Home Albert News Purchase Gallery Contact  Writings Links

2011 06 07

"If the full import of the [Rune] names were intelligible to us,
we might take in at one view all that was effected by magic spells."
Jacob Grimm
Teutonic Mythology

Runes of Magic and Mystery


            "That is discovered, when you trace the runes done by reigners-knowing, they were made by the beginning-rulers and colored by the awesome-sage, that have they best, if they're received."

            Runes are ancient as the people's belief they are gifted by Woden who, in order to win them, hanged himself on the great tree, wounded himself with his own spear, and hung there for nine full nights ~ as is related in Havamal:

            "I know, that i hung on the windy trunk all of nine nights, spear wounded and given by Woden, self to myself, ~ on that trunk, of which no people know, from where its roots run.
            "With a loaf mine happiness but without a horn; pried i below, took i up runes, weeping took, fell i after thence.
            "Nine awesome-lays took i from within the famed son of Bolthorn, Bestla's father, and a drink i did get of precious mead, out of Odreri.
            "Then took i intuition and learned was and waxed i in well being, my word from wording led to words, my work from working led to works.
            "Runes shall you find and counseling staves, mighty sturdy staves, mighty stiff staves, colored by the awesome-sage and made by the beginning-rulers and etched in Hroft's reign.
            "Woden with aesir and for elves Dain, Dvalin for dwarfs, Asvidar for giants, i etched some myself.
            "Knowest, how etch must? Knowest, how counsel must? Knowest, how color must? Knowest, how test must? Knowest, how bid must? Knowest, how sacrifice must? Knowest, how send must? Knowest, how offer must?
            "Better is unbidden than over-sacrificed, ever these too yield gift; better is unsent than over-offered. Thus Thundur did etch before nations' origin, there he up on rose, he who after ‘round comes."
Tale of Lays
            "Lays i can yet, that can't nations women and no peoples' youths. Help one is called, and that shall help against sickness and sorrows and griefs quite entire.
            "That can i else, that's needed by generations' sons, who would live as healers.
            "That can i third: if my need becomes great to cuff my foemen, edges i blunt of my attackers, bite not their weapons nor wiles.
            "That can i do fourth: if my warriors bear bonds at bow-limbs, thus i yell, that i erase them, spring off my feet the fetters, and from hands the cuffs.
            "That can i do fifth: if i see the fearful shooting pike wade into the folk, fly these not so stout, that i unsteady it, if i seek it with my sight.
            "That can i do sixth: if a yeoman wounds me with scored woody roots, then the hero, who spoke to me of feud, eats maim rather than me.
            "That can i do seventh: if i see high flames in the chamber about my seatmates, burns it not so broad, that i cannot protect them; then know i chants to yell.
            "That can i do eighth, that is completely useful to take: where hatred has grown among heroes' sons, that erase i and better soon.
            "That can i do ninth: if my need is to stand to shelter my fleet faring, the wind i calm over the waves and soothe the whole sea.
            "That can i do tenth: if i see hedge-riders sport aloft, i work so, that bewildered then fares their home-shape, their home-sense.
            "That can i do eleventh: if i must to battle lead long-friends, under shields i yell, and then with power fare hale heroes to, hale heroes from, come they hale from thence.
            "That can i do twelfth: if i see up on a tree a swinging noose-corpse, so i etch and color runes, that man comes down and speaks with me.
            "That can i do thirteenth: if i must at young yeomen water throw, they shall not fall, though they go with the troops, these heroes sink-not before swords.
            "That can i do fourteenth: if i must tell company members of the shining, of aesir and elves i know quite clear; few know such to be unwise.
            "That can i do fifteenth, the yells of Thjodrerir's dwarves before Delling's doors: strength yelled they to aesir, and to elves as well, beliefs of Hroftaty.
            "That can i do sixteenth: if i do will to have the swift bond-girl's entire mood for gaming, i turn my mind on the white-armed woman, and i change all her affection.
            "That can i do seventeenth, that my mind does slow the far-off youthful bond-girl. Lays like these shall you, Lodfafnir, long be wanting; though these are good, if you get, useful, if you take, needful, if you receive.
            "That can i keep eighteenth, with much i never acquaint maid nor people's women, ~ it's always better, if only one knows; and that followers conceal these lays, ~ take these only, who in my arms has lain or my sister is."


            In ‘Sigurdrifumal', Sigurdrifa's Speech, another Eddic lay, a valkyrie is asked to speak of the ancient knowledge, and thus quoth Sigurdrifa
            "Beer i ferry thee, fine tree of battle, with power it's blended and in glory stained; fraught are these songs and mercy-signs, goodly chants and game of runes.
            "Victory runes must you ken, if you will victories have, etched on the hilt of the sword, some on shaft, some on haft, and name these twice Ty.
            "Ale runes must you ken, if you will not accept another queen's wiles on faith, if you are the trusting sort; on the horn must be etched and on the back of the hands and mark Naud on the nails.
            "The goblet must sign and against fears see and edge with leeks the rim; then i know that, to them never comes maim blended with mead.
            "Birth runes must you ken, if you would shelter and loosen the child from women; on the palms must be etched and around the joints spanned and bid then the virgin-sisters' aid.
            "Surf runes must you etch, if you will shelter sailsteeds in the straits; on stern must there etch and at starboard and lay fire in the oars; however so steep the breakers nor so billowing the waves, yet come you hale from the ocean.
            "Branch runes must you ken, if you will a healer be, and know sores to see; on bark must then etch and on branches of trees, those whose branches easterly bow.
            "Speech runes must you ken, if you will, that no-people's feuds yield harm; there about wind, there about weave, there about seat all together for to meet, thus nations must in full judgement fare.
            "Mind runes must you ken, if you will ever be a mood-swifter man; there about counsel, there about etch.
            "That are bettering runes, that are shelter runes and all ancient runes and valuable mighty runes, whoever can use them unerring and unspoiled they have auguries; use them, if you take them, until the violation of the rulers."


            Runes were once the usual form of writing among the Teutons but they are not merely letters. Originating in Stone Age scratchings, they have magical, ritual, and religious significance. Three centuries ago people burned because Runes were found in their possession. Thirteen-hundred years before that, when Ulfilar translated the Book of Israel he rendered ‘the mystery of god' as runa goths, for the root meaning of Rune is hidden lore and mystery. Roun (mystery) relates to that which is written, to counsel and consultation, to speech, and to song, and the ErilaR sages believed all that could be known by them was contained within the glyphs. Through the Runes the ErilaR experienced the kinship of language shown also in the name by which the Teutons refer to themselves ~ a self-appellation that means simply: the people. Its etymology is ancient and the same among all the nations: Old High German, diot; Old Frisian, thiade; Old Swedish, thiod; Gothic, thiuda; Old English, theod; Old Norse, thjoth; Old Irish, tuath; Cornish, tus; Old Keltic, teuts; Lithuanian, tuata; Welsh, tud. . . . Without need for understanding complicated old tongues as Zend and Sanskrit, Senzar (Blavatsky's "ancient language of the Sun"), and the ever more difficult maze of case endings, declensions, and conjugations of the original tongue, the Runes provide ancient mythological and historical lore the origin of which is lost.

[About Ragnarok] [In the Beginning] [Futhark] [Name Scroll] [Nine in the Tree] [Runes of Magic and Mystery] [Weird] [Wise Woman Speaks] [Words of Woden] [Works Cited]