The Rune Galdr
The galdr is probably both the most powerful and subtle way to access the magical energy of the rune. These chants have been described as being like a soft-flowing river with a powerful current underneath. Used in every phase of runic magic together with the form of the rune, the galdr is the main medium through which runic power finds expression. Everyone intones slightly differently, so feel free to experiment. By chanting and toning a rune, you can better experience and express its meaning.
When learning to galdr, focus on one rune at a time. Observe each rune’s tone, form, flow, and relationship to you and to
the other runes. Trust your intuition, and decide when to sing
each rune as a song in and of itself, complete with melody and a beginning, middle, and end, and when to sing the rune by toning only one note. There is no right or wrong way to galdr.
When you galdr, breathe from your diaphragm and really stretch out the sound of each rune, toning as many consonant/vowel combinations as possible. For example, Fehu can be sung as “Feeeeeeee,
Faaaaaaaa, Fuuuuuuuuu, Faaaaaaaayhuuuuuuuuu!” (akin to the giant’s
“fee-fi-fo-fum” as he counts his golden coins, a symbol of mobile
wealth). Draw out and expand each of the vowel sounds, exploring
all registers and resonances in your voice. Discover where each
rune fits in your vocal register, and note where you feel it in your
body. Above all, remember galdring is a lot like learning how to sing
for the first time. Relax and enjoy the process. Galdring together
with your children, in the woods or at the ocean, can be great fun. As
you become proficient, you can combine the chants of several runes into
one song. With 24 runes in the Elder Futhark, there are many possible
combinations, but generally galdr songs using one rune, three runes, or
nine runes work best in magic. Be aware of the numerical significance
of the combined runes when crafting songs.
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