Runes are the individual letters in an old Norse alphabet called the Futhark. The modern English Alphabet is named after the Greek names for its first two letters Alpha and Beta. Likewise, the Futhark is named after its first six letters; f, u, th, a, r, and k. There are a few different versions of the Futhark; the two most popular are the Elder Futhark and the Younger Futhark. The Younger Futhark is better known as the Viking Runes, or more appropriately, Scandinavian Runes. This is the more popular of these two Futharks.
In addition to being letters that form words, Younger Futhark runes are symbols that carry meaning on their own. Each letter communicates an idea, as it is a symbol for a specific word. For example: In old Norse pronunciation, ᚱ is pronounced reið which sounds like ray with a rolling r. Today, in modern Scandinavian languages (except for Icelandic), the R does not roll. In addition to being a letter, the symbol ᚱ means ride which can imply travel, movement, and momentum. So a pendant with the ᚱ rune could be an engraving of the person’s initial, it could be a wish for increased travel, movement, or momentum, or it could be a “safe travels” charm similar from the giver to the traveler.
For more information about runes and the old Norse language visit jacksonwcrawford.com or Dr. Crawford’s youtube channel. There you can learn a great deal about the old Norse through their sagas and the small details revealed by the language they used. You can also learn about the influence of that language on later languages including modern English.
Here at Pendant and Ring, we understand that the Scandinavian Runes are a part of history, maybe yours. In honor of Scandinavian history, we are creating a line of simply engraved pendants. Look for these in the store tomorrow!