Bindrunes and Ægishjálmr


hi I’m dr. Jackson Crawford I’m an old North specialist finishing up two years and teaching at UC Berkeley before moving to the University of Colorado Boulder this fall back today with another one of my videos about a topic in Norse language and myth and today what I want to look at is the question of binds runes in Old Norse Corian runic inscriptions rather I get a lot of questions by email and by pretty much any forum where I’m available on the Internet and one of the questions that I see the most often is about findings and sometimes this question is phrased kind of oddly to me people will say you know our binder runes are real and I guess I don’t understand what that question means exactly a binder is certainly existed but let’s take a look at this exactly what binder urns are I’ve talked in other videos about the runes and about how they’re different runic alphabets that are used for writing different languages historically in this video I’m just going to look at elder futhark which tends to be the one that’s the most famous and what binder inns are are just a combination of two or more rooms into one symbol so for instance in this inscription at the top which is the slummin gonna hide scraper we have only five runes written we have whickering so we have WI T R and an i and the room that stands for the sound that we write in English ng are combined together into one room this is a particularly common combination because the room for ng is smaller than other runes and so it’s readily combined apple with others especially I which is just a simple wine you can pretty easily make this kind of keyhole shaped of bindery so whickering means of like remember Memorial so this is just a way of writing less or perhaps a stylistic choice you know consider the different decisions that might motivate you to write different handwriting today and then similarly here this inscription is the sabotage on buckle we have in a are ing combined again s some modeling’s this may refer to some of your dwells in a swamp or mere again we have these ruins combined we have the I and ung room combined although into a different shape than above so there’s no firm rules about what exactly any given combination of Tyrion should look like as you can see these are binary ruins made out of the same two elements but they make two pretty different looking boundaries on this third inscription which is the rule salon conscription notice that the ruins are written right to left in early inscriptions in the elder futhark the direction of runnig reading is an established yet so sons you can move left to right like writing the room an outfit today sometimes you can move right to left sometimes it’s drop it on going back and forth getting right to left and left to right like a snake or side wander crossing a dune maybe so this is written right to left see ech woggie yas every laws so I walk I got her have an aim and then Eddie laws every laws is the word that we see very frequently and runic inscriptions we’re not entirely sure of what it means there’s a lot of debate about it it may mean something of some kind of office or position or title that’s related to making runes because we see it so much it may simply mean Noble it does seem to be related to words like English Earl nor CRO but it’s never been settled exactly what this name so this is I named loggy gods a Aaron laws notice that here in the first two letters of every laws we have the e and the our room combined into one they share the line that this vertical line which is the end of the e in the beginning of the are they just share it and so it makes a binder of the e and our rooms and then very similarly here using some of the same words we have just X a laws so EK together the are together il a Z so here we have just an e and a see written together where this this branch from the C gets written into the inside of the e and then here I’ve rubbed this away with my elbow here we have the e rune and the are room again combined into an ER finds room just like in this above rustle on the description but of course they’re going left to right instead of right to left and this one is the beveling senescent scription and then sometimes you can actually see so here we have to find runes in one inscription i everlaw’s i the air laws whatever and air laws is and then here we have the same words at air laws but we have a much more binder and action going on here in fact this first club is just as for runes orton together as a binder so we have the e a k the next e and are all written together or again we have the one branch of the k room with an inside the ear oon and then the ear oon its borders are kind of shared with the earrin before and the arbor after it and then at the very end of this description we have this a and z written together and it comes out like that as a binder and so quite a lot of binding happening here this is the somewhat famous Bradford buckle this was actually inscribed on the inside of a chuckle used upon clothing so it’s curious because this wasn’t being used for decoration for someone else to look at it was an inscription that was sort of hidden from view and presumably known about only by the person wearing it so was air laws meaning who knows so fine Durin’s are again just a way of combining two or as we’ve seen perhaps for runes into one single sort of joined image this is not too different again from ways that you could write letters of the Roman outfits day I mean you could choose to write you know an R so that it’s arm kind of joins up at the you after it I could write this in in the e so that the back of the e is made up by this line then the end something like that it’s pretty much the same principle in binary runes it appears mostly to have served a decorative function now of course the world is full Amazon is full internet is full of people who claim the runes have inherent magical powers that each letter has some kind of magical meaning these magical meanings usually take at the point of departure the names of the runes I’ve discussed the names of the runes in a couple videos but there’s actually no evidence from the medieval period that each rune was assumed to have a magical power that reflected its name work didn’t reflect staying its name it’s just its name so sort of like the letter B has a name that sounds like a B animal that doesn’t mean that me writing the letter B in some way evokes the power of a B that’s not to say the ruins weren’t used for magic we do find magical spells or split look like magical spells written in runes but it does not appear that each rune itself had some kind of magical power that it was assumed to have the combinations of runes therefore don’t have any magical power that’s ever discussed in any medieval source so you know sometimes people ask about boundaries like what power does i + ng have well as far as we know the only power it has is that it can bind the sounds of two rooms it just means in all together and I ruin and an NG room now one type of thing that is sometimes called a bind rune and then I get asked with often and sort of the same bread are these magical signals or symbols that or symbols what’s trying to think of what the word would really be of that we find in some manuscripts these manuscripts of magic from Iceland tend to actually be quite a bit later than the medieval periods are often early modern manuscripts and the word Gault rowboat can be applied to the magic book and there’s one particularly famous early modern manuscript called Gault revoke engulf revoke there is a symbol that has become famous that’s called agus euler i’ll impose it on the screen from the manuscript so you can get a look at it it’s better than what I can draw agus ulama isn’t a binder it’s a magical symbol that may not even go back to the fighting times that has sort of a runic looking shape because it’s got some straight lines and such but it is not itself technically a binder and a binder an assist a combination of runes of letters for writing one very popular version of agus ilnur there’s a lot of versions of it out there because this is a very popular tattoo has the 24 word letters of the open futhark written at each tip of the of the design because there’s 24 tips I don’t believe that version is found in any particular manuscript so I guess Hilmer isn’t technically rune or a bind rune it’s just a magical symbol from an early modern manuscript that means something like a helmet of Terror helmet of aw and of course that phrase helmet of Charak on the ball agus killer that’s found in uh in the saga of the bull sings and a-one poem the poetic at a fold is small when sigurdur kills the dragon Fafnir Faulkner has something called a Nagisa a helmet of Terror helmet of all but it’s not clear what that is and it actually does seem to be a literal helmet so it may not be connected to this symbol well hope that this has been somewhat foreign of interesting for you of course the question about the magic of runes is one that many people have explored for many centuries you should keep in mind again that the medieval sources although they speak of ruins being used for magical purposes and although you could write something like a magic spell in ruins don’t ever talk about the runes as having some kind of an errant power letter-by-letter probably the closest thing that you get to that would be in a poem like seeker to evil mole and the poetic Edda where the Valkyrie secretary-level / inhibitor kills the hero cigarette to carve different runes on different things for different purposes like carve the ruin for in younger food like now there on his fingernail if he wants to help women who are having a difficult time giving birth and things like that that does seem to speak to something like a magical use of individual runes or individual purposes however it’s notable that poem is probably a fairly late poem in the poetic Edda in fact there’s a decent chance this is one of the poems that’s that’s late enough that it was composed by a Christian so it’s really impossible to know if in the Viking Age or before the ruins had that kind of meaning there’s not any way to read it out of inscriptions and elder younger futhark from before the Christian period as definite inscriptions we don’t understand but that doesn’t mean that that the purpose is magical you know that’s just an assumption that you’re going to make about it for the most part the tidy systems that you can read about in popular books or popular websites or perhaps other popular youtube channels that explain the various magical purposes that you can use the runes for are the results of about 5% inference from medieval sources like the names of the rooms and about 95 percent modern imagination so consider whether your sources actually go back to our original medieval sources and of course believe what you want to believe just know when these ideas were invented they often are not in the Viking period and also perhaps consider the fact that I probably know as much about Norse of ruins as anybody else is living right now if there was some magical power that could be discovered in these that could perhaps make one wealthy or powerful I probably wouldn’t be sitting here in the position that I’m sitting here in I would probably have done something with that magic by now so you know just a thought anyway from University California Berkeley I’m wishing you all the best

81 thoughts on “Bindrunes and Ægishjálmr

  1. good afternoon doctor.
    lost to the ethos, is a coin I personally milled out about 10 years ago, that on the face of it is the bindrune of GANGLERI, later and still, I have that same name tattooed around my right wrist. someday, I shall make a poem based upon these sacred letters. until then, thank you for the lesson and enjoy the rest of your Odin's Day.

  2. Great video. Asking as somebody very interested in magical practices in medieval and ancient times, are there any good books dealing with the magical use of runes in the early medieval/viking period?
    All I could find was written by more esoteric types, and these people tend to be bad at providing sources for their claims of authenticity.

  3. I'm afraid your logic at the end there wouldn't convince the searchers, but it reminded me of those late-night real-estate infomercials to get rich. If there was that much money, why would they be making TV commercials instead of making money?

  4. Dr. Crawford…did you roll your eyes when you said that "Elder Futhark are the ones that tend to be the most famous"? giggle

  5. Jackson is great, but I know he says Cool Whip like Stewie Griffin. So much emphasis on the letter h. I can't help but chuckle a little when I hear him say when and where.

  6. Another informative video. Thanks bro. I am of Norse decent and "practice" heathenry. My feelings are that the runes being used for magic is a very subtle connection to energys that exist on other planes. I.e. Gods and ancestors. It's not meant in my opinion to be taken as Harry Potter type of magic but more just a subtle yet powerful connection to our ancient ways and the earth and elementals. Sometimes symbolism is needed/used for that. Thanks again. Your videos are stacked with knowledge.

  7. Very informative video and thank you for donating your time to help enlighten us.

  8. Ynglingasaga: 42. WAR BETWEEN INGJALD AND GRANMAR AND HJORVARD. The spring after, King Granmar went to Upsal to make offering, as usual, for a steady peace. Then the foreboding turned out for him so that it did not promise him long life, and he returned to his dominions.

    Eptir um várit fór Granmarr konungr til Uppsala at blóta, sem siðvenja var til móti sumri, at friðr væri. Féll honum þá svá SPÁNN, sem hann mundi eigi lengi lifa; fór hann þá heim í ríki sitt.

    Ice "spánn" Swe "spån" = wooden sticks… and must be with runes.

    Våren därefter for konung Granmar till Uppsala för att, såsom sed var, vid sommarens början offra för fred. Blotspånen föll då så för honom, som om han icke skulle leva länge1. Därpå for han tillbaka hem till sitt rike.

  9. Interesting fact, the Bluetooth symbol is actually a bindrune. It's a combination of the runes Hagall (ᚼ) and Bjarkan (ᛒ)

  10. Isn't Erilaz believed by most scholars just to be an earlier form of Jarl/Earl at this point being some kind of an honorable title? It's clearly cognate with Jarl (initial E breaks into Ja, medial i gets deleted and -az ending is lost, all of which are regular shifts from Proto-Germanic to Old Norse). Semantic drift from rune-carver or magician to nobleman seems like a peculiar development and it doesn't seem far fetched that nobles/VIPs would want to mark their stuff as such.

  11. Just found your channel today and subbed! Nice video. Although i have to say I'd rather believe in the magical nature of runes than think they're just a boring old alphabet lol. You do make a lot of sense though and I guess the other indo european peoples just had a normal non-magical alphabet so you're probably right.

  12. So what your saying is that you've used runic magic to attain your rogue charisma and haunting voice?.. and job? No I've got it. The magic of the runes is that their mystical nature breeds interest to your cause. Your cause being: being a language nerd 😛

  13. I've got a decent amount of occult and pagan theology knowledge. I've even read a couple translations of Galdrabok, which is a pretty bizarre read, even in terms of grimoire. Oftentimes, Icelandic magick symbols are referred to as "Staves". No idea who translated that first, but they're the only magickal symbol I'm aware of to go by that name. I would say "Sigil" (pronounced like *Sig*nature and *Ill*ness) is a close approximation, as in the most basic and common form, a sigil is a drawn representation of an idea or intent for magickal purpose. Though the details of what makes a sigil a "sigil" varies by tradition.

    Also the closest thing I've ever found to support the idea that runes are somehow inherently magick, is in Havamal, starting around stanza 138, Odin talks about hanging from Yggdrasil and learning the runes in 139, then in 140 he talks about learning spells, then in 142 – 144 there's talk of powerful runes and who inscribes them and things that establish their importance, then in 146 we go right into the spells. Nothing to really imply individual runes have a magickal quality to them, but the pace of the poem leads me to think that whoever wrote it believed that runes had power. Or perhaps it's simply a concept that words themselves, and maybe the ability to put an idea into symbols for posterity, had a magickal power of it's own. It's actually a pretty common metaphorical concept in a lot of theologies and traditions.

  14. I am getting more and more convinced that the Icelandic Magical staves is a mashup of Sami witchcraft and christian mystery magic – blended within the mind of Scandinavians.

  15. I think you did use the magic of runes, to become awesome! And to earn money just by talking about things you have a lot of interest in. I think your prowess in Runes is what probably gets people to tip on patreon too, so I see thru your ruse sir!

  16. Letters bound together.
    Runic cursive?
    Boustrophedon, the alternating of writing directions comes from the ancient Greek words "bous"(ox) "strophe"(turning) and "don"(like/as) meaning turning like oxen in ploughing a field.
    I have to admit, your snake analogy is much more memorable.

  17. Wow! I've never thought, that watching these videos helps to get to know more about my country as well. I've just travelled through Szabadbattyán (in Hungary) some hours ago, after visiting my parents. Interestingly, not too much information I could find on this topic in Hungarian (Szabadbattyán buckle), it seems … 🙁

  18. coulld not be that runes magical because relate to victories or great deeds, so that enemy would be scare be cause gods could be on your side.

  19. I'd like to know more about the rune combinations, bind runes that are written vertically along an up right line such as Sö 158 at Ärsta, Södermanland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bind_rune#/media/File:Samstavsrunbåt.JPG

  20. Bindrunes are a tool which is believed to bring fortune or if they are upside down misfortune. People use runes that appeal to them and bind them together to bring things into their lives they want. (They were commonly used in Norse magick.) It works I found. Why else would they wear these symbols when going to war and inscribe them on their weapons?

  21. This is reminding me of my awful hand writing :/
    nr / rn > m,
    mr / rm > that poem that's an m with another hump,
    rr > n-ish thing,
    and a load of other combinations of r n and m that would result in some weird humped abomination. :3

  22. How likely do you think it is that erilaz is related to OE eorl and later jarl and so may just be a noble title?

  23. Why is the Z in the thirst row in a different direction that the Z in the last two rows?

  24. This is like I found a hoard of ancient books with a lot of knowledge in them. I wish you would teach at my university.

  25. Hello doctor I’m try to figure out how to make a bindrune or symbol from the word Red in Anglo Saxon,old Norse,and other ancient Northern European language

  26. I wonder if bindrunes were used to save work when hammering runes into stone…?

  27. Might "erilaz" be related to "𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌶𐌴𐌹𐍃" perhaps related more to the actual root *irzijaz- "wander" "angry" "bewildered" "crazy" "confused" "lost"? This might relate to the worship/reverence of Odin? I don't know enough about vowel shifts and consonant changes from which would happen between eastern and northern germanic from proto-germanic, I just studied a lot so I thought I would throw it out there.

  28. Thank you for all the time and work you put into these videos. I read the sagas and everything else starting in the 90's your work is beyond question very well done. I can't say thanks enough

  29. I was wondering, if the inscription was written on the hidden side of the buckle, could it have been used to indicate the owner of the buckle in case it was ever lost and someone would find it and then know who to return it to.

  30. The magick is in your intention and your faith not from book learning. 😄

  31. i actually think all of language is magic in nature, by saying words, you can create physical changes in the behaviour of other people around you. example "could you pass me the salt please" … salt is transported to you without your physical actions 😀

  32. Im learning so much im so happy 😢 also, isn’t an Erilaz a person well versed in runes, including their magical applications? So like…. you?

  33. Have past cultures ever used bindrunes to access more sounds such as "SH", "CH", "OI", "PH" without adding runes to the alphabet?
    It would be a very efficient way to access sounds used in English without adding symbols to the original 24.

  34. They seem doubly practical when etching or carving on hard materials.

  35. Professor, they were asking you if bindrunes are really magical and bind magic to what they are inscribed on.

  36. Well, I bet all of you who thought getting a runic tattoo was a great idea are all feeling a little foolish right now….

  37. A man who was born blind was told of a bright shimmering ball that would come out at night, but not every night and sometimes it would change shape. Taking a heavy metal ball and dropping it, he claimed, "If there was such a thing it would fall to the ground. I cannot see or feel this "ball" so it does not exist." If you write the runes and do not detect their power you might as well be mentally handicapped. Using logic without intuition is only half of your brain………………..

  38. Those signs look nearly identical to what we call "ring signs" talismanic symbols you can find on amulets going all the way back to the 4th C. CE. They gotta be related. They are very common in Byzantine examples.

  39. Before my football games, I draw Ægishjálmr on my wrist as a bit of a luck charm

  40. If Odin did everything he could to increase his power why would he sacrifice himself to himself to gain the runes if they did not increase his power?

  41. Dr. Crawford,

    Is there someone that you know of that does the extensive work you do with the Norse, but with ancient Saxons or any tribes of pre Christian Germany?

  42. This was very enlightening, especially the bit regarding the Helm of Awe. And in my own humble opinion, the only magic runic letters could have is giving encouragement or inner strength to the one wearing the rune.

  43. I have been successful at using Runes as a tool for fortune telling and divination. So far I’ve had 4 out of 4 successful readings. I used to exclusively read palms only but for reason I leveled up. I never connected with Tarots because they were too many and too intimidating but I’m working on it. Runes, though? It was an instant connection and it was weird because I’m pretty sure I’m 100% Asian and have never set foot in any Scandinavian country. Must be a past life thing (if you ever believe in that).

    Want your tenure? Contact a witch or an actual erilaz who uses the Runes to divine. Or you can ask me any questions I’d love to help. Hopefully I can help 😂

  44. It makes sense that neopagans prefer using runes for magic because they are reminiscent of pre-Christian practices, rather than say Latin which has been associated with the Catholic Church for so long. The language choice itself is just a tool of personal preference.

  45. Another English analog to this concept: the ampersand, from Latin et, and in many typefaces the two letters are still clearly visible in the symbol.

  46. Thanks for the videos. In the Poetic Edda when Odin gets the runes and learns them after sacrificing himself to himself, is there any idea of what the runes are that correspond to each description he gives? That would make an interesting video if you need ideas. 🙂

  47. Note that the east europe/balkan transmission path, up river trade routes, was postulated by historian paul du chailliu(sp?) in The Viking Age book dating to alte 19th or early 20th century (my copy, read when I was about 12, has been lost in movrs. Makes much sense, and the various variations of Greek letter forms was given by him as the source of runes.

  48. I'm just getting into runes. I have 24 sticks and I'm not afraid to use 'em. I use bindrunes in my books of shadows.

  49. Magic talisman is the word you are looking for. Your knowledge of Futhark is impressive. Not my area of Science but we need all the Science we can get.

  50. When the right human hold his runes the power will come! My friend's father passed- own years ago, this friend uses his father's Runes to this day. The power is in the Bloodline, not the Runes!

  51. So, they have the magical power of looking significantly better and less confusing than ligatures in older English manuscripts, while serving the same function.

  52. noun
    noun: sigil; plural noun: sigils
    an inscribed or painted symbol considered to have magical power.
    ARCHAIC
    a seal.
    "the supply wains bore the High King's sigil"

  53. 2:42 checks out
    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Pannonia#Etymology
    its second time i had to look up word 'Ligature' and couldn't rememer either JYNX!!!!
    10:00 looks like tamgas that steppe pastorals have, this oculd be as old as the btronze age (chariot people) or iron age (cimmerians/teutons)

  54. Dr. Crawford I love all your videos sir. thank you for your knowledge and the sharing of that knowledge. I particularly enjoyed this video and laughed myself as I could see the idea of these runes possessing magica power amuse you as well. I was saying the same thing as I watch this video with a friend. About if these runes had magic powers I'm sure Dr. Crawford wouldn't be sitting here talking about it on YouTube. He wpuld be living the high life some where and be guarding such a secret with his life. Like a real life Clark Kent.

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