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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Acronym for the first six characters of the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet: Feoh, Ur, Thorn, Os, Rad, Cen. Runic writing was in use from the third century CE until almost modern times in remote areas of Sweden. Originally the runes consisted of twenty-four letters: the all-Germanic staves known as "futhark" (again from the first six letters). By the third century, runic writing had spread to Norway and was used to carve inscriptions onto stone monuments. By the fifth century, the writing was found in England, where it flourished during the five centuries of the AngloSaxon period. There it evolved as a stave of twenty-eight letters, although by the ninth century, the number had increased to thirty-three. The best preserved example of English runes is found on the Frank's Casket, a casket made out of whalebone dating from about 650


. Runes, together with illustrations, cover the sides of the casket and the lid.

The word rune means "mystery" or "secret" in early English. Runes were never a strictly utilitarian form of writing, and there are many variations to be found in different areas. Just within Anglo-Saxon areas, the characters vary in number from twentyeight to thirty-three. Two popular variations of Anglo-Saxon runes are the "Ruthwell" and "Thames."

Within Witchcraft (and magic in general), runes are often used as magical writing when constructing talismans and similar constructs. The Seax-Wica tradition, for example, uses a twenty-eight character version of Anglo-Saxon.

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Similarly, futhark is another name for the Scandinavian runes.