I have been asked alot recently about when and how I started practicing or learning about the runes. So I decided to write down my story, and share my experiences.
Once upon a time, I was 13 years old, and in the library at my highschool. While surfing the net, (I honestly have no idea what I was looking at before!) I stumbled upon a page about the runes. Immediately captivated by them, their use as a divinatory tool, and their potential use in healing and magic work, I printed off everything I could find.
Thank goodness it was free at school! After I went home that day, I made my very first set of runes out of old playing cards. I wrote the staves with a dip-pen and red ink with a drop or 2 of blood (fingers…Ouch!) and glued them to the cards. This impromptu set tided me over until later that summer, when I found a beautiful, freshly cut birch sapling in Northern Ontario while cottaging with friends. I knew this was the wood for my new set of runes! After reading about how to make my own set on Sunny’s Page, I was all set. Using a table-saw and a belt sander at a friend’s woodshop, I cut and sanded my runes, and took them home to carve. The carving took a while because I didn’t have the best tools on hand, but I got it done with a few more pokes of my fingers. Runes can be so thirsty sometimes. Using my menstrual blood this time was an easy choice for me because my fingers were so sore, and my cycle was in sync with my carving.
This was my set for many years. I continued to learn, mostly by meditating on each rune individually, and doing readings for friends. I stopped doing research for a while, and just sat with my runes, or put them under my pillow at night. I was gifted an antler, and cut that all up into runestaves, but didn’t have a sharp enough knife for carving, so I just had them in my rune box. (an old shoebox I had decorated to hold my books and rune sets.) This box went on many journeys with me. I ended up getting a tattoo of the Elder Futhark and my spirit guide, a black wolf. This was a special experience for me, and was a big deal to my 17 year old self. I dedicated my very body to the magic I wanted to do. I have always felt like a healer, and I wanted to use the runes as a tool to help me with the magic of healing I wanted to do for myself, the earth, and others.
A few years later, I met someone, and became pregnant. I decided to get married, go back to church, and “be the woman I was supposed to be”. I was raised in an Evangelical Baptist home, so the expectations were ingrained pretty deep. I thought, to make this relationship work, I had to let go of everything from my past. This included “Witchcraft” and by association, the Runes. I burned everything in my runebox. Everything. It was a sad night, watching all those things I had treasured go up in smoke and reduce to ashes. I thought at the time, I was doing myself a favour, cleansing myself of things that weren’t serving me.
After a year and a half, my marriage and my life completely fell apart. My husband and I separated, and I discovered shortly after that I was to be a mother again. I went back to stay with my parents in another city, and gathered myself. Shortly after, I moved in with my sister and her partner, and began exploring the runes again. I got my second and third tattoos that year, on my feet. Vegvisir, to guide me and keep my on my true path, and Aegishjalmur to protect me, and remind me to stand strong.
I made my second-first set of runes from wood I recieved just before my daughter’s birth. I was gifted some beautiful hazel wood while on a weekend retreat for Plant Spirit Communication. The wood was gifted to me by a dear friend from her family’s land. These runes were blooded with the birthblood of both my children. It was a beautiful experience to bless these runes with such sacred life-blood. They sang. Anyone who saw them or touched them mentioned how nice they felt, how they could feel the power, the energy of these runes.
Since then I have made myself a healing wand, and begun making sets for others who don’t know how, don’t have access to the tools or time, or just want to support my work. I also passed a big milestone this past fall. I have now walked a full turn of the year holding my own sacred fire celebrations. That was a big one for me. I was so thrilled to be able to hold the space for people to come and share in the Old Ways and learn about the festivals, share food, and the warmth of a sacred fire.
Many Blessings, and thank you for joining me on my journey.
ALU : ULA