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Bookversary: Living Runes

Affiliate Advertising Disclosure

Today is the three year anniversary of the release of Living Runes: Theory & Practice of Norse Divination.

Living Runes provides a thorough examination of the Norse runes that will challenge the experienced rune worker to deepen his or her understanding of these mysteries.

The book begins with an explication of the story of Odin, the Norse god who won the runes by sacrificing himself on the World Tree. It continues by examining each of the individual runes in turn, both the Elder Futhark and the lesser-known Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. Each rune is studied not only from a historical viewpoint but also from the perspective of a modern practitioner. You will be introduced to the practice of galdr as well as the magical use of the runes and the proper way to sacrifice to them and read them for divination.

Most importantly, the book specifically addresses the runes as living spirits and provides guidance on developing a working relationship with these otherworldly allies.

Living Runes: Theory and Practice of Norse Divination is a re-release of Runes: Theory and Practice. Please note there is NO new content.

Not in your library yet? Increase your book hoard by purchasing it from amazon, via bookshop in support of independent booksellers, or direct from the publisher RedWheelWeiser.

Rune Working Notes: Thurisaz

Friday August 20, 2021

Tonight I was teaching my assistant how to work with thurisaz. She is slowly working through the runes again, this time really drilling down into each one. We did things a little differently than we usually do, and I think this is the way we shall go into these rune sessions from here on out. 

We began with our household evening prayers. I lit a candle and sang a fire blessing song that calls on Thor to hallow the space. Then I verbally prayed to Thor, Heimdallr, and all our ancestors to protect us as we prayed. Prior to going into prayer space, we’d been discussing a client who is suffering deeply physically, mentally, and emotionally (yes, I have recommended therapy. She’s being treated on a three-fold front: medical, therapeutic, and spiritual). Her ancestral presence, i.e. the presence of her ancestors was strong and through their guidance, I realized there was an element of spiritual attack happening with her too. Often illness and depression will attract bottom feeding spirits that like to revel in the negative crap. Add to that the fact that this person has a deep and rich prayer and spiritual practice and that can sometimes attract more focused evil spirits too – anything to distract us from the holy and fill our souls with despair. I had been praying about her a lot because she is suffering so, and is floundering, and this was a piece I had not considered but which fit precisely with how these things work. I should have seen it sooner. Anyway…this becomes relevant when we get to the rune calling because I needed a reason to call a rune. I didn’t want to just waste its time.

Before that, we did our regular household prayers and it was lovely. Afterwards, instead of closing with Sigdrifa’s Prayer as is our wont, we left the space open and decided to transition into discussing the rune. Thurisaz is one of my favorite runic allies but his energy can be very, very kinetic and if, like my student, one hasn’t engaged with him before, it can be overwhelming. I figured staying in sacred space would help her feel at ease and also help ground out some of the awesome kinetic force of this rune. 

I decided to give a demonstration of actually galdring thurisaz. I really like him and I knew my student was nervous. Thurisaz does have a reputation for being brutal and difficult. He’s actually quite cheerful, very focused, and completely, gleefully bloodthirsty. I grounded and centered myself (with galdr in general and thurisaz in particular, one must be much, much more grounded and centered than for one’s day to day activities. It’s just a lot more force and power pouring through one’s channels), then, since I hadn’t offered to the runes in awhile, I took a lancet and drew blood and made my offering (and received, totally unexpectedly, some really amazing new tech in return (1)). All the while I was prepping and doing this, I was explaining to the rune what I wanted. (In this case, I wanted it to drive away some of the bottom feeding spirits from my client, so she would no longer be harassed on that level). He came strongly, so incredibly present, and before I began to galdr, had eagerly agreed and gone (he and I have worked together a long time and this particular spirit is one of my best allies). I think the speed with which he came and went shocked my student. 

Because I still needed to demo galdr for her, I asked him to let some of his army of spirits linger and began to galdr. He game as an eagle with razor sharp beak, bloody talons, soaring over a high walled city looking for enemy prey. He came as a siege engine, a flight of arrows, a sleek, searingly sharp spear, weapons beyond number, a laser scalpel, a raucous laugh. At one point, I saw the ancestors gathered around – mine and my client’s – and thurisaz flew into their hands, and they each raised him up a hatchet in their hands and soared forth to conquer their foes. 

He was cold and focused, kinetic and gleeful. The sharp focus surprised my student. She’d thought thurisaz was all about out-of-control energy (partly because of the kinetic presence he brings). He’s not. He’s very, very focused. He can help the mind to focus too. He’s about focus and focused will. He spoke, in response to the healing my client requires, about the importance of good fathers. He said that when a father is absent nor hurtful – for whatever reason—it is like the wall of a city under siege has fallen and damage will happen to the child’s hamingja, to their maegen, to other parts of their soul. The mother protects too and between the two of them it is an interlocking set of protective wards around the children, the home, and all that creates. It is crucial (and around the parents are the grandparents, the extended family) and it is from these units a community is made. When one-part falls, someone must step in or that wall will be breached even more. He can heal some of this damage, but when a father is absent there is always damage on a soul deep level. I never expected a lesson on the importance of family from this rune. 

My student wrote down what thurisaz said about it and allowed me to share it here, “A good father is a ward and a shield for the entire family and the mother is within that shield, they are concentric circles.  When the father for whatever reason is absent, it is as if the walls of the city have fallen down.” 

Because my student is more focused on healing work than protective work, thurisaz spoke to her of his ability to heal blockages, to root out disease, of how he can work with uruz to restore proper flow of life energy (litr). 

It was a long session. At the end, I thanked all the Gods and spirits who had been called, thanked thurisaz, and prayed Sigdrifa’s Prayer. Then I realized that the rune had been in me strongly enough that had it been a Deity, I’d have called it Deity possession. This confirms something that I have long considered, namely that with a good galdr-master, there is a union of rune spirit and rune worker that is very similar to Deity possession. I was ravenous and thankfully had organic hamburgers at hand. I cooked up a passel of them and scarfed down two almost immediately. 

The rune terrified my poor cat when he arrived (though he was quite cheerful and wouldn’t have hurt her). His presence was just so strong. Poor Elena ran upstairs and hid under a bag that holds part of my husband’s portable Dionysos shrine. She fled to Dionysos! Don’t worry, she got lots of yummy treats afterwards and is now snoozing happily in her cat tree with a full little belly. 


  1. As a rune worker, I long ago realized that runes require feeding. A relationship is established by giving a drop or two of one’s own blood to begin. This is an identifier, a link to one’s entire ancestral line. It is life and power. I use alcohol wipes, diabetic lancets and maintain proper sterile standards. 

Seeing Sound

This is amazing. You can see sound. I’ve been seeing articles lately about the potential healing power of sound to actually repair DNA, not from crackpot magazines, but from medical researchers and I believe it. This has huge import for me as a galdr-master, even if I have no call to healing. Also, this is just really, really cool. It made me cry. You can see the elements dancing.

This is so incredibly cool: