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RUNES - The Elderfuthark

Updated on June 4, 2011

The Origins of The Elderfuthark RUNES

The runes bring their message like a roaring wind, then whisper their secrets of hidden mysteries.

The word ‘rune’ comes from the root-word ‘runa’, literally meaning ‘whisper’, to ‘roar’, ‘secret’, or ‘hidden’; much like the word ‘arcane’ from which the name of the Major and Minor Arcana of the Tarot is taken. In Old English, the word ‘rune’ meant ‘mystery’.

A person who casts the runes was known as a ‘Vitki’, ‘Runecaster,’ ‘Rune Master’ or ‘Gautr’, among other names. The Rune Masters of the Teutonic people were easily recognisable by their elaborate dress and were familiar figures among tribal circles. They were feared, revered, honoured and welcomed by villagers and strangers alike.

There is much evidence to suggest that many of the runic practitioners, as with most traditions of ancient wisdom and divinity, were women.

The runes were carried from place to place by traders, nomads, adventurers and warriors. In time, even the Anglo-Saxon missionaries kept, learned and used them.

Though there are many differences of opinion about when, where and how the runic writing system originally began, there is a general agreement that they were used by pagan tribes over a vast area of Northern Europe. Scholars have proposed a number of theories to explain the historical origin of the runes, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses.

Assorted scholars believe the runes were used predominantly between the 3rd and 17th Centuries. Some historians are certain that the runes had their birth among the Teutonic tribes of Northern Europe, as long ago as 500BC, whilst others are sure that the Goths of Scandinavia adapted the Greek cursive script during their contact with the Hellenic culture around 200AD.

Others speculate that the runes originated much later in Northern Italy and that they were derived from the Latin alphabet. Many take the view that they were invented during the Viking Civilization, around 200AD. Historically, there is evidence that the Elder Futhark was used for engraving jewellery at least 50 to 100 years before the birth of Christ, making it obvious that the runes had been in useable existence since ancient times. According to documented research, the last original Rune Masters lived in seventeenth-century Iceland. Regardless of their exact date of birth, the runes are as powerful and relevant today as they were in yesteryear.

Thousands of years ago, the runes evolved in a culture that understood the essential elements of life; the balance of personal power through self-mastery. The runes are part of a system of spiritual belief that is older than Christianity, is as beautiful and complex as the Buddhist and Hindu beliefs and encompasses the wisdom-based knowledge of the Eastern traditions.


RUNES – The Elderfuthark


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      9 years ago

      I love runes :-) its interesting when I keep picking the same ones over and over again - and how true their meaning is for me


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