Tag: magic

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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Welcome to Northmyth

Welcome to Northmyth

Welcome to Northmyth

Here you will find small games, stories and other things like t-shirts with Northmyth designs. The vision is that it all content on this site and subsites relates to Nordic, Norse mythology. To tell the stories and the myths of the north. The tales of Odin, Thor, Freja and the rest of the old gods. To find myths hidden in the past wich not many knows of and bring them to life. Either in games or books.

We are planning a lot of content the coming time where we will be talking about Runes, rune magic, Vikings and their belief in the runes and destiny, what kind of runes there are in Nordic/Norse mythology and a lot of other things that relate to Nordic/Norse myths and pagan way of life. We hope you will follow us on our journey.

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