What the runes say

It’s probably no surprise that my love affair with the runic alphabet started because of The Hobbit. I can read and write in Norse runes (Which are basically just Dwarven runes that humans have stolen, obviously) though I’ve not written in them since college. Fellow classmates would, from time to time, look at my notes. I wouldn’t have minded sharing if they’d asked, but since they didn’t, I occasionally jotted everything down in runes just so I could see the confounded looks on their faces when they tried to sneak a peek.

Runes are something that worked their way into my own writing in a variety of ways. My favorite character to write is even named for them. As I’m currently starting the second of the books he’s in, the runes have been on my mind, partly because one undercurrent in the story is his exploration of what his namesake scar is supposed to mean, and why it was given to him to begin with.

While I work on developing the story outline, it’s been fun to revisit the runes and the meanings they’ve been assigned. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t put much stock in divination, but having each symbol stand for something is still interesting to me, and I like to think of it as something like the meanings behind different flowers when they are given as a gift.

The rune I’ve always associated with myself is berkana.

Probably not surprising, given that my name starts with a B. As a word it represents “birch,” but its meaning is decidedly feminine. Representing fertility, health and new life, it’s also used to symbolize growth, plenty, and new beginnings. The new beginnings and growth aren’t exclusive to the idea of life, though – Berkana was also used to symbolize the development and conception of ideas, which I think is a pretty neat meaning for a writer like myself!

And of course, I couldn’t post this without mentioning Rune’s rune, for which he is named. His rune is mannaz,

and as a word, it represents “man.”
So why mannaz?
Well, you’ll have to read the books to find out.

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