In part one, I discussed how the Runes, although in their last incarnation were seen as letters, have their roots as symbols. In this part I will be discussing one of the main ways people decipher the Runes, The Rune Poems. The Rune poems are enigmatic in their construction, they appear to be some kind of riddle. Whilst many people have come to know the runes through the English translations, my question is, can you really decipher a riddle via a translation? Translations are always “attempts” at conveying the meaning not necessarily the exact words. If you then add to this homonyms and connections between words, that only make sense in the original tongue, you begin to see the problem. There are many instances in the English translations where words are left out or there is clearly a double meaning hidden within the text. A great example of this is in the Icelandic Fehu poem.
“ok grafseiðs gata aurum fylkir.”
This is translated as “And path of the serpent”, but only three of the words have been translated. “ok” And “gata” path “aurum” Serpent. The words Grafseids and Fylkir are completely left out. The astute among you will also realise that aurum is not the word for Serpent in Old Norse, but the Latin word for “Gold”. There are many words in the rune poems that because of the way they are spelled or being Homonyms appear to hint at a double or hidden meaning within the verse. So with words left out and deliberately misspelled words, it is vital we understand the original texts, if we are to understand the Rune.
When I first discovered these errors, or nuances lost in translation, I could no longer settle with learning the Runes through them. I then set myself my most ambitious task, to re translate them, it soon became clear though this was not as simple as just giving people a different “translation”. With so many word options and so many way a sentence can be constructed, I realised if I were to simply put forward a simple alternative, I would be committing the same crime as the original translations, one of Dogma. Although when presenting my findings on the Rune poems I will of course put forward my ideas on them, I hope to do it in such a way that you, the reader will also be able to decipher meanings I may of missed. I will try to be as comprehensive as I can when putting together word or sentence options. I will use every tool at my disposal, dictionaries, etymology and old norse texts, to try and present each word in its fullest context.
I will not waste to much time here though, as to fully explain what I mean is best done with delving into the runes themselves.