Briefly describe the symbology and specific symbols of your chosen method of divination including the method of application of the system. (minimum 100 words overall description plus at least one sentence or line per symbol)
The Runes are an alphabet, each one standing for a letter or phonetic sound. Loosely modeled (possibly) on the North
Italic alphabets, each Rune also represents a complete word in one of the Germanic
languages. This gives a clue to its meaning and use.
The shape of the Runes appears to come from the fact that Runic inscriptions on wood could be lost in the wood grain; because of this, no Runes have a horizontal line. The Runes themselves are said to have been given to humans by Odin himself, who sacrificed himself upon the world tree in order to obtain them. The sacrifice is detailed in the
Fe: Fe itself actually means "cattle" or "cows". It has the added meaning of movable wealth, but also contentious and unstable wealth. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but we need to keep in mind that this is stock-market-type wealth, where you can have it all one day, and nothing the next. I understand that wealth should be shared from this Rune.
Ur: The Uruz is like a bison, it stands tall and strong and seems to indicate male strength. Also, this rune represents a kind of cosmic "drizzle", recalling the venom which came from Muspel and Nifelheim produced. There is a sense of herd movement and sustainability, but also a sense of weakness. The Rune Poems are very paradoxal on the meaning.
Şurz: "Giant", tormentor of women. While most people in the Neo-Pagan community associate this Rune with Thor and protection, the Rune Poems describe the flaw in this idea and theory. To explain a logical connection, though: Thor is often represented with giant-like qualities, and his "power" and strength are basically those of the Giants, in that he uses their strength against them.
Ansuz: The mouth, or the beginning. This is a Rune of wisdom and journey. It is also defined as Odin himself and I like to consider it (on some level after some New Age leaps of faith) as Yggdrasil.
Rağ: The chariot or wheel; travel. This Rune deals with the rider, but focuses on the method of transportation. The Rune Poems tend to discuss how bad riding is for the horse, so the idea of travel is important, but more important is that you take care along the path.
Kenaz: Ulcer, boil. Torch is an alternate interpretation that I don't like. This is the first of the really "bad" Runes to me, discussing the sickness of children and the bleeding of ulcers. There is much pain in this particular Rune.
Gebo: the Gift; Generosity. Again we have the theme that wealth is meant to be shared, which would be common in a limited good society. Through this Rune there is a gaining of status and praise.
Wunjo: Joy; Bliss. Once again, prosperity and wealth lead to happiness. There is a sense of ignorance as bliss here, as well.
Hagalaz: Hail. In Neo-Paganism, people always want to see this Rune as destructive renewal. The Rune Poems do not bear this out. This particular rune is one of pain, suffering, and coldness. The possibly uplifting parts, about the hail becoming water and about Christ creating the world are questionable. When the hail becomes water, it may be discussing a flood in spring (again,
devastating) and this bit about Christ seems artificially added.
Nauğ: Need; Poverty; Constraint. This is the kind of poverty that destroys people: it is the cold death and the trials and oppression that come with it. There is a suggestion that it can be trials instead, which can be avoided if people listen to good advice.
Isa: Ice. Isa is beautiful to look upon, but deadly to encounter. There is a mention of leading the blind and those less fortunate.
Jera: Year; Plenty. After the above three Runes, we come to a new Rune that instills hope and plenty. This is an indication of fruition, warmth, and generosity among men.
Eihwaz: Yew. Strength and protection are indicated by the Rune Poem. There is an association with the bow (a weapon of the upper classes in courtly society). There is also an idea of living up to expectations. I don't believe that this refers to the world tree, Yggdrasil. The Poems don't bear that out, and Yggdrasil is an Ash, which is a very different tree.
Perş: Dice cup. The Poem talks about recreation and amusement. I don't like the translation of this one as "vagina". I prefer to think of it on terms of chance, tempered by
Algiz: The power to harm or help, most likely both at the same time. The Rune Poems are very unclear on this meaning, but the elk of the sedge could refer to weak spears that break.
Suwilo: The Sun. In Norse mythology, the Sun is a feminine deity. Here it means victory (as evidenced by the Anglo-Saxon word in the same Poem), increase, and destroyer of the winter. There is joy in this Rune.
Tir: Justice; Guidance. Several Poems name Tyr, the one handed God of Justice for this Rune. There is an implication that this Rune "points the way", though I don't know if this association comes from the shape of the Rune, or if the shape of the Rune reflects the meaning.
Berkana: Birch; Fertility. I look at this rune as a counterpart to Ur, in that it seems to represent feminine strength to me (though this may be another New Age assumption). There is the implication that it is crowned high, but that it also has things that detract from it that must be cut loose.
Ehwaz: Horse. Again, we have a focus on the mode of transport, but here it is a thing for boasting on. There is an aspect of comfort and reliability.
Mannaz: Man. Mortality is discussed strongly in the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, but this may be a Christian influence. There is the idea that men find comfort and are happy in each other's company, and that men are the focus of all things. (In this interpretation, "man" means "human", but the poems are not politically correct).
Laguz: Water; Overflowing. I understand this primarily from a viewpoint of blessings and the overflowing of boundaries. We need to remember, though, that not all overflows are blessings, but any time a boundary is crossed, danger is introduced.
Iŋ: The God Ing; Freyr. This is a Rune of heroism and otherworldly travel. Also of
begetting things that endure.
Dagaz: Day. The idea that light will wash away evil, and gives hope and happiness to all. I wonder very often if it was
re-written with a Christian influence, though.
Oğila: Ancestral Land; enclosure. We come full circle to property again. This property is unlike Fe, though, in that this is property that will always remain. It is permanent, and thus is a permanent type of wealth. Also, it tends to mean set boundaries and reception.
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