Skip to content
Home » Blog » Runic inscriptions of the Jewellery

Runic inscriptions of the Jewellery

  • by

Runic inscriptions used in my jewellery

Here some of the runic inscriptions that I have used in my jewellery. They are originally from archaeological finds. More about them you can read on the blog.

Alu – dedication, good luck generating word

The origin of the word can be Etruscan, but it might have had different magical meanings later, in north. When found in the Etruscan votive context, worshipping Reitia, goddess of writing, the interpretion of the word is “dedication”.

In Norway, a rune stone was found with the runic inscription “Alu”. The stone was originally erected on the grave mound area. Thus, alu can also be considered to be related to the death rituals. Drinking vessels were often placed in the graves and the word alu may have been used to replace the missing vessel in some cases. The beer was also used in ritual toasting in funerals. According to another theory ale could have been related to somekind of ecstatic state where a person, after drinking beer, could have been able to communicate with gods and spirits. On balance, writing the word in itself might have been a magical act.

Anyway, “alu” was some kind of magical, good luck generating word used in amulets and bracteates to make the amulet powerful, like swastikas and some other symbols.

About the word alu in Wikipedia.

The Funen bracteate with runic inscription

The Funen bracteate with runic inscription, found in Funen, Denmark. By Bloodofox (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Birlnioelk – Bear and elk

Rune inscription “bear and elk” was originally found on a silver-gilt bow-fibula in Bavaria, Germany. The fibula was dated to mid 6th century. Bear and elk probably had some mythological meaning.

In ancient Finnish pagan religion bear was a sacred animal, a god and the ancestor of human race. The bear was in a relationship with the ancestress and human race gained its strength out of this relationship. At the feast after killing a bear, (sometimes staged as wedding) the soul of the killed bear was sent back to the sky where it was originally born.

Tacitus, Roman historian, tells about two clans that were living in Finland in the 1st century. The names of the clans could have meant bear and elk. The bear clan probably lived in Karelia and bear was their totemic animal. The elk clan could have inhabited Tavastia. We also have some skillfully made bear or moose headed tools from stone age. Moose images are also very common in stone age rock paintings.

Animal decorated fibula from Bavaria

The fibula from Bavaria, Germany. By Bullenwächter, Wikimedia Commons.

Frifridil duft mik – Dear beloved desire me!

The rune inscription originates from the 6th century Bülach, Switzerland. It was originally carved into a silver disc-type fibula found in an Alemanic grave of an adult woman.

Runic inscription of Bülach brooch

Drawing of the Bülach fibula inscription. By Varoon Arya, Wikimedia Commons

Gagoga, maga, mēdu – Roar, strong, reward

The original rune inscription was found in England, Suffolk, on the pendant with a text: “Gagoga, maga, mēdu”, meaning”Roar, strong, reward”. The purpose of the amulet was probably military and to make the bearer stronger.

Gibu auja – I give good luck

Gibu auja means “I give good luck”. The rune inscription was found in Denmark, on a pendant dated to the 5th or 6th century. The original inscription was, translated to English: “Hariuha I am called, Danger-wise. I give good luck.” There was also a spruce like mark at the end of the text, a triple tiwaz, a magical sign to strenghten the amulet’s power, or invocation to Tyr, sky god.

runic inscription on Seeland-II-C bracteate

The bracteate from Zealand, Denmark. Picture Wikimedia Commons.

Lá – Protection

The runic inscription “Hurn hiartaR, lá, AussaR” (Hart’s horn, protection, Aussar) is dated to the 11th century and found in Dublin, Ireland, carved in a piece of deer antler.

Leub – Love

The runic inscription “Love”, “Leub” was originally found in a woman’s grave. The brooch with the inscription was found in Germany in 1882 but stolen and melted by thieves. The brooch is dated to 6th or 7th century. The word leub, leuba or leubo has also been found on many other items. These kind of love amulets were probably meant to bring back or keep love or a lover for their owner. Sometimes these kinds of inscripitions can be interpreted to have Christian meaning, too.

Omnia vincit amor – Love conquers all

Love conquers all – The inscription was found in Bryggen, the old harbour of Bergen in Norway. It was written on a stick dated to 1248. The whole text was a love poem in Old Norse, that was concluded with the Virgil’s words: “Omnia vincit amor; et nos cedamus amori”. An interpretation of the beginning of the poem reads: “Early my love was turned towards the fair, dangerous woman; the gold-adorned woman has taken hold of the warrior”.

Segun and (w)unja – Blessing and joy

These words were originally written on two bow brooches found in Hungary and dated to 6th century. The original rune inscriptions were Godahi(l)d (w)unja (Godahild, joy), and Arsiboda segun (Arsiboda, blessing).  The inscriptions were probably meant to bring joy and blessing to their owners, the named women. The brooches were made by the Germanic people, Lombards who lived in Hungary at this time. Later they invaded Lombardy, Italy. The word “blessing” may sound like Christian, but it might originally be pagan as well.

Tavol athodu – I offer an invocation

The inscription is from Sweden, Trollhättan. It was written on a bracteate. Bracteates are round metal plates that imitate coins but have the image only on one side. These were made particularly in Denmark in the 5th and 6th centuries out of gold. Often they are hoard finds that can be offerings, or sometimes they are grave finds. This bracteate was part of a hoard and it was probably placed as an offering to the gods in some kind of ritual. The inscription has been interpreted as “I offer an invocation” or “I prepare the invitation”. In any case, it was a ritual magical inscription made for the offering to the gods.