ᚩ byþ ordfruma. ælcre spræce.
wisdomes wraþu. and witena frofur.
and eorla gehwam. eadnys and to hiht ᛬᛫
It is the source of every speech,
The support of wisdom, and the help of sages.
And for each of our leaders ease and hope.
The ash tree is oferheah. Over-high. Tall. And it grows from nothing: the smallest sapling can become something oferheah, massive, with root systems that are fairly shallow, but more extensive than most other trees growing in similar habitat. No wonder the stanza says it is stiþ on staþule, firm in its foundations. With far spreading roots like that it will stede rihte hylt, steadily and rightly hold firm in conditions that might cause another tree to topple. The wood from an ash tree is firm in another way too, it is a particularly hard wood and its grain grows straight, which makes it the ideal wood for a spear: it can take a powerful blow without splintering. Several blows. It also makes fantastic handles for axes and daggers. This is why the Rune Poem says him feohtan on firas monig: many people fight it, it made great weapons.
Don’t fight the … More
Os means God, non specified, though this stanza might be talking about a specific one. There are other specific gods in the Rune Poem. Tiw is here. So is Ing. We don’t know much about Ing. We don’t know much about any of the Gods the rune carvers were listening to. We do know the Nordic ones thanks largely to the thirteenth century Icelandic poet Snorri Sturluson, who compiled folk traditions into stories for a Norse king who liked his entertainment. Britain also being a North Sea culture, there was plenty of overlap. There’s not much written about the deities in Old English, though. Most everybody doing the writing was Christian, so. They had an agenda. These Christians preferred a reduction of the Gods down to a singularity, a point encompassing all other points, so the extra Gods they’d encounter tended to disappear.
The word Os was disappearing too, by the … More
First of all shush! Shh. You talk too much. You need to listen more. Who do you think you are? You’re not God. You are about to talk to somebody who is God and who is not chatty. So shush. Listen. What.
Before beginning a conversation with divinity, choose which divine being you wish to communicate with. Or beings. Perhaps your deity is multiple. Will you be talking to all of them? A select group? Maybe your divine one is not a one, but one of those many contained into the one deals? This can happen very easily. From the one to the infinite is but a step. Ascertain if your God is a two for one special, a throuple, or some sort of n = (n+1) arrangement, or perhaps more likely: 0*∞ = (0*∞)+1. Or if you prefer: 0/∞ = (0/∞)+ 1, it’s all one to me.
Determine as well if your God … More
George William Russell, Irish legend in a crowded field, once published something under the pseudonym Æon but the printer cut off the last two letters and Æ liked the result. He did and was a lot of things, mainly between 1890 and 1930: painter, composer, agriculturalist, cyclist, pacifist, vegetarian, mystic, mentor, publisher. He published a weekly newspaper called The Irish Homestead intended mainly to support the rise of co-op farming but it wove in plenty of the Irish literary revival. How could he help it? Who could blame him.
Æ gave James Joyce his start, asked him to write something simple. Joyce’s first published story “The Sisters” appeared in The Irish Homestead under the pseudonym Stephen Dedalus. It’s from a child’s point of view, so it seemed simple, of the wake and remembrance of a priest whose life was, you might say, crossed. That’s how Eliza puts it in the story. It’s what she doesn’t … More
Reordberend the tree called me,
It says I am a speechbearer.
It thinks I am an odd little tree,
A small beech or confused shrub in error.
It looks to me, I said to this tree
That you’re the one who’s confused.
Don’t you see? You’re talking for me,
If you say you’re a tree it’s a ruse.
Did you know that tree means truth? Well it does, honestly, let me be the first to tell you so you know it’s true. The Old English word treow means both tree and truth. Lots of Old English words use treow in them to mean things like to trust or believe (treowan), or to be faithful (treowfæst, truth-fast). Treow is used for more woody things too, like when you take your treowfæstnian (trusty) ax to the treowsteall (a grove) to work as a treowwyrtha (carpenter) treowfeging (joining boards together) into a treowgeweroc (tree work, something made of wood). In that treow grove you’ll find forest birds (treowfugol) and faithful friends (treowgeðofta) who’ll go in for a little tree worship (treowweroðung) with you and with whom you might find treowlufu (true love). Watch out for the treowles and treowleasnes.
Tree and truth were more than … More
Archaeologists in their digging and dating trace the oldest runic alphabet back to the late second century. The oldest rune carvings are often of the alphabet itself, carved in order. They’ve found runes etched into durable things like rock, metal, bone, but sometimes the odd piece of wood might survive. These earliest rune carvings have been found all over Northern Europe, even on occasion as far south as France, but most particularly around the Baltic Sea Coast. The messages would be brief, saying things like Vern made me. Not an actual Vern, there was no V. I’d carve this here if I could, carve it into light, but I’d have to use my own V.
The earliest runic inscriptions reveal no memory that the runes came from a prior alphabet, though they line up beautifully with several Latin letters, and correspond even more closely to Etruscan, the language of ancient northern and central … More
Ogam, spelled Ogham in modern Irish, is an Old Irish alphabet, it was possibly a cryptographic alphabet like the runic ones, and it may have had its own sign language and musical notation. The Ogam letters have names like the letters in the Rune Poem, and the letters have meanings we can glean from three collections of kennings, or Briatharogam (literally word-letters): words paired portmanteau style to make new meanings. It’s like a mini version of the Rune Poem’s riddles: two words give the clue instead of a whole stanza. These people understood how to work with brevity.
It is popular for people to think that all letters in the Ogam alphabet were always named after trees, and though there is a substantial grove of at least eight of them in the Ogam alphabet, there’s other stuff in there too. Take a look at the kennings for the letter R, ᚏ: tindem rucci… More
There are three kinds of apostrophes, grammatical don’t you know, botanical (when bits of protoplasm and such gather on plant cell walls adjacent to other plant cell walls, the more you know) and rhetorical. O reader did you know, the meaning of apostrophe that came first and the one I’m on about today is the rhetorical one?
The word apostrophe comes from Latin and Greek words that mean to turn away, a turning. It’s when the speaker or the writer stops everything and words directed at an audience turn elsewhere. Where to? To people not in the scene, to an object maybe. O tree, hear my words and tell me my fate! Or a concept. O language, you never stop you slippery Proteus! It’s a turn from the reader but also a turning of the reader. Turn this way. Follow me here. Listen to me say things that you can hear to something or somebody … More
X: The sun’s going down.
Y: Wait, how do I run?
X: Control W, no hold it down.
Z: Don’t lose my stuff.
Y: How would I lose your stuff? Wait, I’m stuck. Where am I? Is this a hole?
X: Spacebar to jump. Ok. So we need to find a tree.
Y: What for?
X: We need to punch the tree.
X: No, we need to get wood to make things. And we need shelter before something gets us. Ok, punch this tree.
Y: Wait, what? What something? How do I punch the tree?
X: Left click. No, go closer, now left click. We really should be building a shelter.
Y: The tree doesn’t fall? It just stays there with the middle missing?
X: They don’t fall over. You have to get under it and punch up if you want all the wood.… More
You getting it from all sides? Lots of people want to take you on? Something’s coming for you, but this is the Æsc rune, and it is used to a good fight. It’s seen plenty of battles, and yours is no different. Æsc says stand tall and plant. You hold steady, firm in your foundations. Those roots you draw from go deep, farther than you know, all the way into your ancestry so connect with your elders, get right with them and hold.
You want to hear from your God and got the God rune. You pulled a rune that tells you to talk to the Gods with runes. That’s some nested levels of scale messaging from your deity right there. Here’s what you do. Pay attention. That’s what to do. The Gods are talking, take comfort in that, be easy and remain hopeful. Divinity is talking to you on every level, you’re not on your own, so listen up.
The ᚩ rune (O, Os) and the ᚪ (A, Ac) both started the same way, as new shapes of the ᚫ rune (Æ, Æsc) which once made the sound of the letter A, stood in the fourth position of the alphabet, and meant God. The A sound changed very early in the lifetime of Old English, vowels are shifty, and this one changed into O and Æ, so new runes were made with new meanings to represent the new sounds, and appropriate places were found for them in the alphabetic line up. Æ, sounds like the A in ash tree, which is its meaning, this is one of a whole grove of trees in the Rune Poem. It kept the original rune shape ᚫ while the others are derived from it, and was moved opposite it’s original 4th position to the 26th place. They put it there so it can … More
Vowels are slippery things. They shift around and we have to learn which sound differences to ignore as another person’s accent and which ones change meaning. In the earliest times of Old English history the sound of the letter A changed so much it became three letters, A (ᚪ), O (ᚩ), and Æ (ᚫ). The ᚫ rune was the original rune shape for the A sound and stands in the 4th position in the Norwegian and Icelandic runic alphabets where it makes the sound for the letter A and means God. In the Old English runic alphabet, ᚩ (Os) holds the 4th position where it still means God, but here it makes the sound O. Smote. Lot. That God that smote you is a lot. The O sound was once made by the ᛟ rune, Eþel, but by the time they wrote down the Rune Poem, Eþel was already slipping … More