A Look At
There are four Rune Poems known to have survived the ravages of Time, as well as countless written interpretations of each. The Elder Futhark however, is not one of them to have surfaced. Be that as it may, these Poems are indeed an excellent source for insight into the ways of Runic Thinking by the writers of the period, further enabling a glimpse beyond the obvious and providing the Seeker with obscure knowledge. These ancient Poems are all known either for their source of origin, or their place of transcript. They are Olde English, Olde Islandic, Olde Norse and the Abecedarium Nordmanicum, which is a rare runic verse found in a Swiss manuscript from the early 800's. I suggest that you obtain and peruse all four original sources for a more thoroughly precise and complete understanding on the original thoughts and interpretations of the various scribes, each for you to interpose and interpret how you will, just so long as you gain…
The Known Rune Poems
Perchance you wish to learn more of these famous Poems mentioned above? Then, without hesitation, we shall begin with the Abecedarium Nordmanicum. Scribed in the early eight hundreds and quite possibly the oldest Rune Poem on parchment to date, it was discovered in a St. Gall manuscript discreetly wedged betwixt the pages, hidden from all but a most inquisitive Seeker. Written in a mixture of High and Low Germanic, with Olde English glosses, it may have originally been gathered together for missionary work among the Asatrü Norse-men by the clergy. This manuscript, which lists the Younger Futhark, contains a great deal of esoteric troth for the faithful Seeker, and is far more than a mere time capsule or a mnemonic containing the runic names in concise order, simply for the viewing pleasure of its readers… it holds unspoken imagry which knows no defined boundries.
The Olde Norse Rune Poem is said to be far older than any other Poem currently known, orally dating between 400 C.E. and 1150 C.E. it was written down somewhere between the end of the twelfth century C.E. to the beginning of the thirteenth century C.E. For some reason, unknown to me, this Poem seems to be the least used by the scholars and could even quite possibly be a streamlined version of the Elder Futhark Rune Poem that is sadly lost to us. Yet however you look at it, this Poem should not be overlooked by the avid Seeker for it contains immense esoteric knowledge and provides an everyday glimpse into the past, if we but open our minds to its lore.
The Olde English Poem is the best preserved of the surviving ancient Poems. Written onto parchment in the late eighth or early ninth century C.E. by the clergy of the time in a thoughtful attempt to preserve the Northern oral tradition of the runic mantra. It therefore contains Kristianized overtones ((simply because it was the monks who set these rhymes down on parchment)) that one must take with a grain of sea-salt. None the less it is the only surviving poem to date which includes a version of the entire Elder Futhark within the body and is quite descriptive in content, whereas both the Norse and Islandic poems are more obscurely aphoristical. Also this version is the source most commonly referred upon among scholars and Seekers alike when working with the Runic meanings, quite possibly because it can be translated rather easily from the Anglo–Saxon manuscript upon which it is artistically scrawled.
The Olde Islandic style was written onto parchment in the late fifteenth century, but actually preserves an oral lore from a much earlier time-period. To my mind it is the least butchered or tainted, simply because the faith, or Troth, in Iceland did not disappear from public sight until the mid 1630's, and even then, it continued amongst the family clans, knowingly supported by most up to, and including this day. Each rhyme within this particular poem, gives complex esoteric mysteries for meditational insight to hopefully enable the Seeker to better understand the ingenious ideological content underlying the obvious. Due to the numerous similarities between this poem and the Norse Rune Poem version it can be deduced that the two come from the same origin, possibly an Elder Futhark Poem that now is lost to us.
To say that but four antiquated Futhark Poems remain is somewhat controversial, for within the Elder Poetic Edda itself exists what is known as The Rune Poem. It has been suggested by quite a number of folk that each stanza of this Poem is in harmony with either an individual stave or a series of three staves, all quite dependant upon whom you are listening to at any given moment. One author has stoutly suggested that this archaic alliteration is actually nothing more than a mystical mantra used for aiding the Seeker's memory. After all, the Northern cultures are known to have held to an oral tradition. Guido Von List himself thought this metrical composition to be the original Futhark, and so styled his version of eighteen upon the Poem. Still others tend to think it but a series of charms or runic spells likened to those found within such lays as Svipdagsmal and Groa's Awakening, both to be found within the Elder Edda as well. No matter the factual reasoning behind this portion of the Havamal, it truly does provide insight into the open mentality of one's own personal Being. Therefore I shall attempt to shed enlightenment from my own perspective through equating various ideological staves to their corresponding stanzas and thus provide fodder for thought.
I have therefore further included my own Stylistic Version of the Elder Futhark Rune Poem that I feel is worth spending time upon, with one rune leading to the next - to the next - to the next - each in succession. They truly do get the creative juices flowing freely, and in their entirety, happen to be personally interpretive and thought provoking. This is further compounded into what can only be described as an Ætt storyboard each gyfted with brief philosophical definitions which is of the Elder Futhark as well. It is important to note the process of growth which is marked in succession within, and by each Ætt (Aett is translated from Olde Norse to mean group of eight.) From the seeking of spiritual birth, to extending personal growth, to achieving full power. There is no sign of degeneration within or without any of the three Ætts, other than that of one's own self-defeat.
I have seized upon both through the lengthy course of my studies. I publish them here in the hopes of stirring others to seek within and form their own meditational Rune and Ætt Poems to help them progress Tru. To further induce interests and better ones' understandings of the Northern Traditions for the specific reason that this particular system from the North is for the living Seeker and not the deceased scholar...
For the sleeping wolf rarely gets a bone
Or a sleeping man victory.
copyright © 2000 Reverend Godhi Yens Jensen all rights reserved