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The Book of Runes: 25th Anniversary Edition    by Ralph H. Blum order for
Book of Runes
by Ralph H. Blum
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2008 (1983)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I was once fascinated by Tarot cards, my awareness of Runes only grew recently through my son's interest in runestones on a trip to Sweden. I saw Tarot as primarily a method of focus and self reflection, so was intrigued to read Ralph H. Blum exhort readers in his Preface to use the Runes as 'a means of communication with the knowledge of our subconscious minds.' He distinguishes between having your fortune told and consulting an Oracle (use of Runes being the latter) which 'points your attention towards those hidden fears and motivations that will shape your future by their unfelt presence within each present moment.'

In his Introduction to The Book of Runes (900,000 copies of which have been sold since 1983), Blum offers it 'as a handbook for the Spiritual Warrior' and 'a training tool for strengthening our intuition, which is everyone's second language.' He discusses the origins of Runes (a gift of Odin) and their influence on their time; approaches to consulting the Runes; the possibility of a runic override; and the art of rune casting (whether by scattering the stones, using different spreads, selecting one only, or engaging in rune play). He suggests specific exercises in Runecraft, 'intended to facilitate the reintroduction of ritual - and hence the sacred - into our daily lives', as well as 'techniques for listening to ourselves.'

The second half of the book addresses specific Rune Interpretations (including for the Rune Reversed where that is applicable) for the twenty-four carved runestones and the single blank one (the latter signifying the Unknowable, the Divine). This 25th Anniversary Edition of The Book of Runes includes a set of 25 ceramic runestones and a drawstring bag to hold them in. If Oracles intrigue you, or you have ever used Tarot cards or the I Ching, then you really should explore Runes, an 'Oracle that has evolved from the matrix of Western thought' - and Ralph H. Blum's Book of Runes is an excellent place to start.

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