Stadhagaldr and Breathing the Runes

Though I hung on Yggdrasil to receive the Runes in the way Odin did, stadhagaldr has a deep, connective magic all its own.  With my önd I breathe each Rune into me as I described here.  The powerful rush this gives is incredible; I feel each Rune align with me, my energy in a way that is nearly palpable, with a feeling of the Rune overlaying itself onto my body.  I shut my eyes, and as I intone the Name of the Rune, I feel the spirit-being come to me, letting me experience its many qualities.  Sometimes, as happened with Fehu, , I opened my arms to the sky and felt my body become a stalk of corn.  With Uruz, , I became a strong bull auroch, muscles rippling and my horns well shaped, even as a I bent over, my fingers reaching to the ground and my head following them.  With Isa, , I felt myself encased in ice, felt the room grow colder despite the overhead heater.  Many other Runes followed this, giving me a full-sensory experience as I intoned them.

In just this small amount of time, I feel I have connected to the Runes in a wholly new way, one that includes them into my being gently, but firmly.  When I stained my Runes during the Nine Days, I developed a fast, quick, deep connection to them with my blood, a connection that I cannot fully explain.  In contrast, the former is far more gentle, allowing them to integrate into my energies in calm, slow ways, whereas connecting to them with blood was far more visceral, cording up into my energies and powerfully becoming part of me.  The latter brought them into my whole being, whereas the stadhagaldr work seems to be effective in ‘smoothing out wrinkles’ from that experience, and giving me new insight into the Runes as I intone them.  Keeping in mind, of course, staining Runes is a much different practice, I would say that if I did my Hanging on the Tree again, I would probably have incorporated, if not done having done significant time doing, stadhagaldr in the ordeal.  Working with the Runes in spellwork and Runecasting is one thing; integrating them into your spirit body and everyday life can be quite another.

Gods…what a powerful technique.

Something I am considering is intoning each of the Runes in their respective merkstave and/or opposition forms, and feeling the energies of each, both to understand the energies of them, and to be able to recognize them in myself.  This is something I’ll be pondering for a bit prior to doing; I want to at least have a solid month of practice under my belt before doing such a thing.

5 thoughts on “Stadhagaldr and Breathing the Runes

  1. Oh I yearn for such perspectives about runes ! Did you write some other articles explaining some practices with runes ? I’d love to develop my own practice and learn more… But I didn’t read in French so many testimonies like yours, which tackles a deeper level.


  2. Actually I was first introduced to the idea via a website, and it turns out the practice comes from the books of Edred Thorsson, from Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic and Rune Might: Secret Pratices of the German Rune Magicians.

    I have not yet written about many exercises with Runes, but I can.
    What would you like to know?


    • Well, I guess everything, because I didn’t find very good resources for now.

      – what is Stadhagaldr, where does the word comes from (geographically and etymologically), how does one proceed etc
      – same for “Breathing the Runes”
      – what other “advanced” exercises are there (the possibilities of connection with the ruens)
      – what is “staining the runes”

      See, in fact sometimes it’s just more details. Sometimes it’s a summary of the whole thing. Your posts are very interesting, but maybe not so clear for the non “initiated” 😉


      • <a href="; Here is the website where I found the information on Stadhagaldr.

        In “Breathing the Runes”, what I mean is this:
        1) Breathe in a long, slow breath.
        2) Breathe out, with that out breath saying the Rune (i.e. start with Fehu).
        3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have done them 3 times total.
        4) Repeat steps 1 and 2 with a new Rune.

        As you work with this, you can incorporate visualization, stances as in Stadhagaldr, and can turn the intoning of the Runes to magical use, such as projecting the Rune you are intoning onto an object. Really, once you work with it, you could incorporate the Breathing of the Runes into any work that you could see fit to use it in.

        As for other “advanced” exercises to connect you to the Runes, you could:

        • Meditate on a Rune a day.
        • Bake Runic cookies and thus, bring them into yourself
          in a physical way
        • Draw a Rune or many Runes on your body where you need aid, i.e. Laguz on your heart for working with your emotions.
        • Sing the Runes so that you identify certain tones with certain Runes, making them more useful for you in vocal (Galdr) magic.

        There are many more examples in books, i.e. Raven Kaldera’s Northern Tradition Shaman series found here, or Galina Krasskova’s works here, or Diana L. Paxson’s book here, or Freya Aswynn’s book here.

        “Staining” the Runes is the ancient practice of ‘staining’ them with your blood. As I experienced it, it drew the Runes and I together, tying us magically together. It is not something to undertake lightly. If you are unsure if you are going to use the Runes long-term, I would stain them with Dragon’s blood or a blood-substitute.


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