Runes for Beginners by Alexandra Chauran

Runes for Beginners: Simple Divination and Interpretation
Alexandra Chauran
Llewellyn Publications, 2016

wp34 review runesforbeginners

Review by Rebecca Buchanan.

In this handy and easy-to-use introduction, those new to the runes are taught their basic meanings, useful alliterative tools, daily practices for increasing their knowledge of the runes, and casting patterns, among other techniques.

Chauran, a Wiccan high priestess and second-generation fortune teller, writes in a friendly and conversational style; almost like pulling up a chair around a table with friends, where we could all chat and laugh and cast runes together. She opens with a short history of the runes, explaining what they are, where they came from, and the various terms which will be used throughout the book. She then moves into a discussion of the runes themselves, listing them, and offering a very helpful alliterative technique for remembering their names and basic meanings (e.g., thurisaz links to thorn, Thor’s hammer, and thistle). This is followed by longer sections on how to divine with the runes (charts, castings, et cetera), things which people will want divined (love, money, career), and how to tap into the power of the runes (kennings or knowings, bindrunes, and so on).

I am still a novice when dealing with the runes; and I have the feeling that no one ever truly becomes an expert with them, considering their complexity. As such, I found some of the techniques recommended by Chauran to be either helpful or, at the very least, interesting. For example, while I can’t see myself trying runic yoga any time soon (not bendy enough), chanting the runes during meditation or making use of bindrunes is right up my alley.

My only complaint regards Chauran’s inclusion of the blank rune. As she notes, there is no historical precedent for a blank rune, and she leaves it up to the individual as to whether or not to include it in their practice. I think it would be a lot less confusing for beginners if the blank rune was excluded entirely from books on the subject; just a quick note that there was no such thing in the past, and move on.

Overall, I enjoyed Chauran’s Runes for Beginners. It was easy to understand, laid out well, and filled with useful techniques — some of which might serve as touchstones even for those who have been reading runes for many years.

Recommended for those new to the runes, especially when read in conjunction with other titles, such as Krasskova’s Runes: Theory and Practice and Paxson’s Taking Up the Runes.

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