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Runes

The earliest alphabet in use among the Gothic tribes of Northern Europe. The characters were employed either for purposes of secrecy or for divination. Rim is Gaelic for “secret,” and helrin means “divination.”

There were several sorts of runes in Celtic mythology: as (1) the Evil Rune. employed when evil was invoked; (2) the Securable Rune, to secure from misadventure: (3) the Victorious Rune, to procure victory over enemies; (4) Medicinal Rune, for restoring to health the indisposed, or for averting danger: and (5) the Maledictory Rune. to bring down curses on enemies. (Compare Balaam and Balak.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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