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Home Erin's Journal, Stuff, Witch Finnish Runes


Finnish Runes

Just today I got this comment in my queue that was talking about the “Finish Runes”.


Basically, so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, the author of the comment is saying that there is no such thing as “Finish Runes” due to the fact that they were literate for some time and used someone else’s written language.

To which I reply: “that’s part of the point.”

In the article “What makes a fluffbunny” I talk about someone claiming to be expert in the Runes, and I ask which set. I included the Finish runes kind of as a red herring, a way of helping to determine if those who claim to know everything about the runes then they should be able to discover that on their own.

The second reason I added the “Finish Runes” to the mix was a class I took in them.

When I was still in Georgia there was a “new age center” right next to a bookstore I went to all the time. In this center, they offered a course in the Runes. I thought it would be a good course to take since I’m really interested in the Elder Futhark and needed to expand my knowledge.

When I started taking it I found out that this was a class in working with the runes, one per night to discover the runes for yourself. The rune that night we were working with was Thorn, what many people know as Thurisaz, the third letter in the Elder Futhark. When I saw a rune shaped like an asterisk (*) I asked what runeset we were working with, and the instructor told me that this was the Finish runeset that he had discovered. (It might have been “Scandinavian runeset”, I know it wasn’t the Germanic or Icelandic sets I was familiar with). I was somewhat confused, but I went along with the course for that night, and didn’t go back.

That incident was the original prompt to add that line to the article (about the Finish runeset), but when I got the first email saying there was no such thing, the second reason (the red herring) was the impetus to keep that in there.

Sorry if I confused someone or made it look as though I wasn’t keeping my facts straight.

Mea culpa.

Originally posted 2010-04-05 13:29:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

3 Responses to “Finnish Runes”

  1. Tyriel says:

    Hey there. I got to reading some of your articles about runes, and evidence, and I commented on a really old post, of yours, The Truth about the Runes. From 2000… I figured I’d repost here, because it’s related…

    While I do agree with you on the lack of evidence surrounding the runes (on many counts, not just for/against divination), I almost think you not seeing the forest for the trees here.

    Human beings in every culture have almost always practiced many forms of divination, of all sorts of insane things: entrails, tea leaves, spit, palms… anything we could get our hands on really.

    Common sense would dictate that a system like the runes, which were actively used as charms, were very probably used as divination too. Practically anything we can think of divining with IS.

    Do we divine with them now like people would in the past? No. We don’t do anything anymore like people did in the past, except perhaps maybe love, hate, laugh, cry, etc. Again, this is another common sense principle. So that any system of divination — at least the interpretations — is ‘modern’ is fairly likely, but connected to the human condition by our core ‘inner’ nature, which has remained quite loyal and unchanged as far as we know, for tens of thousands of years.

    Early on, when human consciousness was still evolving the ability to use written symbols (a leap in mental faculties that appears to date only as far back as recorded history, compared to a million years without it), all symbolic representation in the form of alphabets, glyphs, etc. were likely seen as magical. At first, only elite members of the culture — kings, priests, generals — would use them. This is pretty ubiquitous (though not completely so) where writing emerged amongst early cultures. It’s therefor not unlikely that the runes were considered a magical alphabet… and that it was possibly not the only alphabet that was considered magical in some way.

    We still refer to particularly eloquent writing as ’spellbinding’.

    We do have a remarkable tendency to romanticize the past, and it makes me wonder just how ‘ancient’ something needs to be though, before it is an authentic spiritual practice?

  2. John Day says:

    Runes. A fascinating debate, mostly pointless at the moment. I will explain why.

    Runes are believed by scholars to have originated with the Phoenician alphabet, by way of first the Etruscans and then the Romans, finally reaching the poor, desolate northerners. This explaining why many runes look like Roman characters. Except for the ones that don’t. Great narrative, wonderful story, deeply problematical.

    How is it problematical? Let’s start with the definitely known. It is definitely known that Vinci Script (Old European) goes back 8,000 years and has characters equally within range. Without solid experimental* evidence, it is impossible to distinguish between the theories.

    It is also definitely known that the Greeks were trading with Britain and northern Europe before the Romans even had an alphabet. The archaeology there is solid (the finds of Greek goods older than Rome in Britain don’t leave a whole lot of room for doubt) and the Greeks themselves talk of such visits. They also talk of being told of Britain by the Phoenicians, but neither the oldest Greek texts referred to nor the Phoenician texts have been found. I’m wary of saying they don’t exist. The Archimedes Palimpset shows things can exist without being known about. However, it seems safe to say they probably don’t.

    Since the Greeks and possibly Phoenicians were quite happy touring the northern habitats, absolutely nothing stops the natives of those lands using these older writing systems. Since both are essentially the same character system as Latin, inspection is not sufficient to distinguish these cases. You need experimental* data.

    *Ok, I’ve used experiment twice here. What does it mean, given we can’t literally go back in time? In this case, it says the stuff we know about is very well-developed. There should be earlier forms. The experiment is to say what those earlier forms should look like, given each of the different writing systems and the slightly different styling. You then look for archaeological data (current or future) that is significantly earlier and see which predicted form it is closest to. That tells you what the likely real path was.

    In the case of Finnish runes (alleged runes written around 2,000 BC) and Glozel runes (of uncertain provinence but the pottery itself has been dated by thermofluorescence to late Iron Age), there’s not enough solid data to use either as this experimental form. HOWEVER, if an intermediate form is discovered that solidly links runes to Old European and NOT to the Phoenician/Greek/Roman script, then it will be necessary to reappraise those runesets in light of that information. At present, they are “case not proven”. There is too much that is uncertain. They’re as useless as the Phaistos Disk – possible forgeries, possibly real.

    • John Day says:

      I shall now have to expand on my comment.

      The symbols known as “Vinca Script” are virtually identical to symbols found in caves from Europe to Indonesia. These caves were only discovered very recently, nobody had actually examined the symbols and built a concordance until a few years ago, and a number of the caves were blocked in antiquity and had to be re-opened.

      This doesn’t mean Finnish runes are real, nor does it mean anyone is definitely wrong. What it does mean is that the concept of a rune existed 30,000 years ago.

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