Sep 21, 2016

Oracle Review: Running Press Runes (Mini Kit)

I recently picked up a set of runes from Barnes and Noble. You know that irresistible swively display of miniature boxed goodies in the checkout line? The impulse items that are the Running Press Mini Kits.

I own several:
• The Nova Tarot
• The Answer Deck
• Wee Little Garden Gnome (so cute!)
• And my son's Grow Your Own Venus Fly Trap Kit
• As well as this set I am reviewing here, Runes: Unlock the Secrets of the Stones by Sarah O'Brien.

See? Irresistible.

I'd been wanting a set of runes to play around with while I learned the system. I started making my own set awhile ago, but abandoned the project half way.  I realized I wouldn't have the time to devote to completely learning a new oracle system, so I wasn't ready to invest in a really nice set of wooden runes. So I picked up this little kit, and it's done the job quite well.

"Gain ancient wisdom with Runes and take a peek into your future. Included are a set of 24 glass runes, a cloth to do your runes casting on, and an 88-page book."

The above excerpt was taken from the back of the box, and right off the bat I have to call bullsh*t.  The runes in this set are plasticnot glass. How the publishers are able to get away with this blatant lie is beyond me. It was disappointing when I opened them, only because I felt duped. I was  duped. However, the plastic runes served my purpose just as well as glass ones would. I just wish the box had been forthcoming. If it had claimed plastic runes inside, I still would have bought them. And I would have been perfectly satisfied.

The kit comes with a white satiny-polyester cloth measuring approximately 8.25" x 10.75".  The runes are housed in a small plastic ziploc-type bag. You'll need to get your own bag to house them and draw from.

(Note: The image of the set for sale at Amazon shows a velvet bag. Mine didn't come with this - so I can't guarantee yours would either.)

The runes themselves measure approximately 3/4" in diameter and are circular, rather than rectangular, so it's difficult to select one as definitively upright or reversed. (Runes have different meanings when drawn reversed.)  They are rounded on top, like little domes, with flat bottoms. The rune pieces are black, and the symbols are painted with gold ink, which looks nice in contrast.

There is no blank rune included in this set.  From what I've read, the blank rune is a fairly recent addition to rune casting, and not traditional. But for those of you wishing to utilize the blank rune, this set does not include one.

The little book (measuring 2.5" x 3") begins with a brief history of runes, followed by a few pages on magic and divination.  For each rune, there is a full page image of the rune symbol, and on the opposite page is the name of the rune, pronunciation, the letter it symbolizes, the meaning (one or two keywords), and associations (more keywords).  The meanings are followed by a chapter on rune casting, and three spreads. The book's back cover tucks into a slit in the inside of the box, so it stays put for storage.

The book's meanings are extremely condensed. For the beginner, I think this is fine, as it gives a quick foundation, without overwhelming one with too much to learn at once.  But if you are serious about becoming proficient in the art of divination by rune casting, you'll definitely need to invest in full-length books on the subject.

I used the runes for a week to accompany my daily tarot readings, and just by using the keywords, they really opened up my tarot readings.  I can only imagine how much more powerful they would be if I knew them inside and out. (Or maybe not... perhaps their beauty for me lies in their simplicity.)

If you want an inexpensive set of runes, this one fills that niche, as long as you're okay with the plastic pieces. You'll read everywhere that you need to make your own runes with wood, or some other organic material, if you want the set to work properly for you. Rubbish. These plastic bits worked just fine for me, and gave me tremendous insight into my readings. A symbol is a symbol, whether it's painted on plastic or seen in the clouds floating above.  Of course, having a nice set of runes carved into wood or river rocks would be more aesthetically pleasing to me, but I don't believe they would be any more "accurate", aside from the convenience of their shape (I would select an oblong design, due to the nature of reading reversals in this system).

That's not to discourage you from creating your own runes. I'm sure it would be a lovely project. I'm just saying I personally don't believe it's necessary. (And if you'd prefer natural runes, but don't have the tools, skills or inclination to do it yourself, there are some nice hand made rune sets available on Etsy.)

This mini kit is fine for the beginner, or as a secondary set to carry around with you without having to worry that they might get lost or damaged, as you might with a fancier set of runes.

This oracle review was originally published on my previous blog (Tarot Dame) on 4/12/11.