We use the following rune-sounds within the Ar-Kan Rune-Lag System -
As you can see these are broken into four sets of AEtts, four sets containing eight runes each. The Gar-Rune stands alone as the Sacred Centre - the Spear of Woden.
These are the names that have come down to us from the Old English Rune Poem so we have used them as they are. However, for rune-gealdor (rune-chanting) we have found that these do not really fit the idea of chanting since many of them are single-syllable sounds. Two-syllable sounds seem to work better, and in line with this I am going to suggest the use of the following sounds, still retaining the essence but recreating them using the Elder Futhark as a guide.
I have made certain key changes to this because I feel that some of the rune-meanings do not quite fit with our weltanshauung. No doubt this will be open to criticism but I see no need to retain stuff that is not what we need or seems rather out of place. I am going to go through the runes and give reasons for the changes.
Feoh/Fehu - This rune may be better used in either version according to the use needed for the runes; fehu is the Proto-Germanic word for 'cattle' whereas Feoh can also be 'light', 'fire' and 'fight' which is an alternative meaning.
Uruz - this needs no explanation and has been substituted for Ur, both have the same meanings.
Thunoraz - This is the Proto-Germanic root-sound for 'thunder' and thus for 'Thor'. Thurnu is the Proto-Germanic root-sound for 'thorn' which replaces the Old English form. Thuraz stems from Thurs which is a name of the 'Giants' and may be the 'Joten', although we do not really know if they are the same or different aspects of the same. We get 'Thursday' from 'Thurs-day' though some derive tis from 'Thunor's Day'. In this respect I feel that we should leave this one to the individual to use as they feel right. Whichever rune is used would invoke the power of the sound - an important point to note in using the rune-sounds.
Oski - This is a very difficult one since the rune-name Os can have two distinct meanings, one from the Germanic source (Os = Ash-Tree) and one from the Latin source (Os = Mouth). We can assume that the Old English used Os in a different sense than the Germanic for 'Ash-Tree' since the later AEsc-Rune means 'Ash-Tree'. This is no doubt why this rune is said to mean 'mouth', so we have kept this as it is but added the -ki making 'Oski' which is a by-name of Woden.
Kenaz - Keeping the same root-sound as 'Cen' but using the hard 'K' to differentiate from the 'C' which can be a soft sound.
Gebo - This is the Proto-Germanic form for 'gift' which is a later variation; either form could be used however.
Wunyo - The Old English Wyn may have been pronounced 'woon' as in the word for 'king' - Cyning. It is thus easier to spell the name 'wun-yo' to make the sound clearer, where the 'u' is 'oo'.
Haegl - I see no need to use the form Hagal here since the 'g' would be silent anyway; thus Hae-gl would be used as two syllables and pronounced 'hay-el'.
Naudiz - This is the Proto-Germanic form which is older than the Old English; it should be mentioned that all of the meanings related to 'need' were originally forms used to mean 'death', something to think about when using this rune-stave. This is probably where the 'Nithing Pole' stems from since it is a 'Cursing-Pole'. It is also likely to be connected to the dragon-serpent Nidhog which lies at the bottom of Yggdrasil.
Isa - This is obvious, merely adding the '-i' so as to form two syllables.
Yeara - I see no reason to use the form Ger since we all say 'year' and this rune does not bear the 'G' sound as does 'Gyfu' and 'Gar'.
Eihwaz - This form is closest to the IE Root *aiw- which refers to the 'Life-Force' and also to 'Eternity'. This is a force that is beyond Time and Space and works in Eternity and the Infinite. The sound 'Eoh' is merely a variation.
Peorth - (Spoken 'Pey-orth' as two syllables) - I have retained this for good reason, since very few rune-workers have ever really given a truly valid meaning to this rune - it is still a 'mystery' really. We see it as the Rune of Wyrd ('Weorth') and also the rune-stance used when playing the Taefl-Board, also representing the 'Dice-Cup' used for this game (originally, that is). There seems little sense in changing this to 'Perthro'. There are some interesting meanings to the root from which 'worth' stems -
- High raised spot (wart).
- To raise, to lift, from which stems the word 'aura' from the Greek meaning 'breath'.
- To turn, to wind, to coil, from which we get 'to become' and the OE Weorth meaning 'worth'. The Root *wergh means 'to turn' and gives rise to roots meaning 'to strangle'. This also gives rise to the Root *wrmi- meaning 'worm', giving OE wyrm and Germanic *wurmiz.
- To perceive, to watch out for, giving rise to our 'aware'.
- To cover.
- To burn.
- Squirrel through Latin viverra meaning 'ferret'.
Wyrd is indeed 'becoming' and also connected to 'worth' which is the basis of karma but rather different in many ways.
There are also some interesting root-words stemming from the IE Root *per- as shown below -
- 'Forward', 'through' in the sense of 'in front of', 'before', 'early', 'the first', 'chief' etc.
- 'Around' or 'Beyond'.
- 'To further' i.e. 'to improve'.
- 'Before' or 'forth'.
- 'Former', 'higher' or 'superior'.
- 'First' or 'foremost'.
- 'Going before'.
- 'To lead', 'to pass over'
- A crossing over, a journey (to fare).
- To try, to risk in the sense of 'to lead forward' or ' to press forward'.
- To strike.
- To sell.
- To get, to beget.
The Latin parcae stems from the IE Root *pera- and here is a direct link with the Wyrd Sisters or Sisters of Fate who are certainly linked to this rune.
We should also consider that the rune-stave is shaped like the Berkan-Rune 'opened out' and since the Berkan-Rune shows a pregnant mother-to-be this is this mother giving birth.
Eolhaz - The sound-change is very subtle and makes hardly any difference from Elhaz. However, the use of the term 'wounds' infers that this rune should be sounded as elk-az since the IE Root *elk-es means 'wound' from which we get the Latin 'ulcer'. This could relate to the Elk as symbolic of protection and defence. The 'h' sound may have been much like the use of this letter in Germanic Tongues sounded as the ch in Scottish 'loch'.
Sowilo - The IE Root *saawel- means 'sun' and this is where 'Sowilo' comes from; this is usually said also to relate to 'soul' and thus a play-on-words which has some sense in it.
Tiwaz - The form 'Tir' is the Norse name for 'Tiwaz' and the reason why it occurs in the OE Rune Poem is not known; we can use this in its original Proto-Germanic form as 'Tiwaz'.
Berkan - The birch-tree is named after the IE Root *bherag- which means 'to shine' 'bright', 'white' etc. This becomes the PGmc Root * birkjon. There is another variant of this in the IE Root *bherak meaning 'to shine' or 'to glitter'. These all describe the Silver Birch with its 'shining' bark, but they could also refer to the Moon through the link between 'silver' and the Moon.
There is also an IE Root *bhergh meaning 'to hide' or 'to protect' and also 'to bury', as well as meaning 'high' as in a 'berg' or mountain. The Old English burgh is linked to a mound and burg to a 'town' or 'fortified place', though the latter does suggest that originally this was a fortified place upon a hill or mountain. These were originally hill-forts.
Ehwaz - the form 'ekwo' is the original IE Root and Ehwaz is the Proto-Germanic form of this.
Mannaz - obvious, just adding the -az sound on the end to form a two-syllable form.
Laguz - the same.
Ingwaz - and again, and since the original form seems to be Ingui this makes sense.
Daegaz - we retain the ae dipthong sound.
OEdel - We already have an 'e' sound and also an 'o' sound so using the 'oe' dipthong makes some sense. The original IE Root *at-al is the root from which this developed.
Acaz - we have added the -az ending.
AEscaz - as above, but retaining the root-meaning of 'ash' because (like 'Ansuz') this refers to the Ancestors.
Yruz - Formed as 'Ur-uz' and sounded 'ooruz' rather than 'ur-uz'.
Ioraz - This is a very difficult one since the rune-name Ior can be found in Iormungand where the sound iormun is similar and related to ermin and Irmin, all of which seem to relate to 'mighty' and to 'strength'. We find this in Eormenric which would mean 'Mighty Ruler'. I find it wise to merely add the '-az' sound to this.
Earaz/Earthaz - Again this is a very difficult one since again we have little to go on except a link to the 'earth-grave' and thus to 'earth'. There is an IE Root *er- meaning 'earth' from which this no doubt stems. And yet the sound *ar means 'eagle' and this too can be related to this rune - the OE word for 'eagle' is earn. There is also a PGmc *raizjan meaning 'to raise', 'to rise' and 'to arise' which adds meaning to the rune itself.
Cweorth - The meaning of this rune is very uncertain, but some link it to the Celtic Ogham Quert which is linked to the 'apple'. The 'cw' becomes 'qu' which logically links the two together. We have an IE Root *gwer- which has the following meanings -
- 'Mountain', but originally linked to 'coming from the north'.
- 'Heavy' from which stems the OE cweorn meaning 'quern'.
- 'To favour'.
- 'To swallow', linked to the throat.
These meanings really do not help much I am afraid; we should now move to the alternative Sweorth meaning 'sword'. Here the root-meaning can be seen in one of the meanings to the IE Root *swer-
- To speak, to talk, whence the Old English swerian meaning 'to swear'.
- To buzz, whisper (imitative) giving us our word 'swirl' and 'whirl'.
- To cut, to cleave giving the Old English sweord meaning 'sword'. We have to note that this does not actually give us the rune-name sweorth, so a 'scribal error' would seem to be an inadequate reason to view the change from Cweorth to Sweorth. More likely this has two distinct meanings hidden in one form of the word.
- Heavy - it should be noted that here we do have a link between the word Cweorth ('heavy') and Sweorth ('heavy').
Since this rune-name seems to have two distinct meanings I am going to stick my neck out here and suggest a third - PGmc *swarta- which gives us Old English sweart and German swart both having the meaning of 'black' or 'swarthy'. The reason I have suggested this is because of the link between this rune and the Long Man of Wilmington which seems to be linked to one of the Grail Legends, and this particular legend mentions a huge black man who appears at this site, this being the 'Wild Man of the Woods' known in Germanic and Celtic Myths.
Calkaz - The IE Root *kal- gives us 'cup' or 'chalice' and the Latin calix; the root can also mean 'beautiful' or 'hard' and gives rise to the name of the Celtic Sword 'Excalibur' and the Latin Caliburnus meaning 'hard'. The root-meaning 'cup' actually comes from the Greek kalux meaning 'seed-vessel' or 'cup' which somewhat changes the equation. The meaning of this rune could thus be related to the 'pouring' out of seeds onto the Earth, and thus to 'seeding' or giving new life. Also, there could be a connection with the 'Water-Bearer', symbolic of the Age of Aquarius, who pours out the water from his pitcher onto the Earth - Seeds of Rebirth?
We have a link to Kalki Avatar here and to HelgiH since the PGmc Root *hal- is the equivalent to *kal-. Kalki 'descends' to Earth as the term 'avatar' tells us, for it means 'to dive' or 'the diver' whose symbol would obviously be the 'dove' which is the 'diver' and not originally applied to this bird. We also have the link with Kali and here there is a link to the last rune - Cweorth- since 'Kali' is not only 'Time' but also related to our word 'coal' which is black or swart. We have a kind of paradox here since the Latin calx means 'chalk' which is white and the link to black through Kali.
Stannaz - We have merely added the -az to the word 'stan' meaning 'stone'. There is one point here that is interesting and that is the IE Root *(s)ten which means 'thunder'. The 's' seems to have been dropped from this at some time.
Gar-al - I have changed this to link it to 'graal'; there is an interesting IE Root *garwian which gives gar giving us the Old Norse gera meaning 'to make do' and the noun-form *garwi meaning 'equipment', or 'adornment' or 'gear'. The spear is thus 'equipment' but the rune-stave itself is made up of the Ing-Rune and Gyfu-Rune making 'Gift of Ing' and G-ungn-R. The suffix *-al or *-el means 'light' which fits so well with the meaning Gar-al - the Spear of Light (this is borne out by the Spear of Lugh - one of the Four Hallows - which is the Spear of Light).
This is a very difficult subject to tackle and no doubt the rune-names will be changed again when new ideas come to light - which they invariably do. We should not be afraid to change, nor to admit mistakes when we make them. The truth is what matters, and we have to strive for this as best we can. We also need to remember that proto- merely means that the words are reconstructed from the material available, and invariably means speculation on the part of the scholars who do this work. This cannot be avoided since we really do not know for sure, though scholars that tackle this do so using certain 'laws' of letter-changes and sound-changes to try to be as accurate as possible. But again, we have to consider that these academics use logic alone, and sometimes the use of intuition and 'occult' techniques can be just as valid as logic. Roots with the same sound are often considered to give words with different roots, but there is a case for seeing sounds as forming links between different words with different meanings. Also the use of play-on-words as seems to be the case with Peorth and Cweorth. The word 'ash' can be either *as or *os which suggests a reason why these two were differentiated by using os and aesc in the OE Rune Row, the former used for 'ash' and the latter for 'mouth' (using the Latin meaning). We need to stick to the FUTHORK rather than the FUTHARK for the 33-Rune Row.