Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Elderfuthark Tradition - Aetts

The Tradition of the Elderfuthark Runes  -  Aetts

Though the runes form an alphabetic sequence, they are essentially ideographic rather than alphabetic in principle. They were devised to symbolise and make known a series of ideas or principles, hence their corresponding meanings and influences.

The English word ‘alphabet’ comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet – ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’. 

The word ‘Tarot’ is derived from two Egyptian words, ‘Tar’ meaning ‘road’ and ‘ot’ meaning ‘royal’ – therefore, the word/phrase Tarot, in essence means literally ‘Royal Road’. 

Similarly, the Norse alphabet is called ‘Futhark’ after the sounds of the first six characters; Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido and Kenaz. 

Their English equivalents are ‘f’, ‘u’, ‘th’, ‘a’, ‘r’ and ‘k’ – hence ‘Futhark’. 

This form of alphabet is known as The Elder or Germanic Futhark.  Runes of the Elder Futhark tend to represent ‘energies’ or ‘processes’.  They can be nouns and verbs combined.

The Elder Futhark is a list of the entire runic alphabet in a particular order. This order consists of twenty-four (24) runes being divided into three tiers of eight runes. Each of these tiers is call an ‘aett’ or aettir’. The word ‘aett’ means ‘families’ or ‘groups’. These aetts are of significance in the deciphering of the complex inter-relationships between the runes.

The aetts are of a common thread or concept and provide added insight. Each rune traditionally occupies a fixed place in this structure of tiers. This place is known as it's stead’. 

Within some traditions, the three groups of eight runes, the ‘aettir’, were named after gods of Norse mythology;  Freja, Hagal and Tyr. 

Freja               Hagal              Tyr

Fehu               Hagalaz          Teiwaz
Uruz                Nauthiz          Berkana
Thurisaz          Isa                 Ehwaz
Anzus             Jera                Mannaz
Raido              Eihwaz           Laguz
Kenaz             Pertho            Inguz
Gebo              Algiz               Othila
Wunjo             Sowulo           Dagaz

Many modern sets of runes have an additional twenty-fifth rune – the ‘blank’ rune.  This is often called ‘The Unknowable’ Rune’, or in some sets, ‘The Path of Karma’ rune – that which is predestined and cannot be avoided, or ‘matters hidden by the gods’.

This is a modern addition and is not part of the authentic runic tradition. The modern blank rune (in theory), performs the function of the rune ‘Pertho’ -  This rune represents the unknowable;  the journey into the unknown and a risk that must be taken. The rune Pertho holds the key to a mystery at the heart of runic lore – the actual rune cast;  the mystery in itself.  Pertho is both the act of casting the runes, as well as the ‘Well of Consciousness’ to which we go as the seeker of knowledge. Therefore, the modern blank rune is unnecessary.

Joanne Walmsley

Sacred Scribes

No comments:

Post a Comment