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Thread: Runes for divination

  1. #1
    Sr. Member Maythe's Avatar
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    Runes for divination

    I know we've already wrangled a bit on this subject but there are a few questions I'd like to ask my fellow Heathens on this board:

    Do you conclude that the Runes were used for divination by the original Heathens? Why? And does it matter to whether they are used for divination in modern times?

    Do you use the runes for divination?

    Should they be used for divination?

    What's your opinion on non-Heathens using them for divination?

    If you don't use them for divination do you use them for other things?

    I'm sure we're all mature enough to disagree amicably, so I'd really be interested to find out where you all stand on this.

    I'm interested what non-Heathens think too, but the Heathens are the ones I'm most interested in here!

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    Supporter Thjoth's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    Well, the Runes having some sort of metaphysical aspect to them is evidenced simply by the story of their origin, with Odin hanging on the tree. It is also substantiated by the use of repeated runes to damage (thurisaz, isa), protect (aegishjalmur, which is a bindrune although I can't recall of what exactly right now) or to enhance your combat ability (teiwaz). Additionally, artifacts have been found with Runic inscriptions such as "I bring luck" on them.

    HOWEVER, in the Havamal Odin basically comes flat out and says that you seriously don't want to know your future beforehand, and Frigga is said to know the future but speak it not, and she has always struck me as sort of distantly sad, just based off of the accounts of her in the lore. Additionally, anything resembling foreknowledge was in the realm of the volva, specifically the practice of seidr, and men were to have no part in it, as evidenced by the taunt Loki uses against Odin in Lokasenna, when Loki compares Odin's use of seidr to his own practice of changing into a female and bearing children, effectively making it sound like cross-dressing on steroids. Besides seidr, I don't know of any other instance of foreknowledge in the lore, although my grasp on the lore isn't as strong as I wish it was, so I may be missing one.

    So, after all that, were the Runes used for divination by the original heathens? My sources say no, although so much is lost that it is honestly impossible to make any sort of definitive determination on anything.

    I don't use the Runes for divination myself, and in fact I'm with Odin in that I don't want to know my future, thank you very much. As for whether they should be used either by heathens or non-heathens I don't see what it can hurt. If the Runes can indeed be used for that purpose, then by all means take advantage of them. If they can't be used for divination, at least I'm entertained because I'm watching a slightly frustrated person play a very odd looking game of scrabble. Win-win.

    When I use Runes I stick to how they're described as being used in Havamal and Sigrdrífumál. From Sigrdrífumál, the one I use the most are the Runes of Victory; most of my weapons have two teiwaz runes somewhere on them. Being a Tyrsman, there are also a number of Teiwaz runes embedded in the foundation of my house. That's about my limit, though.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Runes for divination

    I made some, but every time I've tried to use them, I get "nothing" answers. I'm not sure if I'm doing it right, or just not practiced with them, or what.
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    Sr. Member Crimson Horizons's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    [quote author=Maythe link=topic=697.msg10286#msg10286 date=1288982711]
    I know we've already wrangled a bit on this subject but there are a few questions I'd like to ask my fellow Heathens on this board:

    Do you conclude that the Runes were used for divination by the original Heathens? Why? And does it matter to whether they are used for divination in modern times?

    Do you use the runes for divination?

    Should they be used for divination?

    What's your opinion on non-Heathens using them for divination?

    If you don't use them for divination do you use them for other things?

    I'm sure we're all mature enough to disagree amicably, so I'd really be interested to find out where you all stand on this.

    I'm interested what non-Heathens think too, but the Heathens are the ones I'm most interested in here!
    [/quote]

    I'm with thjoth, more or less across the board on this one. I find no concrete evidence that the runes were used for divination. I have seen some evidence of something used for divination, but I it wasn't the runes (as we know them, anyway).

    As to whether or not they should, I don't have an answer. Either they work or they don't, so either way I don't really care. Same to non-heathens using them.

    I personally use the runes as an written language, but little else.
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    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    The Runes certainly have magical uses... But I'm not convinced of their divinatory ability. As has been said, I find no evidence in the Lore.

    Further more, I'm not convinced from my own attempts at using them in a divinatory way.

    I have to quote Thjoth verbatim on his opinion of others using them for divination... I wish I'd thought to word it that way.
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    Sr. Member Ravenix's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    Do you conclude that the Runes were used for divination by the original Heathens? Why? And does it matter to whether they are used for divination in modern times?

    Well there isn't very much evidence for it, as has been said, so I can't say for sure. I would imagine that only certain people, i.e. people who practised seidr or similar, would have been likely to use them. I don't really see a problem with them being used for divination now, even if they weren't before. It's just a new use for them as a tool.

    Do you use the runes for divination?
    Not all the time, but I have done. The results were very accurate, so I was surprised at people saying they had problems with them :P

    Should they be used for divination?
    Well I don't really see why they shouldn't be, but I can understand why people get annoyed if there isn't much evidence for them being used like that in olden times, especially with the New-Age focus on them as a divinatory tool and nothing else.

    What's your opinion on non-Heathens using them for divination?
    Erm. I suppose I do get a bit ticked off, but it's their choice.

    If you don't use them for divination do you use them for other things?
    I carve them into things and use the stones to decorate my alter and such on festivals... I've only really just started using them though :P
    "The Germans do not think it in keeping with the divine majesty to confine gods within walls or to portray them in the likeness of any human countenance. Their holy places are woods and groves, and they apply the names of deities to that hidden presence which is seen only by the eye of reverence." (Tacitus, `Germania', 9)

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    Re: Runes for divination

    I have used the runes for divination and they have worked.

    I do not use them for that purpose anymore because I do not think they were used to tell the future but I do think they were used to advise on a course of action. Even knowing what happens in the future can change it. Though I do believe there are some events that can not be changed and it can make things worse by knowing about it since we do not all the facts. We do not know how our actions will affect others. We can be making things worse.

    I say use the runes for advise and reading urlog and wyrd. I personal experience has shown them to be quite effective in that area.
    I also use the runes in charms.

    Thjoth - I think it is important to point out that you are not with Odin but instead taking his advise. Your statement is like saying I am with Odin on the not drinking to excess issue.

    There are a number of stories that show that Odin knows the future and he is obsessed with finding out everything he possible can about it.
    Voluspa Odin talks the the Volva about the past and then the future.
    Vafthrudnismal Odin has a contest with Vafthrudnir concerning the past and the future.
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    Sr. Member Maythe's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    Wow thanks everyone for the quick and in depth answers.

    I've tried using them for divination - it was years ago. I used the system set out by Edred Thorsson in The Runecaster's Handbook using a cloth divided into the nine worlds. It didn't seem to work too well but then I'm pretty crap at divination across the board. These days I only use them in a similar way to Thjoth does.

    It seems we mostly agree on whether it's likely they were used by the ancient Heathens. It certainly seems possible, given in theory any system of symbols could be used for divination, but personally I think it most likely they were what they seem to be. I.e an alphabet which like most alphabets was occasionally used for 'magic' and mostly for mundane things.

    I read somewhere, probably Asatru Lore, that the 'runes' Odin sacrifices himself for, and the ones he mentions in Havamal may not be the letters we call 'runes'...? Makes me want to read the relevant bits on Old Norse!

    It doesn't bother me when non-Heathens use runes, except when they misrepresent the history.
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  9. #9
    Bronze Member magusphredde's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    Not much into using them for divination but I do use them in making bindrunes and runestaves ... I use many other alphabets to make other types of talismans as well ... They seem to work as well as most and better than a lot ...
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    Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official; "You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done."

    The Chief nodded in agreement.

    The official continued; "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

    The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied.. "When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine Man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex."

    Then the chief leaned back and smiled; "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."




  10. #10
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Runes for divination

    I'm going to swim against the tide with my answer,.... I think it might depend on which runes you use and what precise tradition influences you. There is some evidence in the Anglo Saxon rune poem that runes may have been used for divination. And since that it normally acknowledged to be the oldest of the rune poems, it is interesting to say the least.

    Obviously we're up against the fact that most of us use the Rune poems in translation, and translation can vary quite a bit from person to person. But I feel there is some authority for it - I appreciate that some may disagree.
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