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How to Read and Write in Runes

This article is very long overdue as I see this is a common misconception when it comes to Runic transcriptions when I make personalized rune jewelry in general amongst the native English tongues.

To start, we as English speakers have this tendency to place the sound of our alphabet onto the Runic alphabet. This is entirely inaccurate and pointless and even devalues the Runes themselves.

I am strictly speaking of the Runes in this article as the alphabet and their pronunciations, not for their divinatory meanings.

Always note that just because some Runes LOOK like letters from our English alphabet, does NOT mean they are pronounced the same, nor does it even suggest its the same letter!

Ansuz looks like an F.

Ehwaz looks like an M.

Gebo looks like an X.

Inguz looks like an O.

So lets first start off with each Rune and their correct sounds and how to say them as a native English speaker;

The fourth column denotes the Runic letter, and what you see in parenthesis is how an English speaker would understand that letter, remember this, it's important.




Alright, now the entire alphabet is done, lets move onto taking an English word and transcribing into Runes...

Lets also keep in mind that our language doesn't even HAVE some of same sounds as do European languages. We do not have a letter for "TH", we have 2 separate letters.

So with that said, it really is impossible to transcribe some English words, although you can get quite crafty with it. Lets look at some examples of words that are near impossible;

LOVE - Laguz, Uruz, Wunjo. There is no Rune that has the true sound of the O in the word love. As a last resort, Uruz will suffice as well as Wunjo for the V.

JUICE - Jera, Uruz, Sowilo. Hate to tell you but there is no Runic "J" sound as us English speakers say it, the Runic J is what we would call a Y. Also, note we did not add the E to the end of JUICE. Why? Because adding the E would add an "eh" sound to juice. It would end up sounding like juica.

 So now you can see, when transcribing into Runic, we do not add some letters because it will end up changing the whole word. Think of it this way, the Rune sounds are not silent. As an example, adding a silent E to an English word would end up adding the sound "EH" to that word. We can also see that some words will never be completely accurate.

There are 2 Runes which contain 2 of our letters as one whole letter.

They are, Inguz and Thurisaz. Individually they give us the "NG" and "TH" sounds.

So remember this when you want to transcribe a word with any of those sounds as there is a Rune for that.

Now lets look at English words that transcribe very nicely.

ENTIRE - Ehwaz, Nauthiz, Tiwaz, Ihwaz, Raidho. Remember the last E will not be used as it will change the word.

TREE - Tiwaz, Raidho, Isa. Notice how we used Isa, not Ehwaz because of the long "eee" sound. And the result of the R will be rolled.

Now you might be asking yourself, "who is this woman and where does she get her information?"

For starters, I have been intrigued with Runes since the age of 14 and when I became an adult I started crafting Rune jewelry. Because of this, it was required of me to understand their pronunciations. Then I met my husband, who moved all the way from Bavaria to come to the USA and marry me. And with his firsthand knowledge of the Runes and his native Germanic tongue as well as speaking fluently in the Scandinavian languages, I have learned even more. To this day, even I cannot say all the Runes correctly (even though I can in my head!), and this IS because my native language is English. It is quite impossible after a certain age to produce the true sounds of another language with your vocal chords, which is why people have accents. Below is my husbands input on the matter of this article.

"Runes are more than some northern alternative alphabet. They have an esoteric as well as an exoteric meaning. They are archetypes and reflect specific powers related to the human mind and soul, as well the certain powers and energies within nature. They also reflect complex connections between us humans, our role in nature, nature's energies and powers as well as the realms of the Otherworlds as portrayed in the sacred tree of Yggdrasil. Keep in mind that they have been used for more than just writing. They were tools to communicate with the powers of nature, the dead and beyond as described in the infamous but heavily occult "UTHARK" Theory. In order to grasp Runes you have to speak either Germanic language, German, Icelandic, old Norse or Swedish. Then you can see the correlations between the words, the runes and what they stand for. Odin had to sacrifice himself and descend deep down into the Realm of the Underworld in order to grasp the Runes and their meanings. That is a strong archetype and metaphor. In order to grasp their real powers, you have to go far beyond that which lies the human I, the Ego. You have to trust in your Fylgia, then the portals will open... Runes are not simply letters. And you cannot and you shall not read them just as nice letters. Try to look up the German, Icelandic, Swedish and Norwegian words for certain animals, and forces in nature, and look into their specific Rune and you will see that it is much more than meets both the eye and the I. For deeper insight, I can recommend the Author Thomas Karlsson as well as Sigurd Agrell. "






1 comment

  • Juan

    Yeah, it’s easy for me since I have husband here to help me out. It was a fun litlte mechanic and I will admit the husband didn’t understand it right away. I told him go do X on Y’ and then when I was taking pictures (after the fact) he went to the opposite color rune and tried doing the same thing he did on the other rune. I had to explain what needed to be done.

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