Today I am sharing two illustrations I commissioned from my youngest son, Paul F.S. Bauer, for The Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits. There is a scene in the book where the Elves teach divination using the Elder Futhark runes, and I wanted the results illustrated. Paul added the additional design elements based on his own inspiration and I think they are perfectly appropriate for an imagined Elven adaptation.
I hope these beautiful illustrations will be published soon, along with the rest of the book! (For those who might ask, he has not illustrated all twenty-four of the Elder Futhark runes, only these six.)
This one below features a reversed Berkana, which is how it showed up in the rune casting for the chapter. These days, I don’t read reversals.
A word about the Elder Futhark Runes
Below is a chart of the Elder Futhark Runes. Though these runes are popular with contemporary Heathen and Northern Tradition pagans for divination and healing work, some of these Norse runes have also been adopted by white supremacists. In other words, it’s important to double-check sources of objects, books, artwork, memes, and jewelry that depict runes. The ADL Hate Symbols database is a good source of information. Elhaz/Algiz and Othala/Opila are two that have been co-opted by neo-nazis and white supremacists. If the Othala rune has “feet,” this is also apparently a sign that it is being used by these groups.
I am back firmly in fantasy novelist mode! This past weekend I put some character and plot development changes in place and continued the final edit on Dire Deeds. I updated my lists of Elven (ala Tolkien) names and words; plus revised the list of 29 genders of the Elf world; and sorted and organized several files of character “faces” (a form of fantasy “casting” that helps my writing process). This is a series about “mid-life magic”–most of the human characters are in their forties or older and most are encountering magic for the first time.
The first book, The Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, is set in a fictitious “Hermitville Farm and Arts Collective” in the Puna district of Hawai’i Island, during a “not too distant future” when the U.S. occupation has ended and the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is rapidly reorganizing. Unfortunately, the Hermits of “Hermitville” realize their own occupation has had unintended mystical and spiritual consequences, causing the Elves of the Realm to return and revive the Guild.
The second, The Witching Work of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, is set in Lake County, CA. The Norse god, Loki Laufeyjarson, took over this plot with his search for his final missing child. But an evil Lake County cult leader teams up with a villain from the first book, to dump yet more challenges onto the newly reformed Guild (consisting of the “Hermits” and their teachers and guides, the Elves).
The third in the Series, The Perilous Past of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, will blend a contemporary plot with the origin story of the Guild, created during the times of witch persecution in Europe.
I began writing The Dire Deeds in 2016, during my time in Pahoa. I was very lonely so I began creating characters I wish I knew and a community life I wish I had. And I was homesick for the SF Bay Area. So naturally, these books contain a majority of LBGTQIA+ and BIPOC characters–all of whom get to do magic and have adventures.