Category: Norse mythologi

How to Cast Runes

How to Cast Runes

View our tutorial on how to cast runes the way it is described by the roman historian Tacitus.

This page is great for the academic knowledge on the meaning of the runes:

Nice tutorial for Clay DIY Runes:

This page is more elaborate on the interpretation of the runes:

Try casting the runes yourself or try our mini game a Rune a Day:

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Why Create a Game of Ancient Runes?

Why Create a Game of Ancient Runes?

Runes are a great example of the mystery and almost foreign worldview of the old Norse and of the myths that Northmyth would love to make come alive through games and stories on this site. We approach these myths quite differently, but cofounder, Cecilie, has been casting and reading about the runes for almost 10 years, and it felt very natural to begin our North Myth gaming journey with this particular mythical magic.

The runes are a tool for knowing your potential destiny so that a person might navigate their life, either to change your course or to stick to it (more on that subject next week). Most people today reject the idea of destiny but it is a powerful factor in Norse mythology and reminds us of the art of astrology that many still like to look at today.

The things is, it’s been done before. You can buy apps similar to our mini rune game, letting you choose the rune of the day, but they all have one thing in common; drawing your rune, you usually get a long and almost scholarly text on the general aspects of the rune, its many associations and possible interpretations. This is obviously, so that the people using the app can themselves learn to cast the runes and this is commendable. But Northmyth is all about experiencing the myths and therefore we wanted a game where you felt like you went to a völva and actually got a runic divination rather than feeling like you are a student of runes. In our game you get a simple reading, a small prophecy.

Hopefully we can develop the game even further giving you a better feeling of mystery and magic and that way lead you on to reading about the runes in places or books from great experts that know even more than we do on the subject or even look up a modern runecaster that can give you a real personal reading. Look out for future posts, where we make recommendations on where to look if you want to learn more about the runes of old.

Try our mini rune game here:

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The Magic of Runes Explained

The Magic of Runes Explained

Runes could, according to the written sources, be used for different kinds of magic. There was a believe that the runes could help predict the future but also more actively, almost like a spell, tricker transformation. The poem Ljothhatal, a part of the Havamal, lists different runic charms. Say you want to light a bon fire but you forgot your matches or you just want to have a conversation with a dead man, Odin has got you covered.

But how does the runes actually work?

To us, modern worshippers of logic, they just look like another ancient alphabet. How did the vikings believe that runes could actually tell them their furture?

Firstly the vikings believed in a set future, in destiny. Destiny was a force stronger, than even the Gods, which is why Ragnaroc, the fall of the Asir, was inevitable. Prophecy and predictions therefore play a significant role in Norse Mythology and in the stories about the vikings. From birth the course of your life had been written or rather spun into a thread and there was nothing man or God could do to alter the outcome.

Secondly, traditionally words were thought to be very powerful. Once expressed, spoken, they could alter reality and as such had the power of transformation. The runes could be seen as symbols of these powerful sounds, and in that way the futhark alphabet had magical properties. If the runes where subject to destiny as well, it meant that if you cast them, destiny would lead them to fall a certain way, and so you could read your destiny through the runes.

Today runecasting is used by many different spiritual traditions: Asatru, Wicca and other’s in the pagan communities. Many modern runecasters do not share the notion of fate as something set in stone, and uses the runes to tell them the potential futures rather than THE future.

Try casting the runes for yourself in our mini game : A Rune a Day

If you want to venture further into this subject, we suggest reading Daniel McCoy’s book The Viking Spirit

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5 Runes You’ll Want in Battle

5 Runes You’ll Want in Battle

The runes were used for much more than foretelling the future. The symbols held the power of magical transformation and therefore men used them in battle against their enemies.

Odin composed a poem to brag about all the rune spells he knows and we picked our top 5 most useful runic battle spells that you would want to know in times of war. Sadly the exact wording of the runeverses remain Odin’s secret but let’s have a look anyway.

5. How about a limp sword ?

‘In the thick of battle,
If my need be great enough,
It will blunt the edges of enemy swords,
Their weapons will make no wounds.’

Personally I would much prefer fighting if I knew that the sword of my opponent weren’t sharp. Of course he can still knock me on the head with his shield, but it would greatly improve my odds. That’s why it’s our number 5.

4. The escape artist

‘It will free me quickly
If foes should bind me fast
With strong chains, a chant that makes
Fetters spring from the feet,
Bonds burst from the hands.’

While some people like being tied up, the threat of the kind of torture the Old Norse specialized in, would probably make most people dislike the idea of being a prisoner of war. So in case that anti-sharp sword chant didn’t work out and they got you pinned down, you can always escape with number 2, when nobody is looking. Very nifty.

3. Bulletproof

‘No flying arrow,
Aimed to bring harm to men,
Flies too fast for my fingers to catch it
And hold it in mid-air.’

Do you want those super fast ninja reflexes when you escaped captivity, because sadly they discovered you, and now there are a dusin bow men showering you with their deadly love? Odin has got your back with number 3 on our list: catching arrows midair. That’s just showing off.

2. But what if you didn’t need any of the first three rune spells? 

‘If I throw a cup of water over a warrior,
He shall not fall in the fiercest battle,
Nor sink beneath the sword’

Just a cup of water and a rune enchantment could stop that one way trip to Valhalla. I guess not dying is a pretty neat trick! I mean, no one says that you wont be maimed horribly or scarred for life, but you won’t die. Yay!

1. God Mode

‘When I lead to battle old comrades in-arms,
I have only to chant it behind my shield,
And unwounded they go to war,
Unwounded they come from war,
Unscathed wherever they are’

Yeah, so runes are pretty potent when they are capable of saving not only your life but your pretty face as well. This has to be the number 1 war rune spell. I’m guessing there is a lot of millitary leaders who would love to know this spell, Odin.

With believe in magic like this, it’s no wonder that the vikings were so renowned for fearlessness in war.

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We are happy to announce our newest project, Midgard Serpent! The great monsters of Norse Mythology are always intriguing and we wanted to make a game for you, centered around the big outcast snake, son of Loki and Angrboda, Jormungandr. It translates to something like mighty monster and in this new game, you will help little baby Jormungandr grow into his full horrifying size, reaching all the way around earth. The game is going to take elements from the classic game, Snake, but we are going to let you travel through his story in different levels, giving it that Norse mythology flair. There is a lot of ideas on the table for the game right now, and we have only just begun testing some key functions. With no graphic, no music, nothing but bare mechanics. But that will all change in the coming months, where we will show some scene shots from the game and small video of the game play. Hope you will enjoy it, and follow us either here or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. See you soon for more updates

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