The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic: How to Interpret Runes, Rune Lore, and the Art of Runecasting - Edred Thorsson 2018


Aesir: sg., Áss; genitive pl., Ása (used as a prefix to denote that the god or goddess is “of the Aesir”). ON. Race of gods corresponding to the functions of magic, law, and war.

aett: pl., aettir. ON. Family or genus, used both as a name for the threefold divisions of the futhark and the eight divisions of the heavens. Also means a group or division of eight.

airt: Scots dialect word. See aett.

Asgardhr: ON. The realm of the Aesir at the apex of the cosmic order.

Atheling: From Old English, a term for noble individuals.

Audhumla: ON. The cosmic bovine who feeds the original creations of Ymir on her milk.

bind rune: Two or more runestaves superimposed on one another, sometimes used to form galdrastafir.

Edda: ON. Word of uncertain origin, used as the title of ancient manuscripts dealing with mythology. The Elder or Poetic Edda is a collection of poems composed between 800 and 1270 C.E.; the Younger or Prose Edda was written by Snorri Sturluson in 1222 C.E, as a codification of the mythology of Ásatrú for the skalds.

erilaz: pl., eriloz. See Erulian.

Erulian: Member of the ancient gild of runesmasters who formed an inter tribal network of initiates in the Germanic mysteries.

etin: An Anglicized version of the ON term jötunn. A giant, or proto-god of the natural universe, known for its strength.

etin-wife: A female etin taken in magical marriage.

fetch: See fylgja.

fetch-wife: The fetch in female form. See also valkyrja.

formáli: pl., formálar. ON. Formulaic speeches used to load action with magical intent.

fylgja: pl., fylgjur. ON. A numinous being attached to every individual, which is the repository of all past action and which accordingly affects the person's life; the personal divinity. Visualized as a contrasexual entity, an animal, or an abstract shape.

Futhark: The conventional name for the “alphabet” of the Older and Younger runes based on the sound values of the first six runes of those systems.

Futhorc: The conventional name for the “alphabet” of the Anglo-Saxon runes based on the sound values of the first six runes of that system.

galdr: pl., galdrar. ON. Originally “incantation” (the verb gala is used also for “to crow”); later meant magic in general but especially verbal magic.

galdrastafr: pl., galdrastafir. ON. Literally “stave of incantations.” A magic sign of various types, made up of bind runes and/or pictographs and/or ideographs.

Germanic: (1) The proto-language spoken by the Germanic peoples before the various dialects (e.g., English, German, Gothic, Scandinavian) developed; also a collective term for the languages belonging to this group. (2) A collective term for all peoples descended from the Germanic-speaking group (e.g., the English, the Germans, the Scandinavians). Norse or Nordic is a subgroup of Germanic and refers only to the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic heritage.

Gothic: Designation of a now extinct Germanic language and people who spoke it. Last speakers known in the Crimean in the eighteenth century.

hamingja: pl., hamingjur. ON. Mobile magical force rather like the mana and manitu of other traditions. Often defined as “luck,” “shape-shifting power,” and “guardian spirit.”

hamr: ON. The plastic image-forming substance that surrounds each individual, making the physical form. It may be collected and reformed by magical power (hamingja) according to will (hugr).

Huginn (and Munnin): These are the ravens of Odin. Their names mean “mind” and “memory” respectively.

hugr: ON. A portion of the psychophysical complex corresponding to the conscious mind and the faculty of cognition.

Jötunheimr: ON. The realm of the Jötnar, the giants who are sometimes the enemies, and sometimes the friends of the gods. They belong to the natural order of the universe.

metagenetics: Concept of characteristics of structures, that might at first seem to be “spiritual,” inherited along genetic lines. Term first made current by Stephen A. McNallen.

Midhgardhr: ON. The “middle enclosure” of the universe. The material world and the home of humans.

minni: ON. The faculty of “memory”; the images stored in the deep mind from aeons past.

multiverse: A term descriptive of the many states of being (worlds) that constitute the “universe.”

Muspellsheimr: ON. The far southern realm of the universe, the point of origin of fiery force.

niding: Developed from ON nidh (insult) and nidhingr (a vile wretch). Used in the context of cursing by the use of satirical or insulting poetry.

Niflheimr: ON. The far northern realm of the universe, the point of origin of watery force, which becomes ice as it approaches the center.

Norn: pl., Nornir (or English Norns). ON. One of the three complex cosmic beings in female form that embody the mechanical process of cause and effect and serve as a matrix for evolutionary force.

numen: adj., numinous. Living, nonphysical, or magical aspects within the cosmic order, not necessarily meant in the animistic sense; that which partakes of spiritual power.

Odian: A technical term for the “theology” of the Erulian. Distinguished from the Odinist by the fact that the Odian does not worship Odin but seeks to emulate his pattern of self-transformation.

Old English: The language spoken by the Anglo-Saxon tribes in southern Britain from about 450 to 1100 C.E. Also known as Anglo-Saxon.

Old Norse: The language spoken by West Scandinavians (in Norway, Iceland, and parts of Britain) in the Viking Age (ca. 800—1100 C.E.). Also language of the Eddas and of skaldic poetry.

ørlög: ON. Commonly translated “fate,” it is really the result of the actions of one's past, even extended into past lifetimes. Literally it means “primeval layers, or laws.”

rist: A verb meaning to carve or write the runes.

runecraft: The use of rune skill (esoteric knowledge) for causing changes in the objective environment.

runelore: A general term for esoteric teachings.

rune skill: Intellectual knowledge of runelore.

runestave: The physical shape of a runic character.

runer: A person who seeks the mysteries of the runes and works in a magical way with the runes.

rune wisdom: Ability to apply rune skill to deep-level visions of the world and its workings; runic philosophy.

runework: The use of rune skill for causing changes or development in the subjective universe; self-developmental work.

skald: ON term for a poet who composes highly formal, originally magical verse.

skaldcraft: The magical force of poetry; verbal magic (galdr). Also, the “science” of folk etymology in which magical, suprarational associations are made between words based on sounds.

tally lore: Esoteric study of number symbolism.

thurs: From ON thurs. A giant characterized by great strength and age, for example, the rime-thurses or frost-giants.

Útgardhr: ON. Literally “outer enclosure.” It is the outer realm of the universe, a sort of cosmic wilderness.

valkyrja: pl., valkyrjur. ON. “Chooser of the Fallen” (i.e., the slain). Protective valkyrja-like numinous qualities that become attached to certain persons who attract them: a linking force between men and gods (especially Odin).

Vanaheimr: ON. “World of the Vanir.” The Vanir are the gods and goddesses of production and re-production.

Vanir: sg., Van. ON. The race of gods corresponding to the fertility, prosperity, eroticism functions.

vikti, pl vitkar: ON. Common word for a “magician,” literally “one who knows.”

World: (l) The entire cosmos or universe. (2) One of the nine levels of being or planes of existence that make up the ordered cosmos.

Wyrd: English word, also spelled “weird” which conceptually corresponds to ON ørlög, and phonologically to ON urdhr. It literally means “that which has become” and forms the unseen basis for experiential reality.

Yggdrasill: ON. The cosmic tree of nine worlds or planes of the multiverse.

Ymir: The androgynous giant which evolved at the beginning of the natural evolution of the universe. He is sacrificed by Odin in order to construct a rational and beautiful universe from the giant's substance.