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The Picts and Who They Were

Being someone who really enjoys learning about ancient civilizations, culture and the people who lived through those times I truly find fascinating. Whether it is the Hittites who fought the ancient Egyptians, The “Sea People” of the Mediterranean or the Tartessians, they all had a hand in forging modern society. Today I want to share with you the still in many regards mysterious people of Scotland known as The Picts.

Origins of The Picts

By the fourth century AD, the predominant race in northern Scotland were the Picts, the name was coined by the Romans who referred to them as ‘Picti’ meaning ‘painted ones’, which referred to the Pictish custom of either tattooing their bodies or covering themselves with warpaint. The Irish referred to them as Cruithni, meaning “the people of the designs”. What they called themselves has gone unrecorded.

The Picts were descendants of the Iron Age people of northern Scotland, believed to have originated in Iberia as hunter-gatherers, they moved through lower Britain and entered Scotland around 7000BC. Recent DNA tests have proven the Picts were closely related to the Basques of northern Spain. The connections between northern Britain and Celtic Spain are supported by many myths and legends. The dolmens, standing stones and the trail of “cup and ring” designs carved on stones by the prehistoric people of Iberia make their way from Spain and Portugal and northern France to Ireland and Scotland and represent the earliest evidence of the movement of prehistoric man from Iberia to Britain. SOURCE

The Picts is a survey of the historical and cultural developments in northern Britain between AD 300 and AD 900. Discarding the popular view of the Picts as savages, they are revealed to have been politically successful and culturally adaptive members of the medieval European world.

Who Were The Picts?

From the accounts of Britain made by the classical authors, we know that by the fourth century AD, the predominant people in northern Scotland were referred to as “Picts”.

Throughout history, these Picts have been shadowy, enigmatic figures.

From the outset, they were regarded as savage warriors but by the time the Norsemen were compiling their sagas and histories, the memory of the Picts had degenerated into a semi-mythical race of fairies.

Theories abound, although these days it is generally accepted that the Picts were not, as was once believed, a new race, but were simply the descendants of the indigenous Iron Age people of northern Scotland.

The cloud of uncertainty that surrounds the Picts is simply because they left no written records.

Because of this, we have no clear insight into how they lived, their beliefs or society. All we know of them is from second-hand anecdotal evidence, lifted from the various historical writers who recorded their own, possibly biased, impressions of the Pictish people.

The earliest surviving mention of the Picts dates from AD 297.

In a poem praising the Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus, the orator Eumenius wrote that the Britons were already accustomed to the semi-naked “Picti and Hiberni (Irish) as their enemies.

From Emenius’ statement, we can see that the Picts were already a major thorn in the Roman Empire’s side. And they continued to be a problem for their neighbors – continually harassing them for centuries after the Roman legions abandoned Britain. But who were they? Continue reading HERE.

The Picts were a people of northern Scotland who are defined as a “confederation of tribal units whose political motivations derived from a need to ally against common enemies.” They were not a single tribe, nor necessarily a single people, although it is thought that they came originally from Scandinavia as a cohesive group. Since they left no written record of their history, what is known of them comes from later Roman and Scottish writers and from images the Picts themselves carved on stones.

Conflict with the Romans

The Romans referred to Scotland as Caledonia, a name derived from the Pictish tribe Caledonii. By AD 80 the Romans had succeeded in subduing the tribes of Britons which occupied the area south of the Forth and Clyde, but those to the north proved harder to conquer.

The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus recorded ‘ …the Picts, divided into two tribes called Dicalydones and Verturiones. are roving at large and causing great devastation. In the early-600s, the Spanish bishop and encyclopaedist, Isidore of Seville wrote of them:-‘the Picts, whose name is taken from their bodies, because an artisan, with the tiny point of a pin and the juice squeezed from a native plant, tricks them out with scars to serve as identifying marks, and their nobility are distinguished by their tattooed limbs.’

Gnaeus Julius Agricola advanced to the River Tay, constructing a legionary fortress at Inchtuthil, north of Perth. The Picts, under the leadership of Calgacus (‘the Swordsman’), met the Romans under Julius Agricola, at the Battle of Mons Graupius in 84 A.D. when the Romans marched on their main granaries. Prior to this, the Picts had avoided open battle, preferring to carry out guerilla-style raids. Tacitus records a speech which he claims to have been made by Calgacus before the battle in which he describes the Romans as: “Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace. Continue reading HERE.

Pictish Carvings

The Aberlemno I roadside symbol stone, Class I Pictish stone with Pictish symbols, showing (top to bottom) the serpent, the double disc and Z-rod and the mirror and comb.
This film begins where Symbols and Signs ends and traces attempts to explain the meaning of the Pictish symbols through the translation of Ogham and Latin inscriptions on a small number of the symbol stones. The film focuses on a number of key Pictish stones including those at St Vigeans, Auchenblae and Aberlemno. The film asks whether a Pictish ‘Rosetta Stone’ has been discovered which reveals the meaning of the symbols.

The Picts left no written records but instead their legacy comes down to us in the carved stones that can be found around Scotland. See our guide to the ten best places to see Pictish and Celtic carvings in Scotland. Researchers continue to explore the meaning of the carvings found on Pictish stones, which often feature symbols, animals and people.

The occasional new find such as the imprint of the hand of a Pictish copper smith continue to build on our knowledge, whilst projects such as the Northern Picts Project carry out award-winning research into the Picts and their landscape. SOURCE

The Picts have fascinated for centuries. They emerged c. ad 300 to defy the might of the Roman empire only to disappear at the end of the first millennium ad, yet they left major legacies. They laid the foundations for the medieval Scottish kingdom and their captivating carved stones are some of the most eye-catching yet enigmatic monuments in Europe. Until recently the Picts have been difficult to trace due to limited archaeological investigation and documentary sources, but innovative new research has produced critical new insights into the culture of a highly sophisticated society which defied the might of the Roman Empire and forged a powerful realm dominating much of northern Britain.

This is the first dedicated book on the Picts that covers in detail both their archaeology and their history. It examines their kingdoms, culture, beliefs and everyday lives from their origins to their end, not only incorporating current thinking on the subject, but also offering innovative perspectives that transform our understanding of the early history of Scotland.
Picts: History and Heritage provides an overview of some of the key developments in the evolution of the Pictish kingdom between the 5th and 9th centuries. Using recent studies on the political centralisation of Pictland and its external relations with neighbouring kingdoms, the film traces some of the key developments in the history of Fortiu until the Gaelic takeover at the end of the 9th century.

Timeline of the Picts: Key Figures and Events

When the Angles of Bernicia overran the British kingdoms, one of which was the Anglian kingdom of Deira, they became the most powerful kingdom in Britain. Deira and Bernicia together were called Northumbria.

It is believed the Picts were probably a tributary to Northumbria until the reign of Brideimac Beli in 685 AD. The Anglicans suffered a severe defeat at the Battle of Dun Nectain that stopped their northward expansion. The Picts sent the Angles back south to Britain.

By the mid-9th century, Vikings had destroyed the kingdoms of Dal Riata and Northumbria, greatly diminished the power of the Kingdoms of Strathclyde and founded the Kingdom of York. During a major battle in 839 AD, the Vikings killed the King of Fortriu, Eogan man Oengusa.

Sometime in the 840s AD, Cinaed mac Alpin (Kenneth MacAlpin) became the king of the Picts. He united the Picts and the Scots, and together these tribes formed the new Kingdom of Scotland. At this time, they routed out the Vikings. SOURCE

What Happened to The Picts?

It is believed that, over several decades, the Picts merged with the Gaels. Pictland, also called Pictavia, gradually merged with the Gaelic kingdom of Dal Riata to form the Kingdom of Alba, which eventually came to be called Scotland.

Alba expanded, absorbing the Brythonic kingdom of Strathclyde and Bernician Lothian. By the 11th century, historians believe the Pictish people and their identity had been subsumed into the “Scots” conglomeration of people.

During the Dark Ages, the Pictish language did not suddenly disappear, but a process of Gaelicisation (which may have begun generations earlier) was clearly underway during the reign of Kenneth MacAlpin. Eventually, the inhabitants of Alba became fully Gaelicised Scots, and the Pict identity was forgotten. Later in British Isles history, the idea of the Picts as a Celtic tribe was revived in myth and legend. SOURCE

Further Resources

The Picts: 13 Amazing Facts about the ancient people that protected Scotland from the Roman Empire

Land of the Picts: New excavations reveal the truth behind the legend of these fearsome northern warriors

The Kingdom of the Picts

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Tartessos: The Iberian Lost Civilization

One of my passions regarding history are lost or little known ancient civilizations and when I come across or a friend shares with me something about a civilization I have not heard of before I tend to dive into it to learn as much as I can. Recently a friend of mine introduced me to the lost and little known ancient civilization known as Tartessos. Tartessos was a civilization that was located in Southern Spain along the Mediterranean and suddenly disappeared around 500 BCE. So after extensive research I found the best resources to share with you regarding this fascinating civilization.

Tartessos expansion through its existence.

“Tartessos” is the name given by the Greeks to the first Western civilization they knew, which was inhabiting the southwest of Spain. It was the first organized state of the Iberian Peninsula and was highly developed politically and culturally by the end of the second millennium before Christ.

The kingdom of Tartessos was the first one in Spain which had relations with the historical eastern Mediterranean civilizations, like Greeks and Phoenicians, and had with them important commercial relations. Therefore, and for their wealth in minerals, the Tartessos reached great importance. The country of the Tartessos is mentioned in many historical sources as a rich and splendorous kingdom.

The kingdom of Tartessos was located in a region crossed by the river “Tartessos”. This river was later called “Betis” by the Romans and “Guadalquivir” by the Moors.

Roman authors describe the region:

“Tartessos is a river in the land of the Iberians. It reaches the sea by two mouths and between these two mouths lays a city with the same name (Tartessos). The river is the longest in Iberia, has tides, and now is called Baetis”.

That means; with the name Tartessos the Greek and Roman authors identified a river, a kingdom and the capital of this kingdom, located at the mouth of that river. Further details about the location of this capital we find here:

Ephorus (Escimno, 162) writes that the capital Tartessos was two days of travel (1000 stadiums) from the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar). From Gibraltar to the present mouth of the Guadalquivir there are 900 stadiums.

Despite many detailed descriptions, the capital of Tartessos has not yet been found as the geography of the area has changed during those last 3000 years:

The eastern mouth of the river is the only one that now exists. It is located in the province of Cadiz, and was much wider historically.

The western mouth does not exist anymore, but it is considered that it was located between the current towns Matalascañas and Huelva. In this area today we only find a number of lakes.

Historically, between these two river arms there was a large lagoon, and in this lagoon there was at least one island where the legendary city probably was located.

Neither this lagoon nor any islands exist today, all this is an area of marshes which form a part of the Doñana National Park along the Costa de la Luz. Investigations in Doñana lead to the conclusion that there have been two natural disasters (tsunamis) that caused the islands and dry areas to sink, one of which happened around 1500 BC and the other 200 AC. Continue reading HERE.

With Tartessian tentatively identified as Celtic, and at the very least Indo-European, this might this change our view of the ancient Celts.

Tartessian language

The Tartessian Fonte Velha inscription (Bensafrim, (Lagos)) beginning with “lokooboo niiraboo too aŕaia i kaaltee…” meaning “Invoking the divine Lug of the (Gallaecian) Neri (tribe), this funerary monument for a noble Celt…”. Fonte Velha (Bensafrim, Lagos). Tartessian or Southwest script. Fonte Velha (Bensafrim, Lagos).

Tartessian is an extinct Paleo-Hispanic language found in the Southwestern inscriptions of the Iberian Peninsula, mainly located in the south of Portugal (Algarve and southern Alentejo), and the southwest of Spain (south of Extremadura and western Andalusia). There are 95 such inscriptions, the longest having 82 readable signs. Around one third of them were found in Early Iron Age necropolises or other Iron Age burial sites associated with rich complex burials. It is usual to date them to the 7th century BC and to consider the southwestern script to be the most ancient Paleo-Hispanic script, with characters most closely resembling specific Phoenician letter forms found in inscriptions dated to c. 825 BC. Five of the inscriptions occur on stelae with what has been interpreted as Late Bronze Age carved warrior gear from the Urnfield culture.

Beyond the Aegean, some of the earliest written records of Europe come from the south-west, what is now southern Portugal and south-west Spain. Herodotus, the ‘Father of History’, locates the Keltoi or ‘Celts’ in this region, as neighbours of the Kunetes of the Algarve. He calls the latter the ‘westernmost people of Europe’. However, modern scholars have been disinclined – until recently – to consider the possibility that the south-western inscriptions and other early linguistic evidence from the kingdom of Tartessos were Celtic. This book shows how much of this material closely resembles the attested Celtic languages: Celtiberian (spoken in east-central Spain) and Gaulish, as well as the longer surviving langiages of Ireland, Britain and Brittany. In many cases, the 85 Tartessian inscriptions of the period c. 750-c. 450 BC can now be read as complete statements written in an Ancient Celtic language.
Two of the carved figures likely depict goddesses wearing gold earrings. (Image credit: Samuel Sánchez )

Archaeologists in Spain have unearthed five life-size busts of human figures that could be the first-known human depictions of the Tartessos, a people who formed an ancient civilization that disappeared more than 2,500 years ago. 

The carved stone faces, which archaeologists date to the fifth century B.C., were found hidden inside a sealed pit in an adobe temple at Casas del Turuñuelo, an ancient Tartessian site in southern Spain. The pieces were scattered amongst animal bones, mostly from horses, that likely came from a mass sacrifice, according to a translated statement published April 18.

“The unusual thing about the new finding is that the representations correspond to human faces,” Erika López, a spokesperson for the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), said in the statement. 

Archaeologists from the CSIC called this discovery “a profound paradigm shift in the interpretation of [Tartessos],” since this ancient civilization, which existed from about the eighth to the fourth centuries B.C., was long considered an aniconic culture in which divinity was represented through animal or plant motifs, rather than idolized humans, according to the statement. Continue reading HERE.

Tartessos was an ancient harbor city on the southern Iberian (ancient Spain) coast. Greeks considered it an important and wealthy trading partner, rich with metals, silver and gold. In this video, we talk about the rise and fall of the forgotten Tartessian Civilization.
7th century BCE pectoral (brooch on the chest) from the Tartessian Culture. Archaeological Museum of Seville. (SOURCE)

Before the Tartessians

Southwest Andalucia had been an area of rapid development ever since the Neolithic people arrived about 5800 BC. The fertile valley of the Rio Guadalquivir and, to a lesser extent, the narrow coastal strip along the Mediterranean coast, together with the wetter climate in the west caused by the prevailing winds off the Atlantic Ocean meeting the west facing highlands of the Sierra Morena, Sierra Grazalema and the Alcornocales, reduced crop failures and encouraged an increase in population, compared to the more arid, eastern parts of Andalucia.

The increase in population had encouraged the formation of family clusters, that became settlements whenever population densities rose above a certain level. This appears to be a phenomenon or urge that is built into the human psyche since it has occurred all over the world at different times, despite there being no possibility of communication between those populations separated geographically and in time.

How the societies developed following the initial clustering depended on the environment, climate and outside influences. In some parts of the world societies have developed to a certain level and then failed, only to be reborn, sometimes on numerous occasions. So it was with the Tartessians.

Soon after the Neolithic period started, people started to claim the land in western Andalucia. From about 4700 BC, they built megalithic structures, symbols on the landscape populated by ancestors, thereby proclaiming their ages long ownership of the land. The megalithic phenomenon expanded from Huelva and Cadiz provinces, up the Guadalquivir valley into Granada and Almeria. The so-called ditched enclosures appeared. These are now thought to have been communal areas demarcated into spaces in which different activities occurred, ceremonial, metalworking, animal butchery as well as in some instances, dwelling spaces. Single burials became multiple burials and, towards the end of the period, regressed back to individual burials, often cremated. The huge site of Valencina de la Concepción at Seville is the most researched site that combines all these features. Continue reading HERE.

Endowed with extraordinary wealth in metals and strategically positioned between the Atlantic and Mediterranean trading routes at the time of Greek and Phoenician colonial expansion, Tartessos flourished in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE. Tartessos became a literate, sophisticated, urban culture in southwestern Iberia (today’s Spain and Portugal), enriched by commercial contacts with the Aegean and the Levant since at least the ninth century. In its material culture (architecture, grave goods, sanctuaries, plastic arts), we see how native elements combined with imported “orientalizing” innovations introduced by the Phoenicians. Historians of the rank of Herodotos and Livy, geographers such as Strabo and Pliny, Greek and Punic periploi and perhaps even Phoenician and Hebrew texts, testify to the power, wealth, and prominence of this western-most Mediterranean civilization.

Archaeologists, in turn, have demonstrated the existence of a fascinating complex society with both strong local roots and international flare. Yet for still-mysterious reasons, Tartessos did not attain a “Classical” period like its peer emerging cultures did at the same time (Etruscans, Romans, Greeks).

This book combines the expertise of its two authors in archaeology, philology, and cultural history to present a comprehensive, coherent, theoretically up-to-date, and informative overview of the discovery, sources, and debates surrounding this puzzling culture of ancient Iberia and its complex hybrid identity vis-a-vis the western Phoenicians. This book will be of great interest to students of the classics, archaeology and ancient history, Phoenician-Punic studies, colonization and cultural contact.

Further Resources:

The inscription from Mesas do Castelinho, south Portugal, was discovered in September 2008. With 82 readable signs it is now the longest of the corpus of 95 Tartessian inscriptions. These texts survive from the Early Iron Age in the south-western Iberian Peninsula, the earliest writing from Atlantic Europe. By recombining word roots, prefixes and endings previously attested, the new inscription permits a major breakthrough with the language, confirming word divisions and contributing to the critical mass of evidence. It is now possible to take the case for Tartessian as an Indo-European and specifically Celtic language a step further, to ask what sort of Celtic language Tartessian was and how its syntax and sound system compares with those of Celtiberian, Gaulish, Old Irish and Welsh.

The Iberian civilisation that vanished

The Ancient People Who Burned Their Culture to the Ground

First ever human depiction of lost Tartessos civilization uncovered in Spain

Tartessian

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The Lesser Known Runes of Europe

Most Pagans, Heathens, Witches and those who study Scandinavian history are familiar with the Elder Futhark Runes and other variants of them that evolved during and after the Viking Age. However there are many other types of Runes that can be found throughout Europe and even stretching into Siberia. I have been studying Runes for many years and find some very interesting commonalities between all of these different types of Runes which at some point I will share. But for now I want to share with you all some very interesting Runes you may have never heard of which are the Polskie/slowiańskie runy (Polish Runes), Venedské Písmo (Vendic/Slavic Runes), Székely-Hungarian Rovás (Hungarian Runes) and the Finnish Script (suomalainen kirjaimisto).

Polskie/slowiańskie runy (Polish Runes)

Most people dealing with runes have probably heard of the Scandinavian futhark runes. These are probably the most popular runes, also used in magic and runic tarot. However, they do not illustrate the complete alphabet, there are many sounds missing, not to mention Polish ones, such as “Ą”, “Ę”, “CZ”, “SZ”, “DZ”, etc. Therefore, it is impossible to write with them. in the Polish language. It is true that I found pages about how to write a name in futhark, but it is very shallow and simplified, where one rune should be assigned many different sounds, such as the rune Kenaz is assigned the sound “K”, as well as “C”. Probably because the Kenaz rune looks like the Latin “C”, and this letter is missing in the futhark. However, this is incorrect thinking, as “C” is pronounced completely differently than “K”. “C” is dental and “K” is pharyngeal.

As Winicjusz Kossakowski proves in his study “Polish runes have spoken”, each rune has its origin. Namely, the rune illustrates which speech organs should be used to pronounce a given sound. And so, reading the letter by sound, the word was pronounced. This means that the runes were not a predetermined script. The most important thing was to draw the organs of speech so that another person could read them. Therefore, the set of runes could be different, the signs assigned to the same letter could be rotated, slanted or vertical, as well as completely different from each other, but as long as the main rule was adhered to, it did not cause major problems. SOURCE

Venedské Písmo (Vendic/Slavic Runes)

Before the arrival of Cyril and Methodius, in pre-Christian times, our ancestors, like many other European nations, used the runic script. The old Germans called this script vendic runic. Among the ancient Slavs, runic inscriptions were preserved primarily on idols and objects of religious significance. The most significant archaeological discovery in this area was made on the territory of today’s Germany (where an advanced Old Slavic culture once resided) in the area of the city of Retra. On the found statue of Perún, the prayer “Percun Devve i ne ruse i v neman” is engraved with ancient Slavic runes, which in translation means “By steam, God, heaven to no one”, on the statue of Belboga is engraved “Licjevajam tim Bilbocg” which means “I represent herewith Belboga”, the words “Radegast” and “Rjetra” are on the top of the statue of Radegast, “Podaga” is written on Podaga’s sacrificial plate, and “Cernebog” is written on Chernobog’s sacrificial bowl.

A very interesting hypothesis regarding Slavic runes was elaborated by Antonín Horák in his work “About the Slavs completely different”, where he expressed the assumption that the Old Slavic runic inscriptions carved into the rock on the Velestúr hill are thousands of years old, come from the period of oppression of the Slavic population by Asian nomads and are alleged evidence autochthony of the Slavs in Europe and a clue pointing to their “dove” agricultural way of life (the effort to portray the nobility as descendants of Asian killers and the proletariat as descendants of peaceful Slavs was probably appropriate at the time). The work is certainly interesting in many ways and worth reading, although many of the claims need further investigation. SOURCE

One thing that rarely gets mentioned is that these Runes can and are used for divination magick but the use of these are always over shadowed by the Futhark. If this is something you want to explore further I recommend the following resources.

What does Slavic runes mean and their decoding

Slavic runes: meaning and scope

Székely-Hungarian Rovás (Hungarian Runes)

The Old Hungarian script (in Hungarian rovásírás) is the earliest known writing system amongst the Uralic languages. As early as the 6th century, Chinese accounts noted the Hungarian custom of writing with incised marks on small wooden tablets. The script may be derived from Old Turkic writing.

There is some discussion regarding the direction of writing; it appears that Old Hungarian was written both from right to left and from left to right. In very early times, when the script was written on wooden sticks, the stick was turned as each line was written so that the text appeared in boustrophedon style. The boustrophedon style was not used for writing larger texts on walls or manuscripts, which tended to be written from right to left. Significant discussion has centered around this issue in the context of encoding the script for use on computers. Academic preference used to be generally for a left to right directionality, but modern users are more likely to write it from right to left, and that is now regarded as the default.

There are 45 basic letters in the script, which are able to represent all the sounds of Hungarian. That is not to say the orthography was phonemic; vowels were only written where it was ambiguous to omit them. Letters could be combined to form numerous ligatures. Historically, ligatures were not standardized, but used freely and inconsistently throughout handwritten texts. The same sequence of sounds could optionally be written with multiple signs or with a ligature. The script employed a single case, although the first letter of proper nouns was sometimes written slightly larger than the rest. There were also some non-alphabetic symbols, the functions of which seem to be unclear. SOURCE

The Hungarian language is so foreign to its Indo-European-speaking neighbors that the distantly related languages of English, Russian, and Sinhalese (the majority language of Sri Lanka) share more in common grammatically and in word cognates with each other than Hungarian does with any Indo-European languages! Hungarian is a Ural-Altaic language spoken by about 13-15 million people worldwide. Most speakers are located in Central Europe, within the Carpathian Basin, a natural confluence point between the Balkan Peninsula, the Alps, and the Great European Plain.

Finnish Script (suomalainen kirjaimisto)

The Finnish script was invented by Sascha Mücke in an effort to create a writing system for Finnish that reflects the language’s phonological simplicity and clarity with its perfectly symmetric vowel harmony.

Notable features

  • Type of writing system: alphabet
  • Direction of writing: left to right
  • There is a one-to-one correspondence between its letters and the Latin letters of the Finnish alphabet currently in use. The symbols have some featural characteristics of their corresponding sounds, most notably:
    • High vowels (ä and ö, y) have a curve at the top while their corresponding low vowels (a, o, u) have a curve at the bottom; the neutral vowels e and i are not curved
    • The weak consonants v, j and h are smaller than strong consonants, e.g. p or k
    • Liquids (r and l) are longer at the bottom while (voiceless) fricatives (s, f) are longer at the top
    • letters that typically only appear in loanwords (b, c, g, w and å) are considered variations of similar sounding letters and marked with a dot (analogously to b and g also d is marked as a variation of t, though it appears considerably more often than the former two)
    • some other letters that typically only appear in loanwords (q, x, z, š and ž) are written as multiple letters (kv, ks, ts, sh and tsh)

Within a word the letters are placed directly adjacent to and connecting to each other, continuing lines should ideally be written with a single stroke (e.g. when writing no the diagonal lines of n and o should be written as one stroke). Words are separated by spaces, punctuation marks are the same as in the Latin script, optionally centered vertically (as in the example below). Also the script uses Arabic numbers. SOURCE

Further Resources:

Székely-Hungarian Rovás

Rovás, The Székely – Hungarian Alphabet

Unknown Polish/Lechite Alphabet?

Runic Inscriptions in Poland

Slavic Runes in the Research of Polish Scholars in the 19th Century


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The Power of Salt

The Power of Salt by W1tchsbrew

Be sure to check her Etsy shop Wood ov Wyrd

Salt in History:

For centuries, salt has been known as a very magical, and also valuable, ingredient. 

Salt was very important in the grand scheme of human civilization. 

In the early days of mankind, prior to industrialization, the process of harvesting salt was time consuming and labor intensive. This meant that salt was a valuable commodity and only wealthy people could afford it. 

The first records of salt being produced and consumed were in the Sichuan province of China around 3000 BCE. Salt was also used in ancient Egypt from as early as 2000 BCE, for curing fish and meat.

The ancient Romans actually paid their soldiers with salt. The word “salary” even has its root in the Latin word for salt.

Natron or native soda, a natural compound of sodium salts, was a very important product in ancient history. It was produced in Egypt, Middle East and Greece. Natron was used for medicine, cookery, agriculture, in glass-making and to dehydrate Egyptian mummies.

The first Native Americans “discovered” by Europeans in the Caribbean were actively harvesting sea salt on St. Maarten.

When the major European fishing fleets discovered the Grand Banks of Newfoundland at the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese and Spanish fleets used the “wet” method of salting their fish onboard, while the French and English fleets used the “dry” or “shore” salting method of drying their catch on racks onshore. 

Its the only rock we eat. In this video, we’ll focus on the Story of Salt. Once considered sacred now superfluous. What could me more common than the salt and pepper at our tables? Let’s take a deep dive into the rich history of this amazing mineral!

Due to this early food processing, French and British fishermen became the first European inhabitants of North America since the Vikings a half-century earlier. 

Had it not been for the practice of salting fish, Europeans might have confined their fishing to the coasts of Europe and delayed “discovery” of the New World.

Historically, salt also had military significance. For instance, it is recorded that thousands of Napoleon’s troops died during his retreat from Moscow because their wounds would not heal due to the lack of salt. 

In 1777, the British Lord Howe was jubilant when he succeeded in capturing General Washington’s salt supply.

If we look more into to American history, destinies were decided by salt. During the Civil War, salt was a precious commodity used, not only for eating, but for tanning leather, dyeing clothes and preserving troop rations.

Aside from flavoring and preserving food or even tanning and dyeing, salt has also been used in bleaching, and the production of pottery, soap, and chlorine. Today, it is widely used in the chemical industry.

There are many different kinds of salt with many different uses. In its natural state, salt is normally found as the mineral halite, commonly called rock salt. 

Not surprisingly, the word halite is derived from the Greek word halos meaning “salt.” Halite is usually found in and around salt springs, salt lakes, and in the ocean.

Best-selling author Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.  Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.

Salt in Folklore: 

In many Eastern belief systems, such as Buddhism and Shintoism, salt is used both as a purifier and to repel evil.

In parts of Germany, Normandy, and Scotland, salt is used in or around a butter churn to keep witches from souring the butter or harming the cow from which the cream was obtained.

Irish folk remedies include the use of salt, combined with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, to cure those who might have been “fairy-struck.”

 A similar story comes from Bavaria and Ukraine, in which salt is used to determine if a child is bewitched.

Egyptian caravans setting out on a journey across the desert used to perform a ritual that involved burning salt on hot coals. This was done to ensure that evil spirits wouldn’t get in the way of the travelers.

Types of salt and their uses:

Himalayan Pink Salt

The purest of all salt, Himalayan pink salt is harvested from the Khewra Salt Mine in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. Easily recognizable because of its pink color, this salt contains all 84 natural minerals found in the human body.

Health benefits:

One of the most notable health benefits of Himalayan pink salt is its ability to help detoxify the body and soften the skin. This special type of salt has a unique combination of minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium, that help to stimulate circulation and detoxify the body.

Metaphysical uses:

Himalayan Salt has very similar properties to Rose Quartz and is an excellent crystal for love, especially self-love. If you struggle with low self-image or are trying to rebuild your confidence after an emotional blow, keep it near the mirror you use most before you go out.

It is recommended that those who work in environments of negativity should keep a piece of Himalayan Salt nearby as it is excellent for dispelling negative energies. 

It is also said to aid in bringing prosperity and abundance into the home. 

Place it near a statue of Aphrodite to draw love into your life, or near the threshold to bless those who cross it.

Sea Salt

Sea salt is harvested by evaporating seawater. It is used as seasoning in foods and for preserving foods. It is also called bay salt or solar salt. 

Production of sea salt has been dated to prehistoric times. 

Folklore even tells a tail explaining how the sea became salty. There are many versions of the story from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland, all involving a magic mill, which grinds salt and ends up at the bottom of the sea, generally due to someone’s greed.

Health benefits: 

Sea salt is mostly composed of sodium chloride, a compound that helps regulate fluid balance and blood pressure in the body. Since it’s minimally processed, it contains some minerals, including potassium, iron, and calcium. 

Sea salt aids in digestion, nourishes the adrenal glands, balances electrolytes and reduces fluid retention. 

Metaphysical uses:

Sea salt possesses the healing powers of the ocean. You can add it to magical healing baths, incorporate it into spells or save it in a jar as a protective charm.

Sea Salt is known for its purifying, protective, and healing powers.  

Black Salt

Black salt. also referred to as Kala Namak salt, is harvested from volcanic rock salt from the Himalayas, usually Pakistan. 

Black salt has a very pungent odor and flavor and is therefore used in small quantities. This salt is seen as a great flavor enhancer and is used in dishes that have a strong flavor and aroma, such as curry, spicy dishes, pickles, and salads.

Health benefits:

This salt is rich in iron, magnesium and calcium. Is also has antioxidant properties and surprisingly low sodium levels.

Black salt stimulates bile production in the liver, and even helps control heartburn and bloating. 

Due to its generous content of potassium, this salt also helps in easing muscle spasms and helps them in working properly. 

Black salt for weight loss is an excellent addition to your diet if you are supposed to reduce your sodium intake while also avoiding water retention and bloating.

Metaphysical uses:

Black Salt has been used for many centuries for protection, cursing, hexing, banishing and reverse magick. 

Black salt absorbs negative energies and left over, stagnant vibrations.

It can also absorb negative energies from your environmental circumstances and is often used in spells or magical workings to create boundaries, assist with spiritual barriers, and provide protection.

Persian Blue Salt

Persian Blue Salt is one of the rarest and oldest salts on the planet. 

It is extracted from salt ponds in Semnan, Iran (formerly known as Persia) that formed over 100 million years ago. 

The blue color comes from a mineral call sylvinite. Due to the fact that this salt is mined from a buried ancient sea, it is very clean and pure as it has not been exposed to any modern environmental pollutants or contaminants.

It is salty and spicy in flavor. 

Health benefits:

As a potassium mineral, this salt brings benefits to the blood circulatory system, strengthens the heart, stabilizes blood pressure and helps digestion. 

This mineral is essential for strong bones and teeth. It also supports healthy muscles and nerves.

Metaphysical uses:

Persian Blue Salt is used in magic and rituals by Pagans, Wiccans, Hoodoo practitioners, people who practice witchcraft and by those who want a little psychic or spiritual help for its power with justice and legal matters. 

This salt is know for it’s protection from The Evil Eye, bad energy or bad luck. 

It also has great uses in magick for healing, tranquility, peace and absorbing negativity. 

Celtic Sea Salt

This high quality salt, harvested from the sea, has a superior flavor that enhances the natural profile of fruits and vegetables while strengthening the body. 

Celtic sea salt originates from the coastal area near Brittany, France.  It always remains a greyish damp salt no matter the conditions because of its moist nature. 

After collecting from the seashore, it is dried in wind and sunlight. This salt contains 34 minerals that add to its nutritional profile.

Health benefits: 

Rich in alkalizing minerals, Celtic Sea Salt energizes, replenishes electrolytes, fights bacterial infection, and aids digestion.

It helps to remove mucus and clear the congestion in the nasal cavity, aids in boosting the immune system, strengthens the heart, reduces the risk of high blood pressure and reduces muscle cramps. This salt also helps to prevent kidney stones, and controls the quantity of saliva production. 

Metaphysical uses:

Celtic Sea Salt gives an extra metaphysical boost as far as spiritual intention or “power”. 

In magic, this salt is excellent for repelling negative energies or entities, strengthening manifestation, cleansing, grounding, and banishing. 

Place some Celtic Sea Salt under your bed to keep nightmares at bay. Or put some in a bowl near your windowsill to keep any dark intentions from crossing over into your space. 

Alaea Red Salt

Alaea salt, sometimes referred to as Hawaiian red salt, is an unrefined sea salt that has been mixed with an iron oxide rich volcanic clay called “alaea” which gives the seasoning its characteristic brick red color. 

It is part of Native Hawaiian cuisine and is used in traditional dishes such as kalua pig, poke and pipikaula (Hawaiian jerky). 

Once exported to the Pacific Northwest to cure salmon, it saw a resurgence in popularity late in the 20th century. 

Health benefits:

Alaea red salt is a natural sea salt product that is comprised of some 80 natural elements, electrolytes and trace minerals such as potassium and magnesium. 

Red alaea is also rich in iron oxides, which makes for a great digestible form of dietary iron. 

Not only is this salt mineral rich but it’s rich in flavor too.

Metaphysical uses:

Traditionally, Alaea red salt was used to cleanse, purify and bless tools, canoes, homes and temples. 

Native Hawaiians believed that the Red Alaea clay gave the salt its spiritual power. To this day, it is still used in traditional ceremonies, ritual blessings, and purifying purposes.

In general, this salt is alleged to help with protection, blocking negative energies, cleansing and casting circles. In a casting circle ritual, this salt would normally be placed around the area that the spell or ritual is about to be performed. 

A salt circle is believed to help separate the energy of the ritual from the energy around the circle. When the spell is completed, the circle is then broken to release the energy.

Further Resources:

No creature can live without this magic mineral — and no living organism can produce it on its own. Amoebas, algae or humans — all life-forms are completely at the mercy of this simple chemical compound. In all bodies of water on earth, there is salt in abundance, and animals and humans have always been able to extract the valuable crystals from water — directly through their organs or with the aid of evaporation in salt lagoons.
Salt, once a highly prized trade commodity essential for human survival, is often overlooked in research because it is invisible in the archaeological record. Salt in Eastern North America and the Caribbean: History and Archaeology brings salt back into archaeology, showing that it was valued as a dietary additive, had curative powers, and was a substance of political power and religious significance for Native Americans. Major salines were embedded in collective memories and oral traditions for thousands of years as places where physical and spiritual needs could be met. Ethnohistoric documents for many Indian cultures describe the uses of and taboos and other beliefs about salt.
 
The volume is organized into two parts: Salt Histories and Salt in Society. Case studies from prehistory to post-Contact and from New York to Jamaica address what techniques were used to make salt, who was responsible for producing it, how it was used, the impact it had on settlement patterns and sociopolitical complexity, and how economies of salt changed after European contact. Noted salt archaeologist Heather McKillop provides commentary to conclude the volume.

Salt Folklore and Magic Using Salt in Modern Pagan Traditions

Salt in Folklore: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

History of Salt

A Brief History of Salt

The History of Salt