Emoji aren’t enough in the vocabulary of the paralanguage of Instagram. “Blackletter, the folk music of type classifications,” I elsewhere wrote, “can be and is used for basically everything,” from Vietnamese book covers to Vegan Black Metal Chef.
Hence emoji and blackletter are both over. What the kool kidz are using to dogwhistle to each other is runic characters.
They indeed exist in Unicode, and they certainly are not a font of Latin type the way blackletter is. They are unrelated letters that do not map one-to-one to English. You cannot write English text in runic. This is hardly stopping neopagans and soi-disant Vikings on Instagram.
Just a few examples of usernames (look them up yourself; some are even girls) and the deks they wrote to identify themselves to each other:
- :ᛟ:ᚨ:ᛏ:ᚦ: ⚒ :ᛖᛗᛒᚱᚨᚲᛖ:ᚦᛖ:ᚺᚨᛏᛖ:
- ᚨᛚᛖᚲᛋᚨᚾᛞᚱᚨ CTHYLLA rovdjur
- ᛗᚨᚱᛁᛏ ᚨᚱᚾᛞᛏ die with memories, not dreams
- ᚨᛒᛚᚾ scandinavian boy. ❄️ just doing my worst.🐇
- ᚱᚢᚾ᛫ᚨᚾᛞ᛫ᛈᚨᚷᚨᚾ᛫ᛃᛖᚹᛖᛚᚱᛁ Handcrafted Artisan jewelry
- ᚨᛗᚱᛟᛞ ᚲᚨᛁ ᚱᛁᚾᚷᛖᚱᛁᛚ
- ᛞᚨᚾᛠᛚᛚᛖ ᛟᚾᛇᛚ 18 • Scottish • Viking Warrior • Norse Mythology • Skål 🗡🍻
- ᛏᛁᛗᛗᛦ᛫ᛗᚠᚾ᛫ᛞᚢᛗᚨᛋ 🇺🇸🌹☘️⚜️⚫️⚪️
One of Pup Sage’s runic tattoos:
On his left arm the runes gloss as “Do what ye will” (excerpted in photo). On the right side the gloss is “An it harm none.” (We went over that a couple of times and he checked my notes with his glasses on. I still think it’s “and.”) Sage is quite unequivocal about being pagan.
Signpost for the Wolves (“Fools”) of Vinland’s camp, as seen on Jack Donovan’s Instagram.
(Runes are personally meaningful to Operation Werewolf’s Paul Waggener.)
For Instagram pagans, apart from identifying themselves to each other as pagans, is runic “type” a signal that they’re also pro-white/pro-White/pro-hWite, or white-nationalist or white-supremacist in some way? Pup Sage isn’t. And a lot of these Instagram kidz are Scandinavians (or thus by lineage) and/or goths. Both of those could plausibly adopt runes, albeit for different reasons (heritage and style, respectively), and many in fact really are kids.
I think the answer is no. Runes are merely a clan or tribe indicator. Neither clans nor tribes (cf. Svinfylkin) can exist if everyone can be a member. Nordic pagans and heathens, autochtonously so or self-styled, may wish to set up a badge that makes it clear who’s in and who’s out. And if they’re really Nordic, they’re going to be white.
(I asked JGiraud about the meaning and use of his runes. He isn’t exactly a leader of this movement, if it even is that [it’s more of a practice], but nonetheless he did not respond.)