I have never read a book on the runes, yet the runes are the basis of my spiritual (and everyday) life.
I have read plenty of books on Norse mythology, its just I don’t think the runes translate well into words.
They are symbols, and symbols take us to places that lists of associations simply can’t manage.
So how did I develop my deep understanding of the runes? I use a set of runic stances- ideally daily- as a way of connecting to the runes in a deeply meditative state.
I work with the 16 runes of the younger futhark. I start by focusing on my breathing and clapping twice to show that I am now connecting in a deeper state.
Then with breath matching movement, and my mind deeply stilled I carefully make the shape of each rune with my body. Sometimes I chant the name of the associated deity, sometimes I chant the sound of the rune.
I focus on changes in my body at first- feeling how the energy changes as I create the rune. Often images come into my mind. It creates a deep sense of knowing the rune.
I may not read books about the runes, but I do read books about Norse mythology. Each rune has one or more deity associated with it. Reading tales of these deities creates a rich tapestry to appreciate the meaning of the rune, and how they are all interlinked. As with tarot it is often the connections between the runes that leads to an even deeper understanding.
Each rune has a short rune poem associated with it. Meditating on these rune poems, linking the stories with the movement, with the poem, creates a beautiful spider web like map- an appreciation of how all things are associated. (Here is a link to the rune poems)
The runes can not be contained in words. They need to be experienced, felt, heard. They are subtle threads of energy that can create a living map- they underpin everything I do in life even though it I 16 years since I have closely connected with them.
What I love most about my personal tradition- Stav- is that spiritual & physical are not separated. The runes are learnt through life, and life is better understood through an ever deepening understanding of the runes.