Saturday, 4 December 2010

New Lines from The Silver Bough

The Silver Bough will soon be introducing three new lines of handmade designed items to our shop.

Valknut Sculptures: these beautifully crafted small 3D oak sculptures will be mounted on a polished Black Walnut base. For shipping purposes and convenience to our customers, the sculptures will be mounted on the base by a thin copper ‘stand’ which is detachable from the base. All Valknuts are hand made and finished.

Wooden Hanging Runes: Each rune is made to order. Again these runes are fashioned in oak and handcrafted. A brass fixing at the top with a suede leather thong will allow you to hang these where you feel appropriate. Each choice of rune is unique to the buyer.

Handcrafted Cards: Yggdrasil and Runic cards. Each card is individually handcrafted. There will be differences between each due to the uniqueness and handmade nature of each Yggdrasil (Life Ash – Norse Tree of life, which encompasses the Nine Worlds) and runic cards. Each card will be supplied with an envelope and a plastic sleeve to protect them. They will be sold individually (free P&P) or in boxed groups of ten.

 Along with these new items, of course, we have our beautiful silver pendants: Runic, Ogham and Jorgmangund, the World Serpent.  

Commissions considered on any other design which you might require. This does not exclude non-Norse or non-Celtic designs.

Valknuts roasting on an open fire

The Valknut (the translation is Old Norse meaning valr (slain warrieros) and knut (knot).
It is a symbol consisting of three interlocking triangles, which appear in a unicursal and tricural form. There are various theories proposed for its significance. The name Valknut is a modern invention which describes the symbol. It was not used when the symbol was originally used. 

Authentically the triangles are joined in two ways:



This symbol has been found in unicursal form on many stones such as the 7th c Tängelgarda stone from Gotland, Sweden, in tricursal form on the Lärbro stone in Gotland, on a ring in the River Nene in England and on a bedpost from the Oseberg ship burial, Slagen NorwayThere have been comparisons made to the three-horned symbol inscribed on the 9th century Snoldelev Stone.

In chapter 17 of the 13th c Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál there is the following description of the heart of the Jötunn Hrungnir.
 (a giant who challenges the gods);
 "Hrungnir had a heart that was famous. It was made of hard stone with three sharp-pointed corners just like the carved symbol hrungnishjarta, Hrungnir's Heart."

The Valknut occurs in a central and predominant position on the Stora Hammars I Stone.

 It appears alongside the images which have been interpreted as Odin with his characteristic spear Gungir thrusting another figure into a burial mound while a raven (the bird attributed to Odin) is overhead and another man is hanged. 

In the above photograph Odin is shown riding Sleipnir (the eight legged horse and son of Loki from a rather nefarious liasison with a giant’s stallion Svadilfari. The Valknuts are drawn beneath Sleipnir. (Photograph of the Tängelgarda Stone.)

Dr. Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson theorises a connection between the valknut and mental bonds . Dr Roderick Ellis (1914- 2006) was an English antiquarian and an academic, who wrote on Germanic and Celtic paganism. Dr Davidson relied on literary, historical and archaeological theory and evidence in her research on the stories and customs of Northern Europe. She wrote the book Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (Penguin Books, 1964). Dr Ellis Davidson is considered one of the most reputable sources on the myths of Northern Europe and Germany.

In one of her theories, she cites that beside a figure of Odin on his horse, which is shown on several memorial stones, there is a knot shown which is referred to as the valknut, and is related to the triskele. It is thought to symbolise the power to bind and unbind by the gods. This is mentioned in the poems and in other sources. Odin was attributed with the power to lay ‘bonds’ upon the mind. With this men became helpless when in battle. He could loosen these bonds of fear by the gifts of  inspiration ,  madness in battle (berserkers) and intoxication.

Due to the fact that the symbol (valknuter) is inscribed on stones with Odin and also on burial gifts (Oseberg ship burial) it has been theorised that the symbol may have been associated with religious practices associated with death.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Branching out : Ogham pendants

The website has been up and running for a while now, and we are still waiting for our first order from a stranger (we have had a couple of orders from friends). Still, I suppose these things take time. Our Adwords campaign is getting plenty of interest, but no conversions as of yet.

Our main news for this week is our first tentative steps into creating Ogham jewellery. We have designed and created an Ogham pendant based around the ancient Celtic method of writing along the edge of standing stones. Photos will appear on the website as soon as the finishing process is complete.

We have also tried our hand at a pair of rune earrings that have worked out quite nicely. The diversification of The Silver Bough is under way.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

And so it begins!

So, it's official. We are a business. We have taken two orders for rune pendants and are currently in the process of filling those orders. Sól and Raido.
Our sales department have created a rather splendid invoice template, and we have our packaging material already, so we are ready to proceed.

All we need now is about 50 orders a day... so whenever you're ready world...

Rune of the day

Modern equivalent - H

Hagalaz signifies hail, often seen as a symbol of damage and destruction, or a warning of illness.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Silver Bough Launch!

So, we couldn't procrastinate any longer. The Silver Bough website has been launched.
The champagne has been guzzled, the cake has been cut and consumed. We are online and now we wait. We wait for the orders for rune pendants and rune sets to come flooding in.
Well actually, if we just wait it's unlikely anything will come flooding anywhere. The hard work really begins now. Marketing, SEO, link building... it all has to be done and done well.

Still, in the meantime, we'll take you through the main areas of The Silver Bough website as it is.

The homepage contains a slideshow of our runic creations, as well as links to the main areas of our site.

We have a gallery of some of our favourite rune photos.

The runes page is the place to go for information about the various rune systems we have been inspired by, including The Elder Futhark, The Younger Futhark and Joanne Harris's wonderful novel, Runemarks.

Last but not least you can visit our online shop to have a browse through our wares, which at the moment consists of fine silver rune pendants as well as rune sets made from naturally sourced pebbles.
We will soon be expanding our creations to include wooden rune sets, silver rune rings, charm bracelets, ogham jewellery, and creations based on Norse mythology.

So that's our site as it stands. We hope you visit and enjoy and keep coming back to watch as we evolve.

It's a great detour to a bad friend's house, 
even though he lives on the route;
but to a good friend's the ways lie straight,
even though he lives far off. 
-Sayings of The High One (Poetic Edda)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

SEO - Seriously Enormous Overhaul

We're back. Yes it has been a while, we're sorry.
So the first thing you want to know is, did we get the website online on midsummer's eve? Well, yes, we did!
And since then it's been all about tweaking it and refining it and getting it to work with as many different types of browser as possible (AOL, we're looking at you!).

So anyway, the website is online, but we aren't actually in business yet, though if someone stumbles across our site by accident and orders something then we are fully equipped to fulfill their order.
What we are doing now is that wonderful process called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This has revealed itself to be an art form in its own right and has necessitated the buying of several books on the subject. Once we have fully implemented SEO though, it should be well worth it and we will sit back and watch the orders flooding in.

If anyone wants to have a look at the website the URL can be found below. Enjoy!

The Silver Bough - Rune Pendants & Rune Sets

Monday, 21 June 2010

A Midsummer Night's Scheme

Ok, we have decided that today, being Midsummers Day would symbolically be a great day to get the website online and working. So our web design department (i.e. me) is going to be working flat out to get all the shopping cart links working for each item we currently sell.
It's quite a time consuming task so it may turn out to be a vain attempt, but if we can possibly do it, then the website will be up and running tonight.

Then the business of marketing and advertising really takes centre stage.

So in the absence of any meaningful blogging today, instead we post some examples of the type of items we will be selling....

Happy Midsummers

The Silver Bough

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Saturday night's alright for flyting...

Flyting and Loki

The Lokasenna

Another foray from our own developments into the land of the Gods and their ways. An amusing distraction.
Flyting was a sport of the gods, also a means of non physically violent combat. A battle of wits and insults. Odin has his moment with Thor (one must wonder what kind of a father he was!) at the ferry crossing but the Flyting champion must be Loki.

Now half of our team finds Loki the far superior and most interesting and misunderstood of the gods. Although he is a trickster and wildfire and chaos by nature of birth, he is used and abused by the other gods, blamed for their own indiscretions and mistakes. They turned to him in times when their lesser wits left them trapped and only Loki's cunning and guile could remove their obstacles and foes. When it went wrong, guess who got the blame? Ask for advice and take it, then blame yourself not your advisor.

Here we enter the delightful and often rude, Lokasenna. Whereby having been rebuked and denied access to a feast, he appears, after killing one of the serving men for having received praise. He meets up with the other serving man and demands access. Upon entering he is finally allowed to sit due to his 'blood brothership' with Odin. From then on...


'Do you remember, Odin, when in bygone days
we mixed our blood gether?
You said you would never drink ale
unless it were brought to both of us.'

'Get up then, Vidar, and let the wolf's father
sit at the feast
lest Loki speak words of blame to us
in Aegir's hall.'

This gains Loki acceptance to the table.
Loki's insults run from calling Braggi (the god of poetry) a bench ornament and a coward, to accusing Braggi's innocent and kind wife of 'being man crazy', to accusing Freya of sleeping with her brother, being caught by the gods and farting in bed.

These insults are amusing and wicked. The retorts often awkward and embarrassed, covering Loki's insults with excuses and aiming vitriol at Loki's own past 'evil' deeds. Does Loki back down? No, he embraces their comebacks with elegance and wit, denying nothing.

The end result: Thor, who does not seem to acknowledge the sacred tradition of not shedding blood or of physical violence in a place where food and drink are taken, threatens Loki with Mjolnir, his hammer, and thus Loki, being no fool, quits the hall. Unfortunately with soon to be dire consequences for himself.

Excellent reading and puts the gods in the light of fallibility and shows them as the wayward beings that they were... Almost human, we'd say.

(Source - The Poetic Edda).

Rune of the day


Modern letter - W

Wunjo signifies Joy, A rune associated with Freyja, the goddess of love. It can mean positive change.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Sayings of Odin

In the absence of any interesting activity to do with the business, we thought we'd share some of Odin's sayings from the Poetic Edda. For an old Norse dude, he made some pretty relevant observations on human behaviour.

The foolish man thinks he will live for ever,
if he keeps away from fighting;
but old age won't grant him a truce
even if the spears do.

A man shouldn't hold onto the cup but drink mead in moderation,
it's necessary to speak or be silent;
no man will blame you for impoliteness
if you go early to bed.

He's a wretched man, of an evil disposition,
the one who makes fun of everything;
he doesn't know the one thing he ought to know:
that he himself is not devoid of faults.

It's a great detour to a bad friend's house,
even though he lives on the route;
but to a good friend's the ways lie straight,
even though he lives far off.

To his friend a man should be a friend
and repay gifts with gifts;
laughter a man should give for laughter
and repay treachery with lies.

Not very much need a man give,
often you get praise for a little;
with half a loaf and a tilted cup
I've got myself a companion.
-Sayings of The High One (Poetic Edda)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A hard day at the office

In expectation of orders, we needed to stock up on pebbles for rune sets. Where to go? We can't continue to only pillage The Hollow Ponds in Epping Forest and therefore decided: Where is a good source of beautiful smooth pebbles?
Of course, the seaside. Therefore a day trip (despite aches and pains, and we know you all sympathise) to Winchelsea Beach in Sussex.

A trove of pebble fantasties! Though very windy and with a rough Channel a wonderful search for the most interesting and perfect pebbles we could find, including some for new ideas.
We believe we brought back half the beach. Good ballast for the car driving home in the winds.

Not only have we found pebbles which hopefully will make wonderful and beautiful rune sets, we found pebbles with actual natural 'runemarks'. And, yes a few we just liked for ourselves including a beautiful geode. And for our own amusement built towers of pebbles, four of which were still standing when we left.

The rune pebbles are of types we are accustomed to, although as worn by the waves, these pebbles have a unique smoothness to them and shape which fits so well in the hand. Very tactile. Having the beach primarily to ourselves made the experience more amazing. Though we feel like pebble poachers!

Expectations are rising as the launch date looms.
We've found a bag supplier for the rune sets who very generously sent us a sample and so far we are very happy with this. As tactile as the pebbles and easily carried with the runes fitting generously for easy access.
These rune pebbles will be made from the pebbles of the southeastern coast of England. They are infused with the sea and the feeling of of the island and Europe across the Channel. We look forward to sorting them and working on them. We hope you will be pleased.

Rune of the day


Modern letter - G

Gebo signifies a Gift, referring to both giving of oneself and receiving. A blessing on relationships.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Joanne Harris’ Runemarks is a marvel. Melding her amazing imagination with references to The Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, she has captured the personification of the Norse ‘Gods’ along with the importance of Rune Lore. Her depiction of the Aesir and Vanir as fallible with virtues and faults, with humour and remarkable style has adhered to the original prose while adding her own take on their futures after Ragnarok.
The influence of Runes in Runemarks brings an individuality and true authenticity to the use of Runes as more than an alphabet but as an ancient mystic tool. Dismiss most previous stereotypes of the ‘Gods’ through modern culture and modern ‘belief systems’ and meet them as they were: flawed, true and a strange and very special ‘dysfunctional’ family who will take you in.
Rune of the day


Modern letter = C/K

Kenaz signifies a torch, light after a period of darkness. Order from chaos, creative fire.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Icelandic Rune Poem

The Icelandic Runic Poem, which is supposed to date from the fifteenth century, consists of sixteen short stanzas dealing in succession with the letter names of the Scandinavian Runic alphabet.
Each of these stanzas contain three Kennings (The descriptive phrases used instead of nouns in old Scandinavian poetry, e.g. "Sea-Steed" to mean "ship").

Here are the first three stanzas as a "taster"...

Fé er frænda róg.........Wealth
ok flæðar viti................source of discord among kinsmen
ok grafseiðs gata.........and fire of the sea
aurum fylkir................and path of the serpent.

Úr er skýja grátr........Shower
ok skára þverrir..........lamentation of the clouds
ok hirðis hatr...............and ruin of the hay-harvest
umbre vísi....................and abomination of the shepherd.

Þurs er kvenna kvöl......Giant
ok kletta búi....................torture of women
ok varðrúnar verr..........and cliff-dweller
Saturnus þengill..............and husband of a giantess.

Rune of the day


Modern letter - R

Raidho signifies a Journey, implying not just physical travel, but a quest for spiritual enlightenment.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Runes

Today we would like to give a short description explaining the three main runic systems that we have drawn inspiration from when creating our jewellery and rune sets.

The Elder Futhark

The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabet, used by Germanic tribes of the 2nd to 8th centuries for inscriptions on artifacts such as jewellery, amulets, tools, weapons and runestones.
Unlike the Younger Futhark, which remained in use until modern times, the knowledge of how to read the Elder Futhark was forgotten, and it was not until 1865 that the Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge managed to decipher it.

The Younger Futhark

The Younger Futhark came into use in Scandinavia around the eighth century, when changes in the Old Norse language required corresponding changes to the runic alphabet. The number of runes was reduced from 24 to 16 and several runes came to represent multiple sounds.
'th' was used for þ and ð; 'u' for u and o; 'k' for k, g, and ng; 'i' for i and e; 't' for t and d; and 'b' for b and p. The new letter, 'r', was originally used for an 'er-like' sound in Old Nordic but became y in later Scandinavian languages.


For her novel Runemarks, best selling author Joanne Harris uses a slightly altered version of the Younger Futhark, while incorporating some elements of the Elder Runes.

Rune of the day


Modern Letter - A

Ansuz signifies Ash, Yggdrasil, The World Tree. The Asa-Gods, The Aesir. Divine inspiration.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Taliesan and The Silver Bough

The poets (fili) were part of the caste of the druid class (scholars, priests, judges, etc). These fili were closely in touch with the Otherworld. The chief symbol or regalia of their office was the musical bough which they carried in their possession. The highest order of this class, the Ollamh, was entitled to a golden bough, an Anruth (second highest) a silver bough and finally the lower classes, a bronze bough. These branches were hung with bells which rang when they rode or entered a hall, disposing listeners to attend to their songs, stories and mystical revelations.
The most famous of the Anruth was Taliesan. Although according to legend he was made the Chief Olamh and head of the Council by his foster grandfather/father Gwynudd, he did not carry the golden bough but preferred the silver bough.
Thus through the symbolism of the Silver Bough, it's attending cycles of song, poetry, story and mysticism our company The Silver Bough adopts it's name.
And it is pronounced Bough not boff! :D

The Silver Bough today is brought to you by the letter... th
and the number...9

Rune of the day


Modern Letter - th

Thurisaz signifies the thorn, a symbol linked to Thor and his hammer. A defence against enemies, security, protection.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The power of stone

It was said by Jan Fries, author of Helrunar, that people should make their own rune sets. We agree, and yet we don't. We decided as a unique idea to make our pebble rune sets. To date, all pebbles have been hand picked from Epping Forest. The size, shape and type of stone are important. The carving technique is not in and of itself difficult, although we go through two bits per set.

The pebble sets are tactile. The weight feels right in one's hand. The natural variations in the individual pebbles add beauty and a natural 'power' to the sets. We choose each pebble as we feel is appropriate to the various runes.

Although gathering pebbles and carving the runes is time consuming, we feel that these sets are worth the effort as they truly are things of beauty. Whether your interest is casting runes, or simply putting them on display in a bowl they are things of wonder.

Most other rune sets have been created according to modern guidelines. Often these sets contain a 'blank' rune which was never used in the ancient runic systems. The descriptions of the meanings are often loosely based on authentic runic lore, however are also often infused with a more 'new agey' twist.

Our pebbles are based on the Elder and Younger Futhark and we also do a set based on Joanne Harris' own interpretation from her best selling novel Runemarks (which in itself is based on the ancient systems).

The carving, as opposed to painting, in a hard natural material adds to the authenticity of these rune sets.

Rune of the day


Modern letter - U

Uruz signifies the wild ox, which is usually seen as a symbol for strength, power and primal force. It can also mean a renewal, as in out with the old and in with the new.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Runes - Jewellery, symbols, or both?

Contemplating Orders and filling them. Also contemplating our perfection factor.

One must realise that runes are not high street bling. They are representative of the myths and history of ancient cultures. They are not meant to be perfect but individual pieces with individual feeling behind each rune pendant or rune set. These are items to be worn or used in daily life, although as they are quite elegant in their way (for men or women) they are at home with nothing on at all or with evening dress.

We don't infuse the pieces or sets with anything more than the dedication and belief in our work and that which we replicate in the symbols. The actual infusion or 'activation' (if you must get a bit, say, technical) is up to the owner... or not, as the case may be.
A rune is as much a mystical or sacred symbol as it is a thing of beauty. As they represent letters, they can simply reflect the owner's name. Though we hope our 'friends' look at the rune charts and reflect on a rune's meaning, which resonates.

We will sell the pendants on adjustable cords as we feel these complement the rune to its best advantage. Having worn my 'Kaen' on a chain for weeks, I have found the cord to be more 'comfortable' and appropriate, however this is our taste, it is not everyones. We can source chains for our customers if they so wish, although the best source we have found so far is in the USA, so there might be a slight delay in at least the shipping of the chains.

Runes and the stone rune sets are not just jewellery, or even symbols. They are hopefully our own art and things of beauty to be displayed proudly.

Rune of the day


Modern letter - F

Fehu signifies 'cattle', which is a strong symbol for wealth and prosperity. A source of food, stability, security and growth.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

With a little help from our friends

We are discovering that by simple enquiries we have developed excellent contacts (including friends) and cooperation from various suppliers.
The Silver Bough will include a prominent link to our friend Joanne's magnificent book, Runemarks (a great inspiration to us) and the sequel which fingers crossed shall be out very very soon! Joanne has offered to link The Silver Bough site to her website.

The publisher of Helrunar (by Jan Fries), a comprehensive reference book to the history, mythology, meaning and use of runes from prehistory to present has also said he will post a link to The Silver Bough on the Mandrake Publishing website along with the very kind offer of an online discount to our 'visitors'.

When enquiring about sundries (bags, cords, etc) we have found the cooperation of suppliers very enheartening. It proves that there is pride in quality and in customer service. The last offer of a sample of a velvet bag has been gratefully received. As our goal is top quality and prime customer service, we are sourcing only the best packaging and findings/cords we can.
Still waiting for a sample of goat suede which is currently out of stock. This is a very fine and soft suede which we hope will be ideal for the adjustable cords which we are including with our rune pendants. Unfortunately it seems that goats are extinct as weeks later they have not been able to restock. Maybe men have been staring at them too much.

We press on...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Planes, trains and shopping cart pains

So today is all about getting the shipping options right for deliveries.

We have decided to use PayPal shopping cart for our shop, but that has thrown up a small problem.
Because we are selling items that cost various amounts and have various weights, we obviously need different postage amounts as well...
Which is fine, until you get to the fact that we will need different postage rates for the UK, Europe and the USA (Yes, we are going to be international ;o) ).
Rather bizarrely in my view, PayPal doesn't give you an option with its shopping cart to charge different shipping rates depending on the location of the customer. Sigh...
I found this hard to believe, so I e-mailed them and sure enough, they confirmed this sorry state of affairs.

Still, all is not yet lost. I think I have found a way around this problem by utilising a third party piece of shopping cart software as a go between.
So today's task is simply to try this out and input the necessary shipping options we want and see if I can generate the magical html code needed for our "add to cart" buttons...
Then it's just a small matter of doing this individually for every item we currently sell. Gulp...
Where's that coffee?

The Silver Bough

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A tough job

It's proving to be a longer process than we thought (starting a business). The majority of the setting up is done, but the fine tuning takes an age.
Still, we are getting closer to getting the site launched. We just need to set up the correct shipping options, then it's just a case of ordering in some velvet bags of high quality, and some leather cord to hang the pendants from. (We are thinking "goat").
Other than that, a few more photographs need to be taken and then we'll be ready to roll.

More soon!

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Silver Bough

The Silver Bough is a small business run as a partnership by two close friends.
The business will primarily be an online store selling fine silver jewelery based on runic and Ogham symbols and systems.

We are currently in the set-up stages, which means, designing the website, sorting the web hosting, perfecting our creative techniques, and basically getting all the legal and background details in place.

We should be up and running fairly soon though and are getting quite excited by the prospect of getting our creations "out there" in the market place.

Watch this space for more news on our progress and our initial launch date.

The Silver Bough