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Re: Book Review: Pierced by the Light, Rig Svenson

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  • Michele
    I look forward to finally getting or order your book Rig, and to emerse myself in a trusted source of knowledge! Michele ... am in your debt for this. Please
    Message 1 of 13 , Nov 27, 2008
      I look forward to finally getting or order your book Rig, and to
      emerse myself in a trusted source of knowledge!


      --- In runes-divination@yahoogroups.com, Rig Svenson
      <rig_svenson@...> wrote:
      > Heilsa Os,
      > Again thank you very much for kindly doing a review on my book. I
      am in your debt for this. Please note that there is a cut off point
      in publications and no more room for a detailed explanation of the
      rune system at that time. My next serious book planned on runes will
      detail examples of divination with this method plus some very
      interesting NEW insights since I finished this book in 1998.
      > Next Rune Book Title:
      > Kräuterkunde, Hexenwissen, Runen groß und mächtig!
      > Herbal Knowledge, Wölvas Wisdom, Runes Powerful and Great
      > Will be much more illuminating and give an even deeper insight.
      > Frith
      > Rig
      > Os <witch@...> wrote:
      > Pierced by the Light, Rig Svenson, Flying Witch Publications, 2003
      > ISBN 1-900433-13-3
      > As I frequently comment, after one has read 20 or more books on the
      > runes you start to hit the rule of diminishing returns. Each book
      > seems to repeat the same things and it takes ever greater effort to
      > find anything fresh within it. Many of the most original books on
      > runes come from minor publishers and are often perfect bound with
      > fairly flimsy card covers. Examples are the Rune-Net Primer and
      > Pollington's Rudiments of Runelore. Svenson's Pierced by the
      > Light falls into this honorable tradition. It should be said at the
      > outset though that this is not a book limited to just runes. Rather
      > it describes a mindset, a way of life and a spiritual path which
      > encompasses the runes but much more besides. Svenson's runic
      > practice is firmly rooted in understanding the Norse literary texts
      > and respecting the deities they depict. Having always argued that
      > cannot truly understand the runes without a knowledge of the
      > which utilized them, I fully agree this is the correct approach. As
      > the book's subtitle makes clear though, the past is just a
      > starting point, this book describes the application of the Northern
      > Tradition and the runes today.
      > In many ways this is quite an amazing book but I must sound a few
      > notes of caution. Firstly this is not a text for the casual reader.
      > It is often demanding and extracting all the truths it has to offer
      > will take some time and effort. This is also true though of the
      > themselves and is one reason all the New Age instant-solution-
      > will only ever make limited progress with them. Certainly this book
      > will richly repay the time devoted to studying it but to do this
      > someone must already be committed to the runes. Hence this would
      > be a recommended starting text. Though Svenson explains about the
      > runes and Norse mythology in some details he often gets quickly
      > depth and I would recommend the acquisition of a little background
      > knowledge before embarking on this book. This is not to say that a
      > beginner will get nothing from this book but I wouldn't
      > necessarily choose it as a starting point.
      > Secondly and I proclaim this warning loudly, this is an adult book
      > and not for the easily offended. In an age where the momentary
      > exposure of a partially shielded nipple can generate mass public
      > outrage be aware that with Svenson you get more than you do at the
      > Superbowl, but equally be aware that unlike the aforementioned
      > occasion the use is non-gratuitous. There is a softly erotic
      > to some of the illustrations such as the topless woman accompanying
      > the Seidr chapter and there is at least one use of a possibly
      > offensive four letter word, though in the context of explaining a
      > particular sequence of runes. If these things actually cause the
      > reader concern then probably the Northern path is not the right one
      > for them, for they should keep in mind that the book promotes a
      > historically accurate attitude towards sex and the body which may
      > clash with some people's modern morality.
      > Assuming that these two issues present no barrier, the reader will
      > find this book offers a satisfying and sometimes illuminating
      > experience. Reading a good book is never a passive process.. there
      > is a direct interaction between the reader and the words. Whilst
      > reading this I passed through a wide range of emotional states even
      > undergoing a moment of personal revelation which I will return to
      > later. Of course this book is not without flaws but no book is and
      > fortunately in this case they are fairly minor and have a limited
      > effect.
      > Indeed one of its flaws is also one of its charms, a certain
      > unevenness. Sometime one yearns for a slightly firmer editorial
      > control. Though it is divided into 10 chapters I felt some of these
      > seemed closer to self-contained essays and the reasons for the
      > ordering of the chapters was not always clear. Most of the text is
      > quite academic but there are occasional shifts into colloqialism
      > of which are endearing and on one occasion made me laugh aloud but
      > are not without dangers of confusion. How aware will an
      > audience be of what "slappers" are?
      > There is an inconsistency about the presentation of names which
      > sometimes jars. In Old Icelandic the nominative case usually has an
      > ending which often presents translators with a problem as remaining
      > true to the original risks the inexperienced reader not realizing
      > that Bald and Baldr are the same person. I did find the alternation
      > between the two forms potentially confusing and somewhat
      > Chapter 5 is clearly very important to the author but sits uneasily
      > within the book as a whole. Though I have a training in English
      > Literature/Language, and an interest in language generally, I found
      > the chapter on Runic Phonetics extremely hard going and I would not
      > be surprised if a substantial percentage of the readership don't
      > complete reading this one. That said, this is not an easy topic to
      > present and one could do much worse than Svenson's coverage of
      > it. I do feel however that a publishing opportunity has been lost
      > since what is really called for is an audio CD to accompany this
      > chapter enabling the different sound variations to be heard. This
      > would I think make it much more accessible.
      > How we relate to and perceive the narrator plays a key role in how
      > feel about a text. British newspaper reporters who..shock horror..
      > had discovered that such things as brothels existed traditionally
      > ended their article with the phrase "I made my excuses and
      > left". The readership were hence supposed to perceive the
      > reporters as highly moral beings emotionally detached from the
      > situation they described and immune from temptations. Such
      > techniques have the potential to isolate and alienate the reader.
      > Most of us do not respond well to perfection, it is too far from
      > we perceive ourselves and those around us. An author who succumbs
      > the temptation to appear god-like may well find he loses the
      > of his reader. Inspite of Ralph Blum's many flaws he does manage
      > to engage his readers whereas many others are content to preach at
      > them from the touchline. Svenson is a likeable guide who scores
      > here because he shares with us his personal experiences, including
      > some very meaningful ones such as an encounter with Odin via Freya
      > Aswynn. One strongly feels his energy, enthusiasm and the close
      > connection he has to the goddess Freyja. Indeed he excels in
      > presenting the mythological in terms which anyone can relate to.
      > Having just spoken to a friend who was searching for missing
      > spectacles, I could feel an immediacy in his description of the
      > protective actions of the Desir.
      > Svenson is an unapologetic purist but having said that it may
      > surprise some when I relate that he can be quite open minded and
      > prescriptive, admitting for example that his book does not contain
      > definitive answers but signposts for a personal and unique journey
      > each of us make, and that what works for one may well not work for
      > another. Occasionally he becomes more rigid but then which of us
      > hasn't principles on which we won't budge? Admittedly I did
      > sometimes feel like challenging him. His condemnation of distant
      > reading was an example. Since we are all connected by the web of
      > I didn't see the logic in this. To me the runes are just a way of
      > becoming aware of the tapestry into which our lives are woven and
      > distance between reader and client is not an issue. However there
      > always a problem with making generalizations about the runes since
      > practically anything one says someone can be guaranteed to jump
      > forward to contradict.
      > Even in areas where I might have disagreed with him, I felt no
      > of irritation which is more than I can say about some other
      > He clearly cares for his reader and the book is full of practical
      > advice such as his warnings about being careful to evaluate modern
      > Norse groups before joining them. In this way he does much to
      > the reader for potential pitfalls on the way ahead. His approach is
      > straightforward commonsense one.
      > Typical of this is a remark near the end of the book explaining
      > just because you can mix curry and sugar together doesn't
      > necessarily mean that you should. This is in relation to the
      > "pick and mix" approach of modern paganism. Certainly there
      > is a danger that when you believe in everything, in reality you
      > believe in nothing. However, I do also appreciate that things are
      > always so simple. I have spoken to many who have heard the call of
      > the runes, and it is a difficult call to resist, but have not
      > to deviate from their chosen way, which in one case was
      > For myself, my runic practice is I believe entirely consistent with
      > the Northern Tradition but, as long time readers of this group will
      > know, I am a on a different wider path resulting from an
      > archaeological discovery I was involved with. Until I complete this
      > journey I cannot start another. When the divine/spiritual calls
      > us, I believe we must respond nor can we desire it to take on
      > different forms which might be more convenient for us. Whilst
      > this book though, one throw-away remark made me sit upright in a
      > moment of epiphany considering for the first time that a perceived
      > incompatibility with the path might be overcome. Thus, while I can
      > agree with the general sentiments Svenson expresses I also have a
      > perception that sometimes people may not have such as
      > choice as he may believe.
      > Those parts of his book dealing with the runes prove some of the
      > interesting and non-typical. Svenson is more of a supporter of the
      > Armanen runes than myself, nonetheless I heeded his call to
      > them with an open mind, though by the end I stayed unconvinced. It
      > depends on an interpretation of a passage in the Havamal that I
      > plausible but still did not subscribe to. Nonetheless it is clear
      > this is a book which will provoke many debates, something which can
      > only be healthy for runic scholarship.
      > Though he is not the first author to suggest runic divination was
      > traditionally done with sticks, Tyson is another who comes
      > immediately to mind, Svenson has detailed his method well and it
      > seems as though it should be comparatively easy to learn and
      > though I sadly did not have opportunity before writing this.
      > in common with all too many other rune books he fails to provide
      > examples of his method in use. One of the things I have learned
      > my Rune School experiences is how much working through a practical
      > interpretation of a reading can inspire and inform a student,
      > compared to simply explaining the theory behind a method. It is
      > one of my few major complaints that, having introduced, what to
      > will be an entirely new concept, he does not provide practical
      > examples.
      > Generally this is a very attractively presented book. There are
      > reproduced illustrations scattered throughout it which help to
      > up the sections and make the reading experience easier in what is
      > otherwise quite closely-packed text. Scholarly requirements are met
      > with a list of further reading and a glossary. However in keeping
      > with many occult books from small publishers there is no index and
      > its presence is sorely missed.
      > With so much low quality, mass market material on the runes, there
      > a desperate need for well-researched intellectually challenging
      > and so my congratulations go to Rig Svenson for this. There is a
      > great deal of instructive detail within the 120 or so pages of this
      > book and those seeking a deeper understanding of the runes through
      > grasp of historical practice and lore should find it highly
      > illuminating
      > Os
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