This is going to be a little introduction to runes. It’s very messy because I suck at writing essays, but should hold useful information.
In here, I will talk about:
1. The Origins
2. The Power/Potency
3. The Alphabet and Pronuciation
Runes: The Origins
Runes were used by Pagan tribes across Northern Europe. There’s a few possibilities as to how or when they originated, from scholars saying they date as far back as 500BC or were invented by Vikings around 800AD, the general agreement is that they’re old and were used in Europe.
The word itself is derived from an Old Norse word, Run and Old German, Runa, meaning ”whisper” or “secret.”
Runes are closely tied to Odin, Chief of the Gods, as he is a travelling Shaman, and was associated with Wisdom and guidance. He was extremely wise, having undergone many journeys with his familiars such as Hugin and Munin or his eight legged horse, Sleipnir (Courtesy of Loki, who turned into a Mare to seduce a magical stallion.). Sleipnir is an important figure in shamanism, seen as the shamanic horse par excellence, that transports shamans in their journeys when in trance.
Here is the figure of the nine staves, in which Odin observed the 24 runic shapes.
Runes, according to ancient Germanic people, weren’t created or derived, but an eternal, pre-existing existing force that Odin discovered.
The runic alphabets are called “futharks” after the first six runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kaunan). Much like ours, the elder futharks have 24 characters. The younger futharks have 16, and diverged from the Elder Futhraks in the start of the Viking Age. The Anglo-Saxon Futhorc with 33 characters that altered and added to the Elder Futharks in England.
Since runes were to be carved on bone, wood, stone or other hard surfaces, their angles make sense. Curves are harder to inscribe.
The 24 characters of the Elder Futharks, as drawn awfully by me, apologies.
So here you have a quick overview of where runes came from, both religiously/spiritually and historically, though it’s nebulous on both sides.
Runes: The Potency
In ancient times, runes were never vibrated or resonated. That was introduced by sorcerers/witches that treated runic names as magical words that could invoke powers and manipulate energy in order to obtain what they desired. Inversely, Runic Shamans only whispered the sounds, as a secret.
A secret could be defined as a message that is concealed only to be revealed to those who have been prepared and trusted to receive it. The knowledge was seen as so sacred that it was only transmitted to those who’s minds and hearts had been prepared to receive this secret.
The staves (Elder futharks) have been misunderstood to be the runes themselves. That isn’t the case. The runes are a process by which the fundamental potencies of Nature may be carried or conveyed. The images are more like vessels of the potencies. The knowledge of the runes and the runic patterns where what allowed them to access it.
A Rune-stave is an energy pattern that is inherent in Nature and within ourselves. Each pattern, each stave is a transporter of a potential quality which once released, acted intelligently to change the material world. Which explains why runes are associated with deities. They work in godlike fashions.
The Nazis also used runes in hopes that it’d help them on their way to victory, but only took the runes meanings in their most superficial sense, just like they did with the swastika and many other powerful symbols. (still pissed bout’ that.)
Runes: Alphabet and Pronunciation
Here, I’m just going to give you a picture from one of my books on runes, since the chart I made in my Grimoire is really bad.
Rune Power, by Kenneth Meadows
This should give you a fair idea of the pronunciation, and I definitely recommend the book to anyone interested in Runes and Norse Paganism in general. It’s one of my favourites and my copy is so old and crumpled, it barely stays together. If you want, I can scan the above chart in a clean manner for you to print if you want it in your book of shadows/grimoire.
Next time, we’ll explore the runes individually. Then we’ll look into how to make our own runes, spreads for rune reading, the runic cycles and more!
Freya is the goddess of war, love, and fertility. She is the daughter of the sea god Njord, and sister to Frey. She has many admirers and treasures, and also knows many different powerful magics (which she taught to a select group of gods, including Odin).
She has taken an interest in the heroic dead. While many people are familiar with Valhalla, Odin’s Hall for the slain, few know about Sessrumnir, Freya’s hall. Freya always gets first pick among the dead, and so it can be argued that living in her hall is a more sought-after prize than Valhalla.