The book of runes commentary by ralph h. blum

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A Handbook for the Use of
An Ancient Oracle:
The Viking Runes
Tenth Anniversary Edition
Commentary by Ralph H. Blum
This book is lovingly dedicated to Margaret Mead

To lend courage to virtue and ardor to truth…
– Dr. Samuel Johnson


Acknowledgments 7
Preface 8
Introduction 12
1. The Oracle of the Self 19
2. The Emergence of the Runes 27
The Gift of Odin 31
3. Consulting the Oracle 37
Consulting the Runes 40
Appropriate Issues 41
Runic Override 42
Upright and Reversed Readings 43
Consulting Two Oracles 43
Making Your Own Runes 44
Lending Your Runes 45
4. Runemal: The Art of Rune Casting 47
Odin’s Rune 48
Three Rune Spread 50
Five Rune Spread 52
The Runic Cross 55
Three Lifetimes Spread 57
Rune Play 60
The Cycle of Initiation 62
Keeping a Rune Journal 65
Rule of Right Action 65
5. Runecraft: Three Ceremonial Spreads 68
Water Runes 68
Runes of Rectification 70
Runes of Comfort for the Bereaved 72
6. A Destiny Profile 75
7. Legacy of the Runes 88
8. Rune Interpretations 91
9. Theater of the Self 145
10. Afterword: Magic in the Present Tense 150
Selected Bibliography 152
Pronunciation Guide 156
The RuneWorks 158


For my introduction to the study of Oracles, I am indebted to Dr. Allan W. Anderson, formerly of the Department of Religious Studies, San Diego State University. Dr. Anderson taught a remarkable course entitled “The Oracular Tradition” in which he presented the 1 Ching as “the only systematic sacred text we possess.” His scholarship, his presentation of seminal concepts, and his creative influence encouraged

me to persevere in my study of “the finest art of all – the art of self-change.”
I am especially grateful to Murray Hope who, on a bleak and rainy English afternoon, in Redhill, Surrey, introduced me to the Runes as a contemporary Oracle.
My first attempts at writing this handbook for the use of the Runes as a personal Oracle included many additional pages of history, philology, and archeology (see The RuneCards, St. Martin’s Press). For support and encouragement in reducing the text to this more concise and manageable form, I gratefully thank my friend and editor, Bronwyn Jones.
Finally, my sincere appreciation to Tom Dunne, my editor at St. Martin’s Press, who has been unstintingly generous in encouraging me to introduce new insights and techniques into the original text.

The Runes as described here are healing, merciful Runes; they will do you no harm. Learn their language and let them speak to you. Play with the possibility that they can provide “a mirror for the magic of our Knowing Selves,” a means of communication with the knowledge of our subconscious minds.
Remember that you are consulting an Oracle rather than having your fortune told. An Oracle does not give you instruction as to what to do next, nor does it predict future events. An Oracle points your attention towards those hidden fears and motivations that will shape your future by their unfelt presence within each present moment. Once seen and recognized, these elements become absorbed into the realm of choice.

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The book of runes commentary by ralph h. blum