RUNE WITCH series glossary

By popular request, here’s a list of terms, characters, places and more that appear in the Rune Witch series. This list is by no means exhaustive and continues to be updated.

If there’s a word or name from the series that you have a question about and would like to have it added to this list, please drop a line. Thanks!



Æsir: The principle pantheon of Norse mythology. Members of the Æsir include Odin, Frigga, Heimdall, Saga, Bragi, Thor, and Loki. See also Vanir.

Akershus Castle: Medieval fortress built to protect the city of Oslo, Norway. One of the sites visited by Heimdall and Maggie in Iduna’s Apples.

Álfheim: home of the light elves (Nine Realms).

Algiz: The rune of protection, trust, and faith in the divine.

Amadán: Gaelic word for fool or idiot. This “fool” of the Sidhe is a vicious faerie who disfigures humans by touch.

Ansur, Lord: High Priest of the PACT Coven in Portland, Oregon, and a real-life personal friend of the author.

Ansuz: The rune of communication, authority, and divine inspiration.

Ásgard: One of the Nine World of Norse mythology, and home to the gods.

Asuras: South Asian entities who are enemies of the gods, such as goblins or demons.

Atalanta: Character in Greek mythology best known for her role in the story of the golden apples and the footrace. Mentioned in Iduna’s Apples.

Athena: In the Greek pantheon, goddess of wisdom and war. Patron goddess to Opal.

Attorcroppe: a small, serpent-bodied faerie; lives in the woods; very nasty.

Audumbla: In Norse mythology, the primeval cow who suckled the first Frost Giants. Mentioned in Iduna’s Apples.

Aziza: this creature is a protector of hunters in West Africa.

Baal: Ancient Semitic god associated with thunder, the moon, the bull, and the turning of seasons. He appears in Babylonian, Syrian and Egyptian mythology.

Badbh: one of the three sisters of The Morrigan, a triple goddess of battle. In The Black Pool, Badbh is the keeper of the Black Pool cauldron of death and rebirth.

Baron von Pussington, III, of Frisky Mews, Wiskershire: Sally’s black-and-orange tabby cat, and her magickal familiar.

Bendreg, Maggie: Heimdall’s mortal girlfriend. She works as a paralegal in Portland, Oregon.

Berkana: The rune of nurturing, fertility, and spiritual growth.

Berserker: Ancient warrior class, found in Old Norse sources. The warriors worked themselves into a fury before battle — historians suggest they may have ingested drugs to this end — and then stormed into battle in a trance-like, blood-lust rage.

Bilrost: In Norse mythology, the burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (the world of humans) and Asgard (the realm of the gods).

Bixby, Clare: Sally’s roommate at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

The Black Pool: The site of the original Viking settlement in Ireland. From Dubh Linn, meaning “dark pool.” In The Black Pool, this confluence of the Liffey and Poddle rivers is the literal cauldron of death and rebirth.

Book of Shadows: A personal journal of spells, notes, magickal correspondence lists, and more kept by a witch or other practitioner of magick.

Bragi: Norse god of epic poetry. Husband to Iduna. Brother to Heimdall, Thor, and Saga. Son to Frigga and Odin. Nephew to Loki. Cousin to Freya and Freyr.

Buachailleen: These mischievous and often mean-spirited faeries look like young men and wear pointed red hats. Also know as “herding boys.”

Burgerville: Chain of fast food restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, using all local ingredients on their menu.

Clurichaun: A well-groomed, well-dressed and often solitary faerie. Frequently intoxicated.

Creidhne: The goldsmith of the Tuatha de Danann. Known as the Trí Dée Dána — the three gods of art — along with his brothers Luchtaine and Goibniu.

Cruachain: In County Roscommon, this is the traditional capital of the medieval Irish dynasties of the Connachta.

Dagaz: The rune of security, dramatic change, and the path of destiny.

Dahl, Sally: The fabled Moon Witch. This Portland teenager first experiments with Runic Magick on her own, not realizing how powerful she actually is.

Dracs: Dangerous faeries, typically found in water, who seek human males as mates.

Dubh Linn: The site of the original Viking settlement in Ireland. Means “dark pool.” The foundation of Dublin.

Dvergar: Norse dwarves associated with rocks, luck, wisdom, metalwork, and greed.

Ehwaz: The rune of marriage, self-control, and astral projection.

Eihwaz: The rune of flexibility, endurance, and magickal empowerment.

Einherjar: The fallen heroes of Norse battles. The Einherjar, having distinguished themselves in battle, were selected by the Valkyries for the honor of joining the feast in the Halls of Valhalla. According to legend, the Einherjar will be called again into battle at the time of Ragnarok.

Fehu: The rune of success, wealth, and generative energy.

Fenrir (also, The Fenris Wolf; also, the Randulfr): Last surviving offspring of Loki, Fenrir is half-god and half-wolf. According to prophecy, it is Fenrir’s fate to kill Odin at the peak of Ragnarok. At the time of Moon Dog Magic, Fenrir has been trapped in his wolf form for decades and has been housed in various wildlife sanctuaries for his own protection.

Fenris Wolf: see Fenrir.

Forest Park: More than 5,000 acres of forest, guided trails, vistas and more, all within the city limits of Portland, Oregon. Forest Park contains the 30-mile Wildwood Trail as part of the 40-Mile Loop system linking Forest Park to other routes along the Columbia River and the Willamette Greenway.

Freya: Norse goddess of love, healing, fertility, and death. Twin sister of Freyr. Freya has become quite the shaman after years of study with mystics and healers of many of the world’s religions; she and her brother operate a martial arts studio — the Raven Dojo —in Beaverton, Oregon. Cousin to Heimdall, Saga, Bragi, and Thor. Niece to Frigga, Odin, and Loki.

Freyr: Norse god of nature and virility. Twin brother to Freya. In Moon Dog Magic, Freyr and his sister own and operate the Raven Dojo — a martial arts studio — in Beaverton, Oregon. Cousin to Heimdall, Thor, Bragi, and Saga. Nephew to Odin, Frigga, and Loki.

Frigga: Norse goddess of the hearth/home, marriage, and childbirth. Frigga is literally a “domestic goddess.” Wife of Odin. Mother of Bragi, Heimdall, Thor, and Saga. Aunt to Freyr and Freya. Sister-in-law to Loki.

Frost Giants: First appear in Iduna’s Apples. This race of nature spirits are imbued with supernatural strength and have historically been locked in conflict with the gods. In legend, it has not been uncommon for the Frost Giants and the gods to intermarry.

Futhark: Scandinavian variant on the runic script. The Elder Futhark is the runic alphabet inscribed on the stones that Sally uses for spell work and divination.

Gebo: The rune of love, partnership, and karmic union.

Geirrod: Frost Giant. Appears in Iduna’s Apples.

Gimlé: an extremely beautiful place on Earth, where the survivors of Ragnarok are expected to dwell.

Griss fretr: Old Norse; rough translation is “piglet farts.”

Hagalaz: The rune of misfortune, shock, and powerful natural forces. This rune is associated with Ragnarok.

Hammerstein, Rod: Frigga’s human handyman.

Heimdall: The Norse god of light and protector of the Rainbow Bridge. Heimdall has secured a job as a forest ranger in order to support his search for the new Yggdrasil. Brother to Thor, Bragi, and Saga. Son to Frigga and Odin. Cousin to Freyr and Freya. Nephew to Loki.

Higravstinden: The highest mountain on Austvågøy in Norway’s Lofoten Islands.

Huginn: One of Odin’s two ravens in Norse mythology. See also, Muninn.

Iduna: The wife of Bragi, and the keep of the grove of sacred apples.

Ingwaz: The rune of potency, fruition, and intense creative activity.

Isa: The rune of stasis, stillness, and surrender.

Jera: The rune of fruition, maturity, and natural law.

Jormungand: The World Serpent in Norse mythology, able to wrap itself around the earth and grasp its own tail.

Kamphundr: Norse word for carrion-eater.

Kenaz: The rune of knowledge, painful healing, and inner guidance.

Klootchy Creek Giant: see Yggdrasil.

Laguz: The rune of fluidity, intuition, and psychic power.

Laika: Heimdall’s wolf-dog.

Lombungr: Norse word for “morons.”

Managarm, The Moon Dog: A lesser deity of the Norse pantheon, tasked with chasing the moon in its orbit around the Earth in order to preserve the cycles of day and night.

Mannaz: The rune of friendship, rational intelligence, and transcendental consciousness.

Midgard: the world of men; one of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology.

Mjölnir: Thor’s hammer.

Moon Witch, The: Sally Dahl herself. The Moon Witch is mortal and is born into a family descended from Norse heritage. The Moon Witch surfaces every so many generations — generally, as the need for her services arises. The Moon Witch is not a reincarnating spirit; rather her considerable power is a mantle settled on the one whom fate has chosen.

Muninn: One of Odin’s two ravens in Norse mythology. See also, Huginn.

Muspellheim: The realm of fire, home of the fire demons (in the Nine Realms).

Natrolite: A zeolite mineral. This crystal, which is often white in color, can be found in locations in France, Russia, Ireland, and elsewhere.

Nauthiz: The rune of self-preservation, excess, and transcendence.

Nibelung: a race of dwarves.

Niflheim: one of the Nine Worlds or Realms; the primordial Abode of Mist.

Nornir: The three Fates of Norse mythology. These sisters — Urd, Skuld, and Verdande — live in Seattle, Washington, where they run a 900-number psychic hotline. Mystic Sisters Psychic Hotline charges $4.99/minute.

Odin: Chief God of the Norse pantheon. Adopted brother to Loki, husband to Frigga, father to Saga, Bragi, Heimdall, and Thor, uncle to Freya and Freyr. Words in the real world as a high school principal.

Old Ones: The gods, goddesses, and other ancient powers of old.

Opal: Sally’s older, wiser friend. A student a Portland State University.

Ormstunga: Norse for serpent-tongue.

Othila: The rune of homeland, inheritance, and universal truth.

Pertho The rune of mystery, chance, and karma.

Powells: An independent bookstore chain in Portland, Oregon, with its flagship store — Powells City of Books — located in the downtown area.

Radcliffe, Bonnie: Bookstore manager at Powells City of Books in Portland. Supervisor to Saga and later to Opal. Thor’s love interest.

Ragnarok: The twilight of the gods, a time of an epic battle in which most of the Norse pantheon — including Odin, Heimdall, Loki, Freyr, and Thor — is foretold to be destroyed. Afterward, the world will be born anew.

Raido: The rune of progress, travel, and personal destiny.

Randulfr: Literally, “shield wolf.” Another name for Fenrir.

Rath na Darbh: Literally, “ringfort of the bulls.” Rath na Darbh is located within the Rathcroghan complex of archaeological sites in Ireland and is composed of a circular enclosure surrounded by a berm and a ditch.

Rathcrogan: Located near Tulsk in County Roscommon in Ireland, Rathcrogran is a complex of archaeological sites associated with Cruachan, the traditional capital of the Connachta.

Saga: Norse goddess of history. Saga is sister to Heimdall, Bragi, and Thor. Niece to Loki. Daughter to Odin and Frigga. Cousin to Freya and Freyr. Works at Powells City of Books.

Samhain: The Pagan fire festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of both winter and the new year. Samhain is traditionally celebrated on October 31st (Halloween).

Sitka Spruce: see Yggdrasil

Skogkatt: mountain-dwelling fairy cat with an ability to climb sheer rock faces that other cats could not manage.

Sowilu: The rune of success, vitality, and enlightenment.

Svartálfaheim: underground home of the black elves. The word is frequently used as a curse.

Tatzelwurm: a lizard-like creature from Alpine folklore.

Teiwaz: The rune of victory, justice, and selflessness.

Thiassen: Frost Giant. Appears in Iduna’s Apples.

Thor: The Norse god of thunderbolts and war. Son t Frigga and Odin, brother to Heimdall, Saga, and Bragi, adopted cousin to Freyr and Freya. In Moon Dog Magic Thor has a job as a photocopier repairman, but he has a sketchy work history as his temper causes him to get fired. A lot.

Thrym: King of the Frost Giants. Appears in Iduna’s Apples.

Thurisaz: The rune of difficulties, heroic effort, and spiritual courage.

Tik: Norse word for “female dog.”

Trí Dée Dána: The three brothers Creidhne, Luchtaine, and Goibniu, who forged the weapons used by the Tuatha de Danann in their war against the Fomorians.

Uruz: The rune of strength, skill, and initiation.

Valkyrie: The Valkyries of Norse legend are the choosers of the slain. These female figures select from those killed in battle to enter the Halls of Valhalla in the afterlife. In the Rune Witch series, the Valkyries are a biker gang who provide an honor escort for the funerals of fallen soldiers.

Valthrudnir: Frost Giant. Appears in Iduna’s Apples.

Vanaheim: The homeland of the Vanir twins, Freya and Freyr, and their kin.

Vanir: an alliance of many races of nature spirits. In the Rune Witch series, the Vanir correspond to the Tuatha de Danann of Celtic Lore.

Viking: … Also the mascot of Portland State University, in Portland, Oregon. (The author swears that she began writing this series — set in Portland — having no idea about this coincidence.)

Voodoo Doughnut: An independent chain of doughnut shops based in Portland, Oregon. Frequently featured on various travel programs, Voodoo Doughnut is a local favorite and is famed for its crazy-ass confections made from ingredients including jelly, bacon, candies, fruit, instant beverage powder, cookies, and breakfast cereals — but usually not all on the same doughnut.

Warg: the family of wolf-like beings that includes Managarm and Loki’s son, Fenrir. Some wargs have the ability to shapeshift.

Wicklow Mountains: The Wicklow Mountains are located to the south of Dublin in Ireland. The mountains are composed mainly of granite and are the source of several major river systems. The area is popular with tourists and outdoors enthusiasts. A number of major movies have filmed scenes in the Wicklow Mountains.

Wolfen: The Frost Giants’ term for the Wargs.

World Tree: see Yggdrasil.

Wunjo: The rune of joy, reward, and spiritual well-being.

Yggdrasil: The World Tree. Norse legend holds that the world tree is the anchor point for all Nine Realms and for the existence of the Cosmos itself. In the Rune Witch series, the Yggdrasil goes through cycles of reincarnation. The Tree lives for several hundred years, then dies a seemingly natural death before springing up again to begin its cycle anew. In Moon Dog Magic, the most recent World Tree prior to the current incarnation was the Klootchy Creek Giant, a massive Sitka Spruce along Highway 26 in western Oregon.


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