What Are The Runes, Exoterically and Esoterically?

The exoteric aspect of the runes I guess is their history, etc.

The esoteric being, as they are a symbolic expersions of forces within nature and within us, a mirror of our soul so to speak and the engeries that reside within us and in the universe itself. Thus, hidden and mysterious. Can they be seen as external representations of powers that we hold within us and in nature?

What are your understandings of the exoteric and esoteric when applied to the runes?