Parallels: Example 3 – Nordic Mythological Runes

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 in divination, parallels

There is a small but growing number of Filipinos that believe that the symbols of the baybayin writing system have deeper meanings. It is not uncommon for letters, pictographs and symbols to have deep hidden meanings—even magical power, for cultures around the world have rich histories and stories connected to symbols, letters and written words. Other countries and cultures too have symbols and writing systems that were multi-dimensional, that is, their writing systems in application could not only be read as words and every day messages or chronicles, but also could convey that meanings that were profound, sacred or even used as divination. Norse, Druidic, Tibetan, Hindu and Hebrew many other samples will be shared at this website. For more examples go to Parallels.

Example 3
Nordic Mythological Runes

According to Norse mythology Odin, a Norse god, was given the runes after he had done a great act of sacrifice. The runes were the first letters of an alphabet that was considered sacred by the Nordic people. Because of the runes the Nords were given language, poetry, epic tales and love stories. And Odin was able to see the past and future, and within because he was able to prophesize for every letter of the runes bore a magical meaning. Odin had to sacrifice his ordinary ability to perceive the world in order to receive the power of inner sight and wisdom.

In German the word “rune” is related to the word for “whispering”. In Old English the word meant “mystery”. In modern times however, any obscure markings are referred to as runes. The word connotes the mysterious because first and foremost the runes were used as a “magical system” and only secondarily a mode of writing. (Source: Freya Runestones: The ancient magical system based on Norse Mythology, h


Runes are letters used in the earliest Germanic and Nordic alphabets. It’s a modification of Roman or Greek characters and was used from about the third century. From a purely linguistic perspective, runes are simply a form of writing, but as this writing expanded throughout Scandinavia and made its way to Britain, the meanings of many of the runes acquired a quasi-magical significance.
Jack Tresidder, author of the Dictionary of Symbols, wrote,

The linking of specific runes to the sun, moon and other sky gods, and the art of funerary rune carvings, led to the belief that runes embodied supernatural powers¾to protect, to avenge and particularly to foretell the future. (p. 173)

Expanding this idea further, The Complete Book of Amulets and Talismans reports,

The runes of the Scandinavians were believed to possess great magical qualities, and they were used commonly in the preparation of spells…. Some of the runic letters and signs are so powerful, tradition warns the uninitiated against trying to perform any feat of magic with them.
Runes were spread throughout northern Europe, in parts of Russian, and throughout the British isles during the era of the Vikings. With the coming of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, runes began disappearing from common usage as the Roman church slaughtered pagans and Anabaptist Christians alike. Because of the intensity of persecution, rune usage went underground.


(Source: Ankerberg Theological Research Institute,

There are 24 runes today they are used for diviniation purposes. The reading of runes involves stones that have each symbol carved upon them, plus one blank rune that represents the idea of potential, original seed, or the Cause of all Causes.
Some of the meanings of the runes are:

The individual’s potential creative energies which can be used to create wealth. Relationship

Higher sources of communications from either within or outside the self.

The ultimate aim of transformation of one’s consciousness into whatever she or he envisions the greater whole.

(Source: Freya Runestones: The ancient magical system based on Norse Mythology,

Rune reading involves the selection of a small number of runes, their positions and their order. A rune reader is said to have gifts of intuition and inner sight that allow him or her to divine the meanings of the runes.

For more examples go to Parallels.

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