Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Mediaeval Runes as a Fifth Aett?

My readers will no doubt be aware of the 24 Elder or Common Germanic Futhark, the 29 Rune Anglo-Saxon Futhorc and its extended 33 Northumbrian Futhorc,the 16 Rune Younger or Scandinavian Futhork and the 18 Rune Armanen Futhorc but how many you will be familiar with the Mediaeval Runes which do not belong to a Futhark/Futhorc/Futhork?

The best information available in print about these Runes is to be found in Nigel Pennick's The Complete Illustrated Guide to Runes (1999), probably the very best and most comprehensive single volume esoteric treatment of the Runes hitherto published. The Mediaeval Runes also feature in his Secrets of the Runes (1995), also highly recommended.

In  Secrets of the Runes he suggests incorporating these additional Runes as a Fifth Aett. Strangely although the later book details 8 of these Runes, the earlier book only refers to 5 of them and in the later book he does not refer to them as incorporating a fifth Aett. Secrets of the Runes refers to the Runes Wolfsangel, Erda, Ul, Ziu and Sol. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Runes however refers to these Runes and 3 others: Wendhorn, Fyruedal and Wan.
This discrepancy may be due to Mr Pennick only becoming knowledgeable about these 3 later Runes after he published the earlier book.

In the later book he states:

"Although they are less well known than the previous rune-rows, there were a number of runes used individually in the Middle Ages, which are largely mediaeval Germanic and Dutch in origin. They are associated mainly with gods and goddesses who were worshiped in secret in Christian times. They were used for protection and healing, but not in runecasting. They are newer than the Gothic runes and form a separate category of their own."

The above paragraph is interesting for two reasons. Firstly he states clearly that each Rune is associated with a God or Goddess. For those of us who do not simply use the Runes for divination but recognise them as tools which can be used for communication with the Gods they have a sacred character and thus should be utilised. Secondly it is noticeable that by referring to them as a "separate category" there is an implication that by 1999 he has given up his earlier idea from 1992 (Secrets of the Runes was originally published under the title of Rune Magic in 1992) of conceiving them as a Fifth Aett with the Gar Rune. Despite this I believe that as Runic practitioners we should at least consider this possibility of a Fifth Aett as an extension to the Northumbrian Futhorc.

I have already illustrated and commented on these Runes in detail on this blog in November to December 2008 so I do not intend to go over old ground.
4 of these 8 Runes are directly associated with Gods:

Erda-Erda, the personification of the earth as Mother Earth or Mutter Erda. 

Ul-The Frisian God Waldh, a forest dwelling God with healing powers.

Ziu-The Old High German variant of Tiw/Tyr.

Sol-The Goddess of the sun, Sol.

The Fifth Aett, following the order given by Mr Pennick is thus: Wolfsangel, Erda, Ul, Ziu, Sol, Wendhorn, Fyrudal and Wan.

It is my intention to create a set of Runes using these 8 additional ones as the Fifth Aett and experiment with them. Just as the 33 Rune row enhances our experience to a greater degree than the 24, 18 or 16 Rune rows I believe that a 41 Rune row would increase our understanding and ability to communicate with the Gods even further. This may be a break with tradition but the Northumbrian/Anglo-Saxon Futhorc did exactly that with the creation of a Fourth Aett. The addition of a Fifth Aett in my view continues this work. I will feedback the results of my findings in due course on this blog.

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