MEANINGS OF THE RUNES
There are many versions of runes. Each varies in names, shapes, esoteric meanings and magical uses. Mixing the Futharks, will cause the intent or meaning to become confused. The most frequently seen versions used today are The Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the Younger (or Scandinavian) Futhark.
The runes are broken into three sections or groups of eight, called aett (aettir, plural). This helps one to remember their order.
First the rune name is given, then its phonetic value, its symbolic image, and finally the esoteric meaning used in divination. Many Rune users tend to disagree whether or not to place a different meaning on a rune that falls in a reversed position. Several runes look the same upside down and right side up. (These cannot be “reversed). Any of the runes may appear as a “merkstave” (which means “dark stick” and implies a “dark” meaning), it really depends on how the runes are cast. A “reversed” or “merkstave” meaning generally has a more negative connotation and is not opposite of its primary meaning.
The First Aett
Deities and myths: Freyr, Brisingamen, Gullveig, Dwars, Sigurd and the Otter’s gold
Magical uses: Business, money, promotion and finding a job. Starting new enterprises and achieving a goal.
Analysis: fehu is our day to day life as we know it and what may awaken us to what lies beyond.. It is what we think we are seeking but in the end it has no resemblance as to what we find. It is our home, possessions won or earned, after all what we seek we still need to attend to our physical needs and ground ourselves. We must be secure with our physical situation before embarking on a spiritual journey. fehu Reversed or merkstave: Loss of personal property, esteem or something you make an effort to keep. It indicates some sort of failure. Greed, cowardice, dullness, poverty and discord.
Deities and myths: Ullr, Loki, Odin (as shaman)
Magical uses: Increase sexual potency, strengthen one’s will, energy for hunting.
Analysis: uruz is the rune of the God of the sacred hunt and his shaman priest. It represents an awareness of death and our own mortality, which may be the only thing that distinguishes us from other animals. The energy of this rune is raw, powerful and distinctly masculine in the sense that it is pure elemental fire. It is physical strength and speed, a time of great energy, courage and strength. Also sexual desire, masculine potency and sudden or unexpected changes (usually for the better). uruz Reversed or Merkstave: Domination by others, weakness, obsession and misdirected force. It is also inconsistency, ignorance, lust, violence and callousness.
Deities and myths: Loki, the frost giants
Magical uses: Self discipline, aid in study, cleaning out of a bad situation.
Analysis: thurisaz is the first of the “obstacle” runes, not necessarily destructive but put in our way to teach and strengthen us. A tendency toward change. Allowing one’s destiny to unfold as it should. What may appear to be negative at first may turn out to be a valuable lesson. thurisaz Reversed or Merkstave: Defenselessness, danger, betray el, danger, evil, malice, torment , spite and lies.
Deities and myths: Odin
Magical uses: Success, leadership, wise decisions, to help in divination and magic.
Analysis: ansuz is a balanced rune, it represents power, both secular and magical, it can be very seductive. It also represents Inspiration, Good health, harmony and truth. A revealing message or insight. ansuz Reversed or Merkstave: Misunderstanding, Vanity, Manipulation by others, boredom. (Odin is a duplicitous god and always has his own agenda.
Deities and myths: The Norns, Sigurd’s journey
Magical uses: To ease or bring about change to reconnect, protection for travelers.
Analysis: raido represents a person’s path in life and how it interacts and intersects with other paths. In Norse mythology, these paths are seen as threads of fate, and are regulated by the Norns. They are three sisters who live near the first root of YGGDRASIL, who also spin the fates of Gods and men. A journey, change of place or setting, seeing a larger perspective, We will eventually end up where we began but at a higher level and a better perspective. The journey never really ends. raido Reversed or Merkstave: Disruption, dislocation, crisis, demotion and possibly a death. It also represents stasis, irrationality and injustice.
Deities and myths: Mimir, the Dwarfs, Muspellheim.
Magical uses: Aid in study, creative inspiration, fertility, and dispelling anxiety and fear.
Analysis: kenaz represents light (e.g. shedding light on a situation), inspiration and knowledge. It also represents, revelation, vision and creativity . Open to new strength, energy and power now. Knowledge gained will generally come in a form of a sudden inspiration, and we will be able to see clearly the answer that was once hidden. Thus a more feminine element is added to our journey, this form of wisdom is associated with the right half of the brain since it does not come through conscious effort but rather through passively opening one’s self to it. kenaz Reversed or Merkstave: Disease, breakup, lack of creativity, exposure, instability, loss of illusion and false hope.
Deities and myths: Sigurrd and Brunhild. Aesir and Vanir treaty
Magical uses: to find or strengthen a relationship, for fertility, to mark a gift or offering, to bring luck.
Analysis: gebo is a rune of connection, particularly the connection between people. It represents those places where our path intersects with others and allows us to begin to form conscious relationships. Giving a gift in the sense of sacrifice and generosity, indicating balance. The gift can be given in contracts, personal relationships and partnerships. gebo cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition. (Greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice. Obligation, toil, privation, bribery).
Deities and myths: Baldr, Asgard
Magical uses: For success in any endeavor, to motivate, to complete a task.
Analysis: wunjo is the last rune of the first aett, and represents both the end of one cycle and preparation for the nest. It is a very positive and stable rune and a place where people tend to get stalled along their journey. It closely relates to Vahalla, since this particular paradise is not a permanent one. It’s a place to rest and recharge our batteries so that we can prepare for the rest of our journey. It also gives us perspective so that we can look back and reflect on the road thus far. wunjo Reversed or Merkstave: Sorrow, strife, alienation, intoxication, possession by higher forces, impractical enthusiasm. Raging frenzy, berzerker.
The Second Aett
Deities and myths: Ragnarok, Loki, Frost Giants
Magical uses: Removing unwanted influences, breaking destructive patterns.
Analysis: haglaz represents the wrath of nature, destructive and uncontrolled forces. It marks both a beginning and an end, and knocks us out of the safety and complacency of wunjo. It’s sort of a wake up call from the gods and will happen frequently throughout a person’s life. Often it is misunderstood as divine punishment for some imagined wrong, when it’s actually a way of drawing your attention to a recurrent pattern in your life. These events tend to repeat themselves with greater severity each time until the lesson is learned and the pattern is broken and eventually leads a person to inner harmony or completion. hagalaz cannot be reversed but may lie in opposition: (Natural disaster, catastrophe. Stagnation, loss of power, suffering and hardship).
Deities and myths: Freyr and Gurd, The Otters Gold
Magical uses: To represent a need to be filled. .
Analysis: nauthiz represents an imbalance between one’s desires and one’s assets, how one resolves it will influence the rest of the journey. The awareness of the imbalance can be illuminating, and cause you to closely examine and perhaps reassess your values and priorities and forces you back onto the path of happiness. The power of will to overcome and excessive patience, the recognition of one’s fate and a major self-initiated change and face your fears. nauthiz reversed or Merkstave: Constraint of freedom, distress, deprivation, starvation, poverty, emotional hunger and drudgery.
Deities and myths: Auoumla, Nifelleim
Magical uses: To stop a process, to represent primal form.
Analysis: isa represents a period of rest before activity, and itself forms the material from which life can be created. It is matter, inert by itself, but transformed into the stuff of stars when wedded with energy. It is the immovable form acted upon the irresistible force. It is a challenge or frustration. Psychological blocks to thought or activity, a standstill or a time to turn inward and to wait for what is to come or to seek clarity. isa cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition: (Dissipation, dullness, ego-mania, treachery, illusion, deceit, betrayal, ambush).
Deities and myths: Sif, Thor, Freyr, Granni
Magical Uses: To bring change ; for fertility and growth.
Analysis: jerva follows isa as spring follows winter. The frozen stagnancy of ice is broken by the turning of the wheel, and things are moving along as they should. It is the cyclical pattern of the universe, and the results of earlier efforts are realized. It can break through stagnancy. A time of peace and happiness, fruitful season. jera cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition: (A major change, repitition, sudden setback, reversals, bad timing, poverty and conflict).
Deities and myths: Hel, Yggdrasil
Magical uses: To bring about a profound change to ease a life transition.
Analysis: eihwaz is the turning point, and represents the transformation phase of the initiatory process. It contains the symbolism of death, the idea being the one’s former self has died and given birth to a new persona. It is a process that we need to go through if we are to confront our deepest fears and emerge with wisdom that cannot be taught but must be experenced. It represents enlightenment, strength and the driving force to acquire wisdom. eihwaz Reversed or Merkstave: Destruction, confusion, weakness and dissatisfaction.
Divinatory meanings: Magic, mystery, rebirth, fertility, sexuality, prophecy, new beginning.
Deities and myths: Freya, angrbode
Magical uses: Easing childbirth, fertility, enhancing psychic abilities and to aid in divination and magic.
Analysis: perthro has an uncertain meaning, but the basic symbolism is that of a vessel, that of nurturing and giving birth. Keeping hidden and all those secrest mysteries which can be uncovered only after the initiation of death. It is closely tied in with the idea of fate, regardless of what we choose to do in our journey our destiny is pre detemined from the moment of birth. The act of being born sets us on a course of cause and effect and we can choose to follow blindly or try to divine through the in order to better understand. perthro Reversed or Merkstave: Stagnation, lonliness, addiction, malaise.
Deities and myths: Heimdall, Gjallerhorn
Magical Uses: For protection, hunting
Analysis: algiz represents protection, a shield. It is the protective urge to shelter onesself of others. Connection with the gods, awakening and higher life. It is a crucial point, one cannot only be concerned with their own personal development, but must now consider the effect that their actions have on others. You can choose to adopt a system of ethics or ignor the effect on others and only work to serve your own ends. You must decide to use it for defense of offense. algiz Reversed or Merkstave: Hidden danger, loss of divine link, consumption by divine forces, warning, that which repels.
Deities and myths: Sunna
Magical uses: Healing, strength, energy, success, fertility
Analysis: sowulo marks the end of the second aett, and like wunjo repesents sucess and glory. The sun is a very active symbol unlike the relaxation of Valhalla. We have reached the end of the aett successfully with a positive conclusion. It represents success, honor and goals achieved. It’s a time when power will be availabel to you for positive changes in your life. There is contact between the higher self and the unconscious. sowulo cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition: (Loss of goals, false goals and success. gullibility, destruction, casting down of vanity. Wrath of god).
The Third Aett
Deities and myths: Tyr and the Fenris Wolf, Odin’s ordeals
Magical uses: Victory, protection, strength, strengtheinig the will healing a wound.
Analysis: teiwaz represnets a voluntary sacrifice, made by someone who understands what they are giving up and why. It has all the qualities associated with god, the strenght, heroism, duty and resposnibility. Victory and success in any competition or in legal matters. Knowing where one’s true strength lies. It is honor, justice, leadership and authority. teiwaz Reversed or Merkstave: Over analysis, mental paralysis, injustice, imblalance, conflict, failure in competition. Dwindling passion, difficulties in communication and possibly seperation.
Divinatory meanings: Health, neew beginnings, growth, health, plenty, conception, clearance.
Deities and myths: Frigg, Idunna
Magical uses: Achieving conception, making a fresh start, healing (especially infections).
Analysis: berkano is fundamentally the symbol of fertility and represents the path of the mother. It represents general fertility, both in mental, phusical and personal growth. Regenerative power and the light of spring. Promise of new beginnings and growth. berkano Reversed or Merkstabe: Family and domestic troubles, carelessness, abandon, loss of contorl. Anxiety about someone close to you. Deciet, steriility, stagnation.
Deities and myths: Sleipnir, Freya’s feathered cloak
Magical uses: Transportation, power, aiding in communications, to send
Analysis: ehwaz represents energy and motion.It may represent a horse, car, plane, boat or other vehicle. Movement and change for the better. Harmony and teamwork, like a marriage or partnership. Gradual developement and steady progress. ehwaz Reversed or Merkstave: It’s not really a negative rune, a change maybe craved. Felling restless or confined in a situation. Disharmony, mistrust and betrayal. Felling restless or confined.
Deities and myths: Ask and Embla, Midgard
Magical uses: To establish social relationships, to represent a specific person aor group of people.
Analysis: mannaz represents all of humanity, those whom we have personal connections with from our immediate circle of family and friends, to the wider community around us. It also represents our connection with the gods and nature and our nature as social animals. Your attitude towards others and their attitudes towards you. Friends enemies and social order. The self, the individual or the human race. mannaz Reversed or Merkstave: Manipulation, craftiness, slyness. Expect no help now.
Deities and myths: Mjord, Midgard Serpant
Magical uses: Confronting fears, Stabilizing mental or emotional disorders, uncovering hidden things, enhancing psychic abilities.
Analysis: laguz is the rune of the spiritual consellor, it makes us examine the underlying roots of our personality and behavior. It allows us to modify those aspects which are hindering our spiritual develpement. It has the healing power of renewal, life energy and organic growth. Imagination and psychic matters. Dreams, fantasies, mysteries, the unkown and hidden. laguz Reversed or Merkstave: You may be making poor and wrong decisions. Lack of creativity and feelings of being in a rut. It indicates a period of confusion in your life.
Deites and myths: Freyr/Ing, Nerthus, Thor, The Vanir
Magical uses: Farming, growth, fertility, balance, general health
Analysis: ingwaz signifies the balance and a harmonious relationship between ourselves and the four elements. It is a grounding rune, and reconnnects our bodies, our minds and our spirits. Internal growth, coomon sense, simple strengths, family love. ingwaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition: (Movement without change, Impostence.
Deities and myths: /sybbam /bakdrm Bertgysm Tggdrasuk
Magical uses: To bring a positive outcome.
Analysis: dagaz marks the end of the third aett, leaving only oþila to complete the cycle. It symbolizes harmony with one’s environment, implying a harmonious relationship with the spiritual environment as well as it’s balance of masculine, feminine and the four elements. Everything is balanced and intergrated through Dagaz and brought into our daily lives. It is a bringing together of all six cardinal points – the four compass directions, the celestial realm above and below and all the spirits of the earth and of nature. dagaz cannot be reversed but may lie in opposition: (A completion, limit, coming full circle, ending, hopelessness, blindness).
Deities and myths: The nine worlds of YGGDRASIL
Magical uses: To complete a project, for aquiring land or property, to strengthen family ties.
Analysis: Oþila brings us to the seventh cardinal point, which is the center. It is the axis around which our lives revolve. We must all find our own centre and give our lives meaning, the ultimate gosl of the runic journey. It aids us in spiritual and physical journeys. othala Reversed or Merkstave: (Bad karma, prejusice, totalitarainism. What a man is bound to.
Blank rune: (odin’s rune or “wyrd”)
It was invented in the 1980′s by Ralph Blum, auther of “the Book of Runes.” There is no evidence that a 25th rune existed historically. He explains in the book that he started out using a rune set given to him with 25 runes, and didn’t know the first thing about them and sort of made things up as he went along.