Runo – Finno-Ugric “loan” word meaning nature magical poem and nature magical poet.

In 2007 I had a voice lesson from Twin Citie’s singer, song writer, and spiritual leader
Ruth MacKenzie whose interpretation of runos from the Kalevala made a huge impact on Nordic root music in Minnesota. It was exciting to share my work with Ruth and trade a copy of my new book, The Runes: A Human Journey for a portion of my lesson.

Ms MacKenzie was the first asked me a key question:
“What do the runes and runos have to do with one another?”

These were the answers I found:

1.  Runes and Runos come from the same Sanskrit root: Ru. Ru means secret conversation and whispered mystery. Rudra is the howler god, the red thunder god of early Indo-European mythology. He manifests as the hammer wielder Ukko in Finnish tradition, Tor in Scandinavia, Perkunas in the Baltic and Donnar in Germany. In the last millennium BC, Baltic and Finnic tribes still had much culture sharing.

2.  Runes and Runos are nature magical and word magical. Through poetic expression, users of runes and runos can connect with Nature energies and entities. The most famous Runo (as a poet/magician) is Väinämöinen in the collection most famous collection of Runos (as poems), the Kalevala. The poetic Edda contains runos including the Lay of Sigfrida. Odin hung on the world tree to retrieve 18 Runos.

3. The poetic structure of a Runo is assonant, alliterative and contains parallels (successive lines repeat information). They have a Trochaic meter with the stresses on the 1-3-5-7 of an 8 syllable line.

4. Musically Runos have a repetitive 8 note melody that is trance inducing. There is a syllable for every note.

To honor this connection I recorded the Votic bridal ritual whisking and sauna song
Morsja Vhitalmine (Völva Songs EP, 2008).

I let all of this “simmer” on the back burner as my attention was consumed by Norwegian song, dance, and staff carrying tradition. Then in 2012, a friend, stav student, and Finnish American poet Lynette Reini-Grandell (who was the first person to interview me about my book The Runes: A Human Journey on her radio show – Write On Radio, KFAI), asked me if I would like to add staff rhythm and tune to some of her poems about her heritage.

We created a show called Ancestor Memory and a few other wonderful shows!




We had a great time at the children’s tent for Nisswastämmen in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013 I became a kummitäti (godmother) to a sweet little girl in Finland so I increased my Finnish repertoire for 2014 when I went to visit her!

In 2014 and 2015 Lynette and I presented two shows about the Bear totem, Waking the Bear and Waking the Bear 2.

To Runes


Runos — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Finnish charms for Spring! -

  2. Pingback: Waking the Bear -