The Runes are shrouded in mystery. Their origin, meanings and purpose are always subjects of debate among scholars. What remains important to me is that they make a connection between us, a culture and those who have gone on before us.
I was involved with Wicca from 1993-98 and started studying the Runes during that time. I started with Wiccan Rune authors like: DJ Conway Donald Tyson Silver Ravenwolf. It was Freya Aswynn who brought brought my interest in the Runes to the fore. I remember going around Camp Gaia, in Tonganoxie, Ks, absolutely enraptured with what I was reading. From there I embraced authors like: Edred Thorson Diane Paxon Nigel Pennick While I have mostly discredited the Wiccan authors, I cannot deny their initial influence. Throughout my Heathen years of studying the Runes using various Rune authors I have boiled down what they mean to me in just a few words. There are nine Runes that are irreversible. You'll notice that I take value in both the upright (U) and the reversed (R) form of the Rune when applicable. I know there will be some who take issue in doing so, but I must remind anyone that this is how the Runes speak to ME. How they speak to you will no doubt be different. I want to make it very clear I have determined to avoid so-called Rune authors like Ralph Blume and Sirona Knight; those who try to validate "the blank rune". I place no value in their insights. My Rune study remains a life-long work in progress.
So which is better; Rune sets purchased retail or Rune sets homemade? I fully believe Runes purchased retail just don’t cut it. Any serious Rune worker will make his/her own Runes. Commonly, the choice seems to be to make your Runes out of wood. There are those who will try to tell you that Runes have to be made from such and such wood cut at such and such time of the day…BAH! You choose your own wood; whatever you think is right for you. Mine are made from pine wood molding purchased from a home improvement store, but I AM THE ONE who cut the staves to size and carved the Rune into the wood; placing my essence into the work. Anyone who knows me and my Rune work know full well that I have a good relationship with my Rune set.
Also, there are those who split up the Runes into sets of eights or Aetts: such as:
I have never bought into that idea; insomuch as the naming of the Aetts. Sure, the Runes are in a specific order for a reason; that being, each Aett has a focus that almost demands a separate nature. Naming them, however: BAH! I make no apologies for this but my personal observations continue. Whoever came up with the idea of naming them I certainly would love to have a conversation with them.. The Elder Futhark Runes presented here are presented in traditional order, separated by Aetts.
Re-thinking that one: You will notice below I have done something with the Runes with which, to my knowledge, NO ONE has ever done, experimented or noticed. Let's just say for the sake of argument that separating the Runes in three Aetts IS an acceptable idea. They are generally divided into the aforementioned Freyja's Aett, Heimdall's Aett and Tyr's Aett. The only justification I can see is that the Aetts start with the letters/Runes
Freyja's Aett start with Fehu
Heimdall's Aett starts with Hagalaz
Tyr's Aett starts with Teiwaz
As of this writing (11/16/2010), rather than three Aetts separated by Freyja, Heimdall and Tyr, I am experimenting, and I think rightfully so, with the idea of the three Aetts equating to the three roots of Yggdrasil. According to the poem Grímnismál, Yggdrasil has three main roots specifically placed. However, Snorri Sturlson, in his Prose Edda, holds that there are actually three wells beneath the tree, one for each of its roots https://norse-mythology.org/cosmology/yggdrasil-and-the-well-of-urd/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20poem%20Gr%C3%ADmnism%C3%A1l,%E2%80%9CWell%20of%20Fate%E2%80%9C). In other words, who knows? It is IMPOSSIBLE to place an esoteric belief onto any physical dimension. With others separating the Runes into three groups, I can propose that the separation of Runes into three groups can easily equate to the three roots of the World Tree and apply my own discoveries (UPG). The same can also be done with the Armanen Runes: the Sacred 18 (see Runes 2). Rather than eight divisions the Armanen Runes can be made into six division with the same outcome.
One last thing to keep in mind: My experience tells me the Runes only suggest; they are not dictates! Any Rune dynamic can change with a new draw from the Well.
Okay, here we go; separating the Runes into the three roots of Yggdrasil:
1st Aett; root of creation,
2nd Aett, root of destruction
3rd Aett, root of re-creation...the life/death/new life dynamic.
1st Aett: Ygg's Root of Creation Fehu (fay'-hoo) "F"
Fehu (U): Cattle, wealth, Frey; the god of abundance, the ability to create and maintain wealth and the accompanying power, creative forces, Audhumla, fire, new beginnings, productivity, positive energy, life force, self respect, personal power, generosity that needs to come with the social responsibility of wealth.
Fehu (R): The negative blessing of prosperity, lack of creative energies, productivity failure, and the inability to and/or create wealth, greed, disconnected from the life source, fear of failure, an unfortunate condition, fiery powers extinguished, lack of self esteem, an ineffective beginning and a misuse of power.
Uruz (oor'-ooz) "U"
Uruz (U): The Auroch beast, the primal instinct, survival, an impulse towards action, creation taking shape, expansion, tenacity, vital strength, instinct of survival, taking risks, stick-to-itiveness, foundation, a stabilizing effect, moral strength, healing, rejuvenation, good health and energy, primal drizzle.
Uruz (R): A weakened position, deprivation, depletion of energy, out of sync, an impulse towards inaction, a severe lack of foundation and energy at low levels, reduction, elasticity, uncontrolled rage, without the will to survive, taking no risks at this time, weakness, illness, the inability to overcome obstacles.
Thurisaz (thur'-ee-saz, could be dur'-ee-saz) "D"
Thurisaz (U): Giant, Donar/Thor, the Strong One, defender of the Folk and Asgard, raw masculine power, reactive and directed force, courage, self-empowerment, defend against outside forces, crisis for good or ill, assertiveness, the ultimate physical fighting force, fertility, fight or flight: choosing to fight.
Thurisaz (R): Thorn, Outside the favor of Donar/Thor, the strong One, beware of enemies from the outside, defenselessness, disruptive opposition, lack of fertility, shadow of the unconscious, disease, explosive violence, introversion, cowardice, destruction, a loss of masculinity, fight or flight: choosing flight.
Ansuz (ahns'-sooz) "A"
Ansuz (U): In favor of the gods, Wodan/Odin specifically, Wodan/Odinic wisdom, the Athem - divine/vital breath, the force of creation, a higher source of inspiration, communication skills and divine ancestry, higher consciousness, mental stability, self discipline, Wodan in his most favorable aspect.
Ansuz (R): Outside the favor of Wodan/Odin’s vital/divine breath and the ancestral/Odinic wisdom, separation from one’s true Spirit, spiritual imbalance, neurotic compulsive liar, exercise caution with communication and dealings including intelligence; a lack of inspiration, the shadow side of Wodan.
Raido (rye'-doe) "R"
Raido (U): Wheel, horse transportation, riding, ordered/rhythmic movement, a journey, wise counsel, the law of the cosmic right, freedom and moral responsibility of the Self, ordered change, ethical conduct, personal discipline, to be in charge of one’s own journey in life, the proper course of faring, progress.
Raido (R): Spinning one’s wheels, lack of movement, unwise counsel, a breakdown in (divine) order, upsetting the cart, wrong action and disorder, the opposite of that which is right, off the proper course, slow motion, without a sense of purpose, personal irresponsibility, void of progress or proper perspective.
Kenaz (kee'-naz) "K"
Kenaz (U): The torch, light, shaping, fabrication or fashioning of primordial material, the hearth fire, brightly burning, knowledge, divine inspiration under control of human craft, knowledge from within, intuition, Self awareness, creativity and transformation, clarity of thought, the application of the Divine.
Kenaz (R): A dimly burning torch, choosing to remain in the dark, a lack of Divine wisdom, lack of creativity, a self-imposed cocoon, the inability to shape the basics of life, pig ignorance, arrogance, uniformed, ambiguous thought processes, negative/dark influences, cruel sexuality, uncontrollable human craft processes.
Gebo (gay'-bo) "G"
Gebo (irreversible): The mystical union of gift and giver, repay gift for gift, a fair exchange between people or gods and the Luck that accompanies it; freely exchanged, contracts, relationships, sometimes sexual, sacrifice, and hospitality, do not take more than we are wiling to give, the voluntary sacrifice of resources.
Wunjo (voon'-yo) "V"
Wunjo (U): Joy, pasture, joy attained with the fulfillment of a wish, the strong Clanic relationship, social contacts, fellowship, happiness, optimism, realization of true will, social and domestic harmony, good cheer, new social relationships, Fridu/Frith; within a secure setting, the good/bright side of Wodan/Odin.
Wunjo (R): Sadness, disruption in the Clanic relationship, questionable social contacts, loser, miserable, loneliness, shunning, weakened family ties, social and domestic disharmony, the inability to attain a wish, strife, alienation, failed social relationships, Fridu/Frith is challenged, the shadow side of Wodan/Odin.
2nd Aett: Ygg's Root of Destruction Hagalaz (hag'-ah-lahz) or Hagal "H"
Hagalaz (irreversible): The cosmic seed of potential, a sacred enclosure/shell, shaping, evolution, protection within, holiness, destruction/regeneration, destructive elements, unavoidable unpleasantness, seek shelter and ride it out, potentially destructive but change will occur on its own given time.
Hagalaz can also be seen as below and with the same meaning
Naudiz (now'-diz) "N"
Naudiz (Irreversible): The Rune of Need (whether physical, emotional, spiritual), a Norn Rune, force friction, a stress indicator, opportunity for change, urgency, a generating force for the greater good, friction, transformation, resistance leading to strength, an evolutionary change toward a more holistic state, Fate.
Isa (ee'-suh) long "E"
Isa (irreversible): Ice: dormancy: a calming, reflective influence, stilling effect: self-control: the concentrated self: ego, das Ich (the unified, whole, principle or force), the composite plurality of Ich, be still and gain control of the Self (in all its forms): grounding, a lowering of vibration levels, the loss of momentum.
Jera (yeer'-uh) "Y"
Jera (irreversible): Harvest, 12th Rune of the Futhark, the number 12, cycles, a turning point, cause and effect, the Rune of return, two halves of a cyclic whole, harmony-in-movement-in-balance, improvement, expansion, growth, progress, patience, the result of a previous action, reward for the right (or wrong) action.
Eihwaz (i'-vaz) long "I"
Eihwaz (Irreversible): Yggdrasil, the Cosmic axis, stress and difficulties, a backbone, need to have backbone to get through, endurance, difficulty, “Shit happens, get over it!“, temporary cosmic consciousness, inner stability over external circumstances, the Shamanic link of experiences between the Worlds.
Pertho (per'-tho) or Perthro "P"
Pertho (U): Dice cup, the lucky roll of the dice, the presence of positive Wyrd/Orlog (the ordeal of Humankind), the Norns, Urdr, Verdandi and Skuld, the realization of hidden potential, interwoven yet independent Wyrd, good fellowship and happiness, secrets revealed, the Well of Knowledge for growth.
Pertho (R): The presence of negative Wyrd, an unlucky roll of the dice, bad luck, secrets remaining secret, delusions, fantasies, megalomania, outside the collective/individual consciousness, out of touch with reality, negative forces set in motion, the need to deal with uncertainty, unpleasant contractions of birth pains.
Algiz (al'-giz) or Elhaz "Z"
Algiz (U): Protection, Heimo/Heimdall (the genetic connection between gods and the Folk), guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, protection, expansion of consciousness, divine realizations, an awakening, drawing on the natural Will, invocation/supplication to the gods, AKA Elhaz, the Elk, or swan.
Algiz (R): Outside the favor of Heimo/Heimdall, failure to integrate humanity with the Divine without divine protection, possible dangers lurking, lack of preparedness, without the need for protection, the inability to see/understand/connect with what‘s coming, an aspect of death, void of the power of the Elk.
Sowulo (so'-vool-oh) "S"
Sowulo (Irreversible): The Sun, Sonne/Sunna, a lightening bolt, victory, success, life force, confidence, optimism, the clear light of day, can be a destructive lightening flash (clearing), the will to victory, appearance of a guiding principle, guidance in journeying, spiritual guidance, and leadership.
3rd Aett: Ygg's Root of Re-Creation Teiwaz (ti'-vaz) "T"
Teiwaz (U): The God Ziu/Tyr, one handed god of war and honor, justice, valor, uncompromising in judgments, victory in conflict, the spiritual warrior, self-sacrifice, motivated by a sense of justice, law and order, bravery, honesty, evenhandedness, warfare as a part of evolution, mental and emotional order.
Teiwaz (R): Outside the favor of Ziu/Tyr, the god of honor, without victory in conflict, injustice, imbalance, mismanagement, failure, dishonesty, compromised judgments, defeat, warfare without purpose, legal dilemma, the inability to fight for what’s right, void of the will to succeed, double standards.
Berkana (berk'-ah-nah) "B"
Berkana (U): The feminine, Nerthus, birth processes, rejuvenation, growth, nurturing, mature wisdom, recuperation, purification, the birch tree, birth, becoming, life changes, the Earth Mother, the kind Mother, Frija/Frigga at her most Motherly, healing, bringing into being, a significant life passage.
Berkana (R): Problems with relating to the feminine, the maternal influence and the feminine mysteries, void of growth and caring, deceit, degradation, immaturity, deterioration, contamination, needlessly clinging, tough love Mothering, in need of Mothering, missing/ignoring a significant life passage.
Ehwaz (eh'-vaz) like the typical "Eh?" sound
Ehwaz (U): Horse, the special, controlled relationship between a rider and a horse, taking control of a situation, adaptability, following one’s instincts, teamwork, trust, loyalty, partnership, cooperation in relationships and with higher-powers, instinct, intuition, working in tandem with another, toward a single goal.
Ehwaz (R): The relationship of a horse and rider out of control, disharmony, quarrelsome tendencies, mistrust, betrayal, stranded, indecisiveness, false friends/unfriendliness, treachery, change and/or movement for the worse, loss, break-up of a relationship, disruption of relationships, indecisiveness, treachery.
Mannaz (man'-az) "M"
Mannaz (U): The human, Heimdall; our genetic connection, cooperation between people, the human intellect, awareness, kinship, the ability to work well within a social structure and be effective within it, social interaction and order, perfected intellect, attract support from your peers, Divine structure.
Mannaz (R): Problems relating with Heimdall and humanity, without cooperation between people, the inability to work within a social structure in an effective way, intellectual arrogance, bigotry, closed mindedness, failed social interaction and disorder; anti-social behavior and lack of Divine structure.
Laguz (lah'-guz) "L"
Laguz (U): A body of water, life ever-flowing; seen and unseen, the leek (a healing herb) the feminine, Nirdu/Njord, Nerthus, Ing Fro/Freyr and Walburga Frouwa/Freyja, emotions in tact, potential for life, magical workings, personal growth, the basic energy and secret source of organic life, feeling, intuition.
Laguz (R): A dried-up body of Water, difficulties with relating to the feminine, manipulation, lack of moral fiber, emotions out of control or suppressed, shallow minded, fear, deception, unsympathetic, totally void of growth, failing to go with the flow, frivolity, immaturity, disconnect with the Inner Self.
Inguz (een'-guz) or Ingwaz (eeng'-vas) "ing"
Inguz (Irreversible): Yngvi Ing Fro/Freyr, the god of Ar: prosperity, abundance, sexuality and fridu, gestation, the womb and the tomb, fertility, fruitfulness, peace and plenty, nature wisdom, sacrifice for the positive, completion of one stage and progressing to the next, internal growth, wait, enhancing male energy.
Inguz can also be seen as below and with the same meaning.
Dagaz (dag'-az) "D"
Dagaz (irreversible): Light of day, total enlightenment, awakening, the AH-HA moment, achieving balance, harmony, positive focus on life, light at the end of the tunnel, increase, growth, an ending prior a beginning, transformation, possibly related to the 3rd eye (the place where the two lobes of the brain join).
Othilla (oh'-thil-uh) or Odal "O"
Othilla (U): Home and heritage (spiritual or physical), family, the home within, nobility, the sacred enclosure, spiritual heritage, true kinship; genetic, cultural and spiritual inheritance, loyalty to family - tribe or village, group prosperity, order, interaction, or freedom, union/connection with the family of humankind.
Othilla (R): Problems in relating to home - heritage - spiritual heritage, and ancestors; Family difficulties, difficulties at home, shunning, unbalanced kinship, genetic disconnection, disruption of family ties - race - culture and the environment, racialism, alienated/disconnected with the family of humankind.