The following is a quick guide to the 24 letter Futhark – F, U, TH, A, R, K the first six letters of the Elder Futhark (circa 0 – 100 AD). I made these runes from Oak and Henna. The 24 are divided into three Aetts or families of eight runes. I am using the Norwegian spellings and pronunciations for consistency. However, when I chant the runes, I may choose from German, Icelandic, and Anglo Saxon pronunciations as well for rhythmic, vowel, and consonant choices.

Freya and Freyr’s Aett

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Rune Name$Description

$Fehu – F letter/sound – Domestic Cattle- Freya and Freyr, agricultural deities of the Vanir race of gods. Landed income through careful husbandry. Work hard and be aware of income and output.

$Uruz – U letter/oo sound – Aurochs the Wild Ox – related to the hunt and the energy of the herd followers. Do not have a fear of lack or you will strike at the first thing that comes along. Have a hungry patience.

$Thurisaz – Th letters/sound – The Giant race, here before all of us. The dispassionate balance of the Earth’s processes. Our own fight or flight mechanism – The full circuit of Thor’s electrical current keeps us steady.

$Ansuz – A letter/ ah sound – Mouth of the River, estuary. Be impeccable with your words or keep silent. The water is only as clean as our flow into it.

$Raido – R letter/sound – Wheel – the wheel of the year and all things that travel in waves such as the sea, rumors, illness. Travel by wheel means we need others to help build a road, fix a broken axel, rest our horses…community.

$Kenaz – C/K letter and sound – Torch – The controlled flame, the idea, the a ha! The ulcer that forms when we are afraid we don’t have enough time to accomplish all of our ideas. Choosing/honing the idea.

$Gebo – G letter/sound – Gift – Two staves of equal length, bound in the middle. The balance of giving and receiving and the relationship created through this process. Voluntary reciprocity.

$Wunjo – W/V letter/W sound – Joy – The kind of joy found when we follow our bliss, when we are doing our best work. It is the balance of pride and humility that is transcendent!


Hel and Heimdals’ Aett

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Rune Name$Description

$Hagalaz – H letter/sound – Hail – In Hel’s domain, Ice and Fire combine to create the universe from the gaping void. The special relationship of cold and heat in our world creates hail. Ice crystals reflect Heimdal’s rainbow bridge. Hail stones are seeds of creation causing destruction to clear the path.

$Naudiz – N letter/sound – Need. The need fire feeds invention, creation, and community. The small stavs like children and elderly need to be carried. The way to create gebo from Naudiz is through coming together. Small stavs in the middle and large ones surround (see Mannaz).

$Isaz – I letter /(ee) sound – Ice – the original stav, ice and fire come together to create the universe. Ice preserves, slows, and makes us careful. Listen carefully or you will fall through thin ice.

$Jera – J letter/ya sound – Year – Harvest, the year cycle, Jord goddess Earth, Thor’s mother. First sort your seeds to see what is really viable. Then prepare, plant, tend and harvest. Do not forget to rest and party when you are done. Share your good work.

$Eiwaz – Y letter/sound – Yew tree. The world tree, the long bow, useful and eternal wood, sacred tree. You are stronger and more flexible than you think. Bend without breaking!

$Perth – P letter/sound – The dice cup, the apple tree, the women’s cave, the well of wyrd, occult and luck. The Norns. This rune means you need to explore your deep and sacred mysteries and count on your luck (a soul part in Norse tradition).

$Algiz – Z letter/sound – Elk, and all antlered beings. the protection of humans during the ice age, willingness, usefulness, sacredness. Make this rune with your body when you pray and say, “This or something better!”

$Sowilo – S letter/sound – Sun. Sunna the sun goddess drives the chariot across the sky. Strength, vigor, growing time.


Tyr and Zizas Aett

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Rune Name$Description

$Tiwas – T letter/sound – Tyr and Ziza, original Nordic Sky and Earth god/goddess pairing. He is the god of the North Star, justice, honoring word, paying shild. He sacrificed his hand to stem chaos the wolf Fenris. She holds distaff on which the stuff of creation is piled. Focus and direction, honest and diligent.

$Berkanan – B letter/sound – Birch tree. Sacred tree of healing. Protecting new growth and giving its medicine even after it has died.

$Ehwaz – E letter/eh sound – Horse. Without a cart, horse can take you anywhere. Horse is sacred and drives the sun and moon and many gods ride them. Connected with humans psychically.

$Mannaz – M letter/sound – Humankind, Mannaheim, human home. Children and elderly, small stavs, are placed at the center of community. The rest of us gather round.

$Laguz – L letter/sound – Lake, sacred waters. The womb and the depth of our psyche. A gathering place for community in any season. Delve into the in-between world of water and air, learn to trust your flow.

$Ingwaz/Invi – Ing sound – True god and goddess pairing, the balance, fertility in that balance, yin and yang, left and right, animus and anima. Let your male and female sides come together and dance!

daeg$Dagaz – D letter/sound – Day. The new day starts at sunset, we dream what we will do, we wake to fulfill the dream and rest when work is done.

othel$Othila – O letter/sound – Homeland, inheritance, öorlog (karma). Our true family and our ancestors, the land of our birth.


Brief Rune Descriptions — 1 Comment

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