[Update: We’re now beta testing the new social network for rune study! WANTED: Volunteers … click here!]
Have you been as frustrated as me in finding an online community exclusively for studying the runes? What is the solution?
Most people I talk to — and I include myself among them — seem dissatisfied with the old forum-style community. Now that we have powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, social interaction on the web has been redefined. Forums become obscure places lorded over by passive aggressive admins and small cliques of users who dominate any discussion to the point where the discussion doesn’t happen often because it descends into arguments.
But I don’t think that’s the main reason there’s no ‘major’ (ie. central) rune community online. We’re a diverse bunch of misfits, clearly dissatisfied with the mainstream and rightly distrustful of anything that looks mainstream. I can’t help but giggle the odd time I get feedback that suggests that Rune Secrets is somehow mainstream (as if I were secretly Justin Beiber?)
Some of these forums and cliques are thinly veiled online focal points for dogmatic cults, which of course I’ll have nothing to do with. I am a solitary and anonymous practitioner, period. That Rune Secrets has become so popular is a freak occurrence. Readership decided that — I never bothered with advertising, search engine optimization, link exchange or any of that nonsense. I’m interested in one thing only: deep understanding of the runes.
The runes saved me from the brink of oblivion, reorganized my mind, and revealed such touching wisdom… but demanded I repay the favor by sharing what I’d learned. It was only after I gained a deep understanding of the runes that I developed a strong sense of responsibility toward the global community.
But there is no functioning and healthy community, no social network, for people who share this interest in the runes themselves, directly. The symbols. The meanings. The uses. That’s all… no cryptic utterings, no mysterious play-acting, no exclusive ‘club’ and no one claiming they have some private monopoly on rune wisdom.
I demand clarity, order and honesty, and so should you.
So what do we do?
But there is a framework I could use once I have generated some revenue from booksales (it costs a couple hundred dollars per year on top of other expenses I already pay to run this site). We could set up our own social network, and begin an ambitious project: the first collectively written study of rune meaning.
The internet allows us to collaborate in a way that dozens and perhaps hundreds of people could purposefully come together and hash out a brilliant work of genius that one person could not possibly hope to write themselves. Then we could release this work under a creative commons license (free to use, distribute, modify, build upon — but never sell for profit), format and self-publish it as a hardcover/paperback and offer it at cost for collectors or at nothing as a pdf or on a website dedicated to it.
We’d need to come up with a contemporary, forward looking, rune system, based soundly in psychology and philosophy, that would profoundly inspire anyone who was exposed to it, regardless of prior beliefs. With a properly discussed methodology and a carefully programmed social network (personal blogs integrated with activity feed, twitter/facebook/youtube integration, the works — I’m thinking NING.com at the moment) and a core group of dedicated people we could easily generate an open, crowd-sourced manuscript of some size.
I’ve made major inroads with “The Book of Rune Secrets”, which is almost ready to hit the press. I’m confident that the work will speak for itself. If it is worthy, I know it will reach the people who need it — after all, this website has. But after focusing and channeling, I have come face to face with my own limitations. In order to exceed them, a community will be necessary, and a community that works, not just some obscure forum.
I just wanted to talk that over with everyone, and try to generate some feedback. I can build this, and make it work with your help. But I need discussion!
What are your thoughts on the online rune communities you’ve encountered? Are you a part of any? Would you share their URL in the comments? Any experiences, positive or negative?
What kind of things do you wish a community could DO or BE, on the net? What would help you the most? What features would you like to see? What kind of people would you hope to find there — like minded, or very diverse?
My thanks for considering this,