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Runic Magic: The Origin of Runes

If you’ve ever done a quick Google search on the occult, or divination, or even spirit communication, you might have come across these rigid, straight-lined symbols. You may also have seen them if you’ve dug into your computer’s character map and seen the symbols in Unicode.

This is the runic alphabet, or Elder Futhark. The modern computer language is not quite like the original, but it is a compromised version somewhere between a scholarly and amateur interpretation.

What Are Runes:

So, what are runes? And why aren’t they called letters, or characters, if they’re just another alphabet? Simply put - because they’re something more than letters.

There are 24 runes, and each one has a name. The names are almost always based on the first sound of each symbol. The runes comprise the runic alphabet, called “futhark” after the first six: Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho and Kaunan. If this is surprisingly simple, it's worth nothing the word “alphabet” comes from the names of the first two Semitic letters of Aleph and Beth. Not all the original names of each rune are known, and the names we know them by now are reconstructed from Common Germanic and Old English.

Runes are not just a means of communication by written and spoken language. The word “rune” itself means secret, or mystery. The characters themselves each contain their own magical attributes, and each rune’s pronunciation, not just the visual symbols, carries meaning as well. In this way, they are symbols with significance, a visual representation of spoken magic. The words the runes make up, therefore, contain new, or more meaning and intention in the sounds they create when spoken.

The Origin of Runes:

The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets, and its first use dates back to between the first and second centuries. It is 2000 years old! It was a writing system used by early Germanic tribes for several centuries before the Vikings. The symbols appear in carved inscriptions on mostly stone, but also found on wood, boulders and metal. The design of each rune is written with straight lines - designed specifically for being hand-carved, not written with ink. ​​

The Germanic tribespeople believed not that the runes were invented, so much as they were eternal; pre-existing their known world, as