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Why I work with the Younger Futhark

The simplest answer is because it was how I was taught.

I was never that interested in the runes- but I did want to find a spiritual/occult teacher. I wanted someone what would allow me to ask questions, challenge them, ask endless “whys”. So, I learnt the runes because I found the right teacher- and he taught using the Younger Futhark.

He taught the Younger Futhark because that is how his teacher taught him, and his teacher had learnt the runes through his family.

I never really questioned it, the people I talked to about the runes could all trace their lineage back to my teacher’s teacher, and so it was the norm for me.

And – perhaps the most important point- I didn’t question working with the Younger Futhark because it worked. I work full time as a Tarot reader, rune-lore teacher, and lokk-seidr practitioner (Nordic shaman) and I’ve never felt there was anything missing from the 16 runes. If anything, the more I teach, and use, and learn about the Younger Futhark- the more amazed I am about just how much depth and wisdom they hold.

But as I now look outside of my tradition, and my students, I have come to realise that I am perhaps in a minority. I have paused to question what value the Younger Futhark brings.

This isn’t a battle of the Futharks- I’m not claiming to be right (I am not happy with dogma, or binary right/wrong arguments). I’m simply sharing why I love the Younger Futhark, and why it works for me.

The axis mundi.

I didn’t realise how important this is, until I started looking at the Elder Futhark and realised they don’t all have one. The axis mundi is the line from earth to sky- the central point which as a shaman allows me to find my way in shamanic journeys.

An important part of my rune tradition is making the shape of the runes with my body (in a slow meditative way) to “experience” how the rune feels. The ability to create the runic shape with my body has added another layer to my understanding of the runes, and that central axis is a huge help!

The rune poems.

As part of my training, I translated the rune poems into English, and they are a big part of my understanding of each rune. Having this wisdom associated with each of the 16 runes has allowed me to understand the meanings without having to rely on other’s opinions.

The numerology

The Havamal lists 18 rune charms - and the 16 runes I work with can be seen as 18 if the Nud rune represents Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld.


Older isn’t always better.

I remember trying to read Chaucer and finding it virtually impossible.

I am not a historian; I am not trying to recreate what I think people might have done in the past. I am interested in using the runes to make a difference to my life, and those of my students and clients, right now.

Deity associations (full details on my website)

I was taught each of the runes has one (or on occasion more than one) rune associated with it.

This has been a wonderful way for me to learn more about the runes. To read the mythology, journey to meet the deity in a shamanic trance, and really add story to the rune. I think we understand far better when we work with story and archetypes- rather than keywords.

So this blog isn't to talk down the Elder Futhark, rather to reflect on why I work with the Younger.


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