When Odin hung himself on Yggdrasil he took up the runes. Following Ragnarok, the surviving Gods build a new city in Ithavoll where they meet together and discuss the ancient runes of the Ruler of Gods. What then are the runes?
Runes are the letters in the runic alphabet, which were used to write Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet. The earliest surviving runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD. In Tacitus’s Germania, describes “signs” chosen in groups of three and cut from “a nut-bearing tree”. Rune letters were possibly inscribed on these tree cuttings.
In the Ynglings saga, when King Granmar of Södermanland (located on South East coast of Sweden), went to Uppsala for the blót (a feast following ritual sacrifice to the Gods). There, the rune “chips” fell in a way that when interpreted said he would not live long.
A third source is Saint Rimbert’s Vita Ansgari, where there are three accounts of the use of runes for divination. Rimbert actually described the method of divination was “drawing lots”.
In the poetic Edda, Heimdall in the guise of Rig, had three sons, Thrall (slave), Churl (freeman), and Jarl (noble) by human women. These became the ancestors of the three classes of humans indicated by the meanings of their names. When Jarl reached an age where he showed signs of nobility, Heimdall (as Rig) returned and taught Jarl the runes bringing the divine gift of the runes to humankind.
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