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Forums ► Misc Topics ► Runes

Post # 1
Runes are usually synonymous with 'sigils', so most people say that there are many forms of runes. The ones I will talk about are the Norse alphabet and can be used for divination, talismans, or just as an alphabet to write in, along with many other things. The three most common Rune sets are the Elder, the Younger and the Anglo-Saxon Futharks. I'm going to be talking about the Elder Futhark because that?s the one I use, and I may write about the other ones later on.
In Norse mythology, Odin discovered the Runes during a self-sacrificing ritual, depriving himself of food and water while hanging off his spear, Gungir, from Yggdrassil (the world tree). After nine nights, he saw the Runes, grasped them, and then falls from the tree.

in the Havamal, Odin said "I know that I hung on a high windy tree, for nine long nights; pierced by a spear, given myself to myself, No one can tell about that tree, from what deep roots it rises; They brought me no bread, no horn to drink from, I gazed toward the ground. Crying aloud, I caught up the runes; and finally I fell"

Now that we have a little background information, let?s get started. From my experience, and several others I?ve discussed with, The Runes have three basic steps for making. All three are crucial, and all three are sacred. They recreate what Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve did to give life to the first two trees, which, we later were created from. These steps should not be altered or averted. If you take Odin, Vili or Ve from the tree equation, the trees would be dead, Just as your rune will be. Also, the order in which the steps are in are up to you. I just find it convenient in this order, since you?ll have to wait less time for the blood to dry.

You can use whatever material you want for your rune, but I suggest wood or stone. If you have any ritual/prayer/whatever for cleansing, consecrating, or whatever-ing the things you will use, do it now, between each step, after or whenever. However, it?s optional.

The first step is to carve the symbol into the material. This is a fairly simple step and doesn't need much explaining. It recreates Odin?s part in giving the trees life - giving them their shape.

Step two is also fairly simple, give the rune blood. But if you feel uncomfortable using blood, they also used sweat, tears, sperm, or other bodily fluids. This recreates Vili?s role - giving them blood.

The third step is called Galdr, or the 'singing of spells'. Basically it's chanting each pronounced letter in a Rune, for example: Fehu would be ''f-f-f-fe-fe-fe-fe-feh-feh-feh-fehu-fehu-fehu''. I generally go until I run out of breath. This recreates Ve giving the trees breath.
After doing this, wait for the blood to dry -if it hasn't already- and your rune(s) are ready to be used!

Now I should go into the runes themselves. The elder Futhark Runes are split into three sets of eight (called aetts). The three aetts are Frejya/Freyrs aett, Heimdalrs aett, and Tyrs aett.

Frejya/Freyrs aett consists of Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo and Wunjo

Heimdalrs aett has Hagalaz, Nauthiz, Isa, jera, Eihwaz, Pethro, Algiz, And Sowilo.

Tyrs aett has Tiwaz, Berkano, Ehwaz, Mannaz, Laguz, Ingwaz, Dagaz, and Othala

The meanings:

Fehu: F
(Cattle, money and wealth) ''Fee''
Possessions, money, property, good luck, financial stability and growth.
Merkstave: A person to avoid, Failure, loss of possessions, greed.

Uruz: U
(Ox) ''Aurochs''
Happiness, fortune, potential, physical peak of strength and health.
Merkstave: Illness, bad luck, brutality, weakness.

Thurisaz: TH
(Thorns, Giant)
Positive meaning: Journey, good conflict, change, cleansing.
Merkstave: Danger, evil, malice, pain.

Ansuz: A
(Asa, Gods)
Revealing insight, divine message, speech, words.
Merkstave: Bad advice, lies, misunderstanding, manipulation.

Raidho: R
(Horseback, chariot, etc) ''Ride''
Travel, truth, perspective. Merkstave: Rigidity, illusions, death.

Kenaz: K
(Torch, light, forge)
Knowledge, creativity, inspiration, craft and cunning.
Merkstave: Bad judgment, confusion, instability.

Gebo: G
(Gift, blessing)
Gifts, both earthly and otherly. Generosity, exchanges, relationships.
Merkstave: Loneliness, sadness from someone close, loss of loved ones.

Wunjo: W
(Joy, bliss, happiness)
Security, joy, comfort, fellowship, social life.
Merkstave: Sorrow, strife, alienation

Hagalaz: H
(Hail, snow)
Nature, earthly forces, weather, unconscious, trials.
Merkstave: Suffering, loss of power, setbacks, out of control.

Nauthiz: N
(Need, necessity)
Resistance leading to strengh or grow, self-reliance.
Merkstave: Impatience, poverty, distress, wants and deprivations.

Isa: I
Calmness, stillness, both in body and mind. Time.
Merkstave: Illusion, deceit, ambush, plots.

Jera: J
(A year, harvest)
Peace, happiness, fruitfulness, prosperity.
Merkstave: Setbacks, negative change, destruction.

Eihwaz: EI
(Mountain ash/yew tree)
Strength, strong stance, dependability, endurance.
Merkstave: Weakness, conflict, death.

Pethro: P
(Fate, cup)
Unexpected things, surprises, secrets, mystery.
Merkstave: Hurtful secrets, things hidden from you.

Algiz: Z
(Protection, elk)
Protection, shielding, defense, warding, connection with higher life.
Merkstave: Hidden danger, loss of divine, taboo, people working against you.

Sowilo: S
Success, honor, health and life, power.
Merkstave: Unmet goals, loss of goals, vanity and wrath.

Tiwaz: T
( Tyr )
Honor, justice, authority and leadership.
Merkstave: Over-sacrifice, injustice, war.

Berkano: B
(Birch tree, birch goddess)
Fertility, growth, regenerative power, new beginnings.
Merkstave: Sterility, stagnation, abandonment.

Ehwaz: E
(Horses, stallions, etc)
Transportation, movement, change, progress.
Merkstave: Haste, recklessness, misuse.

Mannaz: M
(Men, mankind, humans)
The Self, individualism, intelligence, awareness.
Merkstave: Lack of creativity, depression, withering, suicide, confusion.

Laguz: L
(Water) : Flow, life, healing, dreams.
Merkstave:: Fear, madness, sickness.

Ingwaz: NG
(Ing: Earth God)
Male fertility, growth and learning, love, warmth.
Merkstave: Toil, conflict in work, overbearing labor.

Dagaz: D
( Day/ dawn)
Awakening or awareness, light, clarification, plans, transformation, hope.
Merkstave: Limitations, blindness, hopelessness, defeat.

Othala: O
Inherited things, things important to the heart, groups, heritage.
Merkstave: Totalitarianism, slavery and poverty, homelessness.

The blank Rune: the blank rune is an invention of Ralph Blume in the 70/80s (sources differ) and shouldnt be used in a reading. Although if you bought your set and it came with it don?t throw it out. Save it in case you need to replace it.
*meanings taken with permission from http://bonekindred.weebly.com/index.html*

Will add more if people are interested.
Hope this was usefull
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Re: Runes
Post # 2
uh, all the "?"s are supposed to be apostrophes. i have no idea why they got changed
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Re: Runes
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3

Love it, cviss! :) I like how understandable you made this. I think it will be easy for others to read and take in.

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Re: Runes
Post # 4
Thanks pers! :)
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Re: Runes
Post # 5
Thank you very much. I have been looking into studying runes and this post helps a lot.
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Re: Runes
Post # 6
Great job, C.Vicious
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Post # 7
Great post c.vis! I haven't been able to find a source that sums up the merkstaves like you have. Thank you.
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Re: Runes
Post # 8

Lovely post Caleb, thank you. Speaking of runes, although while I don't follow the Norse path directly I chose current username and occasional spiritual name Othala because of it's symbolism. Family is very important to me as well as my lineage, and I value other aspects of what the rune symbolizes.

I also wanted to mention, in addition to your post, that anyone can make their own set of runes for their magical path, workings, and as a use for a magical language. You can simply create symbols that symbolize certain aspects or things that are significant to you or you can create a rune for each letter of your alphabet. I have personally created several of my own rune sets in my path and practice and find it very meaningful and worthwhile, as well as fun.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that tid bit, and thanks again Caleb.

Green Blessings,


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Re: Runes
By: / Novice
Post # 9
How very informative and nicely put.
Compliments kiddo :)
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Re: Runes
By: / Novice
Post # 10
silly question, but just to make sure i understand,
"Merkstave" means something similar to a tarot card being reversed?
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