The runic alphabet is traditionally known as Futhark
, after the first six letters.
Casting runes has been used as a form of divination in Europe since the fourth century. The elder Futhark, which you see here, contains 24 runes.
Click a rune and find out more about the meaning!
Runes of the elder futhark
A fulfillment rune of good fortune, material stability, security, wealth. Fehu feeds and nourishes both spiritual and material needs. An indication of something earned or won. The primal cow, the sow, fertility, ancestral animals, our common beginning. It is essential to share good fortune with others. This rune also indicates fertility and harmony.
At a standstill, lack of balance and possibly some form of loss.
Uruz: Falling rain
A rune of creativity and sexual energy. Ur also represents the death of a cycle, out with the old and in with the new. May indicate a dark period with material loss or the loss of a person, but new opportunities will arise from this. It is indicative of an unpredictable power, tests, and greed. Opportunities, sexuality, and good luck are also significant for this rune.
Opportunities that have passed by, possible health problems and a lack of progress in certain areas.
A rune of negative change, contemplation, and conflict. Synonymous with the hammer of Thor, this rune represents trolls, demons, giants, and male power. Strength may be found by observing the past and future. As Thor was the Norse god of strength, other key meanings of this rune are security, protection, and possibly good news.
Thorn (th) as a thorn bush can indicate dangers of a smaller less significant kind. However reversed this rune can indicate unfavourable news or a sense of feeling vulnerable.
Ansuz: One of the Ase
A rune of God's blessing and joy. A time to expect the unexpected, new beginnings and communications, messengers, signals, and gifts. A guarantee of harmony and order. A warning to fortify oneself before attempting to help others. The divine breath, the sacred ash, and the world tree. As this rune is also representative of Odin himself, other meanings associated with this rune are wisdom, psychic power, and aid from someone older.
This rune reversed serves as a warning against trickery or pranks, this is even more true if it involves an older person. A warning against an older person causing trouble or playing tricks and games. Think carefully before accepting any advice.
Raidho: Ride, journey
A rune of personal development and transformation. This rune is indicative of journeys and travel. The journeys may be of a physical or spiritual nature, but either way will bring about some positive developments. It is also a time of choice and of making the right move to ensure all effort and energy is channeled in the right direction.
This rune reversed is indicative of delays and possibly difficult journeys. It can also mean that there are important lessons that need to be learned.
A rune of renewed light after a period of darkness or confusion. It is also a warning of danger to health, possibly in the form of fever, abscesses, ulcers, or other physical or mental problems. As a torch, this rune also represents creative fire and artistic impulse. It is a shining beacon of hope in the dark.
This rune reversed is indicative of a block on creativity.
A rune of generosity and the giving and receiving of gifts, and with the help of the Gods, kindness and aid to others. It is a gift and a greeting of peace. Partnerships and relationships are blessed. People unite and relationships move to a deeper level. The lovers kiss; the bountiful goddess brings abundance. This rune also represents sacrifice and the balance of opposing factions or elements.
This rune reversed is indicative of harm to friendship, separations and self centred behaviour.
A rune of material and emotional gain, through diligence. It also indicates comfort and renewed energy. Situations will change for the better. Peace, balance, and harmony are the keywords for this rune, which also brings the possibility that wishes will be fulfilled. A time to re-evaluate one's plans and goals, as darkness has given way to light.
This rune reversed is indicative of conflicts and changes that are not positive. It is a warning to anticipate strife in certain situations.
A rune that warns of illness. “Hagal” means hail and is a symbol of uncontrolled and destructive forces. It is a time of upheaval, discord, disruption, and general bad luck. There will be setbacks and problems, all which need to be endured in order to come out on the other side.
This rune reversed is indicative of uncontrollable events leading to delays.
A rune of limitation and patience. Keywords include necessity, need, absence, sadness, and tiredness. It is indicative of the hardship of existing on less than enough. Much hard work and patience is needed to work through the pain and strife, but the experience must be treated as a period of learning in order to overcome difficulty rather than become bitter. There is a warning against greed and desire, as this will only prove destructive.
This rune reversed warns against hasty decisions and careful thought about any pending commitment.
The rune of obstacles and mental blocks. It is a barrier stopping or preventing movement while warning against proceeding. It is a shining beacon, but stillness, patience, and sacrifice of the self may win the prize. Other meanings include coldness between people, lethargy, death, termination, strong hidden forces, and blocks to thought and action. This rune intensifies the meaning of any other runes associated with it. Reversed
This rune reversed is indicative of a coldness which gives rise to conflict and arguments. only by acting positively can the ice be melted.
The rune of harvest, fertility, and the turning wheel. This rune is symbolic of success, an abundant year, and the cycles of nature and life. Projects will succeed, although plans cannot be rushed and patience must be observed. Effort reaps its reward. Other meanings include the sacred marriage between heaven and earth, thriving crops, the generosity of kings, and prosperity. When the harvest comes, celebrate!
This rune reversed symbolises a block in nature. Matters come to a head.
Eihwaz: Yew tree
As with the 13th card of death in the tarot deck, this rune is also symbolic of death, but death in the sense of a cycle of life. It highlights the importance of death in human life in terms of regeneration and rebirth. This rune is symbolic of the gate to the underworld. Patience is needed to work through a period of stagnation. Old ways will pass, giving rise to the new.
This rune reversed symbolises nostalgia and a hankering for the past. It can also represent emotional problems linked to the death of a loved one.
Perthro: Dice cup
This is a rune of mystery and things not being quite what they seem. It is a time to experience the unexpected and live for the now. Other meanings include womb and female fertility. A game that is played between desire and destiny. A rune of revelation. Reversed
This rune reversed is symbolic of hidden things that are revealed and cast out into the open.
Algiz: Horn of the elk
A rune symbolic of protection and shelter. Temptation may be put in the way of an individual, but this is to be resisted. Emotions must be contained, and pain and strife must be overcome in order to move forward. Other meanings include new beginnings, protect what has been worked for, the hand sign to ward off evil, divine aspirations, elk-sedge (a plant which hurts anyone who touches it), and a strong symbol of protection.
This rune reversed warns of avoiding danger which may be caused by another person.
A rune of health, wealth, happiness, and contact with one's higher self. Now is the time to use the sun's energy for regeneration and reveal secrets that are hidden. Other meanings include creativity, guidance (particularly of sailors), spiritual power to resist disintegration, the light of the world, and positive, beneficial magic.
This rune reversed warns of the possibility of carelessness or recklessness leading to ill health or danger.
Tiwaz: God Tyr
A rune of bravery and steadfastness in the face of any adversity. New partnerships will produce great things. This is a rune of energy, contentment, and passion, and it is a much-used talisman. Other meanings include a brave and noble death, self-knowledge, faith, victory, and success in law and war.
This rune reversed is symbolic of frustrations and quarrels that sap the strength.
This is a rune of new birth and new beginnings. Although it can be indicative of an actual birth or marriage, it can also refer to personal growth and development and the prosperity of an enterprise. It can indicate the start of something special and to facilitate this, doubts must cleansed before moving forward. Other meanings include fertility in the bodily sense, beauty, and the breasts of the Earth Goddess.
This rune reversed is symbolic of hurdles or problems getting in the way of the birth or start of something. This rune reversed warns of stagnation.
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This is a rune of travel and change, possibly of one’s job, career, residence, or maybe all three. This rune brings a message from the gods and rank, pride, happiness, and an aid to the restless. It may also indicate spiritual journeys and faith in one's destiny. Reversed
This rune reversed warns of a restlessness and a desire to escape by traveling or moving away from the problem - a passage away from pain.
This is the rune of mankind and all of the attributes which set humans apart. It suggests that the middle path should be followed, and it also refers to family matters. Other meanings include a connection to others, mutual joy, intelligence, memory, culture, and a desire for change.
This rune reversed symbolises a lack of of common sense. A need for solace and isolation, particularly form family.
This is the rune of unconscious intuition and mystery. It can be indicative of some levels of psychic ability and the courage to trust in hunches or gut instinct. It can mean success in travel or gains made at the expense of a loss of some sort. Other meanings include the ebb and flow of the tides, waves, seas and lakes, and the power of green growth bursting through the soil.
This rune reversed symbolises stormy waters and emotional turmoil.
Ingwaz: God Ing
This is a rune of peace and prosperity, as well as fertility, especially male potency. It is symbolic of the erect phallus and fertilizing power. Projects, ideas, and even people reach their full potential. Matters come to a head and problems are resolved. The hearth and home are protected.
This rune reversed warns of the need to be more diligent and that progress is being blocked.
This is a rune of harmonious, unexpected success. It is a balance between light and darkness; as night gives way to dawn, this gives way to day and so on. It is a beacon of light bringing forth clarity, success, and abundance in life. The time is right to embark upon a new project, but be cautious in the journey forward.
This rune reversed warns of treading carefully and conserving energy.
This is a rune of inheritance and the discarding of traditional, well-worn ways in order to move forward. It symbolizes mental and spiritual heritage, property, and old traditions and family values. Other meanings associated with this rune are the freeing of an individual from a group or clan, fundamental ideas, and spiritual values. Although something may have to be given up or lost in order to acquire property or an estate, this indicates resources are being used wisely.
This rune reversed is symbolic of family disputes and break ups, problems with parents and possibly arguments or problems with any inheritances.
Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Divination - Stephen Karcher
Heather Pillis - 2014-10-17 17:35:43
This is what my father was called.. I would live to have the furthak runes to show it in remembrance of him
Misty Dawn Ogle - 2016-01-20 16:45:09
Rev. Colby Hartke - 2016-09-23 00:11:04
The only problem I have with this so far is that. some of these runes can not be reversed. Gebo, Ingwaz, and Isa are irreversible. they are the same, spiritually, and physically. no matter what.
good info for the most part.
John john - 2017-01-12 20:29:08
I like these meanings as far as they are esoteric in meaning and that to me is esential i dont do merk staves the reversals have no meaning to me