|divinatory purposes. These were more common among the Germanic tribes.
The twenty-four runes are broken down into three groups of eight and are
named for gods from the Norse Pantheon. The first eight futhark are attributed
to Freyr, the second eight to Hagal, and the third eight to Tyr.
Somewhere through the history of time, probably much later, the final Rune was
added. This Rune is called the Blank Rune. Many represent this rune as
being indicative of the emptiness or that the Runes are declining to answer.
The Blank Rune is called “Odin’s Rune” and is emblematic of the endless
possibilities of the Universe.
As stated in our modality page on Runes, what are called “Rune Stones” today
are actually a misnomer. Rune Stones truly do exist. There are standing
stones which still contain their markings across the paths of the northern
explorers. Rune stones were larger stones (some weighing multiple tons, some
twenty pounds) which were inscribed with runes to mark boundaries,
commemorate that “on this battlefield Sven of the long axe went berserk and
killed twenty of the enemy - Hail Sven, sword arm of Lungar,” or to put the
magic of the runes to work to bind a contract or treaty.
Today Runes are used by many for simple self-introspection, to look ahead, or
just as a way to learn how to read an ancient language! Many of the sagas of
the ancient tribes exist today, but only in their original languages. Many
scholars and history buffs are learning to read the runes to enable them to peer
into the depths of history. There are those, however, who take the time to truly
go within and learn the information about themselves and the world around them,
reconnect with the energies and can become true practitioners of runemal. Dr.
Nikki is just such a person as she has been using the Runes for nearly twenty
In this section we’ll break the Runes down for you, not only into their individual
meanings, but also the representations included in being part of Freyr’s,
Hagal’s, and Tyr’s Eight. Please click on the links to learn about the various
|Look here to find out about the Runes
of the Elder Futhark!
|Runes are an old and long recognized
writing system, far more than most
people believe. While most people
think Viking or, thanks to Tolkein, Elf,
or Hobbit when they hear the word
“Rune,” the history is actually older
and far more involved than that. Now
lost to the pages of history, the origin
of the rune is still unknown. Believed
to have begun before the Christian era
and having been a transmutation from
the Iron Age pictographs to a
phonetic representation. Those who
follow the Viking Mythology believe
that Odin was given the gift of the
Runes after hanging suspended upside
down from the World Tree
"She wore a cloak set with stones along the hem. Around her neck
and covering her head she wore a hood lined with white catskins. In
one hand, she carried a staff with a knob on the end and at her belt,
holding together her long dress, hung a charm pouch."
The unique clothing description shows the level of honor and
prestige the Rune Mistress or Master held in the culture. In
many of the older religious belief systems everything is alive.
From the twigs and smallest pebbles to the mountains and the
skies above, they were from and of the earth and thus sacred.
To divination and casting of lots they pay attention beyond any
other people. Their method of casting lots is a simple one: they cut
a branch from a fruit-bearing tree and divide it into small pieces
which they mark with certain distinctive signs (notae) and scatter at
random onto a white cloth. Then, the priest of the community, if the
lots are consulted publicly, or the father of the family, if it is done
privately, after invoking the gods and with eyes raised to heaven,
picks up three pieces, one at a time, and interprets them according
to the signs previously marked upon them.
The Runes by this time were already developing a consistency on the European
Continent. They were carried from place to place on the ancient trade routes,
many warriors had them as part of their packs as they carried their weapons to
the wars of the dark age. It is believed that by the time of Tacitus’ quote that
the Runes were more than just squiggles on a stick. They were a recognized
written language understood by those who had been educated in it.
Through the centuries the Futhark (the name for the runic alphabet…this is
based on the first six runes) has evolved. The Anglo-Saxon alphabets
expanded on the Runes and had as many as 33 letters in Britain. However, it
is the ancient Futhark, the elder stones, that are used for
|This relationship to the sacredness of earth energy is still seen in the modern
use of Rune Stones as an oracle device. The Runes as an oracle goes back to
Runes were always carved into something that was “of the earth” such as stone,
hardwood, leather, or metal. The runes were either carved or painted onto the
items. Some runes have been colored with paint in which one of the components
was human blood. These runes were considered to hold an even higher power
and the words they represented were even more important because they were
bound by blood to the stone. Called runemal, the Runemaster (or mistress)
would shake their pouch and scatter the runes (made from whatever media,
normally made by the Runemaster themselves to grant the personal power to the
runes). Those which landed right side up were read as auguries of the future.
In 98A.D, the Roman historian Tacitus gives us the best description of the
prevalence of casting in Chapter X of his Germanica.
|Yggdrasil for a period of nine days. It was
after receiving the Runes that he was finally
able to come down from the tree.
In the 13th Century Saga of Eric The Red
there is an indication of the status and value of
the Rune casters held in the Teuton and Viking
cultures. The description from the saga of a
contemporary Rune Mistress (yes, women
could and did hold the power of the Runes):