Runes


The runes were given to us by Odin. They are the basis of language, an alphabet. After sacrificing his eye for wisdom, Odin hung himself on the world tree, pierced by his own spear, sacrificing self for self. After the ninth day he peered deep into the well of Mimir and pulled out the runes. I will attempt to define the runes, following definitions of my own personal understanding based on the lore, the original rune poems, and personal gnosis. I have some additional comments after the definitions.



Frey's Aett

  Fehu (F: Cattle)

Movable wealth. Most simply put,money.


  Uruz (U: Auroch, Audumbla)

Untamed potential. The ability to create the universe in out image. This is the wild ox as opposed to the domestic cow.


  Thurisaz (Th: Thorn, Giant)

Raw, uncontrolled power. The pontential for great destruction.


  Ansuz (A: Odin)

Language, intellect, reason, wisdom, spirit.


  Raidho (R: Wagon, wheel)

Travel or journey


  Kenaz (K, C: Torch)

Sight, revelation, fire.


  Gebo (G: Gift)

A gift from the gods, or a gift to the gods. A gift from one person to the other.


  Wunjo (W: Banner)

Joy, the joy which comes from being part of a group or organization, Kith and Kin.



Heimdall's Aett

  Hagalz (H: Hail)

Destruction, Hail storm.


  Nauthiz (N: Need fire)

Need, something you do not have but need.


  Isa (I: Ice)

Stagnation or perhaps waiting. Nothing is moving.


  Jera (J, Y: Year)

Language, intellect, reason, wisdom, spirit.


  Eihwaz (Ie: Yew tree, Yggdrasil)

The connection between Asgard, Midgard and Hel. Traveling the worlds, the connections between the worlds.


  Perthro (P: Lot box)

Chance, luck, fate


  Algiz (Z: Protection)

Protection, especially defensive fortifications.


  Sowilo (S: Sun)

Victory or rebirth.



Tyr's Aett

  Tiwaz (T: Tyr)

Sword, justice, the just war, the Sky God, air.


  Berkano (B: Birch)

Nature, laws of nature, pregnancy, birth, mother, earth.


  Ehwaz (E: Horse)

Harmonious duality, marriage, closeness of two.


  Mannaz(M: Man)

Society, mankind.


  Laguz (L: Water)

The stormy sea, the subconscious, water.


  Ingwaz (Ing: Frey)

Seed, the seed that is planted now to grow later.


  Othala (O: Family lands, Odal Lands)

Sacred grove, family lands.


  Dagaz(D: Dawn)

New day, rising sun, rebirth of creation.



The runes were the system of writing the Norse people used, they are a simply letter, but they are also so much more. As in many ancient traditions the alphabet of the Norse people has multiple functions. Besides being a form of language the runes are also a magical and divination system.

In the Germania Tacitus describes how the people used the runes for deviation. First they would carve rune staves. Rune staves are just twigs coming from a fruit or nut bearing tree with one of the 24 runes carved into it. Then they would lay out a white cloth. Next the runes were thrown into the air, the reader would look up and let the runes fall on the cloth. The reader would reach out and pick three off the cloth while still looking up. These three randomly selected runes would then be interpreted.

In magic a bind rune can be created. This is where three or so runes that have a particular meaning are taken and put together. For example, the Huginhof symbol from this web site is a bind rune. It is a combination of two Hagalz, Uruz and Othala. We know our ancestors used runes for magic from the lore and sagas. Egil's Saga is one saga where it was more prevalent.

I will attempt to define the runes. The following definitions are my own personal understanding of the runes based of the lore, original rune poems and personal gnosis. When trying to understand the runes it is important you work with them yourself. After reading these I would suggest reading the original three rune poems, the Icelandic, Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon. Also read other peoples interpretations, from web sites to books. That said there are some things to watch for. Unfortunately some people will write about runes even though they have no authority. If someone says there is a blank rune they are not a good source. Remember the runes are an alphabet, space is not a letter. The same is true of marketable (upside down). This probably comes from tarot, again, the runes are an alphabet. An upside down A is still an A.

As time went on multiple rune alphabets were also created. As any language the language of the runes also developed. I have focused on the Elder Futhark. The reason I like the elder futhark is many fold. First, it is the oldest of the alphabets, it is probably the original alphabet the others developed from. Secondly the other rune alphabets were developing during the conversions when the people developing them were often Christian, for this reason I feel the elder futhark is more associated with the gods. Thirdly the elder futhark tells the story of existence, it is hard to decipher but with study reading the elder futhark in order is telling us something very profound. And finally my own gnostic. I feel the elder futhark is more true and more powerful. Most people use it and I think that is because it resonates with them on a very deep level.The elder futhark seems the most magical potent so I will continue to use it.

Othala or Dagaz? There is some controversy surrounding what the last rune is. Othala and Dagaz are the 23rd and 24th rune, that is agreed upon. However, which is which is not. We have seen rune stones where Othala is last and rune stones where Dagaz is last. I say Dagaz is last because when you read the entire futhark it makes more sense for Dagaz to be last. However some disagree and it is up to the individual to decide.


crows