Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Whatll We Do With a Drunken Blank Rune?

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Remember the silly Blank Rune? At least one person on the net does, since someone was recently ranting about Ralph Blum's rune book in my forum. His new way of beating that dead horse was to insist the problem was "cultural appropriation" rather than that the whole idea of a Blank Rune is poppycock.

For those who don't remember those days: Once upon a time, there was hardly anyone on the net and it was not a place to buy books. The only readily publicly available information on modern day Heathenry / Norse / Germanic paganism was in rune magic books in general bookstores. Rune sets were not easily available for purchase. Along came Ralph Blum with a book on rune magic packaged with a rune set. Of course the market gobbled it up. The trouble was, Blum's rune system was mostly bunkum, and the rune sets included the 24 Elder Futhark runes plus an extra Blank Rune.

A futhark is an alphabet. There is no reason on the goddess-green-Earth for an alphabet to have a blank letter, especially in a family of languages in which a dot is used to separate words instead of the blank space used in Modern English.

That said, I'm not here to metaphorically gatekeep systems of divination. I am too busy literally gatekeeping my forum, to keep out Nazis, white supremacists, scammers, spammers, salesbots, datespambots, and trolls, with the help of the other Trollslayers. If anyone out there is actually still using a Ralph Blum rune set and likes it, you do you boo.


If you have one of those Blank Rune sets and are wondering what to do with the Blank Rune, here are a couple of ideas.

Now for a while the standard advice was to save it in case you lost one of the runes in your set, so you could make a replacement. Not too long ago I actually did lose a rune from the rune set I was using, and now I think making a replacement rune for the set is bad advice. When I lost the rune out of my set, that rune didn't go poof, it still existed, and it was still magically active. I replaced the entire set with a new rune set. (Actually, person I was reading for when I lost the rune made me a new set, which was really cool. It's a great new set. I wrote about that on a prior post. After that I eventually found the missing rune.)

So, here's my new advice. A rune set with anything in it other than runes, including a blank rune, is not a regular rune set but a customizable set. Put a symbol on your Blank Rune, so it is no longer blank. Not a rune, something else, something with personal meaning to you. Then start adding more objects. Got a shell? Now you have "sea." A pebble from the desert? That means "desert." A bottle cap? "Modern human made things." River rock means "river," seed pod from your garden means-- whatever you want it to mean. Collect local things, meaningful things, powerful things. Make things, if you're into ceramics, or wood carving, or whatever. Anything roughly the size and weight of the other things in your new custom set. Put anything with a meaning in there: a cat toy, a pot shard, a bullet, a lizard skull, a key fob, a key, a typewriter key, a glass bead, anything.

What if your new set gets so big it becomes unwieldy? Keep going until you can't hold everything in your hands. Then take out the runes. Leave your custom designed symbol on what was once the Blank Rune in your new customized divination set. Now you have two divination sets: a regular rune set, and a custom set.

What'll we do with a drunken Blank Rune?

What'll we do with a drunken Blank Rune?

What'll we do with a drunken Blank Rune?

Ear- lie in the mornin'?

Put a meaningful symbol on it!

Put a meaningful symbol on it!

Put a meaningful symbol on it!

Ear-lie in the mornin'!

Last modified on
Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


  • Victoria
    Victoria Wednesday, 10 November 2021

    Haha, I remember the days of the blank rune, what a blast from the past.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Friday, 12 November 2021

    Yep! Well the 70s and 80s are in fashion right now. Even some electric car makers are jumping on that bandwagon, lol.

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