The Hidden Roots of Runes

January 23, 2016

A long time ago, runes were used by the Shamans of Scandinavia and the word “rune” at its origin made reference to mystery. Runes were used as protective symbols and were carved in wood, bone, or stone.

The Runes Revealed to Odin

The appearance of the runes goes back to the times of Odin, the god of magic and wisdom. Odin was a man always in search of absolute knowledge, but such knowledge cannot be attained by the simplistic human means provided by the senses. It was because of this fact that Odin had to renounce an eye in order to be able to drink from the spring of wisdom.

He then reversed the human methods of knowledge by mortally hurting himself with a spear and hanging down from a tree in a cold region for two days and two nights. The 18 magical runes were revealed to him when death was drawing near. The images of these runes were spread across the land by the god who had conquered death and their number increased to 24.

The Connection Between Wood and the Runes

The Futhark alphabet was derived from the runes, but the runes themselves kept their magical properties. They were used to contact the dead, for protection, or for flight. Runes were also used for divination and as a means of contacting other plains of existence. Runes can be drawn on wood (especially oak wood, beech wood, or pine wood), bone, shells, paper, or stone (especially quartz). By manually drawing or carving the runes, a stronger connection is created than using runes made by others.

Generally, the most common material for making runes is wood. This is due to the importance of this element for Norse mythology. Two examples can be given to explain: First of all, the universe is structured in the form of a tree. This is the sacred tree Yggdrasil, the one that sustains the various worlds that hang from its branches.

There are nine worlds in the Norse perspective: Muspellheim (the land of fire), Asgard (the heaven of the gods), Ljosalfheim (the land of the spirits of the light), Vanaheim (the land of the spirits of water), Midgard (the land of the humans), Jotunheim (the land of the giants), Svartalfheim (the land of the spirits of the night and the first underground land), Hellheim (the land of the dead) and Nifelheim (the land of ice, cold and fog, a sort of exterior inferior world).

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