Runes are the individual elements, or letters, which were use to create ancient alphabets in centuries long past. The three most popular and most widely-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark, the Younger Futhark and the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. Representations of these runic alphabets have been discovered in various locations around Europe containing a glimpse into the history of the time period in which they were carved: standing stones, buckle, scabbard, arm rings, rune stick talisman, amulets, knives, rune stones, rings, etc. Many works of art and antiquity have been discovered with markings of a single rune, ligatures of multiple runes, even entire stories and poems written in runic. When translated these have often been found referring to gods, naming the items they were inscribed upon, depicting familial relations, recording sites of burials, several recordings of poetry in these runic alphabets, from ancient times preserved for the future and even ancient spells.
Though each ancient runic language has its own inherent power, the Elder Futhark Runes are the most commonly used set of runes in modern magick. They are excellent tools for various uses as each witch determines to use them. The runes may be used in the physical sense by writing, carving, painting, casting as jewelry, etc. or used as a mental sign or sigil, signed into the air, with the power of the rune visualized by the witch and “sent” to a location determined by the witch signing it for magickal purpose according to their needs. All are old practices used for centuries and still in use today by many magick practicing peoples of multiple paths.
In modern magick, runes may be used to inscribe magickal names or words of power, used as sets of runes with specific intent to combine their power during a spell, or even as a single rune used in conjunction with other items, and incorporated into a simple spell.
Runes can be carved into various types of tools to provide that tool with the power contained within the rune(s) or name or word formed of the runes. Witches may carve the runes into wooden tools, such as a wand, staff, stang, or even wooden altars to add a layer of power provided by the chosen rune(s). Some witches will even carve runes into larger pieces of wood to target a specific effect or power, then, the wood is later burned after doing their spellwork. The power focused into the wood during the runes’ creation is held and built upon during the spell, itself, but once the spell is completed and fire set to the wood, the power of the runes combined with the power in the spellwork within the wood is released.
Working with an individual, or a set of runes inscribed into a chosen candle to access the power of the specific runes used within spell work is another extremely popular way of using runes in modern magick. Using a single rune in a love spell, a group of runes to target healing, inscribing magickal names or working with power words using the individual runes themselves, it all comes down to how the individual witch decides to use runes in their spell work..
Whether a witch is carving runes into a specific tool, a candle, adding runes to written spells, using a runes as a mark of protection, creating a talisman that includes the use of a special rune, writing a entire spell in runic, wearing a favorite rune inscribed on an amulet for its magickal purpose, using runes for divination, or carving a certain rune into a piece of food as a spell and eating it, runes are more popular with modern witches than ever.
Much like the tarot, there are positive and negative meanings behind each rune, so be very careful when drawing your runes out in spells, on altars, etc. to insure that you are using them properly. For example reversing “eihwaz” to face the wrong direction so that it appears more as a “z” instead of an “s” can wreak havoc in your magickal defense workings. Above all, read and learn before you practice any magick at all, with or without runes!
In divination, runes may be individually pulled from a bag, set in place in a specific layout, and “read” to determine the answer to a specific question, much in the way tarot cards are used to divine an answer. Rune may also be “cast” via the reader of the rune reaching into the bag, taking a handful of runes and “casting” them across a cloth, then reading the resulting “lie” of the runes to deduce the answer to the question sought. As with tarot, be careful to read the runes as they lay, do no adjust them to correct position, as the lie of the rune tells you so much or when read properly.
One crucial thing to remember when using Elder Futhark, Younger Futhark and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, is that these are very ancient and powerful tools in their own right. When used for divination and magick spells; they should be respected. However, always remember that until you have consecrated the runes and charged them to their individual use, there are merely pretty drawings, just like any other magickal tool, such as glyphs, tarot cards, sigils, etc. it is the intent that is put into the runes which charges them and, in effect, primes them for use.
As with any other types of purchases, or any time you use found material t create magickal tools, be certain to cleanse all items and then charge them on your own. Don’t take a chance on someone elses’ energy disrupting your magickal workings!