Book Review: A Little Bit Of Runes

A Little Bit Of Runes:  An Introduction To Norse Divination, by Cassandra Eason

Admittedly, the practice of divination is one that I have endeavored to stay far away from [1].  The author, though, shows no such compunctions, and as neo-pagan thought and practice is very common in our contemporary world, I thought it worthwhile to critique this book and get to the root of what the author was endorsing in her tips for using Norse runes to better understand/manipulate the future.  Again, I wish to make it clear that my worldview and that of the author are quite different, and that I am far from endorsing the approach of the author.  I do, however, wish to understand the appeal of these practices and convey that understanding to the reader, even if I expect few people to be interested in the book as a result of a discussion of its contents.  Even so, given the popularity of the practices in this book–whether one looks at runes or magic 8-balls or ouija boards or something else of that nature–it is still worth understanding the appeal of the practices discussed in this book even where one seriously disagrees with them.

What does this book contain?  It is a small book of around 100 pages, and is divided into 8 chapters.  After a brief introduction to this introductory book, the author discusses how the reader can choose, make and dedicate (!) their runes to various heathen imaginary deities (1).  After that the author discusses the runes of the first aett and how to cast them (2).  This leads naturally to some methods for casting and interpreting runes (3), involving a look at what side the runes fall on and where they fall relative to the circle one has made.  After this there are further discussions of the second aett, the runes of Heimdall (4), and the third aett, the runes of Tiwaz (5) before the author discusses more complex casts and basic casting spreads (6).  The book then closes with a look at more complex rune spreads (7) and the use of supposed rune magic to create runic objects like staves, amulets, charms, and binds (8).  The book ends with an index, having been full of symbols and pictures throughout.  One gets the feeling that this author actually feels that she is a wise woman despite the self-evident folly of her ways, and that there may be an audience that wishes to acquire the sort of supposed spiritual power that the author claims to possess.

Even so, this book is deeply troubling in its worldview.  Nevertheless, reading the book does make clear and plain the appeal of the author’s incoherent worldview.  For one, the author’s adoption of a polytheistic worldview (despite knowing the doom of the Norse gods) appears to have been made so that she can seek spiritual power that would be denied to her as a follower of the biblical God.  Moreover, the author views duty and obligation and loyalty to partners as not something worth praising, viewing these ties as manipulative and harmful.  Instead, the author demonstrates a firm commitment both to selfish behavior, following the dictates of one’s fallen heart, and achieving personal success and glory.  Polytheism is less something to command one’s obedience than a way to gain one’s own will through the tension and disagreement between deities and various other forces.  Some of the casting techniques discussed in this book involve ignoring the possibly negative interpretations of the runes cast and only looking at the positive side, while a great many of the possible runic interpretations support leaving partners or distancing oneself from family members who do not support what one is doing or who seek to bind one with marital or familial obligations.  Following the advice of this book does not make one a wise woman (or man) but rather a selfish and deeply destructive person of the harmony of relationships and the loyalty and outgoing concern that God wishes us to have for others.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Book Review: A Little Bit Of Runes

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings and commented:
    Reblogging for future reference:

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