PDA

View Full Version : The Perthro Rune



Moody
Monday, February 16th, 2004, 04:56 PM
http://www.cassandraeason.co.uk/images/perthro.jpg

This rune is mystifying; I have yet to hear a convincing interpretation of its meaning

The stanza which deals with the rune Perthro [or Peorth in Old English] in the Old English Rune Poem has;

Peorth byth symble plega and hlether,
Wlancum thar wigan sittath,
On beorsele blithe aetsomne.


The meaning of the verse is roughly;

'Peorth is a source of play and laughter to the great, where warriors sit happily together in the mead hall'.

So what could this 'peorth' be?

Please put together a load of suggestions for this thread so that we can assemble as many ideas as possible on this in one place.

Tryggvi
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006, 06:47 PM
Good question, Moody.

I've read everything from "earth," "dance," "hearth," &c.

Here is also an interesting theory:
Dickins notes a comparison of the rune-name with the Slavonic word pizda "vulva." This would make the rune sacred to Frigg as the mother figure of the gods and provide direct parallel with the essentially male fertility implicit in the later rune Inguz. Pertho has also been thought to be symbolic of the magical powers of the earth, through a supposed derivation from the Latin petra "rock."

[Source (http://www.geocities.com/byronic106/runes.htm)]

Moody
Thursday, July 27th, 2006, 01:26 PM
I've read everything from "earth," "dance," "hearth," &c. Dickins notes a comparison of the rune-name with the Slavonic word pizda "vulva." ... also been thought to be symbolic of the magical powers of the earth, through a supposed derivation from the Latin petra "rock."

Interesting; I've also seen pear as in 'pear tree'.

As you must know, the usual translation for the Old English Rune Poem's Peorth [given by Sweet in his Anglo-Saxon Dictionary] is 'chess piece'.
Edred likes to call it 'lot box'; others call it 'dice'.

So the majority view is towards some kind of divination/game.

But this seems unlikely to me, given that the Runes themselves can used for these purposes - so why would the Runes refer to other systems?

The initial letter 'P' is not used much in Anglo-Saxon, and most Anglo-Saxon words beginning with 'p' are of foreign origin [like pound!]

Likewise, this wasn't a common sound in proto-Germanic either; however, the Rune-stave does occur, as we know, in the Elder Futhark.

Because it was dropped by the Vikings we have no other Rune Poems to go on except the Anglo-Saxon which has some lines missing, it seems.


The most left-field version of Peorth I heard was 'Fart'!

I feel that the answer is hidden somewhere.

Psychonaut
Friday, August 11th, 2006, 12:44 AM
In the hopes of aiding your inquiries into Perþro, here is a link to the story written by Varg Vikernes by the name of "Perþ":

http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/perth.shtml

If you like that essay, or are at all interested in Odalism, be sure to check out some more of Varg's essays at http://www.burzum.org.

:hveðrungur:
Friday, August 11th, 2006, 04:54 AM
In the hopes of aiding your inquiries into Perþro, here is a link to the story written by Varg Vikernes by the name of "Perþ":

http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/perth.shtml

If you like that essay, or are at all interested in Odalism, be sure to check out some more of Varg's essays at http://www.burzum.org.
I'd recommend people look for better sources, but that's just me.

Psychonaut
Friday, August 11th, 2006, 01:52 PM
I'd recommend people look for better sources, but that's just me.
While I certainly don't agree with everything Varg has to say (particularly when it comes to his theories about the white people coming from Atlantis, or his NS politics), I don't think that he should be entirely discounted as an author.

:hveðrungur:
Friday, August 11th, 2006, 04:57 PM
While I certainly don't agree with everything Varg has to say (particularly when it comes to his theories about the white people coming from Atlantis, or his NS politics), I don't think that he should be entirely discounted as an author.
I see your point but at the same time I don't spend much time reading the works of people who are pushing an agenda be it far right or left. I wouldn't trust or really want to read Varg Vikernes' writings just like I wouldn't trust or want to read Diana Paxton's.

Psychonaut
Saturday, August 12th, 2006, 12:26 AM
I see your point but at the same time I don't spend much time reading the works of people who are pushing an agenda be it far right or left. I wouldn't trust or really want to read Varg Vikernes' writings just like I wouldn't trust or want to read Diana Paxton's.
I pretty much agree with you sentiments here. But for me, the problem becomes this: There are far too few authors out there that I am wholly in favor of. With most of the material I encounter, there is at least one portion of the author's Weltanshauung that I disagree with. While I generally do avoid books on the FAR left (i.e. anything wiccatruish) and those on the FAR right (like the "Temple of Wotan" stuff), I do find that much usefull information can be found from those with whome I only partly agree (like Varg, or certain Troth members). It is a shame that there are not more authors within the realm of folkish asatru, but in the meantime I get what I'm looking for where ever I happen to find it. Afterall, most of the scholarly works available on Germanic religion and mythology are pushing a thinly veiled (and sometimes not so thin) Christian agenda, but that doesn't stop me from accepting John Lindow as a treasure trove of information. And though I certainly wouldn't hold Varg in the same esteem as I would Lindow, I do think that his works are usefull enough when it comes to certain matters.

:hveðrungur:
Saturday, August 12th, 2006, 07:14 AM
But there are good Volkisch / Folkisch authors out there who are not a part of any radical right. Mark Puryear (His book "The Nature of Asatru" is a strongly recommended read), Katia Puryear (Marks wife) and James "Hjuka" Coulter come to mind. Also there are many great books that don't take a stance and focus primarily on the archeological and historical evidence in front of them. HR Ellis Davidson's "The Gods and Myths of Northern Europe" come to mind. Also, Edred Thorsson / Stephen Flowers in the past was very Volkisch / Folkish... I don't know what happened to him but his book "Futhark" is pretty good and so is his Essay in Tyr: Myth - Culture - Tradition Vol. II entitled "The Idea of Integral Culture, A model for a revolt against the Modern world".

There are a few good books in my e-book collection if you want to have them. I sent links to Tryggvi to upload them to the Skadi library but since neither of us are funding members and I have the files on my PC anyways I could send them to you. Vilhelm Grönbech's "Culture of The Teutons" Volumes I and II are pretty good.

I also enjoy quite a few of Julius Evola's works. While he wasn't a Germanic heathen and some of the things he was into are of no interest to me, his "Ride the Tiger" and "Revolt Against The Modern World" are great reads and can be very usefull to the Volkisch Germanic Heathen.

Psychonaut
Saturday, August 12th, 2006, 09:13 PM
But there are good Volkisch / Folkisch authors out there who are not a part of any radical right. Mark Puryear (His book "The Nature of Asatru" is a strongly recommended read), Katia Puryear (Marks wife) and James "Hjuka" Coulter come to mind. Also there are many great books that don't take a stance and focus primarily on the archeological and historical evidence in front of them. HR Ellis Davidson's "The Gods and Myths of Northern Europe" come to mind. Also, Edred Thorsson / Stephen Flowers in the past was very Volkisch / Folkish... I don't know what happened to him but his book "Futhark" is pretty good and so is his Essay in Tyr: Myth - Culture - Tradition Vol. II entitled "The Idea of Integral Culture, A model for a revolt against the Modern world".

There are a few good books in my e-book collection if you want to have them. I sent links to Tryggvi to upload them to the Skadi library but since neither of us are funding members and I have the files on my PC anyways I could send them to you. Vilhelm Grönbech's "Culture of The Teutons" Volumes I and II are pretty good.

I also enjoy quite a few of Julius Evola's works. While he wasn't a Germanic heathen and some of the things he was into are of no interest to me, his "Ride the Tiger" and "Revolt Against The Modern World" are great reads and can be very usefull to the Volkisch Germanic Heathen.

I'm always on the lookout for new books in the folkish vein, perhaps we could get a list of recomended books going on one of the Heathen forums here. I just got a copy of Tyr (vol. 2) in the mail yesterday, and it definantly looks like some of the best stuff I've seen in a while. I haven't read Puryear of Coulter, but Coulter's "Germanic Heathenry" is on my Amazon list. I'm also a big fan of Thorsson's older works, but I haven't read anything that he's written since "Runelore." If you could send me a list of some of the good ebooks that you've got, I'd be very appreciative.

Moody
Sunday, August 13th, 2006, 05:43 PM
This has been an interesting discusssion given that none of the authors mentioned [or any others] have come close to giving a convincing explanation of Perthro.

Does the author's "agenda" [and I suppose that everyone has an agenda of some kind] mean that his interpretation of 'Perthro' is going to be slanted according to that agenda?

I think that unlikely.

Surely all one needs are the basic materials , plus examples of runic use from history, and literature.
Combine that with an overview of divinatory methods, and all the rest is up to you.

You can then read all various authors as separate opinions, [some of which may be near your own, others not], without fear of contamination.

I would say that you can take elements from [i]all rune writers, no matter what we suspect their 'politics' are [and that is very subjective in and of itself].

Again, my opinion on a rune writer in this example would be - 'how does he deal with the problem of 'perthro'?
Not whether s/he dresses to the Left or the Right!

:hveðrungur:
Sunday, August 13th, 2006, 07:04 PM
If you could send me a list of some of the good ebooks that you've got, I'd be very appreciative.

When I was a moderator for the Germanic heathenry forum here I did write up a short list of good reading:

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=52513

nicholas
Wednesday, September 27th, 2006, 02:59 PM
One of the books on runes I have says it represents gambling. But I'm not quite sure of that. To me t looks like a cup or bowl sitting on its side.

Moody
Thursday, September 28th, 2006, 01:48 PM
One of the books on runes I have says it represents gambling. But I'm not quite sure of that. To me t looks like a cup or bowl sitting on its side.

That could connect it with a dice-cup, lot-cup etc., so still be linked to gambling.

Of course, it is possible that the original meaning was lost, and later people said "the rune-stave shape looks like a dice cup on its side, let's call it that"!

The main frustration is that word, [i]'perthro' - any linguists able to throw some light on it?

nicholas
Thursday, September 28th, 2006, 04:11 PM
http://realmagick.com/articles/84/2184.html


Welcome to the Perthro column of Rune-of-the-Month Club. Perthro is the Rune for the sound represented by the Roman letter “P.” This is the sixth Rune of the second Aett, hence the fourteenth Rune, so we are moving right along! Perthro is the reconstructed Common Germanic name of this Rune. The Anglo-Saxons called it Peord; the Gothic name was Pairthra. The Goths were one of the first Germanic tribes to fall under the Christian yoke, and had their own alphabet (invented by their bishop, Ulfila = ”Little Wolf”), which was mostly Greek in derivation but had a few Runes thrown in as well. However, Wolfie the Turncoat, who was, fittingly either a former slave himself or at least the descendant of enslaved war captives, used the Runic names, not the Greek ones, for his new Gothic letters. A nasty process was functioning: from physical enslavement to recruitment into a spiritually enslaving religion (early Christianity, unlike some of its mellowed-out modern descendants, was NOT a laid-back or tolerant creed, be it towards Jews, Pagans or dissenting Christians, check out the New Testament writings of “saint” Paul for many illustrative examples) to taking that spiritual slavery back to one’s own people: for their own good of course! This would be more of a function of Nauthiz than of Perthro, (unless you think of the flow of a really nasty Wyrd) but seems worth pointing out. At least Bishop Wolfie (I think of the werewolf from the old “Groovy Ghoulies and Sabrina the Teenage Witch cartoon”) had the gumption to defy the Pope by being an Arian “heretic.” Maybe our modern “Gothic” youth could use Ulfila’s alphabet as a secret code, they ARE an odd sort of “fashion slave” after all! They could probably be classified as “heretics” too. Just kidding about that one! I’m in rare form today. The Gothic info is off-topic but an interesting history lesson. Thorburnr Sheil enjoys picking at Swedes, evidently picked it up from his Norwegian in-laws. Goths were originally from Sweden. Maybe it rubbed off on me!

The name of this Rune is shrouded in mystery, which is appropriate, since that is indeed one of its meanings. Perthro seems to mean “lot-box,” “gaming-piece,” “dice-cup,” or something of the sort. This meaning is borne out by the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, which preserves the only verse we have for this Rune, which did not continue into the Younger Futhark. However, this interpretation is far from adequate to explain the Rune. the Sheils remind us that while useful, the Rune Poems contain information as much cultural as runic. I believe that this holds particularly true for Perthro. From this poem, Edred Thorsson correctly identifies the link between this Rune and Wyrd or Fate on the basis of rampant gambling among ancient Germanic peoples and their association of that gambling with Wyrd. They’d even gamble themselves right into slavery! Maybe they needed a Twelve-Step Group, that IS a significant Norse number (12 times 2 Runes, both the Gods and Goddesses traditionally but not accurately numbered at 12 each...another joke) Kveldulf Gundarsson, Thorsson’s former student, is with him on the identification of Perthro with Wyrd. Freya Aswynn concurs, and in addition, through her own meditations also accurately hit upon “birth” as a meaning of Perthro.
This Rune REALLY shoots down the so-called “Blank Rune.” While hidden things, hence secrets, is one aspect of Perthro, it is more tied in with Wyrd. This, along with the fact that “Ansuz” is the Rune of the Gods in general, and of Odin in particular, is enough to expel the blank rune-chip from the rune-sets of every serious Runeworker! Thorburnr and Audrey Sheil, my own Rune teachers, identify a number of meanings for Perthro, including Well (as in the Well of Wyrd, the Well of Mimir, and the Well which is down by Niflheim or Hel. Think of scrying by looking into a bowl or cauldron of water or even a well instead of a crystal ball, see the next paragraph. Others meanings include Wyrd/Fate/Destiny (not exact synonyms, BTW), pregnancy, cauldrons and pots (think of Ran and Aegir’s brewing cauldron, or Cerridwyn’s cauldron from Welsh mythology), psychic matters (hidden things that sometimes can be brought to light), tunnels, caves and caverns, water sources, and fishing (back to Ran and Aegir). Note the recurring theme of hollow things which contain other things, often in liquid form!
Divination is also a function of Perthro. You could put rune-chips into a dice-cup, or think of the rune-pouch as the Well of Wyrd. The Sheils remind us that Wyrd is evolving constantly. Interpret the results of a Rune reading not as what is set in stone (BTW passive Fatalism is NOT what Wyrd is about), but rather as the most likely outcome given the CURRENT circumstances. Make the changes you feel appropriate (the basic three-Rune reading goes from past state or causes to current state or best action to future state or most likely outcome), then do another reading in a week or so!
In spiritual work in the Heathen tradition, Perthro can help you gain access to the Inner Worlds and the greater Religious mysteries. The Sheils also mention Mother Hulda’s realm, which was accessed via a well, and identify Hulda/Holda = “the kindly one” (their translation) with Frigga = “the beloved.” Editor’s note: the German Goddess Hulda is also known as Mother Holle. Etymologically, Hulda means “the hidden one,” appropriate for a Goddess whose realm is reached via a well. Think of Fensalir, Frigga’s Hall, which means “marsh halls” = nice and wet and sunken, and also Sokkvabekkr = ”sunken bank,” Odin and Saga’s Hall. Due to the association of Saga, Goddess of History, with Odin, and Frigga’s being the silent and all-knowing one, Thorburnr and Audrey Sheil identify the two Goddesses as being the same. The Sheils are usually right!
The Sheils also mention the nine nights of Odin’s Initiation upon Yggdrasil (source of his, and hence our, Rune-knowledge) and the nine months of pregnancy as being tied in with Perthro. Since Initiation is indeed a (re)birth, this makes sense to me. Magick Number Nine is very significant to Heathen mythology! How many pieces did the snake fly into when Odin struck it with NINE glory-twigs in the Anglo-Saxon NINE Herbs Charm? Right. Nine bonus points for you! Some superstitious Christians BTW are as scared of 9, which by pure coincidence in Arabic numerals looks like an upside-down 6, as they are of 6 (as in 666) itself! Wonder if it is tied in to some extent with Christianized Germanic peoples’ fear of the Old Wisdom? Just a thought, but...
Wells and suchlike (caves and caverns, think of the birth canal) are another entry into the religious mysteries of Heathenism, and of this Rune in particular. Remember all the Heathen and Celtic Pagan sacred wells and springs. They have been taken over by Catholics in places like Lourdes. Perthro is the Well of Wyrd. It’s no coincidence that Eihwaz, the World Tree Yggdrasil, is the Rune just before it in the Futhark. Occasionally the two switch places in some old inscriptions of the Elder Futhark, but they are still side-by-side. The Well and the Tree by Bauschatz is well worth reading as you investigate the Heathen Mysteries.
The Sheils mention “pear” as a possible meaning of Perthro. Pears and apples are close kin; think of Idunna’s golden apples. The Sheils equate Idunna with the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre and the German Goddess Ostara (Spring and renewal/rebirth being connected), so think of eggs and rabbits too as related to Creation and Birth mysteries. Pears are usually yellow when ripe, it occurs to me. I think that the yellow apples in cultivation today date back to a 19th century mutation. Life-renewing fruits, the mead from Ran and Aegir’s cauldron, and the drink from Mimir’s Well for which Odin was more than willing to sacrifice an eye. You’re going to be meditating for a while!
In addition to Yggdrasil/Eihwaz, Initiation, and the Gods and Goddesses mentioned in this article, you would do well to explore the links between Perthro and Laguz (another Rune with watery overtones) and Berkano (another “birth” Rune).
While the “Havamal” reminds us that a gift looks for a gift, sometimes a gift is just that, a gift! Our Gods and Goddesses are wealthy, generous and kind. Enjoy the many gifts which flow from them to us, and strive to live as their worthy Younger Kin. That, perhaps, is the gift for which their gift looks! Through your work with Perthro, may the Mysteries of the Runes and of our Heathen Religion spring fruitfully into life within you, and may the Wyrd you weave (weaving is another of Frigga’s functions) for yourself be a good one!
Here's what Pam C. has to say about Perthro:
"Perdra is a deep well indeed."
Criticizing certain Runesters who erroneously "...take a blank stave and call it Wyrd, ignoring the cornucopia contained in Perdra."
Works consulted (lots of them this time!):
At the Well of Wyrd by Edred Thorsson. This book is well worth its purchase price just for the translations of the Rune Poems - but not for much else :-(
Dictionary of Northern Mythology by Rudolf Simek (to my knowledge, he does NOT have a red nose, and the book is VERY useful).
The Germanic Invasions by Lucien Musset. Translated from the original French by Edward and Columba James.
Lost Gods of England by Brian Branston. Read this book!
Northern Mysteries and Magic by Freya Aswynn (www.llewellyn.com to order). Previously published as Leaves of Yggdrasil, although NM & M does contain some new material, particularly on Seidhr and a CD of her tape “Songs of Yggdrasil.” Very good but Freya Aswynn sounds like the Vulcan priestess Te Pao from the old Star Trek series: “Spock (with the “ck” pronounced as the “ch” in “loch”); they say thy Heathen blood runs thin - art thee Heathen or art thee Wiccan?” You can groan now, but buy the book and listen to the CD: I’m right!
The Road to Bifrost Volume III: the Runes and Holy Signs and Volume V (the Gods and Goddesses) by Thorburnr and Audrey Sheil. You can get to their sites from several links on my web page, or write T. Sheil, PO Box 121, Freehold NJ 07728 USA. This is their current address. The books, I believe, are $20 each; include $4 per order for postage. I highly recommend both these books. They are my top two Heathen book selections outside the Elder and Younger Eddas, of course.
Teutonic Magic by Kveldulf Gundarsson. Out of print, dammit! The Well and the Tree by Paul C. Bauschatz. Scholarly study of Wyrd. Winifred Hodge tells me this book helped set her on the road to Heathenry.


Dice cup = womb

dice = children = chance/possibility

Pythia
Friday, October 3rd, 2008, 07:18 PM
Simple person that I am, I go wih the dice cup-- because that's what it looks like. :)

The fact that it is on its side indicates to me that a "die has been cast." That is, there is an element of chance involved, here. Its nature could be explained by other runes.


Interesting; I've also seen pear as in 'pear tree'.

As you must know, the usual translation for the Old English Rune Poem's Peorth [given by Sweet in his Anglo-Saxon Dictionary] is 'chess piece'.
Edred likes to call it 'lot box'; others call it 'dice'.

So the majority view is towards some kind of divination/game.

But this seems unlikely to me, given that the Runes themselves can used for these purposes - so why would the Runes refer to other systems?

The initial letter 'P' is not used much in Anglo-Saxon, and most Anglo-Saxon words beginning with 'p' are of foreign origin [like pound!]

Likewise, this wasn't a common sound in proto-Germanic either; however, the Rune-stave does occur, as we know, in the Elder Futhark.

Because it was dropped by the Vikings we have no other Rune Poems to go on except the Anglo-Saxon which has some lines missing, it seems.


The most left-field version of Peorth I heard was 'Fart'!

I feel that the answer is hidden somewhere.

Good! Now I can stop being puzzled about having read it translated "song." There's WORSE!:)

Pythia
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 09:55 PM
http://realmagick.com/articles/84/2184.html


Dice cup = womb

dice = children = chance/possibility

I've just now read that it can reference womens' mysteries, because of he vagina shape.

Athalwulf
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 10:28 PM
The meaning of the verse is roughly;

'Peorth is a source of play and laughter to the great, where warriors sit happily together in the mead hall'.

This is the way I have always interpreted it. I have always seen it as a bowl turned on its side, but that has little to do with the meaning of the other runes, so that's not exactly a valid argument. Celebrations in mead halls like those in the myths and those sung of by bards were an important part of life for ancient Germanics and the gods, so I don't see why there wouldn't be a rune for it.

On the other hand, an explanation of a dice cup also seems to be a good explanation, symbolic of how your fate could be decided with a roll of the dice by the Norns.