“The Runes” refer to a number of scripts used in Scandinavian countries before the introduction of the Latin alphabet. They were used to write in various different Scandinavian languages.
The Scandinavian-specifc variants are called FUTHARK, getting the name from the first letters of their alphabet (F, U, Þ, A, R, K). The three best-known alphabets are the Elder Futhark (150-800 CE), the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (400-1100 CE) and the Younger Futhark (800-1100 CE).
The runes hold great spiritual significance in Norse Paganism. It is said that Odin learned the secrets of runic writing after he hung himself from the cosmic tree Yggdrasil, impaled with a spear, for 9 days and nights—a sacrifice of himself to himself. They often find their way in Norse Pagan practice for this reason.
The runes were historically used for both practical and magical purposes. The Norse people didn’t use their writing for long texts like books, but instead for commemorative messages on objects such as tools and runestones. Charms were also written on objects to enchant them. But how these charms were created remains a mystery. There’s no manual to be found on how to make them, nor can we tell how they were made just by looking at them.
After the Christianization of Scandinavia, which ended around 1100 CE, the runes were used all the way into the 20th century for Runic Calendars. These calendars associated Futhark characters with numbers, marking out special days of the year, such as solstices, equinoxes, and feast days.
Runes have since been revived in modern practices with new developments.
ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚨ ᚱ ᚲ ᚷ ᚹ ᚺ ᚾ ᛁ ᛃ ᛈ ᛇ ᛉ ᛊ ᛏ ᛒ ᛖ ᛗ ᛚ ᛜ ᛞ ᛟ
ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚩ ᚱ ᚳ ᚷ ᚹ ᚻ ᚾ ᛁ ᛄ ᛇ ᛈ ᛉ ᛋ/ᚴ ᛏ ᛒ ᛖ ᛗ ᛚ ᛝ ᛟ ᛞ ᚪ ᚫ ᚣ ᛡ ᛠ
ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚬ ᚱ ᚴ ᚼ ᚾ ᛁ ᛅ ᛋ ᛏ ᛒ ᛘ ᛚ ᛦ
ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚭ ᚱ ᚴ ᚽ ᚿ ᛁ ᛆ ᛌ ᛐ ᛓ ᛙ ᛚ ᛧ