Runes: The Elder Futhark - Table of Contents


Thank you very much, Umbrae!

A beautiful thing to read this weekend.




I have never heard of the Futhark runes having a 25th Rune. I thought it was the Viking Runes that had the 25th blank rune?


Umbrae -

Even though this thread is a year and a half old, I was happy to find it. Thank you for organizing this.

I have been toying with the idea of a second divination method (after Tarot) for awhile now and have been wavering between runes and palmistry. For the past few weeks I have had my eyes on a rune set at the bookshop I work at and I decided to take the plunge today.

I look forward to studying these links.



I'm into runes now

Thanks Umbrae to meet my need concerning unveiling the rune mysteries. Couldn't cope without that!


Origin of the word Rune

The word "Rune" has cognates only in Germanic and Celtic languages. There is some evidence that it was originally a Celtic word which was borrowed and expanded by the early Germanic peoples. In all of the languages where it has a traditional meaning, that meaning is "mystery" (similar to "arcanum").

It is indeed only in Modern English where the word refers specifically to the symbols and not to a greater cosmological concept. Even in Old English, the word "Run" could refer to secret counsel as well as the staves of the Futhorc (Futhorc due to a vowel shift). In Irish Gaelic the word means "secret or mystery" as well as "beloved" or the object of one's devotion (for example a mother might call her son "A ru'n" (the ' denoting a long mark over the vowel it follows) as in the Se'an Nos song "A stor mo chroi." (A stor mo chroi means "treasure of my heart" and was a traditional song a mother might sing her son before he would depart Ireland on a boat bound for America). A similar cognate exists in Welsh: "Rhrin" (I am unsure whether it is connected to the name "Rhyannon" in the Mabinogion). (Update: Changed rhyn to rhin. Rhyn is a promontory, rhin is the cognate of ru'n)

In Old Norse, the word developed a number of close derivatives, including words for whispering and seeking.


In Finnish...

In Finnish language this word means "poem" or "incantation" (=runo) and it is a frequent word in our National Epic The Kalevala. So, it is one of the older & one of the original Finnish words. (Meaning it has not just been borrowed recently from another language)



I don't want to lessen the value of your contribution, but as you probably know, Finnish is not related to the other Scandinavian languages. It's not even an Indo-European language and its closest 'relative' in Europe is probably Hungarian. That said, maybe the word 'runo' was borrowed from Old Norse very very early on in the history of Finnish, in which case it would still reflect the original meaning? I can't imagine it's unrelated, that would be too much of a coincidence.

Is this thread still alive? I'm quite interested in runes. Or ogham, for that matter. Living in a germanic part of Europe and having a linguistic background may have something to do with it...


Is the thread still alive? Well I have been wondering that for awhile now :)



For all you runeholics, here's the prose translation of an Old English poem from the Exeter book (before 1050 AD), taken from 'Anglo-Saxon Poetry', the anthology by Bradley. The Anglo-Saxons apparently got a kick out of riddles that were obviously innuendos but officially had a very innocent solution. Anyway, this one is fairly decent and its solution is either a pen made of reed, a runestave (wood inscribed with runes), or possibly a book.

'I used to be by the sand, close by the sea-cliff at the ocean's edge; firm in my first state I stood. It was few only of humankind that observed my dwelling-place there in solitude but with each dawn the tawny wave would lap me with watery embrace. Little I imagined that early or late I should ever speak, mouthless, across the mead-bench, and communicate words. It is something of wonder, perplexing to the mind of him who knows nothing of such, how the point of a knife and the right hand, a man's ingenuity and the point together, deliberately pricked me so that I should confidently declare a message in the presence of us two alone, so that no more people might gossip our converse further afield.'