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The Viking Runes, and Their Meanings - Futhark

RUNES - The Viking Oracle

For as long as anyone can tell, runes have been around

 helping people in the northern European area

and now they are making quite a comeback on a worldwide basis

 due partly to commercialism and partly due to the unknown uprooting

 of many occult practices.


 People are looking for a better way to live and people are looking towards

 oracles for answers and guidance to their troubles.

 This is where the runes come into play.


In this area, we will be looking at the meanings of runes

and how they can help you.

At this point, we will give only a brief overview of what they are

 and where they came from. This is only a survey.


Runes come from the Nordic area where the ancient Vikings once lived,

 worked, and fought.

 Though they were relatively savage in their outings

the Vikings were people in touch with Earth and the many forces

 that coexisted with them.


 They have a whole lore that includes many popular god figures

 such as Thor, the son of Odin.


Thor carried a mighty hammer and many of us know him from comic books.

\ The father of Thor, Odin, was the creator of the Runes

and is the most important holy figure of the Viking people.

Odin hung upside down from a tree limb for a chance of higher knowledge

 and right before he came down from the tree limb,

 he was bestowed with the new system called the Runes.


 These symbols were used for writing and magic by the high priests.

 On this page, we will discuss the 25 runes most used today and their meanings.



The 25 Common Runes Plus Their Meanings In Alphabetical Order

Algiz | Ansuz | Berkana | Dagaz | Ehwaz | Eihwaz | Fehu | Gebo | Hagalaz

Inguz | Isa | Jera | Kano | Laguz | Mannaz | Nauthiz | Othila

Perth | Raido | Sowolu | Teiwaz | Thurisaz | Unknowable | Uruz | Wunjo




ALGIZ - Protective Sanctuary - Shield

This is the place to stay when you are in need of a safety zone.

 As a mirror to teiwaz, the warrior goes to the sanctuary

to reflect and heal the wounds of the battle.

 This is a place to feel the full pain and not to shy away,

for there is a lesson here.

 Meditation on this rune should involve the painful things in life

 and what is to be learned from the anguish.

 Facing the pain will make you stronger and wiser for the next battle.



ALGIZ: Elk, protection.)

Protection, a shield. The protective urge to shelter oneself or others.

 Defense, warding off of evil, - shield, guardian.

 Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life.

 It can be used to channel energies appropriately.

Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain a position won or earned



ANSUZ - Messages and SignalsANSUZ IMAGE

Noting marks tell us where we are and what action we should take

 from this point. The Ash tree is represented here and this is a strong tree,

 usually weathering storms and leaving clues of its battles.

We grow as we weather our own storms and the perceptive person

 can read the marks of our environment, and use His Inner Guides.




Ansuz: (A: The As, ancestral god, i.e. Odin.)

A revealing message or insight, communication.

Signals, inspiration, enthusiasm, speech, true vision, power of words and naming.

 Blessings, the taking of advice. Good health, harmony, truth, wisdom. 





A spring-like perpetual growing is the meaning of this rune.

 The Birch tree is highly associated with berkana

and the "b" is with smooth lips, not like saying "bird".

 The meditations associated would concentrate on the rapid growth

 of a new situation or fertility, although inguz is also used.

Problems that are treated with berkana usually come to pass

with fruitful outcomes.


BerkanoBerkano: (B: Berchta, the birch-goddess.)

 Birth, general fertility, both mental and physical and personal growth, liberation.

Regenerative power and light of spring, renewal, promise of new beginnings, new growth.

 Arousal of desire. A love affair or new birth. The prospering of an enterprise or venture.



DAGAZ - Daylight and New Light - Dawn, BeginningDAGAZ IMAGE

This is the time of the light, the time to work and the period of the normal day.

  Light frees Us from the darkness.

 The meditation here is to concentrate on performing well

 in the days' working hours.

This is the time for labor to bring about "fruit".

 Use this time to do your part to make the things

 around you better for the people in the community.



D: Day or dawn.) Breakthrough, awakening, awareness.

 Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty.

A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise.

The power of change directed by your own will, transformation.

Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release.

 Balance point, the place where opposites meet. 




EHWAZ - The Sacred HorseEHWAZ IMAGE - Journey

Where would the viking be without their horses, or ships

 to take them on the long journeys.

The goddess Freya had special appreciation for Horses

In meditation, we focus on Who and What takes us where We need to Go.

 We thank those responsible for making these things possible

and then we learn the use of them to full potential,

without These, we would make little progress.



E: Horse, two horses.)

 Transportation. May represent a horse, car, plane, boat or other vehicle.

Movement and change for the better. Gradual development

 and steady progress are indicated.

 Harmony, teamwork, trust, loyalty. An ideal marriage or partnership.

 Confirmation beyond doubt the meanings of the runes around it



EIHWAZ - Yew TreeEIHWAZ IMAGE - Staff, Bow

Weapons decided if you would keep your land and resources.

the Vikings found the use of the Yew tree  and made bows.

 This tree gave them the ability to defend themselves.

The characteristic crackle of the wood soothed them

during the cold winter nights.

 Meditate on the actions necessary to defend our position in our lives

 and to enjoy the things we have worked for in our "down" time.

 learning the best ways to defend against the actions of others

 and never be caught off-guard.



EIHWAZ: Yew tree.)

 Strength, reliability, dependability, trustworthiness. Enlightenment, endurance.

Defense, protection. The driving force to acquire, providing motivation

 and a sense of purpose. Indicates that you have set your sights

 on a reasonable target and can achieve your goals.

 An honest man who can be relied upon.




This is what the community considers wealth.

The commodity of the norse peoples before a currency was established,

and you better believe that they sacrificed one of the herd

 now and then to keep the gods happy.

The important reminder is to always be thankful and humble

when things are well in the economy.

Meditation focuses on a type of thanksgiving

 for what has been acquired and not to squander

 when things are plentiful.

Appreciate that there will be a rainy day by the rules of cycles

 and to prepare for it.



FEHU: Domestic cattle, wealth.)

 Possessions won or earned, earned income, luck.

 Abundance, financial strength in the present or near future.

 Sign of hope and plenty, success and happiness.

 Social success. Energy, foresight, fertility, creation/destruction (becoming).



GEBO - The Gift of Harmonic Relationships

When we acknowledge our higher power and in turn the higher powerGEBO IMAGE

gives back to us, then we have harmony.

 This is a great representation of the working of karma.

Good things come in return for good deeds.

We need to meditate on the magic of working with knowing

 our spiritual forces and treating them as we want a pleasing

 and easy environment to allow us to set us up for good things to come.

 There is a strong showing for respect of nature.



GEBO G: Gift.) Gifts, both in the sense of sacrifice and of generosity,

 indicating balance. All matters in relation to exchanges, including contracts,

 personal relationships and partnerships. 




This is an acknowledgement of the force of nature at its worst.

The Vikings had many a harsh winter and year-round poor weather.

 Months of work could be ruined by an act of nature.

This also represents those things that are out of our control.

We should meditate on the acceptance of the tough times

brought on by the seasons.




HAGALAZ  Hail.) Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled forces,

 especially the weather, or within the unconscious.

Tempering, testing, trial. Controlled crisis, leading to completion, inner harmony.




INGWAZ - Male FertilityINGUZ IMAGE, Seed

Another linking to Frey, this represented the fertility

of the joining of human beings.

This has a direct meditative purpose of the wanting of pregnancy.

It has a associative rune of the other gender, perth.

Because of the ultimate creative power of this sort of unity,

a lot can be learned from deep meditation on this rune.



Ingwaz: (NG: Ing, the earth god.)

Male fertility, gestation, internal growth. Common virtues, common sense,

 simple strengths, family love, caring, human warmth, the home.

Rest stage, a time of relief, of no anxiety.

A time when all loose strings are tied and you are free to move in a new direction.

 Listen to yourself.



ISA - Ice and FreezingISA IMAGE, Staff

There are dangers of the cold.

Slippery ice and freezing weather were well regarded

 in these northern regions.

This is a powerful rune for the rune spell caster,

for the one who understands this force can have great power of influence.

Waiting for the Right Time to Accomplish what is needed



ISA Ice.) Staff

 A challenge or frustration. Psychological blocks to thought or activity,

 including grievances.

Standstill, or a time to turn inward and wait for what is to come, or to seek clarity.

This rune reinforces runes around it.




JERA - The Cycle of One YearJERA IMAGE - Staff - Watchfulness, Vigilance

As many of the farmers know, crops are not impulsive or an ovenight success.

Usually a period of time must pass before on can count the blessings

and success of the harvest.

The meditation here is very simple. Persistence and foresight

 must be used to see what is to come from a venture.




JERA, J or Y: A year, a good harvest.)

 The results of earlier efforts are realized. A time of peace and happiness,

 fruitful season. It can break through stagnancy.

 Hopes and expectations of peace and prosperity. The promise of success earned.

 Life cycle, cyclical pattern of the universe. Everything changes, in its own time.



KANO - An OpeningKANO IMAGE, Also,

KENAZ -  A Torch


Since torches provide light, and represent fire under human control,

they are a good symbol of knowledge and en-LIGHT-enment.

 Ideas, like the fire of torches, can be carried about from place to place,

and passed on to others without the holder having to give them up.

Unlike the sun's fire, "domesticated" fire must be tended

to prevent it from dying out!   Light is also a symbol of hope

With skills and knowledge, as with many other things,

 the rule is "use it or lose it"!

 Hope also bears within it the promise of fulfillment.

The lantern held by the Hermit of the Tarot deck ties in with Kenaz.

When you are in the darkness, an opening with light

 is the best and most gracious thing to have bestowed upon you.

This is a great time for putting energies into new opportunities.

Meditation revolves around seeing out of seemingly dark situations

 for there is a way out of every situation.

Focus on what the action is and invest energies into breaking through.





Birth/ beginnings/ Initiation into life, emotions,

following the flow of Life,

unconscious wisdom and intuition

All aspects of water are implies here.

Flow, sea, river, lake, etc. are all one thing in the greater picture.

The mystery of the tides also imply as it was not known

that the moon had such a profound influence.

The flow of the water is incorporated and respected in the human body.

This is for deep meditation of higher forces and the materials

that make up the body.

 Cleansing is important now, to You.



L: Water, or a leek.)

Flow, water, sea, a fertility source, the healing power of renewal.

Life energy and organic growth. Imagination and psychic matters.

Dreams, fantasies, mysteries, the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld.

Success in travel or acquisition, but with the possibility of loss.



MANNAZ - The Nature of HumankindMANNAZ IMAGE - Man

The self and its place in the collective conscience of humanity

 is the recognition here. We are all part of each other,

made of the same things, subject to similar experiences.

This is a time of personal reflection, of what it is all about

and what one person can really do for the community.

 Also, acknowledment of the importance of every one self

 to the greater many.




M: Man, mankind.) The Self; the individual or the human race.

 Your attitude toward others and their attitudes towards you.

Friends and enemies, social order. Intelligence, forethought, create, skill, ability.

 Divine structure, intelligence, awareness.

Expect to receive some sort of aid or cooperation now.



NAUTHIZ - Waiting for What is Needed, LackNAUTHIZ IMAGE

It was at the hardest times that the true meaning

 of what is needed for survival is missed the most.

It was at these times that misery sometimes was the only companion.

The proof of how delicate we really are in this harsh world

comes clear in the mind.

One should meditate how bad things can really get

 and what things are not needed to maintain true survival

at the deepest times of need.



NAUTHIZ - N: Need.)

Delays, restriction. Resistance leading to strength,

 innovation, need-fire (self-reliance).

Distress, confusion, conflict, and the power of will to overcome them.

Endurance, survival, determination. A time to exercise patience.

 Recognition of one's fate. Major self-initiated change. Face your fears.




We inherit by our birthright. When a life's cycle ends,

the next of the lineage inherits the wealth and responsibility.

Sometimes a retreat is necessary from the severity of the loss.

 find what actions are to be taken since the influences of the past

 are now gone.

New ideas may be introduced and tried, acquiring of new items.



 Ancestral property.) Inherited property or possessions, a house, a home.

What is truly important to one. Group order, group prosperity.

 Land of birth, spiritual heritage, experience and fundamental values.

Aid in spiritual and physical journeys. Source of safety, increase and abundance.




PERTHRO - Things Hidden - CupPERTH IMAGE


PERTHRO : Lot cup, vagina.)

Uncertain meaning, a secret matter, a mystery, hidden things and occult abilities.

 Initiation, knowledge of one's destiny, knowledge of future matters,

determining the future or your path.

 Pertaining to things feminine, feminine mysteries including female fertility,

 and vagina.

 Good lot, fellowship and joy. Evolutionary change.



RAIDO - JourneysRAIDO IMAGE - Wagon, Car, Truck, Boat, Plane, Train

There was always a time when a far traveled journey must be taken.

Sometimes it is a spiritual journey and sometimes it is physical.

Anxiety is always a factor, some positive and some negative.

 Journeys are a type of calling for a learning.

what is the right time and method of your particular journey.

 it is time to learn away from your home base.

Most journeys are favorable.



Raidho Wagon or chariot.)

Travel, both in physical terms and those of lifestyle direction.

 A journey, vacation, relocation, evolution, change of place or setting.

Seeing a larger perspective. Seeing the right move for you to make and deciding upon it.

 Personal rhythm, world rhythm, dance of life.



SOWILO - The Sun, Giver of All LifeSOWOLU IMAGE - Fire

The spiritual warrior knows where the true power of all things reigns.

The life force which is felt from the warm sun on a cold day makes itself obvious.

 Be aware of your essence and where life began.

We are dependent on the sun which is the ultimate ruler of all the forces

and is in a sense the true source of all the gods.

this truth can bring you to wholeness.


SowiloSowilo: The sun.)

 Success, goals achieved, honor. The life-force, health.

A time when power will be available to you for positive changes in your life,

 victory, health, and success.

 Contact between the higher self and the unconscious.

 Wholeness, power, elemental force, sword of flame, cleansing fire. 



TEIWAZ - Spiritual WarriorTEIWAZ IMAGE - Shield

This is the rune of Tyr, the god of war, and was often seen painted

 on the shields of many warriors in battle.

This is the protector of the warrior and the giver of victory.

For meditiation, this rune is best known for gaining strength

 in overcoming an adversarial situation.

It is also a great rune to keep serious physical harm as far away as possible.


 TiwazT: Tyr, the sky god.)

Honor, justice, leadership and authority. Analysis, rationality.

 Knowing where one's true strengths lie. Willingness to self-sacrifice.

 Victory and success in any competition or in legal matters.




There is a dark side that we must take control of in ourselves

to break free of them and not become them. 

 Focus on the identification and overcoming of the darker sides

of things inside and outside ourselves. Shadow-work.



TH: Thorn or a Giant.)

 Reactive force, directed force of destruction and defense, conflict.

 Instinctual will, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst. A tendency toward change.

 Catharsis, purging, cleansing fire. Male sexuality, fertilization.

(Thor, the Thunder god, was a Giant )



THE UNKNOWABLE -  Nothingness, the Rune of No MeaningTHE UNKNOWABLE IMAGE

This is Not One the the original Runes.

The nothingness we may come from  and may return to.

confront your darkest fears of your reality.



URUZ - Brute StrengthURUZ IMAGE - OX

The strength of the wild animal is desired by the best warriors.

The notion of living to survive and to know the possibility of death

and to accept it as the simple answer to what life is.

 life is to be lived at full speed and to live life for life.

 When your life is over, a new life will begin in your place on earth

and you will go on.

A person who lives like this has no regrets of a premature death,

for each day was fully lived.



Uruz: (U: Auroch, a wild ox.)

Physical strength and speed, untamed potential. A time of great energy and health.

 Freedom, energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding, wisdom.

Sudden or unexpected changes (usually for the better).

Sexual desire, masculine potency.

The shaping of power and pattern, formulation of the self.



WUNJO - Bliss and Glory, Joy, Passion, EnjoymentWUNJO IMAGE

This can mean a lot of aspects of joy, but mainly it is

 the lack of need and lack of pain.

 It is the realization of what you have worked for

and the temporary enjoyment of all your goods.

Being in this mindframe sometimes induces a separate state of mind.

It is a good meditation to realize where you are now

 and what you have and being satisfied to the point of bliss.

Preparation for meditation is not needed when a tough task is completed.



W or V: Joy.)

 Joy, comfort, pleasure. Fellowship, harmony, prosperity.

 Ecstasy, glory, spiritual reward, but also the possibility of going "over the top".

 If restrained, the meaning is general success and recognition of worth.




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