The Runes of the Elder Futhark

The Runes are an ancient writing systems used by the Germanic peoples. Beyond being on ordinary alphabet, the runes also stood for certain ideas or concepts.

Those meanings help explain the relationship between those forefathers and the natural and spiritual worlds around them.

(Why yes, this is a complete non-sequitur, but you might learn something new and that’s all good – right?)

The origin story of the runes is summarized nicely by the Norse Mythology for Smart People website.

The name ‘FUTHARK‘ is no more complicated than amalgamation of the first six letters of the runic alphabet itself.

The 24 runes are divided up into 3 equal groups, or aetts. Each one named for a god or goddess in the Norse Pantheon.

First up is Freya’s aett.

Fehu ‘F’    Freya’s rune, domestic cattle, position and power by your own hand, earned

Uruz ‘U’    Auroch’s horns, forces beyond our ken that affect us

Thurisaz ‘Th’     Thor’s rune, the Thorn, protection inside, projection outside

Ansuz ‘A’  Odin’s rune, awareness, insight, inspiration, intuition

Raidho ‘R’ the charioteer, travel, ability to organize, ordered thought/motion like poetry, dance, music

Kenaz ‘K’  the Torch, controlled fire, shaping fire, bending nature to your will

Gebo ‘G’   gift, sacrifice, giving in order to get

Wunjo ‘W’’V’   strength through joy, camaraderie, fellowship, pleasure

Next comes Heimdal’s aett.

Hagalaz ‘H’         Hail, the union of opposites fire & ice. That which we understand but is still beyond our control

Nathiz ‘N’ Determination, need, self-reliance, to endure what must be done

Isa ‘I’         Ice, perfect stillness, to turn inward to seek clarity

Jera ‘J’       To reap what is sown, cycles. To enjoy the fruits of your labors

Eihwaz ‘EI’        To have your feet firmly planted, the yew with roots deep, reliability

Perthro ‘P’ The cup, the Feminine mysteries, hidden things

Elhaz ‘Z’   The horns of the Stag, upwards and onwards, instincts driving the higher self

Sowilo ‘S’ The Sun, transformation, constant movement

Lastly, Tyr’s aett.

Tiwaz ‘T’  Tyr’s rune, authority, honor, leadership

Berkano ‘B’  Birch. Green shoots, the promise of new beginnings, the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth

Ehwaz ‘E’ The 2 horses, separate but working towards the same goal, as in marriage. Harmony, trust, teamwork

Mannaz ‘M’        Memories and the Mind of man coming together, your relationship to others

Laguz ‘L’   water, flowing from one consciousness to the next

Ingwaz ‘NG’       Male energy, seed energy about to burst potential to kinetic, introspection and a new direction

Dagaz ‘D’  opposites having a common, Day and Night coming together, balance

Othala ‘O’ The hearth, ancestral property, the sacred enclosure, home

The sad thing about exploring pagan history is that much of it is lost. Even the meaning of the runes themselves are up for debate. Much of what we do know comes from only a few sources. Primarily among the Icelandic Edda’s, there is a group of stanzas from the 13th century called ‘the Havamal‘.

Consequently, a modern Norse Pagan is forced encouraged to walk his own path and flesh out the meaning of the runes for himself.

It is here that I have conflated many ideas with the Virtues of the Roman Republic.

All this in order to hammer out a way that makes sens to me. To cobble together an indigenous set of standards to live by separate from the Abrahamic orthodoxy.

This is the ‘Troth'(oath) I live by.

Let's get things nice and sparkling clear