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?
Asgardhr: Higher influences. Nature of relationship with the divinities. The veiled branches of the question. Matters of honor, positive(active)influences from the past states of existence("incarnations")--Orlog.
Ljossalfheimr: Mental influences. Family matters. Messages of Huginn--directions in which you should plan. What will help you. Paths to help you realize influences from Asgardhr.
Midhgardhr: The way people come together to manifest themselves in life. The outcome in life. Ego consciousness.
Svartalfheimr: Creative emotional influences. Money matters. Messages from Muninn--things you should reflect on. Paths to realize influences from Hel.
Hel: Hidden or suppressed instinctual desires. Nature of automatic functions or behaviors. The hidden root of the question. Negative(passive, restrictive)influences from past states of existence--Orlog.
Muspellsheimr: State of vital energies, that which vitalizes you. Active influences from the outside. Things tending toward activity.
Vanaheimr: Promotes growth. Erotic relationships. Persons of the opposite sex. Balancing influences. Forces of continuity, structure and well-being.
Jotunheimr: That which confuses you. That which may be left to chance. Things that might test you. Forces pressing for change. Realm of crisis.
Essentially I think these are well thought out and I like the interpretations Thorsson has. If you, however find that something else rings true for you so be it, in rune work innovation and intuition are part and parcel of the game. Thorsson has a great many tables in each of his books that are of use. I will probably put forth at least one table per book. I think any more than that would be pushing it.