Published: Monday, Oct. 11th, 2021
Norse runes are powerful symbols with an ancient and magical history. These runes are known by scholars as the Elder Futhark, and are thought to be one of the oldest forms of runic alphabet.
They were carved into stone and metal for protection, ritual magic, casting and divination, vengeance, and to share stories of harvest, gods, and battle.
First used by Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, including the Vikings in northern Europe, it’s speculated that the Futhark runes became popular in the first or second century A.D. They have since been used by Wiccans, Hedge Witches, Neo Druids, Heathens and other modern Pagans.
Each character represents a sound which can be placed together to spell words and create a story, or read on its own to symbolize a unique concept, object, or action.
Runes can be engraved on wedding bands or wedding swords
Because of their symbolism and visual beauty, as well as their role in Pagan ritual and magic, runes are frequently seen at Viking weddings as part of the marriage rite, and at Wiccan and Pagan handfastings.
You’ll find runes printed on wedding invitations, etched into wedding bands, wedding crowns, and pieces of heirloom jewelry, and painted on wedding altars and arches. You may even see them placed on the walls or floors of a wedding venue as part of casting a circle.
When used intentionally as part of a Pagan wedding ritual, including Viking weddings, runes are said to bless a marriage with wealth and good health, fertility, wisdom and strength, protection from evil outside forces, and years of love and happiness.
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Below, you’ll find each of the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark, along with its individual meaning.
Fehu, Uruz, and Thurisaz
1. Fehu, F
“Cattle” Wealth, material comfort, prosperity, abundance in the home, hope for the future
2. Uruz, U
“Wild Ox” Good health, determination, resilience, strength
3. Thurisaz, TH
“Giant” The giants of Norse mythology, chaos, driving power, danger, and forceful emotion, negative unless handled with wisdom
Ansuz, Raido, and Kenaz
4. Ansuz, A
“God or Deity” Odin, divine insight, prosperity, inspiration
5. Raido, R
“A Long Journey” Fortitude, patience, strength, evolution, growth, the cycle of life
6. Kenaz, K
“Fire or Light” Truth, transparency in communication, triumph of good, creativity, fire element (Also written Kaun, Kaunaz)
Gebo, Wunjo, and Hagalaz
7. Gebo, G
“A Gift or Sacrifice to the Gods” Spiritual connection, willing surrender, faith, hope, a generous spirit
8. Wunjo, W
“Joy” Emotional and physical safety, triumph in battle, deep happiness and joy, family
9. Hagalaz, H
“Hail” Stormy weather, both literal and metaphoric, the hail of battle, destruction, risk, air element
Nauthiz, Isa, Jera
10. Nauthiz, N
“Need” The essential needs for a successful life, and life itself, necessity, wants
11. Isa, I
“Ice” Patience and frustration, a period of waiting for clarity, something unknown and undecided
12. Jera, Y
“A Year or the Harvest” A full turn of the wheel, coming full circle, a period of abundance and harvest, earth element
Eithwaz, Perth, Algiz
13. Eithwaz, EI
“Yew Tree” The sacred yew tree, the wood of which is used to carve rune stones and wands for ritual; sacred, magical, spiritually potent, divine source
14. Perth, P
Unknown - this rune has unknown meaning and is sometimes avoided for this reason
15. Algiz, Z
“Protection” Protection and defense against harm
Sowilo, Tiwaz, Berkano
16. Sowilo, S
“The Sun or Sól the Norse god of sunlight”
17. Tiwaz, T
“God of War, Tyr, or Tir” Battle, victory, family, honor, righteousness
18. Berkano, B
“Goddess of Spring, Iduna, Idun, or Iðunn” Fertility, renewal, springtime, new beginnings, youthful joy, birch trees, apples, earth element
Ehwaz, Mannaz, Laguz
19. Ehwaz, E
“The Horse” Steady and easy companionship, trust
20. Mannaz, M
“Humankind” Family, community, relationships, mortality, vulnerability
21. Laguz, L
“Water” Unknown depths, fluidity of spirit and mind, strong emotions, unpredictability, water element
Ingwaz, Dagaz, and Othila
22. Ingwaz, NG
Somewhat unknown, thought to symbolize Ing, Yngvi, or Freyr, Frey, God of Virility (male sexual potency), Prosperity, harvest, abundance
23. Dagaz, D
“Daylight” New beginnings, fresh possibility, the cycle of the day, hope, enlightenment, change, fire element
24. Othila, O
“Inheritance” Wisdom, wealth, ancestors, lineage (Also written as Odal, Othala)
Runes can be written on your vows or invitations
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