Since December of 2018, I’ve done a deep dive into my Viking ancestry through studying Norse magic and writing a novel series about a deaf seer during the late 800’s. Her name is Runa, which means “secret lore” or “that which is hidden” or “mighty strength.” Unsurprisingly for me, my fictional character began to feel closer and closer to an actual ancestor of mine—or perhaps—the kind of person I would have been had I lived in the Viking Age.
My journey with runes did not begin until the summer of 2019. I’ve written down stories and poems since I was a child. I’ve played in nature since then, too. I’ve heard spirits in the forest, even if they are only in my head. But digging up the bones of my ancestors is a newer experience for me and it all seems to connect to the language my ancestors used on stones and pieces of wood.
I am digging for the wisdom in my cells, the DNA linking me back to the seers, the völvas, the witches that practiced what we now call Norse magic.
I didn’t set out to sell the runes at all. I just began to make them for myself. But then the making of the runes—going out into the woods behind my home and finding branches across my path, carrying them home, cutting them into slices, sanding them down, burning the runes onto them, and then layering them with resin, oil, and wax—became a spiritual practice for me. I made one rune set after another, each time I sliced a branch, I imagined I was looking inside the hearts of these trees I pass daily, the trees I whisper my deepest thoughts to, the trees that I feel speaking back. I realized I needed a physical practice like this to make me feel closer to my ancestors, closer to my writing, as well as complete me as a multidisciplinary artist.
Something else I’ve managed to blend into this practice of rune making is reiki—which is a Japanese method of healing through laying my hands on someone and acting as a funnel for life energy, which causes my hands to heat up and promotes relaxation that encourages people’s bodies to heal themselves. I’ve often done this for friends and family members, but my deafness makes it hard for me to do this on strangers. I also love to help people figure out their problems, but that’s another thing my deafness gets in the way of in general. I haven’t found a true way to give my desire to help people a stronger place in my life until now. I give all of my rune sets reiki as a way of energizing them before they reach their destination with another human. This energy work combined with the ways that the runes themselves help to give people advice about their lives is finally a way that I can use my desire to help people without anything getting in the way.
I’m making these runes as a way to help you speak to yourself in a different way, for you to use them for advice and guidance in helping you to work through trauma and whatever is is plaguing you.
As an artist, everything I paint or create, every story I write, is a way I am processing life and every beautiful and horrible thing that has happened to me. With each rune set, I include a small 3.5″x5″ Field Notes notebook with a sticker that describes each rune in a few words. These are starting points.
Runes are symbols with complex meanings that go far beyond the few words I’ve chosen to sum them up and set you off on your journey.
I invite you to find a living tree that is the same as your rune set and sit with it for some time. Try to feel what is unique about it. Does it give off an energy right away or do you have to sit against it or touch it for a long time before you feel something from it?
Whatever you believe about trees or energy, try to connect the living tree with the slices of wood in your hands.
And then ask the runes questions – anything you are wondering – and draw a rune from the bag or from a pile on the ground – think about its meaning as your answer. Is it clear to you? Sometimes I draw a second rune if I am uncertain. Sometimes I ask one or five more questions, and draw runes for each one. You can also do a spread like tarot cards, with runes for past, present, and future.
Try to carry your runes around with you for a while to get a feel for them. Ask them questions in different places.
I love the idea that with these runes, I might be playing a small part in someone’s healing or growth.
I write stories about fae beings and multicultural myths, I paint animals, and I make rune sets not just because these things are beautiful to me, but because they have helped to heal me and reconnect me with nature.
I am so excited to share that magic with you.
Rune sets are now up for sale in my STORE!
I am more than willing to do custom rune sets for people, please reach out to me at:
kris @ norsefox.com
Note: Due to the layers of finish I add to these rune sets, they’re considered a piece of fine art as well as a divination tool that I hope will outlive you, so if there are any coating problems, I will refinish them for you at any time for no charge.
I also offer FREE SHIPPING (within the US only) for all rune sets.
International orders: just send me an email with your address so I can check shipping costs ahead.
These are the trees I have used thus far as runes and the energies I believe they bring to each of their sets:
sycamore ~ air & water; bridge between spirit & matter; growth in any environment
yellow & paper birch ~ beginnings, birth, rebirth; guardians of the dead
eastern red cedar ~ strength & eternity
sugar maple ~ fire; mysteries; a gift that require work to use & understand
eastern hemlock ~ protection & healing
EXAMPLE RUNE SETS
* all sets include: an ice-dyed muslin bag, 3.5″ x5″ Field Notes notebook with a holographic rune meanings sticker, and 24 Elder Futhark runes (I don’t include a blank rune because there is no evidence that a rune like this was ever used in the past)*
*$60 for cedar, mini cedar, mini sugar maple, yellow birch, sycamore, & bark-less hemlock*
*$70 for the larger hemlock with bark *
MINI RED CEDAR
MINI SUGAR MAPLE
LARGE HEMLOCK (WITH BARK)
*Some final thoughts: I am a deaf, queer Norse heathen and I am completely against the use of runes in support of ableism, anti-semitism, misogyny, bigotry, racism, transphobia, or homophobia. The elder futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets, found on artifacts and runestones between 150-700 A.D. It isn’t fully clear whether runes were used for divination but from many sources, it is clear they were used for various forms of magic—for marking things with a little bit of extra energy and power to support a successful birth, battle, or venture.
With love and magic,