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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.


Picking a Rune Set

If you plan to buy a set of runes at some bookstore, like Barnes & Noble, you’ll most likely be buying a set of the Elder Futhark runes unless it says otherwise on the box/set. The reason for this is that the Elder Futhark is a good starter set as well as being a good set for all around castings. If you buy a set from some new age shop (online or at a store near you) you should have a choice of different sets. If you do it this way then it is important that you get the rune set that is right for you and the type of casting that you will be doing.

The first question you may have is “How do I know which rune set is right for me?” Well, take a look at a few things. Do you plan to have more than one set in case you want to do different readings? Is this just a simple interest or do you plan to further your study on the runes? Are you going to be making your runes?

If you plan on making your runes, I strongly suggest that you start by making the Elder Futhark runes. The reason is that this set if good for any cast that you will do. There are 24 runes in this set so you can ask simple, general questions as well as specific, in-depth questions and still get a good reading. If you plan to be asking a lot of more vague questions then you can get by with a smaller set of runes like the Younger Futhork. If the questions you have are going to be more specific then you may want to use a set that contains more runes, like the Northumbrian runes, which contain a total of 33 runes.

The next question to look at is “Will I be using ‘reversed’ runes in my readings?” Like some uses of the tarot cards, the runes can be reversed if you choose to use them in such a way. However, be aware that some runes are always ‘upright’ no matter which way they land. This is because of the shape of the rune. One such rune is Gebo, which looks like a large “x”. Any way this rune lands it will appear that it is ‘upright’. I have not included reversed rune meanings in the rune meanings section because I personally do not use them. If you’d like more information on the reversed meanings of the runes, you’ll have to find a book that contains that information.

You should also look the rune set itself. Do you like the way the runes look and feel to you? Does the material your set is made from matter to you? Do you prefer to have a small set or a large set? Do you care for the history behind the set? Also take a look at the uses of the runes, a set like the Medieval Runes of Healing and Magick Set were not used for casting so you obviously won’t choose to make or buy a set of that type to cast with.

The last and most important thing when picking a set is to make sure that you’re comfortable with it. Make sure you pick a set that you’re interested in and that you know really well (or want to learn really well). The more you use your runes, the more you’ll start to understand what they are trying to tell you. Even experienced rune casters need time to get familiar with a new set. Each set has a different “personality” and it’s up to the caster to figure it out.

Armanen Rune Set

The Armanen rune set, like other sets, has a difficult history to pin-point where and when it was established. Some will say that this set was originally developed by Guido List, while others will tell you that List followed the previous works of a scholar named Johannes Bureus. However, either way you look at it List’s work varies enough from previous scholar’s work to make the Armanen rune set one worth having a look at.

Gudio List (1848-1919) was the founder of a school of German rune work. The contributions to the study and preservation of the runes may be one of the reasons that we know as much about the runes as we do today. That’s not to say that all that List had taught was to be held as truth. In fact List claimed that his Armanen rune set was not only older than the Elder Futhark but that his set had laid the groundwork for the Elder Futhark as well as other rune sets.

It is said that the Armanen rune set came to List in a vision one day after he had become temporarily blind from an eye surgery. He envisioned 18 runes that were said to be the original rune set and the most ancient script for the Aryan race. However, if we look closely at the 18 runes we’ll notice that List simply took various Scandinavian rune sets, used from those sets various rune staves and then added 2 more to get a total of 18 rune staves for his set – which incidentally is the number of runes talked about in the Hávamál (Sayings of the High One – Part of the Elder Edda).

As far as the divinatory meanings for List’s runes we can see a close connection to the meanings of the Younger Futhork. However, with List’s set there are different meanings for daemoniums (reversed runes) as well as different names1. The use of this set among Germans and people in German speaking countries seems to be very widespread. However, since this set has ties to Socialist German, the Nazi party and in some aspects even to Hitler, we see this set being used less by modern day rune casters.