Fehu ~ Cattle
(”Fay-who”). Fehu donates material possessions, income either earned or won, financial matters, concern over finances, money, prosperity or goals. It is very much a material rune, concerned with worldly possessions, ambitions and goals. It may relate to property or more basic possessions like food, a place to live, paying bills or savings. It is a positive rune, one that signifies future income or strenght in any of the above matters. Reversed: May denote a loss of some material possessions or future weakness in material matters.
Uruz ~ Wild Ox
(”OooRooze”). Uruz displays all the qualities of a wild ox – strength, brashness, head first, wildness, freedom, primitive mind. The aurochs (ox) once roamed Europe and are believed to have been small than an elephant with large tusks, possibly prized as drinking horns. Uruz is the first hint after Fehu that there is more than just material possessions in the world for Uruz is the God of the Hunt. Hunting aurochs may once have been a rite of passage for young men. Reversed: When this rune is in reverse it can mean the qualities of the ox in excess – brute force, overly agressive, lust, violence and sudden violent actions. It may also signify that the ox qualities have not reached their full potential therefore weakness, sickness or a level of entrapment and power held in check may underlie the reading.
Thurisaz ~ Giant
(”Thoor-e-saws”). This is the first of the obstacle runes and signifies that in order to achieve there is a certain level of sacrafise that must be undertaken. Obstacles are placed in front of us in order to challenge us and through challenge, we grow and learn. We must allow life to take its course, even when that course can lead us through a rough patch. It is a cleansing rune, for having gone through the tough patch, having overcome the challenge, there is an element of clarity and fulfillment, of achievement. It is a reactive rune because our response is a reaction to the event before us. Reversed: Can symbolise danger from the outside or another person. Also pause before undertaking a challenge, do not react instantly but take time to think the problem through.
Ansuz ~ Ancestral God
(”Awn-saws”). The ancestral God was thought to be Odin and this rune portends an enlightening message or inspiration. A solution may become apparent, or intelligent words or messages may appear shortly. Odin”s first gift to humans was the breath of life and this rune is a reflection of that – what knowledge we held in the subconscious we may become aware of. We may hear oracles in other people”s words. Illumination on a problem may be forthcoming shortly. Things will fall into order after the chaos of Thurisaz. It may also mean a strong figurehead or authority figure. Reversed: Delusions or mis-interpretations of words. Misunderstanding in communications. Take time to ensure you have the message and are not imposing your own desired outcome on a problem.
Raidho ~ Chariot
(”Ride-ho”). Physical or spiritual journey. Travel either physically or in the mind. Your life may be about to take a new direction, path or turn. Raidho symbolises the direction our inner self tells us to take. It reminds us of our journey in life and how all life is interconnected in a complex web of paths. By being conscious of the interconnection between the paths of life, we see a larger perspective, we become more conscious of our own path and how it affects all others. Reversed: When this rune is reversed, it tells of a path that is blocked or interrupted. There may be a crisis or disruption to our journey, whether that comes physcially or mentally.
Kenaz ~ Beacon
(”Kane-aws”). Kenaz is the light in the dark. It is the beacon that brings new insight into a problem or throws up a solution. While Ansuz is a revelation of a higher level, Kenaz is revelation on a worldy level, where the solution to a problem presents itself. A common analogy for this rune is a light (beacon) going off over somebody”s head. Sudden illumination of the solution appears in an instant and the problem is solved. Kenaz also tells of the light that we share with others. When we understand the beacon before us, we naturally lead others to the light, we act as light bearers. We may at once see the light and turn towards the light, encouraging others to follow. Goodness and truth are associated with this rune as are transformation as we understand the light that comes to us. Reversed: When Kenaz is reversed it tells or a dimmer light. Illumination may not be clear, or there is work to be done before understanding of the light is achieved. Reversed, Kenaz is Moon light that we catch a glimpse of between the clouds shifting. We have an inkling the solution is there but there is something covering it over. A delay in illumination requiring patience or more effort to discover the solution to a problem may be required.
Gebo ~ Gift
(”Gay-bo”). Gebo signifies a gift or exchange. In the wider sense, this means gifts, exchanges, contracts, swaps, purchases and sales. In a non-material manner, we may have to give a little in our relationships in order to receive in return. It can mean exhange of time for good-will, labour for money, a bit of give and take in our relationships. Gebo is an ”X”, symbolising where our paths cross with others. Our intersection with them means we have to accomodate them so that both parties can continue on their journeys. Marriage, engagements and relationships are common themes of this rune. Gebo also tells us that their is a cost to everything. If we give a gift, we give up something in giving that gift. If we marry, we give up a little bit of freedom. If we exchange contracts, we must pay our side of the deal or produce the product we sell. Reversed: Gebo cannot be reversed. In opposition, it may mean that we are becoming too greedy or selfish. We may be over sacrifising ourselves for an exchange, we may be too generous. Gebo in opposition warns us that we may not be happy with the current exchange, that the balance to the swap doesn”t sit right with us. In relationships, Gebo warns of disruption and imbalance, that the natural give and take of a relationship is out of kilter.
Wunjo ~ Joy
(”Woon-joe”). Wunjo is a positive rune, particularly in relationship readings. It tells of joy and comfort, an inner satisfaction. Wunjo is the last of the first aett and finishes it with temporary stability. We are on an even keel, things are pleasant and in balance. Because the story of the runes is not finished however, Wunjo can be read as a temporary phase of balance. Although we are currently satisfied the journey is by no means finished. Our health may be good, our life is harmonious, relationships are comforting and trusting but be aware that the the current situation may not last. Even though the situation may be temporary, this should not diminish the good nature of this rune and the sense of satisfation and fulfillment it portends. Reversed: There may be a delay in achieving joy, a frustration blocking satisfaction in our relationships, health or work. Strife may come first, a battle that we have to go through before we attain joy.
Hagalaz ~ Hail
(”Haw-ga-laws”). A rune loaded with destruction, uncontrolled forces, trials and tribulations. Radical change or a crisis may be on the way. It is not a rune of total disaster, though the turmoil may be great. Lying between Kenaz (fire) and Isa (Ice) there is a meaning that only through turmoil and difficulty can character be forged, can the proper outcome be found. Through short term battles, the longer war will be won. Hagalaz is the first rune in the second aetts and so there is an element of confronting the past about it. Diffulties or strife may be related to past actions and choices, ones that must be faced or overcome before the correct path reveals itself to you. Reversed: Hagalaz cannot be reversed but in opposition it may warn of strife with a negative outcome.
Nauthiz ~ Need
(”Now-these”). Nauthiz speaks of delays and frustrations on a personal level. Nothing is going to plan and we need to be patient and learn from the experience. There is a gap between what we have and what we desire, even when what we have is plenty. In that sense, Nauthiz warns of being greedy and blinkered to what is already around us. It guards us against wishing our lives away in wanting more and more. Nauthiz points to things being out of kilter. We have become complacent, travelled the wrong path, become too self centered. Perhaps we have settled into the comfort of Wunjo too much and forgotten about the rest of the journey we must take. Reversed: In the reversed position, Nauthiz warns that factors affecting our situation may be outside our control and we must be patient. Nauthiz reversed may also point to extreme stress or a large divide between want and need.
Isa ~ Ice
(”e-saw”). Isa is the ice coming over you. Things are at a standstill, projects are stalled, progress is a distant glimmer. It is the writer”s mental block, when ideas, solutions and options are conspicuous by their absense. Isa tells us that we have to overcome the problem ourselves. Help cannot arrive through the thick ice so we must turn inwards in order to solve our problem. Isa is a harsh rune and reinforces other runes around it, moving the focus onto us to find the right path rather than relying on external forces. Reversed: Isa cannot be reversed but it opposition it warns us of being too subservient to outside forces. We need to exert our own control and make our own decisions and path in life.
Jera ~ A good harvest
(”yaer-awe”). After the deep freeze of Isa, life begins to move. Just like the seasons and the harsh weather conditions in the Northern climes, the wheel of the year keeps turning, the seasons continue changing. From the barren ice, new life springs forth, the ice melts and life goes on. Jera is that transformation – the movement, vitality, new life of Spring. In readings, Jera is the fruitition of earlier work. It is the break through we wait for, that small achievement that tells us we”ll make it. Actions and events happen on in a cycle for us, just like they should, just like Spring follows Winter. Jera tells us that Spring does not suddenly jump into life one day, but occurs incrementally over a period of time. It pays no heed of man”s calendars but comes to life of its own accord, step by step, day by day. And so our movement may not be record breaking, it may not be spectacular, but slow steady progress is being made. Reversed: Jera cannot be reversed but in opposition may mean being stuck in a routine. There is an element in this rune that says we reap what we have sown so misdeeds in the past may revisit our lives.
Eihwaz ~ Yew Tree
(”I-waz”). Eihwaz in the middle rune in the Elder Futhark and marks the passing from one phase to the next. Initiations, adulthood, moving from childhood or any type of transition is signified by the rune. Eihwaz is more than just a transition though. It denotes transformation and the Yew Tree is a symbol of this. Nordic cultures looked upon the Yew Tree as a symbol of strength, immortality, life and death. With roots in the ground and its branches in the sky, the Yew Tree was evergreen and thus living through the harsh winters. Its berries were the color of blood. Eihwaz therefore symbolises something deeper than a mere transition from one phase to another. It speaks of the period where we have to dig deep in order to survive. The Yew Tree lives through the bitter winters by having deep roots. We may have to rely on our inner strength to get through a difficult time. We may even leave a piece of ourselves behind. The childlike innocence is lost in our move to teenager and on into adulthood. There is a clear contrast between Jera and Eihwaz. Jera is horizontal in nature. Eihwas speaks of movement but more in a vertical manner – earth and sky, the dead and the living, earth and heaven. Given the Yew Tree”s life through the winter, this rune is sometimes used to connect with spirits past. Reversed: The rune cannot be reversed, but inverted, may speak of a tougher transition or one with a less than positive outcome.
Perthro ~ Lot cup or vulva
(”Perth-row”). The basic image for this rune is that of a vessel or womb. Scholars are divided as to whether the the original meaning was a lot cup for shaking dice, or a symbol of the womb. The controversy arose because the P sound occurs nowhere else in the ancient Germanic language meaning the word was imported, possibly from the Slavic for vulva, ”pizda”. So there is are two common understandings of the rune – one a cup for dice leading to interpretations of luck, mystery, divination and determining your future. The other centres around the vulva and of giving birth, fertility and new beginnings. Combining the two has led to interpretations of pregnancy being announced or engagements. The common theme between the two is of something new being revealed or discovered. Reversed: Unlucky gambling outcomes, loneliness stagnation. Perthro reversed warns us against becoming too attached to the ”good things” in life, whether they be of our senses or our possessions.
Algiz ~ Protection
(”All-yeeze”). Also known as Eihaz (”Ale-Haws”). Scholars suggest Algiz represents the hand reaching up for protection or another image is that of a double edged sword. In both cases, the message of the rune is one of protection. Assets, friends, status or honor may need protection. This rune is more of a spiritual nature rather than one suggesting we need to protect material goods and possessions. The vertical nature of the rune lends itself towards reaching up to the divine for protection suggesting that we seek shelter from non-material threats. In that sense, the rune speaks of relying on inner strength, strength that may have originally come from the divine or strength that we have accumulated from our journey through the runes to this point or strength we have gained from life”s challenges. As a double edged sword, the imagery is one of a sword that slices through the air, again portraying the protection sought as coming from the mind or inner strength rather than physical defence. The double edged sword or the branches in the hand reaching up remind us that there are always options. We need to be sure that we are choosing the right path in our decision because there is always another route, perhaps one that is easier, more selfish or more tempting. Reversed: Algiz reversed warns us that we may be choosing the wrong path, the easier path. Perhaps we are being selfish or we are unaware of threats against us. We may be conscious of physical threats but ignorant of the danger of words, thoughts and slander against us.
Sowilo ~ The Sun
(”So-Wii-low”). In just about every culture the Sun represents life force, energy, masculinity, the fire within us. Sowilo is no different. This rune suggests power, honor, health, victory, positive choices. The association of the Sun with God in pagan cultures hints at an element of connection with the divine. Sowilo is the end of the second Aett and similar to the first Aett and its last rune (Wunjo), Sowilo ends the Aett on a positive note. Sowilo is a more active rune than Wunjo. Perhaps we are aware of the victory we have achieved, how far we have come, the challenges we have faced and come through. With Wunjo, we may have had a lesser understanding of our journey, but Sowilo suggests we have fire in our spirit and an awareness of where we have come from and where we are going. We are invigorated, dedicated and have the inner character to bring our project to fruition.
Reversed: Sowilo cannot be reversed but in opposition may indicate a false dawn or false success. We may be celebrating too early or be too arrogant in our position. We may have been misled.
Tiwaz ~ The god, Tyr
(”Tea-waz”). The first rune of the third and final Aett literally means ”The god, Tyr”, one of the oldest Gods of Norse mythology. This is the rune of honor, justice, faith, loyalty, all the noble characteristics. If we have to sacrifice to reach our noble goals, we will. With this rune, we seek to clear out all that drags us down, our bad habits, immoral actions, past misdeeds and focus on what is right and proper in our actions. Tyr was the God of Law and Justice. This rune ensures the scales of justice will be balanced. Tyr sacrificed his hand to ensure that the Fenris Wolf was chained. In this spirit, the rune suggests that there will be self sacrifice to ensure the correct outcome. Tiwaz points to the courage we need right now. Reversed: We may be over sacrificing or justice is being delayed. Conflict may be coming our way. Tiwaz reversed may also suggest we are lacking courage, that we need to be stronger. While we may know what is right, we also need to ”do” what is right.
Berkano ~ The Birch Goddess
(”Bear-kane-oh”). Berkano symbolises the Birch Goddess. A rune of fertility, beauty, regeneration and new growth. The interpretation should not be restricted to the material but apply to the spiritual and mind also. It is the diving female, beautiful, healing, nurturing, giving life to the Spring and providing growth through the darkness of winter. It is no surprise that Birch produces leaves at the end of winter and is widely associated with fertility. Incidentally, witches were thought to ride brooms made from birch, such rituals perhaps deriving from earlier fertility rituals centered around jumping over birch staffs to signify how high the crops should grow.
Birth when signified by Berkano is not just a physical birth. New enterprises, projects, undertakings, new life choices and decisions to follow a different path are all births. Berkano is a great healing rune. Reversed: There may be a lack of growth in a project, business, mental path, or undertaking. Wounds may remain open. Profits may decline. Berkano also hints that it is a bad time for new undertakings.
Ehwaz ~ Two Horses
(”Aye-waz”). Indicates transportation and movement in general. Could mean specific transportation items like car, planes, boats or movement in a wider sense like movement in relationships, work, family life, moving house, moving ideas and thoughts. Horses have been used by just about every culture as a means of adding strength to their work, transportation and travelling long distance. A good horse was a prized possession and the animal was respected and treated well. Ehwaz reminds us to treat the movement under consideration with respect for the value it will bring to us. Man working with horses is also a symbol of teamwork and cooperation. We may be undertaking a journey (physical or mental) with somebody else and teamwork should be a desirable thing. This rune reinforces the runes surrounding. Reversed: Delays or frustrations in journeys are hinted at. Maybe a different path or change is desired or needed. In relationship matters, there may be betrayals or disharmony.
Mannaz ~ Mankind
(”Mawn-naws”). This is the rune of the self or humankind. It denotes the web of relationships that exist between us all and indicates our attitudes towards we deal with. Mannaz also hints at a wider web, that between us and the gods and the spirit world. We should be aware of possible messages or oracles, of our place in the net that binds us all. Gebo can be seen in the rune symbol, but Mannaz is a wider interpretation of the exchanges and transactions we have with the world at every moment – from when we dump our trash into the earth to our thoughts on the divine to the deeds we undertake every day. In readings, Mannaz is a good rune for studies, awareness of ourselves, seeking hidden mysteries. Reversed: Mannaz reversed warns of falling into the dark side of man, where we become selfish, cruel, uncaring towards others. It warns of ignorance of our place in the web, that we are taking for granted the knowledge we receive and learn each day. Reversed, it can also urge us to look to ourselves for guidance and inspiration rather than relying on the external world.
Laguz ~ Water
(”Law-gooze”). Water is associated with universal consciousness, psychic visions, reflections and deep meaning. It is linked with the primordial ”soup” from whence we all came. Laguz suggests to us that we need to look at our reflection in the water and tackle that which does not reflect well within us. We may have psychic dreams or awareness that comes from a deeper level. Water, in its more turbulent forms, can be frightening. Laguz also warns us we must overcome that fear and tackle the storm, we must overcome things that are troubling us on a deeper level and resolve them so that we can continue to grow spiritually. We may be feeling that things are beyond our control, that we are being tossed about the waves of the sea in the middle of a storm but Laguz tells us that we must calm our fears and wait for the storm to pass. Reversed: Our inner troubles or past experiences prevent us from growing.
Ingwaz ~ The Earth God
(”Ian-gawazz”). Ing is the Danish or Anglo Saxon name for Freyr, who was the God of agriculture and fertility. Ingwaz is very much a rune of fertility, growth, love and nurturing or protective instincts. On a deeper level, Ingwaz reminds us of our connection to the gods and where we came from. At its centre, Ingwaz is a rune of balance, one that suggests to us that we must keep our balance with nature and the gods. The legs reaching up and down reminds us that we have a connection to both above and below yet everything remains in balance. The four legs extending have also been tied to the four directions, the four elements in witchcraft, fire, water, air and earth (with the fifth, spirit being the centre of the rune). On a material level, Ingwaz encourages us to bring projects to fruition, with patience and care. It is not a rune that says we should rush things or attempt to force the pace of projects. Reversed: Ingwaz cannot be reversed but in opposition may warn us of being caught up in ourselves or of being too protective. It can also mean problems with fertility or projects.
Dagaz ~ Dawn
(”thaw-gawz”). Dagaz represents the new dawn as directed by your will. It is the morning that you get up, brimming with a new plan of action and can”t wait to put it into practise. Jera was a rune of regular change, of the seasons turning on the annual wheel of life. Dagaz is movement as directed by you. It is movement created by you. It suggests change, awareness, awakening. It is also used as a rune to symbolise light. If the rune relates to a project, Dagaz suggests we are about to overcome any obstacles in our path and implies fulfilment. When this rune appears to us, we should set our standards at the highest level, standards that ”illuminated” by the light. Dagaz as related to the divine symbolises the divine light, which may be guiding our path.
Reversed: Dagaz cannot be reversed but in opposition may warn that the change is coming to someone unprepared. The light, completion or fulfilment symbolised by Dagaz may be delayed.
Othala ~ Ancestral Property
(”Oth-awe-law”). Othala is the idea of our ancestral property. That may be a home or some possession of ours. In a wider sense, Othala represents where we came from, our link to the past, the heritage we carry with us from those that have gone before us. Like Fehu, Othala is a rune of wealth and may suggest a valuable heritage or possession. Othala represents wealth in the sense of past wealth that has been accumulated. Fehu is the wealth we gather up during this life. As the final rune, Othala also hints at the completion of our journey, that we have trodden the path and overcome all the obstacle to arrive at our destination. It may be that Othala”s links to past ancestral property is also pointing the way to our ancestral home in the future! Naturally, this rune completes the circle hopefully, we start afresh at Fehu on a higher level. Reversed: Othala reversed suggests something out of order in our family or heritage. It is akin to bad karma and warns us that past deeds should be put right before they come back around to us. In a sense, Othala reversed also indicates the rules and regulations that we are bound by, the family that we are given rather than choose.