The Origin of the Runes:
Since very early times people have been trying to gain knowledge of the future. Through meditation, focus and visualization we CAN have experiences beyond our everyday consciousness.
The Anglo-Saxons would call discussions "Runes" and actual rune stones were used to assist in making difficult decisions. This does come into play numerous times in history and in actuality, in every day life. 2 Examples of this are:
1. Runnymeade: In 1215 the Magna Carta was constructed and signed in Runnymeade (the Meadow of Runes)
2. X: This is the Rune Gebo, the Rune of partnership was traditionally used to sign a document when illiterate people needed to make their mark. Which is still used today to sign a contract (sign by the x) ((this always cracks me up laughing)).
Nobody knows the true origin of the Runes but it is estimated that they came into use between 250 and 150 B.C.E.
In Norse legend, and this is what I truly believe in, the Runes were discovered by Odin through a self-inflicted injury.
There is a Norse poem, Havamal, which is written as the words of Odin about how the Runes came into being:
~"I know that I hung on the windswept tree For 9 days and 9 nights.
Stuck with a spear, Bloodied for Odin, Myself an offering to myself, Bound to the tree whose roots no one knows where they go.
No one gave me bread. No one gave me drink. Down into the depths I looked, To take up the Runes.
Screaming I fell back from that place."
The theory is that He tortured himself to the point that it caused a flash off insight to release the full potential of the Runes. To unite right brain with left brain, to alter consciousness to a trance like state. Geometric shapes resembling alphabetic letters often appear in the early stages of trance. The runes relate to the "nerve circuitry" of each human.
Lets break this down a little shall we? Odin hung on the tree for 9 days and 9 nights. 9 is believed to be the most potent of numbers (the power of 3×3). The windswept tree is also the tree Yggdrasil. In Nordic mythos Yggdrasil is the cosmic axis point that links the 3 levels of the universe containing the 9 realms of creation. The runes operate on all 3 levels.
Different sets of runes vary from 16 to 33 glyphs. Historically the oldest known full collection of runes is the Elder Futhark.
It consists of 24 runic characters in a specific order, plus a Blank or God Rune. That is what we will start out studying.
The Elder Futhark is divided into 3 families of 8 runes each, with the Blank rune standing off to the side as the Unknowable. The 3 Groups (Aettir or Aett) are named and ruled by the Norse Dieties: Freyr (or Freyja or Freya), Hagal (or Heimdall) and Tyr. We will get into much greater depth in later posts regarding the groupings of this.
As we explore each Rune, keep this is mind: Know thyself.
Each of us is an Oracle and as we pray to our dieties we are addressing the knowing self within.
We will go over terminology, how the Runes are grouped in the Futhark, ways to cast them, their alphabetical counterparts, etc, as we embark on this journey together.
Blessings and hail!
Your "homework" will be to study each Rune as we go through them. Take the time that you feel that you need to fully embrace each Rune and to know it better.
Share your feelings, your experiences, and be open to Yourself.
Key Terms and Points:
Odin: Old Norse word for Wind & Spirit. The All Father. One of the Major Elder Gods in the Nordic Tradition. His Passion and Transformation brought us the Runes.
Yggdrasil (Irminsul in Germany): The World Tree
9: the Most Potent of Numbers, the Power of 3 times 3
Bind Rune: a Powerful Sigil Formed from Runes
Wend Rune: a Rune Written Backwards
Elder Futhark: the Oldest Known Full Collection of Runes, often used as a Divination Tool
Rune: a Mysterious or Secret Thing
Runa: I Who Knows
Run (Norse): a Secret or Mystery
Roun: to Whisper
Aettir (plural) or Aett (singular): Families of Runes
Staves: Signs or Sigils (a Rune Sign is Commonly Referred to as a Rune Stave)
Glyph: a Hieroglyphic Character or Symbol