Bright Blessings, Witches and Witchlets! This is the first post in a new series where we’re delving into the Runes of the Elder Futhark. With each installment, we’ll go over the meaning and interpretation of each focused Rune and show what each one looks like. Let us begin.
WHAT ARE RUNES?
Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets. Runes were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. In addition to representing a sound value (a phoneme), runes can be used to represent the concepts after which they are named (ideographs).SOURCE
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Runes have been found in places that hold root in Germanic-speaking countries like Iceland, Scandinavia, parts of England and Central Europe, Constantinople and anywhere the Vikings journeyed.
WHEN WAS THE RUNIC ALPHABET USED?
AD 150 is the earliest date that runic inscriptions have been recorded. With time, the Latin alphabet replaced these characters as those who utilized runes were subjected to the Christian Reformation. In Central Europe, this happened around AD 700 and in northern Europe, AD 1100.
USING RUNES FOR DIVINATION
Interestingly enough, using runes for divination is NOT an ancient practice used by the Vikings. There is no evidence to support this commonly-held belief. The closest thing we do have are a few Icelandic magickal texts that use runic symbology. Other than that, the utilization of runes for divination didn’t come about until the 17th century.
While runes may not have been used by the Vikings, this doesn’t mean this system of divination isn’t a viable one. I know plenty of witches – including myself – who cast runes and consult the messages found from the Divine.
THE GEBO RUNE
Today’s rune is GEBO and it is pronounced ‘GAY-boo’. The literal interpretation of this rune is ‘gift’. The esoteric interpretation is ‘fair exchange’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘sacred marriage’.
WHAT DOES THE GEBO RUNE LOOK LIKE?
This is a great rune to start out this series with as it is represented with a single ‘X’. Easy enough to remember, right?
When GEBO makes an appearance in a divination cast, it can signal:
- A magickal exchange
- A sacrifice needs to be made
- A generous gift is coming
- A contract will be signed
- Influenced by greed
- Loneliness is on the horizon
- Out of balance behavior
The GEBO rune is also said to govern sex magick, a sacred union between lovers, truly understanding binding, taking oaths, selflessness, and harmony.
When we engage in trade, whether in physical goods or favors, it stands for something. It also signals that there is ALWAYS a price to be paid. This is where knowing who your true allies are comes into play. The old adage ‘You can’t get something for nothing’ rings true for a reason.
Seeing the GEBO rune in a casting is a reminder that there is always a price to be paid. Every choice made carries with it the understanding that by choosing one thing automatically sacrifices the other option. And in terms of the exchange of energies between two people, GEBO reminds us that this gift is a reward for effort within the relationship while also giving without expectation of this reward.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of the Rune Series! The aim is to offer an introduction to each rune to give an idea of what they all mean and to encourage new casters to try their hand at this divinatory practice. Do you cast runes? Are you inspired to start? Let me know in the comments and, as always, Bright Blessings and Happy Crafting!