Viking Runes and Meanings

Viking Runes and Meanings
The Viking runes are the letters of their alphabet, but they're also believed to hold magical power and deep symbolism. For example, the rune fehu symbolizes good luck, while kaun represents truth.

Viking runes or Norse runes are alphabets these groups created during the Roman era for writing, telling fortunes, and other reasons.

Elder Futhark Runes

There are a total of 24 letters in the Elder Futhark Runes. Each of these letters have special meanings or symbols.

Credit: Michael Pilgaard has created these runic symbols for use in HTML.

FehuFirst letter in the Elder Futhark Runes, means good luck, financial success, or abundance.
Fehu is also related to social success as well.
UruzLiterally means wild bull, It symbolizes strength, endurance, determination, perseverance, hard work, etc.
ThurisazRepresents a powerful force. The force can either be a positive or destructive force.
AnsuzMeans message. It’s a symbol of communication. Can be seen as the word for wisdom, truth, inspiration, good advice, enthusiasm, etc.
RaidhoRepresents a wheel, and it indicates a spiritual or physical journey
Kaunan, KaunMeans torch or flame. Represents truth and light.
GeboMeans gifts, healthy relationships or generosity
WunjoMeans joy, victory, triumph, celebration, and safety. It’s also representative of a clan’s victory and flag.
HagalazMeans hail or unexpected natural calamity
NaudizSymbolizes realizing our needs and whether we’re getting what we deserve or not.
IsaThe literal meaning is ice. Symbolizes a pause or a break that you must take.
JeraMeans harvest. Shows that it’s time to reap the fruit of our hard work and enjoy the crops.
TyrRepresents the god Tyr. Symbolizes masculinity, leadership, battle, justice, etc.
AlgizRepresents defense and protection.
Symbolizes the power of manifestation and that our guardian angels watch over and protect us.
SowiloMeans the sun.
Symbolizes happiness, positivity, abundance, and good fortune.
TiwazMeans arrowhead. Symbolizes Tyr’s arrowhead, and it means you are capable of bigger things in life and can achieve everything.
BerkanaRepresents the Birch tree. It symbolizes femininity, fertility, rebirth, regeneration, creation, etc.
Ehwaz, EihwazMeans horse.
Symbolizes transportation, change, progress, movement, and change.
MannazMeans humanity.
Symbolizes kindness, humanity, humankind, friendship, individuality, etc.
LaguzMeans water.
Represents emotions, hopes, & dreams, flow, and intuition. It may also mean the mysteries of the unknown world.
IngwazRepresents the Earth God Ing. Symbolizes seed, fertility, well-being, ancestry, family, etc.
OthalaMeans inheritance, possession, ancestry, heritage, and spiritual and fundamental values inherited from ancestors.
Means dawn or the ending. It’s the awareness that we are nearing the end of an age and moving towards new beginnings.
Viking Runes and Meanings
This is the Yew Tree symbol.

Runes Origin: First Evidence of Runes

Runes are the ancient Proto-Germanic writing tradition that started in the 1st century AD. Germanic people, like the Vikings, created the rune symbols or letters.

These runic alphabets were the main medium for penning down important symbols in many Germanic languages.

Runic Alphabet Basics

There are 24 letters in the runic alphabet made of stone or wood. People of Scandinavia or the Nordic countries used these Rubes to record their literature, and it’s believed that these letters also have magical powers.

Elder and Younger Furthark Stones

Elder Futhark was the first complete set of runic alphabets dating back to the 5th century AD.

After that, the Vikings and other Nordic tribes adopted the Younger Futhark stones, which were in use until medieval times.

Runes Meaning

The word runes means secret or mystery in Old English, Old Irish, or Old Germanic language. Norse people and other Northern European cultures believed these letters were powerful and magic. This is why people used them with extreme caution.

In modern times, people use runes to connect to their higher self, intuition, and guidance from invisible powers. Rune stones are famous for being used for foretelling or tarot reading.

Norse Runes: How They Began

The Norse runes are the base for the Latin alphabet. The father of Norman mythology, Odin, was the first one to gain knowledge of the Norse runes.


Odin had pierced his heart with the mighty Gungnir Spear and hung from the Yggdrasil, World Tree, for nine days to gain the secrets of magic and wisdom the Norse runes had.

The Norman people or the Scandinavians were cautious about using the Runes. Since they were aware of the secret powers these letters had, they carved them onto wood or stones instead of writing them on parchment paper.

Initially, people mainly used these letters to predict the future, mark heroes’ graves, and honor their ancestors. Over time, they started using runes for more practical purposes like trade and commerce, and to record literature.

viking runes and meanings
These are the 24 Elder Furthark runes.

Understanding Viking Runes and Meanings

As you can see, each runic letter has a special symbol or meaning that can resonate with people’s lives. They held a great position in the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons’ cultural and mythological lives.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out our post on the Hestia symbol meaning.


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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