03/09/2012 02:56 pm ET Updated May 09, 2012

A Modern Voice of an Ancient Alphabet

"It is what the symbol points to in our lives that needs the most attention."

The Book of Rune Secrets, Tyriel

Closing last year Rune enthusiast, Tyriel, published his first book --The Book of Rune Secrets. A modern ode to an ancient avenue into contemporary consciousness, I spoke with him about his work, his love for the Runes, and his desire to create a community of Rune scholars at the popular website,

According to Tyriel, his love of Runes began in childhood. Passed on to him by his mother, his work with them culminated in a four-year ecstatic crisis in his early twenties. This experience led him on a cathartic journey using psychiatry -- modern alchemy -- and the Runes to glean balance and useful wisdom. The insights he drew from that era fuel his drive to share the Runes as a tool to help others needing such wisdom today.

In that light, Tyriel feels the Runes have great significance to modern life and perspectives. Citing our busy lifestyles as full of demands and distractions, he says, "It's very easy to go weeks, months, or years without self-reflection. The Runes provide a way of contemplating the 'big picture' of oneself and one's place in the world."

That said, his take on the Runes isn't your everyday go at the Hávamál. Of the more rigid, socio-anthropological approaches to the Runes, in his book he says, "When it comes down to it, we can only imagine and contemplate." He honors that the meanings and uses have changed through time, and in as earnest an attempt as possible presents a secular study of the Runes not steeped in religious or spiritual associations.

Having studied the Runes from a traditional standpoint and with a modern take, I find the book treads an informed yet creative line between the two. For those who prefer a more traditional route into Rune studies, Tyriel's perspective on them values the meanings and associations we've all come to know, connecting them with modern counterparts. According to him, "We have not merely inherited the Runes, but inherited the right to create with them new meaning and new windows into the spirit." These new meanings, he says, "reach deeply into our unconscious mind and the collective unconscious."

His creation of the community has opened dialogue on the Runes from all walks of academia and inspiration. In the true spirit of sharing, the site thrives on blogs, forums, and groups generating discussion and contributions from a range of enthusiasts.

So passionate has interest in the Runes become that of as March 1, Tyriel began a free 48-week course at, based on his book. Every two weeks discussion on a specific Rune is opened. The class can be started anytime, and all interested are invited to join.

Tyriel can be found several places around the web. PM Tyriel on, or write him at runesecrets [at] Tweet him @runesecrets , and follow him on Facebook.

Kelley is a neoshaman and author in North Carolina. She has been on a shamanic path since 1988, and since 2000 has served her local community and an international client base. Her book "Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma" chronicles her pivotal step into the role of modern shaman. Kelley's current work focuses on The Tribe of the Modern Mystic, an effort to promote community and support among seers experiencing spiritual emergency as they begin their paths. She is a Reiki Master and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity.

Kelley writes the column, Intentional Insights - Q&A From Within, and she honors the path of the modern Druid. Her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts, and she welcomes new clients.

Find Soul Intent Arts updates on Facebook and @SoulIntentArts. Read Kelley's literary updates and tweets @SKelleyH.