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>Light Wicca Forum - Southern Hemisphere >Witchcraft & Ancient Wisdom >Runes >

BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND RUNES

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Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:29:50
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
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#1


    


 
* What are the Runes?

* Where do they come from?

* What can they be used for?

* What is a "set" of runes?

* Why use a set of runes?

* Can anyone use them?

* How can the meanings of the runes be discovered?

* What are the meanings of the runes?

* How can these meanings be interpreted?

* How can I find out more?






“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:30:07
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#2


    


 
What are the Runes?

The Runes are often thought to be an ancient writing system - rather like our modern alphabet. In fact they have always been far more than that, and may indeed have started as sounds and ideas rather than the means for spelling words.

Just as the alphabet is named from the first two characters in it, so the rune row is known as the "Futhark" from the first six runes. The runes are all made up of straight lines, making them of course easy to carve, though the reason may come from a deeper symbolism.




“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:30:25
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#3


    


 
Where do they come from?

The oldest runes that have been reliably researched by conventional archaeological methods date from more than 2,200 years ago. This is therefore known as the Elder Futhark, although because it is part of the ethnic culture of the peoples of Northern Europe, it is sometimes called the Common Germanic Futhark. There is evidence to suggest that the runes existed in some form long before then as they embody the values of a whole culture and the roots of that culture can be traced back further for some considerable time.

More recently the Futhark became modified, and 1500 years ago the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark became as many as 33 when they arrived in Northumbria. Across the North Sea their needs were different, and the Viking Futhark instead shrank to a meager 16 staves.






“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:30:44
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#4


    


 
What can they be used for?

As the runes each represent sounds, not surprisingly they can be used for
writing. And although very many thousands of runic artifacts have been
discovered across Northern Europe, few people nowadays use them much for this, apart from inscriptions of some special meaning.

More common today are the uses that take advantage of the meanings of the runes. Each rune has at least one meaning. Most have many linked by a common thread. These meanings exist because the runes are more than just graphical symbols.
They are also symbols in the same sense that dreams may contain symbols or a poem may contain symbols. They stand for things, objects and actions, but they can also stand for the values of the Folk that lived with them. Indeed they can and do stand for the primal powers of the Cosmos!

The runes can therefore be used to help understand the values and heritage of Northern Europe as a whole. They can be used in meditation and in healing. They can be used in magic and in divination. A whole lifetime could be spent in learning about them and using them, and still there would be more! The most popular use at present is divination - "Casting the Runes" - although this represents but a part of their power.






“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:31:08
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#5


    


 
What is a "set" of runes?

A set of runes is a collection of 24 objects upon each of which is inscribed a single rune. Many beautiful sets exist, and most people who are at all intent on furthering their studies of the runes sooner or later make a set of their own, together with a special pouch to put them in. However, many people will begin with a "bought" set, and there is nothing wrong with this to start with.

Traditionally a set is made of wood, each small stave having a rune carved into it. The wood should be of an indigenous tree. Fruit bearing trees like apple are favored, but others, especially oak, ash and yew are common too. These sets will often be works of art, but it is still possible to make sets from other materials. Metal and even plastic will do, with the runes painted on. Even a set of Smarties painted with cochineal has been tried successfully!





“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:31:19
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#6


    


 
Why use a set of runes?

A set of runes is helpful when studying individual runes or for meditation
purposes. It is also helpful for "consultation" when one or more runes can be picked blind and "at random" from a bag. The runes picked then have some bearing on the situation or question at hand. This form of divination is quite common found and relies on the effect that Carl Jung called "synchronicity" and that the original users of the runes would have called Wyrd.

Those tempted to use runes for fortune-telling may well be disappointed, as
although they can help show developing future patterns, the effect of personal will needs also to be considered. They can best be used in those situations for insights, advice or perhaps a fresh view of things.






“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:31:39
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#7


    


 
Can anyone use them?

Some will find it easier than others. There is no doubt that we each have
talents that allow us do effortlessly that which would take someone else a lot of time and hard work even to come close. Interwoven with the runes is the heritage of a people. This heritage is built around certain ways of seeing things. It is built around the ethnic heathen religion of the North, and it is difficult to use the runes successfully without having an affinity with these things.

In the same way as it takes someone of European descent far more energy to
approach the wisdom of the I Ching than the natural awareness that a Chinese has, so it seems a feeling for the runes is "in the blood" of the European. It is not just a question of the craftsman using the right tool for the job - it is also the need to find the right tool for the craftsman!





“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:32:07
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#8


    


 
How can the meanings of the runes be discovered?

The Elder Futhark is the one that embodies the most ancient symbolism and is the one that is studied the most. It will be dealt with here as space allows. It should be remembered, however, that there would be no virtue in its being an old system unless it was also an enduring system. What it embodies is as valuable today as it was 2,000 years ago. Yet like the people of Northern Europe, the runes are not static. Like the their ethnic religion which still grows with them, the runes too are organic. Just because we now live in a time of high technology and consumerism, it does not mean we cannot recall our past or use tried and trusted techniques to help us.

To start to understand the meanings of the runes, picture yourself in the world of that people years ago. People are far fewer in number and more widely scattered, clustering in family or tribal groups. They live as a part of Nature, understanding its balances, rather than assuming dominion over it. But they are not primitive. They live well in a land of contrasts, a hospitable and industrious folk who take pride in their self-reliance. They do not lack courage or high endeavor. They are fiercely proud of who they are and know that this is the right of all that lives. They are deep thinking and creative, but when need arises they can be warriors. Their Gods and Goddesses are those of fruitfulness and plenty, inspiration and poetry, might and magic, justice and war. We still remember the names of these Gods in the days of our week!

The mythology of the North credits the God Odin as discoverer of the runes and the watchman of the Gods Heimdall as teacher of runic knowledge to mankind. Those who use the runes know they are fortunate, but they take care not be didactic. For although they share in knowledge given to one people, there will be other peoples in the world with other Gods steering their progress and they too may have knowledge of their own! And even within the children of the North, the idea is not to mold their thoughts but to encourage them to think for themselves. To become free spirits but to take advantage of what has gone before. What follows is therefore not "holy writ", but simply food for thought.






“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:32:39
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#9


    


 
What are the meanings of the runes?

These are some ideas about the meanings of the runes, the literal meanings and just some of the deeper meanings. None of this is meant to be an exhaustive list. It should instead be used as a starting point for personal research. The 24 runes of the Elder Futhark are considered in turn in their normal order. This never changes except for the last two runes which are listed by some users in reverse order. The ancient name is given first, then the literal meaning and then other ideas.

The names of the runes are the Common Germanic names. There are some slight
variations of these heard which are mentioned where appropriate.

FEHU means cattle. To the people of the North, cattle meant wealth, but wealth that must move to be effective, else it become a sore. They thought of true wealth as being a good reputation. Fehu can also be a rune of beginnings and new growth.

URUZ means aurochs. This was a fierce wild ox - the "yore-ox" - which was
eventually hunted to extinction. It represents raw primal strength.

THURISAZ means a giant, but this rune is more often associated with the God Thor and his famous Hammer. It is a powerful penetrating force that can be used for attack or defense, for it represents both the force of will and the thorn that protects.

ANSUZ means a God. This rune is often associated with Allfather Odin and
represents communicating, both with speech and with sensitivity, and potentially with inspiration. It can also represent the wind, for like Thor, Odin is a God of the storm.

RAIDHO means a chariot and the act of riding. It can therefore mean travel, but more subtlety it means being in control. To be in control one needs order, and while this can mean acts of ritual, on a deeper level it means cosmic order.

KENAZ means fire, perhaps a torch or a pitch-brand. Illumination can also bring knowledge - to ken something - and knowledge about others is most rewarding when about one's kin. Fidelity to one's spouse or to one's leader or king.

GEBO means giving. Unasked for gifts were a source of suspicion in olden days for "a gift demands a gift"! Give and take is an exchange of forces.

WUNJO means joy. It also means wonder and as "wunsch" the act of wishing – not a vague act but one of willing into being. The Anglo-Saxon name for this -
"wynn" - suggests true winning is not a haphazard act.

HAGALAZ means hail. Hail is a destructive natural force, it is true. But it is one of Nature's essential checks and balances, clearing away dross and weak growth. As a result the world is stronger. And after the hail has melted, it helps sustain that which remains.

NAUTHIZ means need. A time of need is often the spur that ends complacency.
Without a time of need, perhaps we would not appreciate the times of plenty so well.

ISA means ice. Cold and still, yet indicating the poise that can be achieved in meditation. Freezing of circumstances means maintaining the status quo, but can mean stagnation. Defense by freezing the attack by an act of will.

JERA simply means harvest and the idea of growth through the cycle of the year's seasons. Whether the harvest is good or bad can depend on what you have sown and how you have tended it!

EEWAZ means a yew tree. Coming after cycles of Jera, it reminds us of the cycle of life and death. For the yew is intensely poisonous, yet of all North European trees it lives the longest. It represents endurance and its branches the diversity of life.

PERTHRO is a dice-cup. Although to some it can mean fatalism and trusting to random happenings, it is a potentially a positive evolutionary force. If this is a rune of luck, remember "fortune favors the brave".

ELHAZ means protection and is often associated with Heimdall, watchman of the Gods. Often known as "Algiz", this rune shows the warding hand, or defensive horns or spines.

SOWILO means sun. The sun represents success. It brings joy to the people of the North. Hence the use of another form - Sig - in many a traditional Northern greeting or farewell, e.g. Sig and Wunjo!

TIWAZ means justice and is associated with the God Tyr. Justice is a state of balance. Vengeance is an act redressing the balance, and may actually foreshadow peace, for peace without justice cannot last.

BERKANA means a birch tree and is associated with Ostara, Goddess of the Dawn. It symbolizes the rebirth found at spring time (Ostara/Easter time) and at dawn every morning. It is a rune of awakening.

EHWAZ means a horse. It symbolizes trust, such as that required between horse and rider or two people in close relationship. It is associated with Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir who could ride between worlds.

MANNAZ means mankind. Associated with Heimdall who first brought learning to the peoples of the North and the Rainbow bridge linking the worlds of Gods and men.

LAUGUZ means water. Water cleanses and refreshes. It contains the teeming flow of life. It reflects the sky and the wind above it.

INGWAZ (or Inguz) is associated with the God Ing or Yngvi-Frey. It is an
"earthy" rune representing fertility and the life contained in the seed.

DAGAZ means day and the point of balance in the day-night cycle.

ODILA means inheritance. Odal land stayed in the family and was tilled for the benefit of that family.





“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:33:13
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#10


    


 
How can these meanings be interpreted?

The meanings of the runes cannot always be approached too logically. Intuition is usually required to find the right interpretation. The meanings above are only a fraction of the lore discovered on runes, so answers may not be immediately obvious. Using the runes for divination or consulting about a problem requires you to mentally phrase your questions first. The more precise the question, the more precise the answer.

Let your intuition tell you how many runes to take. Be aware of how the images of runes interact and modify each other. For example, Nauthiz and Ansuz might indicate a need for greater sensitivity or communication; Kenaz and Lauguz might potentially indicate a clash of opposites. Yet in different circumstances the same runes might show lack of inspiration in one case and great empathy in the other.

If you are unsure, check your insight with a further rune. Many are
superficially positive or negative - this is a simple confirmation or rejection, yes or no. An ambiguous answer might indicate you are on the wrong track - you are getting the right answer but to the wrong question!

Bear in mind, however, that sometimes a precise answer is exactly what is not required. The runes can free you from such black and white reflexes by giving you things to think about. Therefore, if you don't understand the runes you have drawn, never put them back and try again! Try instead to meditate on them, perhaps over many hours, and gradually the meaning will seep through - perhaps in a trickle, perhaps in a flash.

It is not possible in a short publication like this to give anything except the bare beginnings of an education in runes. The important thing will be to try them and to find out how you react to them. Be patient with yourself. Remember, the runes are not on trial. They have been of the greatest value to the folk of Northern Europe for a very long time and are in ever-growing use today. But neither are you on trial. They are symbols of great power and mastery will not come overnight.






“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/30 07:33:52
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#11


    


 
How can I find out more?

There are now very many books dealing with runes, the people that lived with them as a way of life and their religion and mythology. But all books have not been created equal and many cannot be recommended. A personal teacher is always an advantage but the same problem arises. How then to proceed?

It is useful to know what to avoid. Avoid all books that insist that runes are a universal answer for everyone - this plainly is not the case as is discussed above. Avoid books that somehow try to harmonize the runes with other systems such as tarot, numerology, astrology etc. - the runes are a self-consistent system and such exercises are doomed to failure (even if they are sincere) and at best merely pad out the pages. Avoid the professional authors for their interests may not be your own - they have contracts to fulfill, tending to cover in breadth rather than in depth, and will not have the single-mindedness necessary to do the subject justice. Avoid the seekers of self- aggrandizement who suggest you should enroll in this or that organization (of which they are, of course, the grand leader). Avoid all books that do not see the runes in context of the North European heritage - its people, its values and its Gods.


The Skvala Press




“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2014/02/24 14:06:54
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55
#12


    


 
Learn to read and understand all the runes before trying them out...




“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
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