Runes F A Q1s

    Runes Frequently asked questions

Evil Runes

As a youngster I remember watching a British movie classic called the Night of the Demon! This was a horror picture based on a story by that master of understated horror, M.R. James. James' story Casting The Runes concerns a mild-mannered man who incurs the wrath of a magician and is passed a slip of paper with runic symbols. If these are destroyed, or are still on his person seven days later, he will die. The crux of the story is the man's gradual realisation that these things are true, and that he must return the runes to the magician to prevent his own death.

Night of the Demon - 1957 B&W Horror

This particular brand of modern esoteric rune magic has the idea of the yfelrun: this is a usually a letter which when opened is revealed to be a runic talisman devoted to cursing the victim.

Ref: The Grimoire of We-Aze

As I see it there are about three main reasons why runes were considered to be evil. Unable to read or understand the Runes, Christian Clergymen believed them to be magic spells capable of unlocking the powers of evil. Since this time Runes have developed a bad reputation, and are often linked to the Occult and including Satanism. German 19th century Nationalism and anti Semitism paved the way for the Nazis in 1930, who employed the Runes amongst other heathen sigils within their military insignia and propaganda, furthering to promote the sinister reputation of the Runes. So runes became associated Nazism. Lastly the New Age renaissance added a whole load of misinformation based loosely on whatever the authors point of view or personal gnosis was at the time to create a whole new tradition, based on magical power, hexes and lore far removed from the actual usage and purpose of these holy symbols.

Which is the most powerful or dangerous rune?

There is no single rune any more powerful or dangerous then the next rune. Runes represent ideas, are possible doorways to unlock certain thoughts or perhaps even a catalyst in aiding a set of circumstances coming into being. Their ability to serve as an oracle is entirely dependant on the reader's interpretation and ability as well as the system used to divine with. No singular rune is any more potent then the next rune nor does the modern idea of "power" factually represent them. This most powerful rune urban legend is pure personal gnosis spread by seriously misinformed new age rune authors who should know better! Consider that no two people are the same, think the same way or indeed can harness, understand runes or even interpret the same way. This is without involving any magic. Outside personal gnosis, I would like to know how any particular rune is any more effective or powerful then the next rune.

Celtic Runes?

Celtic runes are a neo-pagan modern terminology for the Irish Ogham alphabet. Ogham is thought to be named after the Irish god Ogma. One theory of its origins is that it evolved out of a system of tallies used for accounting. Ogham is also known as or ogham craobh, beth luis fearn or beth luis nion. As you can plainly see, the Ogham is not a runic system per se.

Cirth Runes?

Cirth runes are the creation from the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien created many languages throughout his life who wrote in one of his letters that the tales of Middle-earth (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarilion) grew from these languages, rather than the languages being created for use in the stories. Tolkien also created a number of different alphabet to write his languages - he modelled Cirth on Anglo-Saxon and Norse Runes. Its function in his stories is for inscriptions in wood and stone, just as Runes were used in the real world.

 J.R.R. Tolkien


The earliest runic inscriptions contained ligature runes or bind runes that is two or possibly three runes on either side of a shared vertical stave. The aim of such writing practice is generally believed to save effort and space. The same custom is found all over Europe, and in Denmark is so known for example also in our oldest inscriptions in Roman letterings, where letters are both joined together and place inside each other.

If the Younger Futhorc runes  A and  R were written together the ligature

rune  is created; to show this in transliteration, we place an arc over it, thus ar

The most prolific examples of runic ligatures can be found on medieval gravestones from FØvling (north Jutland). Bind runes usually reflect desire to save labour and space, so in a nutshell, all this modern fanciful bind runes found on the internet and elsewhere is in my researched opinion, a very modern made up tradition based on personal gnosis and is not historical at all. Another possibility is that bindrunes were created to test the mettle of those who would dare try to break the runic cipher. It may also be a boast on the part of the rune carver to show off his ability and competence prompted by a challenging desire to make the rune message much harder, thus concealing its secret?

The FØvling Stone, North Jutland in spite of its shape was never a standing rune stone but rather a flat trapezoid grave slab. Of note is the fact that it has no spare end to stick in the ground and if it were set upright, the cross would be upside down! the close interwoven bindrunes and same stave runes have been influenced by the early majuscule inscriptions of the 12th century, in which Roman capitals were carved with letters ligatured and fitted inside each other.

p: æsbirnik: langsum: kubaÞ in kristo: rekuiæscæns

P: (ræpositus – or Presbyter, Pastor, Pater?) Æsbern(h)ic Langsum cubat in kristo requiescens

P: Esbern Langsom (the slow) here lies at rest in Christ


FØvling Stone North Jutland

Same stave runes (bind runes) as some runologist call them did not appear until the Viking Age, therefore they were of the Younger Futhorc variants: 

My money is still on the very basic concept of combining different ideographs rather then literal modern English to Futhark runes (Younger Futhorc) alphabetical translations. A sort of story telling wish on the part of the bind rune carver.

Runic Rosary/Heathen Prayer Beads?

Arguments have been posted on the internet suggesting the existence or possibility of a heathen "runic rosary" more popular coined by neo-pagans as "Brisingamen Beads"? I am of the opinion that due to a lack of any archaeological evidence, this is just a personal gnosis. I am not saying that heathens did not pray, just not ancient Germanics with runic rosaries and in this manner. Heathens did indeed pray as suggested by the Second Merseburg Charm. This charm in Old High German which dates from around 750 CE and runs as follows:

 1. Once the Idisi set forth, to this place and that;
    Some fastened fetters; some hindered the horde,
    Some loosed the bonds from the brave --
    Leap forth from the fetters! Escape from the foes!

 2. Phol and Wodan rode into the woods,
    There Balder's foal sprained its foot.
    It was charmed by Sinthgunt, her sister Sunna;
    It was charmed by Frija, her sister Volla;
    It was charmed by Wodan, as he well knew how:
    Bone-sprain, like blood-sprain,
    Like limb-sprain:
    Bone to bone; blood to blood;
    Limb to limb -- like they were glued.

 Ref: Merseburg Incantations (Merseburger Zaubersprüche)

This charm is amazingly similar to the Christianized charms used in the magical healing traditions of German speaking regions, which persists to this day as the Pow Wow healing magic of the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Such charms are not made up on the spot: an old charm, passed down through the generations, is considered most powerful.

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