In reading At The Well Of Wyrd I am rediscovering some of the things about Edred Thorsson that I like very much. His attention to detail, his willingness to talk in-depth about the results that you will find through using the varied methods and so forth.
The things I am not real fond of, are the fact that I think in a lot of ways he's anal retentive. He holds on to details that are superfluous. But then again, I'm sure the same can be said for any runester or magical practitioner. He seems to rely a great deal on the phrase 'to a great extent intuition must guide the runester in these matters' or something close, on more than one occasion. And though this may be true at times, especially as you go along, many starting rune students are often frightened as to relying on their intuition and they need some kind of backup or reassurance that their intuition is not going to lead them down the garden path.
I find myself being given to a lot of internal note taking, and find that spontaneous inspiration on varied things occurs as I continue to read through his writing, which is a very nice thing. I haven't had this occur with many of the previous writers I've had to review here. I take that as a sign that Thorsson has hold of some kind of gestalt essence, or whatever even though as an individual I may not agree with a lot of what he does, he has done his homework and I have to give him his credits on this.I'm going to be translating a lot of his tables and what have you that I am able to onto the rune study group for the edification of those who are interested. I think that overall this book is pretty interesting.
I'm not totally sold on Mirkstaves as he presents them. I think he makes them more complex than they have to be frankly. And yes, I think that ultimately it is up to the runester to use their intuition where this particular subject is concerned, if one does not feel that Mirkstaves are valid than don't use them, if one finds them to enhance their reading style and give them more depth than do so. I have found the technique to give me more opportunity to delve into the subject matter I am reading on with an eye to possibilities I might have overlooked otherwise. I do agree with him that it is more than just whether a rune is upside down, there is always the point of how the runes relate to one another in total. So yes, has this book been a journey for me? You bet. Am I done with it at this point? Nope. Am I looking forward to upcoming two books in the set? Well, of course I am. Do I argue with my books as I read them? What do you think?
I have to say that I was sorely disappointed in this book. Mr. Pennick had his mythology off.. And I know you are probably going to get tired of hearing me state this as a reason to dislike a writer, but it sticks in my craw, if an author cannot get their mythology right, then what else are they getting wrong? You don't have to be a Heathen to understand the myths that the runes are based on. Really. Mr. Pennick had a lot of interesting information about the runes as pertained to the British Isles. I would like to think that all of it is valid, but I'm not totally sure in this case.At any rate, it was neat. One thing that was a turn off, was that he referenced Ralph Blum an awful lot, and I have no respect whatsoever for Mr. Blum, nor does any long term runester that I know of. So this again made me feel.. Iffy toward him. He did have some interesting things which he attempted to do in this book however.. For example, rather than just putting up pictures of the varied futharks, with the names of the letters beside them, Mr. Pennick briefly covered each futhark in turn, in the book. I was somewhat impressed by his attempt to do this. But, I think that he probably was trying a bit too hard at times. For example, he tried also to give 'female slants/definitions' to each of the runes. While that is nice, the definitions he gave were in my opinion stretching it on several of the runes if not 'out there' ... Also, he defines the runes as a whole as being a product of a male dominated society that had little regard for women as it concentrated mainly on plunder and so forth. I see this as a very neo-pagan attitude, and I don't see him as having a very sympathetic attitude toward Norse Culture, if this is so why is he writing a book on runes? He also states that runes should only be used as a force for 'good' and all that stuff which sounds extremely neo-paganistic. I would not deign to tell someone how to use the runes, I would only explain to them about taking personal responsibility for their actions, and give them some backing as to what might occur a result to their action. The Norse weren't worried about 'forces for good' to my knowledge. If so, why did they have Nidhing Poles? The other thing he goes into that I was interested in was Rune Yoga. There are only a few brief pages on it though, and I would have liked to have seen more. He does have some useful spreads in the back of the book. Some of them are very elegant in their simplicity. Others I think trip themselves up and frankly aren't worth the trouble.I do like the fact that he shows varied media being used for rune casting. He shows sticks being cast, he shows stones being used, and he shows rune-cards. Rather nice there. All in all? I'm not a fan of this book, if you want to buy it for the layouts, go for it. The pictures are very nice, but the content? I would grade it at about a C to a C-.
Honestly I would like to be able to recommend this book, but I cannot. I think the author tries very hard, but, he doesn't get a lot of the mythology correct. And he has for some reason,maybe randomly (he never goes into why) decided that the second aett is the aett of Heimdall as opposed to the aett of Hel or Hagal as it normally is seen to be. Yeah, that got my hackles up. He writes like someone who has a lot of ideas running around in his head but doesn't know how to express them well, and he probably should be writing fiction as opposed to writing about runes. He just doesn't make any of his reasons for why he feels that he should radically change the definitions of the runes around known, and he comes off as not being well schooled because of it.I actually had to put this book down for a significant(read over a week) period of time because I couldn't take it anymore. I ended up feeling like he was a nitwit, even though at times some of what he said made sense, more of it didn't. On a scale of 1-10 I'd rate this guy a 3. He needs to go hide in the Outback
I tried very hard to like this book as I had heard how wonderful Leaves of Yggdrassil is, and that this is essentially the same book with the name changed. In fact this is my second read through of the book because I thought I was missing something. Apparently there were some radical changes to the book as I was told last night by a friend who owns both books. Thank you to ironknot
, whom I spent some time on the phone with.( yes it's long and not very nice but it's honest continue if you will... )