Rune Meanings - The Elder Futhark

Rune Meanings – The Elder Futhark

Rune Meanings


The First Aett


Sounds like “F”
Symbolizes the beginning
Its literal meaning is the same as the Hebrew, Greek and Gothic alphabets
Signifies moveable wealth on an earthly level (money and credit)

Negative aspects: Wealth can lead to greed.
Rune: Power and control


Sounds like “OO”
Represents the European wild oxen (aurochs) for its strength and horns
Its shape represents the horn of the aurochs
Signifies the boundless power of the universe

Positive aspect: It can bring personal strength, but not at the expense of others.
Rune: Inner strength, perseverance, stamina and thought


Sounds like “Th”
Symbolizes the power of resistance
Characterized by Thorn trees (where the thorns are used to protect the plant)

Positive aspects: If used correctly, one can take the masculine creative energy that it generates and use it as a means to change things in an advantageous way.
Rune: Defense and protection


Sounds like “AA”
Symbolizes the total being that fuels the energy and existence of all creatures, especially the gods of the universe
Characterizes conscious control
Named after the sacred Ash tree that stood for stability

Positive aspect: No matter what the situation looks like (good or bad), it firmly keeps itself grounded.
Rune: Stability, divine power and force


Sounds like “R”
Symbolizes the wheel of motion (the process of getting and doing things)
Represents principles, dedication and plans
It also represents the flow of information and spirit

Positive aspect: Being in the right place at the right time
Rune: Rites, ceremonies and open awareness


Sound is “K”
Symbolizes a brand of light that emanates from wood
Brings forth inner light and knowledge

Positive aspects: It is the rune that empowers all positively.
Rune: Knowledge, learning and teaching


Sound is “G” as in “great”
Shaped as the X, which has the meaning “X marks the spot (sacred mark)”
Gebo represents the gift of connection between two people
Symbolizes unity and a balance between the giver and the receiver

Positive aspects: It has the ability to find an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual connection with other people.
Rune: The connection between human beings and other forces of nature and the unknown.


Sounds like “W”
Shaped like a wind vane from a religious structure
It symbolizes joy and harmony in an otherwise hectic existence

Positive aspects: It represents a transformation for the better to help us to live up to our own realizations.
Rune: Shared goals, camaraderie and well being

The Second Aett

Sounds like “H”
Means “hailstones”
Is associated with the icy constriction of winter
Symbolizes transformation

Positive aspects: It allows us to tap into our past energies and to use them in a productive way.
Rune: Unconscious mind, thought processes and the power we possess deep inside


Sounds like “N”
It is defined as our needs
It represents ritual fires that are burned only in extreme cases of necessity

Negative aspects: It restricts our possibilities, bearing a cautious reminder to know yourself so that you can change before more obstacles appear.
Rune: Need, being plagued by needs or turning a need into a desire to help


Has the sound of “EE”
Its literal meaning and shape is that of an icicle
represents the present
Represents the present

Negative aspect: It symbolizes delay in progress.

When ice is massed together in a glacier, it moves at such an incredible force that almost nothing can stop it
What seems beautiful on the outside, may have hidden problems beneath its surface

Rune: Hidden deception and unmoving existence


Sounds like “J”
It means year or season (cycles)
It represents culmination of all things if the time is right

Positive aspects: It works in a cycle of natural order and can bring abundant fortunes (not only material) for all people.
Rune: Achievement leading to change (finishing one thing and going onto the next)


Sound is complicated and is pronounced “EO”
One of the most powerful runes
Represents the Yew tree, which is known for its longevity

Negative aspects: It has been known as the death rune because the yew tree is poisonous.
Positive aspects: The rune is known for its magickal protection.
Rune: Continuity of life


Sounds like “P”
It has a few meanings all related to game pieces such as dice or pawns (reflects that the roll of the dice symbolizes the uncertainty of the outcome)
This rune represents an interaction between personal free will and the confinement to individual circumstances
It also represents problem-solving, memory and inner knowledge

Positive aspects: We are able to distinguish between things with or without value.

It turns potential into reality

Rune: Skill, interaction, and defining what comes out of both our inner and natural (physical) worlds


Sound is “ZZ”
It’s shape resembles the antlers of the elk (embodies fear in its enemies)
A powerful sign used in defensive situations to repel evil

Positive aspects: If you visualize this rune, it can create a protective shield around you to keep away any physical or psychic garbage (can also be used for personal properties).
Rune: Personal protection


Sounds like “S”
Represents the power that is contracted from the sun
Shaped like a flash of lightning
It has many meanings
The essential quality needed for daylight
Abilities needed to overcome obstacles

Positive aspects: It resists the force of death; its virtues lie in its victory of holding light over darkness.
Rune: Clearing the path to grasp our goals

The Third Aett

Sounds like “T”
Stands for the ancient Sky god
This rune also stands for the day of the week Tuesday
Symbolizes personal sacrifice for the good of all, followed by stress, hard work and possibly financial risk taking

Positive aspects: Through all the hard work, positive benefits will come with great achievements.
Rune: Success will only come to those with good intentions


Sounds like “B”
Its shape is that of the B, which symbolizes the birch tree whose bark is white, thus symbolizing purification
Its time period corresponds with spring because it is a time of regeneration after the cold winter
Represents new beginnings (a time of birth)
The number 9 is a sacred number and means completion, thus Berkana which is the 18th rune, is doubly sacred on a higher level

Positive aspects: It’s the time of new beginnings and to eliminate negative aspects that may be pulling one down.
Rune: Defining the laws of existence (setting the stage for a fresh start)


It’s sound is “E” like “eh”
It’s shape and meaning represent the horse (sacred animals to pagans and gods)
Symbolizes pride
Represents a bonding of true partnership, loyalty and trust (like the horse and rider require of each other to have a successful relationship)
This rune also stands for the connection from one point or person to another

Positive aspects: It allows us to be able to fully complete a task. Only someone with serious intentions will be able to use this rune to its full potential.
Rune: Faith in oneself and others


Sounds like “M”
Represents all of the basic human qualities
It also represents shared experiences
It’s shape symbolizes balance, order and mutual support
Connected to all aspects of language

Positive aspects: It allows us to formulate and express our thoughts in a more adaptable way when it comes to academic performance and debatable issues.
Rune: Reflection of all things in existence


Sounds like “L”
Represents water in all of its states
Represents fluidity (the flow of the tides)
Can be represented by the vegetable leek, which has been called the magic herb because it grows upright and can be used as a cleansing nutrient

Positive aspects: Can clear blockages that prevent progress and help already existing flows to be increased.
Rune: Combines opposites to work together in a cyclical nature (for example, we need water to live, but too much of it can drown or terrify a person)


This rune has the sound of ‘NG’ like in sing
Can symbolize inner fire or outward energy
Signifies male fertility and protection of one’s home
Not a powerful rune because its energy builds gradually over time until it is about ready to burst (bringing in the male aspect that it is like having an orgasm)

Positive aspects: It joins together things that have been separated.
Rune: Potential energy


Sounds like “D”
This rune means day
It’s shape symbolizes a balance between polar opposites (day and night, light and dark)
Midsummer is the time of strength and well being

Positive aspects: It prevents negative and harmful things from entering our systems and is a symbol of luck.
Rune: Protective power, prosperity, health and opportunities


Sounds like “O”
The name of this rune refers to the ancestral heritage of the family and land (land that could only be passed on and never sold)
Its shape represents closure, especially related to an area which belongs to someone
On the direct end from Fehu in the Futhark, Othala represents wealth that cannot be given away, while fehu is wealth that can be traded or given away

Positive aspects: It teaches us that there is more to life than physical property.
Rune: Collectively acting to preserve individuality and maintain true wealth