It seems like it should be an obvious thing to do, in our modern occult world that someone should have sought to use the runes as seals of spirits. With so much of western ceremonial tradition being the vogue undercurrent with most occult community, it surprises me that I never find any one who has tried to publish as such, or communicate that idea. Maybe it is because of the vast majority of runesters being involved in Reconstructionists heathenism, based only on historical lore collected by Christian writers in a period when most of the old ways were dying out or forgotten, except as folklore and “superstition.” Yet, with the common eclectic community, they too seem to never think of the idea of that the each rune could be the seal of a particular spirit, tied to that rune.
I have in my own ways, come across two people (well, one person, and a one website whose works involve more then one person) who has suggested such a practice. One was this man in Los Angeles, who had a series of books on Lulu. I had the opportunity to preview it once, and it did not seem like there was anything there. The other one I found was Raven Kaldera, both on his website about Northern Tradition Shamanism, and in his book WyrdWalkers. I found that to be some good stuff right there. The only problem for me, I don’t operate in a “shamanic way” per se. I have, over the past year, started to come into my own in various methods of working with spirits, and I have always been interested in those techniques, but did not try them out, for a multitude of reasons, from being solitary to lacking the ability to acquire items described (like triangles, wands, etc…). It wasn’t until I began my own meditation practice, and it went from affirmations and energy work, to visit inner dimensions (inner temples as it were) and then spirit guides started popping up out of the woodwork, that I began to make contacts. Fortuitously, I also became friends with a someone who was well trained in two African Diaspora traditions, both of which focused heavily on spirit contact work, where he also learned how to conduct a séance, and then with another friend, after becoming inactive in those traditions, developed his own method of spirit contact, based upon, but using more European and “witchy” symbols, tools and means. It was during this time that I asked for a spirit mentor, to give me further education in the runes, because I had learned all that I could from books at that time. Not sure who or what I would get, I was flabbergasted to see the Rune master himself, Odhinn (the spelling I prefer). I worked out a deal with him, where in exchange for lessons, I would make offerings to him, which have changed and developed over time, as my ability, and willingness have changed. It has been a slow lesson, spending a week with each rune, and as I am currently working with the Anglo-Saxon set, with the additional Northumbrian runes, I have a long road before me.
Over the course of each lesson, I was given instruction on how to call the spirit of each rune. The method shown to me so far has been exceedingly simple, involving only a fire source, some manner of incense placed upon the fire (sometimes a mixture, sometimes a single herb, sometimes the oddest of things). This of course, has not always been the case, but for most of the runes so far, it has held true. The exceptions to this are Gebo and Isa, but I am sure others will appear as I progress. After that is done, a simple repeated chant of the runes name, starts the process. After, I have been given galdr to use for this process instead.
I can’t say more about this process, mainly because it has mostly been carried out in the other worlds, under His single, watchful eye. From this experience however, I can say, when I compare my results with the descriptions of Raven Kaldera, I get very similar, if not always the same description. I have avoided reading his descriptions before my own work was completed, but with some cases, there were a few variances, but I think that is more reflective of me, then the spirits themselves.
Working with the runes as spirits, has seem to bring some greater “connection” with them, especially as I meet each spirit, and ask for it’s aid and assistance. Readings have become easier, magical workings with them flow better, and the particular current of each rune flows smoother. Alliance with Rune Spirits is also much easier affair then with some spirits that other people might choose. While Rune spirits are particularly strong, in their own way, they are also more akin to human beings in terms of over all power. Pissing off a Rune spirit won’t ruin your life as much as pissing off a God, a major land wight, or say the Alfar or Duergar. At best, it might just stop the whole runes from working with you, at worst, it could curse that particular part of your life, and make it rather unpleasant, kind of like a well connected and respected co-worker who spreads nasty gossip, it always sending you things after the last minute, and oh happens to be the head of HR. However, like a human, you could make it up to the rune in question, but it maybe unpleasant, particular with a more vindictive rune spirit. At the same time, they are easier to connect with for this reason. If you are already reading the runes, and you like them, and they just make “sense” you are more then half way there. That means that they like you, and think you have what it takes to deal with them.
Also, just because I say they are “more akin to humans” don’t misunderstand me, and think they are “human-like.” They aren’t. They are very primal, and not terribly considerate. Their thought processes are somewhat foreign to your average 21st century human being. Their thought processes were somewhat foreign to your average 9th century human being. If you aren’t sure what I mean, go read a translation of the “Havamal” and see how Odhinn brought them into the world. They expect the same dedication from any other runecaster who works with them. If you really want something, you are going to give it your all to get it, even if that does mean some serious personal sacrifice. What more, they just expect it. They won’t tell you, unless you ask, what is needed to make something happen, to get what you want, or how to achieve your goals. They will let you use them to set things in motion, and then have you find out what it is needed after you have begun. Depending upon how you respond to that, they will open up more, or just stop you right where you are in relation to them.