There are plenty–so many! — witchy books out nowadays, but very few of them feel as if they were written out of Magickal Necessity. Do you know what I mean? Most books about witchcraft and magic are, simply, just that—books about witchcraft and magic. Though they communicate about the topic from one mind to another, they do so from the middle of mundane reality. So there’s nothing really magical involved in the experience of reading them.
Dana Corby’s book is different. This tiny tome is a gem of actual, living magic; you can just feel, picking it up, that Corby has walked the walk, lived the life, devoted herself to the topic of Runes inside and out for as long as, or longer, than anybody. And as it turns out, this is true. Corby published an article about her method as early as 1975, and the system described in The Witches’ Runes has been used in workshops and classes in the U.S. ever since. The book was privately printed for 25 years before this edition was published.
Having devoted a lifetime to developing her system of runes, Corby has no need to lay on anything extra–which makes reading the book a relief. There’s nothing fancy here, just 100% good advice and common sense about a system that is both extremely simple to use and very effective. The book includes numerous illustrations that clarify the system and show how the runes should look if you make your own. The symbols are compelling, based on a number of folk and alchemical traditions, and have been updated to include, for example, a symbol for a gender-neutral Querent (the person who is the subject of the reading) as well as the traditional two genders.
Based on deep skill and knowledge, Corby explains several kinds of readings, explains how to pose a question, and goes through sample sessions that can get you started casting for others as well as for yourself. She also shares advice and personal experiences about how to make your own runes, for free (instead of buying a pre-made set, though if you want one of those, she sells them too).
Each rune is treated with the care and reverence of someone who knows it authentically and deeply. I don’t know if Corby is Ms. Corby’s muggle name or a witchy sobriquet, but I really enjoy thinking of her as a Corbie, a strong, glossy crow with a sharp eye for truth and a beak appreciative of treasures–in this case, the precious treasures of wide insight and intuitive counsel offered by the runes.
This priceless little book clearly distills a life’s work into just a few pages–with no pretensions and no fluff, just genuine useful knowledge, shared with generosity and common sense. Dana Corby offers a wonderful model of a witch who knows her business inside out and keeps her eye on the real prize: a life lived in love and magick.
There is a lot that the new generation of witches can learn from Ms. Corby.