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The advantage in knowing the future is the power to control it. If all futures were rosy there would be no point in divination. Its value lies in revealing hurtful influences before they mature, or providing reassurance that a present circumstance will not evolve into something destructive. In either case it directs necessary action-what must, or need not, be done.

To change the future it is necessary to shift from one branch on the world ash Yggdrasill to another using the nodes formed tributary, Wherever a choice is possible, there exists a node, or juncture. When a choice is made, one pathway opens while the others are blocked. Divination projects a line into the future based on cause and effect: what will happen due to outer circumstances and inner nature.

It is not so easy to later the prediction of the runes. True divination takes into account all factors that influence the question. There is no place for chance. It even considers its own influence. Therefore, a man reacting against the future he has divined may, by his actions, help to bring it to pass. Unwittingly he becomes part of its fulfillment.

To change the outcome of the runes he must step outside the matrix of the unconscious from which their verdict was drawn. As long as he stays within that closed circle, he can never alter the future, because he remains part of its cause and effect. In Eastern mystical terms, he is a prisoner of karma.

Only an act of free will can break the chain of cause and effect revealed by the runes. The will is transcendent. It is born in the Unmanifest, and is not a part of the underlying fabric of the universe. Because it is outside the ring of karma, the runes are unable to take account of it in predicting the future. It is the true deus ex machina of life.

The most necessary thing to bring about an act of free will is to realize its absence in everyday existence. Most people have no awareness of their bondage, and so can never be anything other than slaves. They are automatons pushed and pulled about in the depths of a great machine; sleepers dancing in slow harmony to a single strain of music they cannot consciously hear.

However, acts of free will do occur in ordinary lives. Almost everyone transcends cause and effect at least on a few rare occasions, usually at moments of extreme stress. A decision that is free can be recognized by the sense of inevitability and power it carries with it. You can actually feel freedom; it has a unique quality, There is a calmness, even love; or those times you are oppressed by inertia and indifference, yet involve yourself, you may become free.

To change the future it is first necessary to understand the verdict of the runes n relation to the question, and to trace the chain of cause and effect with full awareness of its mechanical aspect. Then you must meditate sincerely and consider what outcome would not be a blind reaction to circumstance, Seek to imagine a future scenario that is healthful and positive. It must be absolutely free of hostility, envy, and all other negative feelings.

It is not necessary to consider what steps are required to achieve this scenario, only to conceive it with crystal clarity fulfilled and existent. Magic finds its own course to the sea. If you begin to speculate on ways to achieve your ideal state, your desire will hinder its occurrence. You must be prepared to follow the pathway your magic opens before you. It is futile to try to plot the path ahead of time- at best an intellectual exercise, at worst an obstruction.

You should, however, be aware that the free act necessary to change your future will occur at one of the nodes on your lifeline, a moment of decision where multiple branches diverge. It is not a good idea to try to create a node; that is, to force a decision. Again, this will generate desire which is part of cause and effect. Better to wait for a node to be reached, then when it feels right, to act according to intuition. Your act of true will is channeled by the magical preparation that will be described a little farther on.

There are two types of blind reaction to guard against. The first is passive. If you allow yourself to be moved by influences other than your heart of Self, even those that seem benign or useful, you are no more than a billiard ball knocked about the table by other equally enslaved balls. Such passive acceptance is everywhere in common life. The herd instinct, peer pressure, fashion, fads, cults, patriotism, mob violence. prejudice, are all different aspects of passive reaction.

The second type of reaction is active. Returning anger for anger, violence for violence, hate for hate, and even love for love on a elementary level, are examples of active reaction. For example, if a car cuts you off in traffic, and you in turn cut off some other car attempting to merge ahead of you, this is active reaction.

It is not necessarily more free to react against intimidation then acquiesce to it. Both are equally animal response when the impulse does not originate with the true Will, which is the agent of the Higher Self. One may be more satisfying than the other, and here lies the danger-because it yields a momentary burst of satisfaction it is liable to be mistaken for a thing of value, which it is not. All reaction is valueless to the evolution of the soul. And more to the point in the present inquiry, no reaction will alter the future revealed by the runes.

Of course, it is here assumed that the divination has been properly executed and interpreted. If either was done wrongly it would require an act of free will to fulfill the prognostication!

The runes themselves give guidance on how to change the outcome of the reading. In any divination that cannot be accepted there are unfavorable elements, embodied in individual runes. The forces that these negative elements represent must first be analyzed and understood. Then counter-forces, in the form of runes with opposite potentials, can be applied to lessen or abolish their hurtful influence.

It may be easier to grasp the technique through a hypothetical example.

A woman needs to know if a man is seriously interested in her. She has been dating this man for some time. At first he was responsive and loving, but lately he has begun to show signs of coldness. She casts the rune wands, and draws up three in this order, from left to right:

The first rune, Sigel, stands for the active fire of the Sun and its potent energies. The position indicates that it applies to the past, and to influences on the question that underlie or define its circumstances. With regard to the relationship and the male love, it tells of a fiery and active beginning, aggression, confidence-perhaps too much confidence. The sun bolt can easily become destructive.

The second rune, Lagu, stands for water, dreams, illusion, emotion, perhaps a wavering or uncertainty. The position indicates that it should be applied to the present, and to the heart of the subject under inquiry; in this case, the lover himself. The water directly applied to a male suggests contradiction, inner conflict, and weakness of an emotional nature.

The third rune, Feoh, stands for possessions of a movable kind, ownership in general, and in a negative interpretation, dullness servitude and captivity, The position indicates that it applies to the future, the outcome of the question, and to influences that are developing and ripening.

Any set of runes can be interpreted in many different ways. Only one of these interpretation will be accurate, It is always necessary to allow intuition to act in revealing the runes. If the mind is open and impartial, one thread of meaning will rise above the others.

In this case, the woman remembers that at the start of the relationship he was cool and somewhat indifferent to the advances of the man because she did not then know if she cared for him. But as her love grew stronger, she became more demonstrative and active in pursuing his interest. She phoned him at his place of work, called unannounced at his apartment, and generally tried to make plain her affection, It was at this point that his passion cooled.

The interpretation lies in the third rune. The man fears that he is being aggressively led into a position from which he cannot escape. He feels himself manipulated, whether rightly or wrongly, and his unusually potent ego is threatened. This makes him uncertain how to respond, and he withdraws.

Understanding the present situation, and its prospects in the future, the woman must now decide what steps will counter the negative forces involved. She can choose to change the behavior of her lover, change the environment in which the affair exists, or change her own behavior.

The temptation is to put pressure on the man to impel him back into the relationship-either by arousing so strong a desire in him that it overcomes his qualms, or by altering material circumstances in his life so that he is thrown by social forces into her arms: creation of a mutual dependency or common financial interest, for example.

Upon reflection the woman realizes that these courses would only extend the behavior on her part that alienated her lover in the first place. Also, she has no wish to change his basic nature since she is attracted to him as he is.

The alternative is to alter her own behavior in such a way that she is no longer producing an effect opposite to the one she desires. By being too demonstrative in trying to draw her lover to her, she has frightened him away. She must set the runes to act on herself internally so that she feels less anxiety over losing the man, and less urge to capture and possess him, since these are the emotions that have poisoned the affair.

Notice that it is not necessary for her to compromise her feelings or her ideals, only to control those involuntary reactions that are interfering with her happiness. At the same time she will invoke a healthful and balanced emotional atmosphere that will convey the changes she has undertaken to the attention of her lover, It is not necessary that he be consciously aware of any change in her, so long as it infiltrates his unconscious awareness.

Runes that are used to bring about personal transformation are called change runes. The woman chooses three of these to embody the forces she wants to bear on the relationship-three to balance the three runes of the divination. These are, from left to right:


The first of these, Eoh, reacts on the Sigel rune of the divination. The influence of Eoh is strength, reliance, continuity, endurance, fidelity, and related qualities. These do not counter the influence of Sigel, but add to it and enhance the forces that underlie the love relationship. Its fire is moderated and made steadier so it will burn longer.

The second rune, Man, reacts on Lagu in the divination. The influence of Man is awareness, capability, assurance, and clarity of purpose, It acts to dispel through insight and reason the confusion and emotional instability of the Lagu rune, applying to the central nature of the lover himself and allowing him to see the true motive of the woman.

The third rune, Ing, reacts on the Feoh rune of the divination. The influence of Ing is that of home and hearth; it carries associations of family, trust, selfless affection and honor. These lend to the passive qualities of Feoh a positive aspect, an the message of love through coercion becomes one of love through respect.

To activate these change runes requires the construction of a personal ritual based on the general ritual method given in Rune Ritual, and the rune magic techniques. The runes must be carved into, or bound to, some material or object that represents the focus of their desired effect-in the hypothetical case given, the behavior of the woman herself and the way her lover perceives it.

The object may be a letter, a photograph, a piece of furniture, a gift, an article of clothing, but it is important that it have the most complete and precise association possible. In the example, a photograph of the woman and man taken together would serve to represent her behavior, his perception and the love relationship.

Each change rune must be considered specifically with regard to that portion of the divination it applies to, in order to focus its power. If not focused and directed that energy will be lost. It is not necessary to numerically reflect the divination. More or less runes may be used, perhaps only a single rune, but there must be a willed application of the change runes to the question.

To carry the example further, the woman chooses a photograph that shows both she and her lover together in happier times. She prepares herself mentally with prayer and ritual washing, goes to the place of ritual and invokes the patronage and favor of the god of love, Balder. Drawing the change runes on the back of the photograph with red ink, she wills them into the essence of the picture, visualizing her ideal manner, and the ideal reaction of her lover to her. She kisses each of the change runes reverently to empower them with love.

This ritual she repeats every day, and she waits and remains watchful for the coming of the node of decision that will enable her to actualize her purpose. She trusts to her intuition and the action of the change runes, that she will recognize the moment and act rightly when it arrives. The repetition of the ritual builds a kind of magical charge that arcs across the node.

It is best to retain the change runes between repetitions of the change ritual, rather than to attempt to send them on one of the elements. That way the potent associations of the object to which they are affixed will not be lost. The runes will continue to work on the object, and by magical sympathy, the problem, between their ritual charging.

Whatever the form of the ritual that is devised, it must be repeated often and regularly, Beginners in magic sometimes think a ritual will be effective the first time it is conducted. This occasionally occurs. More generally, results are built up over time through repetition. Many, many repetitions may be needed before the runes begin to blaze with their own fire and come truly alive. A well-known maxim in magic is:"Invoke Often."

It is, however, not so necessary to believe in the efficacy of ritual as is generally thought. When it is worked with an open mind, accurate procedure, and repetition, results will follow, as surely as day follows night. To some extent magic is an automatic process. In the same way that muscles must be built up through proper exercise, magical effects must follow properly executed rituals. It takes a perverse ingenuity to perform a ritual correctly and often, yet get no results at all.

Whatever the structure of the personal change ritual you devise, in it you will be focusing upon the change runes and charging them with power through your will, then channeling that power into the object representing the question of the previous divination, the outcome of which you wish to alter.

Picture in your mind the change runes working to shift the life-stem from one branch of Yggdrasill to another. Imagine as concretely as possible the effect you wish to bring about occurring through the action of the runes, and conveyed through the association of the object on which they are carved or written. Do not imagine the original runes of the divination, or picture the situation they predicted. Make no effort to avoid these thoughts, as this will surely bring them about. Rather, concentrate solely on the change runes and their effect.

If the ritual is conducted often, as will usually be necessary, it may not e desirable to feed the runes with blood each time. Blood will strengthen the working of the runes, but if there is a reluctance to draw it day after day, any useful effect will be negated by that unconscious resistance, To be a sacrifice blood must be given freely. The problem may not arise in change rituals that involve other fluids of the body, which are more readily obtained.

The appropriate gods should be invoked to oversee the operation of the change ritual. Remember the gods are living spirits with personalities that must be dealt with and appealed to, if the desired results are to follow. Never make the mistake of looking upon the gods as metaphors for psychological forces. This is fatal. The gods are real, and you had best regard them as real if you want them to act in your behalf.

For works of love, invoke Freyja or Frey. For strictly physical desire, Frija; but for spiritual love, Balder. For works of obligation, duty, office, or honor, invoke Tiw. For works of war, discord, strife, or physical trial, invoke Thor. For any work regarding magic, artistry, craftsmanship, or skill, invoke Odin. For works of deceit, deception, confusion, division, or malice, invoke Loki-but watch it! For works of patience, endurance and constancy, invoke Heimdall. For necromancy, invoke Hel.

These categories apply to all rune magic, not merely when using change runes to alter the future.

Call the gods through their associations (colors, metals, personal objects, and so on) and by visualizing their forms. Placate them by showing an awareness of their function and nature, their role in the scheme of things. Activate them through prayer and ritual enactment.

Prayer to a rune god should take the form of a statement of purpose and expression of thanks. Honor the gods with appropriate words. This is a kind of sacrifice-a sacrifice of the mind, called "reasonable sacrifice"-which will feed the gods and empower them to act in your behalf. Reasonable sacrifice to the Highest, who is Nameless and Formless, is silence. All lesser gods are honored through their attributes.

Never humble yourself before the rune god, or grovel, or beg. These actions serve no function. Never promise a gift to a rune god for services rendered. If the service is given, a payment will surely be exacted. It is not for you to determine in advance what it should be, or to try to reduce or limit it.

Invoking the appropriate god during the change ritual will give greater force to the change runes. The god will serve as an agent in employing them. Of course the appropriate god will act in any case, even if it is not called by name, but calling him or her increases the ease of the god's intervention.

As stated before, the key to changing the future lies no in the technique, but in knowing what should, and should not, be changed. Everyone has heard stories about people who learn their fate and try to avoid it, but through their frantic efforts only succeed in bringing about the doom they sought to shun. Such fiction has a moral in it for rune magicians. Change the future if you must, but think before you act.

  Thanks so much to the enlightened words of Donald Tyson.
Reprinted partially or entirely from Rune Magic.