I was wondering if any of you out there had any advice or websites with some info.
Sure thing. The runes are intimately tied to the mythology and spirituality of the Norse people of modern Scandinavia. According to legend, the king
of the Norse gods, Odin, hung from the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nine nights (the number nine being sacred to the Norse people), as a
sacrifice to himself, to learn the mysteries of the runes and of the dead. Odin, as well as being king of the Norse pantheon, was also the god of
hanged men and is sometimes referred to as the Gallows God.
In The Havamal, Odin declares that:
"I know that I hung on a windy tree
nights all nine,
wounded with a spear and given 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".
- The Havamal 138-139
The most commonly used runes are those from the FUTHARK script, which derives its name from the first six runes in sequence (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz,
Ansuz, Raido and Kenaz), much as the Alphabet takes its name from the first two letters, Alpha and Beta.
As for the origins of the runes themselves, debate still revolves around whether they evolved primarily as a means of divination or purely as an
alphabetic script. Wikipedia has an excellent article dealing with many aspects of the runes, in both their alphabetic and divinistic aspects. You can
read it here
In magical terms, the runes were used for both divination and for purposes specific to each rune. This
has a decent enough rundown on the generally accepted meanings and uses for each rune in the FUTHARK script. They were often inscribed onto
pendants or tools or weapons or some other such object to utilise their magical powers.
If you wish to use the runes, first examine your reasons for doing so. There are many forms of divination and all are widely available. What drew you
to the runes specifically? After that, I would strongly suggest that you do some research into the
mythology of the Norse people
, since it is tied so intimately to the origins and functions of
the runes. I have found that the best way to learn how to use an ancient technique is to examine how the people who first used it did so.
Best of luck. The runes can be a fascinating study and extremely rewarding, but they do take some work, as do all things worth learning. Let me know
if you have any more questions.
[edit on 28/8/05 by Jeremiah25]