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The Rede

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May 20th, 2008

Nordic Number Lore From Runelore by Edred Thorsson

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I wouldn't call this a 'chart' per se. But this to me was of immense interest and I think that to most runesters it will be as well.

This is how Thorsson puts it...

"To some extent the runic tables of interpretation reveal a good deal of lore concerning the meanings of number and numerical relationships among the runes. However, as a detailed reading of the oldest texts of Germanic lore shows there are specific powers of characteristics of numbers that the aspiring runester should know. These characteristics are quite often different from those of a Mediterranean numerology."

One(1)is the number of beginnings of root causes and solitary force. It is rare in operative runecraft and in mythological references.

Two(2)is the number of cooperation of the redoubled working of tandem forces. In operative work it is sometimes used to strengthen, especially physically. In mythological lore it shows the power of teamwork between complementary pairs: Huginn/Muinn,Geri/Freki (Odhinn's wolves), `Arvakr/Alvidhr(team of horses that pulls the sun's wain), or the divine tandem `Odhinn/Loki.

Three(3)is a "holy number" that is vastly represented in lore. It indicates a complete functioning process process, and is the root force of dynamism. In runecraft, three is used to complete and quicken things--to move things to action. In the mythic lore three's abound; for example, Urdhr-Verdhandi-Skuld, `Odhinn-Vili-Ve`,the three "roots" of Yggdrasill,and the three containers of the poetic mead, `Odhroerir-S`on-Bodhn.

Four(4)is a number of stasis, of solidity and waiting. It contains power, and this is one of it's chief operative uses. In myth we learn of the four harts that chew the leaves the leaves of Yggdrasill and of four dwarves Nordhri-Austri-Sudhri-Vestri at the four cardinal directions.

Five(5)is the number of ordered time and space. The ancient Germanic week was five nights long--called in Old Norse a fimmt--which was also the interval of time one had to respond to a legal summons. It is rarely found in mythological lore,but for operative purposes it is a powerful invocatory formula.

Six(6)is the number of vibrant life and strength.This can be used to create or destroy. It is rarely found in mythic contexts.

Seven(7)is the number of death and passive contact with the "other worlds". A seven-night interval(ON sjaund,)is traditional between death and the performance of funeral rites. Not often seen in mythology. Some mythic occurrences seem to have been influenced by astrological lore.

Eight(8)is the number of complete manifestation of wholeness and perfect symmetry. It's chief significance can be found in the eightfold division of the heavens(see chapter 6). It is the number of spatial ordering. Eight is abundant in mytho-magical lore, mainly as a way to list things, for example the eight woes and their remedies.(Havamal, 137)and the eight "best things"("Grimnismal," 45).All of these these texts are to be found in the Poetic Edda.

Nine(9)is the "holiest of numbers" and the root of psycho-cosmic powers. It lends it's force to any purpose. It is the number of life eternal and death unending. Nine transforms what it touches, yet it remains eternal within itself. Its use abounds in myth and magic. Just to name a few of the many examples of the use of nine; nine are the worlds of Yggdrasill, nine are the nights `Odhinn hung upon it and is thereafter taught nine mighty songs, nine is the number in which the valkyrjur often appear to the Erulian.
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