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The Elder Futhark: Perdhro/Perthro

The Elder Futhark: Perdhro/Perthro

The fourteenth rune in the Elder Futhark, and sixth rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Perdhro or Perthro, which corresponds to the “p” sound in the English alphabet. This powerful and enigmatic rune deals with secrets, magic, and female powers.

In Anglo-Saxon, Perdhro is spelled Peorð. It has no equivalent name in Old Norse. Perdhro is the rune of secrets and mysteries. We can go into how women are mysterious and the sexual connotations of this rune, but I tend to think of this rune more as one of freewill and choices.

Perdhro is an enigmatic rune because it is by its nature unknowable. People who add the blank rune to the Elder Futhark tend to ascribe Perdhro’s meaning to it, which isn’t correct. That’s why I don’t do rune castings with the blank rune.

Divination with Perdhro

When you get this rune in a casting, it suggests there is something unknowable in what you’re asking. It can be helpful in certain positions and annoying as Hel in the outcome or upcoming positions.

Should you get this rune in your castings, it is a sign that right now, the Wyrd isn’t set, and your actions can seriously influence the outcome. This is the part of free will portion of this rune, but it does mean that it can’t advise you what direction you need to take. You may need to look at the runes around it to understand what is influencing that rune. Remember, the runes don’t stand alone when doing a cast. Perdhro is influenced by the runes around it, as well as it being able to influence the runes cast with it.

Some Final Thoughts on Perdhro 

When Perdhro appears in a spread, you may feel frustrated with it, because it says that the path is unknown. At the same time, you can feel secure in the fact you have choices and you need to consider all aspects before starting down that road. Perdhro also addresses magic, that is, of the feminine type. Could be Seidr or another type of magic typically associated with Gythia.

For me, getting Perdhro in a spread is probably one of the most frustrating experiences. Luckily, it usually shows up under the matters under consideration position of the spread, but not always. If it is in the upcoming events or outcomes position, I tend to pull another rune to get a perspective on the unknown portion. The fourth rune usually tells me why it was pulled in that position.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I get a small stipend which helps support The Rational Heathen. I would encourage you to support my site. Thanks. Did you know you can become my patron for as little as $5 a month? This entitles you to content not posted anywhere else. Plus you get to see posts like this three days before the public! Without patrons, I’d be having a very hard time keeping this blog going. Become a patron today!Become a Patron!

Shit! The Runes DO Work

Shit! The Runes DO Work

Fucking freaky. Occasionally the Runes remind me I’m not just screwing around. Like the time when I asked them who was guiding me with the runes and they spelled out Thor’s name and gave me Tyr’s rune.

The Beginning…or Why I Consulted the Runes

The gods know I could use help. My pagan series has been going along just fine, but money is always something I need. This is how they decided to help me, and the rune reading associated with it.

Some Background

As you may know, I read a lot of pagan and nontheist blogs. After reading another pagan’s blog, I was reminded I need to provide more consistent offerings. So, I chose the thing that is near and dear to my heart: tea. The gods gets the first cup in the morning, or when I refresh the tea leaves, once weekly. Preferably on Tuesday, because Tyr.

Weekly Offerings

I’m still new at this regular offering thing, but with the exception of providing the offering a day late, and the little matter of my spouse using the offering bowl for salsa (ahem), it seems to be going okay. I pretty much just offer the tea. No pleas for the winning lotto ticket, or anything like that. Oh, maybe a thank you for keeping us relatively healthy, and a generic, “please keep us safe” kind of thing. I don’t do ceremonies or make lofty speeches. I figure they know what I need probably better than I do.

Email Out of the Ether

So, a few days ago, I got an email from a publisher. That makes me sound much more important than I am, so don’t be too impressed. Anyway, a publisher wanted me to work on a project provided that their Powers-That-Be approved the proposal. It’s an update of some work I did more than fifteen years ago.

Where’s the Work?

So, I panicked because I had no idea where the original work ran off to after so many years and computer deaths. All I can say is thank the gods for PC Mover. Despite me not wanting to move everything to my new computer, that’s what it did. Again. And again. And again. The original documents were on my hard drive, passed along from computer generation to computer generation. Which means I have copies on at least four hard drives. And now, Dropbox.

Consulting the Runes

At this stage, I was somewhat ambivalent about what I should do. My pagan urban fantasy series is going well, and even my spouse thinks it’s time for me to focus on it. But…the amount I could bring in for four months of Hel might be worth it. I suspect that the work offer had to do with my offerings, but I wasn’t sure. I needed to consult the runes. Big time.

My Reading — I Shit You Not

First Rune: Matter Under Consideration: Ansuz

Ansuz means message, writing, and language. Sometimes from the gods.

Second Rune: What will affect the matter. Either positive or negative: Gebo

Gebo means gift and partnership. Something given in exchange for a partnership. Business or personal.

Third Rune: Upcoming elements. Outcome: Eihwaz

Eihwaz is a rune of defense, protection. Can be associated with good outcomes. I stared at the first two runes and wondered about Eihwaz. It suggests that I need to go carefully into this. But it is likely to be positive.

I asked for clarification and pulled the rune Uruz.

Uruz is strength, but it can also mean upheaval in some ways. Yeah, taking this project on will definitely change things. But again Uruz is usually a good sign for me.

Why I Got Freaked Out

When it comes to the first two runes, the reading was spot on. I mean it’s about a writing project and a partnership. The Eihwaz simply tells me to be careful, which I know, dealing with publishers. For someone who reads the runes, having the runes spell out what was going on was freaky. It’s almost as if the gods said, “look you skeptic, we’re going to make this ridiculously clear so even you can understand.” In other words, every time I try going agnostic, a god hits me over the head with reality. Sheesh. You think I’d learn.

Then, Eihwaz

I was about to leave this on a positive note, but then the publisher decided to lowball me. Well, Eihwaz is once again spot on. So, I don’t know. But I do know the runes work, when asking questions that are important. I’ve occasionally got a garbled mess when I’m unfocused, but often it has to do with another matter that is more pressing in my life. So, I wait and see. Maybe they come back with a sane offer, maybe not. Maybe the gods just wanted to remind me not to be agnostic.

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The Elder Futhark: Eihwaz

The Elder Futhark: Eihwaz

The thirteenth rune in the Elder Futhark, and fifth rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Eihwaz, which corresponds to the “eo” sound, which has no English equivalent in the alphabet. Probably the closest is the pronunciation of the name “Theo.” This is powerful rune that is protection, and oddly enough, death. It is the rune Yggdrasil and the Yew tree.

In Anglo-Saxon, Eihwaz is spelled Eoh, and in Old Norse it is Eihwas. Eihwaz is the rune of protection and defense. Self bows were often constructed of yew. If the wood was chosen correctly, it would have two different properties in the wood, itself. One part would be rigid; the other would be flexible.

Eihwaz is a powerful rune of protection. Like the self bow or yew staff, it can be both hard and flexible. The rune is even shaped somewhat like a bow, or a staff, if you use enough imagination. The reason why this rune can be a portent of death is because the yew, itself, is poisonous.

Divination with Eihwaz

When you get this rune in a casting, it suggests a strong defense of some kind. It can be your defender, depending on where it is in the reading, or it can defend against you if you are the aggressor. It is the rune of defense and protection, similar to the rune, Algiz. Then again, it can signal death in a very real way. It can mean death of an old way that can make way for something else. Or it could mean a literal death, but this is rare, in my experience.

When I’ve had Eihwaz appear in my castings, I’ve never interpreted it as death. It always seems to say that something bad is usually coming to an end, making way for something else, usually good. Eihwaz is my bow that keeps my enemies at an arrow shot away. It offers me the tools to protect myself.

Should you get this rune in your castings, it is a powerful sign that something is protecting and defending you. Like Yggdrasil, the protection is powerful enough to withstand damage even at the roots. It can help give you strength when times are tough.

Some Final Thoughts on Eihwaz

When Eihwaz appears in a spread, you may find that Eihwaz signals that you are protected, and that a difficult time will soon be over. As always, the position where Eihwaz appears as well as the runes around it will dictate how it should be read, because they can affect its meaning.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I get a small stipend which helps support The Rational Heathen. I would encourage you to support my site. Thanks. Did you know you can become my patron for as little as $5 a month? This entitles you to content not posted anywhere else. Plus you get to see posts like this three days before the public! Without patrons, I’d be having a very hard time keeping this blog going. Become a patron today!Become a Patron!

The Elder Futhark: Jera

The Elder Futhark: Jera

The twelfth rune in the Elder Futhark, and fourth rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Jera, which corresponds to the “y” sound in the word “year.” This is an interesting rune, and one that evokes the cycle of the year and harvests. It is the rune of planning, waiting, and seeing your plans comes to fruition. Like the oncoming harvest, a lot of what this rune tells you depends on your actions and plans. It is a positive rune in many cases, but it can be very frustrating because it advises waiting.

In Anglo-Saxon, Jera is spelled Ger or Ior, and in Old Norse it is Ar. Jera is the rune of good harvest. As with a harvest, there must be preparations to the fields, seeds planted, and crops tended. But Jera suggests that the harvest will be good, and you just have to be patient.

Like Isa, this rune requires waiting, but like the harvest, it promises good things in abundance. Our Northern ancestors were primarily farmers and understood that they had to wait to receive the bounty of their harvest. Harvest didn’t happen in a day or a week. It started after the last harvest with plans for the next season. Farmers had to save seeds from the current harvest to replant their vegetables and grain crops. They had to prepare their fields to lie fallow over the winter. And then, they had to wait until the ground thawed after a long winter so they could plow and plant their seeds. With each planting, the farmer hoped for a good crop without pests and diseases. But Jera is a rune of good harvest, which means droughts, hailstorms, and damaging weather, as well as pests and diseases, aren’t a factor for this harvest. It means there will be plenty and good times are ahead.

Divination with Jera

When you get this rune in a casting, it informs you that good things will happen, but you must wait. Because Jera is derived from the proto-Germanic word meaning “year” (jēr) and the Old Norse word for year is Ar, it suggests that your waiting for good news may take a long time, quite possibly a year or longer.  Jera tells you that all your preparation and plans will come to pass. That good times are ahead, and that you will reap a bountiful harvest. But it advises patience as well. Good things don’t happen all at once. It takes time and planning for you to succeed in whatever endeavor you are asking the runes about.

Should you get this rune in your castings, you’re going to enjoy good things coming your way, but you must be patient. If other runes around it are negative and it is drawn in the future spot, it means that all your trials and travails will end with something good heading your way. If it is in a past spot, it suggests that you are coming off a time of harvest and new situations may arise. A present spot may suggest you moving into harvest, or maybe a cycle that will bring you towards the good things. Above all, just be patient. Good things come to those who wait.

Some Final Thoughts on Jera

When Jera appears in a spread, you may find that the outcome you are waiting for depends on your preparation and work. Nothing is ever easy with the runes, just as nothing was ever easy for our ancestors. Jera is a signal in many ways to work towards your goal, and if you are willing to work hard, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your success. As always, the position where Jera appears as well as the runes around it will dictate how successful your endeavors are. Good luck!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I get a small stipend which helps support The Rational Heathen. I would encourage you to support my site. Thanks. Did you know you can become my patron for as little as $5 a month? This entitles you to content not posted anywhere else. Plus you get to see posts like this three days before the public! Without patrons, I’d be having a very hard time keeping this blog going. Become a patron today!Become a Patron!

The Elder Futhark: Naudhiz

The Elder Futhark: Naudhiz

The tenth, and second rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Naudhiz, which corresponds to the “N” sound in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet we use).  This is a another one of the most negative runes you can get, whenever it comes up. It does occasionally have positive sides, but I’ll talk about that later. It is the rune of restriction, need, and scarcity. Naudhiz doesn’t really have any good meanings, so if you pull up this rune, you’re going to be in for a difficult time, unless it is talking about something in the past.

In Anglo-Saxon, Naudhiz is spelled Nyd, and in Old Norse it is Nauðr .  Nauðr is the rune of need, constraint, and famine.  It speaks of times when need fires were created to burn away famine or diseases.

Our ancestors were no strangers to nature’s destructive forces. That included failed crops, famine, and disease. This was a time when people did without. Naudhiz is the rune of “not,” and it meant that people would most likely suffer when this rune was cast.

Divination with Naudhiz

When you get this rune in a casting, it informs you that what you desire is unlikely to come about, or maybe, there are constrains regarding the outcome. If your life is in need, that is, you’ve lost your job, you’re out of money, or maybe your relationships aren’t working, and you get Naudhiz in the present position, or the matter being considered, chances are it’s just a reflection of your life or plans at the present moment. People who pull Naudhiz in the present or past position have been feeling like their lives have been constrained or lacking something. If you get Naudhiz in the future position, it suggests your plans and life are going to constrained in some way.  Naudhiz often means no.

Naudhiz doesn’t seem to have a positive side to it, and in many cases it doesn’t. But at the same time, maybe it’s like the Rolling Stones song which says “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you just might find, you get what you need.”  Like all runes, the context of the constraint depends on its position and the runes surrounding it. The runes feed off of each other, creating a broader picture for the caster.

Should you get this rune in your castings, you may think it means you’ll never get what you’re working toward. Well, maybe. The runes don’t differentiate between big and little. It’s up to you to determine whether you get disappointed because your lottery ticket didn’t win, or you didn’t get that promotion you were expecting, or if you lose your job. Naudhiz can mean all those things, so you need (see what I did there?) to be very specific, and even then, the runes may address something else in your life, and not what you were asking for.

Some Final Thoughts on Naudhiz

When Naudhiz appears in a spread, you may panic. Don’t. Sometimes it may be addressing something that you are needy in and need to work on improving. Maybe in the future spot it is serving as a warning, rather than an actual future. Remember, you can change your path. That’s one of the awesome parts of weaving our own Wyrd.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I get a small stipend which helps support The Rational Heathen. I would encourage you to support my site.  Thanks.

Did you know you can become my patron for as little as $5 a month? This entitles you to content not posted anywhere else. Plus you get to see posts like this three days before the public! Without patrons, I’d be having a very hard time keeping this blog going. Become a patron today!

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The Elder Futhark: Raidho

The Elder Futhark: Raidho

The fifth rune of Freyr’s ætt is Raidho, which corresponds to “R” in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet we use). If you haven’t noticed the similarity between the other runes I’ve shown and our own alphabet, you probably will see it in Raidho and our letter R. Whether our runes were based on an older form of the Latin alphabet or whether they evolved from an older Indo-European alphabet is up for conjecture.  If you want to read about the origin of the runes, you can do that HERE.

Raidho‘s Meaning

In Anglo-Saxon Raidho is Rad and in Old Norse it is Reid.  Raidho is the rune of travel. It means a wheel, cart, chariot, or journey. Our ancestors considered travel very important because it required a fair amount of effort to go someplace. When you’re limited to walking, snowshoes, carts, travel using animals, or ships, you had a fair amount of effort involved, both physically and mentally. You left your safe confines of home to journey into less safe territory and unknown lands. Like any travel, it could be good or bad.

Divination with Raidho

When you get this rune in a casting, you’re looking at movement, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. It can mean something like business and vacation travel when dealing with physical movement. It could mean an actual move or change in residence. Or it could mean changes in perspective when it comes to a situation, relationship, or point-of-view.

Raidho often means leaving something that you know for somewhere you aren’t necessarily familiar with. It can be scary, if you’re not ready for it, or it might be a welcome change you’ve been looking for. Regardless, Raidho means movement, and that means it can provide either good or bad, depending on the matter under consideration.

You may notice I caveat a lot of rune readings by saying the meaning depends a lot on the runes surrounding the rune in question. The runes feed off of each other, creating a broader picture for the caster. Raidho is no different in that regard. You may find that Raidho foretells of a job opportunity–or it could foretell of a layoff–depending on the runes surrounding it and the circumstance.

Some Final Thoughts on Raidho

Raidho is one of those runes I actually like. Not because I hate being in the spot I’m in, but more because it can provide opportunities I would normally miss if everything continued to stay the same. Sure, it can bring negative consequences, but the times I’ve seen Raidho in a cast, it usually indicates physical travel for me–and usually something I’ve been expecting. You may find Raidho to be like that, or maybe it speaks more to your mental or emotional state. Regardless, it is a rune of change, both good and bad.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I get a small stipend which helps support The Rational Heathen. I would encourage you to support my site.  Thanks.

Where Did the Runes Come From?

Where Did the Runes Come From?

If you’re a Heathen, you probably know the story of how Odin hanged himself for nine days and nights on Yggdrasil and obtained the runes.  It’s a great story and one we love telling to explain the overall mystical qualities the runes possess. But, like anything, our stories don’t necessarily tell the whole story of how the runes came into being.  So, this piece looks at the runes and how they evolved.

The Havamal and Archetypes

The Havamal describes how Odin sought wisdom by hanging himself on Yggdrasil for nine days and nights.  He hanged with a spear stuck through him to earn the runes’ wisdom.  For those who follow Christianity, the image is oddly reminiscent of Jesus on the Cross.  Think about it: a god sacrifices himself to himself via crucifixion.  He is stabbed with a spear.  He dies and comes back to life, even before he created the world.

It just shows how the archetypes of ancient legends filter through to today’s most popular religion.  The idea of a crucified god isn’t new, nor is the concept of a god dying and being resurrected.  But that discussion is for another time.  We’re still talking about the runes, here.

Runes in the Havamal

I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla’s sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer’s drops I was showered.

Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs,
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.

For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Daïn,
Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs,
All-wise for Jötuns, and I, of myself,
graved some for the sons of men.

Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,
dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,
dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,
dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?

Better ask for too little than offer too much,
like the gift should be the boon;
better not to send than to overspend.
Thus Odin graved ere the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again.

Havamal, 137-144, translated by Olive Bray

Where Did the Runes Actually Come From?

If we look at the runic alphabet from archaeology, we can get a sense for where the runes came from.  Even so, it’s sort of a mystery how the runes came into being.  We know that the oldest runes, the Elder Futhark, were written as early as 150 AD or CE (Common Era).  But whence they came is as interesting as the story in the Havamal. Runes may have be derived from what are called the Old Italic Alphabets, which includes the Raetic and Venetic alphabets.  These alphabets may have come from a Proto-Indo-European language and made their appearance as far back as the 700 BC or BCE (Before Common Era). You can see the similarities in the Elder Futhark and the Raetic and Venetic alphabets, if you look closely.  Many of the same letters in the runic system are there.

We can assume that the runes and the modern alphabet came from a similar source. The Latin alphabet, the alphabet we use today, was derived from the Etruscan alphabet which had most of the same letters. These letters came over from the Greek language from a Greek colony in Italy, around 600 BCE.  There’s a possibility that this alphabet influenced the runic alphabet as well.

There’s also a hypothesis that the runes may have Germanic origins because of the Vimose Inscriptions. These inscriptions are some of the earliest Elder Futhark inscriptions, and they’re written in Proto-Norse. They were found on an island off of Denmark, making a case for West Germanic origins.

Scholars just don’t know the exact origins of the runes, but they can guess given the similarity of the alphabets.

Why the Runes are so Powerful

Our ancestors ascribed magical powers to the runes, and it’s not hard to guess why.  If you’ve never had a way to keep knowledge available for generations to come other than oral tradition (which had problems with changes over time, and lost information due to untimely deaths), it would seem like magic.  Think how magical it would be to have a way for your ancestors to speak to you.  Those who could write the runes must have appeared to be very powerful shamans to less learned folk.  And those who could read the runes were certainly powerful in knowledge.

As the Rational Heathen, I’m not really into the woo-woo stuff. And yet, I do and have done runecastings. I suspect that the runecastings work through your subconscious–that your mind knows what is going on and you’re in touch with it.  Your fingers pick out the runes that your subconscious knows well.  Perhaps a person who does a runecasting for someone else gets cues that only our subconscious can understand and comes up with a reading that makes sense.

Or, maybe not.

Whether you believe that Odin brought us the runes, or whether you think they evolved from another written language, I hope you enjoyed this post.  Let me know what you think and whether I should write more rune posts.

Vikings in Oklahoma, and Other Oddities

Vikings in Oklahoma, and Other Oddities

Several years ago a friend of mine told me about a runestone found in Oklahoma.  I laughed.  No, he insisted, it really did exist.  So like most skeptics I ignored it as another Piltdown man hoax.  But I never forgot his insistence that Vikings may have traveled to Oklahoma, among other places.  So when I stumbled across a listing of purported Viking runes and artifacts, I couldn’t help but think it would make an interesting post at some point.  Well, my eager readers, today is the day.

Where We Know the Vikings Did Show Up 

Few archaeologists will argue that Vikings didn’t land in North America, and set up colonies, but few would actually claim that they headed farther south than the runestones seem to suggest.  We know that there was a Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, and recently there has been another discovery at Point Rosee, some 370 miles away from the first confirmed site.  

How Tough Would It Have Been for Vikings to Travel Inland?

If Point Rosee is a Viking settlement site (jury is still out on it, but I suspect it probably is), how tough would it have been for the Vikings to head a bit more south? I’m hesitant to say that it’d be easy, because it certainly would not have been. But the Vikings were masters at travel, and if anyone could’ve navigated uncharted territory, it would have been them.  But North America is sizable, and it would take extraordinary people to accomplish this, even among Vikings.  Still, people with no more than their feet have traveled across North America in prehistoric times.

Let’s Get to the “Evidence,” Shall We? 

I placed the word “evidence” in quotes because, quite honestly, it’s hard to establish these as real and not elaborate hoaxes.  In many cases, science has dismissed certain “Norse artifacts” when data proves that they are anything but.   So let’s look at three pieces of allegedly Viking artifacts.

The Newport Tower in Rhode Island

If I could point to one thing that is sketchy when it comes to Norse artifacts, it would be the Newport Tower in Rhode Island. Proponents claim that Norse built it somewhere between the 11th century and the 14th century.  Most scholars consider it a windmill and not a tower built by the Norse (when did the Vikings ever have this type of architecture anyway?)  This was originally proposed by Danish archaeologist Carl Christian Rafn in 1837.
Others have expanded on the theory, but carbon dating places its age at the mid-17th century.  Still, there are those who purport that it is some antiquated tower and not a windmill (most experts believe it is a windmill), saying that it was built in the 15th century, underwent a fire, and then was rebuilt in the 17th century.

Despite the various arguments, I’m going to have to go with the establishment and call this one as a windmill and not a special tower.  Certainly nothing that the Vikings would ever construct.

The Kensington Runestone

The Kensington Runestone is a more interesting find.  There’s some debate about it, but the general consensus is that it’s a hoax. However, there are some interesting points to be made why it might be authentic.

The runestone was purportedly “found” by Olof Ohman, a Swedish immigrant who lived near Kensingon, Minnesota. He was digging up the roots of a poplar (or aspen, depending on what account you read) on his farm, and allegedly found it with the roots growing around it. It’s 3 feet long, 16 inches wide, and 6 inches deep.

Now, being the suspicious type, reading about a Swedish person uncovering runes seems a little odd to begin with. The red flags went up with that one.  Anyway for those interested, the runes translate as follows:

“Eight Geats and twenty-two Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland to the west. We had camp by two skerries one day’s journey north from this stone. We were [out] to fish one day. After we came home [we] found ten men red of blood and dead. AVM (Ave Virgo Maria) save [us] from evil.”
“[We] have ten men by the sea to look after our ships, fourteen days’ travel from this island. [In the] year 1362.”  — Source, Wikipedia.

Now, this sounds really cool, doesn’t it? There was a group of Norse explorers led by Paul Knutsson sent by King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden and Norway into the west. But there aren’t any records whether they truly embarked on their mission.  If they did go, they never returned.  So, it’s a possible link.

Swedish linguists pronounced the piece as a fake due to wording that did not exist in the Swedish lexicon until the 16th century.  The runes, too, seem to be a mix of old and newer runes that would not have been used in the 14th century.  That being said, other linguists have challenged that, saying that the usage could be a variation due to regional dialects.  Still, many linguists do claim that this stone is most likely a hoax by Ohman and others who live in Kensington.

What do I think?  I think it is most likely a fake, especially when other definite hoax runestones were found in the area.  From my own experience, aspen trees only live about 15-20 years and those poplars near where the stone was found were no more than 40 years old.  The Swedish written on the stone was closer to 19th century than 14th century, thus making it most likely a hoax.  Still, if it’s real, it’s a cool piece.  By the way, it has its own museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, so you can check it out.

The Heavener Runestone

The last piece of alleged “Viking artifacts” I’ll be talking about comes from Oklahoma, where, oddly, there are quite a number of found runestones, most considered to be fakes due to the lack of weathering on them. That being said, the Heavener Runestone is the most famous of the lot.  Made famous by Gloria Farley in the 1950s, the rock had been called “Indian Rock” for more than 100 years because people believed that it had been carved by Native Americans. The runestone is 12 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and 16 inches thick.   It is now a state park, and whether it is really a runestone from Viking explorers or not, it is at least preserved for all to see in a building that was built around it.  Scholars have argued over the translation of either “Gnome dal” or “Glome dal,” meaning either “sundial” or “Glome’s Valley,” depending on which translation you choose. It is thought it may be a boundary marker and may be as old as the 7th century.  

The problem with the Heavener Runestone is that it is just one piece of evidence that doesn’t seem to have any other archaeological evidence to back it up. We don’t know what the carver meant when he or she chiseled the runes into the rock and we don’t have any written account of there being Vikings in this land. Also, we don’t have any other finds that would suggest that the Vikings rowed their ships down the Arkansas River to carve this stone, other than the stones that experts consider to be carved sometime in the 19th or 20th centuries.

A Lewis and Clark Comparison (Stay with me on this)

All that being said, I’d like to compare this to a 19th expedition that did happen, that is the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806.  We know it happened because of all the written records.  Plus, while there is no one alive who remembers that expedition, there were people who knew about, talked about it to others, and wrote about it.  Despite all that we know about the expedition, the only archaeological evidence of the expedition was at a place called Traveler’s Rest in Lolo, Montana

Suppose for a moment that nothing was written down about the expedition.  That there was pretty much no documentation. Then the only evidence that Thomas Jefferson sent men out to explore the Louisiana Purchase would’ve been the archaeological evidence at Traveler’s Rest. Assuming the US boundaries of the time, would we assume that people traveling from the states somehow ended up in Montana without any other evidence?  We might say “Possible but not probable.” 

So What Does the Rational Heathen Think?

 It’s an interesting intellectual exercise.  After all, if we haven’t uncovered evidence from two centuries ago, it’s unlikely we would uncover much from Viking visitors from 1000 years or more ago, given the long distances and the mode of travel. But at the same time, the Heavener Stone doesn’t seem to have many experts on its side accepting that it could be legitimate. In 2015, a Nordic linguist from Uppsala University visited the Heavener Stone and said that it was most likely a 19th century creation, but gave a 20 percent chance that it might be from the 10th or 11th centuries. However, there were many issues with the stone, including lack of ornamentation, problems with it linguistically, and the little issue of a problem with the timeline.

If there were any artifacts that had a chance of being authentic, I’d say it is probably the Heavener, but I think it is more likely to be something written in the modern era. Still, as I said, it’s interesting to think about and it is certainly something worth considering.

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