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Friday, 1 August 2014

Runes ~ ancient symbols Predating writing

Hi,  Dear Friends and Followers!  Today we take a look at ancient symbols called Runes.  We touch on their origin, their ancient uses, and what we understand of them to date. I hope that you find this topic to be interesting.  Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day!

Runes ~ ancient symbols
Predating writing

No one knows exactly how old the runes are. Rune-like symbols appear as cave markings as early as the late Bronze Age (circa 1300 BC), and they are mentioned in the Bible, but their use in ritual and as an Oracle for consultation must certainly predate their use as a system of writing.

Eminent scientific runologist Dr R. I. Page of Cambridge University (An Introduction to English Runes 1973,1999 and Reading the Past - Runes 1987) notes that the runic forms were well established and gave the appearance of having been in use for some centuries before the time of the earliest written language inscriptions.
The fact that the runes were each given meaningful names confirms that they had some magical or religious significance to their users long before they emerged as an alphabet for records and messages.

The word rune itself comes from the old Norse word Runa meaning a secret or mystery, and it seems likely that the early runemasters and runemistresses were considered to have some magic or mystic power in their understanding of the runes.

The runes represent objects, gods, people, animals, concepts and occurrences. They were known by names from which their alphabetic and phonetic values were taken, but it must be remembered that the early Germanic and Norse tribes who developed them did so long before they had any need for writing messages.

The later Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (58-120AD) records a Germanic tribal Runemal in some detail in Chapter 10 of his ethnographical work Germania from about 97AD when he was Consul to the region:

To divination they pay much attention. Their method is a simple one: they cut a branch from a fruit-bearing tree and divide it into small pieces which they mark with certain distinctive signs and scatter at random onto a white cloth. Then the priest of the community (if it is done publicly) or the father of the family (if it is done privately) after invoking the gods and with eyes raised to heaven, picks up three pieces one at a time and interprets them in accordance with the signs previously marked on them.

When the high chieftains and lawgivers of Anglo-Saxon England met in secret, their assemblies were known as The Runes: and a 4th Century translation of the Bible uses the word Runa for "mystery" or "secret proceedings".

It was not until about AD200, when the runemal (i.e. the art of runic interpretation) was wide-spread in Northern Europe that the runic alphabet emerged. This alphabet became known as the Futhark or Futhorc, after the names of the first 6 runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, Kauno) and it is these 24 symbols that now comprise the rune set. Some modern diviners also use a blank to represent Odin, fate or destiny - but it is probably more useful as a spare in case of loss. A blank cannot rightfully be called a "rune" because there is no symbol on it. And in any case, the rune Ansuz is generally accepted to represent Odin by the majority of experienced rune users.

There are very few surviving runic inscriptions and most of them are on stone or metal - the most durable of materials. Only a handful of inscriptions carved on wood have ever been found, and none of these is from Britain.

There is sufficient evidence to show that the Ancient Pagan or Anglo-Saxon runes (known to runologists as the Anglo-Friesian runes from their geographical occurrence) are the same 24 basic runes with variations in their form due to usage over the centuries.

For example, the Hagalaz of the Norse resembled an angled H but the Anglo-Saxons added a second cross-bar.

The ancient Norse prose tales of the Edda have Odin hung on the World Tree when he spies the runes and seizes them up to gain wisdom and well-being. The Edda also mentions Bragi, master of the skalds (minstrels) and a great storyteller who reputedly had runes tattooed on his tongue - a reference to his magical gift as a raconteur.

The slightly later poem Erik the Red describes a Runemistress in full regalia.

Coming to modern references, the traditional lore of Finland as recorded in the Kalevala by Lönnrot in 1835 describes a confrontation of wizards where runic songs were used to cause fire and devastation.

Some modern experts allege that stones were commonly used for the Runemal, but I have found no evidence of this despite extensive research. The indications, whether from runology, known Pagan religious beliefs, or Saxon witchcraft ritual, all point to the use of wood, particularly from fruit-bearing trees.

A lot have been said on the origin of the runes. And despite this, not much is certain about the actual truth of their origin. A main reason for this problem, might be that we are simply looking for the answers in the wrong places, or otherwise in periods of time too close to our present day in history.

Basically, the runes never left the scene. Despite the attempts by the Christian church to ban their use at several points of time in history, and despite and the introduction of an alternative alien writing system that came to dominate Europe. Instead they were in use from their very distant past, all into our present day. Some attempts were made for example in Sweden during the early 17′th century – mainly due to the efforts of Johannes Bureu


Others advocated their use as sinnbilder (icons/symbols) of various meaning. In particular the later use, as symbols, had quite some success in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s in Germany and Scandinavia, during the Völkisch

and Göticism

movements. And indeed, even in present day Sweden (and elsewhere, of course) the runes live on as rather mundane symbols on, for example, road signs, and for branding of eggs, to mention a few. The bindrune of Bluetooth (as in Harald Bluetooth ) is another fine example of this.

Actually, a rather modern set of runes – the Dalecarlian Runes

– were very much alive and in everyday use as a writing system in Dalarna/Sweden, as late as in the 20′th century.Murarmärken/Stenhuggarmärken (mason’s marks ) and Bomärken (house marks ) often have undeniable runic origins, and have pretty much been in continuous use in northern Europe from times immemorial until present day history.

Runes and academics
M.R. James, “Casting the Runes,” 1911

There’s a peculiar tendency among scholars, historians and archaeologists alike when it comes to all things northern European. As soon as they come across something remarkable, such as high grade steel swords, advanced surgical tools, precision lenses (suggested uses for these have been either for medical purposes, fire starting, binoculars or simply for magnification), navigation equipment (suggesting we were aware that the world was round, and not flat), welding and soldering techniques impossible to mimic with modern jewelers tools etc., they scratch their heads and question themselves 

“Where did this come from? Who taught them to do this?”. Just as if it was virtually impossible for anyone of northern European descent, to actually possess a constructive and innovative mind. This is indeed a weird way of looking at things, if you consider how many modern day inventions that actually originate from Scandinavia and northern Europe in general – where some countries have a total population comparable to larger cities in other parts of the world. Our DNA haven’t changed so much, that we turned from primitive imbeciles into scientific masterminds in merely some 50 generations. It doesn’t make any sense.

Frankly, had the same logic been applied to just about any other ethnic group, a public apology and official statement denouncing their unintentional but still degrading “colonialist attitude”, had been issued faster than anyone could scream “racial bias”.

In all honesty, we all know this is nothing but deliberate lies. At best it’s about not knowing better. But there’s no reason to allow ourselves to get upset by such bigotry. We are above that. But surely, it’s still worth having in mind whenever you read, hear or watch anything concerning pre-Christian northern European culture. In days like these, you really don’t have to be a part of their agenda. Just don’t jump their bandwagon. We can run our own show.

So where do these runes come from? If the answer that “Odin took them up screaming” – and that Rig then passed them on to us humans, as he taught them to Jarl – ain’t good enough for you, then the answer pretty much is we don’t know for sure. As simple as that.

Thank you dearest friends and followers for reading this interesting topic on ancient runes, Your comments, thoughts ideas and suggestions are always welcome her, thank you

ڰۣ With love from The Fairy Lady ڰۣ

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