My group sometimes partners with a local coven, and for a few years many of us have been gathering once a month for a special study group. We started with Chris Penczak and his “Inner Temple of Witchcraft” series. But after two Penczak books, we knew we needed a break.
A member of the group suggested Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn. One of the first books I had read about Northern Paganism was Leaves of Yggdrasil, an earlier edition of Aswynn’s book. I had enjoyed it at the time, but promptly moved onto something else and then totally forgot everything I read. (This tends to be how I function, unfortunately…)
A few years ago I decided to read everything I had about my Northern ancestors (I come from both Swedish and German ancestry, among others). In college I had taken a class on Northern Myths and Legends, but I was finally ready for more. So for about ten months I read books about mythology, folklore, epics, Eddas, magic, Asatru, runes, and anything else I had in my library. My intention was to transition into contemporary Germany, the Arthurian cycle, and Druidry, but I never made it that far. I had finally just reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore, and I started graduate school shortly after, so my reading habits once again took a dramatic shift in focus.
Over the years I’ve picked up a few sets of runes, tried to make my own, made rune sets for others, studied a few books, played with them a bit, and even taught a rune workshop. But I’m not a rune master by any means, and the Cosmology and function of runes is still pretty foreign to me. I mean, I understand all of the theory behind the runes, but when it comes to actually using them and reading them and understanding them on an intuitive level? I’m still lost.
A good friend of mine has shared a similar opinion of the runes, talking about a rune workshop she went to and how frustrating it was to her. But she said that at the end of the workshop, they all dropped into a meditative state and the runes were chanted by one of the workshop facilitators. She said that’s when she finally realized and understood how powerful the runes could be. (Though, like the rest of us in the study group, she keeps on saying “It’s all Greek to me!”)
So, like I did when I did my intensive Northern study, I try to draw one rune before bed. I make notes in a journal. I read the books. I make notes in the margins. I write runes on my hands and on my desk. I try to remember them and recall them. I try to chant them, or at least recite them. And sometimes, just sometimes, connections are made. I have dreams about them, or I randomly remember something. I’m pleased to report that their names and shapes aren’t as hard for me to recall as they once were, but still, runes are a challenge for me.
But out of respect for my Northern ancestors, out of comradery of my study group, and a few other reasons that I won’t share here, I’ll keep on studying the runes and hopefully, one day, the runes won’t be Greek to me.