Runes, Ritual and Belief

The other day, one of my readers asked the question: 

“In a world where time is so precious, what are concrete reasons that I should spend it learning the runes?”

I thought this was a very sharp and valuable question, and decided to answer at length. 

The inquiry is a fair one- in a world where thousands of things are vying for our time and attention, and time is such a finite and priceless thing, why should we trade it to study some ancient system of sound and symbolism? 

My personal reasons are many, but because the question was pointed, clear and brief, I will do my best to reciprocate in kind. 

 

To Know What Came Before You

Learning how our ancestors thought about the world, its creation, and their place and narrative within it is perhaps one of the most direct ways we can understand them on the deepest level. 

To know a mythology is to understand what is important to a people. Their dreams, their stories told to their own children around the fire, the way they understood time, death, and what made for a good life. 

What they felt was important to pursue, and what they thought valuable enough to have its own “rune,” all are tracks in the snow of the ages that we can follow in order to deepen our own narrative, to connect to the eternal. 

When I have a son, I will want him to know who I was – if I am gone by the time he is grown, the clearest way for him to do this is to study the writing and the ideas I have left behind. 

As the son of the fathers who have gone into the earth before me, I consider it my duty and my honor to look over what they have left for me, and to know them by their signs. 

 

To Know What Is Within You

Knowledge is power, and self-knowledge is perhaps the ultimate kind. 

Most humans will never follow the threads of their own weave to the source, studying their wyrd, their tangled web of cause and effect, all the inner workings that make them who they are – both for better and worse. 

For many, this is because they have nowhere to begin, no first steps illuminated for them to take on this path of discovery and becoming. 

They are confused by a suffocating amount of options on meditation, “self-improvement,” or “actualization,” and the marketplace is filled with trends and the shattered customs of a thousand different races and cultures. 

Simplify. 

Take a breath, and choose a single path, a single thread…a single rune. 

The Elder Futhark is many things: alphabet, pictographic map of the mythic landscape, meditation tool, system for self-mastery. 

But its simplest use is simplicity itself. 

It breaks down massive ideas into seemingly small ones, allowing the individual to begin somewhere manageable, and to grow from there, as the runes themselves grow with him, via time and experience. 

The Elder Futhark is an organism that grows like a tree alongside the individual experiencing it, at their own pace. 

It will help lead you to understanding who you are, and from there, to becoming who you wish to be. 

 

To Develop A Discipline

Books and gurus abound, all claiming the best method for improving oneself. 

Perhaps they have some magic pill…but for myself, I’ve found nothing that improves the self as much as developing discipline through consistent practice and habit over time. 

Working with the runes is a scalable practice that allows one to stop wondering “what way should I go,” and to immediately begin something tangible and valuable, to center their mind around concepts that both enlighten and empower. 

Choosing to take up the runes and use them as a daily form of meditation, journaling, and self-counsel is something that can be started immediately, without any tools beside the runes themselves. 

From this small seed of framework and ritualized practice, a fertile environment is created for others, and in this way, the individual sets himself on a path toward real strength. 

 

To Set Our Coordinates

“Our souls are dyed the color of our thoughts.”

The mind, unharnessed, is an untrustworthy steed – it goes where it will, and it takes us along with it, often to places dangerous and undesirable, harmful and pattern-making, and where it wanders it has a propensity to return. 

The mind must be trained, like a warhorse, in order to obey our rulership and to go where we instruct, and there only. 

This horse can only go to locations we guide it through, and then it can return to those places more and more easily as the pathway becomes known to it, and it can take us back to our fortresses and friendly terrains even without our commands, because we have trained it so. 

These pathways are within the mind and the spirit, and the runes can act as lights that illuminate tracks that were hidden to us. 

What we think about regularly becomes who we are – we can only go where we are constantly looking. 

The runes are mighty ideas, and thinking of them, considering them, aligning oneself with them like the constellations that rule over the endless plains of the within allows the individual to wander widely and never become lost. 

They are brightly burning stars that will never break faith, and gazing at them long and often will keep us on the Path. 

 

Because Magic Is Real

I avoid using this word “magic” as often as I can, but there is really no better alternative for referring to the unseen ecosystem of spirit, will and action, and the interplay between them that is trainable, like the musculature of the physical body.

It is magical, truly. 

The will is, like the vascular system, or the brain, something that must be fed and exercised in order to become stronger and be capable of greater and greater feats that would have broken our resolve when we were weaker men. 

The “magical system,” like the circulatory system, can be exercised through different methods, but the most important ones are ritual and belief. 

Ritual is an act of sacred symbolism performed regularly. 

They are an ever-occurring facet of all human society and organization, and are always present in the lives of the most powerful of individuals. 

They are varied and wildly diverse in appearance, but ritualized acts- those things we perform daily, without fail, observed with a religious fervor, are what make us who we are. 

This is easily seen in positive and negative light – those observances that we perform with the most regularity will shape both our physical bodies and our spirits in their image. 

Belief is confidence, and courage, and faith in who we are, what we are doing, in what connects us to this existence, and for what we are existing…it is our unshakeable drive to become something greater, something legendary. 

Ritual creates belief. 

What we tell ourselves the most often becomes what we know to be true. 

Utilizing the runes in a ritualistic fashion to inform our thought processes and our belief structure shapes us into a human being that is aligned with the stories coded into our very DNA – this creates a consonance that reverberates throughout time and space, and places us on a road to the eternal. 

If you would like to learn more about these ideas, I encourage you to consider my video course “Vital Elements.”

In it, I explore the above concepts deeply over the span of more than five hours of video, and lay out a basic practice for you to follow. 

You can find it here.