RUNES

Runes are a very old alphabet found in inscriptions on stone in Scandinavian countries. Although related to the Latin and Greek alphabets it actually belongs to the Germanic group of languages. Runes were inscribed on stone monuments for a number of purposes including magic and to commemorate individuals and events. Runes may also be found on different objects such as brooches. A Norwegian monument shows the true meaning of Runes is to give magical powers. This is the secret meaning. These days the Runes have been revived in modern activities. They are now often used as a method of divination. There are 25 runic letters on ceramic counters which are then "cast". This concept of "casting the runes" may also be found where spells are inscribed on paper in Runic letters. For the Runes to be successfully cast in a spell the victim must accept the paper. Often the spell is hidden inside of a type of box which is a decoy.

The runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes to write various Germanic languages prior to the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark (or fužark, derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Ž, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant as futhorc (due to sound changes undergone in Old English by the same six letters). The earliest runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD, and the alphabet was generally replaced by the Latin alphabet with Christianization by around 700 AD in central Europe and by around 1100 AD in Scandinavia; however, the use of runes persisted for specialized purposes in Scandinavia, longest in rural Sweden until the early twentieth century (used mainly for decoration as runes in Dalarna and on Runic calendars). The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark (around 150 to 800 AD), the Anglo-Saxon runes (400 to 1100 AD), and the Younger Futhark (800-1100). The Younger Futhark is further divided into the long-branch runes (also called Danish, although they were also used in Norway and Sweden), short-twig or Rök runes (also called Swedish-Norwegian, although they were also used in Denmark), and the Hälsinge runes (staveless runes). The Younger Futhark developed further into the Marcomannic runes, the Medieval runes (1100 AD to 1500 AD), and the Dalecarlian runes (around 1500 to 1800 AD). The origins of the runic alphabet are uncertain. Many characters of the Elder Futhark bear a close resemblance to characters from the Latin alphabet. Other candidates are the 5th to 1st century BC Northern Italic alphabets: Lepontic, Rhaetic and Venetic, all of which are closely related to each other and descend from the Old Italic alphabet. The runes were introduced to the Germanic peoples in the 1st or 2nd century AD. (The oldest known runic inscription dates to around 150 AD and is found on a comb discovered in the bog of Vimose, Funen, Denmark. The inscription reads harja; a disputed candidate for a 1st century inscription is on the Meldorf fibula in southern Jutland). This period may correspond to the late Proto-Germanic or Common Germanic stage linguistically, with a continuum of dialects not yet clearly separated into the three branches of later centuries; North Germanic, West Germanic, and East Germanic.

No distinction is made in surviving runic inscriptions between long and short vowels, although such a distinction was certainly present phonologically in the spoken languages of the time. Similarly, there are no signs for labiovelars in the Elder Futhark (such signs were introduced in both the Anglo-Saxon futhorc and the Gothic alphabet as variants of p; see peorš.) The name given to the signs, contrasting them with Latin or Greek letters, is attested on a 6th century Alammanic runestaff as runa, and possibly as runo on the 4th century Einang stone. The name is from a root run- (Gothic runa), meaning "secret" or "whisper" (In Finnish, the term runo was loaned to mean "poem").

The runes developed centuries after the Mediterranean alphabets from which they are potentially descended. This is in a northern Etruscan alphabet, but features a Germanic name, Harigast. New archaeological evidence came from Monte Calvario (Auronzo di Cadore). The angular shapes of the runes are shared with most contemporary alphabets of the period used for carving in wood or stone. A peculiarity of the runic alphabet as compared to the Old Italic family is rather the absence of horizontal strokes. Runes were commonly carved on the edge of narrow pieces of wood. The primary grooves cut spanned the whole piece vertically, against the grain of the wood: curves are difficult to make, and horizontal lines get lost among the grain of the split wood. This vertical characteristic is also shared by other alphabets, such as the early form of the Latin alphabet used for the Duenos inscription. The "West Germanic hypothesis" speculates on an introduction by West Germanic tribes. This hypothesis is based on claiming that the earliest inscriptions of around 200 AD, found in bogs and graves around Jutland (the Vimose inscriptions), exhibit word endings that, being interpreted by Scandinavian scholars to be Proto-Norse, are considered unresolved and having been long the subject of discussion. Inscriptions like wagnija, nižijo, and harija are supposed to incarnate tribenames, tentatively proposed to be Vangiones, the Nidensis and the Harii, tribes located in the Rhineland. Another theory assumes a Northwest Germanic unity preceding the emergence of Proto-Norse proper from roughly the 5th century. The formation of the Elder Futhark was complete by the early 5th century, with the Kylver Stone being the first evidence of the futhark ordering as well as of the p rune.

The earliest runic inscriptions found on artifacts give the name of either the craftsman or the proprietor, or, sometimes, remain a linguistic mystery. Due to this, it is possible that the early runes were not so much used as a simple writing system, but rather as magical signs to be used for charms. Although some say the runes were used for divination, there is no direct evidence to suggest they were ever used in this way. The name rune itself, taken to mean "secret, something hidden", seems to indicate that knowledge of the runes was originally considered esoteric, or restricted to an elite. The 6th century Björketorp Runestone warns in Proto-Norse using the word rune in both senses: Haidzruno runu, falahak haidera, ginnarunaz. Arageu haeramalausz uti az. Weladaude, sa'z žat barutz. Užarba spa. I, master of the runes conceal here runes of power. Incessantly (plagued by) maleficence, (doomed to) insidious death (is) he who breaks this (monument). I prophesy destruction / prophecy of destruction. The same curse and use of the word rune is also found on the Stentoften Runestone. There are also some inscriptions suggesting a medieval belief in the magical significance of runes, such as the Franks Casket (700 AD) panel. Charm words, such as auja, lažu, laukaR and most commonly, alu, appear on a number of Migration period Elder Futhark inscriptions as well as variants and abbreviations of them. Much speculation and study has been produced on the potential meaning of these inscriptions. Rhyming groups appear on some early bracteates that may also be magic in purpose, such as salusalu and luwatuwa. Further, an inscription on the Gummarp Runestone (500 to 700 AD) gives a cryptic inscription describing the use of three staves (runic letters) followed by the Elder Futhark f-rune written three times in succession. Nevertheless, it has proven difficult to find unambiguous traces of runic "oracles": Although Norse literature is full of references to runes, it nowhere contains specific instructions on divination. There are at least three sources on divination with rather vague descriptions that may or may not refer to runes: Tacitus's 1st century Germania, Snorri Sturluson's 13th century Ynglinga saga and Rimbert's 9th century Vita Ansgari. The first source, Tacitus's Germania, describes "signs" chosen in groups of three and cut from "a nut-bearing tree," although the runes do not seem to have been in use at the time of Tacitus' writings. A second source is the Ynglinga saga, where Granmar, the king of Södermanland, goes to Uppsala for the blót. The lack of extensive knowledge on historical usage of the runes has not stopped modern authors from extrapolating entire systems of divination from what few specifics exist, usually loosely based on the runes' reconstructed names and additional outside influence.

Some later runic finds are on monuments (runestones), which often contain solemn inscriptions about people who died or performed great deeds. For a long time it was assumed that this kind of grand inscription was the primary use of runes, and that their use was associated with a certain societal class of rune carvers. In the mid-1950s, however, about 600 inscriptions known as the Bryggen inscriptions were found in Bergen. These inscriptions were made on wood and bone, often in the shape of sticks of various sizes, and contained inscriptions of an everyday nature. Following this find, it is nowadays commonly assumed that at least in late use, Runic was a widespread and common writing system. In the later Middle Ages, runes were also used in the Clog almanacs (sometimes called Runic staff, Prim or Scandinavian calendar) of Sweden. The authenticity of some monuments bearing Runic inscriptions found in Northern America is disputed, but most of them date from modern times.

Theories of the existence of separate Gothic runes have been advanced, even identifying them as the original alphabet from which the Futhark were derived, but these have little support in actual findings (mainly the spearhead of Kovel, with its right-to-left inscription, its T-shaped tiwaz and its rectangular dagaz). If there ever were genuinely Gothic runes, they were soon replaced by the Gothic alphabet. The letters of the Gothic alphabet, however, as given by the Alcuin manuscript (9th century), are obviously related to the names of the Futhark. The names are clearly Gothic, but it is impossible to say whether they are as old as, or even older than, the letters themselves. A handful of Elder Futhark inscriptions were found in Gothic territory, such as the 3rd to fifth century Ring of Pietroassa. As Proto-Germanic evolved into its later language groups, the words assigned to the runes and the sounds represented by the runes themselves began to diverge somewhat, and each culture would either create new runes, rename or rearrange its rune names slightly, or even stop using obsolete runes completely, to accommodate these changes. Thus, the Anglo-Saxon futhorc has several runes peculiar to itself to represent diphthongs unique to (or at least prevalent in) the Anglo-Saxon dialect. Nevertheless, the fact that the Younger Futhark has 16 runes, while the Elder Futhark has 24, is not fully explained by the some 600 years of sound changes that had occurred in the North Germanic language group. The development here might seem rather astonishing, since the younger form of the alphabet came to use fewer different rune signs at the same time as the development of the language led to a greater number of different phonemes than had been present at the time of the older futhark. For example, voiced and unvoiced consonants merged in script, and so did many vowels, while the number of vowels in the spoken language increased. From about 1100, this disadvantage was eliminated in the medieval runes, which again increased the number of different signs to correspond with the number of phonemes in the language.

The largest group of surviving Runic inscription are Viking Age Younger Futhark runestones, most commonly found in Sweden. Another large group are medieval runes, most commonly found on small objects, often wooden sticks. The largest concentration of runic inscriptions are the Bryggen inscriptions found in Bergen, more than 650 in total. Elder Futhark inscriptions number around 350, about 260 of which are from Scandinavia, of which about half are on bracteates. Anglo-Saxon futhorc inscriptions number around 100 items.

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ALGIZ Runes
Astrology Sign : Pisces.
Colour : Gold.
Tarot : Moon.
Tree : Lime.
Connected with the God Heimdall.
Algiz is the Rune of protection and healing. May also indicate others will try to force you into something against your will. Good sign for artistic talents.
New job offer. Reverse : May suggest health problems.

ANSUZ Runes
Planet : Mercury.
Colour : Dark Blue.
TAROT : Death.
Gender : Male.
Tree : Ashh.
Animal : Wolf and Raven.
The Ansuz Rune has connections to Odin.
It is sometimes called the God Rune. This rune is associated with learning. May indicate a wise person who offers advice.
Reverse : May indicate problems with study.

BERKANA Runes
Astrology Sign : Cancer.
Colour : Green.
Tarot : Empress.
Gender : Female.
Tree : Fir.
Animal : Swan.
This Rune is connected to the God Nerthus.
The Baerkana Rune indicates a need to look at our spirituality. New projects are indicated with this Rune.
May also indicate a new baby or a new job. Reverse : Wrong choices.

DAGAZ Runes
Astrology Sign : Leo.
Colour : Blue.
Tarot Temperature.
Gender : Male.
Tree : Spruce.
Connected to the God Heimdall.
This Rune means new starts. A time to break free of a stalement. Indicates the need for hard work.
Time to plan for the future.

EHWAZ Runes
Planet : Mercury. Colour : White. Tarot : Lovers. Gender : Male/Female. Animal : Horse. Tree : Apple. Connected to the God Freyja. Is stongly connected with matters of science and education. Big changes are indicated. Be careful around transport. Reverse : Journey delayed.

EIHWAZ Runes
Astrology Sign : Sagittarius. Colour : Blue. Tarot : Hanged Man. Gender : Male. Animal : Horse. Tree : Apple. Connected with the God Ullr. Changes that are not welcome, but at least helpful. May indicate movement or shifting of home or business.

FEHU Runes
Astrology Sign : Taurus. Colour : Red. Tarot Card : The Tower. Gender : Female. Animals : Cat, Swallow. Tree : Elder and Nettle. Fehu means possessions. This Rune calls on us to protect ourselves and our possessions. This Rune also connects strongley to the God Freyr. Fehu may also indicate a pregnancy. Reverse : Loss.

GEBO Runes
Astrology Sign : Libra. Colour : Blue. Tarot : Lovers Gender : Male/Female. Animal : Oxen. Tree : Elm. Gebo is a Rune for love. You will be called upon to help someone. May indicate charity work. May also show a new love on the horizon.

HAGALAZ Runes
Planet : Uranus. Colour : Blue Tarot : World. Gender : Female. Tree : Hawthorn. The God Heimdall is connected with this Rune. This Rune indicates disruption. This is a time to learn from these difficulties.

RUNES IN HEALING
Healing Runes are known as Lim Runes. The symbols are carved into the face of the south facing bark of a healing tree. Try meditating on the Rune as well as carrying it on your body. Fehu : Respiratory problems. Uruz : Muscles. Thurisaz : Heart. Anzus : Mouth. Raldo : Legs. Wunjo : Breathing problems. Hagalaz : Wounds. Jera : Digestive orders. Algiz : Headaches. Sowelu : Skin problems. Teiwaz : Artheritis. Berkana : Fertility. Dagaz : Nervous problems.

INGUZ Runes
Planet : Venus. Colour : Yellow. Tarot : Judgement. Gender : Male/Female. Animal : Boar. Tree : Apple. Connected to the God Freyr. This Rune often indicates a new job. May also show a move of home. Indicates the ending of a phase. May also indicate the end of a relationship.

ISA Runes
Planet : Neptune. Colour : Black. Tarot : Hermit. Gender : Female. Animal : Reindeer. Tree : Alder. This Rune is connected to the God Verdandi. This Rune may indicate a cooling of a relationship or business partnership. However, this will only be a temporary situation. Money expected may not arrive. Friends will let you down.

JERA Runes
Astrology Sign : Virgo. Colour : Blue. Tarot : The Fool. Gender : Male/Female. Tree : Oak. Connected with the God Freyr. The Jera rune is connected with crops and the harvest. It is a time of good fortune. You will be rewarded for past efforts. A good Rune if you are looking for a new start.

KAUNAZ Runes
Astrology Sign : Aries. Colour : Red. Tarot : Chariot. Gender : Female. Animal : Nightowl. Tree : Pine. The God connected to the Kaunaz Rune is Heimdall. This Rune concerns female influence. It may also indicate sexuality. A new love arrives that lights a bonfire in your heart. Success is indicated by this Rune. Reverse : Loss of friendship.

LAGUZ Runes
Planet : Moon. Colour : Green. Tarot : Star. Gender : Female. Animal : Seal. Tree : Willow. Connected with the God Njord. This Rune concerns success and money. It indicates that success and finances will depend on others. That sometimes it will be postive but at other times negative. May indicate long distance travel. May also indicate a pregnancy. Reverse : Indicates you are being too pushy.

MANNAZ Runes
Astrology Sign : Aquarius. Colour : Red. Tarot : Magician. Gender : Male/Female. Animal : Hawk. Tree : Ash. Connected to the God`s Frigg, Odin and Heimdall. This is a Rune for Relationships. It concerns how other people look at you. Dont rush into things. Watch your health with this Rune. May also indicate legal problems. Reverse : Problems with authorities.

NAUTHIZ Runes
Planet : Saturn. Colour : Black. Tarot : Devil. Gender : Female. Tree : Ash. This Rune is about thinking before acting. Wait before making any decisions. This Rune is also used for protection against psychic attack. Reverse : Tensions and stress.

OTHILA Runes
Astrology Sign : Capricorn. Colour : Yellow. Tarot : Moon. Gender : Male. Tree : Hawthorn. Connected to the God Odin. May indicate a win. May also indicate an inheritance. Reverse : May mean an accident.

PERTH Runes
Astrology Sign : Scorpio. Colour : Black. Tarot : Wheel of Fortune. Gender : Female. Tree : Elm. Connected with the God Frigg. The Perth Rune is all about warmth and friendship. Unexpected money. Social invitations. Renew old friendships. Reverse : Favours are not appreciated.

RAITHO Runes
Astrology Sign : Gemini. Colour : Red. Tarot : Hierophant. Gender : Male. Animal : Goat. Tree : Oak. The Raitho Rune represents journey`s both inwardly and outwardly. Courage will be needed. This Rune concerns anything that goes in two. Reverse : Things will not go according to plan.

SOWELU Runes
Planet : Sun. Colour : White. Tarot : Sun. Gender : Male. Animal : Eagle. Connected to the God Balder. This Rune covers mental and physical health. It also represents the love of a man for a woman. Indicates a growing spirituality.

TEIWAZ Runes
Planet : Mars. Colour : Red. Tarot : Justice. Gender : Male. Tree : Hazel. Connected with the God Tyr. This Rune is also strongly connected with love. It may represent selfish feelings and actions in a relationship. Indicates success in business. Legal matters will be positive. Reverse : May indicate problems with property.

THURISAZ Runes
Planet : Jupiter. Colour : Red. Tarot : Emperor. Gender : Male. Anilmal : Snake. Tree : Blackthorn. The Thurisaz Rune is connected to the God Thor. This rune may indicate aggression in resolving a problem or standing your ground. Now is not the time to make hasty decisions. Be carefull in business dealings. Reverse : Tensions are high.

Uruz Runes
Planet : Pluto. Tarot : High Priestess. Colour : Green. Gender : Male. Animal : Ox. The Uruz Rune concerns strength. Also indicates opportunities. You must harness your energy in the best way. May also indicate job promotion. Reverse : You may miss a opportunity.

Wunjo Runes
Planet : Venus. Colour : Yellow. Tarot : Strength. Gender : Male. Tree : Ash. The Wunjo Rune is connected with the God Frigg. This Rune indicates good fortune and happiness. In the end harmony will prevail. Indicates successful new business partnership. Reverse : Partners should not be trusted in business or relationships.

Wyrd Runes
The Wyrd Rune has no connection with any astrology sign, planet, animal or colour. It is the Rune of karma and fate. It has no place in the Runic alphabetical system. It is only used when casting the Runes. The Wyrd Rune is connected to the God Odin. Indicates there is about to be a major change.

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