Author Topic: Runes  (Read 2935 times)

Offline Flutterbit

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Runes
« on: June 12, 2005, 12:38:57 AM »
Extract from: Ancient Wisdom for the New Age: Runes, The Secrets of the Stones by Anders Anderson.  Pub: New Holland.

Across the Millenia

Odin, the most tragic and noble of the Norse gods was doomed to a dark and gloomy life.  His wisdom and ability to see into the future, when the gods would fall, lay heavy upon him.  He is often pictured with two ravens, representing meaning and memory.  They were his far-reaching eyes and ears, as they soared above the earth, constantly adding to his great wisdom.

One of the many mystical achievements Odin is credited with is the formulation of the runes, symbols carved into stone.  Aware that knowledge is only attained through sacrifice, he hanged himself from the branches of Yggdrasil, the tree of knowledge for nine days and nights.  This image is echoed on the Hanged Man card in the Tarot.  Odin's body was not equal to the suffering and he died.  But through his indomitable will he was reborn, bringing with him the knowledge of the world beyond.  And from this came forth the runes.

Other Norse gods are related to the meanings of particular runes.  Odin's son, Thor, is associated with thunder, fertility and the law.  His hammer, a potent symbol equivalent to the Christian cross, was used to defeat the giants who forever threatened Valhalla.  Frigga, Odin's daughter and wife, is the goddess of fertility.  Loki, the wizard of lies, affects runes of knowledge and information, such as Rad and Ansur, by confusing and obfuscating.  The interpretation of the runes was the prerogative of the shaman, a mixture of priest and magician.

Belief in the runes lasted well after Christianity had spread into northern Europe and outlived the Catholic church's ban of their use in 1639.  Their use as an alphabet did not die out until well into the 19th century.  Though some elements of the runic alphabet have been assimilated into Scandinavian languages, from that time they have been used exclusively as an aid to divination.

The concentrated power of the stones, born out of the epic tales of the gods and the hardships of nature in cold and dark nothern Europe, can now shine and illuminate.  When the stones are swirled and turned, we have, literally, the distillation of a powerful oral tradition at our fingertips.

The Runes

'Rune' means both 'secret' and 'whisper', reflecting the fact that their meaning has been passed down orally, like the epic poems of Iceland and the Celtic race.  Those poems were eventually committed to manuscript, but there is no written runic literature.

There are several runic alphabets, deriving from different cultures.  The most commonly consulted is the Elder Futhark or Older Alphabet.  The word 'futhark' derives from the initial letters of the first six runes, Feoh, Ur, Thorn, Ansur, Rad and Kenn.

There are twenty-four runes, divided into three aetts or eights, each with traditional attributes and a composite meaning.  To these has been added a blank rune, Wyrd, but it need not always be employed.  The Younger Futhark, traced back only to around 700 AD, has only sixteen runes, whilst the Anglo-Saxon Futhark has varied between twenty-eight and thirty-three runes.  Some of these runes simply have different spellings.  For example Feoh becomes Fehu and Lagu becomes Laguz.  Others have completely different names, such as Beorc, which becomes Berkana, the name of a tribe of fearsome warriors, from whom the word "beserk" dervies.  But, whatever the name, the attributes remain largely the same.

Offline Flutterbit

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Runes
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2005, 04:55:10 PM »
Extract from: Ancient Wisdom for the New Age: Runes, The Secrets of the Stones by Anders Anderson. Pub: New Holland.

How to Cast the Runes

Basic necessities for a casting are a set of runes in a bag and a neutral coloured cloth on which to lay them.  But basics are not sufficient to draw forth the full power of the runes.  They contain the accumulated knowledge of the ancients and should be treated as such.  They are not a party game.  There are excellent sets of runes available made of natural materials.  Avoid synthetic or plastic ones if at all possible; they have no resonance with the ages.

Before setting out to do a reading, create an atmosphere conducive to reception of messages.  Do not make a great ritual, but arrange sensitive lighting, a candle or two, and burn a little incense or essential oil.  One with a woodland fragrance might create an affinity with nature.

You may be casting the runes for your own benefit, or to answer questions and seek guidance for another.  As with the Tarot and Chinese astrology, the emphasis is on guidance, rather than prediction.

You may select the number of runes required by picking them randomly from the bag and putting them in the pattern for the reading.  More effective may be the method whereby all the runes are placed, face down, on the rune cloth.  Swirl them around slowly and then pick those to which you feel particularly drawn.  The physical contact may engender mental contact.  But, beware!  When using the latter method, it is possible that you may come to recognise the shapes of particular runes when face down.

 


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