Runes may appear upright, inverted, reversed, but, how to interprete them when the rune is round and appears sideway?
Could anyone answer, please?
There are no round runes, Alex, you know that. The pieces on which the runes are marked may be round, but you can still easily tell whether a rune marking is right way up or upside down. There are some runes that look the same upside down or right way up (like Isa or Ihwaz), but they don't have any reverse meanings, so it doesn't matter which way up they fall anyway.
There are no special meanings for sideways-on aspects. You have to make a judgement about the interpretation. My habit is to read the adjacent runes and decide which meaning fits best with the overall cast.
Though this question is years old. I looked it up because I'm having the same issue... The guy wasn't asking about round runic characters. What he's saying is that the runes he has... all of them... are round. I'm having the same issue. I have some runes that were cut square to the branch rather than on a bias or at an angle, so it's almost impossible to tell how to pick the rune when you pull it from the bag so it will be only either right side up or reverse. They quite often come out at 45 degree angles or other odd directions...
I wasn't talking about round rune characters, either. I was talking about round pieces with normal runes marked on them.
What I say above and in the thread "Reversed Runes??" of Apr 29, 2007 answering K S Ho is still my considered opinion.
If you are using correctly marked Elder Futhark or Anglo-Saxon Futhorc runes there are no curves in the rune glyphs in any case . . .
Well... I decided (when I use my 'round' runes) that if the rune was at an angle other than zero or one hundred and eighty degree's, to keep turning it clockwise until it becomes either upright or merkstave.
But, like Bob says, depends on the other runes around it. If it's a single rune you're working with then there are no other runes to take into account, and you should go with your own judgement.
How I hate that word 'merkstave'. People use it to mean a rune falling in the reversed position. I never saw the word anywhere before the 1960s and I must assume - unless anyone knows different - it was invented by some wag trying to sound clever and mysterious. In Anglo-Saxon English 'merk' means dark or dirty and 'stave' means a branch, staff or stick. Why would anyone want to use a term that means 'dirty stick' instead of using the perfectly simple, easily understood self-explanatory modern English word?
The term myrkstafr or murk stave is of Old Norse origin. It is true that these days it has come to be over used by modern writers on divination in particular, especially in reference to runes not landing perfectly upright (which they seldom do). And this raises the question as to whether we should be particularly bothered if they do not. The real nature of a myrkstafr should be understood as a bindrune that has been carved to produce an intentionally ill effect.
Thanks for that - I wasn't aware of another meaning for the term. I was relying on the earliest use of the word I have ever come across which is it's appearance in various writings by Edred Thorsson dating from 1967 to 1988 in which it is spelled murk-stave.
Thorsson takes it's meaning as any and all negative attributes of a runestave, although he does not specifically mention runes falling in a reversed position in a cast, that is how it is commonly interpreted today. Thorsson attributes the origin to the same Old Norse word. He has not so far as I am aware used the term in any writings since 1988 - apart from reprints.
BTW I have after a brief delve today been unable to find the original Old Norse word 'myrkstafr' in any of my etymological references, so if anyone can provide any sort of documentary evidence that will testify to it's ancient pedigree I would be most grateful.
That aside, this alternative meaning serves to reinforce my opinion that we should call upside-down runes 'reversed' to avoid confusion with this variant definition.
Er, It still translates literally as 'dirty stick' though doesn't it, Even in Old Norse?
I personally think, like yourself, that there has been an over emphasis on the term, possibly with the deliberate intent to conjure up reactions of awe. Myrkr has the feeling of darkness with the sense of night and possibly danger. For example,myrk-riða (mirk-rider) an ogress or witch, and myrk·dreki "dark dragon of shield" (a kenning for spear).
Thorsson's use of this term for runestave reversal has attached a greater importance to how runes fall in a cast than there perhaps should be, with the result that a reader might be in peril of considering so many meanings that an often simple interpretation is truly lost in the myrkr, pardon the pun.
Myrkrstafr may also possibly have a connection with the idea of a wand. Stafr can be stick or staff. So perhaps dark stick or staff, with the implication of baleful deeds. To be compared with teinn-vondr, a magical twig.
Your suggestions echo my own thoughts on the subject. I was using the 'dirty stick' interpretation to try and put folks off using the term as it sounds rather nasty. But I concede 'dark' is equally valid for merk(r) as are staff and branch for staf(r). [R in brackets reflects Anglo-Saxon usage]..
Let's face it Thorsson/Flowers has always had his own motives in the forefront of his writings and the vague definition of the term probably enables him to use it to wider advantage.
I hope we get some posts on the etymology, that would be nice.