Lesson 2: Elder Futhark Runic Symbols Explained Cont.
Well we have made it through to yet another lesson and let me just say you are all doing exceptionally well. Now let’s get down to business. In lesson two we will be continuing were we left off.
In the Elder Futhark rune there are three standard divisions of Runes. These divisions are seen in the Aetts of Frey, Hagal and Tyr.
these eight runes belong to the god Frey (Fertility God) and his runes are associated with the creation of the world, its gods and inhabitants. The runes in this Aett are effective in getting things started; moreover, for divination purposes these runes often express essential life principles, e.g. health, money, conflict, balance, knowledge and pleasure. Frey’s runes are shown from left to right: Fehu (Feoh), Uruz (Ur), Thurisaz (Thorn), Ansuz (Os), Raido (Rad), Kenaz (Cen), Gebo (Gyfu), and Wunjo (Wyn).
some disagreement has been seen in concerns with just who is the owner of this Aett. Some link them to Hel, the underworld goddess (Niflhelm), an unwelcoming cold place which is reflected in the harsh nature of its first two runes. While others see it as belonging to Heimdall, the watcher God; the runes in this Aett are associated with forces that lie outside the realm of human influence and are joined with cosmic understanding. Hagal’s Aettir represent the power of time, the Norns, spiritual and Wyrd development. This Aett of magic, development of consciousness, personal evolution and psychological growth; conversely, these Aetts just like Frey’s Aetts read from left to right: Hagalaz (Haegl), Nauthiz (Nyd), Isa (Is), Jera (Ger), Eihwaz (Eoh), Pertho (Peorth), Algiz (Eohl) and Sowelu (Sigil).
this final Aett belongs to the deity of justice and war Tyr and is related to the experiences that transform and mold human lives. This the third and final Aett is more concerned with the spiritual transformation, social aspects and human condition. Again this Aett like the other two read from left to right: Tiwaz (Tir), Berkana (Beorc), Ehwaz (Eh), Mannaz, (Man), Laguz (Lagu) , Ingwaz (Ing) , Dagaz (Daeg) , Othala (Ethel).
Patterns of the Elder Futhark
In accordance with Norse mythology, the universe began with the uniting of Fire and Ice. The Fehu (Feoh) rune (Frey’s first rune) is associated to fire, whereas Hagalaz (Haegl) first rune is associated with Ice and Hail and Tyr’s first rune Tiwaz (Tir) is associated with order, law and structure. Consequently the each of the first runes from each Aett makes up the equation for the creation of the Universe.
F + I = O or Fire + Ice = Order
The Elder Futhark is a progression of patterns. E.g. Fehu (Feoh) is associated with creation while the rest of Frey’s Aett are profoundly associated with the gods; While Tyr’s Aett is associated with earthly matters e.g. Intuition, motherhood, pregnancy, intuition etc… and lastly closing with Othala (Ethel), the rune associated with home and family. Furthermore Othala (Ethel) is associated with inheritance and heritage. Thusly, the runes begin with the universe’s birth and end with the end of man.
Some authors reverse the order of the last two runes so the Futhark ends with Dagaz (Daeg). This however does not change the identified trends. Though it returns things to a cosmic level it is through the transformation and enlightenment of the individual. As should now be becoming clear, the position of individual runes within the Elder Futhark is not the result of accident but of design. Each rune is related in various ways to the runes around it. Another way to divide up the Futhark is into pairs. If we take the first two runes Fehu (Feoh) and Uruz (Ur),
Both these runes relate to cattle. Fehu (Feoh) symbolizes domesticated cattle from which we get milk. Uruz (Ur) represents the Auroch a (now extinct) fierce and untamable breed of oxen. The first rune symbolizes the spirit tamed and harnessed whereas the second represents the resilient unquenchable pioneer spirit.
This type of pair-patterning can be seen through the whole of the Futhark though some pairs need more explanation than others. To illustrate a few more
Naudhiz (Nyd) and Hagalaz (Haegl). These pair of runes deals with affliction. Hagalaz (Haegl) is a natural force of destruction and disruption whereas Naudhiz (Nyd) is a rune of suffering and endurance giving the strength to survive the effects of its partner rune.
Eihwaz (Eoh) and Pertho (Peorth). Both these runes represent mysterious forces beyond human control. Eihwaz (Eoh) is change and Death, whilst Pertho (Peorth) represents Wyrd. At a symbolic level Pertho (Peorth) links with the creative power of the womb as embodied in the goddesses Frigga and Freya. Freya representing fertility and Frigga, being both mother and “the silent seeress” reflecting the mysterious and predictive powers of the rune. Hence there is a rune of death and one of birth side by side. This is also typical of the way rune patterning works, not all partner runes are similar, some are opposites. (Rune, 2004, p. 1)
Runic Half Months
Many patterns one finds contained in the Elder Futhark were indisputably known to the ancients, however this was not always the case. A link between the calendar and the Elder Futhark is a new age invention which has no basis what so ever in the ancient Norse lore. For this reason, traditionalist dismisses this theory entirely, however, we should always remain open minded to the possibility of contemporary runic discoveries.
In astrological terms each rune is considered as ruling a period of one half month. Runic half months are the creation of Nigel Pennick and the table below is based on his chart but we have simplified it so that only one rune rules any given day. Particular account of the half month may be taken account of in magical rune working, depending on the beliefs and preferences of the magician. Some rune readers use the half month to determine a Significator for a reading.
June 29 – July 13 Fehu (Feoh)
July 14 – July 28 Uruz (Ur)
July 29 – Aug 12 Thurisaz (Thorn)
Aug 13 – Aug 28 Ansuz (Os)
Aug 29 – Sept 12 Raido (Rad)
Sept 13 – Sept 27 Kenaz (Cen)
Sept 28 – Oct 12 Gebo (Gyfu)
Oct 13 – Oct 27 Wunjo (Wynn)
Oct 28 – Nov 12 Hagalaz (Haegl)
Nov 13 – Nov 27 Nauthiz (Nyd)
Nov 28 – Dec 12 Isa (Is)
Dec 13 – Dec 27 Jera (Ger)
Dec 28 – Jan 12 Eihwaz (Eoh)
Jan 13 – Jan 27 Pertho (Peorth)
Jan 28 – Feb 11 Algiz (Eohl)
Feb 12 – Feb 26 Sowelu (Sigil)
Feb 27 – Mar 13 Tiwaz (Tir)
Mar 14 – Mar 29 Berkana (Beorc)
Mar 30 – Apr 13 Ehwaz (Eh)
Apr 14 – Apr 28 Mannaz (Man)
Apr 29 – May 13 Laguz (Lagu)
May 14 – May 28 Inguz (Ing)
May 29 – Jun 13 Othala (Ethel)
Jun 14 – Jun 28 Dagaz (Daeg)
There is a clear pattern and development in this arrangement. We will draw your attention to just two examples. Christmas, a time of feasting, enjoying the produce stored earlier, is governed by Jera (Ger), a rune of harvest and plenty. The coming of Spring falls under Berkana (Beorc), rune of birth/new growth. (Rune, 2004, p. 1)
In this lesson we have learned that the arrangement of the runes is anything but random, and the position of the individual runes is highly significant. Even as we have only touched upon a very few of the possible patterns but as your knowledge of the runes becomes greater, you will begin to find patterns on your own. In lesson 3 we will begin looking at runic meanings in the hopes of advancing you awareness.
1. What are the three standard divisions of the runes known as?
2. What is the equation for the creation of the universe?
3. Which rune governs the Christmas/Yule half month period?
4. With which season is the Berkana (Beorc) rune associated?
5. Which two runes do some authors feel should have their positions transposed?
6. Name two runes suggesting affliction and suffering which are found side by side
After taking the comprehension test copy and paste your answers to the questions into a word doc. And email them directly to ma at [email protected] for grading. Upon completion of this course students will receive a certificate of completion of the Runic Divination course. For those of you who are only now beginning you can access Lesson one by following this link http://paganpages.org/emagazine/2009/05/runic-divination-2/
Bibliography and Works Cited:
The Runic School. (2004). The Elder Futhark. Retrieved May 4, 2009, from runeschool.org
Instructor: Michele Burke