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Runes for Wisdom and Active Magic

The runes were an ancient Germanic alphabet, used in northern Europe from at least the second century CE, into early modern times. They were very likely derived from alphabets used in northern Italy during early Roman times. As the Germanic languages diversified, so too the runes used to write them changed, with somewhat different versions being used in Iceland, Scandinavia, Germany, and England.

Runes have always carried an aura of magic and mystery. We know they were used to cast spells or protect special items, and some references suggest divinatory uses as well. Alas, we do not know anything very specific about the particular meanings or uses of each rune in ancient times. In fact, the mystique surrounding them may simply reflect the awe with which writing was regarded in the largely illiterate cultures of the time.

When using runes for divination or magic, modern practitioners must rely mostly on the names of the runes, and the three rune poems that have come down to us from different times and places. The poems and names served as mnemonic devices, helping scribes to learn their art. They are also, however, a wonderful window on the old Germanic cultures, carrying memories of the objects, creatures, and gods that moved through the lives of the people who first used the runes so many centuries ago. When interpreted symbolically, the runes connect us with the primal energies of life, as experienced by our pagan ancestors.

Although runes have been popularized as a divination tool, they are also excellent for active magic. A rune on an amulet, carved into a spell candle, or adorning an altar adds its unique energy to your endeavors and helps them manifest.

Rune Lore: Raidho

Rune Lore: Sowilo

Rune Lore: Mannaz

Rune Lore: Uruz

Rune Lore: Jera

I have created a TrueType font with the runes of the Elder Futhark, which you may download and use for free. See Runic Font: Elder Futhark.

Copyright © 2007-2008 Tom Waters