Rune Magic Novel by Michael Conneely and Worldwide Runes Course
Michael Conneely’s novel Rune Magic is available on Amazon worldwide as paperback or kindle. It tells the story of two young people taken up by Odin as Ragnarok approaches, because the High One has a plan to ave the Aesir Gdos and the Nine Worlds where they are somehow key.
Michael also teaches a worldwide Runes Course where you can study each rune in turn, learn the special wisdom and power each rune expresses about an area of life, and heal and empower yourself with the magic of the runes, runes chant, rune stance and meeting the Norse Gods and Goddesses.
In this video, Michael Conneely reads and extract from the novel. Here, the young hero, Declan, does the ritual to mount Yggdrassil and seize the magic of the runes:
And you can find out all about the Runes Course and enroll at: http://www.rune-path.com/
Declan refused to eat when he finally awoke. He stood there, shockingly, before them. He looked so harrowed. He seemed almost destroyed by the third Norn’s prophecy: that his life was short.
‘Smear my body in white clay,’ Declan told them grimly in a voice that was almost beyond despair. ‘The clay from the pool is the paste the Nornir use to heal the Tree. It will heal me as I prepare for my part in the coming End of Time. Smear me with white clay to token coming death.’ His voice was sounding ever further from them in his coming trance.
The other three went repeatedly to the waterside, back and forth, until every inch of Declan’s body was covered with think swirls of limey clay which set a corpse-white sheet, rigid on his skin.
‘I know what he wants,’ Frithgeir said, ‘it has come into my mind.’ Frithgeir opened the one of the two silver flasks that Odin had given Declan. Then he painted onto the dry hard white corpse-covering paste covering Declan’s body, a great vermilion spiral at the base of Declan’s spine, running on up the back of his neck, the line snaking upwards to his skull where Frithgeir ended it in the snake’s head drawn red atop the crown amid the flaming tresses of his hair.
Declan put his hands behind him and briefly tilted his head far backwards and stared up to the crown of the World Tree, Yggdrassil. Then, grimly, he shouldered his spear and waded round the edge of the pool to where three roots of the World Tree opened at the base of the trunk and went towards the gap between them. The other three shuddered and cried out loud when, one foot in the water and one foot on the earth, Declan suddenly pierced his side with the spear as Odin had done when he first seized the Magic of the Runes and disappeared between the roots, leaving a trail of bright red blood on the snowy rocks behind him and a red swirl in the water that was seized and taken by the current.
Magda gasped and put her hand to her mouth. ‘I didn’t know he was going to do that! – with the spear. Oh no: he could die.’
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‘Things are coming towards us,’ Frithgeir suddenly said.
‘What things?’ Magda almost screamed.
‘Look: through the shadow of the wood.’
They each found themselves trembling in every limb, not from fear they realised, but from dizzy mounting excitement. ‘Something is coming to us,’ Frithgeir whispered, ‘something big and massive-’
‘Vast – And in its train, many lesser things of the same nature,’ Magda whispered, using her Sight to penetrate the wood further that the eye could see. Every nerve in their bodies began to sing ecstatically. ‘Declan’s act is attracting entities,’ she told them.
‘The Old Ones!’ The words came unbidden from Frithgeir’s lips. ‘It must be The Old Ones!’ and without their wishing it, each one of them stepped forwards as the primal attraction of Earth’s most ancient gods and spirits drew and enveloped them in their ancient presence. ‘The Old Ones,’ Magda whispered. ‘I can see them. They are making themselves present as Declan seizes the runes.’
‘They have expectations of him,’ Brosni murmured.
The primal spirits came and carried Declan’s soul in a state beyond sleeping or waking to the other world. His body hanging naked on the Tree, he came to know his spirits, gods, ghosts, ancestors and beasts and they dismembered his body and tore it into pieces then regurgitated what they had picked over and stuck it laughing back together again with the ancient rough humour that always comes from feeding on other people’s guts.
‘I’ll remember your beaks,’ Declan shouted at the Ravens, ‘you won’t get away with this. I shall know you,’ he warned them. But no sound came out because his lips had not re-healed and it felt like his face split with the pain of shouting at them, and, anyway, the Ravens just fell around laughing at his futile raving. Declan tried to feel if the other bits of him were all there, but it hurt him to even try to move to look for them.
Declan’s mind was taken apart in the spirit realm. His mind was dissolved. All the conditioning was taken apart. He saw things as they are. ‘Normal’ objects came before his mind, but he now could see they have fantastic scope: their implications! Each thing speaks volumes to those that can hear them. ‘Each thing is a magic broomstick,’ Declan saw, ‘it can carry me anywhere.’ Each object that came into his mind: its implications were what he had never realised before: beautiful or terrible, new and ancient. The utter beauty of the objects his mind called in as he hung there was breathtaking – it was like he was seeing the universe for the first time. The colours were fantastic, bright beyond bright, utterly beautiful. He hung in a realm of beauty and terror. Hanging between the worlds, lost to time. He saw the futility of the things people normally focus on: what they call their lives.
Declan began to receive the fullness of the rune-vision on Yggdrassil. His mind grew increasingly exhausted as he hung there, yet clarity grew from the exhaustion. His body was wracked. He was going beyond pain. How many days? He had no idea. And yet he gave thanks. In the dissolution of Declan’s mind he knew the void and the peace and certainly of the void; his exhausted mind was void and simple and easily overwhelmed by sensation. In what to most men seems everyday, Declan now saw the true meaning: the hand of god. He thrilled with the joy of life and death. He saw how the material world is just a skin on the spirit world and how the past is in the present, and how the present is the womb of the future so that past, present and future are always at the same time everywhere. And he saw how lives and the material world are just the outworking of forces much vaster and more ancient.
The word Yggre kept rolling round Declan’s hurting skull and echoing. The name of the World Tree, Yggdrassil means ‘Yggr’s Horse’ someone had told him once. Yggre means terrible one. Yggre means ogre: one of Odin’s names. Declan dimly remembered.
There must be a message,’ his mind told him ‘ … a m m m- … a message.’ Someone had implanted a message for these words to come now. Declan’s head hurt so much. ‘The message…’ Declan’s mind groped dully, ‘the message.’ The message. Horse? How could a tree be a horse? At last he felt he remembered. Odin rode the Tree. Like riding a stallion. Painfully Declan shifted his gaze and then he could see it. ‘I too must ride the tree.’
In the places where the branches split, where twigs split off, he now saw clearly there were rune shapes! Declan began to see them: Peorth, Tyr. Runes he had learned from his mother’s books. He tried to move his weary head to look for others, but his vision blurred. ‘It is a ritual of exhaustion,’ he told himself. The words ‘ritual of exhaustion’ arose in his mind, floated there, and then receded. Another message. Who had implanted these? Declan wondered feebly. Another phrase rolled around, but he could not tell whose voice: ‘so as to transcend ego’, then another: ‘to get past everyday self’. Who had spoken those words to him once? The suffering wracked Declan’s body but he felt he understood. ‘This is not masochism,’ he spoke out loud, trying to rally himself. ‘This is not self-sacrifice. It is sacrifice. Necessary sacrifice to gain power.’
‘.. worked with the runes in a previous life ….’
Declan looked around. He saw the ravens and the wolves were gathered at the foot of the Tree waiting for parts of his body. He flinched. The ravens and the wolves eyed him toothily and he hardly felt he had the strength to fight them and live on. He knew than that if he died, the ravens and the wolves would consume him – flesh and bone and sinew, everything he loved about his body; nothing would remain. But then Declan screamed as he foresaw that they would consume him anyway. First the wolves came towards him. There were two of them: Geri and Freki, but it was not just his tortured body that they sought with their gaping jaws and lolling tongues, it was more his soul. Declan lived, but the two wolves took over part of him, but as Declan started to scream again, he surrendered and he suddenly realised it was actually not too bad after all. They shared their souls with him – and he with them.
Now, Declan knew what it was to be pack-brothers; what it was to howl at the Moon; what it was to fight for dominance and mate joyously and fiercely and see the rest of the animal world as food and what it was to care for your pups and play with them.
And then the Ravens consumed him. There were the same two of them he already knew, or thought he knew: Hugin and Munin. But they consumed him in a different way: they took over part of his consciousness and he took over part of theirs. They became friends and travelling-fellows and allies. And Declan found he had ravens wings sprouting from his shoulder blades and a raven’s head and neck upon his shoulders and he opened his beak and cawed viciously and the raven part of his being soared above the Well, and then returned to his tortured frame. But in that brief and triumphant flight, Declan knew what it was to eat the guts of dead warriors and kings and glory in a find of carrion and soar over cliffs of limestone afire with berried rowan trees.
And then Declan received another gift: he knew, he knew with utter certainty that when you do not allow your beast spirits enough action, enough physical motion, enough of your body-consciousness, they first get edgy: then they get angry! And then without fail you will die to life and you will become a shell. And Declan realised in this pain-wracked vision that that was what went wrong with his own world: with the country he had grown up in. and that was why he was called to reclaim the Groves of Innocence, now.
And in the next moment, he understood Loki, because that was what went wrong: what went wrong when the Norse folk left the simple life behind and in the end became the Vikings centuries later, when they started to have arranged marriages and rules beyond imagining, and did anything for money. That was how Fire Spirit, Loki, Trickster Loki, once Odin’s blood brother, got pushed out. Loki hated them for that. Then Loki got blamed and finally bound … and thinking of Loki: ‘Oh no,’ Declan gasped, ‘not you!’ Appearing before Declan’s naked dangling body was the Fire Spirit, himself. Declan felt totally vulnerable and exposed.
Loki leered at Declan shockingly intimately. His body shimmered with the play of fire. His eyes were volcanic, roiling magma. Their impact made Declan flinch as he hung unprotected, but with a supreme effort Declan gathered what was left of his strength; he summoned his wolf-self, bared his teeth and stood his ground.
‘Favoured one of Odin,’ Loki drew a mocking bow.
Loki laughed delightedly.
‘You look so much worse upside down with blood and puss running over your face,’ Loki drawled.
‘I thought you had been bound!’ Declan spat at him.
‘My bonds are loosening it seems,’ Loki giggled. ‘So, how goes the acquisition of the Runes little one?’ Loki asked him.
‘It hasn’t started yet. I’ve been doing other things first. So, if you’ll kindly get out of my Tree, I’ll get on with it.’
Loki laughed long and hard, and minced affectedly.
‘How can you be like that?’ Declan spat at him. ‘Time was you and the High One were blood brothers. Now, look at you. You’ve let yourself go rather, haven’t you?’
Declan thought he could see that his jibe had scored a hit. In fact he was sure it had! But Loki covered it immediately and mocked Declan: ‘Moral indignation is it?’ Loki tittered. ‘From a little whelp who’s lost more than he thinks in the dismembering just now and would have trouble fathering now it seems.’
Loki laughed delightedly as Declan looked on horrified impulse to see if anything else had happened to him.
‘Oh, and I know about your secret plan,’ Loki told him, conversationally, nearing Declan confidentially, ‘I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes if the High One finds out what you really want to do is go back home taking all your new magical knowledge with you, when what He wants is for you to save his skin and stop the nine worlds sliding to destruction.
‘Even if it is a little unorthodox even for him, even for the High One-,’ Loki managed a beautiful sneer on the words ‘High One’, ‘-the High One could live on if you and your little girl friend do fulfil the Lif and Lifthrasir thing, but what would He say if He knew that all his darling adopted son really plans is to use all the new magic to get back home? I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes when He realises!’ Loki continued, ‘I really wouldn’t-,’
‘You don’t know what my plans are,’ Declan spat, ‘and there’s no way I would want help from you!’ Declan cried.
Their faces were now only inches apart. Their skins were hairbreadth apart. He could feel it, and Declan squirmed at the thought that Loki might actually touch him as he hung there, helpless. The Loki-fire flared and burned Declan dreadfully and he gasped. The eyes turned inside out in fiery spirals. Loki’s form fluctuated and grew mountainous then resumed the human size he was affecting earlier.
‘Declan,’ insinuated Loki, ‘you know the way the Aesir ran things all went wrong. Oh, and I am impressed at how quickly you saw it. You’re a very intelligent boy. You know the way the Folk ran their lives got more and more full of all your boring rules. Declan, now you have become the wolf and the raven. You know that humans are doomed if they leave the beast side and the dark side behind them.
‘Declan. Declan, Declan, I know you don’t just see me as I am now. I know you also see me as I was before the Aesir hurt me. I know you see me as I was when the High One and I shared our blood and swore blood-brothers at the start of time.’
For an instant, Declan saw the noble trickster spirit flicker of fire, instead of the leering bitter face of a now seedy lascivious giant. ‘Ah ha,’ you know!’ said Loki triumphantly. ‘I see you know. Declan. The Nine Worlds are finished, Declan’ Loki explained. ‘Very soon, oh yes, very soon, I shall head to shore in my boat made of human corpses’ nails, and the Aesir gods will die – every one of them. None shall escape, not even Odin. But it need not have been like this, Declan. It need not have been like this! Always remember: it need not have been like this. Can you avoid the same mistake?’
‘What do you want with me, Loki?’ Declan shot the question.
‘What do you want?’ Loki answered him. ‘You have been too frit to even tell anyone your plan because you doubt it and you lack the courage,’ Loki challenged him. ‘Remember this conversation when you go to Mimir’s Grove. I am who you need, not just Mimir, not just Odin. Remember what I could have been.
‘Do you really want to save your own world from itself? Can you? Isn’t it too far gone? But Declan, if you do really have the courage to be a hero, and if you do succeed, remember me. I, too, want to change, remember! We can help each other. You and I, Declan, the fact is: we need each other.’ And with a smell of sulphur, Loki disappeared.
‘We will meet again’ echoed soundlessly in Declan’s skull as the fire spirit flared and vanished.