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Younger Futhork – Rune Meanings

The Younger Futhork consists of 16 runes and is a result of Scandinavian runic scholars shortening the Elder Futhark by 8 staves. This happened around the 7th and 8th centuries when others were expanding the Futhark to consist of 33 total runes.

When reducing the Elder Futhark to make the new Younger Futhork, only the less complex runes were kept and the more complex ones, like Dagaz and Gebo, were dropped. However, from this two somewhat different rune-rows were created, the Swedish-Norse and the Danish rune-rows. Since the two were so similar they are both classified as the Younger Futhork. It also should be noted that the order of runes had changed a little. We now see the order of the first eight runes to spell f-u-th-o-r-k and it is because of this that you will sometime see this rune set called the Younger Futhork (as I refer to it on this site).

Fé

Sound: “f”
Stands for: Cattle (or Money specifically gold)
Casting meaning: Like other similar runes of different sets, Fé represents cattle and money – a wealth. However it is slightly different because in this wealth we take into account actually monetary pieces such as gold. Fé is not all good, however, for it warns us how unbalanced wealth can cause problems even between family members.


Ur

Ur

Sound: “u”, “o”, “y”, “w”
Stands for: Drizzle (or Slurry)
Casting meaning: This rune represents how some things can develop from nothingness. Like the fertile soil that can be created from volcanic ash which in turn with a slight amount of water and sunlight can spawn growth.


Thurs

Thurs

Sound: “th”, “dh”
Stands for: Giant
Casting meaning: Like the giant, Thurs contains a lot of power and strength. It was often used in bindrunes or magic staves to bring extra power to the staves or bindrune.


Óss

Óss

Sound: “o” as in “oh”
Stands for: God and also Mouth
Casting meaning: This rune represents the power of communication, oral bonds, and the commanding force of word and song.


Raeidh

Raeidh

Sound: “r”
Stands for: Riding (as well as the means – Horse, Cart, etc.)
Casting meaning: Since this rune stands for the act of riding its symbolic meaning is one of a journey. A trip or adventure that we must undertake in order to further ourselves down a path we have set out on.


Kaun

Kaun

Sound: “k”, “g”
Stands for: Wound (or Sore or Ulcer)
Casting meaning: Although this rune stands for a wound we must understand that it is through the suffering of such a wound that we gain new insight. This rune represents just that, the new insight that we gain from an illness or wound.


Hagall

Hagall

Sound: “h”
Stands for: Hail
Casting meaning: Just like hail will eventually transform into water we need to see that situations in our lives will do just the same. They will make a transformation from something restricting to something that flows more readily for us. This is what Hagall represents, a transformation of a situation into something more simple.


Naudhr

Naudhr

Sound: “n”
Stands for: Need (or Distress)
Casting meaning: The rune Naudhr represents not only need but the bondage we may fall into if we let the need of something overtake our lives.


Is

Is

Sound: “i”, “e”, “j” as in the “y” in “year”
Stands for: Ice
Casting meaning: Ice is unchanging and restricting and like ice this rune embodies the resistant power that tries to prevent change.


Ar

Ar

Sound: “a” as in “ah”
Stands for: A good year
Casting meaning: Ar is a rune of good results that come from the application of using our skills and knowledge at the proper time. Like the lush crops of a fall harvest resulting from the fertile soil and well timed planting season.


Sól

Sól

Sound: “s”
Stands for: Sól – the Goddess of the Sun
Casting meaning: This rune stands for the Sun Goddess called Sól in Scandinavia and Barbet in Germany and the Netherlands. It is a rune that signifies directed action under spiritual control.


Tyr

Tyr

Sound: “t”, “d”, “nt”, “nd”
Stands for: Tyr – A Scandinavian God
Casting meaning: In the world of the cosmos this rune represents orderliness. In the physical world this rune signifies law and order.


Bjarkan

Bjarkan

Sound: “b”, “p”, “v”, “mb”, “mp”
Stands for: Birch Twig
Casting meaning: The birch twig represents rebirth and purification as does the rune Bjarkan. It is also a woman’s rune symbolizing gestation and birth.


Madhr

Madhr

Sound: “m”
Stands for: Man (as in human, not gender)
Casting meaning: This rune stands not only for humankind but also represents the mythical “first man,” Mannus (or Mannaz). Since it represents humankind it symbolizes the continuity of the family and clan.


Logr

Logr

Sound: “l”
Stands for: Power of water
Casting meaning: Unlike other “water runes” this rune concentrates on the power of water – waterfalls, ocean wave, flowing rivers. It is a purification or washing away of unwanted or unneeded thing, a way to cleanse oneself.


Yr

Yr

Sound: “z”, “r”
Stands for: Bow made from a Yew Tree
Casting meaning: This rune has the same meaning as the Anglo-Saxon rune Yr. It is the entrance to the underworld and in this form is a death rune.


Elder Futhark – Rune Meanings

The Elder Futhark consists of 24 runes divided into three groups of eight, known as an ætt (singular of ættir), which are said to be ruled over by both a god and goddess. The first ætt is ruled over by Frey and Freyja, the deities of fertility. The second ætt is ruled over by Heimdall and Mordgud, and the third and final ætt is ruled over by Tîwaz and Zisa.

I have added to this page the color associations for each rune. The first color will be the color that I have assigned to the rune and the one in parentheses is the color assigned by the author D. Jason Cooper in his book Esoteric Rune Magic. If there is are no parentheses for a second color that simply means that my color choice is the same as Mr. Cooper’s.

Fehu

Fehu

Sound: “f”
Stands for: Cattle
Color: Green (Brown)
Casting meaning: Fehu is a rune of power and control. It represents new beginnings and “movable” wealth such as money and credit. It is a rune that gives us the power we need to obtain wealth as well as the power we need to hold on to it.


Uruz

Uruz

Sound: “oo”
Stands for: Auroch (like a wild ox)
Color: Orange (Dark Green)
Casting meaning: Uruz is also a rune of power, but unlike Fehu, it’s a power that we can neither own nor control. In a casting it can mean that personal success is near. For charms and talismans use Uruz for its healing powers.


Thurisaz

Thurisaz

Sound: “th”
Stands for: Thorn (or Giant)
Color: White
Casting meaning: This rune represents the ability we have to resist unwanted conflicts in a passive manner. It is a rune of protection and can tell us of a possible change that would have otherwise come without warning. You can use the protection aspect of Thurisaz as a defense against adversaries.


Ansuz

Ansuz

Sound: “aa” as in “aah”
Stands for: Mouth (or Divine Breath)
Color: Purple
Casting meaning: Ansuz is a rune that symbolizes stability and shows us order. It is also a rune that indicates intellectual activities and directly represents the divine breath of all life and creation.


Raidho

Raidho

Sound: “r”
Stands for: Wheel, Cartwheel (or Riding)
Color: Blue (Black)
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to focus our energy so that we may obtain our goals. However to do so effectively we must be “in the right place at the right time.”


Kenaz

Kenaz

Sound: “k”
Stands for: Torch
Color: Yellow
Casting meaning: Kenaz is a rune of knowledge, understanding, learning and teaching. It allows us to view situations with more clarity than we normally would.


Gebo

Gebo

Sound: “g” as in “gift”
Stands for: Gift
Color: Gold & Silver (Red)
Casting meaning: Gebo represents the honor and connection that is created between people when they exchange gifts. The connection and honor is similar to the connection and honor that a person has with the gods for giving them life.


Wunjo

Wunjo

Sound: “w”, “v”
Stands for: Joy
Color: Pink (Blue)
Casting meaning: This rune shows us the balance between all things even when in a chaotic world. It is also a rune of fellowship, common goals and well being to all things. If you come across this rune in a reading you can expect good news to come your way.


Hagalaz

Hagalaz

Sound: “h”
Stands for: Hail, Hailstone
Color: Blue (White)
Casting meaning: Representing a hailstone we can expect time and situations to be constricting if Hagalaz turns up in a reading. But much like a hailstone will eventually turn to water, which flows smoothly, these situations and times will eventually flow smoothly for us.


Naudhiz

Naudhiz

Sound: “n”
Stands for: Necessity (or Need)
Color: Black (Blue)
Casting meaning: This rune represents how our need or want of something can put a restriction on us. It restricts our possibilities but also contains the power we need to break free from those restrictions.


Isa

Isa

Sound: “i”, “ee” as in “east”
Stands for: Ice
Color: Brown (Black)
Casting meaning: Like an icicle formed at the start of winter, with this rune we can only wait until the warmth of the sun allows us to be free from a constricting form. Isa represents a halt in activity until a change is made.


Jera

Jera

Sound: “j” like the “y” in “year”
Stands for: Harvest (or Year or Season)
Color: Brown
Casting meaning: Jera is a rune that represents the cycle of life. With this rune we see that we must go with the flow of nature to obtain the goals we want.


Eihwaz

Eihwaz

Sound: “eo”, “æ”
Stands for: Yew Tree
Color: White (Green)
Casting meaning: Eihwaz is a rune that can be used as a magical protector and facilitator. It shows us that in the event of an ending situation we find the start of a new situation.


Perdhro

Perdhro

Sound: “p”
Stands for: Dice Cup (there are many variations)
Color: Blue (Red)
Casting meaning: Perdhro reminds us of the uncertainties in life and represents freewill and the connection of the restrictions we have due to our circumstances. It is viewed as a rune of memory and problem solving.


Elhaz

Elhaz

Sound: “zz” as in “buzz”
Stands for: Elk (or Protection)
Color: Black (Purple)
Casting meaning: This is a rune of great restraint power, defense and protection. Use this rune in charms and talismans to protect yourself as well as your property.


Sowulo

Sowulo

Sound: “s”
Stands for: Sun
Color: Yellow
Casting meaning: With the help of this rune we tend to be able to see things more clearly. Like the sun sheds light on dark times, with Sowulo we too can find the light during dark times.


Teiwaz

Teiwaz

Sound: “t”
Stands for: Creator
Color: Green (Red)
Casting meaning: Teiwaz can promise us success in our actions but this time without personal sacrifice. It also means success in “legal” matters but only if we were in the right to begin with.


Berkana

Berkana

Sound: “b”
Stands for: Birch Tree (or Birch Twig)
Color: White (Blue)
Casting meaning: Like the birch tree coming to life from a seed planted in the earth, Berkana represents a new beginning and is also a powerful birth rune.


Ehwaz

Ehwaz

Sound: “e” as in “every”
Stands for: Horse
Color: Red (White)
Casting meaning: Ehwaz reminds us that in order for success there must be a natural flow in the task at hand. With this rune to give us power as well as it making use of our good intentions we can surely achieve such success.


Mannaz

Mannaz

Sound: “m”
Stands for: Man (as in human, not gender)
Color: Blue (Purple)
Casting meaning: Mannaz has many powers. First it is a rune that lets us know we can achieve our fullest potential. Secondly it reminds us that we, as humans, all have shared experiences in life. Lastly we can use the power of this rune to gain the upper hand in disputes and arguments.


Laguz

Laguz

Sound: “l”
Stands for: Water (or Lake)
Color: Black & White (Green)
Casting meaning: Laguz represents the power of water and its easy flowing nature. We must learn to “go with the flow” when this rune shows up in a reading so that we can take full advantage of our powers.


Inguz

Inguz

Sound: “ng” as in “long”
Stands for: Fertility
Color: Brown (Black)
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to spread our energy out far and wide. It is a protective rune mainly for the protection of our homes. To use Inguz effectively we must learn to build up our powers over time and then release the power all at once.


Dagaz

Dagaz

Sound: “d”
Stands for: Day
Color: Yellow
Casting meaning: Dagaz represents a stability between opposites, such as light and dark. It can stop harmful energy from getting to you but at the same time allow the good energy to slip through so that you can make good use of it.


Othala

Othala

Sound: “o” as in “old”
Stands for: Home (or Odla – sacred ancestral land)
Color: Copper (Brown)
Casting meaning: Much like Fehu this is a rune of wealth. But unlike Fehu, Othala represents a wealth that cannot be sold. This is wealth like family, friendships or our culture and heritage that is passed down to us. It represents an enclosure and maintains the existing state of things as they presently are.


Runic Half-Months

I forget where and when I read about the concept of runic half-months and I really wish I could remember so that I may give some credit to the author here. However, I feel that this idea is too great to leave off the site simply because I can’t remember where I read it.

How does it work? The idea is simple: There are 12 months in a year and 24 runes of the elder futhark. Which means that each month contains two runes, or each rune has a half-month where it represents the time, season and events of that month. A similar action can be held true for the hours in a day, which will be covered in another section (24 runes, 24 hours in a day).

Runic Half-Months
Runic half-month start date* Rune
January 13 Perdhro
January 28 Elhaz
February 12 Sowulo
February 27 Teiwaz
March 14 Berkana
March 30 Ehwaz
April 14 Mannaz
April 29 Laguz
May 14 Inguz
May 29 Othala
June 14 Dagaz
June 29 Fehu
July 14 Uruz
July 29 Thurisaz
August 13 Ansuz
August 29 Raidho
September 13 Kenaz
September 28 Gebo
October 13 Wunjo
October 28 Hagalaz
November 13 Naudhiz
November 28 Isa
December 13 Jera
December 28 Eihwaz

For those of you who are new to the runes and wish to learn more – well use this table to your advantage. Read and learn as much as you can about the rune that relates to the half-month you are currently in. Learn the different names and symbols for that rune, the color and sound associated with it and even try to commit the rune meaning for casting to memory. It sounds tough, but trust me it’s a great exercise.

Timeline of Rune History

This is only a brief timeline of the runes. I will be adding more as this site continues to grow so please be sure to check back often.

5th century B.C.E.
In the Alpine region the ‘alphabets’ known as North Etruscan, North Italic or Alpine come into existence. Later these ‘alphabets’ will play an important role in the development of the runes.

4th century B.C.E.
The Alpengermanen are thought to have come into contact with Alpine (or North Italic or North Etruscan) ‘alphabets’ and made use of them.

3rd century B.C.E.
There is a fusion between the Alpine alphabets and the pre-systemized runes forming the 24 staves of the Germanic or Elder runes. A bronze helmet found at Negau in Steiermark that was dated to possibly the 3rd century B.C.E. was inscribed in a Germanic language with Alpine lettering.

2nd century B.C.E.
Rome conquered Etruria and brings in the Roman alphabet. However the letters of the Etruscan alphabet may have advanced north through traders.

Near the end of the 2nd century B.C.E. Germanic survivors of the battles of Vercellae (the Cimbri) and Aquae Sextiac (the Teutons) stay in the area. The Cimbri, before crossing the Alps back towards Germany, may possibly have learned the runes and passed them on the Suevi.

1st century B.C.E.
The Cimbri, Suevi or possibly the Teutons advance the runes northwards down the Rhine river. At this same time the Marcomanni move the runes eastward. A goblet found at Vehlingen with a runic formula is dated to the 1st century B.C.E.

1st century C.E.
The Roman author Tacitus writes his “Germania 10” in which he gives an account of the divinatory methods of the ancient Germanic people. Also in this work it is presented that although men carried out the rituals Tacitus may have witnessed, women were held in high regard for their holiness and gifts of prophecy.

200 C.E.
A lance tip carved with runes is found at ØvreStabu in Norway and is said to date to this time.

400 C.E.
Around this time Rome is looted by people who are familiar with the runes. These people may have taken some Roman letters and incorporated them into rune lore. Also the Kylver stone, a Gothic grave slab in Gotland, shows us the first f-u-þ-a-r-k (f-u-th-a-r-k) order.

550 C.E.
A gold medallion found in Vadstena Sweden shows the three families of runes separated by double dots.

800 C.E.
Earliest date of a purely Norse rune-stave inscription.

1000 C.E.
Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem is written.

3rd century C.E.
By this time the runes have made their way to Denmark, Jutland, and Scandinavia by traveling along North Sea costal routes consisting of the Frisian Islands, Heligoland Bay as well as across Schleswig-Holstein.

6th century C.E.
Saxons bring to England the 28 rune-staves of the futhork that was developed in Friesland.

9th century C.E.
Development of the 33 rune-staves in Northumbria.

Early in the 9th century the use of the Germanic Futhark comes to an end. However, after a short transition an entire Scandinavian rune-row comes into existence mainly based on the Germanic runes.

11th century C.E.
Icelandic rune poem is written.

13th century C.E.
Norwegian rune poem is written.

16th century C.E.
Runic inscriptions in Gotland date to as late as the 16th century.

17th century C.E.
Runic inscriptions in Iceland date to as late as the 17th century.