Pronunciation: oar
Literal Meaning: Otter, possibly some other amphibious animal.
Other names: None
Phonetic value: Io
Rune Poems:
Anglo Saxon - Iar byþ eafix and ðeah a bruceþ fodres on foldan, hafaþ fægerne eard wætre beworpen, ðær he wynnum leofaþ.
Ior is a river fish and though it always feeds on land, it has a lovely home, surrounded by water, where it lives in happiness.

Norwegian - Not Listed.

Icelandic - Not Listed.

        Ior is the rune of catharsis. It represents the beginning of a new chapter through the apex of the old. In Norse legend the otter is often overlooked by modern readers, but with a simple exanimation of one of the most famous epics of Norse mythos, the Nibelungen, or ring cycle, we find that the whole saga began with Loki struck down an otter with a stone. The otter is often discounted as a candidate for this rune because of the word "fish" in the rune poem. It must be remembered that almost all animals that lived in the water were considered fish to the ancients.
        Many try to interpret this rune as a serpent in honor of Jörmungandr, the Midgard Serpent, which is said to encircle the world. There are several problems with this, the most prevalent being that this rune has the phonetic value of Io, a sound unnecessary in old English and Germanic, thus this rune is in all probability another addition from a foreign tongue, so the chances of it being a major mythological creature in Germanic folklore is not that likely, and it is odd to think that a rune that represents something as important as the Midgard Serpent would be used so rarely. The fact that it appears so rarely on runic inscriptions, and the first instance of this character is found in an 8th century manuscript, have lead some to believe this is a pseudo rune, a mere creation of some ancient student of the runes. This is not exactly accurate, as it does appear in younger futhark, and it occurs on manuscripts that predate any of the rune poems. The desire to list Ior as a serpent, newt or other amphibian can only be tied to our modern view that puts snakes, newts and frogs in one category, and otters in a distinctly different one. To the early Norse if it lived in the water it was a "fish".





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