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Ancestral Symbolism

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ᛚᛁᛏᛁᛚᚢᛁ ' ᛙ

“Man knows little”
- Oseberg oar engraving

Prelude

Even the actual meaning of that runic inscription above we don’t know. As Sophus Bugge has interpreted it could mean “lítil-viss (er) madr” which translates to “Man knows little” or “litill vissm” which means “(Eventhough) I am small, I am wise” or perhaps “litil vés m” meaning “I (who I am) small am the sanctuary”.


I intend this to be a community driven blog post where we gather symbols and their meanings so then people could use them in their works.

Overview

I've collapsed some text below here if you're interested, it's mostly how I view these things

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Symbols

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Basic shapes

These are the most ancient symbols and probably derive from a time we all lived in a same place and society. But these symbols are the beginning and a lot of later symbols are based on these and have grown from these, we even see similarities with runes and the meanings of these symbols and their shapes

Circle

Meaning:
Sun, Sprout, Moon and Eternity


Description:
Used almost everywhere to symbolize the sun but sometimes the moon as well, with the sun being more decorated and moon being an empty circle or a half circle to symbolize the moon cycle. If the circle is added to a pole it could symbolize a human or a leaf/sprout as with the tree of life that I’ll explain further down, Later on in sigils and galdrastafir a ring around the symbol would mean to contain the powers of that symbol - this is probably from Solomons sigils where a circle around would contain the demon inside the sigil that is being summoned.


Dated:
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Dots

Meaning:
Uncertain, sacrificial area, landmarks, the atom of any artwork as all begin with a dot


Description:
Use is unknown but in tapestry it’s a substitute for lines. In petroglyph art it’s speculated that it could’ve been a measurement of some sorts for a distance between two objects, perhaps a grove and a village but it’s uncertain. It’s also plausible that stones were carved with sacred symbols and the dots were then used as a place to crush seeds or herbs in to empower them similar to how wheat and coffee powder are made. The dot is usually a supplementary symbol, meaning that other symbols are needed for it to give meaning to them. For example the dots on the letters ö and ä or the letter i and so on - the same is with symbols. If a dotted line is between two petroglyph warriors then it probably means a border. Dots could also be from constellations, as back then people would stare at the sky and draw symbols between the different stars and perhaps draw or carve them the next day on rocks.


Dated:
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Spiral

Meaning:
Creation, fertility, growth - cosmic force


Description:
It’s seen on burial sites and is associated with journey and perhaps the underworld or a journey into a new existence. The spiral is also associated with the magic of the Vikings (I use this word to turn up in search engines forgive me) called Seidr (seiðr). Seen on the trispiral of pre Celtic origin as well in Mexico there is a thing called sun dagger where the sun would shine upon a spiral and thus indicating what part of the year it is with equinoxes and solstices aligning with the spiral being marked. Spirals have been connected with sunrise and the moon phases as well but they are dominantly very positive symbols.


Dated:
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Vertical line

Meaning:
Connection


Description:
Supporting the earth and the heavens, the road between the the ground and the skies. With the top part being connected to the sky with the polestar. On tapestries or between two different symbols it would mean the division of the two, subtracting the meanings and leaving only the unique parts of each symbol.


Dated:
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Horizontal line

Meaning:
Something distant, Empowering


Description:
Many different meanings. Most common I’ve come across is that it symbolizes the meaning of the horizon something very far and unreachable thus having great power and mystery to it. In tapestry it could be just as a stylization element but there are survived meanings for this in Estonia and Finland, they are that a line above a symbol would increase its power and when it’s under it multiplies the symbols meaning and if the sign is between two symbols it joins their powers.


Dated:
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Triangle

Meaning:
A lot but mainly - Fire, Growth, Rebirth and Fertility, Sign of the gods


Description:
A triangle really depends on the context. In addition to those mentioned above it can mean a tent/home, symbolize movement and the cycle of the sun or moon. A triangle could mean royalty or heritage with two tips being the king and queen, mother and father and the single tip being the next ruler in line. A triangle pointing upwards could mean the sign of a god or gods since it was believed in most european cultures that gods lived above our world in the sky and the triangle pointing upwards was pointing at them. A triangle pointing downwards would instead mean earth spirits and earth itself as well as humans and villages.


Dated:
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Row of Triangles

Meaning:
Water


Description:
Mostly based on tapestries and artwork, its most prominent meaning is water. It could also be just a decorative element or symbolize a forest with the triangles being the tip of the trees but this depends on which symbols surround the symbol.


Dated:
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Column of Triangles

Meaning:
Lightning, Sunray


Description:
This also ties into the Swastika with that symbol being for thunder and the thunder god Thor. A column of triangles would depict lightning or a ray of sun and would later evolve to be the sōwilō rune which represents sun.


Dated:
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Cross or X

Meaning:
Protection, sunshine, on land it would mean connection to the underworld


Description:
The cross has its origins probably in the sun most specifically the rays of sun. Crosses are most commonly associated with protection and the force of good and empowering positive outcomes. The protection against especially evil beings like werewolves, the undead(a combination of vampire and zombie today) and people who wish you harm. Combining a regular and diagonal cross we get one with 8 tips which would mean protection against all directions and against everything really. Crossroads themselves would be associated with the connection to the underworld and usually in these places sacrifices were made to speak to the spirits.


Dated:
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Square

Meaning:
Connection, Meeting place, Household


Description:
A square could mean a plethora of things. Most common I’ve seen are a meeting place or a center of a town or such as well as a connecting place. It could also mark belonging of people like a way to group up elements inside it. It’s always used as a complementary element rather than alone


Dated:
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Rhomb (Diamond)

Meaning:
Fertility, Womb, Crops


Description:
Most common representation for it is fertility both for women and the earth. A rhomb with a circle in the middle would mean a crop and when there are hooks on the end of the symbol then those probably meant sprouts. The meaning of this dates back to the neolithic age.


Dated:
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Looped square (Valknute)

Meaning:
Unity, Protection, Infinity, Universe, Warning, Decoration


Description:
The symbols meaning is kind of foggy and its origin as well, it is widely used for decorative purposes - filling in an empty space. But the loop is endless thus it’s likely related to infinity as with similar symbols and with this symbol it’s also important to see what other symbols surround it. It’s also drawn above doors or on gravestones so we can derive from that it protects against evil spirits or keeps evil at bay


Dated:
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Swastika (Thundercross)

Meaning:
Sunwheel, Movement, Progression, Lightning, Fertility


Description:
Probably the most butchered meaning and people still continue to butcher it today. Extremists on both sides have given this symbol a meaning that it no way deserves and it’s sadly banned in some countries thus both sides decide to keep that negative symbolism with it and give that negative meaning even more power when we could as well move past that horrible time. One of the most sacred symbols of our folk, it symbolized a sunwheel in motion. It was associated with the lightning deities of different cultures like Thor, Taranis, Taara, Ukko, Thunar and so on. Associated with the sun it was also a symbol tied in with fire, it’s said to help against sickness, the magic of your foes and evil spirits. 


Dated:
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Triskele

Meaning:
Ward against evil, the moon or the sun, Odin, fertility


Description:
Close relative to the swastika, this was to symbolise the moon and the three stages of our moon. It could also represent the sun or the stead of the sun. It’s believed the triskele wards off evil spirits.


Dated:
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Triquetra

Meaning:
Dynamic energy, flow


Description:
This symbol has it’s similarities with the Valknut and perhaps it’s often sharing the meaning. It is often used with other symbols rather than alone and added into rock carvings and tapestries to fill spaces so it’s often used as a decorative element.


Dated:
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Pentagram

Meaning:
Fire, life power


Description:
To protect against fire and evil spirits, it was associated with the rowan berries since they have a pentagram at their tip. The rowan berries were spilled around the yard of a farmstead to protect against fire breaking out.


Dated:
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Octagram

Meaning:
Luck, Protect against mistakes, repair wrong doings, empower containing symbols


Description:
Often the insides are decorated with other symbols or patterns, the symbols inside the hexagram would then be set in motion and empowered. The symbol is connected to the winter and especially Yule and it’s most likely a representation of the Polestar and called the star of luck.


Dated:
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Octothorpe (Hashtag)

Meaning:
A door to somewhere, home/farmstead , field fertility


Description:
This symbolises the cells of a well or a plan of wood planks on a house or farmstead thus symbolizing home, it depends on the surrounding elements and was almost always used as a complimentary piece rather than alone. The word thorpe meant field or farm in Old Norse so the todays word for it means eight fields.


Dated:
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Ring or Orb (Sõõr)

Meaning:
Universe, Sun, the whole, harmony


Description:
It’s universally the symbol for the sun and the earth/nature, in some northern and eastern parts of europe it’s symbol is more developed into harmony and meaning the whole in a sense that it emcompasses the existing. Some of these are very similar to the petroglyph solar wheel.


Dated:
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Flower

Meaning:
Many meanings, it depends on the number of spikes it has


Description:
Not much has remained from these but considering different artworks have a certain number of spikes then we can say it meant something. Some verbally remained meanings are that 5 spikes meant to stay silent and to listen, 6 spikes meant unity, community, luck and fortune, 7 spikes meant the whole and belonging. 


Dated:
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Heart

Meaning:
Sexuality, Healing, Fertility


Description:
The meaning of love was later attested to this symbol, it’s speculated that the symbol derives from a now extinct plant called Silphium, it was used as a spice but also as a medicine and birth control. The symbol comes from the seed of the plant that was said to resemble the shape of the heart symbol and it’s recorded by many ancient texts. Due to the plant being extinct we can tell the ancestors liked it, another possible meaning for this could be the breasts of a woman, the behind or like the Venus of Lespugue the breasts and the stomach section down to the legs and thus rather being associated with fertility and sexuality. The meaning of romantic love was probably given to this symbol around the 10th to 12th century.


Dated:
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Apple

Meaning:
Fertility, Sweet, Beauty, Youth


Description:
A very ancient symbol, apples are associated with several gods afterwards and they serve the same meaning as youthfulness and beauty. 


Dated:
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Tree

Meaning:
Nature, calm, rest or a landmark


Description:
This one again depends on the surrounding elements a lot, most of the time it was decorative with perhaps meaning resting or to soothe the magic of the elements around it so it would not get too crowded. It was probably also used to mark where great hunting/gathering grounds are or something similar - these are very ancient and hard to tell for sure, we can only guess based on the elements around it.


Dated:
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Tree of life

Meaning:
To connect worlds, mystery, fertility, the tree of life and all its meanings


Description:
Very ancient symbol as well, since our ancestors were very keen of groves then this is a very prominent symbol across all of europe. To the vikings it symbolized the connection between the nine worlds and was to them the combination of two algiz runes, it’s also speculated that the algiz rune developed from this symbol as a lot of runes have come from earlier symbols. One variation of this symbol shares its visual with the Donderbezem that was very popular around the area of the Netherlands.


Dated:
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Thunderbroom (Donderbezem)

Meaning:
Protect against lightning strikes and evil spirits


Description:
It symbolizes visually the end of a broom. Mostly found around the Netherlands and parts of Germany and Poland. There was a tradition to leave a broom at the door to not let spirits in when leaving the house, this was practiced around a lot of places but the symbol is mostly from the previously mentioned places. Later on the symbol evolved into a mill or a variation of the tree of life. It was associated with the god Thor and could be the ancestor of the hagalaz rune as well.


Dated:
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Currently working on:
Odins poem to runes, Svefnthorn, Kaupaloki, Þjófastafur, Wolfsanker, Clog almanacs, Shieldknot, Housemarks, Ormgudinna, Celtic cross, Triskele, Auseklis, Irminsul as well as many others

Petroglyph, cave painting and artwork

This section is for more primal artworks namely petroglyphs and cave paintings. Our ancestors would record their daily lives, important events as well as myths with these. There are some recurring themes for example a cart surrounded by three ravens or some other birds which indicates that it must’ve been a story that they shared with each other back then. The symbols here are often pretty straight forward with possibly no hidden meanings, rather the whole is what is mysterious to us and delivers the story the artist was trying to tell us.

Ship

Meaning:
War, Fertility, Death and the afterlife


Description:
Most of the ships depicted are full of men so it’s safe to assume these were war ships. Some are depicted with what seem to be priests on them with slightly curved heads or robes. Our ancestors paid great respect to the ships, they were not just for travelling but living and breathing beasts to them. The ships would be carved or painted on burial sites as well since the journey in the afterlife would be taken on a ship or a cart.


Dated:
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People

Meaning:
People themselves, emotions, wars and important events


Description:
People were painted or carved hunting animals or waging war against each other. These could have been important events that were recorded as artwork, ceremonial rituals or tales from mythology as we often see a similar depiction which indicates that it might be a tale our ancestors told each other or perhaps a myth of a deity. People were also painted kissing and showing emotions, spinning the sunwheel, riding on carts, dancing, performing sacrifices or rituals and doing all kinds of different activities. People depicted with bent knees or in dancing motion could also mean those that have passed the ancestors as well as bent knees could mean giving birth as we sometimes see people with bent knees and something attached to their stomach


Dated:
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Elk, Deer or Moose

Meaning:
Besides being the animal itself they could have meant a journey to afterlife


Description:
On petroglyphs found in todays Finland we see petroglyphs of elks with their antlers carrying people, this could be a similar ritual to the ships that would travel in the afterlife. Often elks are depicted together with humans, the reason is unknown but it could mean that elks were seen friendly and people coexisted with them and honored them, the human is almost always depicted exactly behind the elk. Some pictures show people riding them and some have  the humans strangely close to the behind on an elk, but lets not make any assumptions here perhaps there was not much room on the rock.


Dated:
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Horse

Meaning:
Travel, Leadership, Mastery


Description:
Horses were domesticated over 6000 years ago and the art travelled with the people to todays Europe, with possibly a military takeover due to some traditions changing very suddenly from archaeological finds thus indicating that no merging of cultures happened but rather a sudden stop of traditions. The horse itself was like a Tesla today only that we don’t eat our cars. It symbolized wealth and mastery as well as supernatural meanings. In a lot of the cultures the sun was carried across the sky on a horse or in a chariot that was pulled by a horse. There are ancient artifacts found where the wheels of a cart would be golden as well as the horse itself would be on golden wheels with a sun in it’s chariot - which presumably was a toy or a decorative, ceremonial item. The norse gods had horses and one specifically famous is Odins horse and Lokis child called Sleipnir with 8 legs, this was possibly a reference to movement and especially fast movement.


Dated:
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Boar

Meaning:
Protection, War, Strength, Priviledge or Royalty


Description:
A somewhat forgotten animal which once was perhaps the most important and tied to war as we see a lot of early depictions where warriors wear boar pelts or boars on their helmets. Boar meat was served at Valhall for the Einherjar along with mead every night, with the boar Sæhrímnir being slain and resurrected each day. What a way to live. The animal was also associated with the norse gods Frey and Freya who both are of the Vanir family who were older gods and probably worshipped hundreds of years before Odin and others came along


Dated:
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Bear

Meaning:
Fear, Respect


Description:
The bear was perhaps the most feared of the beasts with even saying the word bear would summon it, thus dozens of nicknames were given to the bears in all of the cultures. Berserkers would wear bear pelts likely and they were exiled from communities to live on the outskirts of towns in the forests nearby since they were deemed to dangerous to live within the society.


Dated:
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Wolf

Meaning:
Destruction, Chaos, Loyalty but also Care and Nurture


Description:
The wolf is a respected animal and fear often goes hand-in-hand with it thus it depends on the depiction. Wolves are seen as taking care of people as well for example Romulus and Remus the founders of Rome drink the milk of a she-wolf and wolves move in packs most often, thus giving more meaning to the symbol of loyalty. Ulfhednars were a sort of similar being to Berserkers, with them wearing wolf pelts instead of bear. Ulfhednars were assigned to Odin while Berserkers were assigned to Thor. They were seen as an even fiercer force than the Berserkers though with not wearing shields or any protection


Dated:
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Raven

Meaning:
Wisdom, Foretelling, Knowledge, War, Death


Description:
The god Odin had two ravens Huginn and Muninn who were representations of thought and memory. Ravens were omen bringers and often associated with fortune telling and signs of future, although any animal could be a Fylgija (animal manifestations of people basically) they were mostly associated as one. 


Dated:
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Solar Cross

Meaning:
The sun, Fertility


Description:
The most common symbol, the solar cross, sun wheel, spoked sun or how any way you wish to call it. It’s a great symbol of our ancestors that symbolizes the sun and I’d like to think that the four dots inside the sun are representations of the four season with sun spinning them around to us. The sign was associated with fertility. The symbol is associated with a lot of festivals during midsommer festivities there are wreaths made and burned in the shape and people would roll burning solar crosses down hills to symbolize the movement of a sun. 


Dated:
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Giants

Meaning:
War leaders, Heroes, Mythological beings


Description:
Often we see larger depictions of humans on rock carvings, it could mean they are closer to the viewer and on the foreground while others battle in the distance if we put it into a three dimensional view but they are very likely warlords and leaders with the size depicting their ranking and status in a community rather than their actual size. We often see them decorated highly with clear weapons and battling one another.


Dated:
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Priest

Meaning:
Perhaps a ritual, or cloaks just to protect against heavy rain or water from the waves 


Description:
They do seem to be rather related to rituals as they are often seen around altars thus we can attribute those on the ship to symbolize perhaps a journey through the afterlife? An offering of respected people by the community going to talk to some ancestors from the underworld. The number 8 seems to be associated with them given that usually it’s 8 priests depicted in a line - considering 9 was a sacred number perhaps the ninth priest was a deity or the ninth being offered.


Dated:
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Chariot

Meaning:
Movement, Sun, Respect


Description:
The sun was carried in a chariot by horses in a lot of cultures and the chariot was an incredible invention to our ancestors. It allowed greater movement so as the ship it was viewed as something very sacred and rather a living being a part of the people. The chariot is associated with a lot of deities and rituals, for example a ritual associated with Nerthus was to drive a wagon through the city to a grove in a swamp. The god Freyr is often depicted in a chariot as well as other gods riding in chariots. The chariot or rather a cart also enabled the transportation of heavy objects and large quantities of objects to be transported with ease. It was also associated with the afterlife journey one would take.


Dated:
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Weapons

Meaning:
The weapon itself, a cultures preference


Description:
From this we can learn what weapons were valued and which were used, we see hammers, clubs and axes as well as spears, bows and slings with some warriors wielding shields which are sometimes decorated as solar crosses or other decorative elements added to them. From this we can see clearly which was used for which activities and assume shield were decorated, with bows and spears mostly being for hunting animals. While axes and clubs seem to be for warfare and rituals, a club or a hammer could be associated with the earlier version of the god Thor with the rituals being that the sacrificial person or animal being beaten to death with a club. 


Dated:
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Viking, Norse, Celtic and Germanic

These are symbols that are rather unique and some are found only once and then hundreds of years later the same symbol is replicated rather than different regions using it during the same time.

Valknut

Meaning:
Fate, Sacrifice, Death, Ritual, Action and Reaction, Offering


Description:
The knot the fallen (those slain in battle), it’s actually a modern name for this symbol. Check out Arith Härgers video about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_OY4CW7eeU . As he explains there is no known meaning for this symbol. But the symbol itself was most likely associated with Odin and sacrifices. My own interpretation is that it could mean movement or fire considering what the triangle could mean and fitting it to the surrounding image it’s often seen in. It could also be a state of mind or emotion, the symbol is always a supplementary image added to fill space it seems. It’s speculated it might be the Heart of Hrungnir whose head, heart and shield were made of stone with the heart said to have triangular shape, said to be three sided. From the source text :
“Hrungnir had a heart that is famous, made of hard stone and pinned with three horns, even the carving there is called Hrungnirs heart”Considering Hrungnir was slain in Valhalla since he was getting on the nerves of the gods which included Odin and especially on the nerves of Thor who didnt like Jotünns anyway then there could be a connection between Odin and his heart in some way, who knows what happened to the heart afterwards or perhaps there is more to this story that we simply have lost today. Perhaps this story had a deeper meaning with the heavy stone heart and being slain thus the artworks we see the valknut on could serve a story element. I myself don’t think that the symbol is the one that was spoken about in Hrungnirs story, considering three was a sacred number then a lot of things were associated with the number three and I think this is a coincidence as said before I believe it has something to do with fire or movement that’s used as a filler element and associated with Odin as in England a very similar symbol is seen along with wolves and ravens, both of them were associated with Odin.


Dated:
Around 500-700 AD, most prominent during the Viking age

Yggdrasil Tapestry

Meaning:
The World Tree, Tree of Life, The Nine Worlds, Fertility


Description:
Seen on the Överhogdal tapestries the symbol is likely to symbolize Yggdrasil with people and animals rushing by it. It is speculated that the tapestry is a representation of Ragnarøkkr


Dated:
Around 1040-1170 AD, only one depiction exists if I’m not mistaken

Horn Triskelion

Meaning:
Knowledge, Wisdom, Learning, Law, Leadership, Artistic Inspiration


Description:
ts likely related to the mead of poetry that Odin drank for three days while seducing the frost jotünn Gunnlöð, he said to take a sip and then drank the horn in one sip. After three days he dipped while disguised as an eagle. A regular Tinder date if you ask me, that’s the first netflix and chill recorded. The horns had names which were Óðrœrir, Boðn, and Són and they contained the whole mead of poetry in them which was created from the slain Kvasirs blood mixed with honey. It’s said that there was no question Kvasir could not answer. Some tie this symbol together with the so-called Valknut. It is found on the Snoldelev runestone, the Gotland G268 runestone and possibly the Tängelgarda stone where a warrior on a horse who possibly is Odin is seen with the symbol decorated on his shield.


Dated:
Around 600-800 AD, seen on multiple stone engravings

Web of Wyrd

Meaning:
Fate, Past Present and Future, The Norns, Weaving, Runes


Description:
The design features the web of fate, also called Skulds Net, The Matrix of Fate or Helrunar which is from a book by the same name. The design can fit each rune into it and its origin is most likely from the Helrunar book written in 1997.


Dated:
Likely 1997, December 31st

Trollknot

Meaning:
To protect against magic and ward off evil spirits


Description:
It was first created around 1990 by the blacksmith Kari Erlands, this is a symbol thats often practiced by blacksmiths. He said it was based of a rune found at his grandparents house. The design itself is similar to the Odal rune and possibly derived from it considering the Othala rune was drawn on doors as well to protect and variations of it were created often to be then used as family symbols. The symbol itself would be carved or crafted on top of a door to prevent trolls and evildoers from entering the premises. 


Dated:
Around 1990, done by the blacksmith Kari Erlands

Mjölnir

Meaning:
Thunder, Strength, Luck, Fruitful Wedding


Description:
The hammer of Thor that was crafted to him by the dwarves Brokkr and Eitri, the handle of it is short due to Loki making memes with the dwarves while they were busy crafting this thing. The hammer is said to change its size with it fitting in the hand or in the pocket or as jewelry. The wedding of Vikings would involve an imitation of Mjölnir with it being placed in the brides lap, sometimes this could’ve been an axe as well. This would then ensure a fruitful marriage with the blessing of Thor, considering it was placed in the lap it could’ve also blessed the family with a lot of sons. The Mjölnir was worn during the Viking age as a necklace and was often made of bronze.


Dated:
Unknown, prominent during the Viking age as a jewelry, the god Thor and his hammer are probably way older and hard to pinpoint a certain time period. We even see a giant figure wearing a hammer in petroglyphs

Gungnir

Meaning:
Precision, Striking, Sacrifice


Description:
Odins spear, it would not miss its mark and often Odin would sacrifice people on his spear. Sacrificing someone by hanging them or piercing them with a spear was the way to offer that person to the god Odin, the words “Nu gef ek pik Odni” would be said before impalement. Gungnir was also made into jewelry and then worn to gain the blessing of Odin.


Dated:
Unknown, the same as with Mjölnir, the Gungnir has probably been a part of Odin from the days of Woden/Wodanaz as have the Ravens and Wolves.

Huginn and Muninn

Meaning:
Thought and Memory, Sanity, Aging, Surveillance


Description:
The ravens of the god Odin with Huginn meaning thought and Muninn meaning memory. Odin fears that one day they will not return anymore, this is probably a reference to sanity. As in the older days elders were not really respected that much, we do see from the times of the neanderthals that people were not as cold as it seems, they cared for one another and those that fell ill or were badly injured were taken care of, we can say this by looking the way bones have healed over time meaning that the person had time to heal. But this could hint at Odin being afraid of falling old or with the wisdom he acquires he ends up suffocating himself with all this information and going completely insane. Huginn and Muninn fly around midgard and bring back news to Odin of what the humans are up to. They are often depicted above the head, coming from the head or sitting on the shoulders.


Dated:
Unkown

Runes

Runes were a writing system for our ancestors that also had magical purposes. This section is about the runes and their meanings as well as different runic "alphabets" often called "futhark" due to their placement on stones that have survived of these. The oldest we know is the elder futhark and the rest are based on that one. The elder futhark itself is likely made up of different symbols of our ancestors as well as other alphabets, for example the Greek. Currently the oldest find we have is from 160AD but that is definitely not when this writing system started, as that is just the oldest then we have found that contains the elder futhark runes. Runes can be used in your work for their meanings as bindrunes and you can combine them with your other symbols as the Galdrastafir aka Icelandic Magical Staves have done. This section will be formatted a bit differently to accomodate the multiple futharks

Rune Converter

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Runes

Meaning:
Wisdom, Secret, Mystery, Blessing, Vision or Seeing


Description:
Runa means secret or breath/whisper and they were used for decorative as well as magical purposes. They could be used to write something but we also see rune sequences that clearly indicate they were used for ritualistic purposes or to bless something - or perhaps curse something. They are often seen on runestones which are basically gravestones as well as amulets, ships and even everyday objects. Each rune has a so-called meaning but these were likely to better remember the rune, but thanks to these we know what each rune represents thus we have a better understanding of the enchantments we see - unless they are ciphered. The rune poems exist in Old Norse, Ango-Saxon English and Icelandic and there is a wonderful song by Heilung called Norupo which is one of these rune poems. A rune itself would most likely not bare any power at all, but rather it is unlocked when used in a sequence. Often the words “Erilaz” and “Vitki” were seen engraved on rune writings with Erilaz probably meaning a ranking like Earl/Jarl and Vitki meaning a magician, both probably refer to someone who has the knowledge of the runes, thus it’s a bit of a flex. What I’d like to compare runes with in modern days is programming, people who have not been in touch with development probably see this as a bit of magic - but for someone that has mastered it they can create things, so perhaps someone would flex like “I the Java-developer, write this line of code to turn a button green”. The story behind how the runes were created was that Odin went to the tree that no one knows where the roots come from, possibly Yggdrasil and hanged himself - he then came down the tree and yelled “I took the runes, I took them!” and he was the one that introduced them to the humans. This is probably symbolic how writing has helped pass along information so much better that it’s seen coming from somewhere above and a greated being.


Dated:
Unknown, whenever Odin hung himself, actually probably around 300BC to 200AD, but they were derived from older symbols so it's hard to tell, they probably evolved one by one slowly over time

Elder Futhark

Meaning:
The older Futhark


Description:
The dominant writing system before the Younger Futhark and Anglo-Saxon Futhark, used for magic and writing by the germanic people. Sadly not a lot remains as most things were engraved in wood. This is the oldest Futhark we know of right now and the way it was written varied a lot depending on the writer and region. The runes went through a lot of different forms as well, the ones we know today are based on a few findings for example the Kylver stone, the sequence is also derived from there. It's uncertain why there is such a different order of the letters to the alphabets where they begin A B C and this begins with F U TH. It is speculated this could have some magical purposes to it, the people who wrote these certainly knew of the other alphabets as there was a large trading system during the bronze age in Europe and the East, it remains somewhat a mystery today where we can only suspect and interpret why it is how it is. Runes would be split into rows of 3 with each row having 8 runes, this was important later on for ciphering as well. The futhark is likely based on some of the more simple symbols you can see above as well as other alphabets ie the Greek, the theory is that these symbols evolved into this writing system over time with the Elder Futhark perhaps at one time containing of only 10 runes and such.


Dated:
Around 200 BC to 200 AD, with the complete version appearing a bit later on. The oldest item we have is a comb from around 160AD but this is no way the oldest time something was written in Elder Futhark. As it likely was a more secret writing system at first then likely most of the things were carved on wood which sadly has now decomposed

Gothic Futhark

Meaning:
The Gothic alphabet in Futhark order


Description:
The goths used a very similar alphabet to the elder futhark as well, it was recorded by a priest called Alcuin in the 9th century. He did not know gothic himself but wrote down the names and meanings of these runes/letters which are very similar to the Elder Futhark and the Greek alphabet. Thanks to this we can also populate the meaning we know for the Elder Futhark.


Dated:
Around 400 AD

Anglo-Saxon Futhark

Meaning:
The futhark used in England


Description:
They are derived from the Elder Futhark that was prominent among the germanic people and then spread to Frisia from where it traveled with the people to England. The Ango-Saxon one consist of 26 runes and was used until early medieval age.


Dated:
Around 400 AD

Younger Futhark

Meaning:
A simplified and modified version of the Elder futhark


Description:
The younger futhark was mostly used during the Viking age and a bit before that. It was a simplified version of the Elder Futhark with different versions of this as well depending on the region. There were long and short branch runes as well as specially Danish, Swedish runes of the Younger Futhark. The part of the name Futhark comes from the first runes in there F U T H A R K similar to how Alphabet is Alpha Beta - A B... The name futhark is a modern day name to distinguish the writings from one another and it’s based on sequences found in engravings such as the Kylver stone. These were used for magic as well.


Dated:
Around 600 AD with a transitional period from the Elder to the Younger Futhark

Fehu

Meaning:
The letter: F

Elder Futhark: ᚠ (Fehu) - Wealth, Cattle, The God Frey
Younger Futhark: ᚠ ( Fé) - Wealth
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚠ (Feoh) - Wealth
Gothic Futhark: 𐍆 (Fehu) - Fe 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen
the wolf lives in the forest.
Norewegian rune poem:
Fé vældr frænda róge
føðesk ulfr í skóge.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Wealth
Source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.
Icelandic rune poem:
Fé er frænda róg
ok flæðar viti
ok grafseiðs gata
aurum fylkir.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Wealth is a comfort to all men;
yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Feoh byþ frofur fira gehwylcum;
sceal ðeah manna gehwylc miclun hyt dælan
gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:
-

Ūruz

Meaning:
The letter: U

Elder Futhark: ᚢ (Ūruz) - Aurochs (Or Ûram Water/Slag?)
Younger Futhark: ᚢ ( Úr) - Iron/Rain
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚢ (Ūr) - Aurochs
Gothic Futhark: 𐌿 (Ūruz) - Uraz < Ūrus Aurochs



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Dross comes from bad iron
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.
Norewegian rune poem:
Úr er af illu jarne
opt løypr ræinn á hjarne.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Shower
Lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.
Icelandic rune poem:
Úr er skýja grátr
ok skára þverrir
ok hirðis hatr.
umbre vísi

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Ur byþ anmod ond oferhyrned,
felafrecne deor, feohteþ mid hornum
mære morstapa; þæt is modig wuht.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Þurisaz

Meaning:
The letter: Þ (TH)

Elder Futhark: ᚦ (Þurisaz) - The God Thor, Giant
Younger Futhark: ᚦ ( Thurs) - Giant
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚦ (Þorn) - Thorn
Gothic Futhark: 𐌸 (Thurisaz) - Thyth 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Giant causes anguish to women
misfortune makes few men cheerful.
Norewegian rune poem:
Þurs vældr kvinna kvillu
kátr værðr fár af illu.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Giant
Torture of women
and cliff-dweller
and husband of a giantess.
Icelandic rune poem:
Þurs er kvenna kvöl
ok kletta búi
ok varðrúnar verr.
Saturnus þengill.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any knight to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Ðorn byþ ðearle scearp; ðegna gehwylcum
anfeng ys yfyl, ungemetum reþe
manna gehwelcum, ðe him mid resteð.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ansuz

Meaning:
The letter: A, O

Elder Futhark: ᚨ (Ansuz) - The God Odin
Younger Futhark: ᚬ ( As/Oss) - God, The God Odin
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚩ (Ōs) - God, Or Mouth Latin
Gothic Futhark: 𐌰 (Ansuz) - Aza < Ans God Or Asks Ash



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Estuary is the way of most journeys
but a scabbard is of swords.
Norewegian rune poem:
Óss er flæstra færða fǫr
en skalpr er sværða.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
God
Aged Gautr
and prince of Ásgardr
and lord of Vallhalla.
Icelandic rune poem:
Óss er algingautr
ok ásgarðs jöfurr,
ok valhallar vísi.
Jupiter oddviti.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The mouth is the source of all language,
a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Os byþ ordfruma ælere spræce,
wisdomes wraþu ond witena frofur
and eorla gehwam eadnys ond tohiht.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Raidō

Meaning:
The letter: R

Elder Futhark: ᚱ (Raidō) - Ride, Journey
Younger Futhark: ᚱ ( Reið) - Ride
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚱ (Rād) - Riding
Gothic Futhark: 𐍂 (Raidō) - Reda < Raida Wagon



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses
Reginn forged the finest sword.
Norewegian rune poem:
Ræið kveða rossom væsta
Reginn sló sværðet bæzta.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Riding
Joy of the horsemen
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.
Icelandic rune poem:
Reið er sitjandi sæla
ok snúðig ferð
ok jórs erfiði.
iter ræsir.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Rad byþ on recyde rinca gehwylcum
sefte ond swiþhwæt, ðamðe sitteþ on ufan
meare mægenheardum ofer milpaþas.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Kaunan

Meaning:
The letter: K

Elder Futhark: ᚲ (Kaunan) - Ulcer? (Or Kenaz Torch?)
Younger Futhark: ᚴ ( Kaun) - Ulcer
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚳ (Cēn) - Torch
Gothic Futhark: 𐌺 (Kaunan) - Chozma < Kusma Or Kōnja Pine Sap



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Ulcer is fatal to children
death makes a corpse pale.
Norewegian rune poem:
Kaun er barna bǫlvan
bǫl gørver nán fǫlvan.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Ulcer
Disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.
Icelandic rune poem:
Kaun er barna böl
ok bardaga [för]
ok holdfúa hús.
flagella konungr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The torch is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame;
it always burns where princes sit within.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Cen byþ cwicera gehwam, cuþ on fyre
blac ond beorhtlic, byrneþ oftust
ðær hi æþelingas inne restaþ.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Gebō

Meaning:
The letter: G

Elder Futhark: ᚷ (Gebō) - Gift
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚷ (Gyfu) - Gift
Gothic Futhark: 𐌲 (Gebō) - Geuua 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity;
it furnishes help and subsistence
to all broken men who are devoid of aught else.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Gyfu gumena byþ gleng and herenys,
wraþu and wyrþscype and wræcna gehwam
ar and ætwist, ðe byþ oþra leas.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Wunjō

Meaning:
The letter: V

Elder Futhark: ᚹ (Wunjō) - Joy
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚹ (Ƿynn) - Mirth
Gothic Futhark: 𐍅 (Wunjō) - Uuinne 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Bliss he enjoys who knows not suffering, sorrow nor anxiety,
and has prosperity and happiness and a good enough house.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Wenne bruceþ, ðe can weana lyt
sares and sorge and him sylfa hæfþ
blæd and blysse and eac byrga geniht.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Hagalaz

Meaning:
The letter: H

Elder Futhark: ᚺ ᚻ (Hagalaz) - Hail (The Precipitation)
Younger Futhark: ᚼ ( Hagall) - Hail
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚻ (Hægl) - Hail Precipitation
Gothic Futhark: 𐌷 (Haglaz) - Haal < Hagal Or Hagls Hail



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Hail is the coldest of grain
Christ created the world of old.
Norewegian rune poem:
Hagall er kaldastr korna
Kristr skóp hæimenn forna.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Hail
Cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.
Icelandic rune poem:
Hagall er kaldakorn
ok krapadrífa
ok snáka sótt.
grando hildingr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Hail is the whitest of grain;
it is whirled from the vault of heaven
and is tossed about by gusts of wind
and then it melts into water.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Hægl byþ hwitust corna; hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte,
wealcaþ hit windes scura; weorþeþ hit to wætere syððan.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Naudiz

Meaning:
The letter: N

Elder Futhark: ᚾ (Naudiz) - Need
Younger Futhark: ᚾ ( Nauðr) - Need
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚾ (Nȳd) - Need Plight
Gothic Futhark: 𐌽 (Naudiz) - Noicz 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Constraint gives scant choice
a naked man is chilled by the frost.
Norewegian rune poem:
Nauðr gerer næppa koste
nøktan kælr í froste.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Constraint
Grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.
Icelandic rune poem:
Nauð er Þýjar þrá
ok þungr kostr
ok vássamlig verk.
opera niflungr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Nyd byþ nearu on breostan; weorþeþ hi þeah oft niþa bearnum
to helpe and to hæle gehwæþre, gif hi his hlystaþ æror.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Īsaz

Meaning:
The letter: I

Elder Futhark: ᛁ (Īsaz) - Ice
Younger Futhark: ᛁ ( Ísa/Íss) - Ice
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛁ (Īs) - Ice
Gothic Futhark: 𐌹 (Īsaz) - Iiz < Eis Ice



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Ice we call the broad bridge
the blind man must be led.
Norewegian rune poem:
Ís kǫllum brú bræiða
blindan þarf at læiða.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Ice
Bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.
Icelandic rune poem:
Íss er árbörkr
ok unnar þak
ok feigra manna fár.
glacies jöfurr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Is byþ ofereald, ungemetum slidor,
glisnaþ glæshluttur gimmum gelicust,
flor forste geworuht, fæger ansyne.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Jēra-

Meaning:
The letter: J

Elder Futhark: ᛃ (Jēra-) - Year, Good Year, Harvest
Younger Futhark: ᛅ ( Ár) - Plenty
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛡ/ᛄ (Gēr) - Year Harvest
Gothic Futhark: 𐌾 (Jēran) - Gaar 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Plenty is a boon to men
I say that Frodi was generous.
Norewegian rune poem:
Ár er gumna góðe
get ek at ǫrr var Fróðe.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Plenty
Boon to men
and good summer
and thriving crops.
Icelandic rune poem:
Ár er gumna góði
ok gott sumar
algróinn akr.
annus allvaldr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Summer is a joy to men, when God, the holy King of Heaven,
suffers the earth to bring forth shining fruits
for rich and poor alike.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Ger byþ gumena hiht, ðonne God læteþ,
halig heofones cyning, hrusan syllan
beorhte bleda beornum ond ðearfum.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Perþ-

Meaning:
The letter: P

Elder Futhark: ᛈ (Perþ-) - Meaning Unclear, Perhaps Pear-Tree.
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛈ (Peorð) - Unknown
Gothic Futhark: 𐍈 (-) - Uuaer < Ƕair Kettle



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Peorth is a source of recreation and amusement to the great,
where warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Peorð byþ symble plega and hlehter
wlancum [on middum], ðar wigan sittaþ
on beorsele bliþe ætsomne.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ī(H)Waz/Ei(H)Waz

Meaning:
The letter: Ï

Elder Futhark: ᛇ (Ī(H)Waz/Ei(H)Waz) - Yew-Tree
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛇ (Ēoh) - Yew-Tree
Gothic Futhark: 𐍀 (Perþō) - Pertra < Pairþa ?



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The yew is a tree with rough bark,
hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Eoh byþ utan unsmeþe treow,
heard hrusan fæst, hyrde fyres,
wyrtrumun underwreþyd, wyn on eþle.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Algiz

Meaning:
The letter: Z

Elder Futhark: ᛉ (Algiz) - Protection, Shielding .
Younger Futhark: ᛦ ( Yr) - Yew
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛉ (Eolhx) - Elk-Sedge?
Gothic Futhark: 𐌶 (Algiz) - Ezec < ?[6]



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Yew is the greenest of trees in winter
it is wont to crackle when it burns.
Norewegian rune poem:
Ýr er vetrgrønstr viða
vænt er, er brennr, at sviða.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Yew
Bent bow
and brittle iron
and giant of the arrow.
Icelandic rune poem:
Ýr er bendr bogi
ok brotgjarnt járn
ok fífu fárbauti.
arcus ynglingr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The Eolh-sedge is mostly to be found in a marsh;
it grows in the water and makes a ghastly wound,
covering with blood every warrior who touches it.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Eolh-secg eard hæfþ oftust on fenne
wexeð on wature, wundaþ grimme,
blode breneð beorna gehwylcne
ðe him ænigne onfeng gedeþ.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Sōwilō

Meaning:
The letter: S

Elder Futhark: ᛊ ᛋ (Sōwilō) - Sun
Younger Futhark: ᛋ ( Sól) - Sun
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛋ/ᚴ (Sigel) - Sun
Gothic Futhark: 𐍃 (Sôwilô) - Sugil 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Sun is the light of the world
I bow to the divine decree.
Norewegian rune poem:
Sól er landa ljóme
lúti ek helgum dóme.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Sun
Shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.
Icelandic rune poem:
Sól er skýja skjöldr
ok skínandi röðull
ok ísa aldrtregi.
rota siklingr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
when they journey away over the fishes' bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Sigel semannum symble biþ on hihte,
ðonne hi hine feriaþ ofer fisces beþ,
oþ hi brimhengest bringeþ to lande.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Tīwaz/Teiwaz

Meaning:
The letter: T

Elder Futhark: ᛏ (Tīwaz/Teiwaz) - The God Tyr, Sacrifice
Younger Futhark: ᛏ ( Týr) - The God Tyr
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛏ (Tī, Tīr) - Tiw? Mars?[3]
Gothic Futhark: 𐍄 (Tīwaz) - Tyz < Tius The God Týr



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Tyr is a one-handed god
often has the smith to blow.
Norewegian rune poem:
Týr er æinendr ása
opt værðr smiðr blása.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Tyr
God with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.
Icelandic rune poem:
Týr er einhendr áss
ok ulfs leifar
ok hofa hilmir.
Mars tiggi.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes;
it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Tir biþ tacna sum, healdeð trywa wel
wiþ æþelingas; a biþ on færylde
ofer nihta genipu, næfre swiceþ.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Berkanan

Meaning:
The letter: B

Elder Futhark: ᛒ (Berkanan) - Birch
Younger Futhark: ᛒ ( Björk/Bjarkan/Bjarken) - Birch
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛒ (Beorc) - Birch-Tree
Gothic Futhark: 𐌱 (Berkanan) - Bercna < Bairka Birch



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.
Norewegian rune poem:
Bjarkan er laufgrønstr líma
Loki bar flærða tíma.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Birch
Leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.
Icelandic rune poem:
Bjarkan er laufgat lim
ok lítit tré
ok ungsamligr viðr.
abies buðlungr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The poplar bears no fruit; yet without seed it brings forth suckers,
for it is generated from its leaves.
Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Beorc byþ bleda leas, bereþ efne swa ðeah
tanas butan tudder, biþ on telgum wlitig,
heah on helme hrysted fægere,
geloden leafum, lyfte getenge.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ehwaz

Meaning:
The letter: E

Elder Futhark: ᛖ (Ehwaz) - Horse
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛖ (Eh) - Horse
Gothic Futhark: 𐌴 (Eihwaz, Ehwaz) - Eyz 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.
A steed in the pride of its hoofs,
when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;
and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Eh byþ for eorlum æþelinga wyn,
hors hofum wlanc, ðær him hæleþ ymb[e]
welege on wicgum wrixlaþ spræce
and biþ unstyllum æfre frofur.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Mannaz

Meaning:
The letter: M

Elder Futhark: ᛗ (Mannaz) - Man
Younger Futhark: ᛘ ( Maðr) - Man
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛗ (Mann) - Man
Gothic Futhark: 𐌼 (Mannaz) - Manna 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Man is an augmentation of the dust
great is the claw of the hawk.
Norewegian rune poem:
Maðr er moldar auki
mikil er græip á hauki.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Man
Delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.
Icelandic rune poem:
Maðr er manns gaman
ok moldar auki
ok skipa skreytir.
homo mildingr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen;
yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow,
since the Lord by his decree will commit the vile carrion to the earth.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Man byþ on myrgþe his magan leof:
sceal þeah anra gehwylc oðrum swican,
forðum drihten wyle dome sine
þæt earme flæsc eorþan betæcan.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Laguz

Meaning:
The letter: L

Elder Futhark: ᛚ (Laguz) - Water, Lake (Or Possibly Laukaz Leek)
Younger Futhark: ᛚ (Lögr ) - Sea
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛚ (Lagu) - Lay Lake
Gothic Futhark: 𐌻 (Laguz) - Laaz < Lagus Sea, Lake



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
A waterfall is a River which falls from a mountain-side
but ornaments are of gold.
Norewegian rune poem:
Lǫgr er, fællr ór fjalle foss
en gull ero nosser.

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Water
Eddying stream
and broad geysir
and land of the fish.
Icelandic rune poem:
Lögr er vellanda vatn
ok viðr ketill
ok glömmungr grund.
lacus lofðungr.

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The ocean seems interminable to men,
if they venture on the rolling bark
and the waves of the sea terrify them
and the courser of the deep heed not its bridle.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Lagu byþ leodum langsum geþuht,
gif hi sculun neþan on nacan tealtum
and hi sæyþa swyþe bregaþ
and se brimhengest bridles ne gym[eð].

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ingwaz

Meaning:
The letter: Ŋ

Elder Futhark: ᛜ ᛝ (Ingwaz) - The God Yngvi
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛝ (Ing) - Ing Ingui-Frea?
Gothic Futhark: 𐍇 (Ingwaz) - Enguz < Iggus Or Iggws The God Yngvi



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Ing was first seen by men among the East-Danes,
till, followed by his chariot,
he departed eastwards over the waves.
So the Heardingas named the hero.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Ing wæs ærest mid East-Denum
gesewen secgun, oþ he siððan est
ofer wæg gewat; wæn æfter ran;
ðus Heardingas ðone hæle nemdun.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Dagaz

Meaning:
The letter: D

Elder Futhark: ᛞ (Dagaz) - Day
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛞ (Dæg) - Day
Gothic Futhark: 𐍉 (Ōþala) - Utal < Ōþal Ancestral Land



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Day, the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord;
it is beloved of men, a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor,
and of service to all.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Dæg byþ drihtnes sond, deore mannum,
mære metodes leoht, myrgþ and tohiht
eadgum and earmum, eallum brice.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ōþila-/Ōþala-

Meaning:
The letter: O, Œ

Elder Futhark: ᛟ (Ōþila-/Ōþala-) - Heritage, Estate, Possession
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛟ (Ēðel) - Ethel Estate, Homeland
Gothic Futhark: 𐌳 (Dagaz) - Daaz 

Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
An estate is very dear to every man,
if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Eþel byþ oferleof æghwylcum men,
gif he mot ðær rihtes and gerysena on
brucan on bolde bleadum oftast.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Āc

Meaning:
The letter: A

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚪ (Āc) - Oak-Tree
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The oak fattens the flesh of pigs for the children of men.
Often it traverses the gannet's bath,
and the ocean proves whether the oak keeps faith
in honourable fashion.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Ac byþ on eorþan elda bearnum
flæsces fodor, fereþ gelome
ofer ganotes bæþ; garsecg fandaþ
hwæþer ac hæbbe æþele treowe.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Æsc

Meaning:
The letter: Æ

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚫ (Æsc) - Ash-Tree
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The ash is exceedingly high and precious to men.
With its sturdy trunk it offers a stubborn resistance,
though attacked by many a man.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Æsc biþ oferheah, eldum dyre
stiþ on staþule, stede rihte hylt,
ðeah him feohtan on firas monige.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ȳr

Meaning:
The letter: Y

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚣ (Ȳr) - Some Kind Of Battlegear
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Yr is a source of joy and honour to every prince and knight;
it looks well on a horse and is a reliable equipment for a journey.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Yr byþ æþelinga and eorla gehwæs
wyn and wyrþmynd, byþ on wicge fæger,
fæstlic on færelde, fyrdgeatewa sum.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Īor

Meaning:
The letter: IA, IO

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛡ (Īor) - Beaver?[4] Eel?
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Iar is a river fish and yet it always feeds on land;
it has a fair abode encompassed by water, where it lives in happiness.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Iar byþ eafix and ðeah a bruceþ
fodres on foldan, hafaþ fægerne eard
wætre beworpen, ðær he wynnum leofaþ.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Ēar

Meaning:
The letter: EA

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛠ (Ēar) - Grave Soil?
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
The grave is horrible to every knight,
when the corpse quickly begins to cool
and is laid in the bosom of the dark earth.
Prosperity declines, happiness passes away
and covenants are broken.
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
Ear byþ egle eorla gehwylcun,
ðonn[e] fæstlice flæsc onginneþ,
hraw colian, hrusan ceosan
blac to gebeddan; bleda gedreosaþ,
wynna gewitaþ, wera geswicaþ.

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Calc

Meaning:
The letter: K

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛣ (Chalice Sandal) - Calc
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Unknown

Meaning:
The letter: K̄

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛤ (Unknown) - Unknown
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Gar

Meaning:
The letter: Ḡ

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᚸ (Spear) - Gar
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Cweorð

Meaning:
The letter: Q

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛢ (Unknown) - Cweorð
Gothic Futhark: 𐌵 (Qairþra ) - Quetra < Qairþra ? Or Qairna Millstone



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Stan

Meaning:
The letter: ST

Elder Futhark: -
Younger Futhark: -
Anglo-Saxon Futhark: ᛥ (Stone) - Stan
Gothic Futhark: -



Description:

Norewegian rune poem translation:
Norewegian rune poem:

Icelandic rune poem translation:
Icelandic rune poem:

Anglo-Saxon rune poem translation:
Anglo-Saxon rune poem:

Odins rune poem translation:
-
Odins rune poem:
Coming soon

Dated:

Rune Converter

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Galdrastafir

The famous symbols of the Vikings that had nothing to do with the Vikings. Actually we can’t say for sure when these were used but almost all of these have a very Christian origin especially the ones that are star shape. The symbols are likely based on Solomon’s Sigils and traveled to Iceland through England. The Galdrastafir are also called the Icelandic magical staves or runestaves. The connection to runes is uncertain but considering the Huld manuscript presented us with over 300 different alphabets for runes then the majority of these might be runestaves and not just sigils as they share very similar shapes. That is where the connection with the Vikings is often made I believe as the symbols are very similar to runes and runes are associated with the Vikings, especially the Elder Futhark for some reason - probably as Dr Crawford has said this is due to “Old Norse” and “Elder Futhark” both indicating at “old”. The Galdrastafir are found from what were known as black grimoires and they are also of Christian/Jewish origin and would contain sigils to banish demons and such. The Icelanders were descendants of the Vikings though and it is possible they used their folk magic and beliefs that were passed down by generations with these thus merging the two cultures within these sigils - taking the best of both worlds to say.

Huld manuscript runes

Meaning:
Different runes used in magic during the middle ages up to today


Description:
There are so many different alphabets of these runes which a lot are inspired by the Elder Futhark it seems. Here is a link that’s in the references section as well where you can see them: here . At the end the alphabets 325 to 328 are called the Völvarunes that contain some familiar symbols seen in these which could hide some keys to deciphering these symbols and how they gain their meaning. It’s likely though that a mix of alphabets were used for a sigil and it was likely ciphered further.


Dated:
Around 1847 AD

Aegishjalmur

Meaning:
Helm of Awe, Protection against magic and to strike fear into your enemies


Description:
It’s first remaining mention to us is in the Konungsbók (The Kings Book or the Codex Regius) in the Fáfnismál, which is actually not a poem itself but scholars have given it a separate name as it is believed this was meant to be a stand alone poem. Since the book is a collection of poems passed down orally then this might as well be from the Viking age or even before. The symbol itself though could be a namesake, but they share a very similar description. The aegishjalmur in the story is an item that Sigurd takes from a dragon, which has been speculated to be a lump of coal with the symbol engraved in it. Thus the Aegishjalmur was not one certain object but rather it could be made again but only few could perhaps make it or use it. The next mention is from one of the most famous black grimoires the Galdrakver. You can see it here https://handrit.is/is/manuscript/imaging/is/Lbs08-0143#page/10v++(26+af+72)/mode/2up . It reads there that you must make it from lead, press it between your eyes and say a poem that follows as: “Ægishjálm er ég ber milli brúna mér!” meaning “I bear the helm of awe between my brows!”. The Aegishjalmur would strike fear into the hearts of the wearers foes.


Dated:
Oldest symbol we know is from 1670 AD from but it was mentioned in The Book of Kings which was written in 1270 AD but the poem itself is of unknown times, possibly even during the viking age around 800 AD as these are recordings of orally passed tales.

Vegvisir

Meaning:
Way finder, The one that shows/reveals the way


Description:
 It’s oldest surviving source is the Huld manuscript where the description reads “Carry this sign with you and you won't get lost in storms or bad weather, even though the way is unknown” the collection was composed by Geir Vigfusson and it consists of earlier works.


Dated:
Around 1847 AD in the Huld manuscript but consisting of earlier works so we can’t say for sure.

Innsigli Salomons (Solomon’s seal)

Meaning:
Carried on oneself for defence


Description:
This is a direct connection between Solomons sigils and the Galdrastafir. Its for protection and wisdom as well as having great ambitions. The star shape of the branches reaching out is likely to mean protection against all directions as it’s a recurring theme with these types of sigils. Its use it to carve this sign on lignite and then to keep it under ones head. It’s very similar in shape and deeper meaning to the Aegishjalmur.


Dated:
Around 1847 AD in the Huld manuscript but consisting of earlier works so we can’t say for sure.

Herðslustafir

Meaning:
To gain strength


Description:
The description for these two read “Carry these symbols on your left chest, in order to strengthen your mind.” as you can see from the Huld manuscript here it seems there is an equal sign between them, it could mean that drawing sigil can be done in various ways or perhaps they are completely different sigils but serve the same purpose. 


Dated:
Around 1847 AD in the Huld manuscript but consisting of earlier works so we can’t say for sure.

Veldismagn

Meaning:
No harm can be done to you, Great Strength, Returning healthy from the sea


Description:
The sign in seen in the Galdraskræda book which is said to be a collection of older symbols collected by Jochums M. Eggertssonar. The original symbol had the two side branched extended outwards rather than in creating a circular overall design. The name roughly translates to something like “A lot of strength” or “Plenty of power”


Dated:
Unknown but we first see it in the 1940 book Galdraskræda

Galdr elements, staves and modifiers

The elements used in the icelandic magical staves, I've split them into two categories - first are the tips of the staves and the second are the in the bodies of the staves. These are highly speculative and I've gathered here both the meanings from people who are well versed in this field as well as my own interpretations, but once again trust your intuition on these. Now an important part to remember is that these are the most ambigious symbols as a huge part of the magic of these was in how the symbol would be created. It's likely that the symbol itself held the meaning and the ritual of powering up the symbol made that meaning manifest into reality. The complexity behind these is infinite since they used a number of different modified rune alphabets and binding logic to construct these, they are created by people and thus the meaning is given by the author - although we sometimes see similar elements used in similar meaning elements, the truth is we often see the same elements in symbols with completely different meanings. I somewhat look at these like logical gate operators (You can search AND/OR/XOR etc) if they function like that, then that would mean that each symbol has a purpose and only that purpose but when two are added it becomes more complex and does an action that no basic element could perform. But going on intuition and research that does not seem to be the case, instead it seems the rules were more free. So my point is that these are not set in stone and much more plays effect than the element itself,ie number, visual part of the symbol, sacred geometry, the empowerment ritual etc. So these are for you to use to achieve a similar style to the historical ones as well as meaning.

Circle around symbol

Meaning:
Contain the symbol inside, imprison


Description:
The circle aroung the symbol would mean to contain the power of the symbol. This was done by the solomon sigils which the Galdrastafir are heavily based on, there the sigils would call forth demons or powers and the circle around it often contained power words which would then contain the power that was released with the sigil for your use later on


Dated:
-

Fork Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Catch and trap/collect energy


Description:
These can be seen on a lot of symbols, very dominantly on the Vegvisir. It's likely a fork to catch energy and then use it in the center of the symbol. They are usually on symbols that get you something or provide you with something, so this furthers implies the point that this will lunge at certain situations or energies and trap them thus providing it to the wielder to use from there on


Dated:
-

Ray Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Radiate, spill out, spread outwards


Description:
These are likely from the solar cross we see from petroglyphs. The aegishjalmur is the most famous of using these, thus I believe the aegishjalmur would be blinding the foes that’s why no one could stand against the wielder. These were mostly on things that prevent harm from happening or scaring away encounters ie foxes, people, foes, witches and such.


Dated:
-

Yr, Man or Life stave (Tip/Body)

Meaning:
Turns energy into will and intent


Description:
I believe this would work as both the tip and body stave or modifier. It's purpose would be to power the wielder with the energy contained in the symbol, meaning it would direct it to them instead of them being able to do something with the energy.


Dated:
-

Madr or Human Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Human, Earth, Dust, Simplicity, Primal, Companion


Description:
Seen on the Vegvisir, this could mean man as an early form of the Madr rune looked like this. It would mean then on the vegvisir that the man is upside down, which could mean that the Vegvisir pulls information in rather than letting energy out. It's used on a very few other symbols if I remember correctly right now. This would probably mean something like a companion considering it's fork end and the two modifiers inbetween (The C and I body parts between the Fork stave and Madr stave). This could be the one leading or showing the way, ie a spirit appearing and taking charges into its own hands, this is speculation and personal interpretation though


Dated:
-

Reflect, Human Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Return and reflect incoming energy back to it's source or to decieve, expose weak areas


Description:
These can be seen in the Kaupaloki, so the reflecting part could be the game of Marketing. Two people who trade each have only 1 goal, the buyer needs to get it as cheap as possible while the seller needs to sell it as high as possible. This way it would make sense that the symbol would help you in a sense that you reflect the offers back to the source, ie the other person and when they try to lowball you, you end up lowballing them instead. Going by ancient symbols though this could also symbolize a human and it's aspects, perhaps vulnerability, greed, naiveness etc. My version is that this will expose weak areas and loopholes on what it is prospected on


Dated:
-

Sealing Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Block energy from coming in or going out


Description:
This seems to be almost certainly like the circle around the symbol which would contain the power inside the symbol, not releasing or radiating it outwards.


Dated:
-

Softening Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Soften outgoing/incoming energy, only release/receive a small portion of energy or a section of it


Description:
This can be seen on the Vegvisir with the fork stave for example, I believe this could work both ways. The vegvisir is grabing energy inwards while this softens the incoming energy.


Dated:
-

Hagall Stave (Tip)

Meaning:
Spread outgoing energy, sap incoming energy


Description:
Could be that incoming energy is taken into small parts and processed and outgoing energy is scatter into small pieced going outwards.


Dated:
-

Block Incoming Modifier (Body)

Meaning:
Energy can flow past this point but not back


Description:
This would let energy flow outwards but not back in, so this would tie into the Aegishjalmur and Ray Stave that only radiate outwards thus striking fear into those on the receiving end.


Dated:
-

Block Outgoing Modifier (Body)

Meaning:
Energy can flow back from this point but not past


Description:
The opposite of the incoming blocker, it could also tie into the Softening Stave. Digesting some of the incoming energy and not letting it out or collecting it in a bowl like state and then slowly overlfowing with it


Dated:
-

Magnify Modifier (Body)

Meaning:
Stabilize, magnify energy


Description:
A stable point in a symbol, like a pitch that holds the symbol together so it does not fall apart with the energy traveling around it.


Dated:
-

Amplify Modifier (Body)

Meaning:
Amplify greatly, Charge energy


Description:
Would greatly empower the energy traveling through this point and give a serious boost to the next stave in line. Seen again on the Aegishjalmur that would reflect energy outwards as it seems, this would mean to further empower that energy thus the symbol being so awe striking and feared.


Dated:
-

Soften Modifier (Body)

Meaning:
Sap, Nullify, Soften traveling energy


Description:
Spreads and weakens energy traveling throughout the symbol, used to take in powerful energy and digest it inside.


Dated:
-

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1 comment

  • Carlos

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