Extracted from Teutonic Magic, by Kveldulf Gundarsson, Llewellyn Publications Inc., 1994, USA
The runic alphabet or Futhark seems to have come forth into earthly being sometime
between the 3rd and 1st centuries Before Common Era. Before that, the Germanic
people had no writing as such, although they did have the holy signs of the
quartered sun-wheel, swastika, ship and so forth, which they carved in rock
in their burial mounds and ritual places.
Such signs may have been carved in wood for divination.
The Elder Futhark seems to have grown largely from the North Italic script of the last few centuries Before Common Era, although Latin and Greek influences can be seen in it as well, as can some of the native Germanic holy symbols. It is thought that knowledge of the Runes may have spread northward and eastward from the alpine area, though no runic artifacts have survived along the path of the migration, the North Italic origin is virtually certain.
Runic symbols may have first been used on perishable materials for casting
lots, a practice with which the Germanic peoples were already familiar. The
art of carving them into stone and metal would then have come later, although
a helmet (the Negal helm) exists which bears a North Italic inscription in a
Germanic language reading Harigasti Teiwal, a usage which is typical of runic
working. The inscription may mean "to the god Harigast" or "Harigast
and Teiwaz" (Odin and Tyr) (Runelore, Erdred Thorsson, page 8). The oldest
known runic inscription is that of the Meldorf Brooch, which was found in western
Jutland and is dated at roughly 50 Common era. The runes seem to have reached
Scandinavia and the
eastern part of Europe sometime around the 3rd century of Common Era. It is thought that they were spread by wandering tribes, in particular the Heruli, who were known for their runic wisdom and whose name ErilaR, seems to have become a title for someone especially skilled in runecraft. The Scandinavian inscriptions which show the Elder Futhark date from the 5th and 6th centuries. These inscriptions may have been found on both bracteates (medallions) and stones. The futhark order is consistent except for the two last runes, dagaz and othala, which are frequently inverted both in the oldest and more recent futharks, and a single inscription which reverses the 13th and 14th runes, perthro and eihwaz. The division of the aettir (eights or families) is also consistent. The 24-rune futhark is divided into three aettir of eigth runes each, and the attributions of the runes to their aettir was preserved even when the futhark no longer contained three sets of eight runes.
The Elder Futhark developed into a number of slightly differring runic alphabets as a consequence of sound-shifts in changing languages.
The object of the present website is the Elder Futhark, which will be used in journeys of Inner Transformation.
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