Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

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Asatru FAQ: How Do I Design a Runic Tattoo?

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Frequently Asked Question: I want to translate or tranliterate a phrase into runes. How do I do that and how do I make sure it's right?

My answer: There are some decisions to be made: 

1.

a. Do you want the phrase in modern English or an ancient language, and

b. if the latter, which one? 

If you want it in an ancient language, you will have to translate it into a grammatically correct form in that language, probably with the help of a scholar. In the case of Old Icelandic, a native speaker of Modern Icelandic may be able to help you, as the modern language has not diverged very far.  

2.

a. What alphabet do you want it in?

b.

(1) If it's in an ancient language, do you want it in that language's alphabet? For example, if it's in Frisian, you probably want the Frisian futhark.

(2) Do you want other heathens and pagans to be able to read it? If yes, pick the Elder Futhark-- that's the one most people who can read runes on sight can read.  

If you want it in modern English, you will probably either want the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, as the runic alphabet of Old English, or the Elder Futhark, as the most commonly known rune alphabet in modern times.

 Image: Gripsholm Castle rune stone detail, public domain

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners and other books. She was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is gythia of American Celebration Kindred. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office.

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