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Wend Runes

Finding the feminine in the sacred threads.

This inscription is from the Meldorf fibulae, often described as proto-runic, from what is probably a woman’s crematory grave from the 1st century CE.

When I first saw the inscription rendering above (by Düwel)* goosebumps immediately raised on my arm.

This inscription has been argued to be the runic hiwi (spouse) or runic irili (to the rune master) or IDIN (Ida in Latin). But I immediately saw it in wend rune form, written left or right: IDIS which would be represented hundreds of years later as the Old High German name for the Dís, the guardian feminine ancestors, protective spirits of a lineage. That it was found in a likely female grave holds pattern, also that it could be written with magical intent, as many of the early inscriptions seem to be.


I’ve learned also that not all of these associations need to hold a singular logic. Instead I choose to exist in the nonbinary, threading the loops between academic and gnosis, real and not real. For if that inscription written so long ago was for us, now today? An invitation, a connection: tend to the IDIS::DÍSIR


The Idisi (plural of Idis) are named in one of the Merseberg charms written in the 9th century CE, as beings called to bind and hamper enemies, but also to untie fetters and free the invoked from bondage:

Lösesegen" (blessing of release)

Once sat (female ancestors),

They sat here, then there.

Some fastened bonds,

Some impeded an army,

Some unraveled fetters:

Escape the bonds,

flee the enemy!

Eiris sazun idisi

sazun hera duoder.

suma hapt heptidun,

suma heri lezidun,

suma clubodun

umbi cuoniouuidi:

insprinc haptbandun,

inuar uigandun.

This formula of unbinding is found throughout folklore, even into modern times. The two elements of protection and release add immeasurably to the mysteries of the Dísir, their connection with the feminine, lineage, magic and the runes.


When we follow the threads, may we find a pattern home.

To the Idis.


Works Cited:

Giangrosso, Patricia (2016). "Charms". In Jeep, John M. (ed.). Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia. Abingdon, New York: Routledge. pp. 111–114

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