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Part IV: The Meanings of the Runes

This section provides the sign, name, phoneme (sound), and short description of the meaning of each of the twenty-four runes that comprise the Elder Futhark. The given meanings are based on the medieval Rune Poems (which are conveniently available online here) exclusively. Where our present knowledge isn’t extensive enough to give an explanation of which one can be reasonably certain, this is noted and the meaning is left unexplained or only partially explained.

 Name: Fehu, “cattle.” Phoneme: F. Meaning: wealth.

 Name: Uruz, “aurochs.” Phoneme: U (long and/or short). Meaning: strength of will.

 Name: Thurisaz, “Giant.” Phoneme: Th (both soft and hard). Meaning: danger, suffering.

 Name: Ansuz, “an Aesir god.” Phoneme: A (long and/or short). Meaning: prosperity, vitality.

 Name: Raidho, “journey on horseback.” Phoneme: R. Meaning: movement, work, growth.

 Name: Kaunan, “ulcer.” Phoneme: K. Meaning: mortality, pain.

 Name: Gebo, “gift.” Phoneme: G. Meaning: generosity.

 Name: Wunjo, “joy.” Phoneme: W. Meaning: joy, ecstasy.

 Name:Hagalaz, “hail.” Phoneme: H. Meaning: destruction, chaos.

 Name: Naudhiz, “need.” Phoneme: N. Meaning: need, unfulfilled desire.

 Name: Isaz, “ice.” Phoneme: I (long and/or short). Meaning: unknown (the rune poems are ambiguous and contradictory).

 Name: Jera, “year.” Phoneme: Germanic J, modern English Y. Meaning: harvest, reward.

 Name: Eihwaz, “yew.” Phoneme: I pronounced like “Eye.” Meaning: strength, stability.

 Name: Pertho. Phoneme: P. Meaning: unknown. (Note: the theory that this rune’s name was “Pertho” is just speculation. No one really knows, because the Viking Age and medieval sources are too vague.)

 Name: Elhaz (the rune poems are contradictory). Phoneme: Z. Meaning: protection from enemies, defense of that which one loves.

 Name: Sowilo, “sun.” Phoneme: S. Meaning: success, solace.

 Name: Tiwaz, “the god Tiwaz.” Phoneme: T. Meaning: victory, honor.

 Name: Berkanan, “birch.” Phoneme: B. Meaning: fertility, growth, sustenance.

 Name: Ehwaz, “horse.” Phoneme: E (long and/or short). Meaning: trust, faith, companionship.

 Name: Mannaz, “man.” Phoneme: M. Meaning: augmentation, support.

 Name: Laguz. Phoneme: L. Meaning: formlessness, chaos, potentiality, the unknown.

 Name: Ingwaz, “the god Ingwaz.” Phoneme: Ng. Meaning: fertilization, the beginning of something, the actualization of potential.

 Name: Othalan, “inheritance.” Phoneme: O (long and/or short). Meaning: inheritance, heritage, tradition, nobility.

 Name: Dagaz, “day.” Phoneme: D. Meaning: hope, happiness.