The Tarot of Ideals
A Rune Script
This is experimental. It allows you to cast runes (“secrets”) as if written on little pieces of wood, then select them as the ancients may have done. The basic meaning of each selected rune is displayed below the runes.
Cast the runes, then click the ones that look right:
Tacitus (Germania 10, 98AD):
They attach the highest importance to the taking of auspices and casting lots. Their usual procedure with the lot is simple. They cut off a branch from a nut-bearing tree and slice it into strips; these they mark with different signs and throw them at random onto a white cloth. Then the state’s priest, if it is an official consultation, or the father of the family, in a private one, offers prayer to the gods and looking up towards heaven picks up three strips, one at a time, and, according to which sign they have previously been marked with, makes his interpretation. If the lots forbid an undertaking, there is no deliberation that day about the matter in question. If they allow it, further confirmation is required by taking auspices.
⊞ The Runes
These are the Elder Futhark runes, with their basic meanings and some brief interpretation.
⊞ The Rune Poems
Rune poems are poems that list the letters of runic alphabets while providing an explanatory poetic stanza for each letter. Three different poems have been preserved: the Norwegian Rune Poem, the Icelandic Rune Poem, and the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem. Not all runes are included in each poem, and the forms of some of the runes differ between poems; the following is a comparison based on meanings as well as forms.
Wealth is a source of discord amongst kin;
the wolf lives in the forest.
Wealth is a source of discord amongst kin
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.
Wealth is a comfort to all;
yet must everyone bestow it freely,
if they wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.
Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.
Rain is lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.
Thurs (“Giant”) causes anguish to women,
misfortune makes few men cheerful.
Thurs (“Giant”) is torture of women
and husband of a giantess
The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any thegn to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.
Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords.
Óss is aged Gautr
and prince of Asgard
and lord of Valhalla.
The mouth is the source of all language,
a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.
Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses;
Reginn forged the finest sword.
Riding is of sitting a blessing
and swift journey
and horses toiling.
Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.
Ulcer is fatal to children;
death makes a corpse pale.
Disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.
The torch is known to every living man
by its pale, bright flame; it always burns
where princes sit within.
Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one’s dignity;
it furnishes help and subsistence
to all broken men who are devoid of aught else.
Who uses it knows no pain,
sorrow nor anxiety, and he himself has
prosperity and bliss, and also enough shelter.
Hail is the coldest of grain;
Christ created the world of old.
Hail is cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.
Hail is the whitest of grain;
it is whirled from the vault of heaven
and is tossed about by gusts of wind
and then it melts into water.
Constraint gives scant choice;
a naked man is chilled by the frost.
Constraint is grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
Ice is called the broad bridge;
the blind man must be led.
Ice is bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
Yew is the greenest of trees in winter;
it is wont to crackle when it burns.
and brittle iron
and giant of the arrow.
The yew is a tree with rough bark,
hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.
Pertho is a source of recreation and amusement to the great,
where warriors sit blithely together in the beerhall.
The Elk-sedge usually lives in the fen,
growing in the water. It wounds severely,
staining with blood any man
who makes a grab at it.
Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.
Sun is the shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.
The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
when they journey away over the fishes’ bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.
Tyr is a one-handed god;
often has the smith to blow.
Tyr, god with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.
Tir is a (guiding) star; well does it keep faith
with princes; it is ever on its course
over the mists of night and never fails.
Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.
Birch is a leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.
The poplar bears no fruit;
yet without seed it brings forth suckers,
for it is generated from its leaves.
Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.
The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.
A steed in the pride of its hoofs,
when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;
and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.
Man is an augmentation of the dust;
great is the claw of the hawk.
Man is delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.
The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen;
yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow,
since the Lord by his decree
will commit the vile carrion to the earth.
A waterfall is a River which falls from a mountain-side;
but ornaments are of gold.
Water is eddying stream
and broad geysir
and land of the fish.
The ocean seems interminable to men,
if they venture on the rolling bark
and the waves of the sea terrify them
and the stallion of the deep heed not its bridle.
Ing was first amidst the East Danes
so seen, until he went eastward
over the sea. His wagon ran after.
Thus the Heardings named that hero.
[An estate] is very dear to every man,
if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.
Day, the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord;
it is beloved of men, a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor,
and of service to all.
Rune Poems, and