So what are Runes?
There are many theories on the origins, age, and uses of the runic alphabets. The Elder Futhark runes are considered the eldest form of the many alphabets. The word rune comes from the old norse word “runa” which means a secret or mystery.
This meaning can suggest the use of the runes for divination. Early rune masters were thought to have a mystic understanding of the runes. Tacitus, who was a historian of the Roman Empire, wrote in his book Germania, a description of a form of divination used by Germanic tribes.
“To divination and casting of lots, they pay attention beyond any other people. Their method of casting lots is a simple one: they cut a branch from a fruit-bearing tree and divide it into small pieces which they mark with certain distinctive signs and scatter at random onto a white cloth. Then, the priest of the community if the lots are consulted publicly, or the father of the family if it is done privately, after invoking the gods and with eyes raised to heaven, picks up three pieces, one at a time, and interprets them according to the signs previously marked upon them.”
Norse mythology tells the story of the Norse God, Odin. Odin was a relentless seeker and giver of wisdom. He was said to have hung himself from a branch of the Yggdrasil tree, pierced himself with his spear and peered downward into the waters of the Well of Urd. After hanging nine days and nights near death, the runes accepted his self-sacrifice and showed themselves to Odin. They revealed to him not only their forms but also the secret meanings they held.
The 24 Elder Futhark Runes are separated into 3 sets of 8 runes, called an aett. The word ‘aett’ means ‘families’ or ‘groups.’ Each aett has a common idea or concept. There are many good books about runes as well as community forums and groups you can join to enhance your knowledge of the runes. As I was researching the runes I found sites had different spellings, meanings, and pronunciations of the runes. Your intuition and insight will be needed when using and learning the runes! Included in our pouch of runes is a small informational sheet with a short description of each rune symbol to get you started.
A note about the blank rune. We added a blank rune in order to have an extra in the event of one breaking or getting lost. There is no historical support for the blank or “Wyrd” rune. It is a modern addition. Many rune readers have incorporated the “Wyrd” rune in their readings. You may use the blank rune as your intuition indicates.
We engrave our runes in 2 different types of woods and with 4 different norse symbols on the backs.
The Valknut, also called the “knot of the slain,” has been found on many Germanic objects. Many images of the symbol indicate it represents the afterlife. It is believed to have connections with the nine worlds of the Viking tradition. Some theories also connect it with reincarnation and as a talisman against evil.
Thor’s Hammer: Thor, son of Odin, is portrayed as a large powerful man with a magical hammer. This hammer, also called Mjollnir, was made by dwarfs and wielded so much power it was said to level mountains and would return to Thor after it had been thrown.
Odin’s horns: Three horns contained the mead of poetry, which is symbolic of wisdom and poetical inspiration. Odin bargained three nights with a giantess for a sip from each horn. Instead he drank all the mead of the three containers. According to mythology whoever drinks the mead becomes a scholar.
The 2 ravens, Hugin (pronounced HOO-gin) and Munin (pronounced MOO-nin) are a pair of ravens that fly around the world of Midgard and bring information to Odin. They are simultaneous projections and extensions of Odin’s own being.