The Origins Of The Nordic Runes


Every culture has their own system of divination. While one of the most common is the Tarot, other systems are popular around the world. In the Scandinavian countries, the Nordic Runes are still hugely influential to people to this day, and their simple and evocative symbols are gaining popularly, particularly across northern Europe.

The Nordic Runes draw their inspiration from the writings of the Eddas, widely regarded as the principle source of Norse mythology and written between the 9th and the 12th Century AD. This fascinating book is a collection of stories bringing the characters found in Norse mythology to life and acting as both a historical account of early Norse life (the historical section) and a detailed description of their belief system (the mythical). The older Edda contains a collection of 34 Icelandic poems and prose. The Prose, or Younger Edda, was written by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet and scholar in the 12th - 13th Centuries and includes various stories of Norse mythology, including an evocative creation myth, how the Runes were discovered and the events at Ragnarok.

Earlier symbolism

However, Runic symbolism dates back even earlier to 150AD. Runic script evolved into 'dialects', but the use of Runes for divination draws much of its influence from the later Eddas work. The name rune has been interpreted as meaning 'something hidden or secret' and the symbols were originally used as charms, rather than a form of divination. Indeed, the use of runes as foretellers of the future is ambiguous to say the least. There are three written sources on divination with vague descriptions, and these may or may not refer to the runes as the source of inspiration. Tacitus's 1st Century Germania, Snorri Sturluson's 13th Century Ynglinga saga and Rimbert's 9th Century Vita Ansgari all mention runes in a roundabout way, but there is no clear reference to runes, rather that 'symbols' were used to predict the fortunes of warriors and nobles.

The basis of fact is that runes were originally part of a written alphabet, and historians point out that letters of an alphabet cannot be considered to be divinatory. However, symbols are powerful things, and their interpretation can be a matter of suggestion for those who believe in their power.

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