I was recently invited by one of the largest annual New Age fairs in Finland to give a lecture on the runes at their event (probably because of my recent radio-interview with Perttu Häkkinen on the subject). I declined. Had it been a literary or academic event, or had it been organized by a proper, intelligent media-outlet, I would have gladly agreed to participate. But the New Age is where I draw the line, and where we should draw the line.
Runes are not and should not be part of the what is called the New Age. If anything, they are "old age". Runology is the study of existing historical runic futharks (alphabets), inscriptions, runestones etc., and forms a subset of Germanic linguistics. Esoteric runology in turn strives to understand the mytho-poetic "secrets" the runes are thought to embody or express - it is a form of knowledge-seeking where the goal is initiatory wisdom rooted in tradition, or at least as close to what we have left of such in Northern Europe.
The New Age markets the runes as a form of Nordic divination and "oracle". They publish incredibly stupid and aesthetically offensive books on runes, lacking in any academic or traditional knowledge and brimming with misinformation (such as the "mysterious 25th, empty wyrd-rune"). They sell brightly colored factory-made rune-sets - made in China, of course.
The New Age is a modern commercial venture based on fooling gullible, stupid people out of their money (and sometimes, sexual favors). Its apparent universalism and eclecticism are based on cynical capitalism. People are certainly free to believe in any flowery falsehood which makes life seem more meaningful and tolerable - and the New Age markets and sells these falsehoods by the dozen. Anyone can become a white-light warrior of healing energy (not of course a warrior in ANY real sense of the word), anyone can buy their way into all kinds of ill-digested and poorly represented spiritual pseudo-traditions from around the world, and anyone can pick-and-choose any gods from any pantheon to worship, because, "like, u know, we are all one." It is ultimate spiritual commercialism, fit to our soulless, rootless age.
Let the New Age have its fools - they are welcome to them. But let us not defile our already fragmented traditions with such associations. Let us stay pure.