The sacred marks of the runic alphabet are one of the earliest forms of writing. Historically they have been used as protective symbols carved into wood or stone that bring luck and protection to those who carried them.
In this post, learn about the history of Viking runes and the meaning of 6 runes that are powerful symbols to carry with you when travelling. These are the 6 runic symbols that we engrave on our jewellery to bring the energy luck, protection, blessings and happiness to your journey.
What are Runes?
Runes are letters in the ancient Runic alphabet, also known as "futhark" and were developed in Scandinavia. The earliest runic inscriptions date back to 160AD.
The Runic alphabet was the first system of writing that was ever developed! This alphabet was used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet. Viking runes are, however, not just a means of communication through language.
The word ‘rune’ means secret or mystery. The Latin alphabet replaced the Runic alphabet over 1000 years ago but its use has persisted for other specialised purposes such as divination and protection. In countries like Sweden, you can still find large ancient stone circles made out of Runic symbols.
Runes are generally made up of vertical lines with branches or ‘twigs’ jutting out diagonally, upwards, downwards or in a curve. They can be written from left to right and right to left.
Not all the original names of each rune are known and the names we do know have been reconstructed from Common Germanic and Old English.
The history of Viking Runes
The history of the rune is potent. They are some of the most significant symbols of our time.The origin of the runic alphabet is shrouded in mystery.
The mythological origin of Runes has always been associated with the god of magic and wisdom, Odin. Odin was always in search of absolute knowledge but this knowledge could not be attained by the simplistic human senses. The 24 magical runes were revealed to Odin as his untimely death was drawing near. As the cults of Odin rose to power, runes remained under his magical domain.
The earliest confirmed runic inscription dates back to 160AD in Denmark. Scholars estimate the inscriptions result from at least 100 years of experience in writing in runes.
Runes were prominently written and read from 160AD onwards. During the Viking Age, large amounts of inscribed runestones were erected throughout Scandinavia. Runes are found in countries with a history of Germanic-speaking people. This extended from Iceland to Scandinavia, England and Central Europe.
The meaning of Viking runic symbols
Runes were primarily created to function as letters to make up a language. But they were much more than just letters. Each rune symbol is a symbol of some cosmological power. To manually write or engrave a runic symbol was to invoke and direct the force it stood for.
Each of the 24 runes has a name that is based on the first sound of each symbol. The name and look of each rune point to its philosophical and magical significance. Runes are a visual representation of spoken magic.
The way each rune is pronounced and spoken has significance as well, like casting a spell. The words that runes make up contain meaning and intention in the sounds created when spoken.
Runes are also believed to be meaningful symbols that can be read and understood by invisible powers who influence our physical world. This allows runes to be used for magical and mystical purposes.
Runes were used to contact the dead and connect to different dimensions, for protection, divination, good luck and safety. Runes can be carved into wood, bone, shells, paper and stone.
They can also be engraved onto metals such as silver and gold and worn as jewellery. By manually carving runes, a stronger connection is created between the rune and the person who carved it. All jewellery with Viking rune symbols made by Off the Map Jewellery has been manually engraved by hand.
Travelling with Viking rune symbols
Runes make the perfect travel charm. Travelling with runes will bring positive energy with you on your journey. There are many special runic symbols that we have interpreted to relate to travel and so we have used these symbols on our jewellery.
Travelling with runes can provide you with protection and good luck on your journey. Runes carved into silver necklace pendants, bracelets and rings are the perfect travel charm to bring these ancient protective symbols into the modern age of travel.
Raido - Travel
Raido is the most significant rune for travel as that is exactly what it represents. Raido represents a journey. This can be a physical journey or a spiritual journey of awakening. Raido also symbolises evolution and putting things into perspective! These are two things that will almost certainly happen when travelling. This rune is all about movement, spontaneity, decision making and progress as we embark on our journey.
Dagaz - Enlightenment
Dagaz is a very special rune that is about enlightenment or awakening. This can represent moving from childhood to adulthood as one finds their feet in life and becomes independent. Dagaz symbolises change and having the power to create your own change for your higher purpose. Dagaz represents hope, illumination, positive change and optimism. This meaning makes the Dagaz symbol special as a graduation gift or a gift for someone moving out of home or overseas to start a new chapter in life.
Aligz - Protection
Aligz symbolises protection and defence instincts, making this a particularly powerful rune for leaping into the unknown and travelling to new places. In these circumstances, we can often feel as though we need some protection to keep ourselves safe. This symbol also represents intuition. Aligz is a powerful way to enhance your intuition so that you can better keep yourself protected and safe from dangerous situations. Call in your guardians to protect you with Aligz.
Berkano - New Beginnings
Berkano symbolises new beginnings, creation and fertility. This could be the birth of new life, projects, businesses, or relationships. It could also represent your rebirth. This is significant to travel as often when we set off on a journey around the world, especially if we are moving somewhere new to start fresh, we are embarking on a new beginning, leaving the old behind and maybe even going through an entire rebirth. We all know how significantly exploring the world can change your perspective on life!
Berkano symbolises mental and physical growth, birth, renewal and creativity. It is a feminine symbol and also has healing qualities. This rune is perfect for someone starting a new chapter overseas or for someone who is embarking on a long-term adventure such as a gap year.
Fehu - Wealth Of The Land
Fehu is one of the most positive runic symbols representing wealth and prosperity. This is the perfect symbol to carry with you when you travel to protect you from financial misfortune as you carry around the energy of abundance. This is also about good luck and success, something that we can all benefit from when out on the road!
Ehwaz - Travel For Pleasure
Ehwaz is a beautiful runic symbol that is represented by love and pleasure. It symbolises moving forward with steady progress and change for the better. It symbolises transportation and movement, both of which are essential to a successful trip. Ehwaz also indicates teamwork, trust, friendship and loyalty.
This is a wonderful rune symbol to travel with if you are travelling in partnership with others such as a romantic partner or group of friends. It will help raise the vibration of your travelling group and bring you closer together as you create unshakable bonds. If you are a solo traveller, this may have you make strong connections with new people that you may meet!
Choosing the right rune for you
When deciding which rune you would like to select to have on your necklace or keyring for yourself or as a gift, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Tune into the runic symbol and meaning that you feel most resonates with you and what you need on your journey - literally around the world or just through life! If you would like to carry the meaning of all the runes with you, then select the circular Viking Rune Necklace or the silver band rings which contain inscriptions of all 6 runes.