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Frequently Asked Questions

     
 

Index

Click a question to see the answer

What's your email address? I can't find it on the website

Is your name really Oswald?

How did you get started with the runes?

What is the Futhark?

How many runes are there?

What's the difference between Viking, Norse, Anglo-Saxon and other types of runes?

How can I write English names and messages in runes?

How can I learn about runes?

What is a bindrune and what is it for?

Can you design a bindrune to help with my health, love life,career etc?

I want to make my own runes, can you help me?

What does this runic inscription mean?

Can you help me design a runic tattoo?

Where can I find out about Celtic, Witch, or Druid runes?

Can you recommend books on runes, rune lore, ley lines and associated subjects?

 
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Q:
What is your email address? I can't find it on the website


A:
Due to the huge amount of spam being generated these days I no longer publish email addresses on websites. The spam robots have learned how to decipher javascript and   encrypted code and spam starts arriving within a few hours of putting an email address on a web page, so I don't do it any longer.

To contact me for any reason please use the on-site contact forms provided on every website in the Runemaker Group or click here to open the Runemaker SiteMail form right now. When I reply you will get my new email address for future direct correspondence.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     

Q:
Is your name really Oswald?


A:
Yes, it really is. I was born Robert William Oswald in 1941 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North of England. I am an Anglo-Saxon by descent and have been a practising rune diviner and a maker of runes for over 50 years.
I like to imagine I  might be descended from Oswald (AD605-642), King of Northumbria, but there is no evidence to support that idea - Oswald is after all a fairly common surname in that region of England.  I am not related to any other historical figure with the same surname. You know who I'm talking about.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     
 

Q:
How did you get started with the runes?


A: 
I was about 15 when I first noticed runes on a monument in Cumbria, England. I got interested because it was something my all-knowing father couldn't tell me about. Later an elderly relative from my mother's side of the family revealed to me that she was a runemistress and passed much of her knowledge on to me. I have been building on that initiation ever since.
About 20 years ago I started learning something of the Anglo-Saxon language and culture, and that is when I conceived the idea for Oswald The Runemaker. You can find some information about that on the About Oswald page.

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     

Q:
What is the Futhark?


A:
Futhark is the name for the rune row, or full rune set. It does the same job as our alphabet. Due to changes in pronunciation over the centuries, the Anglo-Saxons came to spell it "Futhorc", but it's basically the same word.
How did this name come about? Same way as the word "alphabet" came about, I guess. The word "alphabet" is made up of the first two letters in the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Beta. Those were the Greek names for A and B. I guess everybody knows that.
So naming the rune set follows the same principle. We take the first six runes Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido and Kauno - put the sounds they represent together, and they make the word Futhark. (The Th sound is represented by just one rune, Thurisaz).
Why are these the first six runes? I don't know. Nobody knows. You might just as well ask why did the Greeks decide to have Alpha and Beta as their first two letters? Why didn't they choose Omega and Delta? I don't suppose anyone knows the answer to that, either. The fact remains that the ancients most frequently wrote the rune set in the order I have put them in, with Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido and Kauno as the first six.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     
 

Q:
How many runes are there?


A:
There are 24 runes in the Ancient Pagan Futhark also known as the Anglo-Freisian Futhark. My rune sets would also include a blank piece because some folks like to have something to represent Destiny or Fate. I don't use it myself. This idea is quite modern and was advocated by Ralph Blum with his "Book of Runes" but contrary to common belief, he was not the originator of the blank which is referenced in research materials in my possession as early as the 16th Century.
The earliest documented rune set is the Elder Futhark, also known as the Norse or Viking Futhark. This rune set originally had the same 24 runes, but with slightly different shapes. Over the centuries Scandinavian users reduced the Norse Futhark to just 16 runes - presumably to simplify the task of writing - so that some of the runes had to do double-duty for two or three sounds. This later adaptation (7th-8th Century) became known as the Younger Futhark.
The runes brought to Britain by Angles and Saxons migrating from the Friesia region of Holland were called the Anglo-Friesian runes. As their use spread through Saxon England they became known as the Anglo-Saxon runes. This Futhorc also developed over time, but in the opposite direction, expanding to a total of 33 runes (possibly as many as 38 in Northumbria) before they fell into disuse.
There are other Futharks of more modern development such as the Armanen runes developed by Guido von Liszt in the 20th Century, and a system of runes invented by J R R Tolkien for use in his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     

Q:
What's the difference between Viking, Norse, Anglo-Saxon and other types of runes?


A:
Viking and Norse are both alternative names for the runes of the Elder Futhark, the original rune set as it first appeared in Northern Europe.
Anglo-Friesian runes are almost identical to the Elder Futhark runes (just a few differences in shape). They were in use in Northern Europe, particularly Holland, and were brought to Britain by migrant tribes.
The Anglo-Saxon runes are a development from Anglo-Friesian. Although maintaining the 24 original runes for several hundred years, the shapes of some runes altered over time. The Uruz rune became an inverted V, the Ansuz rune adopted a new form for the upper branch, the Kauno rune changed to a staved form like a small k with the upper leg missing, Hagalaz gained an extra cross-bar, Jera became a staved rune, and the Ingwaz rune grew 4 tails. The order was changed slightly by the reversal of Othila and Dagaz.
The runes you see on my pages are the Elder Futhark and Anglo-Saxon ones, but I do not go so far as to include the much later additional 9 runes adopted in Northumbria.
You will also see reference to the Younger Futhark, where the Scandinavian users reduced their Futhark to just 16 runes in the 7th-8th century AD, and the Northumbrian runes - a very much later augmented rune set that grew to 33 (or perhaps even 38) runes.
More modern rune sets include the invented Armanen runes of the Nazis, Tolkein's runes of the 20th century, and a contrived rune order from 1980s author Ralph Blum.
Any reference you may see to "Celtic", "Witch" or "Druid" runes are quite inaccurate - there are no such runes. See the later FAQ.
 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     
 

Q:
How can I write English names and messages in runes?


A:
In principle you just substitute runes for each letter of the message or name and optionally put a colon between each word.
Don't forget that the runes are phonetic, i.e. you spell things the way they SOUND, not the way they LOOK. For example TH is represented by just one rune, Thurisaz; not Tiwaz with Hagalaz.
You can find the letter equivalents and a guide to pronunciation on the bindrune introduction page of this website. There is also an article about writing with runes at www.runes.info

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     

Q:
How can I learn about runes?


A:
I'm sorry I can't personally help you with anything more than you will find in these FAQs, the rest of the website, and in the Rune Forum discussion group. There is a lot of information here if you care to look for it.
I used to recommend the Rune School who offered broad-based courses on the mystic application of runes. Their website address was:
 http://www.runeschool.org/index.htm but I'm not sure whether it is still going now.
There is also a self-help rune student group called the Rune Net run by my friend and noted author Sweyn Plowright that may be able to provide you with more resources. That website address is: http://www.mackaos.com.au/Rune-Net/
Freya Aswynn also operates rune correspondence courses - take a look at her home page at http://www.aswynn.com
You may also like to check out some of the other sites on my Links Page.
I don't offer tuition myself for two reasons: first, I'm not a very good teacher; and second, a lot of my knowledge comes from closely-guarded family secrets of many generations. So I just concentrated on making rune goods for many years, but now only offer design and transcription services.
I do however make seminar presentations to groups, so if you are a member of an organization you might like to email me for more information.
I will always try to answer simple email queries when I have the time, but I do not offer free consultations. Please check these FAQs, the Site Search, and the Runes Forum before emailing because your question has quite possibly already been answered.
 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     
 

Q:
What is a bindrune and what is it for?


A:
Personal bindrunes are designs compiled from your personal initials to form a kind of runic monogram. They are used mainly for decoration, but some folks like to use them to reinforce personality or emphasize the positive qualities of the psyche.
Practical bindrunes are used as talismans with a particular objective such as improved health, business or financial success, harmony with a partner, love from a special person, help with weight loss, personal protection, safety and security of your home and personal possessions, etc. They are compiled from the individual runes that represent the qualities one wishes to enhance.
You could easily draw a bindrune on a piece of paper, wood, stone or anything and carry it with you hoping that it will have some effect. But an unempowered bindrune will be so weak that you would probably not notice any difference. For a bindrune to work effectively it must be empowered (some runemasters refer to this process as consecrating or sanctifying) in the correct way. To learn more about this subject, take a look at the Bindrunes page and read the introductory notes.
 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     

Q:
Can you design a bindrune to help with my health, love life, career etc?


A:
I certainly can. Check out the Bindrunes pages and read the item on Practical bindrunes. You may find what you are looking for there.
I do not provide these bindrune designs for free, though. There is a charge for supplying artwork starting around US$14.00. Take a look at the practical bindrunes page, the personal bindrunes page, or the rune tattoos website.
Just knowing the right runes to use and designing the bindrune is not enough to make it effective - it has to be empowered by an appropriate runic ritual. Details of a suggested empowerment rite are given on the Rune Tattoos website members area, in the Runic Design Pack CD-ROM or download file and in my book Discovering Runes available for saleon Amazon and from quality bookstores like Barnes & Noble, or Borders.
Rune tattoo design customers also receive a free copy of my guide to the empowerment rite with their artwork.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     
 

Q:
I want to make my own runes, can you help me?


A:
Well, not directly. What I mean is, I get so many questions on this subject I just don't have the time to answer them all individually. What you would get is a standard email response telling you about the paid services I offer and my professional consultation fees - but please be aware: cheap they ain't.

For many years I kept my methods to myself as a trade secret, but I'm getting on a bit now, and have given up making divining rune sets. But I don't want the knowledge to be lost entirely when I get nailed in my box and trundled down the conveyor belt to the hot room, so I will be writing a book about it.

It will be called The Rune Makers Handbook and it will cover the entire process as I have practiced it these many years starting with finding and selecting windfall branches, cutting and marking the runes, finishing techniques and box decoration, right through to the final empowerment ritual. All my trade secrets at last revealed! It will be something of a hybrid, combining as it will the attributes of a grimoir, a guide to trees, and a do-it-yourself manual for the woodworking techniques needed.

When will the book be available? Well, it's a long term project, so don't hold your breath! At present I have the outline, some photos and some snippets of text and that's all. It's gonna be a year or two for sure.

In the meantime, if would like to see what my rune sets looked like there are some retrospective pages about them starting at the rune sets introduction page.
 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     

Q:
What does this runic inscription mean?


A:
If you send me a scan, photo or drawing of the inscription by email I will do my best to translate it for you, if it really is in runes.
You may find me listed as a runes expert (ha!) in some websites or reference books because I used to do research and translation work for some of the big London auction houses.
But don't worry, I won't charge you any fees! It's a free service.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 
     
 

Q:
Can you help me design a runic tattoo?


A:
I sure can, it's one of my most popular services. I can design rune tattoos, bindrunes, rune scripts and runic triads for tattooing. I also provide custom designs like Shieldknots and Helm of Awe interpretations, knotwork decals, borders, etc.

My website dedicated to rune tattoos is available at http://www.rune-tattoos.com. This is a database-driven site with a member's area featuring a quick-response design service, and a member's library of over 5000 runic tattoo designs for use by private individuals and tattoo artists.

Note: The tattoo design service is temporarily suspended due to a long waiting list. Check the design service page occasionally to see when the service is available again. In the meantime simple personal bindrune designs for any purpose (including tattoos) are available from the bindrunes page of runemaker.com. Click here to load the page.
 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 
     
  Q:
Where can I find out about Celtic, Gaelic, British, Druid or Witch runes?


A:
There are a lot of websites and books that talk about Celtic runes etc., but these are quite erroneous inventions of modern origin. There are no such things as Celtic runes. That includes all the Celtic tribes (e.g. Gaels, Welsh, Irish, Picts, Scots, Britons, Cornishmen) and their Druid priesthood.
Irish Celts did have a strange written form called Ogham (pronounced Oh-ehm) script used for a small number of inscriptions, but Ogham is not related to runes nor does it bear anything more than a superficial resemblance.
The fact is that Celts - who were the indigenous population of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland - had no contact with Norse culture or anything to do with runes until migrants from Northern Europe started to settle the North and East of Britain from around 450-500AD.
They brought their culture and their runes with them, but by that time the great majority of Celtic tribes had already started to adopt Christianity, so the pagan faith of the invader was assimilated only minimally, if at all.
The two cultures were constantly at war in mainland Britain. The Celts were inexorably driven back and reduced in number by the ferocity of the invaders, their supremacy in military know-how and their weapons. But during the ensuing centuries the Christian faith of the Celts gradually overcame the Pagan beliefs of the incomers, so that only remnants of runelore survived.
Only in Ireland were the Celts able to eventually drive out the Viking settlers, thus ensuring the continued supremacy of the Christian faith in that island stronghold of Celtic culture.
So if you are looking for any kind of Celtic runes, Witch runes or Druid runes - forget it. They are modern inventions and have no historical basis in fact.
 
 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Q:
Can you recommend books on runes, rune lore, ley lines and associated subjects?

A:
There is a recommended book list covering runes, runelore, runic archaeology, ley lines, tree lore and a number of other related subjects. Click the link to see the list.

But if you don't see exactly what you are looking for you can email me for a recommendation - if I know of a suitable book.

If you are going to purchase any of the listed books, please use my link to Amazon, they pay me a few cents for every referral.

And if you decide to buy my latest book Discovering Runes you can get a signed first edition from me when I have them in stock. Right now I don't have any in stock, but I'm hoping to get some more from the printers eventually.  Click here to visit that page if you want to know the latest stock situation.

     

That was the last FAQ

 

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