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NESP Reviews


Runic Primer
A Down-to-Earth Guide for Beginners

by Sweyn Plowright

Reviewed by Alfta Svanni Lothursdottir

        When the reader first picks this small book up, he or she should not be fooled into thinking that its 85 pages means that it can be bypassed in favor of larger works dealing with the runes. On the contrary, this book should be read first by any aspiring student of the runes. The book cannot be said to be comprehensive at all but then that was never the purpose of the author. His purpose was instead, to give the new student to the runes, a solid foundation of accurate information on which to build his or her further studies in the runes. The author states that he hopes that “this primer will give you just enough of a grounding to start your studies with confidence and discernment.” Rune-Net's Runic Primer does just that.
        I applaud the author for making the assertion that in order to understand the runes one cannot take them out of the culture from whence they sprang. The author then goes into the older sources one should investigate then follows that up with short descriptions of the three major rows; The Elder, Younger and Anglo-Saxon rows. He also examines each rune from the information we have from the three surviving rune poems and offers possible esoteric meanings for each rune in the Elder Futhark. He then discusses the modern works done on the esoteric side of the runes in an even-handed and fair way. The book also includes original translations and notes by Dan Bray of the three rune poems.
        It is a sad fact that the vast majority of books on runes are not really worth much at all, especially from the stand point of the person who wishes information that is strongly based in Northern tradition. The Rune-Net Runic Primer is a very bright exception. I can heartily recommend this book to any beginning student of the runes. The author's goals stated on the back cover of the book, that is, that “this primer will give you just enough of a grounding to start your studies with confidence and discernment,” is accomplished admirably. If you are just starting out in your studies of the runes or even if you have been working on them for a while, get this book. You'll be glad you did.

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