I. Forword by Freya Aswynn
It is with great pleasure, that I introduce this extraordinary book. A work of scholarship and intuition Vincent digs deep in the Well. The first part of the book is taken up with a discussion about the origins of Runes and the Celtic connection, very interesting.
Secrets of Asgard is aptly named as in this book Vincent forges new connections with Runes to reveal an multidimensional web of correspondences between other schools of thought partaking of the perennial Wisdom Tradition. Expanding the Runic meanings and offering a deeper layer of Rune might than ever before.
Like me, this author’s native language is Flemish/Dutch and so plugging into the unconscious more linguistic aspects are uncovered and discussed proving fascinating new insights into the Runes: lots and lots of new stuff, subtle seemingly little things so small that no one me included actually took the time to look at!
Vincent brings in a lot more of the Natural world, as in his section on Berkana. It is clear that this monumental Work contains a wealth of scholarship as well as insights especially in the practical applications of Runes.
Vincent interpret the 3 aettir in a sociological context according to Dumezil, however he allows for evolution from thrall to Jarl within an initiatic concept; he also recognized a correspondence with the Astrological crosses, something I had overlooked, I can honestly say that Vincent has taken the whole kit and caboodle to a new level.
Correlations with the writings of Alice Bailey are discovered and discussed. This book will appeal to Runesters and Heathens who cultivate an open mind and wish to go beyond religion into the Initiatic Mysteries of the Runes and the Gods.
About the gods as well as their runes, Vincent offers some very interesting differing and sometime radically opposing views to my own, solidly backed up by an alternative look, lore and his own intuition. Invocations and instructions for successful rune magick are a large and rich resource. This book has something for everyone, sound lore and deep magick. This excellent work shows a deep and powerful occult current as well as keeping true to the tradition. Fine scholarship and impeccable integrity breathe through this work.
May it open many doors in the minds of those who wish to explore beneath and beyond exoteric heathenry.
II. Review by Nattvarg Nattvargsonn (Pagan Friends Webzine, Yule 2011)
From the very beginning of the book, Vincent Ongkowidjojo shows a very strong grasp of the subject matter and a deep passion alongside his tremendous knowledge, which immediately draws the reader into the book. In my first read-through of the book, I was not only highly impressed by such a comprehensive mix of personal ideas and factual information, but also impressed by the style of writing; whilst I personally find most books of this nature to be tedious reads, filled often with mistakes and UPG, this book is filled with enough facts and information that the personal opinions of the author contained within are not the kind which make most Heathens cringe. Whether a scholar interested in Runes, a Godi reflecting upon and referring to sources to improve your rune knowledge or a novice starting out, this book is the most comprehensive and agreeable book I have ever had the immense pleasure of reading on the subject. Whilst the language is somewhat scholarly in nature and filled with big words that may put some people off, however, the authors use of language is comprehensible for the serious reader. It should also be noted that the author is from the Netherlands, the use of language and writing style is most impressive and easily understood considering it is by a foreign author; this fact itself impressed me – I have had the displeasure of reading books from foreign authors that the flow of the book is nearly unable to be followed. Being that I have formed my own opinions on Runes and Runic magic, I have found myself at some points disagreeing with the author’s opinions, however, the way the book is written is not matter-of-fact and allows the reader to make his or her own opinions, this is a trait few authors manage. It is with a deep respect and admiration that I write this review, despite disagreeing with a few ideas contained within it. I can see and understand the thought process behind these ideas, which makes the book not only a pleasure to read, but also the disagreements I do have with it are not ones that offend, like so many other author’s assumptions and presumptions. It is deeply refreshing to see a book filled with knowledge as opposed to ignorance, logical thoughts as opposed to presumptuous conclusions and filled with plenty of ideas for thought and reflection on. As a Norwegian Heathen, I am often wary of anything from outside of Scandinavia. I have found a great many Heathens are also wary of anything that is not the Havamal and Eddas, but this is a book I would wholly recommend to any Heathen, Scholar or Chaote requiring Runic knowledge to put on their bookshelves. The author’s grasp of the subject matter is such that it outdoes that of many Heathens I have the pleasure of knowing. I cannot think of any book I would recommend more highly if the reader is looking for a book on Runes; this is the book for anyone requiring knowledge of runes, whether simply beginning or advanced in their ‘Career’ as users of the Runes.
III. Review in The Cauldron No143, February 2012
Not another book on the runes I hear you groan. In a way this book is different from the others on the market as its Belgian born Asian-European author, who studied under the Dutch writer on the runes Freya Aswynn, seeks to link the runic symbols with the Irish Ogham alphabet and the Iron Age 'Celtic' culture. He also puts forward the less then [sic] original theory that the runes represent spirits or supernatural forces. Not sure where the 'secrets' in the title come into it as overall the book provides a fairly straightforward introduction to the subject. As well as descriptions of each rune, there are chapters on the nine worlds, as depicted on the Yggdrasil or Tree of Life in Northern European cosmology, and the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology.
IV. Review by Jana (in The Wiccan Rede Online) March 2012
The author of ‘Runen in de Noordse traditie’ (Ankh-Hermes, 2007) studied rune magic under the tutelage of Freya Aswynn. (She wrote the foreword.) He also studied very different subjects and the bibliography is very diverse. But the runes and the Northern mythology are the main focus of this book. The first part centres on the meaning of the (24) individual runes and each chapter, each rune, gives food for thought. The second part centres on the application of the system, namely magic and divination and includes rituals and exercises. The Havamal poem is a guide to make your own set of runes and talismanic magic. The threefold division of the futhark is discussed in a chapter on the Aettir. And there’s a chapter on the Nine Worlds. “It is exactly in these mythic worlds that the different powers of the Gods find expression. And the powers they express are represented by the Runes. The system is therefore built around three components: the worlds, the Gods and the Runes. Metaphorically speaking, all of these refer to aspects of the mind. The worlds symbolize different levels of the mind, whereas the Gods represent archetypes playing within these areas of action. The Runes are energies present. In daily life, the worlds refer to different contexts a situation takes place in. The Gods represent our response patterns, and the Runes symbolize conscious decisions throughout life.” (To be honest, this is the only place I came across the mentioning of the Gods as representations of things, and not as themselves.)
IV. Review by Koenraad Elst