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The Art Of Pyrography, Part 3: Rune Bombs

Updated on January 10, 2012

Want the Basics of Pyrography? Click here.

Partly because of my own explorations of my Viking ancestry (and partly because of my own dadaistic tendencies to want to leave random objects in strange places for people to find) one of the things that I have created (and spread around) are objects that I refer to as “rune bombs.” Utilizing only positive runes in positive combinations, these good luck charms, healing totems and protection glyphs tend to inspire a powerful sense of mystery, interest and wonder in those who find them.

Introduction to runes:

Runes classically used in the creation of magical objects are, in essence, the glyphic symbols of an ancient Germanic alphabet. In the past, they have been used throughout northern Europe, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Iceland, where they persisted as an alphabet for almost two thousand years. The Germanic tribes who used them left them pretty much everywhere they went (even North America!) and even today they find use in a number of neo-pagan traditions throughout the world.

Objects inscribed with runes, especially those arranged into patterns, sentences or other formations that one’s own heart believes are powerful, are said to be enchanted with certain blessings or abilities. With runes inscribed through pyrography, one can create shamanistic tools for healing, strength, courage, and communication with the dead. Remember– some runes have more negative connotations, and all runes purposefully placed upside down have the opposite effects and meanings as they would right side up. Place your runes carefully!

Creating Rune Bombs:

First, make sure that you have read the original Basics of Pyrography hub and remember to work safely! Secondly, you need a canvas on which to inscribe the runes of your “bomb.” As a pyrographer, I’ve achieved the best results with softer woods (like cedar) but I have also created rune bombs on everything from one hundred year old oak to bits of fiberboard. One of the best sources I have found for wood to use in the creation of rune bombs is thrift stores and places where you can buy bits of rejected wood (like Home Depot.) Also, if you are cutting a fence for your yard (or know someone who is) save the ends of your fence-boards! As long as they aren’t treated with creosote (or other harmful chemicals) they can be used to create awesome, simple and inexpensive rune bombs without having to go out and invest in anything more than a wood burning tool or soldering iron.

Once you have your basic blank wooden bits that will serve as the canvases for your rune bombs, you can begin to cut your runes into them. For best results, I recommend designing your rune bombs first by drawing them onto the wood with a pencil before you burn them so that you have a clear idea of what you are going to do before you do it (and possibly change your mind!)

Long, hard and careful strokes are the best when cutting your runes, and watch your fingers! If you are gripping the pieces of wood you are using for the creation of your rune bombs at the edges (like a coin) while you work, it can be easy to slip and burn yourself. Try to cut each line carefully away from yourself as you work, and remember that it is usually best not to press your tool into the wood so hard that you burn a line all the way through to the other side. This can effect the stability of the wood and, for some runes, make them difficult or impossible to read (which, in a sense, ultimately defeats the purpose of the rune bomb.)

Once you have created however many rune bombs you plan to distribute (or even keep for yourself) you can give them to friends, leave them for people to find, photograph them, or do anything else with them! Remember to have a heart and stick with positive messages. Regardless of whether or not you believe runes have any magical power to them, the world has enough negativity in it as it is without people placing runic curses and whatnot around.

Feel free to link in the comments to rune bombs that you’ve created and/or the places that you have left them! Create some wonder in the world today!


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