Norse Runic Magic

         Runic magic is a way of making various charms. The Vinlanders have occaisional literacy using both Latin writing and the older "futhark" runes. There are also magical runes, which can be used to make charms for various magical effects. Odin learned the secret of rune magic which was passed on to men, but it was not easy. First he plucked an eye from his own head and sank it deep in Mimir's Well of Wisdom. Then he hanged himself from Yggdrasil, the World Tree, where he died and rose again.

         Magical runes are used by occaisional heroes, but only the greatest know more than a handful. Egil Skallagrimsson (from Egil's Saga) knew of a rune to heal the daughter of his friend Thorfinn. A less experienced runecarver had attempted to carve runes on a bone, but had done more harm than good. After the girl was cured, Egil made this poem warning of the dangers of magic:

"None should write runes
Who can't read what he carves:
A mystery mistaken
Can bring men to misery
I saw cut on the curved bone
Ten secret characters,
Those gave the young girl
Her grinding pain."


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Thu Aug 15 00:15:35 2002