The last time Odin was making regular appearances in my blog posts (about two years ago now–right before the Great Odin Crisis of 2016 began), He had begun mentioning that it would be good for me to reach beyond my Older Futhark comfort zone (if you can call it that) and start working with the other two rune sets, the Younger Futhark and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. Among many other reasons, He argued that both of these sets are a) arguably more authentic (since the Elder Futhark is actually a reconstruction) and b) more useful in magic. But as was per usual for me back then, I fought about it and dragged my feet.
Well, a couple of months ago, around the same time as Odin became a constant presence in my life again (or I gave up on my futile rebellion and admitted He always has been and always will be–you choose your favorite version of How Beth Got Her Groove Back) I also resumed using the runes in readings for my shop. I picked up my old set, which I carved way back in 2002 from yew wood tiles–and discovered that I was very uncomfortable working with them. Not just because they were the same old Futhark He had asked me to explore beyond (though I’m sure that played into it), but also because Molly is a chewer, and using poisonous runes in the house made me a nervous wreck.
Solution? I spent most of today making myself a new set–and they’re Younger Futhark runes! I had some birch wood slices I’d purchased and put aside about two years ago for this very purpose, but they were bigger than I wanted them to be, so I sanded them with my Dremel prior to wood burning them. Now I just have to blood them and then decide how I want to finish them. Do I want to stain them? Paint them? Edge them? Lacquer them? Or just apply some beeswax polish and call it good?
Whatever I end up going with, the New Moon in Libra is coming up at the beginning of October, and that feels to me like a very opportune time to dedicate and finish them.
For those who might need a refresher (I certainly did!), what we know about the meanings of the Younger Futhark runes comes by way of two runes poems, the Norwegian and the Icelandic, both of which likely date from around 800 CE. These translations are both by Bruce Dickins, published in 1915 and now in the public domain.
Icelandic Rune Poem
Fe – Wealth: Source of discord among kinsmen and fire of the sea and path of the serpent.
Ur – Shower: Lamentation of the clouds and ruin of the hay-harvest and abomination of the shepherd.
Thurs – Giant: Torture of women and cliff-dweller and husband of a giantess.
Oss – God: Aged Gautr and prince of Ásgardr and lord of Vallhalla.
Reid – Riding: Joy of the horsemen and speedy journey and toil of the steed.
Kaun – Ulcer: Disease fatal to children and painful spot and abode of mortification.
Hagall – Hail: Cold grain and shower of sleet and sickness of serpents.
Naud – Constraint: Grief of the bond-maid and state of oppression and toilsome work.
Iss – Ice: Bark of rivers and roof of the wave and destruction of the doomed.
Ar – Plenty: Boon to men and good summer and thriving crops.
Sol – Sun: Shield of the clouds and shining ray and destroyer of ice.
Tyr – God with one hand and leavings of the wolf and prince of temples.
Bjarken – Birch: Leafy twig and little tree and fresh young shrub.
Madr – Man: Delight of man and augmentation of the earth and adorner of ships.
Logr – Water: Eddying stream and broad geysir and land of the fish.
Yr – Yew: Bent bow and brittle iron and giant of the arrow.
Norwegian Rune Poem
Fe – Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;the wolf lives in the forest.
Ur – Dross comes from bad iron; the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.
Thurs – Giant causes anguish to women; misfortune makes few men cheerful.
Oss – Estuary is the way of most journeys; but a scabbard is of swords.
Reid – Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses; Reginn forged the finest sword.
Kaun – Ulcer is fatal to children; death makes a corpse pale.
Hagall – Hail is the coldest of grain; Christ created the world of old.
Naud – Constraint gives scant choice; a naked man is chilled by the frost.
Iss – Ice we call the broad bridge; the blind man must be led.
Ar – Plenty is a boon to men; I say that Frothi was generous.
Sol – Sun is the light of the world; I bow to the divine decree.
Tyr is a one-handed god; often has the smith to blow.
Bjarkan – Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub; Loki was fortunate in his deceit.
Madr – Man is an augmentation of the dust; great is the claw of the hawk.
Logr – A waterfall is a River which falls from a mountain-side; but ornaments are of gold.
Yr – Yew is the greenest of trees in winter; it is wont to crackle when it burns.
I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of my renewed rune explorations, projects, and thoughts in future posts. I’m also considering a runic/Norse theme for my Patreon for next year!