Introduction to the Runes

1994 by Susan Granquist

Okay, here goes. Rule number one. Don't take anything I, or anyone else, say(s) as being anything except personal opinon based on study. Use it as a beginning point to discover the connections you have.

Another warning involved in runework. Don't use or cut runes for magical spells until you are *completely* sure of what it is that you're doing and what they mean.

There are a number of Futharks. The word is spelled in a couple of different ways, but that one will do. An elder futhark has been identified which consists of twenty-four runes. But, just as our alphabet consists of 26 letters, there are *lots* of extra letters that we throw in when necessary. Combined letters, variants, symbols that allow us to write words that can't be expressed with the 26 letters for one reason or another.

The group which consists of the futhark and the ones outside it are the "rune-hoard". The twenty-four have been drawn and defined. That doesn't mean that you have to be limited to those, but it is a basic place to start, and one that everyone that uses runes is aware of, even if they don't use the 24-rune Futhark. Some futharks have fewer then 24, notably the "Younger Futhark" which consists of 16 runes.

Even if they do use the 24-rune Elder Futhark, some change the position of Othala and Dagaz. The different runes have slight variations in the names. So I'm going to use Edred Thorsson's books, Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology, and At the Well of Wyrd. I would recommend all three as a good place to start since the majority of Rune Users are familiar with the work... even if they disagree with some aspects or with Thorsson on other issues. Futhark is the first and should be read before the other two.

The Elder Futhark is divided into three groups or three "aettir". Runic codes develop from using the rune number within its recognize group, but that can come later. It is important to remember that each rune has an assigned place in the Elder Futark and that there are reasons for learning the order. There are some difference is shape also. But we can go into that on individual rune discussions. This is a basic Furthark, although a little odd looking because of the way it has to be done with slashes and lines. They are all straight lines and come to points.


        | / / |\    |   |     |\             \     /     |\
        |/ /  |  \  |   |\    |  \     /      \   /      |  \
        |/    |   | |\  |\ \  |  /    /         \/       |____\
        |     |   | |/  |  \  |/\     \        /  \      |
        |     |   | |   |     |   \     \     /     \    |
        |     |   | |   |     |              /        \  |



        |   |   |    |    /         |\    |\   /  \  |  /    /
        |   |  \|    |   /          | \   |  \/     \|/     /
        |\  |   \    |   \   \      |     |          |      \
        |  \|   |\   |    \   \     |     |          |       \
        |   |   |    |        /   \ |     | /\       |       /
        |   |   |    |       /     \|     |/   \     |      /



        /|\  |\   |\   /| |\   /|   |\            |      |    /\
         |   | \  |  \/ | |  \  |   |  \    /\    |\    /|  /    \
         |   |/   |     | |/   \|   |     /    \  |  \/  |   \  /
         |   |\   |     | |     |   |     \    /  |  / \ |    \
         |   | \  |     | |     |   |       \/    |/    \|   /  \
         |   |/   |     | |     |   |             |      |  /     \


They number from left to right, top to bottom. Thorsson gives the names and sounds in his books generally as:


Number Name Sound/Letter
1 Fehu f
2 Uruz u
3 Thurisaz th
4 Ansuz a
5 Raidho r
6 Kenaz k
7 Gebo g
8 Wunjo w
9 Hagalaz h
10 Nauthiz n
11 Isa i
12 Jera j/y
13 Ihwaz i
14 Perthro p
15 Elhaz -z/-R
16 Sowilo s
17 Tiwaz t
18 Berkano b
19 Ehwaz e
20 Mannaz m
21 Laguz l
22 Ingwaz 'ng'
23 Dagaz d
24 Othila o


I generally think of them in the more anglicized term, but all of the names are basically recognizable. If I slip and use one of the other names, ask if it isn't apparent which one it belongs to. I will try to stay with these, although I think adding alternative names and shapes would be a good idea, as we go along.


   |    /
   |  /       Fehu  (GMC) property, cattle
   |/   /     Faihu (GO)  cattle, property or wealth
   |  /       Foeh  (OE)  cattle, or money
   |/         Fe    (ON)  livestock or money
   |          Sound: f


The basic meaning is wealth in the sense of money or currency. Cattle were a measuring of one's wealth. Fee, a payment, comes from this term. as a distribution of wealth as does fellowship and friendship, wealth of another kind.

Gold, being one of Freya's attributes is also associated with Fehu. Sharing or "loaning" cattle to others who then returned the cattle with "interest" in the form or a larger herd or other property was a way of increasing wealth. Those who herded the cattle and kept them safe were thought to have magical powers to call and to protect the cattle. This is money or wealth that comes form one's energy and use of resources. Since cattle breed, and from cattle come more cattle, it could also represent the concept that 'money makes money.' Freya (or Frey) is also represented by this first rune in the aett of Freya (or Frey). Many first letters of alphabets have similar meanings.

Cattle were considered suitable for sacrifice, and as offerings at festivals. Audhumla, the primal cow is also represented by Feoh, a creative force, it can be a dynamic shaping force.

In divination it can represent any of those forces.


    |  \            GMC     Uraz   the auroch
    |    \          GO      Urus   the auroch
    |      \        OE      Ur     ox, bison
    |       |       ON      Ur     drizzle, rain
    |       |
    |       |       Primal force, strength.
    |       |
    |       |       Sound:  u, v  oo
    |       |


The auroch was a wild ox, very large and very fierce, in description it sounds very much like the Longhorn. Uruz is associated with the primal creative force, primitive, earliest or original. The German ursprache used linguistically to refer to "original sounds." In the Oxford English Dictionary Ur also refers to the unarticulated sound which would also be apt. It is also an archaic form of "our."

Audhumla, the great cow which was fromed form the dripping rime produced from fire and ice. She was the "shaping force" that licked the ice into the primal giant, and was the source of sustenance for the cosmic giant Ymir.

It is a spiritual or creative force which pervades the universe, something like "mana" of the Polynesian traditions, a vital essence. The shape is likened to the horns of the primal cow or the auroch.

The runemaster or magician learns to control or direct it with the knowledge that it can be dangerous, and though controlable, it is undomesticable. It represents force and freedom, or a force always straining to be free if contained. It is protective, as the auroch, when used in defense of one's territory or children.

I associate it with the primal well, Urth.

In a runic reading it is a formative or protective force, unmanifested but which can shape things to come.


     |         GMC   Thurisaz    The strong one, giant
     |\        GO    Thuith      The good one
     |  \      OE    Thorn       Thorn
     |    \    ON    Thurs       Giant
     |   /
     | /       Phonetic value:   _th_ as in "thorn"
     |         Asa-Thorr, the enemy of unfriendly forces.
     |         Thorn on a branch or Thor's hammer


Thurisaz is a force of defense and destruction. "Bramble" or thorny bushes were used to "fence" and protect boundaries. One form of Norse/Germanic execution was to throw criminals "into thorns". Thor is the god that protects sacred enclosures in much the same way that the thorny hawthorne, blackthorn, or rose does. It is the thicket that protected Sleeping Beauty's castle, the hedge that surrounded sacred enclosures.

The thorn or the "spindle" was used to put "sleep" spells on beings, even those on a cosmic level, and was equally a thorn of awakening.

No matter how beautiful the rose, one should be careful to watch for thorns.

The TH-rune is also associated with the thurs, (pl. thursar) or a "giant" in the Old Norse. There were several groups of these beings, the "rime-thurses" or frost-giants, were wise (or witless..according to various sources) and very old and who fought with the gods. They are primal forces, elemental in nature.

Thorn is a rune of testing and challenge, as well as protection and defense.


      |\              GMC   ansuz:  a god, ancestral god
      |  \            GO    ansus:  a runic god name
      |\   \          OE    os:     a god
      |  \            ON    ass:    a god, AEsir
      |    \                ansur   a mouth or the mouth of a river
      |               Phonetic value
      |               Windblown cloak, Odhinn, inspired speech


This is the rune of inspired speech and incantation as a creative expression. It is is linked with the ancestors, the magic of speech which passes along knowledge with the breath of life, the passing of knowledge through the spoken word, as differentiated from the written.

It is the rune of the poet, the saga, the syr, those of inspired speech. It thus represents the ecstasy of inspiriation, the "swan song" chanting out one's life as he or she prepares to meet death, the first cry of a newborn baby. It is whistling in the dark to banish fear. It encompasses the power of suggestion and sublimination.

It is the rune of the Wild Hunt, the movement of the gods/goddesses who ride the howling winds, gathering lost souls and those newly released from life back into the arms of the ancestors who await them with horns of mead and pleasurable company.

Magically it increases the active powers and ond, inspires speech, writing and poetry. It can be used for the acquisition of inspiration, and understanding.

Divination: Inspiration, enthusiasm, transformation, manipulation, encouragement, compassion.


   |\          GMC    raidho   wagon
   |  \        GO     raidha   wagon, ride
   |   /       OE     radh     a riding, way
   | /         ON     reidh    riding, chariot
   |\                 rad/raed wheel/vehicle
   |  \
   |    \      Phonetic value   "r"
               A cosmic chariot, solar chariot, the wheel of stars
               A chariot of a god or goddess
               Estatic journey


Rhythm and movement are important to the concept of Raidho. The sound and dance of the estatic traveler who is carried on a circular journey. The spiral journey of the sun on it's annual course from North to South and back, as in the journey of Nerthus and Freyr's processions. It is the wheeling of stars around the cosmic axis. It can be thought of as the chariot of Thor or Freya or any other cosmic "transportation." As the chariot is primal forces controled by conscious thought.

It can mean a possible or necessary journey in a reading, or transportation. It can mean a path or road, a way through a dilema. It can be a journey in consciousness, or a change in viewpoint.


       /       GMC  kenaz      torch
     /         GO   kusma      swelling
   /           OE   cen        torch
    \          ON   kaun       sore, boil
      \             kaunaz


The Gothic and Old Norse names are "secondary" according to Thorsson, internal fire, inflammation, etc. The terms were drawn from rune poems.

It is the flame of transformation and regeneration. It is associated with kin and the sacred fires of sexual generation as well as the "kith and kin" who gather around the hearth. It is the flame of the forge, the volcano and deep earth energies. It is the controlled flame of the artist and craftsman. It "breaks out" in unexpected ways, and holds the power to create and/or destroy. It is a primal force of creation, in the myths it is fire and ice that produce the life force.

Ken in English and kennen in German are also terms meaning "to know." They are also realted to OE Cen, "to know" or "to beget." It is a fire that is expressed in physical forms, and knowledge that although intuitive is obtained through physical means and experience.

Magically it can bring about change, or effect a transformation, or create. It must be used carefully and in a controlled manner or it will break out with destructive results.

In divination It can be a symbol of a sexual relationship or the product of that relationship. It can be a craft or a creative outlook. It can be the "barrier" that must be crossed to reach the inner secrets of the shaman or hero on his journey through the labryinth darkness.


  \     /       GMC   gebo     gift, hospitality
    \ /         GO    giba     gift
    / \         OE    gyfu     gift, generousity
  /     \       ON    gipt     gift, wedding

                Phoenetic sound  "g" as in "gift."
                Exchanged gifts


Gebo represents hospitality, generousity and giving. It is the joining of giver and the one who receives. As Thorsson points out in Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic it also has the meaning of a gift from the Deities, particularly through union. He relates the gift to the wisdom received by the hero from the valkyrja.

It is a form of the solar wheel used traditionally on the saffron colored sweet rolls which celebrate the changing of the seasons and the gifts of grain and wealth from the gods which is given back in the form of sweetened offerings.

It is a symbol of exchanged vows, marriage, ecstacy both physical and mystic. In the Norse traditions a gift required "a gift."

In divination it can represent sacrifice, giving and receiving, exchange, marriage, partnership, increase because of consolidation.

Magically it would be used to promote harmony, bring about union, receive divine instruction and gifts, increase magical power.


   |\             GMC  wunjo:    joy
   |  \            GO  winja:    pasture
   | /             OE   wynn:    pleasure, delight
   |               ON   vend:    (a rune name) joy, hope
   |                (Not in the younger row)
   |                Phonetic value:  w


Happiness and joy, glory. The battle well-fought and won. A wand. Prosperity and good fellowship. Peacefullness.

There is a term in Anglo-Saxon, wuldortanas, which is "glory twigs." which many experts associate with the rune.

It is especially good in bind runes for ensuring victory. ON vendor Vindr, "Wind." As such wynn, or vend, can be visualized as a wind-vane, which shows "which direction the wind is blowing." Wend, also means to change the direction of something, to turn or to run with or against the wind. To change one situation into another, is another use of Wunjo both magically and in divination.


 |   |
 |   |       GMC   Hagalaz      hail, egg (?)
 |\  |       GO    Hagl         hail
 |  \|       OE    Haegl        hail
 |   |       ON    Hagall       hail
 |   |
             Phoentic value:  "h"


The Anglo-Saxon rune poem refers to "hail" as being "grain" which falls and turns into water after being tossed about by wind. The layered nature of a hailstone was recognized, as well as the potential for destruction and the transformative qualities. The concepts that surround Hagalaz recognize that the destructive potential for hail out of season is balanced by the potential for transformation that will bring new fertility and growth.

It can be seen as representative of the cosmic "egg" that primal layered egg of ice that was transformed in combination with fire. Out of the primal chaos which we think of as destructive comes a tangible force that carries the potential for destruction and/or transformation. The transformation from destruction to fertility comes after "being tossed by the winds," and in its own season

Hagal reprents a dramatic event or trauma which comes from outside your own immediate perceptions. It represents a deep reshaping. The rune is deeply integrated into the mysteries of renewal through destruction, the shaman who, like Odin, loses all in order to find his or her own personal power. It is the rune of winter, the grain of that season.

It is a crystaline form, one that is sharp and hard, yet clear and possibly deadly. It is one of the runes that can not be reversed nor turned upside down.

I also read it as the rune of the bridge of the cosmos, the dangerous path between worlds or experiences which can bring transformation or destruction. It was used in weather magic to ward off hail, even by Christians.


   |         GMC        Naudhiz       need
 \ |         GO         Nauths        necessity, need
   \         OE         Nyd           need, distress
   | \       ON         Naudh(r)      distress, need, constraint
   |         Phonetic value "n"


Naudhiz is another of the cosmic forces which is recognized as being a "shaping" power which form the fates of the world and mankind. It is associated with the Nornir who are the "shapers." In the rune poems it represents the layerd concept of necessity providing the friction that leads to transformation. It represents the fire bow which engenders the "need-fire."

It is a rune of desire that produces the "need-fire" that drives a man or woman to obtain that which he or she desires. It is strongly associated with love magic, and the driving desires that produce not only the heat of sexual desire, but that of the desire to obtain or achieve. It is representative of the "spinning tree" or the windy tree which was the source of all fertility. The fire that combines with the cosmic ice to achieve transforamtion.

If directed, and used with knowledge and wisdom, the need-fire becomes creative and procreative. If used unwisely it can become a force for destruction burning to useless ashes.

Another of the runes that can not be reversed or turned upside down, it is the worker's own will that is paramont in directing the force. It can be used to obtain a lover, to elimante hate and strive, develop will and resistance.


  |    GMC   Isa         ice
  |    GO    Eis         ice
  |    OE    Is          ice
  |    ON    Iss         ice
  |    Phonetic value:  "i" as in "ee" (deed).


It is the primal ice, the icy stream (or glacier) that flows from Niflheimr. Is is an "elemental" rune. It's form can be seen in nearly all of the other runes. It is associated with the rime-giants, the hrimthursar and the wisdom of age. Ice can be considered "static" as many do, however, ice whether one is speaking of the rune or of actual ice is a mysterious substance. Isa can bring things to a halt, or place something in suspension. But the mysterious flow of the glacier is also inherent in Isa, as it is realted to the primal stream. Ice can also be an expansive force, or one that crushes anything caught in its grasp.

It can provide a bridge over an expanse of dark water, or a dangerous trap. It is self-contained, and as such has the power of control and constraint. It should be used cautiously.


            \         GMC    Jera     the (good) year, harvest
              \       GO     Jer      year
     /        /       OE     Ger      year
   /        /         ON     Ar       year, (good) season
  \       /
    \                 Phonetic value:  'j' or 'y' as in 'yard'


It is the completion of a cycle, a season, or a year, representing the dymanic rotation and changes of the cycles. It is the fruitful completion of a cycle, or the eternal contrast of opposites which provide a whole. It is invoked for a good season (or harvest) and is associated with fertility. The Old Norse name ar is similar to 'ari' which is the ON word for eagle, a solar symbol.

Magically it is used to invoke fertility and increase, or to bring something to fruitation or completion. It can bring peace and harmony. It represents the nearly universal law of harvest. What was sown will be reaped.


     |  \    GMC  Eihwaz or iwaz       yew tree
     |       GO   Eihwas               yew tree
     |       OE   Eoh or eow           yew tree or mountain ash
     |       ON   ihwar                yew (in runic inscription only)
     |       Phonetic value is uncertain, "e/i"
  \  |


Eihwas represents the spinning World Tree, Yggdrasil. It is the axis about which all else revolves and spins out of. It contains the mystery of life and death. It is a life giving force which has its roots in the Underworld and death. The yew is a powerful stave of protection and banishing, not only because of its association with the forces of life and death, but because of its association with the bow made of yew wood.

Magically it can be a rune of wisdom when invoked in accessing the mysteries of Yggdrasil. It provides protection, and can help increase personal power and defense. It suggests the passage and communication between different worlds and layers of reality.


   |\   /
   |  \/     GMC  perthro    device for casting lots
   |         GO   pairthra   dice cup
   |         OE   peordh     chess man (gaming piece)
   |  /\     ON      *       (Not in Norse futhark)
   |/   \
             Phonetic value: 'p'


Pertho is one of the mysteries of the runes. As a container with the lots of life, pertho represents the vagaries of chance which can not be controlled. However the pieces fall, the player must move boldly taking what is cast and make up for in skill and wisdom any lack in the casting itself. It contains the mystery of the Nornic runes. It is the rune of the vitki, the one who seeks the mysteries of the cosmos through the understanding of synchronicity. It is the rune of the warrior who constantly tests himself against chance and luck.

Magically it is luck in action, or gambling. It is the mystery of luck and life.


  \  |  /
    \|/      Germanic name:  Elhaz,  elk; or algiz,
     |       protection.


The Old English name, "elk-sedge" is a kenning for sword. It represents a two-edged blade. It can be seen as the godhi or gydhja in the attitude of addressing or invoking the gods. Thorsson gives the esoteric interpretation of the name as the protective forse, valkyrijur. It can represent the splayed hand, the horns of the elk, a swan in flight, a divergance or convergence of paths or forces. It is a sign used to promote victory and protection.

The Gothic word "alhs" or sanctuary. It is used to strengthen magical power and luck, as well as the life force.


  /          GMC  Sowilo     Sun
   \         GO   Saugil     Sun
     \       OE   Sigil      Sun
       \     ON   Sol        Sun
    /        Phonetic value "s"


The S-rune is that of the sun, part of the solar wheel. Both the words "sol" and "sunna" for the sun in Old Norse are feminine in nature as were the cosmic forces represented by the sun. It is the counterforce to Isa, or the cosmic ice. The S-rune is often connected to the lightning bolt, or a flash of inspiration or ecstacy.

It strengthens the spiritual and psychic powers and abilities, increasing spiritual might. It provides "enlightenment" and success through individual will. The sun is refered to as the White Sow even today in Scandinavian countries. It is a rune of education and understanding, as well as one that transforms ice to water, a transformative force. It can represent high achievements, honor and obtained goals.


  /  |  \     GMC  Tiwaz    the god Tyr
     |        GO   Teiws    the god Tyr
     |        OE   Tir      the god Tyr (OE Tiw) glory
     |        ON   Tyr       the god Tyr
     |        Phonetic value: 't"


Ideographically, it represents the vault of heaven intersepted by the world tree or axis. A spear point, or arrow. The pole star.

The T-rune is primarily one of justice since Tyr is the Norse god who presided at the thing, (the Germanic general assembly). Judgement was not always arrived at by discussion, judgement by arms was a common concept to the Norse/Germanic cultures. It is associated with the idea that "justice will prevail."

The Old English Rune Poem, says Tir is a star, it keeps its faith well. It is always on its course over the mists of night. It is represents the guiding principles which are steadfast and can be relied on to judge one's position.

Magically it can be invoked where justice should be done. In divination it will mean judgement, matters of law, decisions, or guidance.


  |  \    GMC  Berkano,   birch, the birch goddess, birch twigs
  |  /    GO   bairkan    birch twig
  |-      OE   beorc      birch tree
  |  \    ON   bjarkan    runic birch goddess
  |  /                    (from ON bjork: birch)
          Phoenetic value: "b"


The B-rune is related to the Great Mother, the Earth Goddes. It is the mother of manifestation and of birth and rebirth. The birch tree was often planted before a home to protect it in Scandinavian countries, and the custom continued to be observed in America where settlers built new homes.

It is used in "birthing" new ideas, bringing them to life.

Magically it is used in protective work, and in concealment spells, promoting safety and secrecy. It can represent or bring about a rebirth in spirit, as well as the renewal of spring after a period of winter.


   |\    /|
   |  \/  |     GMC  ehwas        horse, or ehwo: the "two" horses
   |      |     GO   aihwas       stallion
   |      |     OE   eh           war horse
   |      |     ON   ior          horse (not found in Younger Futhark)
   |      |
                Phonetic value "e"


Ehwo is associated with "twin" gods or heroes, the divine twins, or two horses. The Saxon conquers of Britain were Hengist and Horsa (stallion and horse). It is the harmonious relationship between two forces. The ehwas was connected closely to the concept of a man's fetch, the "horse" that carries one on the journey between worlds. It is the rune of Sleipnir. With its close connection to the horse it is also a symbol of fertility, and partnerships.

It facilitates "soul travel" or the shaman's journey. As such it can be used to obtained hidden knowledge or knowledge from a distance.

It can represent a journey in consciousness, a swifter flight then that of Raidho, and one that is protected or guided.


   |\    /|
   |  \/  |     GMC  Mannaz      Human, mankind
   |  /\  |     GO   Manna       Man, Human
   |/    \|     OE   Mann        Man, Human
   |      |     ON   Madhr       A Human being
   |      |
   |      |     Phonetic value  "m"


The Old English Rune Poem says: (Mann) is in his mirth dear to his kinsman; although each shall depart from the other. It is a rune of the human existence, of which life and death are both part. It is the rune of mortality. It also represents interdependence and support, as well as duty and responsiblity. No individual is independent of others, each is part of a larger pattern.

The similarity to Dagaz should be noted, here, the cyclical pattern is "smaller" the microcosm of mortality compared to the larger cycles of the cosmos.

In divination, Mannaz can represent either an individual (man or woman) or a group. It can also represent the inner qualities that represent one's connections to other people. Is is a rune of assistance and can indicate a need for assistance or a willingness to assist.

Magically it invokes assistance, and bonding with the community. It is a rune of social order and can invoke cooperation.


   |  \     GMC  laguz    a body of water (or laukaz: leek)
   |        GO   lagus    water
   |        OE   lagu     sea, water
   |        ON   logr     sea, water (or laukr: leek)  law, (ON log)
   |        Phonetic value "l"


The sea and other bodies of water, like the earth, were considered a source of wealth and fertility and an expression of the unconscious and undiscovered mysteries of life and death. The Aegir, the gods and goddesses of the sea, both gave and took life and offered fertility and wealth. They were the brewers and the Norse looked at the foaming vat of beer and related it to froth of the ocean.

It represents ebb and flow, and dark currents. Laguz can be the water in a well, bubbling up from secret depths, or dark and still reflecting the querent but revealing nothing beneath the surface. It seeks its own level, taking the path of least resistance at times, at other times sinking into the earth to rise in a distant place. The ship burials, and stone "boat" graves reveal the assocation of water with the journey of death, a rite of passage.

Representing the Well of Wyrd, laguz holds all the secrets of the unconscious and the collective or universal knowledge. It represents psychic abilities. It is the ale which can be charged with runic knowledge.

Magically it can be invoked to develop second sight and psychic powers. In divination it is the unknown, the primeval water of birth and creation as well as death and the abyss.


      /\      GMC  ingwaz           the god Ing
    /    \    GO   enguz or iggws   the god Ing, a man
    \    /    OE   Ing              the god or the hero, Ing
      \/      ON   Ing, or Yngvi    the god Ing (a title of Freyr)

              Phonetic value "ng" as in "long"


Ing is associated with Nerthus as well as Ing. The circuit of the wagon that was associated with their respective worship represented the "king's circuit", the walking of the bounds, or the circuit of the sacred wagon which insured fertility to the land.

It is a rune of ritual embodiying action on behalf of the earth and mankind. Just as the greening of the earth follows the northerly progression of the sun, and retreats in it's wake, the rune is one of movement as well as action and reaction.

It is a rune of invocation and action, as well as responsiblity. It is a rune of warmth and inner fire. It can be used to stimulate the growth of slumbering abilities into full growth.

In divination it represents a gradual change or an adherence to ritual or ceremonial responsiblities.


   |\         /|
   |  \     /  |   GMC  dagaz     day
   |    \ /    |   GO   dags      day
   |    / \    |   OE   daeg      day
   |  /     \  |   ON   dogr      day (not in Younger Futhark)
   |/         \|
                   Phonetic value "d" and voiced "th" as in "then"


Dagaz refers to the a day, a period of darkness and light, since the Norse counted their days from evening to evening, with the mid-point being dawn and the rising of the sun. It is the rune of awakening, and metaphorically, rebirth.

It is a rune of paradox, the balancing of opposites and movement, not as contraditions and opposition, but as counterbalances and compliments. It represents light, paradox, syncretization. It is the rune of "clear vision" and "enlightenment." It represents time and space, and the weaving movement of the loom of life.

In divination it is the rune of polarization, of sunlight and good fortune. It can be invoked to bring new invoke an awakening of the senses.

Often, Dagaz is found as the last rune of the futhark, which is the position that I prefer. However, since I used Eldred Thorsson's arrangement and names as a basic place to start from, I have maintained the arrangement that he uses most often.


      /    \    GMC  othala      ancestral property
      \    /    GO   othal       property
        \/      OE   ethel       homeland, property
       /  \     ON   odhal       nature, inborn quality
      /    \                     (not in Younger Futhark)


Othala is the rune of the sacred enclosure, the homeland, the village, the homestead. It is the family group, its customs, lands and language as well as the duties and responsiblities that go along with maintaining family ties.

It can be used to invoke a solid and peaceful family or group life, and to continual growth and prosperity. It is the "inherited" wealth that comes from one's ancestors, the customs as well as property or physical attributes. It represents the wise management of family assets or one's family or kin.

Hail to whoever spoke them, hail to whoever knows them!
Gain they who grasp them, happy they who heed them!

The Sayings of Har - str 163

The Anglo-Saxon Futhark added nine extra runes and some alternate forms of the runes that are found in the Elder Futhark. Several of the runes take on slightly different forms.

Os (Ansuz) takes on a slightly different form with the addition of upward lines, while Aesc is the form that was Ansuz and Ar and Aes are added to the end of the Futhark


   |\               Is Ansuz or "Os" in the Anglo-Saxon futhark
   |  \    /
   |\   \/   /             instead of:   |\
   |  \    /                             |  \
   |    \/                               |\
   |                                     |  \
   |                                     |
   |                                     |
   |                                     |



   |\                 Ac  phonetic value "a"   Oak Tree
   |  \    /
   |\   \/   /
   |  \    /
   |    \/



   |\                 Aesc   Phonetic value "a" as in "at"
   |  \
   |\   \             Ash tree, or primal human material
   |  \
   |    \



   |  \              Yr     Phonetic value "un" gold decoration
   |    \                   Primal human material
   |      \
   |      |
   |  |   |
   |  |   |



   \   |   /
     \ | /           Ior    Phonetic value "io"  serpent
  -----|-----               Midgard serpent
     / | \
   /   |   \



   .           .
  /\    .|.   / \    'Ear  Phonetic value "ao" or "eo"
     \ / | \/              "earth-grave"



  \   .|.   /         Cweorth  Phonetic value "ao" or "oe"
    \/ | \/                    "fire-twirl"



       |              Calc    Phonetic value "k"
       |                      chalk, cup, or crystal goblet
     / | \
   /   |   \



  |\        /|
  |  \    /  |        Stone   Phonetic value "st"
  |    \/    |                stone, or altar stone
  |          |
  |          |
  |    /\    |
  |  /    \  |
  |/        \|



   \         /        Gar     Phonetic value "g"
     \ / \ /                  Spear, Odhinn's spear
      /\ /\
      \/ \/
     / \ / \
   /         \