has to be said that this is largely a matter of personal experience; the Rune poems themselves do allow a great degree of latitude in interpretation. The section that I liked least was the one on bindrunes, which contains some of the ugliest bindrunes I have ever seen.

There are also two definite errors in the book. On page 77, a supposed verse of the `Old Norse Rune Poem' is quoted for Wunjo; the verse is in fact simply an alternative translation of the verse from the Old English Rune Poem. (Wunjo does not feature in the Younger Futhark to which the Old Norse Rune Rhyme alludes.) On page 178, the text refers to Ansuz but the character depicted is Fehu.

On the positive side, there are some interesting layouts for divinatory casts and it is evident throughout that the author has considerable experience of using the system to practical effect. To my mind, this is preferable by far to amassing theoretical knowledge and then never using it!

In conclusion, `Odin's Gateways' is a decent book for the beginner that carries a positive tone and almost urges the reader to get cracking and actually make use of the Runes. Those seeking greater conceptual depth can find plenty to read elsewhere. I would urge the publisher to include an errata slip with the current edition and to amend the mistakes if a second edition is published.
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on 18 April 2015
Accessible, practical and interesting.
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on 29 January 2016
Excellent read.
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