futhark (futhorc, futhork) /FOO-thork/. noun. The runic (ancient Scandinavian) alphabet, named after the initial phonemes of the first six runes: F, U, Th, A, R and K. The futhorc is the name of the Anglo-Saxon variant, representing sound changes in Old English for the same six letters.
“The runic alphabets are made up of beautiful, angular letters, each of which has a name, referring to an object, and a sound based on the initial letter of that name. If you were reciting, by name of object, one of the oldest forms of the runic alphabet, you would start off by saying: ‘fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raidof, cen’ (meaning, in order: ‘money’ (or ‘cattle’), ‘ox’, ‘giant’ (or ‘monster’), ‘god’, ‘riding’ and ‘torch’). If you were reciting it by letter sound, you would say, ‘f’, ‘u’, ‘th’, ‘a’, ‘r’, ‘k’ — and those letters give the name to the oldest runic alphabet, ‘Elderfuthark’.” (Michael Rosen)
“Elder Futhark inscriptions were rare, with very few active literati, in relation to the total population, at any time, so that knowledge of the runes was probably an actual ‘secret’ throughout the Migration period.” (World Heritage Encyclopedia)
“Fairchild tipped the shot to his life and relaxed the craving. The man sitting next to him did the same for himself and waited with his hands in front him on the bar, the black penitentiary futharks on them blurred by trembling.” (Denis Johnson)
“In the Middle Ages, runes were used for divination and casting spells. As is shown in the Anglo-Saxon poem, the H´vam´l of the Elder Edda, it was a basic requirement of a rune master to know how to perform ‘the Sending’. Rune casting was fiercely condemned by the medieval Church as witchcraft and was poorly documented. So we have little knowledge about which futhark (or alphabet) was used by medieval rune readers in Britain or the interpretation they put upon the castings.” (Karen Maitland)