Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena



Fayhu the cow is a symbol of wealth;
Ur is an ox, with great strength and good health;
Thorn is the hedge that surrounds the great hall;
Oss is for Odin, the father of all;
Raid is a cart that will carry your load;
Ken is a torch that will show you the road;
Gebo, a gift you may send or receive,
And Wunjo, the hope behind all you believe.

Haal is the hail, smashing all things in sight;
Nied is the hearth fire that burns through the night;
Ice is a dagger that turns in your hand;
Jera, the cycle of light on the land;
Aes is the yew driving arrows in flight;
Perth is the dice bringing strange things to light;
Algiz, the elk, is for strength on the run,
And Sigil, a sign of the warmth of the sun.

Tyr is the spear with which warriors kill;
Beroc is green things that grow on the hill;
Essa is horses that strain at the plow;
Mann is the fool at the center, for now;
Laaz is the source from which all water flows;
Ing is the earth in which everything grows;
Daeg is the fire that once fell from the sky,
And Oath is the wind on which shrewd ravens fly.

Paul Haynie


I have been trying to learn the Elder Futhark lately, and have found the number of options daunting. Every rune has several names, and they are all similar; there are six vowels, and, as Dementia says, "Three of them are 'e', and two of them are 'i'." The meanings, and even the order, are all over the place. The proper way to proceed, of course, is to try to learn ALL of it, but I decided I needed a framework. The idea of a primer poem came to me: Ten syllables for each rune to communicate the phoneme and hint at the divinatory meaning of the symbol.

I took a lot of liberties. I nailed each of the vowels down to a single syllable, and a distinct phoneme, and I found or truncated all of the names to no more than two syllables. For meanings, I quickly gave up on hitting the bulls-eye, and settled for hitting the edge of the target. I came very close to renaming Algiz as "Zeke", and was only prevented from doing so by the fact that I had a place that needed two syllables and, while I was willing to throw in a single syllable name made of whole cloth, my conscience balked at the idea of adding a second spurious syllable. I also completely punted on "Wunjo", which is really "joy" rather than "hope", but it's impossible to say ANYTHING meainingful about joy in ten syllables.

I know that purists will likely be horrified with my choices, with the things I omitted, with the things I bent. I am happy with it regardless, and I could feel the spiral path firmly beneath my feet by the time I had finished. And besides, this is only the first lesson of the study; nuance and elaboration will take many, many more.

Uncle Hyena
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