First a little background on runes, what they are and why anyone would want to make a set of engraved runes. The sources of this information include: “runes” on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runes, www.sunnyway.com/runes/, and Mr. Bob Oswald, AKA The Runemaker, at his family of websites at http://www.runemaker.com/.
"Runes . . .are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. They were used throughout northern Europe, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Iceland from about 100 B.C.E. to 1600 C.E. Runic inscriptions of great age have even been found in North America, supporting stories that the Vikings arrived in the Americas long before Columbus. Runes have been used in Britain since the Dark Ages. When the Romans abandoned Britain around 450AD, waves of immigrants from Europe came and settled there. The Friesians from the Netherlands, the Angles and Saxons from Germany, then the Jutes and Norsemen (Vikings) from Scandinavia. They brought with them their set of ancient symbols known as the runes.
Originally, the Scandinavian variants had 24 runes. They are collectively known as "the Elder Futhark". The name is derived from the first six letters of the alphabet (F, U, Þ, A, R, and K). Other variants of runic alphabets evolved later.
Since ancient times people have used runes for writing messages, inscriptions and epitaphs; as amulets and charms; as well as an oracle for use in divination; and for rituals, magic and spells. The word "rune" actually means mystery, secret or whisper. Each rune has esoteric meanings and properties associated with it, beyond its mundane meaning and phonetic value.
The runes all have names that were significant to the ancient Germanic tribes, Norsemen and Anglo-Saxon pagans who used them. Each translates into a word or a phrase signifying concepts important to these early peoples, representing the forces of nature and mind.
Each rune has a story attached to it, a relationship to a Norse god. Some were named for gods, like Ing and Tiw; some for animals and plants such as the Ox or a Birch twig; some for natural features - a lake, or hail; some for everyday objects that they used like a carriage and an archer's bow; and some for timeless concepts such as joy, a gift, and humanity. The rune meanings are augmented by further interpretations for their orientation when viewed at a given moment such as upright as written like a letter, reverse (upside down) and converse (face down) presentation. The runes are also each traditionally associated with gemstones or crystals, trees, plants or herbs, colors, and the elements.
Runes are sometimes used as an oracle from which one seeks advice. This “runic divination” or "rune casting" is not "fortunetelling" in the sense that one actually sees the future. Instead, runes give one a means of analyzing the path that one is on and a likely outcome.
For more information on runes, rune casting and a lot of other runic stuff, visit these websites:
This project creates a set of runes, engraved on stones, from the Elder FUTHARK. The picture above shows what the runes, or glyphs, look like and their names. You'll notice that although there are 24 letters, or runes, in the Elder Futharc there is a 25th space shown, the “Blank”. Some people consider this a 25th rune but more traditional runeologists consider it only a spare in case one of the other runes is lost. I include it here more because it seemed easier to make a 5 x 5 container than a 6 x 4, or other spaced box.