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Rune meanings - The Elder Futhark

Rune meanings - The Elder Futhark The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets and was used during the migration period. Included in my descriptions are each letter(s) the rune will translate to and how to pronounce the rune. With this information you can learn how to write with the runes. The most accurate way to write in runes is by phonetics, so learning how to properly pronounce the runes is key. If you need help memorizing the runes I also recommend practicing flash cards or downloading the app "quizlet" where you can have digital flashcards right on your phone. 


  FEHU - (F) "fay-hoo" Cattle.

Cattle, security, wealth, prosperity. Financial strength, luck, possessions earned or won, new beginnings, social success, energy, fulfillment of good fortune, material stability.

Fehu represents prosperity and nourishes both mental and physical needs.

URUZ - (U) "ooo-rooze" Strength of will.

Endurance, strength, good health, courage, will, luck, understanding, determination, change for the better.

This is a rune of creativity. It can be used as a means to move forward after a period of darkness. A simple reminder that good things can come after loss.

THURISAZ - (TH) "thur-ee-saws" Thorn, giant.

Directed force, breaking down barriers, temptations, hidden forces, hammer of Thor, strength, threats from power, to resist temptations.

Thurisaz can be a reminder that strength may be acquired by observing the past and the future.  To be used as a chaotic rune or for better control of yourself. It is up to you to decide how you want to use it. This rune may also symbolize a streak of luck within your life.

ANSUZ - (A) "awn-sooze" the AESIR, ancestral god, Odin.

Wisdom, message, communication, knowledge, creativity, controlled divine power, harmony, order, inspiration, reason.

Ansuz is a rune of communication as much as it is a rune of the spirit. Activating the creative urge for poetry, communication and messages. It is a sign of the god's blessings and joys.

 RAIDHO - (R) “Rye — Though” Wagon or chariot.

Journey, travel, transformation, departure, arrival, travel, larger perspective, change and movement, personal development. 

This rune may indicate travel or an upcoming journey, physical or spiritual. Use this rune to better prepare yourself along the way and to have a better understanding of the outcome. 

KENAZ - (C/K) “Cane — Awes” Beacon or torch, ulcer. 

Light, warmth, fire, enlightenment, vision, revelation, creativity, understanding, intuition, enthusiasm in teaching and learning, opportunity.

Kenaz will raise knowledge and bring the mind and spirit into a higher power. It's a representation of "a beacon of hope in the dark" meaning passing through a rough time will bring about better things in the future. It is up to you to decide how to use the "darkness". This rune can also be a warning of poor health.

GEBO - (G) “Yee — Boo” Gift.

Giving and receiving gifts, generosity, exchange, sacrifice, love and partnership, harmony.

This is a rune of love and gift exchanges. When going through life you can never expect to get anything unless you also give back. Physically or mentally. This rune is a reminder to help others if you'd like help in return and that spiritual gifts are priceless.

WUNJO - (W/V) “Woon — Yo” Joy. 

Emotional satisfaction, happiness, light, perfection, comfort, correct application of the will, well-being, harmony, success, recognition of worth, realization of ambition, good health, flourishing partnership.

An indication of prosperous new beginnings and the realization of your own ambition. This is the rune of happiness, joy and relationships. A reminder to focus on all the positive things in your life rather than dwelling on the negative.

HAGALAZ - (H) “haw — gaw — laws” Hail.

Interference, crisis, uncontrolled forces, disruption, change, obstacles, damaging forces of nature, changes for long term good, corrections.

This rune can warn of "stormy weather" literally and spiritually. Use this rune to better prepare yourself for any big changes in your life. Instead of fearing what may come in the future Hagalaz will keep you balanced by having the strength to face them head on.

NAUTHIZ — (N) “now — these” Need.

Resistance, constraint, self reliance, endurance, demand, craving, desire, innovation, doing what must be done, personal development, achievement through effort. 

Hard work and persistence needs to prevail if you are to move forward in a positive light. Use Nauthiz as a means to be stronger, learn from your mistakes and any hardships that arise instead of sulking and dwelling.

ISA - (I) “eee — saw” Ice.

Concentrated self, cold, lack of change, stagnation, challenge, resistance leading to strength, self control, unity, stand still, development of concentration, harsh reality.

This rune may represent a mental block. A reminder to not take anything for granted and to be patient. Prepare yourself before moving forward and take time to reflect.

JERA - (J/Y) “yare — awe” A year, a good harvest.

Harvest, fertility, cycles, reward for positive actions, efforts rewarded, success earned, plenty, peace, success in endeavors, fruition of plans, good spirits.

Jera symbolizes the 12 months of the year and is the 12th Elder Futhark rune. A rune of celebration, development, change and movement. A reminder that your efforts will be rewarded.

EIHWAZ - (EI) “eye — was” Yew tree.

Movement towards enlightenment, strength, dependability, wisdom with adversity, endurance, liberation from fear and death, protection, patience, foresight, safety from attack, ease life/death transition. 

This rune represents the Yew tree and is a symbolic reminder that new life cannot exist without death. Let go of the old to make room for the new. Embrace change.

PERTHRO - (P) “perth — row” Lot cup, female fertility.

Mystery, gamble, luck, random occurrences, chance, unknown outcome, hidden things, the use of common sense, seeking knowledge of fate, pregnancy/birth. 

It is important to remember that the true meaning of Perthro is unknown to scholars. This rune is a reminder to expect the unexpected and to live in the moment. Make your own choices and take charge of your destiny. 

ALGIZ - (Z) "al-geez" Elk, protection.

Protection, shelter, opportunity to grow, safe refuge, awakening, connection with the gods, teachings of the divine, warding off evil, success through quest, defense.

This rune is most commonly used for protection. You can also use it to channel energies appropriately, to contain emotions to over come obstacles and to resist temptations.


SOWILO (S) "so-wee-lo" The sun.

Victory, wholeness, motivation, action, meeting of goals, energy of the sun, success, guidance, life purpose, faith in outcomes, turning thoughts into actions, higher spiritual will, optimal health, enlightenment.

A reminder you can bring things to fruition all on your own. This rune represents the sun, happiness and the higher self.

TIWAZ (T) "tee-waz" The god, Tyr.

Courage, compassion, honor, righteousness, rule of law, leadership, authority, peace keeping, rationality, faith, loyalty, justice, legal matters, spiritual will, sound judgement.

Use this rune to strengthen the will. This rune is an indication of new partnerships and success, a possible warning of challenge. Use the skills and wisdom you've acquired to overcome anything in your way.

BERKANO (B) “Bear — Kawn — Oh” Berchta, the birch-goddess.

New life, growth, female fertility, birth, life changes, mental growth, flourishing new beginnings, regeneration, healing, shelter, sanctuary, bringing ideas to life.

The rune of new beginnings. The Berkano rune symbolizes renewal and purification. It may also represent an actual birth.

EHWAZ (E) “Ay — Waz” as in “day” horses.

Momentum, forward progress, speed of thought or deed, trust, harmony, teamwork, sure-footed, change for the best, a healthy relationship.

A reminder to be supportive and loyal. To move forward in a positive light. It may indicate travel and change in your job or in a spiritual journey.


MANNAZ (M) “Man — Awes” Man, mankind.

Humanity, inner being, soul, self, thinking and planning, structure, sustainability, awareness, social order, self actualization, collaboration between humans, divine influence in life.

This rune refers to family matters and mankind. Use this rune to invoke social order and cooperation.

LAGUZ (L) “Law — Goose” Water/Ocean.

Emotion, cleansing, unconscious and mental progress, life energy, love, memory, dreams, guidance through tests, organic growth, flow.

Follow your intuition and instincts. It may be a reminder to cleanse all negativity from your life or home. This rune will help you clear any mental blocks.

INGUZ (NG) “Ing — Goose”  The god "ING"

Gestation, love, peace, internal growth, harmony, approval, agreement, completion, wholesome family, male sexuality, time of rest.

This rune can be used for general health and balance, to bring about growth and can help you reach your full potential. 
DAGAZ (D) “Daw — Gawz” Day or dawn.

Dawn, daylight, radical change, break through, awakening, awareness, the ideal, a change of direction, prosperity, achievement, successful end of passage, clarity, change through will.

The Dagaz rune will bring about clarity, abundance in life and break throughs. A reminder to stay true to yourself so good things will continue coming your way.

OTHALA (O) “Oath — Awe — Law” Ancestral property.

Family, home, inheritance, estate, group prosperity, productive interaction, positive mental capacity, inherited property or possessions, knowledge from past generations, security and safety.

This rune symbolizes spiritual heritage, old traditions and family values. It can bring success to current projects and strengthen family ties.


Want your own handmade set of Elder Futhark runes? Click here.

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1 comment

  • I’ve added this page to my list of resources for better understanding my castings. I’ve been feeling wanting to use this more and it has been legitimately helpful. Thank you for the post and all your work as well as having the courage and compassion to share it

    John Cosma on

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