Delving into the realm of Icelandic Runes

Runes and Tarot Cards

I love runes! I was gifted with a hand-made set about 10 years ago, and am fascinated by the meanings of the symbols.

Runes are ancient Germanic letters that were used for communication, prophecy and witchcraft in Northern Europe from about 100 B.C. to 1600 A.D.

The word rune itself is ancient, and is believed to mean “secret” or “whisper”. The rune alphabet is also known as FUPARK after its first six letters. Many things about its origins are not known, but according to the notes that came with some rune cards I have, there are clues to suggest that the alphabet developed in southern Europe. From there it moved up through Europe  with travelling tribes and began changing from there.

Although the original set of runes was believed to have had 24 letters, Icelandic runes ended up with 16.

The runes are closely tied to Nordic mythology. Havamal tells of the origin of the runes. It tells of a time when Odin, the mightiest of the Nordic gods, was hanging wounded in the tree of life, Askur Yggdrasil.

He stayed in the tree for nine nights and nine days to gain wisdom, when the runes appeared to him in a vision. He was able to see how much wisdom and power they carried.

What can the runes tell you?

Here are some runes from my hand-carved set. Without thinking too much about it, notice which one you are most drawn too. The meanings of each run (and crystal) are listed below.

Runes Honey Calcite

Top Left: Wunjo (joy) stands for happiness and feeling good. This rune represents success and recognition for an accomplishment of some sort. Wunjo stands for enjoyment of life and rewards for a job well done. This is a positive and giving rune that has been linked to the divinity of Valhalla, the old Viking religion’s heaven.

Top Right: Mannaz (man) is a sign of individuality and intelligence. It stands for us as persons and those who are nearest and dearest to us – loved ones and family. This rune represents a strong tradition for family ties and kinship, and that we are all social beings.

Middle: Inguz (seed, or “the God”) This is a rune of isolation or separation in order to create a space or place where the process of transformation into higher states of being can occur. This is also a rune of gestation and internal growth.

Bottom Left: Hagalaz (hail) is a sign of misfortune of some kind. It represents certain challenge or opposition but can also be a cleansing or closure on something. Hagalaz reminds us that what doesn’t destroy us only makes us stronger; and that if we are steadfast in negative situations, then there is always a chance of getting out of those situations.

Bottom Right: Fehu (cattle/money) stands for wealth and happiness and, in particular, the way to more success. Fehu is a sign of creativity and respect for oneself. Few is a motion that leads to wealth but also shows you that there’s no place like home. This rune reminds us that it’s wise to keep in mind though, that wealth can lead to misfortune.

Crystals amongst the runes: Honey Calcite – offers a frequency of vitality and helps to cultivate a zest for life. People going through depression may enjoy other Root Chakra benefits, such as confidence, strength, persistence, and patience.

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