A bag of runes and crystals

Rune Meanings: Getting To Know The Elder Futhark

At some point in your journey through The Craft, you’ve probably heard mention of runes. This is especially true if you follow the Norse traditions of paganism.

Runes are an incredibly diverse tool for anyone walking the paths of the ancient ways. Runes can be used for divination, charms, and talismans. They can even be used as a system of writing to give a little flair to your book of shadows.

I’ll talk more in future articles about how to use runes for divination and for charms/talismans in the form of bind runes, but for now, let’s get to know the runes.

A Quick History Of Norse, Nordic, & Viking Runic Alphabets

Like everything in life, runes have evolved over time. Starting with the elder futhark, evolving into the younger futhark, and even into an Anglo-Saxon form, to name a few. Most commonly, in my experience, the elder futhark is what is typically used by pagans/witches in modern times which is why this chart focuses on this version.

The below chart gives you the written representation of the rune, the common name used for the rune, the letter that corresponds with it, the tarot card to go with the rune, and a basic breakdown of the meanings of each rune.

As you are exploring the runes, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • These are the common meanings that go with each rune but that does not mean this is set in stone. I highly recommend you take your time and meditate with each rune to get to know it. We are all unique with different life experiences so we may have two different personal meanings to the runes. So let this be a place to start but evolve the runes in a way that speaks to you when it comes to using them
  • Before you begin to utilize the runes actively, really get to know them and understand how they are used. Jumping in a little too soon, like anything in The Craft, can be challenging. So keep things simple and don’t get overcomplicated when doing something like creating bind runes/sigils.

Elder Futhark Runes, Symbols, & Meanings Chart

Below is a chart that gives you some basic information on the commonly used runes within paganism and witchcraft. 

RuneRune NameLetterTarotMeaning
FehufTowerAbundance, accomplishment, creativity, luck, prophecy, wealth
UruzuHigh PriestessEnergy, vitality, healing power, purification, strength, well-being
ThurisazthEmperorChange, defense, quest/adventure, self-work, willpower
AnsuzaDeathBlessings, inspiration, knowledge, messages, omens, wisdom
RaidorHierophantCommunication, guidance, quests, travel, unity
KenazkChariotClarity, creativity, enlightenment, illumination
GebogLoversBalance, generosity, gifts, relationships
Wunjov/wStrengthTo activate, awaken, change, freedom, inner-harmony
HaglazhWorldTo activate, to awaken, change, freedom, inner-harmony
NaudiznDevilEndurance, limitations, boundaries, needs, self-imposed obstacles
IsaiHermitChallenges, introspection, release
JeranjFoolJoy, friendship, happiness, light, inner peace, success
IhwazaeHanged ManDefense, guardian, trust, responsibility, strength
PerthropWheel of FortuneDecisions, illumination, secrets, inner-transformation
Algizz/xMoonDefense, control over emotions, protection, purity
,SowilosSunLife energy, success, well-being, wholeness
TiwaztJusticeBattle, war, enmity, honor, justice
BerkananbEmpressBeginnings, fertility, growth, pregnancy/children
EhwazeLoversChange, progress, improvement, marriage, relationships, support, transformation
MannazmMagicianCreativity, intelligence, self-work
LaguzlStarEmotional balance, creativity, fertility, intuition, justice/law, magic, relationships, strength
IngwazngJudgementSelf-awareness, fertility, growth, family love, success
OthilanoMoonHome/ancestral land, introspection
DagazdTemperanceBeginnings, changes, cycles, endings, light, transformation
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