Interview with Edward Durand
by Larisa Hunter
Larisa: How long have you been interested in runes?
Edward: I have been interested in mystical symbolism for many years and found that many systems tie in with each other such as astrology, numerology, sacred geometry, elements and some methods of divination. I have found that the Ogham alphabet also corresponds with astrology, numerology, musical notes, alchemy and other archetypal systems so it works well for divination as well. But it’s all about the trees, they are the teachers and healers. Each letter of the Ogham alphabet is a different tree.
Larisa: How much research did you put into the different tune variants and why did you pick this specific set of runes?
Edward: The Ogham speaks to me on a deep level as it is all about the trees and their teachings. I have long been a student of the trees. It is not just an abstract series of symbols like the runes, but a living language that breathes and sways and whispers all around me as I see and smell and hear the trees, learn their teachings and work with their blessings. Earth based spiritual systems bridge the worlds and keep us grounded. I work with Ogham because I work with trees, they are the Druids. The main forms of Ogham are the BLN and the BLF, named after the initials of the first three trees, so the Beith Luis Nuin has Ash third and the Beith Luis Nuin has Alder third, apart from that there is very little difference. I work mainly with the BLN as that is the first one I came across, in the White Goddess ten or fifteen years ago.
Larisa: You have quite a background in poetry, what do you feel poetry allows for in spiritual journey work and with runes vs more academic views of runes?
Edward: Poetry enables the mind to go deep, to unite with the heart, to see the deep connections with nature and to stir the soul. In the bardic tradition rhyme and rhythm are used to help bards to memorise vast amounts of information. In my book I use poetry to help me, and others, to memorise the wisdom, healing properties, magical properties, teachings and other uses of the trees. Poetry brings in a more intuitive, creative side than academic study so it helps us to get at the mystical dimension of life. It can assist us in shamanic journeying when mystical poetry is used in meditation.
Larisa: How much does your Irish background play into your interest in the heritage aspect of runes work?
Edward: The knowledge of Ogham became limited in the vast majority of the people but was kept alive by the trees themselves. There are medieval sources on Ogham but nothing ancient that was written down as it was an oral tradition. We can learn from the trees directly, not necessarily from books. Today there is a renewed interest in Ogham both in Ireland and Britain. The origin of Ogham is the Irish god Ogma but Ogham is probably even more popular in Britain than it is in Ireland as the Pagan revival is stronger there. My Irish background was very much a connection with the land and nature, hence Ogham is a system that ties that in for me with study and practice as well as my ancient connection with the trees. My heritage is diverse but the Irish half of my heritage has given me an openness to enquiring at the deeper mysteries of life and the world around me and a love of nature that speaks to me and nourishes me every day. Also Ogham is a way to keep the ancient Celtic teachings alive, not just chronicled but imbuing every facet of life through the broad influence of the trees in giving fresh air, medicine, wisdom, fuel, shelter, sap, food etc.
Larisa: What inspired you to look so closely into runes?
Edward: I found that the amount of wisdom in Ogham seems limitless so it is an infinite Dagda’s Cauldron or Horn of Plenty with such an endless wellspring of knowledge that feeds my enquiring philosophical mind. I have been delving quite deep into its mysteries as it nourishes my thirst for knowledge but there is always a lot deeper you can go into that well. I like that is ties in with other patterns and systems such as astrology and musical notes, in a similar way that the archetypes of the Tarot correspond with astrology, Kabbalah, elements etc.
Larisa: Your poems seem very similar to the ones written by Icelandic and Nordic bards, is there a reason this style speaks to you more than traditional poetry?
Edward: The poems are what came from Imbas, the Spirit of Inspiration, but the style is partially shaped by the Bardic tools of using rhyme and rhythm to make knowledge easier to memorise. So I’m not surprised that it shares much with Icelandic and Nordic Bards. The language is also influenced by my general poetic style that uses beautiful words to touch the heart and enhance consciousness.
Larisa: Lastly, what is your hope for readers of this book?
Edward: I hope that readers will come away with a sense of wonder at the mysterious and a connection to the deep heart and wisdom of the trees. I hope it will deeper their connection with nature and their appreciation and knowledge of all the blessings the trees can give. I hope they will use the knowledge contained in the book in a practical and a spiritual way. People are asking for another poetry book of mine to be published so you might see that next year. I hope that it will also inspire people to get out into the woods and meet the trees, developing a relationship with them.
Edward Durand is inspired by the ways in which nature can fire his imagination and often conveys this by putting pen to paper. He has spent two decades studying the wisdom traditions. By following a bardic path he was able to touch the Imbas, the spirit of inspiration. His poems are mystical journeys of transformation into the heart of nature and spirit, inspired by profound glimpses of higher truths and a reverence for nature. He has a poetry book published of poems based on the wisdom of the Ogham tree alphabet. Edward is now running a holistic healing and retreat centre in Ireland with his wife.