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A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Set of Runes

A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Set of RunesThere are those who want to learn how to read runes and may be considering collecting a set of their own. While it may seem difficult, learning the craft isn’t that hard but you will need to understand some aspects of it before you go out and buy your own set.

Runes are tiles or pieces with archaic European letters on them. The letters are used in divination. There are several types of rune systems, but the most well known is the Elder Futhark system that contains 24 symbols. This system quit being used in alphabetic language around the 8th century A.D. Other systems include the Younger Futhark, the Witch’s runes and Northumbrian runes.

The run letters have three levels of meaning. Each has a sound and each as a concrete object or action it represents. Then, each has a mystical meaning. When you cast runes, you activate intuition and gather information. Most who use the craft say that runes have a condensed meaning and each letter can speak volumes to those who know how to use them.

You can either buy or make your own rune set. There are advantages to both. Making your own gives you a chance to learn the symbols and painting the symbols can be relaxing and bring energy to your set. If you are a crafty person, you may find this a great way to express your creativity.

There are also many lovely sets you can buy. Finding a set you love is a good way to start off your journey into learning how to read runes. When you buy a rune set, it typically comes with a box or drawstring to keep them in and a list of basic instructions, which may make you feel more comfortable.

There are several materials that runes can be made from whether you choose to make them or buy them. That includes ceramic pieces, metals, stones, glass wood, gemstones and even bone or antlers. Each reportedly has different properties that are important to the reading of them and a set has to call to you for it to really hold any power when you use it.

Witches tend to like the bone runes, which are made from animal bones, but that may creep others out. Those sold commercially are typically made from water buffalo bone, which come from Asian dairy farms.

Deer antlers are another product used to make runes. Many feel this is close in power to bone and work well with those to feel connected to the energy of a stag.  Another choice is wood, particularly those of folklore like oak, elder and ash. Those with varnish or a sealant will keep the symbols protected, but you can also find them in natural wood that has a light beeswax coating.

Stones or precious gems make for beautiful runes. While many old-fashioned pagans believe runes must be in bone or wood, others believe the properties of crystals combined with the runic alphabet make them powerful. They are lovely and easy to work with and you can choose your set based on the properties of each stone. For instance, jasper elicits courage and amethyst brings out intuition.

Ceramic runes are popular with crafters who decide to make their own set. These tiles are either oven-baked or kiln-fired. Glass or pewter runes are more rare to find, even though they are manmade.

Many believe most anything can be made into a rune set as long as the craft is respected. Some believe the alphabet sanctifies what it touches, but others have limits on what could be used out of respect and say the craft shouldn’t be cheapened with cheap materials like plastic.

However, most who practice also believe money shouldn’t prevent anyone from studying the runes. Therefore, what you select for your personal rune set is a personal decision of your own conscious.

After you pick your material, you need to pick your size. They shouldn’t be too small because you want them to feel good in your hands and be easy to read. Most say a half-inch tile is too small for most people and urge those who are serious about them to go larger. Those experts in the craft do insist all the tiles should be about the same size and feel in case you use the “blind draw” method. Blind drawing is putting your hand in the rune bag and pulling out a tile.

After deciding on the size, you should decide the shape. They come as flat, round, or symmetrical. The shape depends on how your use them. If you want to lay them out in a grid, tile shaped is perfect. Drawing from a bag would make a round shape the right choice. However, round or symmetrical runes make it difficult to see when a rune is reversed. Some readers can read the reversed runes and want to know when they come up reversed. If this is something that matters to you, you will need to pick a shape where you can tell if its reversed.

It can be a little intimidating to pick your first rune set.  Don’t let that scare you. Pick a set you like and use them to learn. You can always pick another set later as your grown in your knowledge.

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