Crafting Runes

It’s been a difficult year – my elderly mother went suddenly downhill with Alzheimer’s last summer and now lives with me as she’s no longer able to look after herself. This, obviously, puts quite a crimp in my work, as she now needs supervision 24/7 and can’t so much as make herself a cup of tea!

Finally, however, I’ve found the time to craft again – not a drum, but a couple of sets of runes, for a change.

The first one I did this afternoon and it’s Anglo-Saxon Runes, painted in gold acrylic paste on green glass pebbles. These are ideal for runes, as they carry no inherent energy of their own as living substances such as wood or crystals do. There’s nothing wrong with using wood or crystals to make runes, mind you – you just have to negotiate with your materials beforehand and make sure they’re up for the job! Glass, being melted sand, has no such complications.


There’s also a great advantage in using acrylic paint – it is quick to dry! Painted at 1pm, ready to enliven with the energies of their individual runes by 2pm – just time to have lunch between the two jobs.

The Anglo-Saxon runes as I use them have 33 runes to the set – this is fairly standard, though historically there were anything from 29 to 33 runes in use during the period (approximately 5th Century AD to 11th Century AD). I like using the nine ‘extra’ runes of the Futhorc  (named for the first six letters of the set) for two reasons – one is it gives more flexibility in readings and crafting bind runes, and the other is that to me – as to some other Northern Tradition shamans – eight of them seem associated with older, darker forces than the 24 runes of the Futharc and the ninth seems to be representative of the World Tree, Yggdrasil with an additional association with Odin, the quintessential shaman-king.

This evening I felt drawn to craft a second set of runes – this time the Elder Futhark, just 24 runes long, and done in silver acrylic paint on black tumblestones – very dramatic! It’s always a pleasant challenge to select the appropriate stone for the shape of the rune – long thin ones for the long thin runes, and wider ones for broader runes. They’re still drying, sitting on a sheet of paper in a quiet corner; I’ll enliven them tomorrow morning.

Elder Futhark
Silver acrylic paint on black tumblestones

I’ll take another photo in better light tomorrow when I enliven the set ready for use.

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