The Elder Futhark is a set of 24 Germanic alphabet discovered in Gotland (1903) on the Kylver Stone that dates back to 400 AD. They represent one of the earliest writing scripts. It is postulated that they were inspired by the natural surroundings and life histories of the people during that time. The exact script usage and meaning of each has been lost to time and the Old English Rune Poem has been used as an improvisation for the rune meanings.
The Old English Rune Poem is of Anglo-Saxon origin and dates well after the Elder Futhark. The Rune Poem is dated to the 8th and 9th century, whereas the Elder Futhark dates from 2nd to 8th century. Therefore, the Elder Futhark and the Rune Poem aren’t clearly linked and there is much scholarly debate as to the translation of both the script and the poem. The Rune Poem, especially, had been copied multiple times by hand from historic manuscripts that have been lost in library fires (a very common phenomenon in the past) and subsequently no “original” version exists. Here copying error and translation errors could have crept in during (re)documentation. As such the both the translation and interpretation of the Rune Poem is very subjective. I believe it is best for you to acquire a translation version that resonates with you and to interpret its exact meaning for yourself. You can use the ‘traditional’ interpretations as a rough guide, but you will find that some of your own interpretations start to deviate from the widely used norm. This is a natural progression and personally links you to the runes.
The runes can be used as both a divinatory (passive) and magickal (active) tool. I personally use them for the latter, where I actively participate in setting the intention that I seek. I use the runes extensively for my shadow work, creative problem solving and spiritual rituals. Hence they have become a spiritual tool which I use to explore the depths of soul and to introduce some light and magick into my everyday hum-drum life.
Rune Travel Cards (24 Card Set, Personal and Non-commercial Use, CC-by-NC)
Printable PDF Elder Futhark cards (4.5 cm x 3.o cm), created by TheCatHatter (All Natural Spirit’s old art alias), which you can buy via my Online Store.
“The set I made here is the Elder Futhark in Proto-Norse writing (Ref 1) with Proto-Germanic names (Ref 3) and English transliterations. For the meanings of each it would be best for you to get as many translations of the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem (AKA Old English Rune Poem). It is a set of riddles with descriptions of each letter represented in a story about human life conditions (hence some having very opposing meanings for the same letter at times) (Ref 4). The Rune Poem dates after the Elder Futhark (Ref 4) and is therefore a backwards extrapolation of meanings in a sense. As such the meanings of the letters are very much a personal interpretation, because no one really has authority over this.
I made these for myself as ‘travel’ runes (they are 4.5 cm x 3.5 cm) and they fit neatly into a match box! Thought I would provide them here for anyone looking for something similar.
Print, Cut & Enjoy!
1. Oswald, B. Discovering Runes (2008) Chartwell Books Inc. pp 14.
2. Page, R., I. Reading The Past: Runes (1987). University of California Press. p 20.
3. Page, R., I. Runes (2005) The British Museum Press. pp 8, 15-16.
4. Van Renterghem, A. The Anglo-Saxon runic poem: a critical reassessment. Masters Dissertation, University of Glasgow. 2014. pp 26, 42, 57.”
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