those familiar with the runes will know that there are several different versions and it is never long before the question comes up; which is the "right" one? The simple answer is "all of them" any version you like and which works for you is fine. However, if we want to talk tradition and evidence, well that opens up the floor for all kinds of discussion. Here are my findings, and please, feel free to disagree with me and provide your evidence here, that is exactly why I am creating this discussion.
the elder futhar
This is the most common rune set used and commercially available. It originates in the homeland and is arguably the oldest. Perhaps because it is called "elder" some users feel it is more valid. It is directly related to the younger futhark which is just a bit shorter than the elder. Both are summarized in the Icelandic and Norwegian rune poems.
The Anglo-Saxon Futhork;
the primary focus of my own study. The Anglo-Saxon runes include nine more runes in addition to the 24 of the Elder Futhark. Nine was a sacred number to the people as evidenced by some magical inscriptions. This rune set was developed the latest and reflected changes in the language as the people migrated south. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem is the only one that includes verses on all 24 runes of the elder futhark, or at least the Anglo-Saxon equivalents of them, as well as five more. That leaves four without a verse explaining them and it just so happens that those four correspond to the symbols for the Three Realms of Celtic tradition with the addition of a fire symbol, the "element" which combines all three realms and represent holy Sovereignty.
It seems clear to me that almost all of the information seen in the readily available books about the magical and divinitory meanings of the runes is glossed from the rune poems. I find it odd that the Elder Futhark is the most common and yet all 24 runes are used even though they are not spoken of for centuries, until the creation of the Anglo-Saxon Runes. It would seem to hold truer to tradition that the Elder set be confined to those runes described in the Norwegian and Icelandic poems. The runes and their order in the poems is listed below.
Norwegian and Icelandic- Elder Futhark
fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raido, kenaz, hagalaz, nauthiz, isa, jera, sowulo, teiwaz, berkena, mannaz, laguz, eihwaz.
Omitted runes are gebo, wunjo, pertho, algiz, inguz, othila and dagaz with eihwaz moved from position 13 to 24
Feoh, Ur, Thorn, Os, Rad, Kaen, Gyfu, Wynn, Haegl, Nyd, Is, Year, Eeo, Peordh, Elhaz, Sigal, Tiw, Beorc, Eoh, Mann, Lagu, Ing, Othil, Daeg, Ac, Aesc, Yr, Ear, Iar
Omitted are Kalck, Gaer, Cweorth and Stann
What I propose is that the prospective rune caster use a rune set for divination that contains the runes as listed in the rune poems and that they stud those poems both in the original language and in their own native language in addition to the traditional lore of the culture so that they can better understand the meanings of the terms used and those words were chosen. It is a simple proposal however, nothing more. I look forward to seeing the thoughts and opinions of others on this discussion.
What do you think about the fact that both the Norwegian AND Icelandic rune poems omitting those other runes though? I would chalk it up to coincidence or incomplete description if not for the fact that both of them omit the same ones. You realize that the correspondences you are using for those runes are coming from an entirely different alphabet and culture. I am not trying to be confrontational, only to ask questions like which way would be more in keeping with historical accuracy? I have found working with the Anglo-Saxon runes to be very rewarding culturally, spiritually and magically, not that I think may way is the "right" or "best" way just that I have found the other version to be no less valid. Why do you think they would have left out the runes that they did? How might it effect what we know and what we are used to with the Elder futhark if we were to omit those runes ourselves when it came to divination and magic? How might we relate the rune poems to the rune charms spoken of in the Havamal and Sigdrifumal? perhaps that is a topic for another discussion, I will start another thread so that we can keep our discussion on topic. Thanks for joining and contributing, keep it going guys!
The way I look at it is that the Elder Futhark is based, with its order and composition, off the Kylver Stone. The Kylver stone has 24 runes on it, and a Teiwaz binding at the end. Since the Kylver stone predates the Rune Poems (400 CE as opposed to 8th or 9th century), I'll go with the Kylver composition. That, and, as Jai said, they just... work. They talk to me a lot better than the AS, Danish, Marcomannic, or Ogham rune families.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, IMO.
lol i hear ya bro, just posing some scholarly questions.
I don't use Ogham for anything but writing, never found much evidence to support it's use in magic or divination. Plus, we have auguries, omens and the famed "three illuminations" to cover the divination front so I see no point to using Ogham in Druidic/Celtic divination.
I agree that the Elder Futhark, in the 24 rune form works but it just seems a bit off that the books people are reading to get into runes use meanings derived from the A-S to fill in the blanks for the elder row and yet the five other runes from that poem are neglected. The A-S futhork gives me a total of 9 other runes to work with and those last 4 not mentioned in the poem correspond to the 4 treasures of the DeDanann so it is clear to me why they are omitted. They have more spiritual than divinitory value but if they are used in divination I find they work very potently as a sort of guide or control, fixing the divination on one of the three realms or whatever the need be. A-S makes sense to me intellectually, I have used the Elder Futhark for almost 20 years so I do not dispute the efficacy, the proof is in the pudding as they say. I only meant to pose the question to see if anyone else had any theories as to why those runes may have been omitted, what was the poem meant to refer to and is it possible that someone at some time used a set of runes for divination that did not include all 24?
You brought up a good point on the binding rune. I noticed that the Icelandic and Norwegian poems both end with the eiwaz rune, what do you figure the significance of that is? There is also the othila/dagaz interchangeability which I have some theories about too. I tend to look at them as a story of the cycles of life and the ages of the world etc. dagaz is day/night, life/death, beginning/end and othila is the promise of new beginning and the passing along of hammingja. I see the runes themselves as a sort of divine hamminja gifted to us by the All-Father. ending the row with dagaz-othila is like saying "all things change but our history lives on" where othila-dagaz says "...and our progeny were prosperous, until the time of doom for the gods" sort of a traditional bardic (skaldic?) ending. That's just my take so you guys know I am not useless, I am just interested to compare notes and see what you guys think too.
I really appreciate that there is so much knowledge and experience brought to this group. I know that it is sometimes easy to get on the defensive when the subject is something close to our hearts, let's just remember that here we are discussing things that are sacred to ALL of us. This discussion is about theories and research, it is not a debate.
so, anyone else want to take a crack at why the rune poems or rune stones are organized the way they are? thoughts on the significance of the final rune, whatever it may be? could there be a correlation between the 16 runes found in the poems and the 8 or 18 spells seen in the sigdrifumal and havamal respectively? there is a theory that there may have been a separate magical rune arrangement and these poems are the primary basis for that theory, any thoughts?
Interesting that the same runes were omitted from both poems/songs. I wonder, if I were a user of runes, if I would be brave enough to investigate the meanings of the omitted ones and to start including them in castings. Changing my practices makes me a bit uncomfortable sometimes, though I know change is useful and, occasionally, necessary. More or less do not make them any less reliable/useful/true. That's the deal with runes, which is why they are my favorite form of divination to date.
Perhaps a few readings sometime with both systems?? :D