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Making Runes - Page 1 of 3


A walk in the woods with the Runemaker  (Early Autumn 2007)

Picture this day in the early fall. You are in the middle of rural England - Buckinghamshire; a county steeped in history, a county long associated with magic and witchcraft. We have left the city behind - over the hill, out of sight and out of mind - and we are going to visit the wood.

It is a very ancient wood of tall English Oak and Ash trees, squat clumps of Osier Willow, twisted old Hazels, gnarled Hawthorn and Blackthorn, delicate Elder, still-green Alders, and whispering Aspen trees.

It has rained heavily in a stormy night so the earth smells clean and fresh. The air is cool and sharp in the throat and lungs. Bright sunlight dapples the ground around you and plays little shadows on your face.

It's mid-afternoon and the world is at work, so there's no-one else around. It's quiet enough to hear birds and small animals scurrying about their business and you tread gingerly so the rustling leaves will not disturb them too much.

Why are we here? The Runemaker is looking for windfall branches to make runes. With such a variety of trees this is a good spot. We pass by the huge oaks because their wood is too tough for runes - it wears out the Runemaker's tools.

He prefers the lighter woods and soon spots a young Alder that has shed a branch during the wet and windy night. The broken end of the branch is still white and the leaves are not withered, so the Runemaker knows this is a fresh fall.

He checks the branch and finds a length suitable for a full set of runes. He cuts the section he wants, marks the ground with a runic sign of gratitude, and with a quiet word to the Alder, we walk on.

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