Basic Rune Meanings – Elder Futhark Runes

elder futhark runes in a box

What does each elder futhark rune mean? Each of these 24 runes have a specific meaning, and then when combined with others can become very powerful. These are the rune meanings.

I’m going into a small amount of detail over what the Elder Futhark runes each mean. These runes have been around for thousands of years, and with that, means there is a lot of ambiguity as to what each one means. In this post, find a basic summary of my interpretation on each rune meaning.

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Currently, I pick one rune a day, and that gives me an idea of what my day will be like. This is helpful for me, having an idea of what is to come. Hagalaz typically lets me know my plans are going to be changing, in a major way (like lockdown for Coronavirus being announced). Occasionally I will use runes in a crystal grid, or use them as divination as well.

If you’re just starting out, picking one rune a day is helpful so you get to know your runes, and what your personal understanding of each one is! And find out which rune set is right for you!

Looking to get a rune set? Find out which is the right set for you! Or make your own!

If you’re looking for how to do a rune reading, you can read more here: Rune Casting for Beginners. Or here if you’re using rune dice!

When I was learning about runes, or ever have a question myself about them, I will also use these three resources: The book Runes for Beginners, the website Rune Secrets and an app on Google Play called Rune Stones. What I’m writing is my interpretation, but keep in mind, that these resources were used at one point.

The runes have 3 separate stories within them. Freyr’s Aett, Hagal’s Aett, and Tyr’s Aett (as can be seen by the separate rows in the picture below). Read more for the basic rune meanings below!

Looking for further rune meanings? Click on the image or the name of the rune for an in-depth look at the specific elder futhark rune’s meaning!

Basic rune meanings for Elder Futhark runes - a guide
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The Runes

Freyr’s Aett


Fehu symbolizes wealth, good health, and good fortune. It represents an unselfish abundance. We need to appreciate what is in our lives.


Uruz symbolizes brute physical or mental strength. It is about perseverance, and having the strength to stop others from exerting power over you.


Thurisaz represents a thorn. As roses have thorns, this rune is about resisting danger and protecting oneself.


Ansuz is a rune for knowledge, wisdom, and communication. It reminds us that there is always a divine presence within and around us.

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Raido (Raidho) represents the wheel. It depicts a journey. Similar to the Wheel of Fortune card in Tarot, this symbolizes focusing on the journey rather than the destination. It reminds us that life goes in cycles.


Kenaz symbolizes a torch. It brings light to a situation. This rune is an indicator that it is time to start creative projects.


Gebo represents a gift. It can either be an exchange between people or be gifts from higher realms. This can also symbolize forgiveness or a partnership.


Wunjo is pure joy. It can represent good health and happiness. This also represents focusing on a balance, not focusing solely on the good or the bad. It can also be a symbol of eyes being opened to the truth.

Hagal’s Aett


Hagalaz represents hail and destruction. Things will be destroyed and changed. This is similar to a curveball, not always being able to control circumstances. The old must be dismantled for new opportunities.


Nauthiz represents need. This rune is predicting hardship, or only getting by on necessities. There can be a lack of resources ; make sure to be stable, and not give in to cravings.


Isa means ice. This rune symbolizes stagnation and a lack of change or movement. No action is occuring.


Jera means year. It represents the harvest, and rewards for hard work. It can also symbolize a cycle. Alternatively, this can be seen similarly to yin/yang, as a union of opposites.


Eihwaz represents the yew tree. The yew tree is poisonous, but it’s being used as protection. This rune symbolizes ends leading to new beginnings. It is similar to the Death card in Tarot.


Perthro symbolizes mystery. Things may not be quite as they seem. Look for signals to point you in the right direction.


Algiz (Elhaz) is a rune for protection. When seeing this rune, it means it is a good time for risky actions. Take these risks, but don’t be stupid about it, and you will be protected.


Sowilo represents sunlight and warmth. There is a positive feeling associated with this rune, and that there will be a victory of light over darkness.

Tyr’s Aett


Tiwaz symbolizes courage. You have the courage and ability to accomplish things right now. Truth and honesty will overcome.


Berkana is femininity and birth. There is a female energy associated, and female reproduction with this rune. Birth can either be literal or figurative, as in the birth of a new idea.


Ehwaz represents a horse, with movement and travel, quick progress being made. This rune also symbolizes faith and loyalty, and even with quick progress, the need to remain humble.


Mannaz represents mankind, or humankind. It is the symbol of working together for the collective good. All humans are connected, even when at odds with one another.


Laguz represents water. Like the water, it has a cleansing energy and reminds us to go with the flow. This is a time to be fluid, and follow your intuition and subconscious.


Ingwaz represents male reproduction and masculinity. It is a rune of fertility and sexuality. Ingwaz signals completion of a major event or a turning point.


Othala symbolizes tradition and heritage. It represents maintaining the status quo. It can remind us of habits and tradition formed from family. *this rune was used as a Nazi symbol.


Dagaz means daylight. It represents the dawn of a new day. This can be a breakthrough, growth, progress, or fundamental change. This rune is a symbol of hope and brighter futures.

Blank – I’m including this one in as well. Some rune sets come with a blank, and other do not. Seeing the blank rune can symbolize fate or destiny, or, if you want further clarification, you might want to pull again.

Basic rune meanings for Elder Futhark runes - a guide
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I hope these basic rune meanings were helpful to you! It’s meant to be an easy guide to quickly look through for an answer that you can create upon yourself. This is meant to be a guide for the runes. Try to figure out what the runes mean to you as well. You can find more information about runes coming soon here!

Working on a rune reading? Tag me on Instagram @moonofgemini or #moonofgemini!