The Last Viking Returns

Runes and Runemasters’ Magical Powers


The Vikings used Runes, smooth stones carved with symbols like our modern alphabet, to tell fortunes and to communicate. The word rune is an Old Norse word meaning a secret or mystery, and in a time when hardly anyone could read or write, Runemasters were considered to have magic powers. Any young Viking could learn to fight or build a Longship, but only the most special children were selected to learn the secrets of the Runes.

Runes first appeared about 200AD and were known as the Futhark, after the first seven letters, a bit like our keyboards are called qwerty after the six top keys. Runes carved onto metal, like sword blades, or on stone such as gravestones, have survived, and only a small number of documents like the sagas of Eric the Red and Harald Finehair, a King of Norway, managed not to rot away, which is just as well or we’d not know that Eric’s son Leif discovered America, or that Harald had a great hairdresser.

In 960AD when King Harold Bluetooth of Denmark and many of his subjects converted to Christianity, the use of Runes was discouraged by the Church, because of the stones’ mysterious Pagan past, and, in fact, the Puritans in the 16th century, long after the Vikings era had ended, were still so concerned about the influence of the magical rocks that they passed a law stating that anyone caught owning Runes would be instantly arrested and burnt. Holy smoke!

There has been a great revival in recent times in the historical interest of rune stones, unfortunately, though, if you  go searching Google on how to make and read your own stones (as I just did)  you came across an awful lot of practicing witches and modern days pagans and crusty people you wouldn’t take home to meet your mum. The genuine historical sites are spread a little thinner.

One decent website I did find was that of famous author Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat and Runemarks and loads of other books. Her site has more information that you’ll ever need. I really enjoyed it.


Author: normanjorgensen

I'm an Australian writer of books for kids and teenagers. I like traveling and seeing the world, especially through the the lens of my camera. I'm addicted to old movies, red wine and books and decent music.

5 thoughts on “Runes and Runemasters’ Magical Powers

  1. Pingback: Still under the influence « The Last Viking

  2. hey there
    nice blog
    I was just wondering where you got this sword
    I used to have it with necklace, but lost it one day.

    Could I order it anywhere?


  3. Pingback: Still under the influence | The Last Viking

  4. I have that sword pendent with the runes on it , but i have no idea what the runes mean… pls help

    • The swords had two sides, woth with writen runes, on the side that the picture showns , the rune says: Peter Pracownik. the maker of the Sword. On the other side the runs wil translate to Glastonbury. Named after the English town of Glastonbury, which is sometimes alluded to as the land of Avalon, in Arthurian lore

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