The Runes are an ancient magical alphabet that was used by the ancient peoples of Northern Europe and Scandinavia for writing, divination and magic.
No-one knows exactly how old the runes are. Rune-like symbols appear as cave markings as early as the late Bronze Age. They have been used as an alphabet but their use in ritual and as an Oracle had certainly been in use for some centuries before the time of the earliest written language inscriptions.
Legend has it that Odin, king of the Norse gods and god of wisdom, war, magic, the afterlife, knowledge and prophecy. Odin determined to gain as much knowledge and wisdom as he possibly could, hung himself upside down from Yggdrasil. Odin did this for nine days and nine nights without neither food nor water, until at last he had a vision of the runes. Having received the vision of the runes he then had to sacrifice one of his eyes to learn how to use them.
The things of primary importance to Odin are: wisdom, awareness, mental thought, logic, the written word, poetry and knowledge. All of his actions are related to the pursuit of these and the spreading of ideas and concepts to help mankind, the legend of the runes shows that he is will pay almost any price for these pursuits.
In this I see a reflection in the suffering we have to endure in our own lives. Although we may not actively seek anguish or appreciate it when it arrives, if we step out of the pain and examine it, we can see that our greatest qualities come from this place. For example, from grief we learn compassion; through adversity we find our inner strength.
“Down to the deepest depths I peered”
“Until I spied the Runes”.
I believe that Odin’s suffering took him into the depths of his own soul where his greatest gift was found. Thus we are guided by our anguish deep into our own soul. Through his compassion and wisdom, Odin gave us the Runes to help us.
Unfortunately, our greatest fear is that if we go inside of ourselves we will find that we are bad and horrible. Odin and the runes show us that this is never true.
The runes are an oracle. They guide people to connect, with awareness, more deeply with their soul so that they can recognise their true nature and achieve their full potential. The runes encourage and give people strength to face their hidden fears. To realise, profoundly, who we truly are underneath all the illusions and belief systems,
Odin’s gifts to those brave enough to take this path.
To truly realise and understand this great, hidden truth we must feel and experience it for ourselves. It is not enough just to read about it or be taught what it is.
The runes then are a living symbol. They are a path to enlightenment in their own right. They offer us protection. They challenge us to confront ourselves, to find our innate strength, courage and wisdom so that we can become our full potential, the god within. Each rune has a different magical ability, which includes things such as strength, protection, healing and like a telephone line each rune connects to its particular deity.
For this purpose the runes are divided into three sets of eight runes, known as Aett’s
Freya, in Norse mythology is the goddess of love, beauty, war, wisdom and fertility, the most beautiful of the goddesses, although, she also has a warrior side and is not to be messed with. Freya was second in rank only to Frigg, Odin's wife. She was also the goddess of a form of magic, called seidr, which she taught to Odin. It is not surprising then that the first set of eight belong to her. She has the softer feminine energy but also her warrior side. Therefore, her runes gently build up your inner strength, self esteem and confidence while offering you her protection. This prepares you for the second set of runes, Heimdall’s Aett.
Heimdall is the watchman of the gods and guards Bifrost, the only entrance to Asgard, the realm of the gods. It is Heimdall's duty to prevent the giants from forcing their way into Asgard. He requires less sleep than a bird and can see a hundred miles around him, by night as well as by day. His hearing is so acute that no sound escapes him, it is said that he can even hear the sound of the grass growing.
We are challenged to expand our thinking and awareness beyond our beliefs, denial and judgements. To be honest and authentic with ourselves, to rely on our own experiences and to recognise that we are much more than we think we are, so that we can become our full potential and face our destiny.
Tyr is the god of war and courage, and the lawgiver of the gods. He sacrifices his hand so that the evil giant wolf Fenrir can be bound. He is concerned in all matters of courage, justice, fair play, and right action and represents victory, protection and cosmic justice (karma).
Considering that Tyr is the god of courage and karma, it is safe to assume that his set of eight will guide us to balance and harmony, profoundly, within ourselves, nature and the universe. They will challenge us to go deeper into our courage, to accept, learn and forgive our mistakes, so that we can work through our karma and be at peace and one with the universe.
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Thanks for reading,
David and Bernard