The Elder Futhark Alphabet
This is a list of runes from the Elder Futhark Alphabet and their meanings.
Fehu, “cattle.” Phoneme: F. Meaning: wealth.
The rune of Fehu symbolizes two branches which grow off of a tree, or two horns of a cow. The literal meaning of "Fehu" is "cattle", which in the past was a clear representation of a family's wealth.
Uruz, “aurochs.” Phoneme: U (long and/or short). Meaning: the strength of will.
A mighty animal stands on four legs, two of which are obscured -- it raises it's head to the sky. The "auroch" was a massive (and now extinct) early European ox; their size was between a modern-day bison and a mammoth.
Thurisaz, “Giant.” Phoneme: Th (both soft and hard). Meaning: danger, suffering.
This rune represents the treachery of the Frost Giants and all the danger they represent, as well as the need for faithful vigilance and responsibility in the face of opposition. Thurisaz is also called "the thorn".
Ansuz, “an Aesir god.” Phoneme: A (long and/or short). Meaning: prosperity, vitality.
Ansuz is the rune of Odin -- most powerful of all the gods in Norse mythology. Odin is the All-Father and Norse god of wisdom. Odin brought the wisdom of the runes to mankind through his self-sacrifice at the base of the World Tree.
Raidho, “journey on horseback.” Phoneme: R. Meaning: movement, work, growth.
Raidho represents the overall life-path of a person. The message of the rune of Raidho is that the stops along the way are less important here than the journey itself. According to Norse mythology, the course of a life is determined by three weaving sisters called the "Norns", who live at the base of the World Tree.
Kaunan, “ulcer.” Phoneme: K. Meaning: mortality, pain.
This rune is related to mortality and disease hence the relation to ulcers but the Anglo Saxon interpretation is Kenaz (Torch) which represents the brilliant flame of divine inspiration: Rebirth through sacrifice -- Creation through fire. This is the rune of the artisan, and often will frequently appear in readings for those engaged in artistic ventures or seeking creative solutions. New ideas shine brightly in the darkness.
Gebo, “gift.” Phoneme: G. Meaning: generosity.
The Rune of Gebo represents the act of "giving" in all its forms. The ancient Norse tale of "Brunhild" is a good one to illustrate the meaning of this rune: According to legend, the hero Sigurd fought and killed a mighty dragon and took a ring from its hoard.
Wunjo, “joy.” Phoneme: W. Meaning: joy, ecstasy.
This rune represents Joy or Glory. Linked to the victory seen after winning a battle.
Hagalaz, “hail.” Phoneme: H. Meaning: destruction, chaos.
Ragnarok is the Norse version of "Judgement Day", when it is foretold that the legendary wolf Fenrir will devour the sun and plunge the world into darkness. Our world and the world of the gods will both be destroyed by uncontrollable forces, and a vast process of universal rebirth will begin. This rune is linked to it.
Naudhiz, “need.” Phoneme: N. Meaning: need, unfulfilled desire.
In general, the rune Nauthiz represents a gap between that which one requires and the capacity that one has to fulfill that requirement.
Isaz, “ice.” Phoneme: I (long and/or short). Meaning: unknown (the rune poems are ambiguous and contradictory).
This rune is one of the simplest of all. Where Kenaz was fire, Isa represents the stillness and purity of ice. The elements of 'fire' and 'ice' are two of the most dominant in Norse mythology.
Jera, “year.” Phoneme: Germanic J, modern English Y. Meaning: harvest, reward.
the rune refers to the harvest, it also indicates a time of subtle change. The endless roll of seasons is referenced here, and the need to remember that leaner times may be on the horizon.
Eihwaz, “yew.” Phoneme: I pronounced like “Eye.” Meaning: strength, stability.
A steadfast refusal to succumb to the opposition and hardship of the cold. Yew trees have been linked to runes, the occult, and rites of passage in Europe since ancient Germanic times. In Christianity, yew trees are often linked to immortality -- and are often planted in churchyards expressly to signify this.
Pertho, P (Note: the theory that this rune’s name was “Pertho” is just speculation. No one really knows, because the Viking Age and medieval sources are too vague.)
Perthro represents a vessel, something to be filled and drunk from. There is also significant evidence that the cup referenced by Perthro is a 'dice-cup', of the kind commonly used in games of chance and fate.
Algiz, "Elk" (the rune poems are contradictory). Phoneme: Z. Meaning: protection from enemies, defense of that which one loves.
The rune of Algiz depicts a person with arms upraised, elk's antlers, or a representation of the Norse God Heimdall who holds his sword in one hand and his horn in the other -- guarding the divine realm of Asgard. In the old Germanic languages, Algiz means "defense" or "protection".
Sowilo, “sun.” Phoneme: S. Meaning: success, solace.
the Sun Rune, symbolizes energy, life, and fertility. Warmth, positivity, and drive flow from radiant Sowilo. Norse mythology describes the sun as a blazing disc which is pulled across the sky in a chariot pulled by a great wolf.
Tiwaz, “the god Tiwaz.” Phoneme: T. Meaning: victory, honor.
Tiwaz is a positive rune, but it carries a stern message of responsibility, cost, and loyalty.
Berkanan, “birch.” Phoneme: B. Meaning: fertility, growth, sustenance.
The birch tree was a symbol of fertility in quite a few different myths from European folklore. A powerful sense of nurturing, protection, support, and creation are indicated by this rune.
Ehwaz, “horse.” Phoneme: E (long and/or short). Meaning: trust, faith, companionship.
The rune Ehwaz represents journeys, distant places and events which have not yet transpired. In rune lore, Ehwaz is also regarded as being a depiction of Sleipnir, the Norse god Odin's eight-legged horse -- which symbolizes fluidity and smoothness of motion.
Mannaz, “man.” Phoneme: M. Meaning: augmentation, support.
Mannaz symbolizes all of humanity, joined together for the purposes of attaining a common goal. On a more personal scale, Mannaz may represent our circle of family and friends -- and the common goals which unite us.
Laguz. Phoneme: L. Meaning: formlessness, chaos, potentiality, the unknown.
Laguz represents the endless possibilities and the nourishment of water. To the Norse, Laguz also represented the wild forces of the ocean, which if not respected could lead to destruction and death.
Ingwaz, “the god Ingwaz.” Phoneme: Ng. Meaning: fertilization, the beginning of something, the actualization of potential.
Ingwaz symbolizes the Earth and our deep relation to it. Its appearance may mean that we need to spend more time in nature or pay more attention to the natural order of things.
Othalan, “inheritance.” Phoneme: O (long and/or short). Meaning: inheritance, heritage, tradition, nobility.
Othala is the rune of the ancient clan lands: Historic land and property which has a strong spiritual connection to the individual. Othala is the crowning achievement which lies at the end of the runic journey.
Dagaz, “day.” Phoneme: D. Meaning: hope, happiness.
references the most basic of all cycles: Night and Day. This powerful rune is a reminder of the cyclical nature of all things. What rises must fall. What increases must decrease. All things are interconnected and in a state of constant flux.