Since I have not yet got this book into print, I’m going to give a brief summary of our English alphabet and its Runic sense. It is literally the sense, not a definition. The sense of a thing refers to how we experience a thing with which we are familiar. To be familiar with a thing is to know enough about it that we can relate to it with our various senses. Knowing more about the thing and learning more about it, gives us the tools to use, as well as the opportunity to get more use out of those tools. Many languages have been based upon sounds and that is a major reason so many languages have died and are dying.
In reading a book on Celtic language by Lachlan MacLean, “A History of the Celtic Language”, a book that has been out of print for some time.[ref] We found this book as a paperback reprint by Forgotten Books, London[/ref]The book demonstrated that our early languages were based primarily on consonants and that vow -els were not for the common people. Interestingly, this book also demonstrated some congruities between Celtic and Semitic languages, a fact which indicates that our languages have had the same parentage for longer than we had imagined. We have vowed with our hand on another’s thigh, have given a hostage, or have exchanged one of our women as a sign of fealty. The ‘hand on the thigh’ is mentioned in the “Old Testament”. The giving of our word -of honor requires both vowels and honor. Until the Exodus we did not have a united people with a set of Laws, a basic requirement for ‘A People of the Law’. We still did not have a Peoples’ Language. There is a myth-history of another ‘Exodus’ forty years after Moses and the Hebrews. This one included a leader named Fenius Farsaidh. The Babel-Loth Alphabet, an ancestor of English, is a progenitor of the second Exodus story. [ref]
The days of King Ælfred’s Englaland were significant for establishing codes of Honor and a language of vow-els. Because Vowels were a distinguishing feature of the Peoples’ languages and the English languages were a Treaty Language, I’m going to make a point about commenting on vowels as well as any vocalized consonants. For openers, we have two letters A, one of which is now rarely seen.
A a is represented by the Oak tree, instead of by “the Bull of Heaven”. Trees are used as metaphor for the people. As such, ‘We the People’ represent substantives in our English language. The Oak is represented runically as AC and appears in our alphabet as a, ac, ace. When the representation contains a second vowel, as in the ‘e’ in ace, I will include it.
Æ æ is called ‘ash’ it stands for the Ash tree and is written runically as AS. It also is a metaphor for the people. While the oak grows in groves, the ash is a solitary tree. The sense of the Ash is parallelism and appears most often as the word ‘as ‘-which explains the difference between the words ‘like’ and ‘as’. The idea of ash in English is in the sense elements asc, ash, asm, asp, ast. The abbreviation ‘asf’, used as the English equivalent of Latin ‘et cetera’ (etc.), is consistent with the sense of ash. Saying A.S.F. has the same rhythm as ‘etc’. Some words which contained ‘Ash’ were changed to supposed phonetic equivalents, with ruinous results. Two of these are hæt and ræs which became ‘hate’ and ‘race’. At times we have to check for an earlier spelling to see if sense has been altered by a change in spelling including a change in vowels such as, æ to ea. Both of these are complete vowels.
B b is called ‘Beorc’ and is represented by a letter B which resembles two mountains or ‘mams’. It is runically called Beorc which would be declined as ‘simple existance through transformative mind’. It seems wonderfully appropriate for the letter B to represent ‘simple existance’ in light of the fact that I have found so many ways of expressing the idea of ‘being’. There is ‘simple being’, ‘communal being’, ‘active being’ in several ways and other forms of ‘being’ which I am still exploring. Life is an adventure and we are all so different in so many ways that simple existance alone has to have other ways of being imagined. -‘through transformative mind’ sounds like the right mental posture to assume.
C c is called ‘see’, though I prefer the runic KEN which represents the head and the mind within it. It is runically symbolized by a wood torch cut from wood which forms the jointure of two sturdy branches. This dense wood is dipped in pitch and is lit. It makes a hot and long-burning light. Our word ‘ken’ has the sense of ‘understanding’. You see why I prefer the pronunciation ken?
D d is called Dag or Duir and represents ‘day’ and ‘the oak’ respectively. The runic sense connection is firmly rooted in both symbols. They both represent continuity and endurance. We customarily call this letter ‘Dee’, a practice which gives us no information about the sense of the letter when it is contained in a word. We teach “D is for dog”. What if your dogs name is Ralph? Both the oak and the day continue and endure. Where there are no oaks, there still is day and the days are just a bit longer, or shorter, in those latitudes.
E e is called Ehwaz in runic symbolism. It represents the partnership between man and horse, between horse and rider, between horses, between men or the relationship between any two variables. This energy source of Nature is as broad and varied, and as enduring as horsepower, the relationship between our feet and between our eyes, between earth and eve, The double U ‘W’ in Ehwaz is a reminder since it represents two runes of group energy, that ‘a’ is the substantive and ‘Z’ is a vocalized ‘s’ Siegel, the sun sign. This speaks to the power of such relationships.
EA ea is written runically EAR, and can be written ea or ear in a word. This represents the Earth and all things intimately related to earth. This is where we get a very clear picture of how English gives us images of our relationship with earth. The sense of earth is ‘ear territory’. We are intimately related to Nature with our hearing. In old Westerns the indians put their ear to the ground to hear who and how many were coming and whether they were coming on horseback. If the horses had ‘shoes’ the riders were ‘palefaces’. A few words: ear, head, hear, hair, heart, bear, dear, near, read, wheat, bread, meat, clear. The first letter is the determinative which gives us information about something important we may need to know. The H signifies something of importance to mankind. These are informative as they give us substantive information about our relationship with nature.
F f is called Feoh and represents a herd of cattle. This also symbolizes wealth, as in well-being. Cattle provide humans with the essentials of well-being and have since man first developed the relationship between our tribes. They provide milk products, also fertilizer and fuel in the form of manure. This was also a building material. And they provide warmth in cold climates. The eoh in Feoh is also a separate rune ‘gh’ which often sounds like ‘F’. This represents the human spirit and also provides the reminder of what wealth is about. The vocalized form of ‘F’ is ‘V’. I have not yet found another rune for the English letter ‘V’ though every place I find a ‘V’ in our words, the sense of Feoh is applicable. It is often an intensifier as in the word vicious.
G g We have more than one ‘G’ in English and there is much observation to be made, since the G’s are more like a continum than separate and distinct. The sounds are different and their positional relationships to other letters are quite specific. However, all of them have a variant of the same idea about Giving. The idea is symbolized three times, in three ways, yet the runic symbol representimg Gyfu, the Gracious Giver, is in each of them represented as X. I counted that X in nine runes, one of them twice. Then the English letter X is represented by Elhaz, the elk, and also ‘the sign of the splayed hand’. The strikingly significant thing about X is that it represents the Iconic Cross’s functional form for stabilizing energy. The cross is an ancient symbol usually depicted standing upright like the cross of crucifixion. That is how the Roman Empire used it, as a way of breaking the functional cross of support within “criminals” -to be translated as anyone who threatened the Pax Romana, the “Roman Peace”. The three runes of Gyfu are: 1) Gyfu representing gifts and giving 2) Ingwaz representing the god, Ingwaz, will come after ‘I’ 3)Gar is the last of the Northumbrian runerow. The name means spear and the runic symbol depicts the the two poles of Earth, the geographic and the magnetic poles which periodically shift Earth on her/ its’ axis.
GH gh I almost forgot this letter though it comes between its two components. This is EOH. the rune of Human Spirit represented by an arrow split down the middle, with one half pointed toward heaven and the other pointed toward earth. This represents our dual nature, earth energy and air energy. A nun said, “It’s possible to be so spiritual that one is of no earthly use.” I bear this in mind. Neither part is superior or inferior, we all require both. All of the words which contain gh require it to make sense. In removing gh from the word ‘law’, we took the ‘spirit’ from its sense. This symbol has a full octave of sounds, including the sound of ‘F’ which represents the sound of wealth and health, Feoh.
H h The “sound that has no sound, Huh!! You just blow out” as my young friend phrased it, reminding me of the paradox of my youth. How does one justify phonics with so many H’s? This is Hagal, the hexagonal matrix, and it has no real sound. So, what purpose does it serve? The shape of the upper and the lower case letters are hints, a ladder and a chair. Hagal is a support. I think it was Nigel Pennick who referred to it as a “structural beam”. I noticed that all words which begin with an H are important ideas. I also read in Squire’s “Myths and Legends” that the H in Irish means that the letter before and after the H is going to change in sound. I started collecting words which begin or end with H. I also started collecting letters paired with H: th, wh, ch, ph, psych, sh, asf. This is a structural beam that must change the sense because it does change the sound. There are several of these which we use so regularly that it seems they should be included in the alphabet but, I found ch and th both written with Thorn so, I’m going to respect the original protocol.
I i This letter is called by the ‘first person personal pronoun’ but, that says very little. The runic name is ‘IS’ and the symbol is the icicle. This does actually describe the individual. The icicle is a charged particle, an -ion around which fluids flow, aggregate, solidify and accumulate mass until a being takes form. A be-ing is ‘simple existance B, and a second variable E, which aggregate around a charged particle IS. The S represents Spirit (which we could call energy or EMR). If we wanted to couch this description in pseudoscientific language, we could interject words like hydrogen, oxygen and a spark of electromagnetic radiation. Or we could say that we were brought into existance by The Word, that we came into existance by the basic energy interactions of Creation. This would be a plausible interpretation based on our classic story. This would certainly give a rationale for our compulsion to play with sound.
-NG -ng Ingwaz was once written as a single compound letter, an ‘n’ with a tail. This rune INGWAZ is the Yin-Yang of English, representing the balance between need and give. This is the rune referred to in ‘G’ Gyfu which has the ‘cross’ used twice. This fundamental principle is shown to be truly fundamental by the frequency of its usage. It appears in the sense elements of ang, eng, ing, ong, ung, also in words like green and the river Niger, each of which expresses Nature’s balance between need and give and give and need. The cross of Gyfu becomes a dynamic, expansive energy by being used for Ingwaz. Notice the n er g of energy. The -ang is about ‘message’ in angel and language. The gn in the words sign, design, dignity, dignify, align, ignite, insignia represent a special human energy of ‘giving to the need’ for the generation and balancing of creative energies.
J j The letter J is not used as frequently in English as in some other languages. J is a letter more like H in that its sense is arguably more noticible than its sound. It could be written as G or Y if language were all about sound, The representative rune is Hagal as is the rune of H. So far, the sense of J appears to be more about ‘J ‘ being a Human Structural Beam. It is paired so frequently with U the human energy symbol. This sounds a bit tentative and that is because this is a very open subject, having apparently not been studied before. J and H are both used in the names for the godhead.
K k This letter represents the rune Calc which is symbolized by the inverted chalice. some imagine this as The Holy Grail, others as the cup that is never filled but, it is never empty (always contains air). It is also the Cauldron of Inspiration. While it is no thing, without it we cannot do anything. The runic spelling is ‘mind all mind’. For me, the words talk, walk, speak and think all remind me of the sense of Calc as well as how to achieve inspiration.
L l Lagu is the rune for L and it represents water, fluidity, Law. The word ‘law’ was spelled ‘laghe’ which is memorably like ‘laugh’ and reminds me that both are about modulating and balancing human spirit and energies. Fluidity is essential as peoples, their customs, traditions, their energies and needs all vary from one time and place to another. The symbol of Lagu needs to remain fluid in interpretation because it represents a fluid subject. Both water and law contain an energy which must adapt to the peoples, their needs, energies, and their circumstances. When I look at the various symbols for Lagu, they all look like waters being drawn to waters and finding their balance and their equal and opposing strengths: waters falling, waves meeting waves, waters rising to other waters. Laws of different peoples also go through adaptations.
M m represents Man. That is man as in human with no sex distinction made. The words man, woman, male, female, masculine, feminine are not all about distinctions in our reproductive apparatus. The symbol for Man is represented as an M with a cross of Gyfu connecting them at the top. This symbol can be poetically read in many ways. Personally, I consider this symbol to say many things about each of us and also to say many things about our relationships with one another. Each of us is an individual but, each of us also contains multitudes. Each one is separate, distinct and different yet, each is equal to one another. That Gyfu cross can represent many things, including the varied gifts which we each have throughout our life.[ref]The six distinctions in the second sentence are covered in postings.[/ref]*********
N n represents Nyd, ‘need’. There is no poor, pitiful me to ‘need’. Need has two e’s just as feet, eye and Eve do. Everything in nature needs, therefore we have ‘E’ the rune of partnership or ‘horsepower’ Ehwaz. The symbol of Nyd is the firebow which is used for making fire. There is an ancient custom in wilderness areas, of building a ‘needfire’ pile in case of emergency, a time when one needs help from his fellow man. In English, the letter N declares a need, negates some thing, indicates a negatively charged particle ‘-ion’, declares an opposition, states that some thing is missing, gone or lost. A double negative can negate your words, as in: I can’t not do that. Then, an entire string of negatives makes the point brutally, as in: nay, nix, no, nay, never, not ever, damn you. That does not even require an exclamation point as punctuation. The grammatical ‘n’ of ‘damn’ carries the sense of ‘continuous and enduring exclusion from the community’. English is specific enough that it is not necessary to even get loud. It also is not necessary to be cruel. To keep English from losing sense, we need to keep distinctions between need and would like. The ‘needfire’ in my ancestor’s history derived from them living in the Northwoods during the great flu epidemic.
O o We also have two O’s in English, Os and Odal. We use the ‘O’ of Os most often as it refers to the ‘mouths’ through which all exchange is made. At times we use ‘os’ as in words like osmosis, pose and position. With considerable observation, ‘os’ is used when the opening being referenced comes closest to being an actual mouth of some kind rather than an opening through which exchanges are made. An example of openings for exchanges are: outh, orth, ond, orse, out, ough, oot, ood, oast, oarse,asf. With further thought, the variants are the ones where a new sense element is isolated: om is about ‘centering’, on is a positional relationship to earth, ot is a regulated opening, of is word of relationship, or is a transformative relationship, ow has the sense of eye or to see, asf It soon becomes apparent how much potential for self expression is within our language. It also becomes apparent how much potential we have for vow – ing.
Œ œ This second O is also a vowel, though we seldom use it, That is a pity because it has a distinctive sense. This would be the O of god since it refers to odylic forces. When this idea is expressed, it is sometimes written as oe, od, ode, odd or at times just e.
P p is Peorth is about the unfurting, unfolding or otherwise birthing of something. The rune declined runically references a ‘territory of birthing a partner through a mouth of exchange’. The reason this is declined as a territory is that the suffix is -th Thorn. All Ps are about this birthing or coming-into-being. The word happy is one of my favorite examples.
QU qu Cweorth is conspicuously Celtic and had to be slipped in during the late Northumbrian period. Some books maintain that the Roman Q was put in because it was classier. We all have a story. The runic symbol of QU is the bonfire of Beltane. I have yet to find an instance where the sense is other than questioning or questing. Runically declining Cweorth gives us some insight.
R r Rad is the rune and it refers to riding, tiding or other variants of transformation. The symbol being used is a letter R with angular curves. This runic symbol was traditionally known as the solar wheel, then the swastika. Because of atrocities committed beneath the symbol it was known as ‘The Broken Cross’. Rad and Gyfu, two symbols of important principles, have been corrupted. When R is coupled with another determinative, it becomes transform-ative, the -ive is about give: Br, Cr, Dr, Er, Fr, Gr, Ir, Or, Tr, Ur, Wr,Yr. Sometimes it becomes another rune, it is always meaningful: Tr means three, Dr refers to oak, Wr refers to Wer (man). The Cross and the Broken Cross are transformative of mankind.
S s Siegel, the sun sign, is another sign which has been corrupted. The thing itself should be above that corruption (it always is) as that lightning bolt represents the stupendous strength of the sun and its reflection in mankind and other creations of earth. S is always symbolic of usable power and it is mankind’s responsibility to not misuse it, either the sound or the sense of it.
ST st Stan is a rune represented by two digraphs. That is still a challenge as I don’t know whether this represents two different tribes or two runerows. KN kn Whichever it is, both digraphs are applicable to the subject -Stone. ST represents ‘regulated sun’ which is a very poetic description of stone. The earth’s heat is what melts stone within a volcano and the sun’s heat is what drys the magma into solid mass. The runic symbol for these ‘stones’ is the ‘standing stone’ which was in every village and town and contained orienting information. It was circular and usually had several layers or steps which contained necessary information, directions, and a sundial for indicating time of day, a calendar, seasonal, tidal, astronomic, and other information to orient people in time and place. Stops, streets, first, last, east, west, stay, in-stead, in-struct are all signs of our stead-fast and constant life -which is always changing like the Stone. The rune of stone, STAN also gives us the fundamental principle of hard to soft and soft to hard expressed in KN which we find in knead, knock, know, knowledge, asf When we decline KN we find Calc Nyd which is about our need for inspiration, for an awareness of Life and its changing nature, its constancy in the midst of change. All of those ‘st’ words just came as I made my point.
T t Tyr is the Lord of Order and is represented runically as an arrow pointing heavenward. It is about uprightness, perpendicularity, aspiring. This is a letter which never stands alone. Whatever we do with it, is nothing without some purpose. Compulsive order is another form of decay -inertia. That finally came to me after realizing that I haven’t even seen a tattoo of this rune. The symbol is not even directional without some object.
TH th This letter is ‘thorn’, the rune of Thorn, and is represented by a thorn and by the ‘thorn tree’. In the Celtic and the Nordic this is the Hawthorn though many trees are called ‘thorn’ trees. Thorn is represented by Thor’s hammer, a judicial gavel, and by grinding stones. These all represent the fundamental principle of proportional force. The thorn sticks in proportion to the pressure put on it. This Thorn Tree imagery is one of the three trees required for the completion of Man’s tree image; the Oak, the Ash and the Thorn. There are three ways I have found the thorn imagery used. At the beginning of a word the th- makes a definitive statement, as in the, this, that, these, asf. When a sense element ends with -th, it defines a territory as in; ath, eth, ith, orth, outh, eath, earth, aith. asf. To distinguish this idea,east and west are directions (See st) but north and south are defined as territories. There is a specific sense element for thorn in -orn. Corn, corner, horn, ornry, pornography, fornicate, asf The -orn represents the supportive arch where it contacts the skull or the tree. Birds and some sea creatures have an orn in their skull or shell. I hadn’t grasped the strength of an orn until I saw a picture of a blackthorn tree.
U u Ur is the Uroch, the European buffalo. While the uroch is extinct, the group energy endures and is expressed within the people. Ur is also remembered as the birthplace of Father Abraham. This group energy is expressed in the letters U and double U or W. They are both vowels though I haven’t found W as a vowel in any textbook since the McGuffey’s readers. Nevertheless, it is a vowel and runically it signifies ‘Joy’, appropriate since joy requires company. Wherever the U is, it represemts emergy. Anglo-Saxon had words with teams of u’s as in uu. One of the many storys of English says that a French scribe mistook ‘uu’ for ‘w’. I mention this because it continues to strike me as ‘useless’ so, if anyone can find value in the observation, I would like to hear it.
V v is a letter that I haven’t found in runes. However, V is a vocalized form of Feoh ‘F’. Whenever I find V in a word, it can reasonably be understood as a form of wealth or well-being. When I write ‘or’ as in wealth or well-being, the sense of this is ‘through transformation, well-being becomes the territory of wealth.’ It is not an alternative sense of Feoh.
W w Wyn is the rune for W and it represents a wind vane, a flag for tracking the wind, The symbol is supposed to represent Joy. The W does actually represent a double U. One particularly distinctive thing about W is that as WR it represents the sense element of the word ‘Wer’. This word is the source of all the words which begin with wr- as well as all of the words which begin with w- have one to five letters and then an ‘r ‘ such as, worry, word, work, worth, weird,wonder, asf.
X x This is the supportive cross in our English alphabet and is symbolized by Elhaz, the resistant force of the Elk. It is also the ‘warding’ sign of the ‘splayed hand’ a sign indicated by holding up one hand as though warning someone to back off. There is no mistaking the message. This is an outer expression of an inner reality. This is the supporting structure of the heart. There is currently an expression “Man Up” which is used to somehow fortify a man’s courage. The expression was originally “Heart Up” and was intended to encourage one to center that inner cross and fortify oneself. We have a couple of words which reference that inner feeling: anxious, anxiety. These are unsettling feelings but not as much as ‘angst’ when it feels as though we are gripped by that feeling. To Heart Up would be to center the heart energy. That is my take on it. Our language is centered in The People. It informs us and with it, we can inform others.
Y y Yr is the rune of distance, of off into time, space and other distances. The symbol is the long bow and the dousing rod, a bow for finding things beneath the ground. The long bow was the way a man could claim territory beyond the distance he could see. The Yr also represents year and years, a way of claiming territory over time -if he has the know-how to plan for it. The tree symbol for this is the Yew a tree that dies within and grows new trees from roots on the living sides of the original tree. Some of them have survived long enough for someone to be able to live within. The tree has claimed territory. That ‘y’ at the end of territory represents off into the distance.
Z z I haven’t found a separate rune for Z and I don’t consider any of them plausible other than Siegel, the sun rune. The letter Z is the vocalized form of S and I will be accepting this until I find a compelling reason for changing my mind.
I have done postings regarding many questions which are not addressed in this document. I will later post information to give directions to the postings. A couple are already noted near the appropriate letter but, they are not yet referenced specifically.
- Judith has written (and re-written) the pages below, initially for a book and now for this website. These files are still under revision, and should not be treated as stable documents.