Author Topic: Review: Inmaculada Senra Selva - The Significance of The Rune-Names  (Read 383 times)


Not an esoteric book, but a doctoral thesis. But since the topic of runes might be of interest to some of you I decided to write a few lines about it here.

This book collects and discusses a wide range of literature, mainly Old Norse and Latin, that mentions the names of the runes in one way or another or alludes to them. This includes of course the rune poems, but also less elaborate lists of rune names, as well as poetry that uses metaphors describing runic characters in order to conceal either their sound value or their meaning. It ranges from the middle ages up until the 18th century.

It is therefore a worthwhile summary of a major part of the traditional associations attached to the runes.
Due to the fact that most of the literary sources available are from Skandinavia, most of it however only concerns the 16 runes found in the younger futhark. For the other 8, later inventions, and even for some of the 16, only very limited information can be found, but that is due to the sources available.

I found most of the author's conclusions and translations to be reasonable and well-thought-out. However, I did find a few smallish mistakes in her translations from Old Norse and Latin, or at least parts that could need further justification.

For example, she always translates grafseiðr (which often appears in metaphors for the fé-rune) as "coalfish", although - as she actually mentions in the beginning I think - it's a kenning meaning "snake". She does so even in her translation of a bilingual (Old Norse/Latin) text where it was rendered "vipera" in the Latin. The kenning can be understood to literally mean something like "burrow-coalfish" (or "burrow-charm", depending on which of the two homonyme words seiðr you take to be meant) but since it's far from clear that the actual species of coalfish was meant there some further elaboration would have been helpful.

Nevertheless, a huge compendium of information, and I think I might consult it from time to time again.

This is scientific literature, but I think it's written in a way that also a general public can understand.

The book can be downloaded for free here:
albeit split into many PDFs (which you could merge using e.g. PDF24).
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 06:52:50 pm by Liu »

Xepera maSet

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Re: Review: Inmaculada Senra Selva - The Significance of The Rune-Names
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 07:12:25 pm »
This is awesome, thanks!

Working overtime to uncover
the mysteries of existence
(as described by Onyx)

I have come into being like Set,
the Separator who contends against Osiris for Eternity.