Book Review: A Little Bit of Runes, An Introduction to Norse Divination

I found what appeared to be a cute, little book about Runes. This book is called A Little Bit of Runes, An Introduction to Norse Divination and was written by Cassandra Eason. Since I have an interest in Runes, I bought a copy for ten bucks to give it a review. It's not too bad, but there were a few unusual things.

Cassandra Eason is a Neopagan author from Great Britain who has turned out quite a few books. Her titles cover a wide range of pagan topics and include fairies, crystals, and the use of candles in magic. It looks like she has one other Rune book that is intended for women.

The Little Bit book is 106 pages. Most of it is a general, high-level introduction to the Runes. Like more Rune books, there is a bit of history, a description of the individual Runes, how to perform readings, and a little about making Runic talismans.

Blank Rune

One of the items that I disagree with is her use of a "blank Rune". This has been a controversial topic in the Rune community for some time. One common reference to the blank Rune comes from Ralph Blum's The Book of Runes. Many argue that there is no such thing as a blank Rune because it implies a simple absence of a Runes. Those in favor say that the blank one is needed to convey that which is unknowable when performing a reading. I tend to think that the unknowable just gets crowded out by what is known, and the Peorth Rune somewhat includes this concept, a blank Rune is unneeded. But, the controversy continues.

The Back of the Runes

In a typical reading, you will either cast (throw) all the Runes to the cloth or you will pick them individually from the bag and place them on the cloth. When I cast Runes, I assume that any block that is face down represents a Rune that has little bearing on the matter at hand. If I'm drawing the Runes from a bag, I turn the block face-up before placing it on the cloth.

In Eason's book, she suggests alternate meanings for any Rune that is face-down. I have never heard of this before. This reminds me of the way that Tarot cards have different meanings based on whether they are upright. I've heard of some people who ascribe different Rune interpretations if the Rune appears upside down in a reading, but never a change because a block was face-down. I will leave it to you to decide whether this works for you.

Spreads

Toward the end of the book, Easton presents an assortment of Rune spreads. These are the patterns in which one would lay the Runes when divining. In a typical spread, there are specific positions. Each position has a meaning and the Runes are placed in a specific order. The combination of the Rune and the position provides understanding of that aspect of the answer. I have not seen some of these spreads before, but they may prove interesting or useful.

Conclusion

If you know someone who is vaguely interested in Runes and you don't want to spend too much cash, this book is a reasonable place to start. It covers the general ideas well enough and in a friendly way. It may be enough to get someone interested enough to find out more. However, if you seriously wish to learn Runes, you are better off with Paxson's Taking Up the Runes or a similar work.

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