Mandemark Thor's Hammer


 Recommended Reading

How to Judge a Rune Book

by Ingeborg Svea Norden ( )
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Non-Odinist Rune Seekers

1. Does the author stick to the traditional order of the runes and use only historically attested symbols? (Anyone who insists that a "blank rune" or the "uthark" ordering is valid flunks this test.)

2. Does the author support his opinions with Germanic historical and mythical texts -- not relying on outside traditions or personal revelations too heavily? (People who put runes on Native American medicine wheels or the Qabalistic Tree of Life flunk this test. So does anyone who interprets the runes largely through magical experiments, with no real academic support.)

3. Does the author use the same language for rune names throughout the book? (Calling one rune by its Norse name and the next by its Anglo-Saxon name is bad linguistics, and probably means that the other facts are just as poorly researched.)

4. Does the author distort the meanings of the runes to fit a personal agenda? (An ultra-feminist author trying to eliminate all male references from the runes would flunk this test.)

Books for Beginners

Here are the books I recommend for beginners.

Practical Guide to Runes

Peschel, Lisa A.: Practical Guide to The Runes, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, ISBN 0-87542-593-3. A cheap paperback, but relatively solid rune-lore except for including the blank rune. Ignore that part!


New Perspectives: Runes

King, Bernard: New Perspectives: Runes, 2000, ISBN: 1862047626  


King, Bernard: The Way of the Runes, Thorsons, 2002, ISBN 00713603x. This is a reprise of his earlier book, The Elements of the Runes, 1997, Element Books, London and Rockport, ME. ISBN 1862040370. One of the more competent recent books on runes.


Principles of Runes

Aswynn, Freyja: Principles of Runes, Thorsons Publ, 2000, ISBN=0722538839.


Illustrated Guide to the Runes

Pennick, Nigel: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Runes, 1999, Element; ISBN: 1862041008



Thorsson, Edred: Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic. Samuel Weiser Inc. York Beach Maine, 03910, 1984, ISBN 0-87728-548-9. This one is geared to a higher level than At the Well of Wyrd.



Thorsson, Edred: Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology. Samuel Weiser Inc. York Beach Maine, 03910, ISBN 0-87728-667-1. I believe that this is Thorsson's best book on runes and rune magick. It's the one I refer to most often.

To see more books on runes, click here. Click Here

These should keep you busy for a while. I do not recommend Ralph Blum's Book of Runes, Healing Runes, or Serenity Runes, which are commonly available and come with ceramic rune sets. In my opinion, these books are not always accurate, and are shallow and disappointing. Rune sets are available from other sources or you can make your own.

Serious Rune Study

If you are serious about studying runelore, an extensive bibliography is posted in four parts. I've located sources for the majority of the texts. Both browsers and scholars will find value here.

Runes, Runelore and Magick
Norse/Teutonic History, Culture and Language
Norse/Teutonic Mythology
Norse/Teutonic Sagas and Literature

Where to Buy These Books

You can buy any of the books above by clicking on its highlighted title. You will be connected to the bookstore where you can order at discounted prices. Occasionally you can find them in a big bookstore like Barnes & Nobles. You may also find used copies on,, or