Nordic Magic Healing:
runes, charms, incantations, and galdr


Some other "classical" inscriptions

The inscriptions covered above do not by any means exhaust all the well-known inscriptions. As I stated above, I have ignored many inscriptions that I found a bit redundant with those already presented, or of an obvious christian content. In this section, I present some of the inscriptions found in Düwel (who gives mainly Krause's translations) and in Antonsen. My criteria for selecting these inscriptions was based on whether I felt they would be of special value to the reader interested in the Nordic culture or in magic. I always give at Krause's translation first, followed by Antonsen's when it differs from Krause's. Note however that any comments of a linguistic nature are drawn from Antonsen.

Arstad stone (Norway, mid-6th century)

hiwigaR saralu uh winaR

The 'alu' of saralu is translated as 'magic' and 'sar' is translated by 'protection' following several words in Primitive German, Old High German and Gothic containing the root "sar" and meaning 'weapon'.

Hiwig [i.e., the one of the home; or the downy]: here protection against magic. Jungwins's (tomb stands here).

Antonsen reads:

hiwigaR saralu ekwinai

interpreting 'winai' as 'friend', and ignoring the 'alu', he translates accordingly:

HiwigaR [i.e., the one with strong family ties]. (For) Saralu [i.e., the protectress]. I, for my friend ...

Alt-Ladoga piece of wood (near St. Petersburg, around year 900)

Runic original not provided by Düwel.

It died he high [i.e., over him] with a stone worn Walter of the corpse [i.e., the warrior], the shining one, the spoiler of men, in the powerful way of the plow [i.e., the earth].

Beuchte Fibula (Niedersachse, Germany, 550-600)



Antonsen translates the second one as a name, 'Buriso' meaning 'little daughter'. He only comments the first inscription by noticing that its R looks like it would have been traced in three steps:

He does not comment about these three steps, but, for me, they make very clear some of the intent of the rune master. He or she wanted to write the word futhark, and used the branches of R as a Kaunan bound to an Algiz. Why his or her "little daughter" needed to receive the runes Algiz Jeran, we can only guess.

Charnay Fibula (France, 550-600)

One face shows a futhark missing its last three runes, and the other face shows two inscriptions

užafažai : id and dan : liano

Antonsen reads 'už fažai iddan liano,' i.e. 'to husband Iddo (i.e., the doer). Liano (feminine name of unknown meaning)'

Dahmsdorf spear head (Brandenburg, 3rd century )



Dischingen bow fibula

Two fibulas have been found, one carries a name, and the other the inscription:

which reads ansuz ehwaz written reverse, hence Krause 's interpretation: a magical formula "horse-Aesir" (the Aesir are the Old Norse gods).

Elgesem stone (South-Norway, around year 400)

The first inscription alu found on a stone.

Helnęs stone (Fünen, date: Younger Futhark inscription)

The inscription speaks of the stone builder as a "NuRa-goši" meaning that he was a "priest-chief" as I call them in this book, for the people of the land of Nuza.

Kleines Schulerloch wall cave (Kelheim a. d. Donau, 6-7th century)

birg : leub : selbrade

which can have two meanings, either "Help, dear to Selbrad" or "Help, let you be dear to Selbrad".

This inscription is somewhat like Opedal's second meaning (# 70 above), but it is strongly suspected as being a forgery.

Kowel spear head (near Brest Litovsk, 3rd century)


which translates as "Goal runner".

Ledberg stone

It also shows also the formula žmkiiissstttiiilll found on Gorlev Stone (see Runic inscriptions of the 2nd period, below).

Nordendorf bow fibula (near Augsburg, 7th century?)


logažore wodan wigižonar

The first line is seen as two private names, and the second one as three names of Gods. Wodan is obviously the West or South-Germanic form of Odin's name, wigi-žonar (consacration-Thonar) evokes Thor who is still known under this name in some places, but logažore is unknown. One can hypothesize a connection with Lošurr, a god cited in the Voluspa also as part of a trinity. Similarly, Tacitus cites the trinity "Thunaer, Woden, and Saxnot", which seems to confirm that logažore is the name of god, even if we do not know which it is.

Oklunda slate fragment (Sweden, around year 900)

Düwel provides only the translation:

'Gunnar traced these runes. He fled away guilty. He found this sacred place (as a protection).'

This is the most ancient witness of the possibility of finding protection in a Heathen sacred place.

Pietroassa gold ring (Rumania, 300-400)


Düwel cuts it as: gutani : Goths; o(žal) = property; wi(h) = holy; hailag = inviolate. He gives thus the translation: "Property of the Goths holy and inviolate".

Antonsen cuts it as: gutanio = humans or Goth, feminine genitive plural; wi(h) = holy, neutral nominative singular; hailag = temple, neutral nominative singular.

hence his translation: "Sacred temple of the female warriors, or of the female Goths".

My personal comment is that the 'o' meaning ožal is somewhat a strong hypothesis made up to avoid seeing a feminine form. Nevertheless, ožal is neutral in Old Norse, which goes quite well with the two neutral adjectives Düwel sees. This inscription is still discussed by the specialists, without more conclusive arguments, at least so I think.

Rök stone (Norway/Sweden, 1st half of the 9th century).

After a classical inscription telling who wrought the stone, a skaldic poem is found:

Reš žiošrikR It reigned Theodoric   SitiR nu garuR Sits now armed
hinn žurmoši, him full of courage,   a guta sinum, on (gothic) horse him
stilliR flutna, prince of the warriors   skialdi umb fatlašR, shield on shoulder
strandu HraišmaraR. on the beaches of the sea Hreid.   skati Mœringa. Hero of the Märinge

This poem has been interpreted has an allusion to the so-called "wild hunt" that Odin carries on earth during
Yule time, which has been leaving traces in many Germanic legends, as described in chapter 2 of this volume.

Skarpaker stone (Sweden, Younger Futhark runes)

It contains a short skaldic poem which can be seen as christian or Heathen:

Jarš skal rifna The earth will tear off
ok upphiminn and the sky as well.

Auzon, the so-called "Franks Casket"

This is the only example of English runes that I will give here. Marijane Osborn has presented a very thorough explanation of it, carefully studying the possible links between the drawings and the runes on the casket. Recently, Page has delivered a new complete study of this inscription, which tends to reduce to almost zero any knowledge we could have on it. Here is an analysis of the positions of these two authors.

(to be completed - sorry!)

Inscriptions from the Viking Period and the Middle Ages
Inscriptions from Derolez

runic inscriptions rune pages references ancient lore ÞÓRSDRÁPA(Français) - in English
buddha-bøtte healing galdor charms links etymology of rune HRAFNAGALDUR ÓŠINS
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