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runes of the elder futhark

runes of the elder futhark

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Published by Brent Duncan

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Published by: Brent Duncan on Oct 26, 2008
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Runes of the Elder Futhark tend to represent energies; processes. They can be nouns and verbs combined. Due tospace limitations, I'm only mentioning some of what I consider at the moment to be the most salient features. The Elder Futhark does a lot of speaking to me on the nonverbal level aswell.
(cattle, wealth). On a superfical level, this can refer to standardriches. Owning several head of cattle was a sign of wealth. Obviously,wealth need not refer only to the material plane. And, as the runesregard a process, this rune may refer to the ability to create wealth onwhatever level under inspection.
(aurochs). The aurochs is a now-extinct animal related to oxen.Rather than tame like cattle, it lived wild. The meaning of the symbolcan relate to a wild energy, an untamed potential; something notunlike the root chakra. Contrast it with Fehu, which seems to indicatethat which one possesses, in various meanings of that word.Understanding both the tamed and the untamed sides of the self maybe emphasized when studying both of these runes. There may besexual connotations in this rune. Also, this rune may indicate vitalityand personal health. It may represent the unconscious energies withinoneself.
(giant; Thor's rune). It may mean conflict; it may indicateprotection (as in protection from conflict) when so used. On somelevels, it represents the subconscious. The energy of conflict is neutralin and of itself; it is important in the Norse world view to accept thedynamics involved here. It may be used in meditation as a potent toolto understand Thor (who was typically one of the main gods of thecommon folk).
(Odinn's rune). This can be a rune of communication -- Odinnbrought the wisdom of the runes down, and conveyed their informationto the rest of us. It may also represent wisdom, a wisdom earned. It isa potent rune for those who wish to study ol' One Eye himself. Itrepresents conscious work, bringing the wisdom gained to the levels of awareness where one can recognize things for as they are.
(journey). New ventures, new beginnings, as well as themundane taking a trip somewhere. It may also point out the right (orbest) path among a selection of alternates. There may well be a senseof directed change.
(torch, light). Essentially, I see this as the creativity rune,although that gives short shrift to the creative qualities inherent inmany of the other runes. However, here I see the cognate as Bridgit of the forge (Irish lore) -- she who forged the steel, tempering it in water. The rune is directed synthesis, brought about by fire energy, temperedwith thought. It may indicate knowledge passed on. It can also "lightthe way" for inner explorations.
(gift). Balance. There is a balance in true giving and receiving. The things we do in life have a way of coming to an equilibrium, andsome of the wisdom is understood in coming to terms with this, andmaking adjustments accordingly. Sacrifice (without martyrdom) issometimes indicated. Gifts and giving resonate on a multitude of levels; the linear tit for tat is the least of it.
(joy). The oldest translated meaning is "perfection", and FreyaAswynn indicates that this rune may represent the most perfect,"good" side of Odinn. One may use the rune to indicate the
towards perfection. A joy or happiness is implied in this rune, a senseof fitting in appropriately with the universe.
(hail). Sort of The Tower of the Futhark world. There may bedisruptive forces at work, requiring change. Frequently this is on aninner level; adjustments on world view and outlook may be indicated. Itdeals with the dark side of oneself, which is clamoring to beunderstood rather than shut away.
(need-fire). I see this as relating to a primal need within aperson; possibly even unconscious. This need is a motivating force,and seeks equilibrium. Something may be out of balance. Whatpurpose, on any level, does the need serve? Working with this rune canhelp bring such answers to the fore, where the need can be addressed,satisfied, or dismissed. (Note -- needs and wants are not necessarilythe same.)
(ice). A challenge, a frustration. A sense of self-containment andpreservation are a part of this rune. It is a status quo, which may benecessary or it may be something to break down. (Or both and more,as life and living hold complexities.) It may relate to a sense of awareness of the "I", and it stands firm in ways that may make it anobstacle.
(year). Everything changes, in its own time. It can break throughstagnancy. Overall, this is a positive rune, although it can indicate thereturn of unfinished business as well as the finished.
(yew). Essentially, in working with this rune I find a strongconnection to the Wiccan saying, "as above, so below". What onehopes to manifest on the higher planes can get a good boot by beingdealt with on the lower. As well, when things are moving on the higherplanes, changes may accompany this on the lower. This rune seems torepresent the connecting, focal section between these (and other)planes. This can be a very strong and assertive rune.
(lot cup). Mystery; the hidden. Forces we cannot fullycomprehend, which act upon us. Part of the concept here is the wyrd, aform of "fate". There is also here the meaning of birth; one mayconsider that our birth is caused by events we (the being-born) cannotcontrol. In a reading, I always like to see what runes this rune is near; itbrings in the unexpected. (And from this can arise transformation.)
(protection). Protection, a shield. It can be used to channelenergies appropriately. It may represent life, at both ends of existence(life as well as death), as a normal state of affairs.
(sun). In the Norse and Germanic traditions, the sun is female,which gives it a different indication than the lore of other cultures. Therune symbolizes the consciousness of the inner self, and may indicategrowth (in various ways). The blessings of the sun would improveNorthern crops. (The solar cross is formed by two Sowilo runes, writtenin either direction. While I believe in reclaiming many things takenfrom us as Pagans, the damage mid-century done in the name of thesolar cross keeps me from any interest in reclaiming that particularsymbol.)
(Tyr). Victory, justice. The rune is shaped like an arrow, so onecan visualize it going straight to its target. Tyr is the god whoconsented to bind the Fenris wolf by tricking him. In so doing, hevoluntarily lost one hand.
(birch). Nurturing, fertility. There is a sense of protection forthe abandoned, in a gentle caring way. Growth is implicit.
(horse). The rune may indicate a pair of horses in the originaletymology. The rune can relate to a vehicle, including in the sense of how one adapts to circumstances. Partnerships (marriage or business)may be alluded to with this rune. "Bonding" may be a factor.Cooperation and adjustment may be ideas to consider.

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