Monday, October 22, 2012

Odin's Gateways (Katie Gerrard)

Odin's Gateways
Katie Gerrard
Nonfiction, Magic
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Nordic runes are more than an ancient written alphabet. Said to have come from the great god Odin, each rune contains not just a sound, but a spiritual message and magical energy, powers that endure to this day. Gerrard explains the origins and mystical properties of Nordic runes, and how to harness their potency in modern spellcraft and rituals.

REVIEW: Part of my ongoing efforts to spark fantasy story ideas, I downloaded this title hoping for both information and inspiration. Runes, after all, are a fantasy staple, if one often without roots in real tradition. Gerrard introduces the reader to both the cultural and the spiritual aspects of runes in a way that even beginners or non-believers can understand. She doesn't try to go into the complicated, sometimes contradictory histories of the various runic alphabets (or futharks) and the practices that have arisen around them, instead referring interested readers to an extensive bibliography. While she naturally mentions her own impressions and experiences, she emphasises that true runic work, like many magical traditions, tends to be an individual experience, requiring the practitioner to explore and experience on their own. Considering my iffy luck with freebies, I was pleasantly surprised here.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Illustrated Book of Signs and Symbols (Miranda Bruce-Whitford) - My Review
The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Spells and Magic (The Diagram Group) - My Review
The Complete Book of Amulets and Talismans (Migene González-Wippler) - My Review

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