Runic Morphophonemics

an exercise in the mystification of a phoneme system

paradoxically one and the same as its own orthography

click on a rune for its meaning...

rune images adapted from those of

click here for one of many alternative ways to conceptualize the Elder Futhark (the amount of conceptualizations is up to the conceptualizer)

[!!!NOTE: The views and interpretations expressed here are in no way intended to be authoritative. They come from the author's mind - or maybe some other place... but that is all a matter of OPINION. Please don’t loose (or neglect) your own mind! Thanks!]

AUTHOR: ᚠᚱᚨᛜᚲᛁᛋᚺᚨᛉ

The First Eight (Ætt) of the Elder Futhark

The following is a mythological and historical analysis/interpretation of the “First Aett” (first group of eight runes) of the Elder Futhark, in respect to the etymology of each of the rune’s names, and in respect to each of the rune’s sounds (i.e, the phoneme that the grapheme stands for). It is expected that the reader already has an elementary familiarity with the Elder Futhark; and, if this is not the case, then please first read up on it, by referring to the many websites or books on the subject - for instances:

Rune Secrets

Runes, Alphabet of Mystery

Rune Web Vitki

Note: In the course of this study, more Runes than just those first eight shall be referred to.

Now let us begin this shamanic dialogue from a pre-existing springboard - and that board shall be historical linguistics and Edred Thorsson's Runic commentaries... and, with my own thoughts, these thoughts of others’ minds, shall all be increasingly blended and filtered and re-spun - unto explosive New Ideas and Visions Mystical...!

The First Rune of the First Aett (“Eight”): FEHU
F        F    F
F      F    F
F    F    F
F  F    F
FF    F
F    F
F  F

Via Grimm’s Law of deriving Germanic words from the Indo-European proto-language, FEHU would go back to Proto-Indo-European “peku-”; and this latter form does indeed pop up in languages that in ways are closer to Indo-European than the Germanic. Latin “pecu(s)” means “a single head of cattle.” But through time, this root “pecu(s),” together with its Germanic analogue FEHU, came to mean “money” or “currency.” To illustrate, the English word “PECU-niary” (of, relating to, or consisting of money) has the root PECU via Latin. To illustrate this semantic shift on the Germanic side of Indo-European, FEHU, being from Proto-Germanic, derives German “Vieh” (cattle) as well as English “fee.”

Domestic cattle and mobile wealth are the meanings of the rune FEHU as a word - as opposed to as a sound, which is /f/. The latter word-meaning is derived from the former. One imagines the buying and selling of cattle in the movements between nomadic farmers - and the original Indo-Europeans were supposed to have been nomadic. This kind of PECUniary movement of transactions constitutes a particular kind of wealth, i.e, the wealth of an entire society, of an economy. This wealth ceases to exist without such trans-active inter-motion. Hoarding this wealth lessons the value of it.

This mobile wealth, represented by this first rune, thus contrasts with the stationary wealth, represented by the last rune, OTHALA...

               O     O
           O            O
        O                  O
     O                        O
       O                    O
          O              O
             O        O
                O  O
             O        O
         O               O
      O                     O
   O                           O
As mobile wealth that lacks on inert substance or stationary essence, that is not a noun-type Kantian thing-in-itself but in reality a verb (and only captured in terms of a noun figuratively, by necessity of speech), FEHU represents Plato’s Realm of Becoming, as opposed to his Realm of Being, which is where truth, stability and thing-in-itself’ness resides, eternally. This Platonic being would thus be represented by OTHALA. But here with FEHU we have the ephemeral, the world of flux and change, the currents of a river that reflect happenchance visions, the illusion-making Mara or Maya in the Hindu and Buddhist schools of thought. As knowledge, FEHU-knowledge as opposed to OTHALA-knowledge would be that which cannot be grasped, but only intuited in the course of experiencing the very texture of the current of the Eternal Now. That Now itself would be OTHALA - or call it Tao.

With all this in mind, another way of defining the lexical manifestation of the FEHU Rune would be as “current” and “currency.” The former in the sense of electric current, which exists not substantially, not in and of itself, but as a motion between two poles, or in a circuit; and when this motion ceases, any semblance of substance is nowhere to be found. This would be the spinning of electrons in an atom, whose very motion conjures up the illusion of substance.
[[[We can also think of this sort of “substantiality based on nonsubstantial motion” as the Buddhist notion of Emptiness - for which here I would like to give a sort of anecdote... Imagine you are looking though a microscope at some substance. You focus in on an atom, and then you focus in on a particle of that atom - perhaps one of the spinning electrons... You keep thinking you have found substance behind the spin when each time, that substance you find is another particle that in itself is merely the spinning of yet another yet smaller particle spinning... Would you think this would go on forever - in an infinite (or infinitesmal) chain of cause and effects? - or would you come to the last particle, and focus in on it to find it is based on no other spinning particles, that it is just Spinningness in itself? - or perhaps, when you get to the end, you see an image of the Godhead smiling wryly at you, and winking as s/he/it says, “Gotcha!”? - or a reflection of yourself, of your eye that is looking? This is a metaphoric tale to contemplate with metaphoric thought, not literally; in the same way one reads poetry or heres lyrics in a song, the song with its music having awakened certain non-verbal areas of the mind while putting certain overliteral aspects of the brain into lullingness]]]
The latter definition, “currency,” is the same idea, but at a monetary level, as described above in the first paragraph. But a furthermore simile for that latter meaning may make that point clearer: When a dragon hoards a treasure, sitting on it in motionlessness, then the surrounding countryside is empovershed. A dragonslayer is needed to get the beast off its arse and moving out of its stuffy cave and back flying through the sky, breathing fire in it soaring freedom!

“Fire” is another meaning of the FEHU Rune. Fire has no substance of its own, but feeds on the substantiality of others. Indeed, the voice of YHVH spoke to the Hebrew prophet Moses out of the fire of the burning bush. This myth exhibits the basic duality between - and dynamism between - FEHU/becoming/phenomenon and OTHALA/being/noumenon. By the way, this intuitive knowing as a verb in the course of the flowingness of the Eternal Now - in its CURRENT, as a river, can be collected only with a calm mind, and known only in that way (see the first poem of the Tao Te Ching). This calmness of mind that can penetrate the noumena in the phenomena, i.e, the eternal in the changing, is LAGUZ - which is the pool or lake where the current eventually leads...

L  L
L     L
L          L
L             L
L                 L

Both LAGUZ and OTHALA exist on the final Eight of the Elder Futhark. Here with FEHU OUR journey is just beginnINGg. We are learning how to simply “flow with it.” What that “it” is, that cannot be verbalized. YHVH did not want to reveal his name to Moses. We can just call it LAGUZ. But that is always a metaphor. Extrapolations of water from the currents result in a watery mess. Don’t be wet! (Pun intended.)

Interesting to notE in these regards, the German word for “to comprehend” is related to its word for “to grasp,” as is also its word for “concept.” “Begreifen” means “to comprehend,” “greifen” means “to grasp,” and the word for “concept,” “Begriff,” is an ablauted form of “greif(en).” The root is GR-F. In English, the case is the same, really, though less transparent. Instead of saying “to comprehend,” we often say “to grasp” - and they mean the same thing, the difference merely being that the metaphor is apparent with the latter, but forgotten with the former because it is hidden in the opaque Italickness of Latin “com-prehendere,” meaning, literally “to grasp with.” “Prehendere” is the verb where the word “prehensile" comes from, as in “prehensile tails” - or, a term I like to use, “prehensile HANDS.” Indeed, it seems to me our intellects - which are that which in us that craves grasping - evolved in parallel to our hands with opposable thumbs. [QUESTION Does the same part of the brain that enables conceptualization control physical grasping? Do we have PREHENSILE BRAINS ? ? ? ] Thus, our minds create con-cepts, “cepts” being from Latin “capere,” meaning “to take.” We take water out of the river of life, but we cannot grasp it - even though we do sort of hallucinate in the form of concepts. This grasping nature of ours is what in Buddhism - in the form of the Four Noble Truths - causes DUKKHA, that is, the disjointedness of ourselves from reality. Yet the secret here is to realize there is no “ourselves” - there is just One, there is just Reality.

And so, FEHU is simply a game to play, or a dance, if you prefer that metaphor. It is what Hindus call Lila, the Divine Dance.

Dance away and do not stagnate!
Do not let the Dragon bate!
Be a bold Sigurdh the Dragonslayer!
Do not be a Fafnir...
Get up, motivate and go!!!


U   U
U     U
U       U
U        U
U         U
U          U
U          U
U          U
U         U

While the secondary meaning of FEHU, “mobile wealth,” contrasts with OTHALA and forms a yinyang unit with it, so does the primary meaning of FEHU, “domesticated cattle,” contrast with the meaning of URUZ, “aurochs” - that is, the WILD bovine as opposed to the domesticated bovine. In this way there is a deep inherent connection - WITHIN the very framework of the Elder Futhark - between FEHU (the first) and OTHALA (the last) as well as FEHU (the first) and URUZ (the next). This is a kind of metaphysical multidimensionality.

The etymology for this one is difficult. My reference here is Kluge's Etymologisches Woerterbuch, under the entry Auerochse, which means "Wildrinde" → wild cattle...

German Auerochs goes back to Middle/Medieval German uro, urochso, from the Germanic root *uron, with a variant *ura that is the root of the form ur in Old English and urr in Old Norse. Latin uros and Greek ouros were borrowed from the Germanic.

The original Germanic word was masculine. Indeed, URUZ is a masculine rune. It referred to a maculine animal, as is evidenced by the fact that this word is itself used as a prefix to denote the masculine in the German word AUER-hahn, for a kind of wild rooster(?) - as opposed to the female “wild hen.” [Any thoughts or help on the meaning of these two words would be greatly appreciated - please feel free to email me!!!] Wildhuhn (not hahn) is “wood hen,” with WILD (wild) be the prefix... It seems to me that the prefix AUER means not only “maleness”, but also “wild” at the same time. Otherwise, would not the masculine version of the word be Wild-HAHN or AUER-wildhahn???

Unlike FEHU, URUZ does not seem to trace back to Proto-Indo-European. The word may derive from indigenous European peoples - perhaps, I would like to contend, people whose gods were the Vanir, whereas the Indo-European's pantheon was that of the AEsir; and that the first war in the world (spoken of in the Eddas) was really a story about the Indo-Europeans' mounted invasion of a still older culture in Europe - that did not ride horses, and was not as much, if at all, into animal domestication. Thus, we have FEHU - the domesticated Indo-European animal on the one hand (i.e, the AEsir anima)l; and URUZ the wild Old European and Vanic animal on the other hand. I think of the cow vs. the buffalo, and the Indo-Europeans being like the cowboys imposing their ways in Indian territory... [references: Marija Gimbutas and J. P. Mallory, and many others...!!! seek this information out for yourself...! There is so much to study.]

The heartbeat and spunk and manly esprit
at home in the very womb of the Wilds herself
is all about what URUZ is about!!!!!!!!!


      TH   TH
      TH       TH
      TH          TH
      TH       TH
      TH    TH

I have been tongue-tied in trying to go on to the rune THURISAZ. The problem is going back to Proto-Indo-European with it. I think I may need a reference of a full fledge Old Norse etymological dictionary so I can look up "thurs"... But on my own I was at first entertaining the possibility that Thurisaz was cognate to Latin Tauras because, with Grimm's Law, Taurus would become Thaurus, and it is a common phenomenon in languages throughout the world for au to coalesce into a long o, and the long o would become u in Germanic by a regular sound shift. But then I found that Taurus came from an Indo-European root that began with s. That s was lost, but not lost in Germanic, so that the English and German words “steer” (the animal) and “Stier” are what pop up in English as cognate to Latin Taurus. But if Taurus were cognate to Thurisaz, then for the first three runes we'd have a nice line-up of bovines!

But I think the case is more interesting. I do not think Thurisaz is cognate to Thor, but that Thurisaz/thurse come from a root seperate from Thor/Thu(nd)er, German "Do(nn)er." So, there may really be no etymological connectioin beween the two, and yet the two archetypes - the thurses vs. Thor - are, I would say, what the rune THURISAZ stands for. Thurse implies Thor, just as much as the existence of the Devil, to quote a saying, proves the existence of God (no Christian push intended AT ALL). And then I recalled what Thorsson writes of runic seed-words; and I started to think of an idea I've had in my own philosophizing about language, which is that the ultimate language's sounds - the very letters/phonemes - would each in themselves be a meaningful concept and building block of speech...

So, what I am saying here in regards to seed-words, or seed-sounds (to use the words Thorsson would use; or, what in linguistics we could call a morphophoneme), is that the th-sound of THURISAZ is a morphophoneme that stands for that particular type of raw power that is the common denominator of both the thurses and Thor with his Mjoellnir. And THAT is what THURISAZ stands for. ---and... as a sort of afterthought, the later generations re-named THURISAZ in the Anglo-Saxon Futhork to be called THORN. The prick of the thorn, the hammer of Thor - they each possess a common denominator, which is their phallic nature - and thus, the mysterious meaning of this RUNE is hinted at some more...!

NOTE: The Rune URUZ and THURISAZ are distinctly masculine, in my feeling of them.  URUZ is more of a whole male, the whole body and spirit as embodied in say, a charging buffallo of the Wild West... But THURISAZ is just that core unit of malehood in all its stupidity. It takes a strong man of heroism, a veritable Thor, to wield this power properly. Many men fail to control their masculinity, let alone WIELD it... And weapons should be wielded only when the need arises...

Incidentally, two runes come to mind as dinstinctly feminine - BERKANA (which can be thought of as a pictogram for the Platonic Idea of The Bosom per se)...

B  B
B      B
B         B
B           B
B       B
B   B 
B       B
B           B
B        B
B     B
B  B

...and LAGUZ (see above).

But also PERTHRO...

P   P             P
P        P        P
P             P   P
P                  P
P                  P
P             P   P
P        P        P
P   P             P

...if you interpret it as a yoni whilst interpretting THURISAZ to be a lingham. All at once PERTHRO can be thought of as a womb and as a fetus curled up in the womb - for PERTHRO holds the miracle of life!

Also, there is a connection with INGWAZ and THURISAZ that is relevant here - as that the former is the catrasted god, the sacrifice - or, to put it another way, the flacid god saving his energy for the next harvest, as the case me be in a more or in a less metaphorical sense... I am thinking of Ingwaz as being Freyr, and at the same time Dionysos and Christ - the god that is sacrficed and then comes back with good things for everybody, whether harvest or a New Jerusalem, what have you... It is the archetype that initiates JERA - the turn of seasons.

INGWAZ (scrotum w/ phallus) → INGWAZ (scrotum w/o phallus)
                  NG                                                      NG
            NG        NG                                        NG          NG
        NG                 NG                               NG                  NG
   NG                           NG                     NG                            NG
        NG                 NG                               NG                  NG
           NG          NG                                       NG          NG
                   NG                                                     NG


Orthogaphy and the actual system of pronounced sounds (the phonemes) are two things that often get mixed up - and so it is no wonder that often “th” stands for many things. I write “th” for THURISAZ as a symbol the voiceless interdental fricative, as in the “th” in “thin” but not “that”; and I would write “dh” as the symbol for the voiced interdental fricative as in the “th” in “that” but not “thin”.

Indo-European “t” became “th” - in the way I am writing it, that is, as a voiceless interdental fricative. That is why I had wondered if Latin “tauris” popped up as “thurisaz” in Germanic - what with Indo-European “t” remaining so in Latin. But then, through etymological diCtionaries, that is, by looking up “tauris” and “steer” and German “Stier”, I found “taurus” is cogante to English “steer” and German “stier,” and that there had been an “s” before “taurus” in Indo-European. That “s” blocked the change of the “t” from becoming “th” - thus, we know THURISAZ is not cogante to “Taurus.”

As for THURISAZ being cogante to “Thor,” to whatever extent, let me paraphrase from Kluge’s ETYMOGISCHES WOERTERBUCH, from the entery for “Donner.” -And keep in mind that voiceless intervocalic fricative “th” became “d” in German, hence “Donner” and not “thonner” - and keep in mind that  the root for “Thor” seems to have been longer - i.e, had an “n” or “nn” in it... Here is the paraphrase…

German “Donner” goes back to Middle/Medieval German “doner” ~ “toner,” which go back to  Old High German “donnar” ~ “t(h)onar,” which go back to some form like that of Old Saxon “thunar,” and from there to the Germanic root “thunra-,” which is masculine and means “thunder” or “Thunder God.”

From this Germanic root “thunra” come Old Norse “thorr” ~ “thunarr” - which shows us how the medial nasals “n” or “nn” can delete; and Old English “thunor;” and Old Frisian “thuner” ~ “tonger.”

Germanic root “thunra-” goes back to Indo-Euopean root “ten-,” from which come the following verb forms: Latin: “tonare” (to thunder - and think of the English words “tone” or “tune” - probably derived from here); Old Indic: “tanyu” (thundering) Old English “thunian” (to thunder).

And then a certain element, called the “mobile S”, can be added to the front in Indo-European, to make the stem “sten,” from which come Old Indic: stanati, stanayati.

And here is a snippit from the New Oxford American Dictioanary on the “thurs” in Thursday…

ORIGIN Old English Thu(n)resdæg [day of thunder,] translation of late Latin Jovis dies ‘day of Jupiter’(god associated with thunder): compare with Dutch donderdag and German Donnerstag.

NOTE: As for thurs as in giant/Etin, I need to get my hands on De Vries' Etymological Dictionary of Old Icelandic… I used to have access to it when I was going to UMass… It will lead you down the correct path to the root of THURISAZ, which I don’t think is the same end-point as DONNER/THO(NNE)R/THUNDER…

And here is a snippit from the New Oxford American Dictioanary on “thunder” - as snippet which I’m throwing in just for good measure...

ORIGIN Old English thunor (noun), thunrian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch donder and German Donner, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin tonare ‘to thunder.’

NOTE: In none of these etymologies is THURS/THURISAZ mentioned. So, does anyone have access to De Vries' Etymological Dictionary of Old Icelandic? Please, someone, help me and look up THURS!!!

But - Yes: Donner and Thor do come from the same root.

Mystically speaking - as for Donner and Thor and - despite the academic etymology - Thurisaz and Thurses connect to them on the same path - as well as the other name for the rune, Thorn (which, also, lies down another academic etymology's path). I will indeed say (mystically) that all of these words in a different way than from such etymologies do actually lie on the same path... Perhaps it is inherent in the very sound of thththththththththth.......... Perhaps it is also inherent in the very shape of THURISAZ, and what this shape means on the level of sign language - as being the direction or diagram for how to move your hand to make this sign... I believe that there are concepts associated with this rune that are very Here&Now - that the path that the meaning of Thurisaz lies on is one open right here at the moment. Just look at the shape of the stave, say thththththth, do the sign...

Etymologically speaking, Donner and Thor are the same word; but Thurisaz/thurse are a different word from them. But the sound-symbolism of ththththth - or as a seed-word THU ~ THO - have the same meaning as Donner/Thor and Thurisaz/thurse... THORN makes a good name for this rune, too, primarily because it has the seed-word THO. Also, because of the phallic(?) nature of a thorn and the PRICKING it does. (I apologize if this imagery or wording offends - I mean nothing disrespectful about it - the symbols/forms of masculine and feminine energy are significant on a spiritual level, I contend - like yoni and lingham in Hinduism; and, for the matter, yin and yang...).........

Concentrated into the power of Mjoellnir
Is the power of the thurses...
Thor holds the thurses at bay by their own strength.

.....we have enough under our belt now to go a bit faster along; indeed, these first few runes of the Elder Futhark are its running start  - and now its momentum is picking up considerably!

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” sighs the breath/spirit of life-consciousness...!



A   A
A     A
A       A
A  A
A    A
A      A

It seems Ansuz/breath of god/AHHHHHHHHHHHH is honing all the ruccus of white-noise THTHTHTHTH to go on a journey - Raidho/RRRRRRRRRRRRRR...........

R    R    
R       R
R          R 
R       R
R     R
R  R
R R 
R    R
R       R
R          R

And, at the end of the journey, we have the holy grail - K!



That is, all the white noise power of FFFFFF and THTHTHTH as it was first shaped by OOOOOOOOO and, then, honed by AHHHHHHHH, and then gone forth onto its vision quest and prooving grounds and rite of passage of RRRRRRRRRRRR, is the magic that lights the torch...

KENAZ means “torch.” Perhaps merely as a meaningful coincidence, the KEN just so happens to be the Germanic root for “knowing.” I am not saying this KEN necessarily is a manifestation of that root; but I am saying - like I did with THURISAZ, that this KEN (like the former’s THU) can be viewed MYSTICALLY as a sort of seed-word, a.k.a, as a sort of metaphysical folk/pseudo-etymon for the sake of the sort of almost GAME of hyper-association that is the hallmark of mysticism...

...Speaking factually, and not mystically, the root for “knowing” is that same one present in the word “know(ing)” - it is the knV root (V standing for whatever vowel). The vowel can also be in between the consonants; hence, the root can just as well be written kVn. Let us formulate the root as k-n-. It pops up as - for just SOME examples - English “can” and “ken(ning);” as German “können” (can; to be able to) and German “kennen” (can; to be familiar with; to know how to); and English know(ing/ledge), as already mentioned.

The root k-n- goes back to Indo-European, as g-n-, from whence it comes out into, for instance, Greek as gno-, as in GNosis, coGNizance, so on... The Greek root gen-, as in GENisis and GENus, goes back, like gn-, to Indo-European g-n-. Roots modified by ablautations is what Indo-European seems to have been all about - at least when you postulate that proto-language from the Germanic side, which is just chock full of ablautings galore...! English “kin” is thus likewise cognate to the words “know, can, kenning.” KIN are whom one KNOWS.

The German words “kund” (known) and “Kind” (child) are likewise cogante - one’s child is one’s KIN, after all. An alveolar plosive (i.e, d or t) was a formative ending in Proto-Germanic and Indo-European - hence the German forms kun-D and Kin-D - other forms, like German “(be)kannt”, so on... With these proto-roots (Proto-Germanic or Proto-Indo-European) one can go on and on listing all their variations, simply be entertaining all the possible vowel possibilities with ablaut, and then umlaut, and all the various formatives, such as prefixes, suffixes, and perhaps even infixes - and then check for confirmation in an etymological dictionary. I believe English “kind” goes back to this root of Germanic k-n-/Indo-European g-n-. And would we be surprised, after all this, to find that KENAZ does indeed go back to this root - as a matter of FACT and not mysticism? But it was only through first entertaining this mystical hyper-connectedness of ideas that we are led to such a possibility. Indeed, BRAINSTORMING is more important than most would admit. That’s what runes can do... Indeed, in Odin’s Rune Song in Havamal, it is told how one thought led to the next, one word to the next - INSPIRED (as Odin’s name, ETYMOLOGICALLY, means).........

Now back to KENAZ as purely a TORCH...

...a torch, being GRASPED in the hands, means one has control of it. In other words, all the white noise wildfire of FFFFFFF and white noise thunder of THTHTHTH, being all out of control or Jøtun-like chaotic on their own, is now mastered and wieldable....

For Ansuz, I think the sound AHHHHHHHH as a sort of breath - the breath of Woden stirring life into Askr and Embla, is significant. Askr and Embla are the Adam and Eve archetypes - in the form of trees. Imagine AHHHHHH(nsuz) being the wind that blows through their branches, stirring them to life - so that their roots lift up like feet stepping out of the mud - BEHOLD! The first people...! (See the Vøluspá of the Poetic Edda for more on Askr and Embla, and Odin -i.e, whom the name Ansuz refers to) as he “blew life” into them...

And also think of the passage from Genesis, where it is said that the Spirit/Breath of God hovered over the face of the waters... Think of the spirit breath as AHHHHHHHHH and the face of the waters as LLLLLLLLLLLLLLL(aguz). Pronounce LLLLLLLLLL and FEEL its meaning in its very sound. Do so for each rune. Get into them. Dig them. Interpret them gluttonously.

Let us review again the whole first six of the eight letters of the First Eight...

We begin without the vocal cords vibrating, with white noise seeping through the lips as one bites down on one's lip - FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF........ this is the smouldering ffffffffire of creation, of movement for the sake of movement, with no solidity to it... Then, we go to another sound that is equally resonating - but now the vocal cords are awakened - they begin to vibrate - a low octave vibration; a powerful bass, like the muscular legs of a buffalo - OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..... Then returns the white noise - but this time it is not just one set of teeth biting down on flesh, but both sets of teeth, biting into the tongue.. THTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTH....... but the sound is still one that continues with a duration; the energies are still collecting... again the vocal cords vibrate - another vowel is coming; but it is one that is cooling, a breath of inspiration to guide rather than exite - AHHHHHHHHH... and, with this guidance, we no longer go back to a white noise sound but go forth deeply on our quest-journey - RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, rrrrrrrrrattling deep in the thrrrrrrrroat...!

...... and then, for the first time in the FUTHARK, there comes a sound that has no continuing duration to it - it is a sharp, sudden ending of sound - it is all the energy gathered pin-pointed into a graspable point - indeed, like the ffffffffffires of ffffffffffffehu safely gathered on the T-ip of a T-orch held in one's hand, in front of one, lighting the way that we have been traversing on Raidho............

this sound is....


All the resonating power of ffffffffffffooooooooooththththahhhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr has KliKKed into one pointed !K!

Now let us do this chant (Galdr, in Old Norse/Old Icelandic) again. But this time, we are going to add on the next and last two runes of the First Aett...

GEBO (gift, an exchange; derived from the g-b Germanic root)

                 X                       X
                   X                  X
                      X            X
                         X       X
                           X  X
                          X   X
                        X       X
                     X             X
                  X                  X
                X                       X
              X                            X
Examples of the g-b- root: English give, gift (this with t-formative and v devoicing to f in anticipatory assimilation with that formative). The reason English has v and not b, is because the origin form is not really b (voiced bilabial plosive) but what we could perhaps have gotten away here with writing as bh (voiced bilabial fricative). This fricative lies in between the b-sound proper and the v-sound - so we can expect both forms in its etymological manifestations. German: geben, and perhaps German Gift, and yet perhaps not because this Gift means poison. And there is a lot of ablauting going on here as well as always with these roots: give, gave, given; geben, gibt, gab, gegeben... AND ON AND ON WE COULD GO THROUGH ALL THE GERMANIC LANGUAGES,THROUGHOUT ALL THE INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES - POSSIBLY EVEN TO PROTO-NOSTRATIC AND PROTO-WORLD ITSELF! But let’s take a breather and just move on, hahahaha....

NOTE: this g-b- root is in fact that of GEBO, not merely a possibility, as with KENAZ.

(8) WUNJO (joy, harmony; derived from the w-n Germanic root)

W  W
W     W
W        W
W         W
W       W
W     W
W W 

WUNJO itself is already a factual root, w-n-, with the formative -j-. Just taking the root, whether or not it is with this formative, we are in for a field day of etymons! I will try to keep it short, for the root covers a semantic field so large that to run around it will leave us breathless... English wonder, win; German Wunder, Wonne, Wahn(sinn), gewinnen; via Indo-European, Latin Venus; Old Norse/Icelandic Vanir - just like ANSUZ is cognate to Aesir.

In any case, with the etymolgies and meanings of them, I get the sense of a heavenly meadow for the rune, where the lion lays down with the lamb, in harmony under a sun like the face of a baby in the Tellytubbies show, hahahaha... Yes, THAT beautiful! Think of the Shire and Hobbits dancing around a May Pole in the sunshine...!


Summary of the First Eight - in the form of a Galdr mantra…

Say: FfffffooooothahhhhrrrrrK...G...WUNJO! Joy!

Fffff for FEHU - getting into the flow of it…

ooooo for URUZ - energizing this flow…

th is the biting down of this moving energy, the teeth into the tongue - the spark off a cloud as Thor’s hammer, thrown, hits…

ahhhh breathes Odin onto and into the stream, like a wind, making it rush on even more!!!

rrrrr is the unstoppable momentum of the journey begun - then,


all this force, with all the rush and roar behind it, is centered into the one, single sound


...deep in the throat...

which, with all this force packed into this unit of a sound, this tiny but pinpoint sharp articulation, must tighten,

g-g-g-gurgle as the vocal cords tighten, vibrate and choke:


And then this power is


Wunjo! Wunjo! Wunjo!

The joy of existence! The happiness of the harmany of it ALL!!!

Wunjo! Joy!


I have always thought of Jotenheim being in the East and Vanaheim in the west, just like the vast open expanse of Siberia is East of Scandinavia, and to the West are rich islands, such as those of Britain, and Iceland, and so on, until you get to the lush Vine-lands of VInland/America - all very Vanir with all their riches and vegetation... And the Eastern steppes, with being so vast and full of nomads of all sorts (in ancient times, at least), was out of the bounds of civilization, which would be to say, Order - and hence, the Etins are creatures of dis-order, or Non-Order, as Order per se must never have even occurred to them in their non-self-aware states...

As or the cultural impact of domestication in terms of wealth, I am thinking here along the lines of URUZ vs. FEHU, URUZ representing the very natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle - which would be a kind of Garden of Eden, so long as the climate stays right and disease-free and invader-free; and, in this truly free environment, a kind of democratic socialism - in the best of senses - would become nature, i.e, people share wealth freely, and the wealth that exists is purely natural, and no one is confusing any symbol, such as money, for wealth... Wealth could be berries picked from a fresh plant, or a nicely made blanket - but it is all a tribal effort, the picking of the berries or the making of the blanket... Sure, people may have a sense of ownership, but that won't go to the extent of hoarding - which is FEHU when not in motion and trying to pretend to be OTHALA. OTHALA is the inherited state of a natural URUZ society.

But domestication is a step away form Eden - though this is not 100% true. I can imagine some animals hanging around the URUZ tribe - perhaps there's a raven or two or a wolf/dog that the tribe loves to feed, perhaps even make use of... But domestication in the sense of the farm is a step away from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle - it is a time when society is starting to become compartmentalized, when wealth is becoming abstract and symbolic - such as that mere decoration we call "gold" becoming the semblence “wealth”... You have here a farmer producing crops in a non-natural way for thousands of people at a time... S/he does not know the people, because there are too many to know, or they exist too far away... Wealth has become abstract - that is, there is now CURRENCY... Someone can offer the cattle farmer a table, and that table-maker may not want a cow, but s/he takes one as payment because cattle per se have become a currency. So, the table-maker trades the cow for something s/he really does want. Or, to make matters more abstract, the table-maker gives the cow to someone who is in need of one - let's say that person in need has an apple orchard. But harvest has not come yet, so the apple farmer gives the table-maker an IOU. This IOU is the birth of money. In this way the definition of FEHU goes from cattle to MONEY.

Let's say the table maker now, who has the IOU, needs to get more wood to make another table. So, s/he takes the IOU and trades it for wood. Now the wealth is in circulation.

Let's say there is a whole society of people with such IOU's. They are all in circulation. Perhaps some of them are not paid back because they are being shuffled around so complicatedly that no one remembers who owed what. But that very movement of IOU's creates an economy. People believe in the IOU's, and so they have value. They create a movement without a substance, except for its motion per se - that is FEHU.

The IOU may take the form of a chunk of gold - not a piece of paper. In other words, people start to believe the gold is a good symbol of owing something to someone. So imagine that all along when I was talking about IOU's, I was talking about gold. (The “first war” spoken of in Voluspa begins with the character Gullveig (a golden witch?) being burnt three times; and that war was between the Aesir (Indo-Europeans, patriarchal, FEHU, Sky God Teiwaz???) and the Vanir (Old Europeans, matriarchal, URUZ, Mother Earth, Frau Hoella???).)

But, to return to URUZ and the URUZ hunters and gatherers with their Eden - that Eden and that, say, forest land or jungle they were born into was their OTHALA. That was their wealth. But now, with currency, we have FEHU wealth...

... and it is very important to not use FEHU wealth to destroy or exploit OTHALA wealth. However, this is a sad thing that has been happening for thousands of years. Just think of people clearing out ancient forest lands to build a mall, pushing out tribes, buying them off, introducing guns into a hunter-gatherer world so that they accidentally kill off all the wildlife... A pure URUZ/OTHALA society has no need for FEHU - except in the sense of the circulation of stories told around the fffffffffire (fffffffffehu) at night....

My view of the world and economy and society is that we are uprooted from nature - which can mean we are out of sync with our Othala. We don't realize what we have, but we chase phantoms, thinking that's what we ought to have...

These are all other words for DUKKHA and the Four Noble Truths.

I started looking at Fehu with my Leftbrain, and ended with my Rightbrain - or something like that...! There is something about Runework that puts me more in touch with all my thoughts. That's what the Runes do for me...

Interlocking Parallels of Multidimensionality
(in the Elder Futhark)
[click here for special note]

(1) FEHU (in the sense of being the domesticated bovines of the AEsir/Indo-Europeans as discussed in forms a complimentary pair with URUZ (in the sense of being the non-domesticated bovines of the Vanir’s wild forests, a.k.a, that of the Old Europeans - see

(2) FEHU represents the AEsir/the Indo-European; and URUZ represents the Vanir/the Old Europeans. They are the first and second runes of the First AEtt; and the first and second runes of the THIRD AEtt represent the same dichotomy. TEIWAZ (the first of the Third AEtt) is the Germanic form of the ancient Indo-European word for their “Father Sky” deity (Dyaus Pitar, Ju-piter, Zeus); and BIRKANA (the second of the Third Eight; meaning “Birch Goddess”) can readily be viewed as a representation of the Old European’s “Mother Earth” deity (vis-a-vis the Venus of Duesseldorf, for instance; see the writings of Marija Gimbutas). (Another good reference to check here is H. R. Ellis Davidson’s Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. Kluge’s Etymologisches Woerterbuch, if you speaker or read German, is of invaluable help, too. Check for etymologies in whatever dictionaries you can get your hands on!)

(3) The first and last runes of each AEtt are complimentary, too. FEHU and WUNJO (the first and last runes of the First AEtt), are also representative of the Indo-Europeans/AEsir on the one hand, and the Old European/Vanir on the other. The etymological background for WUNJO lends it the diachronic definition of being Freya’s green pasture (see for FEHU, that is, for the domesticated bovines (cattle) of the Indo-European/AEsir (

(4) In the same way that FEHU and WUNJO complement each other, so do TEIWAZ and OTHALA. TEIWAZ is the sky, and OTHALA is the land; and the sky stands for the Sky God, who represents the Indo-Europeans/AEsir; and the land to which they come is is that of the Vanir/Old Europeans. (In Search of the Indo-Europeans by J. P. Mallory, and Voluspa from the Poetic Edda, are two other references to add on here.)

(5) For each AEtt, the first and last runes form a complimentary pair. In addition to the two pairs we have now gone over - those of FEHU/WUNJO and TEIWAZ/OTHALA - there is the pair from the Second AEtt of HAGALAZ/SOWILO, where HAGALAZ (hail) is everything being frozen (such as in an ice age), and SOWILO (sun) is sunniness (such as with everything being thawed out).

If we are to say that the first of each AEtt stands for some initiative on the part of the Indo-Europeans/AEsir, and the last of each AEtt stands for that which they came to achieve or assimilate, then perhaps an Ice Age (HAGALAZ) drove the Indo-Europeans into Europe, where they found sunniness (SOWILO)...

AFTERWORD (to this section):

One of my favorite teachers - a poet who runs his own publishing company, and one of my high school English teachers - told us that metaphoric thinking is higher than literal thinking. That is a great quote of his that I will keep with me till the end of my life - and hopefully beyond...

I do not know how many people are capable of metaphoric thinking, nor if it is even taught (though filling in the bubbles is)...

As for the runes, and the rune names, I imagine that the names the ancient peoples gave to the runes were words that had a lot of historical meaning to them... We have words like that in our language - words whose meanings go beyond their definitions... it is something that cannot be translated... For instance, J.R.R. Tolkien had this in mind when he said that The Lord of the Rings is an English book... He has quite a commentary of how to translate his book! If a meaningfully archaic term with a certain flavor that goes beyond a definition is used by him, then such a similar word must be used in the language targeted for translation into... However, that other language is bound to have another set of words with archaic meanings and innuendos, and different ones, at that... Not every language has the same history, and, indeed, no language does, of course--! (Thus, a language not as far from English, historically, would be the language more easy to translate his works into.)

I contend that those names of the Elder Futhark's runes were emotionally packed with meanings and innuendos that can be traced out by the etymology with regard to history... The etymology represents something that was sort of "in the back of the minds" of the ancient peoples. And so, etymology and history is my key to the secret of the runes...

The Second Eight (Ætt) of the Elder Futhark


The first rune HAGALAZ is two upstanding lines connected by a downwards crossing line. Imagine pinching the two upright lines together, until they meld into one in the center of the diagonal line, and then you have the second rune NAUDHIZ. Now erase the diagonal line, and there you have it: the next rune ISA. The antithesis of linearity is circularity, and that is the next rune JERA, the two arrows of which imply a circular motion, yet still stay in the straight edge style of the Futhark - which an outright circle or spiral would, though they would mean the same thing, basically. If ISA is the thesis, and JERA is the antithesis (we are talking about the Hegelian Dialectic here), then the next rune EIHAWZ is the synthesis: it is linear (up and down linear, just like ISA), and yet has the angular flicks on the top and bottom that in imply motion, just like JERA did. The next rune is an elucidation - or intensification - of EIHWAZ: it takes ISA and the two arrows that make up JERA, and uses those entire arrows to put on top of ISA, not just two sort of flicks, as it were, that EIHWAZ used. Additionally, there is no circular motion - though there is, like with JERA, motion - motion INWARDS… The arrows point towards each other; and the stillness of ISA holds them together. This is womblike. I contend the meaning of PERTHRO, albeit etymologically unaccessable, can be inferred through the very shape of PERTHRO as a stave, in light of the other preceding runes of this AETT, as discussed now. Now let’s go to the next rune - ALGIZ or ELHAZ, whichever name for it you prefer… One of its forms - not the common form typically associated with the Elder Futhark - is made up of the same two arrows and ISA column of PERTHRO - but here the arrows are brought in a little bit, so that the inwards pointingness in not to s sort of womblike enclose in from of ISA, but into ISA… Such “going inwards” is being spiritual, is being meditative or in prayer… The last rune, however - SOWILO - is simply the altogether opposit o ice/ISA: instead of a straight line it is a sizzagging line - often positioned at an angle, at that, as if to emphasize it possessing the opposite nature as ISA. This AETT began with a rock of ice (HAGALAZ), and we witnessed this ice face on after the ordeal of collapsing HAGALAZ’s columns into one (the NAUDHIZ experience), and then, as we pass through harrowing NAUDHIZ, coming through no unscathed with the diagnal line now missing. We thus delve into the very essence of hail itself - its inner nature, what it is made of: ice. But the end of this rune row is the solution to the Ice Age begun with this AETT. Behold, the sun now shines, and ISA must melt. Without ISA, HAGALAZ must, of course, fall, too. The other runes are left without their columns now, only the flicks or arrows remaining. And it is those arrows that are the seeds of the Third AETT.

SECOND POINT: HAGALAZ & SOWILO (the first and the last compared)...

The Second AEtt is sort of BRACKETED IN by the complimentary pair, HAGALAZ and SOWILAZ. One is a particle (hailstones), the other is a wave (sunwaves); one is cold, one is hot; one gives off light, the other is inherently dark…

THIRD POINT: JERA & EIHWAZ (the inner two compared)...

Presented here in the Second AEtt are two ways of viewing time…

JERA, which means “year,” is of a design that implies the motion of turning in a circle - just look at it and experience this for yourself! In this way JERA stands for the circular/cyclic view of time - such as in cultures with a belief in reincarnation, as opposed to one that believes in life as a journey out of nothingness by the Grace of God, unto an eternity of either Hell or Heaven.

EIHWAZ, as noted above, possesses the energy of JERA, that is, it has the angles of JERA (“flicks,” as I called them), but they are rooted to its top and bottom. Those angles in JERA are what imply its spinning; but in EIHWAZ these angles/”flicks” are rooted in the inert ISA-type column. Thus, the circular/cyclic power of JERA as time is made to travel in a linear direction - like what one would expect of, say, a tree growing; - and one may wish to think here of Yggdrasil… As the annual cycles pass (JERA/years), the tree grows up an up - and, if you were to see a cross-section of its trunk, you could tell how old it is by counting the RINGS you would see...

And so, in contrast to JERA, which represents the circular/cyclic view of time, EIHWAZ stands for the linear view… And I contend that the circular/JERA view is the more natural way, and so goes with the Vanir; and the linear is more left-brained and all-too-”civilized,” and so goes with the AEsir. You can think of “Vanir” here referring to a paleolithic hunting and gathering society, or the Native Americans before contact; and you can think of the “AEsir” as the Empire in Star Wars, or the proverbial cowboys in the Wild West thinking of numbers and wealth as they remain ignorant to their blaspheming against Earth/Gaia/BERKANO in the forms of killing off the buffalo/URUZ and upsetting the ecosystem/WUNJO...

                        .....and the "problem sounds" of PERTHRO and ALGIZ

It may seem baffling why there should be this lone duck in the Elder Futhark - PERTHRO, that is - that just so happens to be of a hidden etymology, if not even completely devoid of one. Yet I am not altogether sure there is any reason to think it baffling. From a linguistics point of view, when we are looking at the rune-names of the Elder Futhark, we are looking at an ancient language which is not in fact known - it is Proto-Germanic, and that language is itself a postulation based after comparing all the known Old Germanic languages, and thereby deducing a reasonable parent form for each word and form; and then and checking these results against another postulated language, Proto-Indo-European (from which Proto-Germanic is derivative). Because we are looking through the fog of time from long ago, into cultures that don't all have very much written - and because the written language is not necessarily the same as the spoken - it is no wonder there is data lacking. Personally, I think it makes sense that this particular rune - that is, the one that stands for the p-sound - would be an odd one that seems devoid of etymology, or at least with a hidden etymology ("occult" means hidden, btw). Off hand (without checking reference books) I wager there were not many words to choose from in Old Germanic that began with the letter P. Maybe none. And so, a word had to be borrowed from another language, or even made up. Along these lines, it is interesting to note that the two "problem sounds" of the Elder Futhark - those of PERTHRO and ALGIZ - are right beside one oneself.

The Third Eight(Æt) of the Elder Futhark

The Third AEtt is “bracketed off” by the sky (TEIWAZ) and the land (OTHALA). In that way the first and last of the Third AEtt’s runes are complimentarily connected. Also complimentary are its first and second runes: “Sky Father” deity of the Indo-Europeans (TEIWAZ) and “Mother Earth” deity of the Old Europeans (BERKANO). Thus, the same Sky vs. Earth duality is presented in the first and last runes, as is presented in the first and second runes.

Incidentally, the first and second runes of the First AEtt are also complimentarily connected, and in the same way of the first being of the Indo-Europeans (these nomads’ domesticated cattle/FEHU) and the next being of the Old Europeans (the wild bovines/URUZ of ancient Europe). Furthermore, the fist and last runes of EACH AEtt - NOT just the Third Eight - are complimentary: First AEtt’s first rune’s FEHU/cattle dwell in its last rune’s WUNJO/pasturelands; Second AEtt’s first rune’s HAGALAZ/chunk of ice (hailstone) melts under the last rune’s SOWILO/sunshine.

So... As we have said, the Third AEtt is “bracketed off” - or CAPPED and GROUNDED - by TEIWAZ and OTHALA. The TEIWAZ stave is a line holding up the sky; the OTHALA stave is a two-legged stand (bipod instead of tripod) propping up a patch of land (the askew box). OTHALA’s bipod is an arrow shape; TEIWAZ’s sky/heaven is the same arrow shape - and the second rune BERKANO has this arrow shape, but it is pointing not up but to the right… Indeed, there are two such right-pointing arrows, like a bosom; and this fertility beckons us to go further (and grow further) into the next of the series…

EHWAZ comes next - that is, the animal the Indo-Europeans domesticated and rode (RAIDHO is related to Old English ‘rad’ [journey on horseback]). In contrast, the Old Europeans, like the Native Americans originally, did not ride horses. Then comes MANNAZ - which is a name for the god also known as Mannus or Heimdall or Rig in the Rigsthula of the Elder/Poetic Edda - the “Progenitor of Humankind”, i.e, that deity who taught the Old Europeans to structure their society in accordance with the ways of the Indo-Europeans: a tripartite caste system, like in India (see “Gods of the Ancient Northmen” by Dumezil, as well as Rigsthula, and “The Laws of Manu”).

But with LAGUZ we return to the feminine (i.e, non-Indo-European), which pairs nicely with the fourth rune of the First Eight - in this sense of Genesis: “The spirit/ANSUZ of God hovered/moved over the waters/LAGUZ..” ANSUZ (the fourth rune) and LAGUZ (the fourth to last rune) are in opposed sequential ordering. Also in opposed sequential ordering are the third rune THURISAZ and the third to last INGUZ. INGUZ is the scrotum or sack in which the testes are brewing their seed; THURISAZ is that actual phallus to deliver that seed. INGUZ (male, but passive, unlike THURISAZ being male but active) comes after LAGUZ (also passive, as a swamp or wet and worm hidden/occult area with things grow and fester unto livingness…

DAGAZ is second to last - and like the second to last of the FIRST AEtt, presents us again with the X shape. But DAGAZ’s X is bracketed off by two columns. The giving is contained, for it is a process, a cycle, like night and day… Day is the container of the giving of light to the cold. This X can also be viewed in the last rune stave, OTHALA. In addition to our previous interpretation of it as a bipod holding up a patch of land, we can load this rune with yet more meaning by simultaneously seeing in it an X with TEIWAZ’s sky-arrow. TEIWAZ holds up the sky in stasis, i.e, with ISA; but OTHALA holds up the sky through the power of give and take (GEBO). Thus, one difference between TEIWAZ ad OTHALA is that TEIWAZ represents heaven (sky) as a stabile thing, whereas OTHALA represent heaven (sky) as a process. The heaven of OTHALA is land, though - and not sky. For their to be heaven on earth, we all must be involved in a sharing/caring process of givetake. And so, in the end, OTHALA can be re-named GENEROSITY.  This is how to carry out the duty of Tyr/TEIWAZ duty on Earth. Tyr, after all, sacrificed/gave/GEBO his sword hand in exchange/GEBO for peace...


SECTION I: the sound of “a” as in “bat” or “pat”

THE ISSUE: In some languages, for instance, in German, the open low vowel IPA “ae” like the “a” in “bat” or “pat” would be heard - i.e, intepretted by the Grammar - as a lax “e”, as in Eng. “bet” or “pet.” So, to a German ear, “bat” sounds the same as “bet,” and “pat” sounds the same as “pet” - s/he would hear two words, each spoken twice...

Now, because the Elder Furthark does not have a specific rune to stand for phoneme “ae” (unless the mysterious “ei” (so written) of EIWHAZ is this “ae”), then the sound of English “ae” would be categorized by the speakers of Germanic at the time they created (or at least possessed and gave the names to) the Elder Futhark graphemes as the “e” represented by EHWAZ - and NOT, as an English speaker would thinkg, by the “a” of ANSUZ.

Therefore, to write one’s name, for instance, phonetically in runes, if the name has the aforementioned “ae”-sound, then one might have to spell that sound with EHWAZ... Or would it indeed be ANSUZ? Or EIHWAZ?

If the Elder Futhark is seen inherently as a basic outline of the phonemic inventory of Proto-Germanic, then assuming that system had no “ae” phoneme, then EHWAZ would be the choice. If it did have the “ae” sound, then ANSUZ would have been used for it, as any speaker of English (a language with an “ae” phoneme) would intuitively know.

However, maybe a specific phonemic system is not inherent to the Elder Futhark. In that case, the graphemes represent a system of relations of phonemes to one another  - and so, if in a given language the relationship of “ae” is closer to “a” than “e,” then even phonetically, and not just phonemically (assuming you have that language’s ear, so to speak), ANSUZ must be used for EWHAZ...

Of course, that would not hold if EIWHAZ does stand for phoneme “ae” - in which case, this phoneme would be redundant to, say, German speakers, to the German Ear, as it were...

But if the Elder Futhark is not a representation of a specific phoneme system of its day, then why would it have a special “z” grapheme, ALGIZ/ELHAZ? Actually, this grapheme stands somewhat less for a phoneme only, but also is a morphophone, that is, stands for the mopheme/grammatical ending -Vz. This speaks in favor of the Elder Futhark going hand-in-hand with the very grammar of a specific language - and Grammar includes phonology which includes the inventory of phonemes...

Therefore, we know that you would not choose ANSUZ to write “ae” - no, when you wish to write according to the “ear” inherent in the Elder Futhark. Would, then, the correct rune for “ae” be EHWAZ or EIHWAZ?

EIWAZ with its “ei” - whatever this “ei” is supposed to stand for phonemically - is present in TEIWAZ, that is, this “ei” sound, whatever it is, is in TEIWAZ. We know in later dialects of Germanic that this “ei” in TEIWAZ became “i” in English (Tiw) and “y” in Norse (Tyr). Such phonemic derivatives would make no phonological sense if “ei” represented “ae”.

In conclusion, to write the “ae” sound in English, one uses the EHWAZ rune. 

            - and HAGALAZ as well...

Other issues I could bring up, though, are how the sound of D as in "dog" and "th" as in "the" (but NOT "th" as in "thin") were one phoneme in Proto-Germanic; and that is why rune DAGAZ stands for both "d" and "th" as in "the." But "th" as in "thin" was distinct, so has its own rune: THURISAZ.

The difference between the sound "d" and the sound of "d" as in "the" is that the first is a plosive/stop and the second is fricative - i.e, in the first there is a complete blockage of air after it has traveled up the windpipe is in the the mouth, before it is let go; and in the second, there is never a complete blockage of this air, just a constriction that causes a resonating vibration.

Two other sounds are in the same family here. The other is BERKANA, and the third is GEBO. With all three of them - DAGAZ, BERKANA and GEBO - the vocal cords are vibrating. NOTE: With THURISAZ, which as the "th" as in "thin" but NOT as in "the," the vocals cords are NOT vibrating. So, part of what this family of phonemes/runes have in common is that the vocal cords vibrate. The second thing they have in common is that alternation decribed above with DAGAZ - that is, one the one hand, this phoneme can manifest as a stop/plosive, or, on the other, as fricative. Let me illustrate this latter point with BERKANA and GEBO...

BERKANA as a stop/plosive is like the B in "boy."

GEBO as a stop/plosive is the like G in "get" - but NOT "gem!!!!" In fact, this whole foolishness of alternating between a G as in "get" and G as in "gem" has nothing to do whatsoever with any phonology implied or inherent in the Elder Futhark. It is part of English phonology, at least historically; but this distinction of a one true G vs. a G sounding like a J should be put aside for runework...

BERKANO as a fricative is a sound not present in Modern English. It is made with a non-complete closeur of the two lips. It might sound like a "vvvvv" to English ears. But the "vvvvv"-sound has the upper teeth biting into the lower lip. There is no biting with BERKANO as fricative. It is a sound present in Spanish, which I hear all the time here among Spanish speakers in New England. It might sound liek a slurred or blurred B to Gringo ears...

GEBO as a fricative is perhaps even more problematic for English speakers. Again, it exists in Spanish. TO make this sound, notice where the closeur is when you make the G as in "get." Now, where that closeur is, just relax is a tad as you let the air stream out. However, do not relax it so much that the vocal cords stop vibrating. You will no they stop vibrating when the nice resonating GHHHHHH sound becomes a raspy HHHHHHHHH or KHHHHHHHH, like in Scottish "Loch" or the Jewish toast "lachaim."

Now that I mentioned the KHHHHH sound, let it be known that it exists in the runic phoneme system, too. HAGALAZ can be H as in English, or the KHHHHH sound.

Whether any of these mentioned runes is pronounced this way or that depends on where they occur in the word. Generally speaking, when the BERKANO/DAGAZ/GEBO trio are at the beginning of a word, they are pronounced as stops/plosives B/D/G; and when they are between two vowels, as fricatives BHHH/DHHH/GHHH. As for HAGALAZ, when it is at the beginning of the word, or the beginning of the syllable, then it is a standard H; when at the end of a syllable or word, then the cool KHHHHH sound.

But I inadvertantly brought up syllables. This is an issue unto itself - but very important in determining how to pronounce all these sounds in Proto-Germanic, and when what certain sound is expected of any of these runes. This will take a whole other posting...


SECTION III: The SH sound.

The Elder Futhark does not have a rune to represent this sound. However, this sound can be represented in a way in line with the Proto-Germanic spirit of the Elder Futhark. To see how this could be done, we must have some knowledge of how the SH sound developed in the Germanic languages. It came as a resolution to the undesirable sound combination of the S sound followed by the KHHH sound (see above for HAGALAZ). Therefore, a way to indicate the SH sound would be to set up the previous phonemic situation that caused the Ancient Germanic/Gothonic peoples to scratch their heads and just go for the SH sound. This would entail a combination of runes analogous to English’s combination of letters to represent the same sound: SOWILO and HAGALAZ. Indeed, English represents the sound as it does because of this very mechanism in the history of the Germanic languages!

SECTION IV: The glides.

Glides are a kind of semi-vowel - like the “y” in “yet” and the “w” in “wet.” When you study various languages, or the history of just one, you may come across a pattern. You see certain vowels - such as “i” or “u,” typically - becoming “y” or “w,” respectively. Furthermore, the “y” and “w” may, in turn, become even less vocalic and more consonantal as one or the other or both become, respectively, “j” as in “jet” and “v” as in “vet.”

We see this in words from Latin, such as “vortex.” The “v” originated from the vowel “u” - and that is why in Classical latin no distinction was made in the writing between U’s and V’s, or for that matter W’s. There was just this one sound, a vowel. In certain situations - such as at the beginning of a word - the “u” (as in the “oo” in “booty”) may come up as “w” as in “wet.” That was a more immediate process - what linguists would call syncronic - that is, it was an alive part of the grammar of the day. In time (diachronic), those instances where the “u” had manifested as “w” sort of solidified into a more consonantal version, “v.” We see this phenomenon of “w” becoming “v” in the history of German - where the spelling still harkens back to the olden days when Germans did indeed so “w,” but today’s Germans pronounce that “w” as “v.”

This is a common process, and one to keep in mind when figuring out how to write the sounds 1)“u” as in the “oo” in “booty” (or for that matter, the “oo” in “foot”), 2) “w” as in “wet,” and 3) “v” as in “vet.” Fortunately, the Elder Futhark does indeed have a special rune set aside for the “w” : WUNJO. And as for the “u” sound, there is URUZ. But the question remains: Should I use  WUNJO or URUZ for “v”? Historically, those sounds alternate. But we have seen with German and Latin that “v” derives from “w” - therefore we should use WUNJO for “v.”

Keep in mind, though, that this is all conjectural. I am speaking here from the point of view of historical linguistics and linguistic typology. I am not going to the actual historical runic inscriptions to confirm my conclusions. I am speaking here from the point of view of LINGUISTICS, not ORTHOGRAPHY - and the runes themselves are a form of ORTHOGRAPHY (with other special things besides, of course - such as their psychological and/or mystical qualities - but that is another point…). [For a discussion on the difference between language and orthography, I must refer you to my website - lest this essay become overlong and even more demanding than it already is, hahaha!] I leave it for a future task to confirm my linguistically sound conclusions to the orthographic actualities…

What I am getting at here is that there may be another difficulty. Even though in the languages we looked at - German and Latin - “w” is seen to yield over to “v” - there are other languages, or at least orthagraphies, where “f” can be pronounced “v.” This may be a matter left for orthography. In Welsh “f” is used for the “v” sound. This may be a purely orthographic matter - but if not, that is, if it is the case that “f” is used for “v” because the “v” sound derives from a “f” sound (and therefore still spelt that way) - then one could always ask: Would the ancient users of The Elder Futhark used FEHU or WUNJO to represent the “v” sound? I admit this as a possibility only because I don’t know; yet, I have no reason to believe so except that, in Icelandic - or so I have been led to believe - the “f” grapheme may (at least sometimes) represent “v.” But still yet, this may be a Celtic and thus non-Germanic/non-Runic phenomenon. After all, the Celts were already in Iceland when the Scandinavians arrived!

I have so far neglected to delved into the sound of “j” as in “jet.” The only candidates would be ISA with its “eeee” sound and JERA with its “y” sound - either of the two might, one could think, be able to alternate with a “j”-sound. But on analogy to the whole u/w/v discussion above, we have seen that first comes u; then comes w; and then comes v. In Runic terms, this means first come URUZ; then comes WUNJO; then comes WUNJO interpretted as “v” - unless you opt for a perhaps Celtic flavor of FEHU (assuming such “flavoring” was also Germanic - we must look at Runic inscriptions for this one, for here pure linguistics is failing us)…

u is the pure vowel; i is the pure vowel…

w is the glide; y is the glide…

v is the more consonantal form - a fricative, in fact; j is the more consonantal form - and affricate, in fact (but we don’t have to worry about that term; at least not yet, hahaha)…

as u goes to w, so does i go to y; as w goes to v, so y go to j…

there is URUZ(u) and WUNJO(w) - and there is WUNJO also as “v”…

there is ISA(i) and JERA(y) - and there is JERA also as “j”…

Because there is no counterpart of a FEHU-type issue with “j,” we could just let this matter rest for the sake of keeping up this beautiful symmetry of this most beautiful system of orthography….


SECTION IV & a half: a note on BERKANA

In a previous section we have indicated how BERKANA is capable of  v-like sound - that is, a sound with air streaming out of a partial closeur of the lips whilst the vocal cords. vibrate. The BHHH sound may sound like the V sound to English speakers; but it is important to note that BERKANA is nonetheless NOT an acceptable rune to represent the V sound. This is because the distinctive features (see my linguistics essay for descrption on this term, at are Bilabilaity and Voicing - in other words, the use of BOTH lips and not just one lip in conjunction with the top set of teeth as in V, although notwithstanding the vocal cords do vibrate for both the BHHH and V sounds.

English grammar does not distinguish BI-labiality per se. Labilaity, sure - but whether it is BOTH (BI) lips as opposed to just one lip (with teeth), is dependent on the MANNER of articulation (see In English, if the MANNER is as a FRICATIVE, then the labiality is interpretted as the teeth biting into the lip. There is no alternation between such LABIODENTALNESS and BILABIALNESS in English; bilabialness precludes frication, and frication precludes bilabialness...

...That is why the English ear - unless trained or enlightened or child-like unconditioned - would not hear BHHHH as BHHH, but as VVVV or B. In contrast,the features of BILABIALITY as opposed to LABIODENTALNESS are disctictive in the phonology inherent or implied by the Elder Futhark.

Therefore BERKANO is no conditate for the V-sound. WUNJO and/or FEHU are, as discussed in the previous section.