The Elder Fuðark Runes
The Elder Fuðark Runes
The Elder Fuðark (Elder Futhark, Elder Fuþark, Older Futhark or Germanic Futhark) is the oldest form of the runic alphabets comprising of 24 characters. This was abreivated by the Scandinavians around the 8th century to 16 characters and referred to as the Younger Furthark. The Anglo Saxons retained and extended the 24 characters creating their Anglo Saxon Futhorc.
Dating the origin of Runes is dependent on archeological evidence, engravings on artifacts, monuments etc, and places their genesis somewhere between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE.
Runes are a Germanic adaptation of the ancient Latin alphabet (or Old Italic Script) which itself was an adaption of the Greek alphabet.
Name & Clan
The name Fuðark (Futhark) comes from the first 6 letters of this Runic alphabet which is commonly split into 3 groups of 8 runes called Ætt ("Clan").
Rune Poems exist in Anglo-Saxon, Norwegian and Icelandic. They list the letters of the runic alphabet in order to explain, remember and transmit their meanings and associations. The ability to compose and recite poetic verse was highly regarded during the Viking age, even above fighting ability and valor. In the Icelandic Egil's Saga poetry plays a large part of the story. Egil escapes execution by his captor, Eirik Bloodaxe, by composing and reciting the poem Höfuðlausn ("Head Ransom") in the king's honor.
The preservation of these poems has given us a record of the original meanings of the Runes. The rune guides include their Icelandic poem, along with it's English translation from the book "Runic and Heroic Poems" (1915), by Bruce Dickens, as well as it's Anglo-Saxon Poem (translation source unknown). Only 16 runes of Younger Futhark are covered by the Icelandic poems. The Anglo-Saxon Poems include Christian references; whereas, the Icelandic poems relate to the pre-christian nordic religion and it's Gods.
The original meaning of some Runes has remained problematic for scholars. ie. Ingwas, Eihwaz, Pertho and what is known of them is complicated somewhat further by the original Germanic root splitting into Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian branches. The former being an earlier adopter of Christianity and it's influences on it's language while the later retained it's Germanic religion.
The Poems of both lineages have been provided to allow flexibility in your intepretation of the runes. If you identify more with Christian beliefs, then the Anglo-Saxon poems may be better suited as your guide. If your beliefs align more with the natural world and paganism, the Nordic verse will resonated more.
The provided keywords are guidelines - not hard and fast rules. They are just a starting point and an example of contexts. As with any form of divination, you will get the best results using your own intuition and practice.