Making and caring for your runes…..
If you want to get to know the runes, it is vital that you create your own runes set, rather than buying one ready made. This takes time and energy, but it gives you a much more intimate relationship with the runes. The two materials from which runes are commonly made are wood and stone, although other materials, such as crystals, glass beads or clay, can also be used.
The three favoured types of wood for rune-making are ash (the World Tree), yew (the rune Eoh) and birch (the rune Beorc), as they have direct connections to the runes.
However, wood from the following trees can also be used for fashioning magical tools and they are listed here with their principle symbology:
Rowan: a protective tree
Willow: a tree very strongly connected with the moon
Oak: symbolic of strength
Hazel: much favoured by diviners
Blackthorn: masculine symbol of spiritual authority
Apple: linked to love
Hawthorn: blackthorn’s protective sister tree.
Wherever you go in the world, there are always stones to be found. Some of the best stones for rune-making can be found on beaches and in stream beds, where they have been worn smooth by the water.
The Nordic and Celtic people believed that every stone has a spirit within it which needs to be honoured if it is to work well for you, so it is important to leave a small offering at any place where you take something from creation. The traditional offering is sea salt, as it is said to be formed by the fusion of the four primal elements — earth, air, fire and water. Alternative offerings include tobacco (which is sacred to the Native Americans), corn (which is sacred throughout the Old World) and coloured ribbon.
Making Runes from Wood
You will need to cut a branch from a living tree to make your rune set.This may be a tree that has special significance to you, perhaps growing in a wood or garden that holds particular memories. Before cutting any wood from the tree, ask its permission for your act, and leave a small offering in exchange. Select a branch that is about 2-5cm/3/4-2in thick. You will need a fairly straight, even length of about 30cm/ I2in.
1 Ask permission from the tree placing your hands on its trunk and saying a short prayer.
2 Sprinkle an offering of sea salt at the base of the tree to honour it before cutting off a small branch.
3 Using a handsaw, carefully cut the branch into slices for the 24 runes, about 5mm-1 cm/1/4 – 1/2in thick.
4 Using a poker, a pyrography tool or a soldering iron, carefully burn one runic inscription into each rune.
5 When you have rubbed in a little natural beeswax to protect the wood, your runes are ready to be cleansed.
Cleansing your Runes
When you have finished making your set of runes, it is important to cleanse them spiritually.This can be done in a variety of ways: they can be laid out in the light of a full moon for a night, or you can waft smoking herbs over them (this process is called “smudging“). However, the simplest method of cleansing them is to use naturally flowing water from a well, spring or stream. Do not use tap water as it is full of additional chemicals that are bad for everything, including humans!
As you work with your runes, especially if you do a lot of readings for others, you will need to cleanse them regularly.You may also want to perform. an annual re-empowering ceremony. After a while, as you get to know your runes better, they will let you know when they need cleansing: they will start to feel uncomfortable to hold. If this happens, simply re-cleanse them. If your runes have been locked away for any period of time, you will need to re-energize them with the energies of the sun and moon by laying them outside for 24 hours.
Care of your Runes
Runes can be powerful and helpful allies provided that you treat them with the care and respect they deserve. Remember that when you have cleansed and empowered your runes, they will be imbued with your own unique energy and they should never be lent to anyone else for them to use.This does not mean that other people should never touch your runes at all; on the contrary, it is sometimes essential for someone else to touch them, especially if you are giving them a reading and you need them to focus on the runes. But no one else should work with your runes on their own behalf.
To store your runes you will need a bag, which you can make from a piece of natural, unbleached fabric. You can select runes by drawing them one at a time out of the bag. You will also need a piece of natural-coloured fabric to make a casting cloth on which to lay the runes whenever you use them.
Empowering your Runes
Once you have cleansed your runes, you need to empower them.This can be done in a variety of ways. Some rune-masters lay their runes out in the midday summer sun, while others bury them in the earth for nine days. Here, the power of the four elements has been used to empower the runes.
1 Place the runes on a casting cloth and sprinkle them with sea salt to empower the runes with earth.
2 Pass each rune through incense smoke while asking the element of air to – empower the runes.
3 Then pass each rune individually through a candle flame to empower the runes with fire.
4 For the final stage, sprinkle a few drops of spring water over the runes to empower them with water.