Yesterday was the first harvest festival of the year, celebrated as Kvasi Fest (see Forn Sidr of America’s post) by Norse pagans, Lughnasadh by our Celtic pagan cousins, and Lammas in the Wiccan-created wheel of the year. Over on Diviners Anonymous we did another set of group divinations. (You can find some of the spreads used below in our free rune booklet (PDF).
The first edition of Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards’ Booklet is now available to download for free!
This 13 page booklet was written as part of the Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards project, which grew out of a need to vet information about runes and remove misinformation, white supremacy, and cultural appropriation while re-grounding rune divination practice in current academic research on the primary and secondary sources by linguists, historians, and archaeologists.
[The limited 1st edition of the card deck, which includes Elder Futhark, Younger Futhark, Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and selected bind-runes, is available through Etsy.]
In the booklet, which can be used without the cards by any rune user, we discuss both the history of the rune rows, and the more recent history of rune divination, and have attempted to pare away ideas that came from von List’s gang of ethnic nationalists, the I Ching, Hermeticism, and Tarot (to the extent that’s possible in a card format). Our suggested divination keywords are drawn wherever possible from current translations of the various rune poems, and do not include reversals.
We’ve also done our level best to flag any runes that were stolen by the Third Reich or are currently being misused by white supremacists, and to vet the suggested readings. We’ve provided our recommended reading and sources list, and a list of mass-market rune authors to avoid.
Happy Midsommar and blessed Litha, friends! Solstice divination spreads about current events:
The second reading uses the snowflake layout included in our rune booklet (PDF link), without the outer ring of cards about the future.
card 1 (centre) = issue at hand or querent or past = the Othala + Laguz bind-rune Erda, representing Mother Earth (per Nigel Pennick’s Complete Guide to Runes)
card 2 (top left) = current global thinking and creativity = *Naudhiz, need, constraint, plight, hardship, pragmatism, or conflict
card 3 (top centre) = current global health or behavior = an Anglo-Saxon bindrune of Stan, Nyd, and Ior once used to prevent action by enemies, “Stop It!”
card 4 (top right) = subconscious and spiritual factors = *Perthro reversed, willful misunderstanding
card 5 (bottom right) = emotions at present = *Othala, home, ancestors, legacy, inheritance
card 6 (bottom centre) = present obstacles = *Isa, stasis, lack of action
card 7 (bottom left) = potential obstacles and hidden influences = Stan, obstruction (by multinational corporations or right-wing politicians) or (ecological) collapse
The “stop it!” card really jumped out at me, and I viewed the runes pulled as advising that we’re risking our inheritance from our ancestors and ecological collapse if our countries don’t begin to treat climate change as an emergency.
Yay! The customs paperwork took a bit longer to do than I anticipated, but, CA$600ish later, our 1st Epic Mail Day is done. The photo above represents all the backers who were getting only decks of cards. If that’s you, you can expect a message here on Kickstarter with your tracking number in the next day or so.
The cards are now also in-stock locally at Where Fairies Live. (Backers got the cards at wholesale price.)
I’ve also realized I never got around to posting the unboxing video for y’all! It’s coming, promise, and I’ll also post it on our Instagram (@mannazandwyrd), twitter (@mannazandwyrd), and Discord server (I inherited the nigh-dead Diviners Anonymous from the prior owners, please join! The server’s purpose is to provide a space where people with divination as part of their spiritual, magical, or self-knowledge practices can socialize, share resources, learn from each other, and ogle pics of each others’ decks. We have channels for discussing runes and many other divination methods, and we’re beginning to organize group readings, book club, study groups, & watch parties. Permanent invite link: https://discord.gg/BMMX4Fg9Fj ).
Unfortunately, the dice molds are still giving us (me and my son who’s a member of Ravishing Raven) technical issues – there are bubbles in the resin that make the dice unevenly weighted, and the sultry summer temperatures we’ve been having are encouraging the resin to cure unevenly. So, in the interest of timely fulfillment, I propose that those of you who backed at a level that included sets of three 8-sided rune dice get a slight materials upgrade from epoxy resin to sets of 4 6-sided rune dice made of opalite, a glassy man-made crystal, hand-engraved by me – as shown in the photo above of my prototypes. They’ll still get treated with madder-and-dragonsblood tiver and highlighted with gold leafing pen. If you’re a backer getting dice, expect a note from me asking if this is acceptable to you.
Fortunately, making the coaster / altar tiles is more forgiving, especially if we use the soft UV resin which takes longer to cure.
(republished from our 8 June 2021 Kickstarter update)
Look what arrived from the printer yesterday! This means I can begin fulfilling your backer rewards — so if you have moved since the campaign ended, please let me know in the next, say, 72 hours so I don’t mail your goodies to an outdated address.
During that wait I’ll be prepping and addressing everyone’s padded mailer envelopes, making sure the correct backer rewards head to the correct people, and dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s (more on that below).
This was actually our second try at ordering the finalized cards; first time, we goofed and ordered 1 full deck and 60 packs of replacement cards for the ones that had been changed, instead of the other way around. So, last week we offered some of those extra cards as swaps to the Alleyman’s Tarot card swappers, which we’ll treat as a promotional expense; each of you will get a spare card of a bind-rune representing our wish of good health for you and yours; and we’ll be offering the cards individually or as a pack of 15 in our Etsy shop. You can turn them into art cards or bookmarks, use them in your craft, or add to your mismatched tarot deck project.
With the arrival of the prior shipment of test decks, Eira was able to complete the readings for those of you who requested them (If you missed yours, please check your spam box for an email from mannazandwyrd-at-gmail-dotcom.).
We also finalized the first edition of the booklet PDF, which you’ll all get a photocopy in your package. The PDF itself will be available as a free download shortly, through our website. I hope you’ll be impressed by the amount of information it brings together in a dozen pages.
We also have news on the syllabus front, which has been our primary writing focus since our last update. First, we realized that ‘syllabus’ is the wrong term to use, so it’ll be titled Urd’s Snowflake Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans instead. Second, we got some really helpful feedback from experienced educators, and we’re in the process of incorporating that feedback. Third, we bit off more than we can chew and tried to cover too much material! So, we’ll be finishing what we can to the best of our ability, with July 1st as our planned completion deadline. The completed lessons will be PDF’d with “coming soon’ placeholders for the incomplete lesson plans, and that will be available as a free download on our website. The final draft on GDocs (including the incomplete lesson plans as well as the complete ones) will be available to anyone who wishes to test-drive it and give us feedback to help us improve it. Finally, we will include the hiring of an educator to improve and expand the entire set of lessons in our crowdfunding budget for the 2nd edition.
For those of you with resin dice or coasters from Ravishing Raven Handmade among your rewards, the third pandemic lockdown here in the ideologue-governed laissez-faire Province of Alberta is still ongoing while the variant coronavirus runs wild. This unfortunately means the RRH teen team have been unable to gather to finish making your rewards. BUT, they have at last done a porch-drop of all the remaining supplies and equipment to me and my RRH-member teen, so as soon as I hit send on this update I’ll be strapping on my fume-blocking respirator and finishing prep on those items. So, the 17 of you getting dice and 4 of you getting coasters shouldn’t have to wait much longer for your packages than those backers who only requested a deck of rune cards or a divination cloth.
Expect an update telling you how much stuff has shipped and showing off photos of the finished dice, coasters, and remaining divination cloths by the end of next weekend!
(republished from our 2 June 2021 Kickstarter update)
1. This past week, the second prototype decks with a new, improved colour palette were delivered from the printers – see the photo below. (We shot an unboxing video but we’re having technical difficulties with uploading it here, so please watch our Instagram for that to appear in the next couple of days.)
We’re all heart-eyes over how they turned out. There are a couple of tiny design tweaks still to make for the final version, but these decks are perfectly useable for syllabus testing. (The tweaks are: some black text has a weird yellow halo, so we’re changing its colour; the tuck box design needs to be scooched over 3 or 4 pixels; and the correct names from your backer survey responses need to be put on the acknowledgements card.) If you haven’t snagged yours yet, about 50 of the limited edition are still available to pre-order on Etsy.
2. 7!13 Books’ way-cool enormous mismatched Alleyman’s Tarot deck launched the day before yesterday, and they already wildly surpassed their funding goal! Our Dagaz card is part of this one-printing-only indie deck, alongside the stunning work of 79 other talented contemporary artists and designers, and cool designs from decades-old public-domain decks. Honestly, we’d be excited about this project’s concept even if our art wasn’t included, and we can’t wait to shuffle it and do our first readings with it. Check it out at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/713books/the-alleymans-tarot
3. The draft of the rune-meanings-and-pronunciation PDF remains available on GDocs while we collect feedback from colleagues and collaborators. We’d love to hear what you think! Meanwhile, the interdisciplinary syllabus is a bit more than half written.
4. I (Eira) took a much-needed break from writing to make batik divination cloths and help our collaborators with resin dice and coaster production. Pandemic lockdown conditions mean we don’t have photos of the finished resin products yet, but here are some work-in-progress photos of the batik, which was done using beeswax collected as it melted from candles on my household altar, organic cotton bandanas from my favourite fair trade dye house, and madder root extract. Madder was one of the natural dyes used in early medieval Scandinavia and has been used as a tiver to activate runes. In the process, I’ve learnt that my vintage dressmakers’ chalk doesn’t wash out anymore (sigh), and I’ll need to either use a chemical solvent to remove the wax stains from the cloths – or make them mimic old, soft oilcloth by thinly coating the whole thing. Follow along on Instagram!
(Republished from our 16 April 2021 Kickstarter update)
Hey everyone! Look what arrived yesterday. (We’ll have prettier daylight photos than these quick cell-phone snaps soon, but we are so excited we couldn’t wait any longer to show you.)
So, all in all we’re delighted! We’ll be submitting the tweaked images for printing later this week, so we should have the second prototype in its custom tuck-box to show you in two to three weeks’ time. We promise we’ll get out the good camera for those photos.
We also have figured out the add-ons issue! Yes, we’re still going to have to do them manually, but if you wanted to add any extra backer rewards to your shipment, Eira can create a custom listing (with no additional shipping charge) for you in the new Mannaz&Wyrd Etsy shop. We’ll put a line item for that in our backer survey, which we delayed sending out until we had this wrinkle smoothed out. (Watch for that to hit your inboxes tomorrow.)
If you missed pledging for the crowdfunding campaign, you can pre-order all the backer rewards through the Etsy shop (although the resin items will only be available in other colourways, not the KS-exclusive gold-on-gold-on-gold). They’re a smidge more expensive, to cover Etsy’s fees, but still lower than our planned retail price.
We have also taken delivery of our mailer envelopes, and the bandana blanks and madder for the divination cloths. Ravishing Raven Handmade have received all their shipments of safety equipment (resin fumes are no joke, y’all) and raw materials, and are still polishing the polymer-clay masters they made as part of remaking the molds to ensure the dice will be bubble-free.
Finally, we received a couple more out-of-print and university-level reference books to help us fact-check our other sources, level up the quality of our syllabus, and make informed book recommendations.
(republished from our 25 Feb 2021 Kickstarter update)
To our wonderful backers and followers,
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Together we’re going to create an educational and divinatory rune card deck with more than the usual Elder Futhark, and a kickass teaching resource that inoculates young adults against recruitment by extremists. We are so excited to move into production and bring you Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards, and the Urd’s Snowflake Syllabus & Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans, in summer of 2021! It hardly feels like a month has gone by, but what an exciting month it has been. For the record, we ended the crowdfunding campaign at 231% funded, with 54 backers and 163 project followers.
- We’ll be in touch soon with surveys to help us send out your backer rewards.
- This weekend, we’re navigating setting up our Etsy shop and a WordPress site. So much to learn! Last night we posted a synopsis of what we’ve learnt during the first couple of months of the project on the blog at mannazandwyrd.com. (Don’t mind the mess, we’re still fine-tuning the WP theme and figuring out workarounds for the small image size allowances.)
- Backers, if you missed out on choosing one of the late-breaking bonus rewards, shoot us a message and we’ll find a way to make it happen for you. Some of the unclaimed backer rewards will also be available for pre-order through our Etsy shop, starting next week, but at a slightly higher price to cover Etsy’s fees.
- We’re also still polishing the first draft of the syllabus and lesson plans, while building a small team of home-schoolers and professional educators to test it out once it’s ready, and make suggestions for improvement. (If you’re interested in being on that team, contact us!)
- We want to see our curriculum get lots of use, and use the feedback we get to improve both the syllabus and the cards for a bigger, better second edition – so keep spreading the word, and stay in touch on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Etsy, and our website for updates.
(republished from our 20 Feb 2021 campaign update on Kickstarter)
Thank you all.
As I write this, we are a scant ten hours from finishing our 30-day crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It has been a wild ride:
- The project idea came to Eira in December 2020, when she noticed that natural snowflakes and certain round rune-staves shared near-identical symmetry… and that a snowflake could be designed to contain every rune, not just from the Elder Futhark but also the Younger Futhark and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. What if a group of home-schooling lessons were created that explored a wide range of academic subjects (like, say, the chemical structure of water and how it dictates the crystallography of its frozen form) through the lens of the runes? What if, in exploring those subjects, the lessons also debunked the misinformation spread by extremists who have co-opted Norse mythology and symbolism as a way of grooming and indoctrinating teens and young adults? What if we were able to stop kids from falling down the wrong internet rabbithole, or help them climb back out, at the same time as using one of their interests as a hook to help them engage with their schoolwork? Well, we’d need to provide a resource like that for free. But how would we make sure artists and writers involved in the project were paid for their work? Well, maybe we could subsidize those costs by creating a series of products with the snowflake on it, and we could start with rune cards that could be used both alongside the lessons, and on their own as an oracle deck.
- Eira chatted with a few friends, refined the design and named it Urd’s Snowflake (after Urd’s Well, the location of the Norse myth in which the god Odin discovers the runes during a shamanic ritual), and began the textile artwork that would be the foundation of the first set of rune cards. Lee, an experienced runecaster who has already published several rune cheat-sheets, came on-board as a collaborator.
- We launched in mid-January as a #Make100 project, after only two weeks of lead time to construct our campaign and tap KS-savvy friends for advice. Make100 is a category that Kickstarter highlights every January, created specifically so first-time crowdfunders and fine craftspeople can fund-raise for a small, low-stakes, or experimental project. That style of campaign seemed like a perfect fit for the Urd’s Snowflake pilot project. A limited first edition of the rune cards, and a small selection of other backer rewards, would let us get a sense of whether people are interested and start developing a group of handmade items that might support the development and ongoing updates of the syllabus. If the interest continues, we hope eventually to create a bigger, better second edition of the cards with art by another artist and a companion book for wider release.
- We were chosen as a #ProjectWeLove by Kickstarter staff at the stage when they evaluated the draft project to ensure we were following all the rules. This turned out to be extremely helpful, because almost all our backers came to us through Kickstarter. (Next time we’ll have a much longer lead time and strong social media channels in place to help us be less reliant on KS’ algorithms showing our project to potential backers.)
- Eira quickly realized that her original plan, to make textile art for the back and front of every card, was too time consuming to allow work to proceed on other aspects of the project that needed immediate attention – like research to fact-check the cards’ text content, and work to write the syllabus. Fortunately, she had live-in helpers willing to give her a crash course in graphic design software, and a finished textile artwork that lent itself to that approach. We’re pretty pleased with the result.
- We found a wonderful playing-card printer whose work we’ve admired for other artists’ tarot and oracle decks: Make Playing Cards. Our first prototype deck has been printed and is currently en route.
- We had Ravishing Raven Handmade come aboard as collaborators, creating resin rune dice sets and runic-patterned resin coasters for us! RRH are late-teen LGBTQIA2S+ artists making resin, air-dry clay, hand-illustrated, and textile art for fellow witches, pagans, and gamers. One of their founders is Eira’s son, so even though their collective is almost as new as M&W, we’re confident that the quality of their work will meet our standards and they’ll have no trouble with our production deadlines with a little assistance from Eira. The first UV-resin prototypes from them are stunning, and they’re now using their pre-made molds to make polymer clay master dice that they’ll use to create silicone sprue molds for bubble-free production without any muss or fuss.
- We’re currently navigating the fun of setting up an Etsy shop and a WordPress site. So much to learn!
- We’re also still writing the first draft of the syllabus and lesson plans, while building a small team of home-schoolers and professional educators to test it out once it’s ready, and make suggestions for improvement. (If you’re interested, contact us!)
- We’ve had a lot of questions about our shipping costs, our ability to track shipments, and whether we can set up our rewards as add-ons. For this project, all physical objects are coming to Eira to be packed and shipped to our backers, which means we’re paying Canada Post’s rates for everything. Add-Ons are currently unavailable through Kickstarter itself, after its beta-testing period, and those campaigns offering add-ons seem to be doing so through services that work in tandem with KS’ platform. Using a fulfillment service like BackerKit that streamlines all that and does drop-shipping for us seemed like an unnecessarily large expense for a small pilot project, but will be worth looking into for the second edition.
The last two months have been a huge learning curve, and no doubt we’ll continue to figure things out as we go. We are so very grateful to our Kickstarter backers and project followers, and everyone in our communities who has encouraged us on our path so far. Together, we’re going to create a cool little rune deck (with linen cards and a custom tuck box!) and a kickass free teaching resource that inoculates students against recruitment by racists and fascists. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Republished from our 14 Feb 2021 Instagram post (link)
Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards are based on a snowflake-shaped rune stave with the 6-fold rotational symmetry seen in natural snowflakes. We realized that gave us an opportunity to connect the runes with geometry, chemistry, and crystallography in addition to the expected mythology and history lessons – and so the free Urd’s Snowflake Syllabus and Lesson Plans were born. We’re currently running a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to pilot both the cards (as a limited first edition) and the syllabus. We’ll be looking for educators and homeschoolers to test out the lesson plans and give us feedback to improve the syllabus in the medium term. Our longer term plan is to do a wider release of the cards and an expanded booklet, with art by new artists with each edition.