The Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Norsemen first began to settle in Britain after the Romans left in 450AD. An alphabet developed from the set of symbols that they brought with them, which became collectively known as runes. There were originally 24 runes known as ‘the Futhark,’ which was named from the first six symbols. The word rune originates from the Old Norse word Runa which means a secret or mystery. Long before the symbols were used as an alphabet, each rune had been given a meaningful name suggesting that they were religious or magical in nature.
Early rune masters or mistresses were believed to have been able to understand the runes in a magical way, while the rest of the society would only be able to view them as symbols. Each rune originally represented the name of a god, an animal, a person, object or occurrence. They were used by oracles in divination, to mark amulets and charms, during rituals and spells as well as to make inscriptions. Anglo-Saxons were deeply connected to nature, and each set of runes would have been unique in a representation of objects on the earth and humanity.
A set of runes would be made using fallen branches, in respect for the trees, and real modern day rune-makers follow this example. Another appropriate material to make runes with is the bones of dead animals which have been dried and blessed. With deep gratitude to nature, for its contribution, an ancient ritual is completed during branding of the runes into the wood to help them absorb the magic associated with each symbol. These runes are often used to perform a reading before each ritual, calling on the help of many Anglo-Saxon gods.
Spells being cast with runes require a minimum amount of light, with candles being the ideal source. Familiarity greatly boosts the ability of the runes, which is why it is recommended that each spell caster have their own set. Runes will begin to respond to the individual after a few spells. Most modern spells call upon Odin and Freya. The runes are cast on a field which represents the world, and the past and future as well as the problem and outcome can all be observed at the same time.
Each rune is associated with more than one meaning and should always be placed on the field exactly as they have been drawn. The meaning is different when the symbol faces up or down, or when turned right or left. There are several different types of runic castings, and they may be used to solve a variety of problems. Each rune caster will be guided towards the one which they feel most comfortable with, and will yield the best results under the circumstances.