The Fascinating World of Runic Calendars

The Runic calendar, also referred to as a Rune almanac, served as a perpetual timekeeping tool throughout Northern Europe until the 19th century. Structured with lines of symbols, it marked significant astronomical events and celebrations, including solstices, equinoxes, and Christian holidays. These symbols were often etched onto parchment or carved into various materials such as wood, bone, or horn.

One of the most esteemed examples of these calendars is Worm’s Norwegian runic calendar from 1643, renowned for its bone craftsmanship. Danish Antiquarian Ole Worm featured it in his book “Fasti Danici, universam tempora computandi rationem antiquitus in Dania et vicinis regionibus observatam libris tribus exhibentes.” Although he extensively detailed the winter months in his work, he omitted details regarding the summer season. Fortunately, supplementary insights are provided through ‘runstavs’ and ‘primstavs.’ ‘Runstavs’ served as runic sticks used in divination practices, while ‘primstavs’ were Norwegian wooden calendar sticks primarily employed for timekeeping and weather prediction.

runic calendar

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