Today I finished the text for a booklet that will be packaged with the Martin rune deck. These 33 cards are the work of Pagan artist Taren Martin and will soon be available through Wolfden Designs.
I cannot find words to express how excited I am about this project. The images on the cards are the result of extensive collaborations between Taren and myself. Every effort was made to depict on each card the meaning of the corresponding passage in the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem. Perhaps more importantly, every effort was made to avoid depicting anything else. My personal peeve with other rune decks (other than most of them being Elder Fuþark and thus lacking 5-9 runic characters) is the artists’ tendency to depict their own fanciful interpretations. In a deck I recently purchased, the thorn rune had an image of dancing imps or devils, even though there is nothing in the rune poem to suggest any such idea. Taren and I have worked very hard to keep the Martin rune deck faithful to the lore.
Beyond this, however, the illustrations on these cards are beautiful! My very favorite is the image for the os rune, showing the silvery magic flowing out from Woden’s mouth. Sigel, peorth, gear and ing are also personal favorites. There is a card for each of the 29 passages of the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, plus four more for the runes that have no surviving lore. Taren and I both felt it was important to include these for people who would like to explore the potential of the calc, gar, cweorth and stan runes. These cards have a distinct look to ensure the rúnwita remembers that any interpretation is purely intuition on his or her part.
I’m hoping that Taren will be able to kit me out with a deck to take to Between the Worlds and Earth Warriors later next month, but these cards probably won’t be available to the public until mid-October. An announcement and appropriate link will be posted here as soon as they are released for purchase.