Runes, Ogham, Wilding

©2022 Michael Raven

I am nearly done with revising the Elder Futhark interpretations: I have four runestaves to finish up before I go onto the next stage of what I have planned, which is to add a number of other elements to the pages. Of course, by the time I finish adding those other elements, I’ll have probably discovered some new elements I wish to edit or add to each of the pages.

Warning: lengthy post of likely little value to anyone not interested in such things.

I’m not sure how much people are actually looking at these pages, as I don’t much trust the statistics on WordPress to give me an accurate report — so I suppose it is a good thing that this is largely for my own understanding, although I hope someone else can eventually benefit from the effort as well. I have a feeling I am being too clinical for people who expect more of a magical approach toward the runes, but I find those other approaches to contain within themselves too much personal bias when it comes to the interpretation and by the recommended usage of the runes.

Some of the things I am thinking about adding include:

  • Adding alternative rune shapes for reference. For example, I have utilized one of several shapes identified as sowilo: 𐌔. In reality there are several shapes associated with this rune, sometimes dependent upon region, sometimes based on time period. Another shape associated with this letter is ᛊ, and yet another is presented as ᛋ. There are other shapes beyond these which are not rendered into unicode, so I won’t present them here, but there are at least seven other shapes identified with sowilo. I want to add the more frequent occurrences of alternate runestaves to each page, inclusive of the Younger Futhark (YF) and the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (AF) variates.
  • I plan to indicate which runes are present in which of the three core alphabets. While I am largely focused on the Elder Futhark, I think there is something to be learned about which ones were removed from the YF and which ones were added to the AF, including the transliteration differences for each of the systems. While the meanings are largely similar across the rune systems, there are differences — however, I will largely keep to how the Elder Futhark are represented by the various literature, which seems to be inclusive of the other two primary rune systems and I will avoid trying to delineate which meaning is associated with each system based on three poems. I think the reader can worry out that information on their own, if it is important (seeing as I have included the Rune Poems with each rune).
  • I plan to add a section for the AF runes that are additions to the Elder Futhark for the purpose of reference. At this time, I do not plan to include those runes in my daily runepoems, but there are some interesting concepts embodied in those.
  • I am considering removing some of the overt mythologic references. While they do add some heft the meanings of the runes, I am afraid that I also see them as being a bit of a distraction from the actual rune interpretations, especially seeing is that not all peoples using the runes in their lives necessarily embraced the Norse traditions (including a great number of them which were quite possibly very Christian and abhorred the suggestions of the pagan basis for runes). I’m still debating this, as I feel it adds depth, but not necessarily accuracy, to the meanings ascribed to the runes.
  • I may go back and refine the meanings of the runes over time to fit in better with my personal understanding, rather than the more or less scholarly interpretations of the runes (some are less scholarly than others based on the references I have used to develop the meanings currently in place). I already have a disclaimer on the main page stating that the definitions are not necessarily supported by scholarly interpretation, but the interpretations may go further into personal understandings as I work with them over time.

While I am currently referencing my own pages for my daily runepoems, I am starting to move away from directly reminding myself as to each rune’s proposed meaning and I think, once I am done with the Elder Futhark core runes, I will move to a more intuitive feeling based on memory and recollection rather than refreshing my memory on a daily basis. I will still link to the pages for the curious, but the poems may be less reflective of those pages than they have up to this point as my understanding deepens.

Eventually, I still plan to give ogham a similar treatment, as I think there are some parallels that could be useful in understanding both divinatory and alphabetical systems, but this may happen either when I am finished with the above tasks, or between the various goals I have assigned myself with this effort. Part of me is impatient to start to grasp the system based on plants and trees, the other part of me feels that I have only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to runes and that I shouldn’t be too anxious to move on. And that doesn’t even go into my desire to dig into Icelandic as a language to learn — based on the idea that it is closer to Old Norse than the other languages which, in turn, may give me insight into Proto-Germanic roots of words, which opens whole other libraries of information.

I’m also still noodling a bit on what I mentioned a week ago with respect to “rewilding”. I like the core concept of the word people have been using to describe some of the “un-civilization”, “un-cultivation” of various things: from plants, land, wilderness, and spirit. But, “rewilding” comes with such conceptual baggage, no matter how you are applying the word and I think that there is something to be said about trying to find a new phrase or word for what I am thinking about when I say I am actively working on “rewilding my spirit”. I am leaning towards something along the ideas of the “feral” to replace the element of the “wild”, and “invoking the feral spirit”. Because I like the more earthy feel to Icelandic, I am toying around with their words for such things, as it neatly escapes anything that looks like “rewilding” and separates the baggage from the intent, so I am considering “aftur villt”, which loosely translates to “wild/feral again” (per Google). I am also thinking that “hinn villta andi” sounds like a good replacement as well, which (per Google, again), translated roughly to “the feral spirit”. I haven’t looked in to the structures in other related languages (namely Anglo-Saxon, Irish or Welsh), so I may go elsewhere for this conceptualization to sever the terminology from the baggage, but I am still working on just how to express what I am thinking and talking about.

What do I mean when I talk about these things? That’s for another post, seeing as this one has probably put most people to sleep.

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