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History and origin of Runes

 

 

The discovery of Runes for the humanity appears in Odin's legend. C'est dans un de ses poèmes de l'Edda qu'il explique comment il en comprit la signification It is in one of his poems of Edda that He explains how He understood their meaning and which He explains us that these symbols engraved on the stone are a wonderful way to see beyond the perceptible.

Here is an extract of the poem of HAVAMAL where Odin presents us the runes:

[...]

I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.

No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.

[...]

Runes you will find, and readable staves,
Very strong staves,
Very stout staves,
Staves that Bolthor stained,
Made by mighty powers,
Graven by the prophetic god,

For the gods by Odhinn, for the elves by Dain,
By Dvalin, too, for the dwarves,
By Asvid for the hateful giants,
And some I carved myself:
Thund, before man was made, scratched them,
Who rose first, fell thereafter

Know how to cut them, know how to read them,
Know how to stain them, know how to prove them,
Know how to evoke them, know how to score them,
Know how to send them"; know how to send them,

Better ask for too little than offer too much,
As a gift that demands a gift";
Better not to send than to slay too many,

[...]

 

We shall notice thanks to the extract of this poem that runes possess many side.

Runes are by nature, not only an alphabet ( FUTHARK ) and a writing, but that runes possess unquestionably a bottom and an initiatory purpose.

Futhark or runic alphabet possesses three levels of reading:

  1. By the shape: the ideography and the phonetic value
  2. By the concept: the contained symbolism
  3. By the number: the coexisting relation between runes

History of Runes

Runes crossed more than two millenniums and propagated into the world with more or less success.

Of heathen origin, they were used at first for the divination and the magic, then as writing for trading and archiving. Christian Church used them, more later and sparingly, as inscriptions on baptismal fonts and crosses. However in the XVIIth century in Iceland, whoever held runes could be liable to the death penalty. The runes traditions were demonized and Wagner, inspired by falsified legends, made of the Germanic and Scandinavian mythology a violent culture and bloodthirsty warriors.

Runes were also hijacked in political purposes during half of the XXth century under the Nazi regime what gave them a certain bad reputation. Indeed the nazi swastika is directly inspired of Swastika, symbol which we also find in the Tibetan culture, and which represents the Solar Cross (sunrise, zenith, sunset and at night) but also the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) as well as the four stars marking the four cardinal points of the year ( Antares, Aldebaran, Regulus and Fomalhaut). It's the same for the Sowilo rune representing the goddess of the Sun, the Source of the Life which was hijacked by the "SS" initials .

In front of trauma left by the Nazism, by the sects of all types and the others scatterbrain satanic, the Wisdom of runes was forgotten and its Traditions were perceived as malefic. Nevertheless by separating the wheat from the chaff, it is easy to notice that the Scandinavians traditions are badly known and that on the contrary they are carriers of a big Respect for the nature and a big Wisdom.

Runes will return under their true nature thanks to certain spiritual movements " New Age " because the Knowledge and the Rune's Knowledge were never forgotten.