Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rune Sets

Runology is the study of the runic alphabets, runic inscriptions, runestones, and their history.  Runes (Proto-Norse: ᚱᚢᚾᛟ (runo), Old Norse: rún) are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter.
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.
The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark (150–800 AD), the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (400–1100 AD), and the Younger Futhark (800–1100 AD). The Younger Futhark developed further into the Medieval runes (1100–1500 AD), and the Dalecarlian runes (1500–1800 AD).
An interesting aspect of runes is that they are formed from vertical and diagonal strokes without any horizontal strokes. This served a practical function: it meant that when the runes were carved in wood, every stroke could be carved against the grain, making the runes clear and legible.
Their use declined after the Christianization of Scandinavia; most writing in Scandinavia from the 12th century was in the Latin alphabet, but the runic scripts survived in marginal use, in the form of the Medieval runes (in use ca. 1100–1500) and the Latinised Dalecarlian runes (ca. 1500–1910). Some Runic inscriptions in Iceland date to as late as the 17th century.
Elder Futhark Runes
The Elder Futhark, used for writing Proto-Norse, consists of 24 runes that often are arranged in three groups of eight; each group is referred to as an Ætt. The earliest known sequential listing of the full set of 24 runes dates to approximately CE 400 and is found on the Kylver Stone in Gotland, Sweden.  They are the most commonly used rune set. 
The Elder Futhark consists of 24 runes divided into three groups of eight, which are said to be ruled over by both a God and Goddess. The first ætt is ruled over by Freyr and Freya, the deities of fertility. The second ætt is ruled over by Heimdall and Mordgud, and the third and final ætt is ruled over by Tyr and Zisa.
Letter: f
Stands for: cattle, wealth
Pronunciation: "fay-who"
               Wealth should flow,
               constantly circulating
               to promote the common good.
               Sellers, buyers, investors, and the taxing authorities
               portion out between them
               the incomes of the folk.
               Money sitting idle
               causes only harm.

Casting meaning: Fehu is a rune of power and control. It represents new beginnings and “movable” wealth such as money and credit. It is a rune that gives us the power we need to obtain wealth as well as the power we need to hold on to it.

Letter: u
Stands for: Auroch (a wild ox), strength
Pronunciation: "ooo-rooze"
               One must grab life's challenges by the horn's
               to ride the waves of one's wyrd.
               Before such a powerful one
               the world becomes one's domain.

Casting meaning: Uruz is also a rune of power, but unlike
Fehu, it’s a power that we can neither own nor control. In a casting it can mean that personal success is near. For charms and talismans use Uruz for its healing powers. Ur is a physician’s rune and represents resurrection, eternity, and continuity.

Letter: th
Stands for: thorn, giant, Thor
Pronunciation: "thoor-ee-saws"
               Computers crash
               and planes fall out the skies.
               That is the nature of things
               and not always evil in intent.
               Even good people sometimes cause
               good people harm.

Casting meaning: The rune represents the thunderbolt, but symbolically it stands for targeting goals, activity and the phallus. This rune represents the ability we have to resist unwanted conflicts in a passive manner. It is a rune of protection and can tell us of a possible change that would have otherwise come without warning. You can use the protection aspect of Thurisaz as a defense against adversaries.
Not to be confused with Anglo-Saxon ae a.
Letter: a
Stands for: mouth, divine breath, Aesir Odin

Pronunciation: "awn-sooze"
               The worlds came into being thru
               the crashing sounds of fire and ice.
               Sound and the maker sounds
               the divine word is spoken.
               Wisdom and tradition
               give comfort to the folk
               in times of great changes.

Casting meaning: Ansuz is a rune that symbolizes stability and shows us order. It is the breath of the world, its voice. It signifies the strength that a person needs to rise up in power.  It is also a rune that indicates intellectual activities and directly represents the divine breath of all life and creation.

Letter: r
Stands for: wheel, journey, ride
Pronunciation: "rye-though"
               When one sits in one's home
               everything looks so easy;
               talk is easier than action.
               To walk in another's shoes
               and do better,
               that is a most difficult task.

Casting meaning: This rune allows us to focus our energy so that we may obtain our goals. However to do so effectively we must be “in the right place at the right time.”

Letter: k, c
Stands for: torch, light
Pronunciation: "kane-awze"
               The inner light which is never extinguished
               brightens the dark weary world.
               This body is a great hall;
               the mind sits in the body's high seat.
               The call to faith
               a torch carrying procession.

Casting meaning: The presence of light immediately creates a dichotomy between what is illuminated and what is shadowed – darkness only exists as a discernible entity in the presence of light.  Kenaz or Cen is a rune of knowledge, understanding, learning and teaching. It allows us to view situations with more clarity than we normally would.

Letter: g
Stands for: gift, balance
Pronunciation: "gay-boe"
               The giver and the gifted
               form a circle of obligation.
               As these are the bonds
               which form true community.
               Though one can give too much
               and receive that which one doesn't want.

Casting meaning: Gebo or Gyfu represents the honor and connection that is created between people when they exchange gifts. The connection and honor is similar to the connection and honor that a person has with the gods for giving them life.

Letter: w, v
Stands for: joy, harmony
Pronunciation: "woon-yo"
               It is bliss to reach the state of happiness:
               no suffering, no sorrows, great joy.
               To have the necessities of life
               and to be able to help others.
               Even in a reversal of fortune
               one who is truly free
               can still find joy
               in this world and in other realms.

Casting meaning: This rune shows us the balance between all things even when in a chaotic world. It is also a rune of fellowship, common goals and well being to all things. If you come across this rune in a reading you can expect good news to come your way.

Letter: h
Stands for: hail, snow
Pronunciation: "haw-gaw-laws"
               Even a good life has its days.
               As a hard rain good for the crops
               turns to a hail storm that flattens them.
               Even then the bad times don't last;
               even the thickest hail
               melts away.
Casting meaning: Representing a hailstone we can expect time and situations to be constricting if Hagalaz turns up in a reading. But much like a hailstone will eventually turn to water, which flows smoothly, these situations and times will eventually flow smoothly for us.

Not to be confused with the Younger Futhark ár rune .
Letter: n
Stands for: necessity, need

Pronunciation: "now-these"
               Need is the manifestation of desire;
               the bondage of will to the external object.
               It can be oppressive
               but it can also be the key to liberation.
               In organizing with others
               bonds of oppression can be broken.

Casting meaning: This rune represents how our need or want of something can put a restriction on us. It restricts our possibilities but also contains the power we need to break free from those restrictions.

Letter: i
Stands for: ice, challenge
Pronunciation: "ee-saw"
               Ice driven back by fire;
               mists of crashing cosmic forces.
               A space for the nine worlds was created
               along with the body (ice)
               and the energies (fire).
Casting meaning: Like an icicle formed at the start of winter, with this rune we can only wait until the warmth of the sun allows us to be free from a constricting form. Isa represents a halt in activity until a change is made.

Not to be confused with Anglo ior .  The Elder Futhark rune j gives rise to the Anglo-Frisian
runes j, which lead to the named io named ior, and to the Younger Futhark ár rune .
Letter: j, y
Stands for: harvest, year, season

Pronunciation: "yare-awe"
               The sky wolves have retreated;
               Sunna warms the land below.
               Freyr and Freya have
               bestowed upon us a great bounty
               for all the folk.
Casting meaning: Jera is a rune that represents the cycle of life. With this rune we see that we must go with the flow of nature to obtain the goals we want.

Letter: ei
Stands for: yew tree
Pronunciation: "eye-wawz"
               Symbol of Yggdrasil
               the yew is strong
               and holds many worlds within its branches.
               It offers much support
               to those who grow it.
Casting meaning: Eihwaz is a rune that can be used as a magical protector and facilitator. It shows us that in the event of an ending situation we find the start of a new situation.

Letter: p
Stands for: mystery, game
Pronunciation: "perth-row"
               In the shelter of the world tree
               many great halls have been built.
               So that all peoples can go
               to be with their patron deity
               according to the rules of their faith.
               No one can be excluded from the protection of the Tree
               save those who exclude themselves
               by evil deeds.
Casting meaning: Perdhro or peord reminds us of the uncertainties in life and represents freewill and the connection of the restrictions we have due to our circumstances. The meaning of the word peord is unknown. The Old Rune Poem has this to say about it: "Peorð byþ symble plega and hlehter / wlancum [on middum], ðar wigan sittaþ / on beorsele bliþe ætsomne"; in English that is: "Peorð is a source of recreation and amusement to the great, where warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall."  This is not sufficient to tell us what peord actually was.

Not to be confused with the Younger Futhark Yr rune .
Letter: z, x
Stands for: elk, protection
Pronunciation: "all-yeese"
               Even a plant can cause harm
               if used without caution;
               danger lurks even in the safest place.

Casting meaning: This is a rune of great restraint power, defense and protection. Use this rune in charms and talismans to protect yourself as well as your property.

Letter: s
Stands for: sun, Sunna
Pronunciation: "soe-wee-low"
               Sunna is the goddess of hope.
               She points out the way
               and gives us the energy for life's work.

Casting meaning: With the help of this rune we tend to be able to see things more clearly. Like the sun sheds light on dark times, with Sowulo we too can find the light during dark times.

Letter: t
Stands for: Tyr, honor
Pronunciation: "tea-wawz"
               Tyr is the way.
               He is the sky father
               who guides us
               thru life winding paths,
               never abandons us
               to darkness.
Casting meaning: Teiwaz (Tyr) can promise us success in our actions but this time without personal sacrifice. Tyr is a rune that has the power to make situations turn completely around. A rune of wisdom, spiritual understanding, and the power of generation. It also means success in “legal” matters but only if we were in the right to begin with.

Letter: b
Stands for: birch tree
Pronunciation: "bear-kawn-oh"
               Your green leaves bloom early
               giving us knowledge
               that Spring has come again.
Casting meaning: Like the birch tree coming to life from a seed planted in the Earth, Berkana represents a new beginning and is also a powerful birth rune.

Letter: e
Stands for: horse
Pronunciation: "ay-wawz"
               Embodiment of godly power
               thought the body of the horse
               people share its might.
Casting meaning: Ehwaz reminds us that in order for success there must be a natural flow in the task at hand. With this rune to give us power as well as it making use of our good intentions we can surely achieve such success.

Letter: m
Stands for: man, human
Pronunciation: "mawn-nawz"
               Be happy in life.
               Bring happiness to your friends

               and relations.
               Yet be aware that death is always waiting.
Casting meaning: Mannaz has many powers, just like humans. First it is a rune that lets us know we can achieve our fullest potential. Secondly it reminds us that we, as humans, all have shared experiences in life. Lastly we can use the power of this rune to gain the upper hand in disputes and arguments.

Letter: l
Stands for: water, lake
Pronunciation: "law-gooze"
               The sea is the cauldron of chaos;
               creative matrix,
               playground of Ran,
               from which human beings came.

Casting meaning: Laguz or Lagu represents the power of water and its easy flowing nature. We must learn to “go with the flow” when this rune shows up in a reading so that we can take full advantage of our powers.

With variants Runic letter ingwaz.svg and Runic letter ingwaz variant.png .
Letter: ng, ing  
Stands for: fertility, Freyr
Pronunciation: "eeeng-wawz"
               He moves across the lands;
               visiting his farmer friends
               giving gifts of great bounty.
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to spread our energy out far and wide. It is a protective rune mainly for the protection of our homes. To use Inguz effectively we must learn to build up our powers over time and then release the power all at once.

Letter: d
Stands for: day
Pronunciation: "thaw-gauze"
               We shine in the light of the deities.
               The day is followed by night;
               life by death,
               we know that after night comes a new day.
               So death is followed by new life
               in whatever way that arises.
Casting meaning: Dagaz represents a stability between opposites, such as light and dark. It can stop harmful energy from getting to you but at the same time allow the good energy to slip through so that you can make good use of it.

Letter: o
Stands for: home, ancestral
Pronunciation: "oath-awe-law"
               One loves the land they live upon
               sharing in its rights and duties.
               Thus the land protects its friends
               if its friends respect it.

Casting meaning: Much like
Fehu this is a rune of wealth. But unlike Fehu, Othala represents a wealth that cannot be sold. This is wealth like family, friendships or our culture and heritage that is passed down to us. It represents an enclosure and maintains the existing state of things as they presently are.
Anglo-Saxon and Frisian Runes
The futhorc are an extended alphabet, consisting up to 29 letters. There are competing theories as to the origins of the Anglo-Saxon Fuþorc. One theory proposes that it was developed in Frisia and later spread to England. Another holds that runes were introduced by Scandinavians to England where the fuþorc was modified and exported to Frisia. Frisia or Friesland is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea and the German Bight.
They were used probably from the 5th century onward, recording Old English and Old Frisian. Futhorc inscriptions are found on the Thames scramasax, in the Vienna Codex, in Cotton Otho (Anglo-Saxon rune poem) and on the Ruthwell Cross.
They are often combined sets, the Frisian and Anglo-Saxon rune sets, due to their close relation to each other. Originally the Frisian set was created by expanding the Elder Futhark set by four runes (the first four listed below – Ac, Os, Yr and Ior). Then later one new rune, Ear, was added to form the Anglo-Saxon rune set sometimes called the Anglo-Saxon Futhork.
Not to be confused with Elder Futhark ansuz  a. The Elder Futhark rune Ansuz was renamed Aesc for these runic sets, due to the development of the vowel system in Anglo-Frisian.
Letter: ae
Stands for:
               Like the mighty ash
               may we have the power
               to withstand the attacks
               of our enemies.
Casting meaning: In mythology, the first man was formed from an Ash tree.  This represents man as the protector of and provider for the family, standing firm in defending his family and community. Ash was also a favored wood in the production of spears and pole arms, the major weapons of the masses before the invention of smelting.
The first primal woman was fashioned out of an Elm tree.  Elm should be seen as representing the life bearing and nurturing characteristics of women, the whole basis of family and community life. 

Letter: a
Stands for: oak

               The daughter of the great tree

               she provides us and animals
               with food and shelter.

Casting meaning: The oak is another sacred tree among many of Europe’s ancient peoples. There is a specific oak forest in Northern lore that is well-known – the Iron Wood of Angrboda and the Jotnar. The oak is sacred both as the tree itself (useful for shipbuilding and making homes from) and as the major source of food for the Vanir’s most attributed animal, the boar. This rune symbolizes great potential power and is a rune of great usefulness. Ac channels the power of strong, continuous growth from small beginnings to a powerful and mighty climax.
Letter: o
Stands for: voice, God

               May these words please You oh God,
               and may You bestow upon us,
               whose mouths overflow
               with adoration and praise,
               the terrible grace of Your blessing.

Casting meaning: Os belongs to Odin in his aspects of a master communicator through language and writing. The rune represents the spiritual power that is gained through speech. It denotes the creative power of word in all its forms – in poetry, song, oral tales, and written literature.

Not to be confused with the Younger Futhark Yr rune .
Letter: y
Stands for: bow (usually made from a yew tree)

               Getting on a jet
               I fly straight as an arrow

               to my destination.

Casting meaning: Yr speaks to the power in focus, but not the focus of a camera, or the loose sort of focus most of us give to something we’re doing. This is the focus of the Hunter, of the Artist, of the Craftsman – the pouring of oneself into the moment, when everything falls away but the task at hand. Yr calls us to remember that focus, and apply it to the everyday, whether that be in the home, at work, or in our relationships with the Gods. Yr symbolizes the perfect combination of skills and knowledge applied to materials taken from nature. This rune lets us know when we are in the “right spot” for a situation, and is good to use when looking for lost objects.

Not to be confused with Elder jera j. The Elder Futhark rune j gives rise to the Anglo-Frisian
runes j, which lead to the named io named ior, and to the Younger Futhark ár rune .
Letter: io
Stands for: world serpent (
a sea creature)
               The world serpent has us all
               in its grip;
               lord of eternity
               the cycle of birth and death.

Casting meaning:
The normal translation of Ior is an eel, though the description may actually be that of a crocodilian or similar species (which may also be the basis of the European dragon legends). Ior symbolizes dual natures, evident in the amphibious habits of many water beasts (like the World Serpent). It also signifies the unavoidable hardships in life that we can do nothing about, but should still not worry about.

Letter: ea
Stands for: soil of Earth (actually the dust our bodies become after death)

               Death is the end of all.
               Even the most powerful
               and wealthy people
               are seized in the end.
               Yet don't despair,
               for life goes on
               and so do all which die
               come back to some form of life.

Casting meaning: Life cannot live without death; the seed must die to grow a plant. Ear symbolizes the grave that we will all return to. However the only way that we can die is because there was life to begin with. “Without life, there is no death and without time there is no life.” More generally Ear signifies the unavoidable end of all things.
Northumbrian Runes
The Northumbrian runes are an extension of the Anglo-Saxon runes, which in turn are an extension of the Elder Futhark rune set. The Kingdom of Northumbria was a medieval Anglian kingdom in what is now northern England and south-east Scotland. The Northumbrian runes add 4 more runes to the Anglo-Saxon set making the total of 33 runes. Again due to the set up of the Anglo-Saxon runes, you may see this set also being referred to as the Northumbrian Futhork.
The expanded alphabet features the additional letters cweorth, calc, gar, and stan. These additional letters have only been found in manuscripts and inscriptions, about 8th to 11th centuries. Of these four additional letters, only the cweorth rune fails to appear epigraphically.
These runes are not described in the Anglo Saxon poem or other poems.  The poems listed are from other sources.  Their meaning and names are often debated. But there are certain lessons that they have to share, regardless of their origins.
May be a modification of perthro p.
Letter: q
Stands for: flames of a fire
               We have been through the fire
               We have been the funeral pyre
               We have learn to purify, to cast aside
               that which keeps us from living fully
               And now we blaze as well as flame.

Casting meaning: Cweord is the Rune of Fire, but not the illuminating fire of Cen, this is the Pyre. It teaches the lesson of Fire as Purifier. The destruction of the old, the worn-out, the no-longer-useful to make way for the new, the way woodlands and prairies need occasional destruction to remain healthy. This rune represents a process of transformation through fire. The spirit of a body from a person on a funeral pyre is liberated by fire. Cweorth refers to the sacredness of the hearth and ritual cleansing by fire.

Not to be confused with the Younger Futhark Yr rune or a of the Elder Futhark runic
alphabet.  When kk doubled, appears as .
Letter: k
Stands for: offering cup, chalice
               Drink from the chalice of such wondrous design, as it is lovingly held.
               Filled with mead, an offering to love’s grace.

Casting meaning: Another rune linked with water, Calc speaks of reflection, of looking inward, of containing the free flow of Lagu into something useful. Calc also denotes the death of the individual, however it is not seen as a death rune. Like Ear, Calc indicates the natural ending or conclusion of a process. Do not view this ending as a termination, but as the end of an old era resulting in a spiritual transformation.

Letter: st
Stands for: stone
               From the outside the stone is a riddle, even though a cow steps on it.  But when

               two stones are rubbed, sparks fly out.  Perhaps there is a moon shining from
               somewhere or perhaps it is just cool and quiet.
Casting meaning: The very word stone brings to mind many qualities – rigid, steadfast, hard, grounded, immovable, secure, guarding, strong. Stones can make walls, homes, weapons; they can also be dangerous – sailors fear the embrace of the rocks, where the breakers are, because just a brush can wreck a hull beyond repair. Stan represents an obstruction in our path, like a boulder at the entrance to a cave. It also represents the stone playing pieces used in board games. Symbolically it represents a link between heavenly bodies and earthly beings. This rune can be used to obstruct and turn back any opposition in our lives.

Not to be confused with the Orlanthi Rune for Dragon. It is a modification of the plain
gyfu Elder rune . Sometimes gar marked as . 
Letter: g
Stands for: spear (specifically Gungnir – Odin’s Spear)

               If you`re not afraid of the fire,
               my spear will bar your way for you!

               My hand still holds
               the haft of power;
               the sword you wield
               was shivered ere now by this shaft:
               once more let it
               splinter upon my eternal spear!
Casting meaning: If perthro is the rune of Personal Wyrd, Gar is the rune of Universal Wyrd, of the Well itself, the Great Tangle of Life. The Gar rune is a special one. Unlike the previous 32 runes in the Northumbrian set, Gar does not belong to an ætt. However, this rune is said to be the center point of all the other runes in this set. It is also said to contain all the other runes in itself, making it a powerful and useful rune.
It’s important to note that the names of the runes that you will find on other sites and in books may be different than the ones that you see on the pages for this site. For example the Elder Futhark rune “Kenaz” can have up to five different names and spellings.  These are just 33 of the common runes.

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