The Rose Pentacle

Runes - The Elder Futhark

A (Very) Brief Overview 

 The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabet. It was used by Germanic tribes from modern day Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Northern Germany between the 2nd to 8th centuries. They have been found as inscriptions on artifacts such as jewelry, amulets, tools, weapons and runestones. In Scandinavia, the script was simplified later to the Younger Futhark around the late 8th century. The knowledge of how to read the Elder Futhark was forgotten, and it was not until 1865 that a Norwegian scholar managed to decipher them.

(photo compliments of Photobucket free share)

 The name "futhark", like the word "alphabet", is derived from the first few letters in the runic sequence. The runic alphabet is also divided into 3 sets of 8, know as “aetts”. They are referred to as Freyr’s Aett, Hagal’s Aett and Tyr’s Aett. Unlike our own alphabet where the letter stands for sounds from which words are formed, the Runic Alphabet symbols not only had “letter assignment”, but also stood for objects, items or ideas. There are 24 Runes in the Elder Futhark, however many modern practitioners of Runic Divination also include a "Blank Rune" for symbolizing  "The unknown". It is important to note that there was never a blank run in the original Elder Futhark or any other direct derivation of the runes, and it is a personal choice as to whether nor not to use one in your divination practices.

 According to the Poetic Edda, in order to find the runes, the god Odin hung from Yggdrasil (The World Tree) for nine days without food or water, pined to it by his own spear. He had to peer into the very depths of himself and sacrifice himself before being released from Yggdrasil and receiving the runes.

 Today, the runes have been rediscovered as a symbolic system that has been used as a means of divination. They differ from other known methods such as Tarot cards in that they provide a key to understanding the lives and beliefs of the ancient people who created them. In many ways they are a greater natural connection to the ancient ways. There are many methods of using the runes; casting, drawing or actually laying them out in spreads. To go into each method would take far more space than we have here, but there are several excellent books on not only method, but also mythology and magick.

 Below you will find the Elder Futhark pictured with key-word meanings. After familiarizing yourself with the basics and with further study you will find more in-depth meanings and translations for The Runes.You will also find varied spellings, but most are similar enough to recognize


(Contributed by The Crystal Crone)

The Elder Futhark

  Fehu -

wealth, possessions, abundance, prophecy

  Uruz -

strength, changing form, transformation, health


 Thurisaz -

gateway, awakening, breaking barriers


 Ansuz -

signals, inspiration, new vision

  Raido -

Journey, larger perspective, rationality

  Kenaz -

opening, creation, fire of life, transformation


 Gebo -

partnership, gifts, blessings


 Wunjo -

Joy, fellowship, secret knowledge

  Hagalaz -

disruption, untamed power, strength

  Nauthiz -

constraint, need, resistance

  Isa -

standstill, self control, unity

 Jera -

harvest, time of peace and plenty, reward

  Eiwaz -

defense, enlightenment, endurance

  Pertho -

initiation, evolution, knowledge of future paths

  Algiz -

protection, awakening

  Sowilo -

wholeness, guidance, goals achieved

  Tiwaz -

warrior, justice, self-sacrifice

  Berkano -

growth, new beginnings, renewal

  Ehwaz -

movement, teamwork, trust loyalty

  Mannaz -

the self, female wisdom, awareness,  memory

  Laguz -

flow, quickening energy, life power

  Ingwaz -

fertility, internal growth, gestation

  Dagaz -

breakthrough, prosperity, fulfillment

 Othala -

aid in spiritual and physical journeys