Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Runic Alphabet

               Runic alphabets were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet.  The earliest runic inscriptions date from around AD 150. The characters were generally replaced by the Latin alphabet as the cultures that had used runes underwent Christianization, by approximately AD 700 in central Europe and AD 1100 in Northern Europe. However, the use of runes persisted for specialized purposes in Northern Europe. Until the early 20th century runes were used in rural Sweden for decorative purposes in Dalarna and on Runic calendars.  The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark (around AD 150–800), the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (AD 400–1100), and the Younger Futhark (AD 800–1100). 

               In runic writing, a space, a single dot (.) or two dots (:) may break the symbols or words. Sometimes no break was used and the rune symbols all run together. Runic writing can run from left to right, or from right to left; sometimes even from top to bottom or the opposite.  In the Vikings' runic inscriptions, we do find numbers written down, but it's very rare.  Usually numbers are spelled out as whole words.  They can also be bind.  Bind runes consist of two or more runes superimposed on each other, sharing a common stem.

               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 Freya. She, in turn, taught him the magic of seidr. 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.
               Runic Yoga is a more recent addition to the runic practice.  It is gestures and postures forming some part of almost every metaphysical or magical form. The can be seen from the simple folding of hands in prayer to the extremely complex system of asanas in the Indian hatha yoga school.  Stadhagaldr is used as a mode of psychological integration and personal transmutation, and it is also employed in all other types of magical operations.


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