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Futhark Grid
futhark2.jpg
( grid 1)

A Short History of the Runes

Runes are an ancient Germanic alphabet, used for writing, divination and magick. They were used throughout northern Europe, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Iceland from about 300 C.E. to 1600 C.E. Runic inscriptions of great age have even been found in North America, supporting stories that the Vikings arrived in the Americas long before Columbus.

Since ancient times, runes have been used for divination and magic, in addition to writing. The word "rune" actually means mystery, secret or whisper. Each rune has esoteric meanings and properties associated with it, beyond its mundane meaning and phonetic value. Each translates into a word or a phrase signifying concepts important to the early peoples who used them, representing the forces of nature and mind. Each rune has a story attached to it, a relationship to a Norse God.

Odin, the Norse High God of the Aesir, hung from the world tree, Yggdrasil, impaled on his own spear, for nine days and nights in order to gain the knowledge of runes. When the runes appeared below him, he reached down and took them up, and the runic knowledge gave him power . He later passed on this knowledge to the Vanir goddess Freyja. She, in turn, taught him the magic of seithr. Heimdall, the god who guarded the Rainbow Bridge, taught the runes to mankind.
Runic alphabets first appeared among German tribes in central and eastern Europe. Some runes symbols are likely to have been acquired from other alphabets, such as the Greek, Etruscan, and the Early Roman. The runes were made of straight lines to make the characters suitable for cutting into wood or stone. The earliest runic inscriptions on stone are dated to the late 3rd century AD, although it is probable that runic alphabets had been in use for some centuries before.

The Old Germanic Runic alphabet or "Elder Futhark" contains 24 runes. The first six runes of the alphabet spell out the word "FUTHARK". As the runes spread northwards into Scandinavia, some rune symbols were dropped and the alphabet was reduced to only 16 runes. Between 400 and 600 AD, three Germanic tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, invaded Britain. They brought the runes with them. The forms of several of the runes changed, notably the runes for A/O, C/K, H, J, S, and Ng. Also, changes in the language led to nine runes being added to the alphabet to compensate for the extra sounds, and several runes were given different corresponding letters. This alphabet, expanded to 32 symbols, has become known as the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. The rune names themselves have been passed down relatively intact. Although no manuscript exists listing the names of the older, Germanic runes, the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian rune poems agree to such an extent that their common origin can be deduced.

The Meaning Behind the Rune

1. FEHU
The individual's potential creative energies which can be used to create wealth. Relationship Interpretation: The financial prospect in this relationship and the attitudes of the partners.
2. URUZ
The individual's physical strength, endurance and assertiveness. Relationship Interpretation: Endurability of the relationship.
3. THURISAZ
The strength of the individual's will and the opposing will power from the environment. Relationship Interpretation: General conflict area; battle of wills.
4. ANSUZ
Higher sources of communications from either within or outside the self. Relationship Interpretation: Interpersonal communication.
5. RAIDO
You ability to relate and connect; the amount of control you feel you can exert on your life. Relationship Interpretation: The fights of the individual within the relationship.
6. KENAZ
One's knowledge and capabilities, vision and guidance. Relationship Interpretation: Learning from each other.
7. GEBO
Your attitude towards giving and receiving. Relationship Interpretation: Give and take.
8. WUNJO
Your potential for enjoyment and her/his chances of being successful. Relationship Interpretation: Enjoyment.
9. HAGALAZ
Disruptive forces creating change in one's consciousness. Relationship Interpretation: Unconscious influences operating within the relationship. Past experiences in other relationships including projections from parents.
10. NAUTHIZ
Restrictive forces and unacknowledged needs; that which tends to hold you back. Relationship Interpretation: Areas of restriction; possessiveness and mutual needs.

11. ISA
Blockages, frustrations and any hindrances. Relationship Interpretation: Privacy. The areas in the relationship which are not shared.
12. JERA
The time factor in your development. Relationship Interpretation: Long-term influences upon each other.
13. EIWAZ
The ability to achieve one's desires. Relationship Interpretation: Idealism; expectations.
14. PERTHO
The ability of introspection and self awareness. Relationship Interpretation: Hidden aspects within the relationship.
15. ALGIZ
The ability to defend yourself and protect that which is nearest and dearest to you. Relationship Interpretation: Caring and protecting.
16. SOWULO
The source within that guides you on your path. Relationship Interpretation: Development of individuality within the relationship.
17. TEIWAZ
The ability of objective judgment and fairness; the potential for handling a conflict correctly. Relationship Interpretation: Combined strength; authority; who is the boss.
18. BERKANA
Creative abilities, nurturing and birth processes in the self. Relationship Interpretation: Fertility; children, parental projection of the self onto the children.
19. EHWAZ
Emotional responses; adaptability; subjectivity. Relationship Interpretation: Sexuality; any joint efforts; adaptability.
20. MANNAZ
The mind and intellectual objectivity. Relationship Interpretation: Intellectual compatibility and mutual understanding.
21. LAGUZ
Your intuitive faculties and the potential for sympathetic feelings. Relationship Interpretation: Affection; emotionality; flexibility.
22. INGUZ
The potential for individuation and integration. Relationship Interpretation: Parenthood; integration; cooperation; unity.
23. OTHILA
Your sense of being connected to your heritage and kin. Your awareness of your ethnic origins. Relationship Interpretation: Domesticity; property; "in-laws", social life.
24. DAGAZ
The ultimate aim of transformation of one's consciousness into whatever she or he envisions the greater whole. Relationship Interpretation: Contributions by one partner to the other's spiritual or psychological welfare.

1Mannaz-Self 2Eihwaz-Defense 3Ehwaz-Movement
4Gebo-Partnership 5Algiz-Protection 6Laguz-Flow
7Ansuz-Signals 8Fehu-Possessions 9Hagalaz-Disruption
10Othila-Separation 11Wunjo-Joy 12Raido-Journey
13Uruz-Strength 14Jera-Harvest 15Thurisaz-Gateway
16Perth-Initiation 17Kano-Opening 18Dagaz-Breakthrough
19Nauthiz-Constraint 20Teiwaz-Warrior 21Isa-Standstill
22Inguz-Fertility 23Berkana-Growth 24Sowelu-Wholeness
  25Odin-Unknowable  

Some witches choose to make there own runes. You may choose to do either.