Runes are a Norse alphabet developed around 200 BCE, from characters used for magical purposes. According to Norse myth, the alphabet was discovered in a vision by the god Odin as he hung upside down and wounded for nine days on the World Tree Yggdrasil. There are three commonly known runic alphabets: the ‘elder’ and ‘younger’ Futhark (futhark being the transliteration of the first few letters of that alphabet), the Anglo-Saxon futhork, and the Danish ‘short twig’ or script alphabet.
The word ‘rune’ literally means a ‘whisper’ or ‘secret.’ The Elder Futhark is the oldest, and consists of three sets of eight letters; there have been as many as thirty three runic characters, and as few as sixteen at various times in history. Runes have been used as a divinatory device from the beginning, and some scholars believe that at one time, a special class of diviners existed dealing solely in rune reading.
In the present time, runes are created and used by Asatru believers as a device for meditation and divination. One is generally expected to construct their own set of rune stones.
According to the Eddas, the poetic saga of the Norse Gods, the Runic alphabet was a gift from Odin. The word ‘rune’ means ‘whisper,’ or ‘secret wisdom.’ A selection from the Eddas tells of their discovery. Odin hangs for nine nights upon the world tree, wounded, without food or water; finally, he sees the reflection of the runes in the water:
“Wounded I hung on a wind-swept gallows For nine long nights, Pierced by a spear, pledged to Odhinn, Offered, myself to myself The wisest know not from whence spring The roots of that ancient rood.
They gave me no bread, They gave me no mead, I looked down; with a loud cry I took up runes; from that tree I fell.”
The runes originated around 200 B.C.E., as magical symbols engraved in stone; they were developed into the first Rune alphabet, the “elder” Futhark (‘futhark’ being a transliteration of the first six letters), an alphabet of twenty four characters. Many permutations and revisions over the years produced several variants, including the ‘elder’ and ‘younger’ futhark, and the Danish “short twig” script. Eventually, the sixteen character alphabet became the most commonly used.
An epic “Rune poem,” written in Old English around 1000 C.E., outlined the metaphorical and divinatory meanings of the characters, which at that time numbered at thirty three.
Runic Names and Divinatory MeaningsEdit
Fehu Money, finances, possessions; material goods or wealth
Uruz Strength; virility
Thurisaz Gateway, beginning
Ansuz A message or signal, a secret; speech
Raido Travel, sojourn, movement
Kaunaz Openings, shedding light on something, fire
Gibo A gift or blessing, partnerships
Wunjo Joy; happiness, illumination
Hagalaz Disruption, chaos, shattering of illusion
Nauthiz Pain, confinement, limitation
Jera Fertility, harvesting, returns; reaping what you’ve sown
Eihwaz Protection, defense; also withdrawl or barriers
Perth Secrets, initiations, occult or hidden things
Algiz Defense, protection
Sowelu Completion, perfection
Teiwaz (Tyr) Victory, conquest
Berkana Renewal, rebirth, new beginnings
Ehwaz Overcoming barriers, movement, progression
Mannaz The self, humanity
Leguz Water, sea, motherhood; intuition
Inguz Fertility, birth, beginnings
Dagaz Sunlight, enlightenment
Othela The home, hearth, possessions
How to use Runic CharmsEdit
Here's how to use the rune charms on this webpage. The easiest method is to print this page and cut out the charm or charms you want to use. The charms will last as long as the piece of paper. (Do not laminate the piece of paper. You could, however, make several copies and consecrate all at the same time.)
If you can only print in black and white, trace each symbol in red ink or red marker while concentrating on the symbol's purpose. If you print in color, tracing the symbols with your finger will do. (Traditionally one would stain the charms with one's own blood.)
Conseration of Runic CharmsEdit
Pray or do a personal ritual to consecrate each individual charm to charge it with its purpose. If the charm symbol is not charged, it is merely an interesting design, not a talisman.
Call upon the power of God/dess, the Universal Life Force, or whatever is appropriate for your beliefs. Invite also your lineal ancestors, especially those who worked magick in their own lives, your power animal allies, local land spirits or any other wights you may wish to have present.
Visualize and verbalize the purpose of the charm. Giving image, sound, and words to your desired outcome puts the magic forth into the realm of reality and loosens the power of creation. Never use "no" or "not" in the verbalization. Verbalize the intent in positive words. Say it aloud! Sent it forth!
These symbols also make excellent focus points for meditation. The meditation will then set you on your path toward your desired goal.
Carry the charm with you in a pocket or in your wallet. Lay it under your pillow or on your night table when you sleep.
Sites with pictures of Runic CharmsEdit
Pictures of runes in red ink are on this website: http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/charms.html