The Fuþark, Part I

The Runes are fundamentally an alphabet, their purpose to record language. They were not sigils, abstract magical symbols. This is not, however, to say that they were powerless. Words have power, and we see this well understood in the Runic corpus.

The bulk of inscriptions record the existence of a dead man, making him, in a way, immortal, his memory undying.

How well remembered are most people? Do you know the name of your great-great-great-grandfather? Perhaps, if you have an interest in genealogy. But how many know the names of Yngvarr inn víðfǫrli, Wǽmóðr and his father Warinn, Hlewagastiz? A thousand years later, and these men are still remembered for their achievements.

But it isn’t just in the creation of legacy that we find the power of the everlasting word. Many inscriptions contain curses, from threats against any who would defile the monument, to prayers for higher powers to enact vengeance upon one’s foes.

Our forefathers knew well the power of the word, and did not take for granted the ability to record them, to speak without a voice.

Photo: CodexRunicus, to the best of my knowledge in the Public Domain, sourced from a scan of the Codex Runicus – a manuscript of the Skånske lov – by Den Arnamagnæanske Samling, and uploaded to Wikimedia by User:Gangdagr / Link

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