BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO RUNES AND THE RUNIC ALPHABET:
There are several variations & different interpretations of the runic alphabet. This set is based on the Elder Futhark alphabet, which contains 24 runes. Each rune has a possible 2 or 3 meanings, although some clearly have one literal translation. The runes are broken into three groups of eight, called Aett (Aettir plural). Note that there is a debate about whether or not a rune which falls in an inverted or reversed position has a different meaning. I suggest you do your own research into this as further study. Please note that this rune set does NOT contain a blank rune, seen in many current rune sets. There is no historical support for the blank rune, which first appeared in the 1980’s in the commercially popular (but historically inaccurate) ‘Book of Runes’ by Ralph Burn.
FIRST AETT: FREYJA & FREY (“THE LADY” and “THE LORD”)
The beginning – starting with the elements, moving to the Giants, and then to the Aesir, and the first stage of Creation (The Golden Age). Freyja ruled over the plant life of the Earth, the trees and animals of the forest, natural love, female sexuality, and magic. Frey ruled over fertility, male sexuality, prosperity, marriage and sacred kingship.
FEHU (fay-hoo) Letter = F; Origin = Domestic cattle, wealth
(Also known as FE – Germanic, FEO – Anglo Saxon, FE’ – ICELANDIC/NORSE)
Keywords: Prosperity, mobile wealth, abundance, fertility, unstructured creativity, the primal fire
Divinatory Meaning: Fehu is a reminder that however deep our yearnings for spirituality, we must also be conscious of our earthly, physical needs and responsibility, as we are still part of the world. It encompasses the home, and financial security, of the mundane realities of everyday life that we must all deal with, and at the same time not lose sight of the spiritual journey.
Magickal Qualities: Strengthen intuitive abilities, channel for transferring, projecting, & sending runic energy. Draws the celestial energies of the sun, moon & stars into your personal energy field. Increases money, knowledge & success
URUZ (ooo-ruse) Letter = U; Origin = Auroch, a wild ox, drizzling rain, primal forming force
(Also known as URAZ – Germanic, UR – Norse, Anglo Saxon, Icelandic & Norwegian)
Keywords: Patterning force, structure, formation, wisdom, inner strength
Divinatory Meaning: This rune embodies strength, and could signify the overcoming of obstacles to achieve something through sheer will and utilizing one’s instincts. Like the young men who hunted the auroch as they entered into manhood, this rune also represents our own mortality, reminding us that death is a natural part of the cycle of life, heralding a new beginning.
Magickal Qualities: Draws energies together to create a magickal pattern. Heals both physical & mental ailments. Knowledge & understanding of the self. Magickal strength & power. Increases business opportunities. Accesses the lays of power or streams of energy within the Earth. Brings energy together & helps you realize your goals.
THURISAZ (thur-ee-saws) Letter = TH; Origin = Sharp thorn on brambles or Thor’s hammer
(Also known as THYTH – Germanic, THURS – Norse, Icelandic & Norwegian, THORN – Anglo Saxon)
Keywords: Protection, destruction, defence, polarity, action, regeneration
Divinatory Meaning: This rune signifies difficulty and sudden change of an unpleasant nature, which, like the Giants, caused a great deal of destruction, yet brought about a positive change in the long run. This rune tells us to fear not, and take a moment before making any decisions. It counsels us to look within, to find the lesson we need to learn, and allow the experience to give us strength.
Magickal Qualities: Actively protects from enemies & harm. Overcomes unfriendly situations. Love magick. Awakens your will & helps you take action. Awareness of the separation & commonality of all things. Projected energy & applied power.
ANSUZ (awn-sooz) Letter = A; Origin = Name of Odin, the Allfather of the Aesir
(Also known as AZA – Germanic, OSS/ASS – Norse, Icelandic, AESC/OS/AC – Anglo Saxon)
Keywords: Order, rebirth, consciousness, knowledge, wisdom, mental agility, communication, creative expression, reason
Divinatory Meaning: This Rune is associated with Odin, who was both God of War, and God of Wisdom. His nature of duplicity warns us of the need for balance, especially in leadership. Ansuz is a messenger rune, revealing insight and inspiration from a divine source.
Magickal Qualities: Increases majickal powers & intuitive abilities. Gets in touch with divine power & knowledge. Communicates with the divine within. Inspiration in the creative arts. Assists in times of transformation. Shapeshifts & works with power animals.
RAIDHO (rye-tho) Letter = R; Origin = Solar wagon & chariot of Thor, carrying the sun across the sky
(Also known as REDA –Germanic, REID/REIDR – Norse, RAD/RADH – Anglo Saxon, REID – Icelandic & Norwegian)
Keywords: Circular flow, rhythm, movement, travel, progression, riding, journey
Divinatory Meaning: Raido represents both a physical and spiritual journey. It may signify a straightforward trip or some kind, of travel or relocation to a different place, or perhaps a warning that yours is a stagnant situation, and the need for new experience or ideas is necessary. This rune also speaks of our spiritual journey, which is constantly evolving, changing and offering new possibility at every turn.
Magickal Qualities: Use in ritual, especially full moons & seasonal changes. Moves runic energy towards a specific destination. Increases your connection to the cyclic flow of life. Uses sunwise movement for personal empowerment in magick. Works with the runic streams of energy. Connects with the transforming powers of the God and Goddess. Expands your conscious thought processes.
KENAZ (kane-awz) Letter = K; Origin = The controlled fire, cremation, & the internal fire
(Also known as KAUN – Norse, Icelandic & Norwegian, CEN/KEN – Anglo Saxon)
Keywords: The rune of knowledge, the internal or controlled fire, guiding light
Divinatory Meaning: This Rune represents a source of light, which brings understanding and knowledge. Like a “light bulb moment”, it is a flash of inspiration and creativity, when solutions to problems suddenly become clear, and new ideas and thoughts flow out of nowhere.
Magickal Qualities: Creative inspiration. Strengthens your abilities in all realms. Regenerates and heals. Helps in personal transformation. Manifests through polarities. Useful in love & sexual relationships. Increases fertility. Increases personal insight.
GEBO (gay-bow) Letter = G; Origin = The exchange & resulting interaction between the human & divine, Gift
(Also known as GEUUA – Germanic, GIPT/GIOF – Norse, GEOFU/GYFU – Anglo Saxon, GJOF – Icelandic & Norwegian)
Keywords: Connection, gift, exchange, interaction, balance
Divinatory Meaning: Gebo is the rune which represents the importance of our relationships with other people, of love, loyalty and good partnerships. It may also signify an offering of some kind, spiritual or material, wherein there is a price of personal sacrifice, and you are given the choice to receive it or not. However, this rune has a positive connotation, ensuring us that whatever the price may be, the rewards will be great.
Magickal Qualities: Magickal initiation. Love magick. Sacred sexual expression. Mystical union of the Goddess & God. Increases harmony in relationships. Reconciles polarities. Harmoniously connects runic streams of energy. Accesses divine wisdom.
WUNJO (woon-yo) Letter = W; Origin – Relationship & interaction of beings descended from the same source
(Also known as UUINNE – Germanic, VEND – Norse, WYNN – Anglo Saxon & Norwegian, VIN – Icelandic)
Keywords: Joy, pleasure, hope, delight, kinship, fellowship, wonderment
Divinatory Meaning: Wunjo is a joyful reminder that happiness is yours for the taking. It signifies a time where the storm has gone, and there is nothing to do but to bask in contentment of life’s pleasures, enjoying this period with friends and family to the fullest. Solutions come easily, success is in the air, and truth prevails. However, it also reminds us that like all things in life, it is but temporary, and this can also be looked at as a chance to rejuvenate and reflect, in preparation for the challenges that lie ahead, as seen in the next rune.
Magickal Qualities: Strengthens social links and bonds. Increases your sense of joy & happiness. Binds runes towards specific purposes. Accesses your ancestral family ties, which can be on many energy levels. Links runic energies together into one.
SECOND AETT: HEIMDALL & MORDGRUD (“LIGHT” and “DARK”)
Ruled by the Aesir god Heimdall (“Light”), and the giant Asynjur goddess Mordgrud (“Dark”), the second Aett represents the dynamic powers of transformation, which serve as a counterbalance to the forces of creation.
HAGALAZ (haw-ga-laws) Letter = H; Origin = Connection of two realms of being / primal life & pattern
(Also known as HAAL – Germanic, HAGALL – Norse & Icelandic, HAEGL – Anglo Saxon, HAGL – Norwegian)
Keywords: Transformation, change, evolution, merging, harmony, protection, the past
Divinatory Meaning: Hagalaz appears in the beginning of the second aett, representing both an ending and a new beginning, and the challenge that lies in weathering the storm that will occur between the two points. Like the “Tower” card in the Tarot, although it is primarily a negative force, it is a necessary one to bring about decisive change, to break old patterns or relations that were impeding our growth. This rune helps us realize that no matter how tough things seem at the moment, it is merely a “wake up call” that offers progression, one that will lead us closer to our goals.
Magickal Qualities: Connects runic energies into one. Assists in personal change & transformation. Assesses ancestral memory. Protects from harm. Shamanic journeying. Shapeshifting. Heals past physical, mental & spiritual wounds. Increases mystical experiences & knowledge.
NAUTHIZ (now-these) Letter = N; Origin = Two sticks coming together to create the need-fire
(Also known as NOICZ – Germanic, NAUD – Norse, Icelandic & Norwegian, NIED/NYD – Anglo Saxon)
Keywords: Need, help, resistance, deliverance from distress, love, passion, shadow self
Divinatory Meaning: Naudiz represents an overall feeling of dissatisfaction, disillusionment and an imbalance in one’s life, where we feel the need for more, yet reap little, much to our frustration. It counsels us on patience and perseverance, on reassessing our wants and values, and accepting what is before us with grace and inner strength, knowing that this too is a learning experience. Delays, disappointments and loss may seem unpleasant on the surface, but Naudiz counsels that it is a transitory experience, and is necessary to set us back on the right track.
Magickal Qualities: Protects. Helps you make better choices. Assists with divination. Increases powers of clairvoyance. Meets and works with your spirit guides and power animals. Understands your needs and desires. Fuels your magical patterns. Overcomes psychological obstacles such as bad habits.
ISA (ee-saw) Letter = I; Origin = Icicle, straight, primal matter moving along vertical axis
(Also known as ICZ – Germanic, ISS – Norse & Icelandic, IS – Anglo Saxon & Norwegian)
Keywords: Stasis, constraint, slow expansion, massive force, gradual integration, delay
Divinatory Meaning: This rune warns us not to act with haste, but to reflect and step away from the situation or the problem at hand for the moment. Contemplation and assessment is imperative now, for Isa could also imply hidden dangers lurking beneath the surface. This is a period for delaying one’s plans, reaffirming our objectives, not allowing ourselves to be pressured or forced into anything, and calling on patience and wisdom to get us through.
Magickal Qualities: Works with concentration & intention. Looks at the form of patterns. Slows down energy without stopping it. Balances and integrates your ego. Understands the polarities of energy & what they can do. Increases your awareness of synchronicity. Helps you understand potential dangers.
JERA (yar-awe) Letter = Y; Origin = The life cycle, or cycle of the sun, sacred union of heaven & earth
(Also known as GAAR – Germanic, AR – Norse & Icelandic, GER – Anglo Saxon, JARA – Norwegian)
Keywords: Cycles, right action, completion, fertility, natural law, continuation
Divinatory Meaning: Jera signifies the coming of spring, when the bitterness of the past winter (as seen in the past two runes) has finally passed, and a time of fruition, of reaping rewards and progress is coming into effect. This rune reminds us that the patience and strength we exhibited during the trying times has paid off, that all things change like the seasons, and for now we can enjoy the fruits of our labors. It may also represent time, in terms of one year, and of celebration, natural development and the wondrous cycle of life.
Magickal Qualities: Understands the circular flow of oneness. Works with natural patterns (e.g. seasonal cycles). Increases creativity & fertility. Increases harmony. Learns how polarities work together to make the whole. Power of manifestation.
EIHWAZ (eye-waz) Letter = E; Origin = Vertical column of World Tree, Yew, giver of life & death
(Also known as EZCK – Germanic, YR – Anglo Saxon, EO – Norwegian)
Keywords: Communication, death, regeneration, knowledge, dreaming, magick
Divinatory Meaning: The Yew tree is a symbol very much a part of Rune lore, as a tree of magic powers and tremendous endurance, used frequently to create archer’s bows. Ihwaz has a mystical, quality, and being the 13th rune in the middle of the Runic alphabet, it also represents a turning point or change in one’s path, giving the holder a protective power to safely continue on the journey, facing whatever is to come with faith, perseverance, wisdom, and strength.
Magickal Qualities: Understands the knowledge of the cosmic or World Tree. Releases you from the fear of death. Develops your creative & magickal abilities. Increases your divination skills. Communicates between different realms of awareness. Practices lucid dreaming. Communicates with your ancestors.
PERTHRO (perth-row) Letter = P; Origin = Divination as indicator of Orlog, primal laws, dice cup (casting lots)
(Also known as PERTRA – Germanic & Norwegian, PEORDH – Anglo Saxon, PERD – Icelandic, The Dice Cup
Keywords: Birth, wisdom, kinship, manifestation, chance, luck
Divinatory Meaning: Pertho is a rune shrouded in mystery, and although it suggests a number of things, such as the unknown, and the inevitability of one’s destiny, its meaning is largely unknown, and therefore up to you to interpret. This rune also has connotations of female sexuality, pregnancy and birth, but as its meaning teaches us that there are truly some things in life which we are not meant to understand, it counsels us to have faith in ourselves to make the right choices, using the wisdom and good sense we have learned along the way.
Magickal Qualities: Perceives your fate – past, future & present. Understands the nature of cause & effect. Taps into infinite Oneness. Seeks the wisdom to make things work for you. Understands the power of future sight. Knows where your patterns are going to lead.
ALGIZ (all-geese) Letter = Z; Origin = Protective force, the 3 Valkyries, elk antlers, branches of a tree
(Also known as ALGIS/ELHAZ – Germanic, EOLH – Anglo Saxon, ELGR – Norwegian)
Keywords: Spirit, protection, sanctuary, refuge, power, divinity
Divinatory Meaning: Algiz is rune with immense protective powers, offering help and support, usually from a divine source. This rune signifies that we will survive whatever happens, for we possess the necessary qualities within us, and this only needs to be called forth to see us through safely. Algiz counsels us to be aware, to keep a clear head, remembering to act with compassion, heeding our principles, when setting forth on any endeavor.
Magickal Qualities: Protects & defends from harm. Moves toward the completion of your patterns. Taps into the divine threefold & ninefold patterns. Understands your divine connection. Communes with the elements. Increases your regenerative powers.
SOWILO (so-wheel-o) Letter = S; Origin = Divine solar wheel, thunderbolt
(Also known as SUGIL – Germanic, SOL – Norse, Icelandic, Norwegian, SIGEL – Anglo Saxon, SULU – Old Danish)
Keywords: Partnerships, journey, power, transformation, understanding
Divinatory Meaning: Like the sun, Sowilo symbolizes a life-giving force, a brilliant energy whose light enables growth and dispels the darkness. This rune represents a optimistic time, where you gain the power to bring about positive changes in your life, and the drive to set things into motion. Sowilo is a rune of action, of capability and vital health, cleansing and healing when the achievement of goals is possible and encouraged like a fire from within.
Magickal Qualities: Illuminates & fuels your magical patterns. Develops psychic abilities. Aware of relationships with other people. Moves in the direction of enlightenment. Expands awareness of solar cycles. Helps patterns come to fruition.
THIRD AETT: TYR & ZISA
The third Aett is ultimately the Aett of divinity, ruled by Tyr, the chief god of order & justice, and the Harvest Goddess Zisa. Humankind either becomes divine or descends into the recesses of destruction (Ragnarok). This means that within every pattern lies the seeds of its successful cultivation, or total destruction, depending on the choices made & the paths taken.
TIWAZ (tea-was) Letter = T; Origin = Sky gods, original gods, point of spear or arrow, world column holding up skies
(Also known as TYS – Germanic, TYR – Norse & Icelandic, TIR/TIW – Anglo Saxon, TY –
Keywords: Justice, order, victory, support, self-sacrifice, faith, loyalty
Divinatory Meaning: This is Tyr’s rune, one of the oldest gods of Norse mythology, a mighty warrior who nobly sacrificed his right hand to bind the “Fenris” wolf, protecting his fellowmen. Teiwaz represents all of a great god-warrior’s qualities, bravery, courage, duty and heroism, and the dignity in self-sacrifice for the greater good. It may also indicate a challenge to be met, and the need for courage, discipline and virtue to ensure success.
Magickal Qualities: Increases faith in universe. Evaluates & judges what needs to be done. Obtains successful completion of patterns. Builds spiritual energy. Develops personal spirituality. Teaches how to use order to your benefit.
BERKANO (bur-kan-a) Letter = B, Origin = Divine energy of the birch as Earth Mother, breasts of Mother Goddess
(Also known as BERKNA – Germanic, BJARKAN – Norse, Icelandic, Norwegian, BEROC – Anglo Saxon)
Keywords: Nurturing, rebirth, growth, transition, spirit, concealment, protection, ancestry
Divinatory Meaning: Berkano represents motherhood and female qualities, of providing nourishment and care, and the security of home and family. This rune could also signify the birth of a child, or the beginning of something new or perhaps a second chance.
Magickal Qualities: Works with feminine energies. Understands the forces of transition. Conceals & protects energy. Revitalizes the spirit & personal empowerment. Gathers & directs the powers of earth, air & water. Increases intuitive ability. Perfects magickal skills.
EHWAZ (ee-waz) Letter = E; Origin = Equine aspect of the twin gods/heroes/twins, 2 horses facing each other
(Also known as EYS – Germanic, EHOL/IOR – Norse, EOH – Anglo Saxon, EYKUR – Icelandic, EH/EOL – Norwegian)
Keywords: Duality, movement, partnership, interaction, harmony
Divinatory Meaning: Ehwaz is the horse rune, and is associated with the qualities of the great animal that has long been a part of man’s history and mythology all over the world. Symbolizing speed, strength, grace and beauty, this rune implies motion and progress, in physical terms as well as spiritual. Ehwaz also reminds us of the value of partnerships, cooperation and assistance in our journey, rooted in mutual trust, much like the relationship between man and the horse.
Magickal Qualities: Increases magickal power & wisdom. Travels to other realms & dimensions of being. Increases lucid dreaming ability. Increases swiftness of personal patterns. Works with polarities of energy. Understands the harmony in relationships. Shapeshifts & works with your power animals. Projects the double.
MANNAZ (man-nawz) Letter = M; Origin = Divine ancestor & sky god, bridge between this & divine upper world
(Also known as MANNA – Germanic, MADR – Norse & Norwegian, MANN – Anglo Saxon, MADUR – Icelandic)
Keywords: Godhood & goddesshood, memory, humanity, order, intelligence, ancestors, sacred union
Divinatory Meaning: This rune is a symbol of mankind, of our relationships with those around us, and with our inner selves. It speaks of the bonds that we all share as humans, our innate need to interact with one another, and our connection with the forces of nature and the divine. Our feelings and attitudes in relations to others and ourselves is highlighted here, stressing cooperation, harmony and tolerance, consideration, creativity and unity.
Magickal Qualities: Increases mental powers (e.g. knowledge, memory, wisdom). Perceives the divine & human nature in yourself & others. Works with social order to perpetuate your patterns. Understands the polarities of personality. Accesses ancestral memory. Understands the concept of incarnation.
LAGUZ (la-gooz) Letter = L, Origin = Life energy, organic growth, leek or wave of water
(Also known as LAAZ – Germanic, LOGR – Norse, LAGU – Anglo Saxon, LOGUR – Icelandic, LAUKR – Norwegian)
Keywords: Fluidity, life force, birth
Divinatory Meaning: Laguz is the rune of water and the ocean, symbolizing the fluid depths of our inner life, intuitive powers and emotions, as well as the feminine aspect of the world. It does have darker connotations though, as the people of the North thought of the sea as an unpredictable, cold place, where terrible things lurked beneath the forbidding waters. This rune encourages us to look within ourselves, and face our deepest fears, and our darker side. It also represents the eternal flow of life, and embracing the unpredictability and changes that are part of the natural scheme of things.
Magickal Qualities: Increases life spark by making you aware of it. Tines into the watery flow of life. Becomes familiar with energies of life & death. Increases the flow of your personal patterns. Understands & integrates emotions & desires. Immerses you in divine knowledge. Washes away negative energies & unwanted patterns
INGWAZ (ing-was) Letter = I, Origin = The Earth God, a diamond
(Also known as ENGUZ – Germanic, ING/INGVARR – Norse, ING – Anglo Saxon, Icelandic, Norwegian)
Keywords: Energy, gestation, integration, male fertility, protection, castration
Divinatory Meaning: Inguz represents the Norse hero-god Ing also called Freyr, who brought peace and prosperity, enabling the land to flourish. This Rune symbolizes the aspect of male fertility, grounding us to our natural connection with the land. Inguz has a creative and unifying power that has a conclusive result, one that may be linked to pregnancy or a birth of some sort, produced by the joining of forces.
Magickal Qualities: Useful as sacred enclosure for magick. Learns the nature of diverse energies. Understands the forces of change, which bring initiation & transition. Understands fertility in terms of complete patterns. Learns to channel energies together into a single, focused intent. Love & sex magic.
DAGAZ (da-gauze OR thaw-gauze) Letter = D or TH; Origin = Light of day, balance between night & day
(Also known as DAAZ – Germanic, DAGR – Norse, Norwegian, DAEG – Anglo Saxon, DAGUR – Icelandic)
Keywords: Light, enlightenment, polarity, awakening, intuition, well-being
Divinatory Meaning: Dagaz is the rune of day, symbolizing the breaking of dawn and the illuminating rays of the sun dispelling the darkness. It represents the coming of a new day, a change for the better, a positive direction you have begun to follow on your spiritual path. Dagas implies that success and fulfillment is on the horizon, signaling a time of growth, clarity and fulfillment in one’s life. The darkness is behind you, and spiritually this marks a coming together of worldly and divine forces.
Magickal Qualities: Understands the powers of darkness & ligiht. Uses the sun’s fire to fuel magickal patterns. Knows how to move through the dark without fear. Merges with the cycle of light. Spiritual enlightenment.
OTHALA (oath-awe-la) Letter = O; Origin = Immobile property associated with heredity, womb & legs of goddess standing
(Also known as UTAL – Germanic, ODAL – Norse, Icelandic, Norwegian, OTAEL/ETHEL – Anglo Saxon)
Keywords: Ancestry, prosperity, inheritance, DNA, family.
Divinatory Meaning: Othala marks the end of the runic cycle, bringing us back home to where we began, but on a higher level. This rune symbolizes the strength in family and home, or place of our birth and ancestry, where we all came from and where we eventually return. It may represent things of value or knowledge you have acquired along your long journey, and the security gained from integrating these truths to find our way back to our center, or home, where we prepare ourselves to begin another journey.
Magickal Qualities: Understands the implications of the whole. Wisdom & integration of all things. Uses the lessons of the past to better deal with the future. Is at one with the source of everything .Works with the elements of the sacred land. Communicates with sleepers. Achieves goddesshood or godhood. Increases you lucid dreaming ability.