So… I wrote a new book, my third book about runes. The first, Aegishjalmur: The Book of Dragon Runes, taught a curriculum of the Elder Futhark of 24 runes, tying them in with my Apophis programme of Draconian Magic: Norse dragon lore, best in the world! The second of my runic titles was Runes of Mann, which was a catalogue of the runic monuments on the Isle of Man, my home, together with a few brief suggestions for their practical use. The new book, Runes of the Valiant, is a more thorough account of the theory and practice of the Younger Futhark, the 16 rune row which was used by the Norse settlers on the Isle of Man.
This is a very personal and meaningful project for me, a chance to take all of the lore and practice I have acquired over the years and apply it to the specific runes used by my own ancestors, because there is actually quite a philosophical and pragmatic leap in the transition from the Elder Futhark to the Younger, which occurred at the dawn of the Viking Age.
Before a rune worker can make the shift from the Elder rune row to the Younger, he / she must address several fundamental questions and deduce satisfactory answers for them, in order to understand the new dynamic behind both the philosophy and the base meanings of the runes:
Why was the 24 rune Elder Futhark reduced to the 16 rune Younger Futhark?
What became of the ‘missing’ eight runes? Are they to be ignored, or were they combined with other runes?
How did the ancient runemasters decide which eight runes to condense?
Why sixteen runes specifically? Why not some other number?
Have the meanings of the remaining runes changed to accommodate the reduction of the rune row?
These questions are all addressed in the pages of Runes of the Valiant, together with considerations of updated models of cosmology and so forth, based upon the new arrangement. Specific practical methods of using the Younger rune row are then presented.
The Isle of Man is a place which the Northmen did not simply raid. Instead, they chose to settle here, establishing themselves as Lords of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, intermarrying with the existing Celtic population and establishing a rich mixed heritage. Nevertheless, when speaking of Manx heritage, the Celtic is often emphasised at the expense of the Norse, ignoring the richness of the intermingling. The Norse heritage is still represented in the many carved runic memorial stones; the burial sites; the place names; and of course – most powerfully – in the Manx bloodline itself.
It is my hope that this book will give that heritage a new lease of life, perhaps stimulating some to Seek after the Mysteries their forefathers sought.