Runes of the Goddess

Right before we left for our trip, a belated birthday book arrived in the mail. It is called Runes of the Goddess and I had never heard of it before, but my husband stumbled across it and ordered it for me for a surprise. While there are some things about it that I don’t like—namely that it is called Runes of the Goddess and yet refers to “God” mainly throughout the book and also is attached to a yin/yang gender binary that I find uncomfortable—it was a really good introduction to the art of rune casting. What I do with my Womanrunes is a type of divination too, but it is very simplistic compared to the artform described in this book. Author PMH Atwater uses a set of 16 runes based on the ancient Elder Futhark runes and she calls them Goddess runes. Each time they are used, the whole set is cast and interpreted. Rather than relying on a single stone for guidance, the whole cast is interpreted based on the pattern and relationships to each other as well as their relationship to the questioner and the question asked.

I marked several good quotes:

“…We make a thing sacred by the power we give it and by the way we hold it in mind. Nothing is sacred by itself, and yet everything is sacred—depending entirely upon how it is viewed and who is doing the viewing…Invoking sacredness changes vitality, not validity.” (p. 7)

“Runic symbols are not magic in and of themselves. Symbols are illustrative, not directive. The magic comes from the way they stimulate feelings, emotions, and memories in the one who uses them. Forgotten wisdoms hidden within the psyche begin to awaken and resurface. This is the real magic…uncovering the deeper depths of your own being.” (p. 24)

“Learning the way of a cast utilizes sacred play to help you step into your own ‘dream’ (the life you live) so you can view issues from another perspective. This enables you to develop and ongoing pathway into the heart and soul of your ‘truth-sense,’ that intuitive wellspring at the central core of all that you are. Once the pathway is developed, you can almost magically move beyond sacred play into a kind of ‘flow’ state where ‘moment matches mind.’ This is synchronicity—where random events cease to be random, and seemingly unrelated things link together in meaningful and wonderful ways.” (p. 26)

This is what I feel like I experience in the woods, this pathway to my own “truth-sense.” The author’s description of how she first saw and connected with these runes, reminds me of my own experience with the Womanrunes. They called to me and spoke to me in some way that I am still figuring out.

One final quote that is one of my favorites from the whole book:

Indeed, long before there was ever a need for hieroglyphic script, there must have been a desire and a passion for recreating patterns in the mind that would evoke the immediacy of special moments. These special moments would have been no less than ones where earth and sky, heaven and human, seemed to merge, intermingling the invisible with the visible. Such would have been times of awe and wonder…when spirit reigned.

These patterns in the mind would have quickly become anchored in collective memory because of their connection to basic comprehension levels and survival urges…

These patterns in the mind are the real runes.

(p. 135)

While traveling, I find it difficult to stay connected to my “real life” and I feel very spiritually distant and disconnected. I think it is in large part due to being literally unmoored from my usual physical landscape and my woodspace. I don’t like cities and nonstop people. I need to be alone to recharge and I need to spend time in nature and both of these experiences are in short supply on this trip so far. Last night, we went out to the beach at sunset and it was beautiful and I felt exhilarated by being on “real” land and gorgeous landscape again, rather than pavement, hotel carpet, and parking lots. And, as I began to look around and notice that there were no shells on the beach, I instead noticed many, many round smooth stones of varying colors and sizes instead. I was compelled to start picking some up and then had the sudden thought that these would be my set of Goddess runes!

IMG_7549 IMG_7550 IMG_7556 IMG_7565


Categories: nature, spirituality | 14 Comments

Post navigation

14 thoughts on “Runes of the Goddess

  1. Barbara

    I, too, am absolutely compelled to collect smooth beach rocks — and that’s what I use at the labyrinth for meditation stones!

  2. neopaganpriestess

    Will look forward to seeing your personal rune set 🙂 I like the sound of a rune reading where all the runes are thrown, and it’s about interrelation – fits well with the connectedness of Gaia…

  3. Hi Molly —

    This post resonated with me in many ways: beach rocks (or shells) are a passion of mine; uncovering the “deeper depths of the psyche” is what my current book is about; and the flow state and synchronicity are methods to find those depths. I loved the quotes you reproduced. Thanks!

    In my experience, yin/yang talk can sometimes be a gender binary, but sometimes it describes in a fluid way, the types of changes that take place in life. I haven’t read Runes of the Goddess, so I don’t know how s/he uses this metaphor.

    • Thanks for commenting, Nancy! I have a passion for all kinds of rocks–from the big stones I like to sit on to lovely gems on my fingers 🙂

      My feeling was that the yin/yang talk was in a gender binary manner–ie “the feminine is passive and flowing and yielding and receptive” (and the “negative” polarity) and the masculine is active and “positive.” The book as a whole was good though and I learned new things plus got inspired!

  4. Ravenna Rose

    Merry Meet, Sister in Goddess,

    Love your review of this book, and I would not be comfortable with the yin/yang gender binary and the God mention either. I own other book on runes through a feminist perspective: “Lady of the Northern Light – A Feminist Guide to the Runes” by Susan Gitlin-Emmer. This is great. 😉

    Love your blog and I am eager to find (and buy) Shekhinah Mountainwater´s books: Ariadnes´s Thread and the booklet Womanrunes.

    Wishing you and your Goddess journey many feminist blessings,

    Ravenna Rose

  5. Who is the author of ‘Runes of the Goddess?’ I definitely want to check it out. And thanks for the recommendation, Ravenna Rose. I’m looking for ‘Lady of the Northern Light’ on Goodreads as well. 🙂

  6. Hi, Nancy.

    Thank you for the book suggestion. I do love Diana Paxson. I own her book “The Way of the Oracle”. Amazing. Going for “Taking Up the Runes”. 😉

  7. Pingback: Runes of the Goddess | WoodsPriestess

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: