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.
|Fehu||ᚠ||First letter in the Elder Futhark Runes, means good luck, financial success, or abundance. |
Fehu is also related to social success as well.
|Uruz||ᚢ||Literally means wild bull, It symbolizes strength, endurance, determination, perseverance, hard work, etc.|
|Thurisaz||ᚦ||Represents a powerful force. The force can either be a positive or destructive force.|
|Ansuz||ᚨ||Means message. It’s a symbol of communication. Can be seen as the word for wisdom, truth, inspiration, good advice, enthusiasm, etc.|
|Raidho||ᚱ||Represents a wheel, and it indicates a spiritual or physical journey|
|Kaunan, Kaun||ᚴ||Means torch or flame. Represents truth and light.|
|Gebo||ᚷ||Means gifts, healthy relationships or generosity|
|Wunjo||ᚹ||Means joy, victory, triumph, celebration, and safety. It’s also representative of a clan’s victory and flag.|
|Hagalaz||ᚺ||Means hail or unexpected natural calamity|
|Naudiz||ᚾ||Symbolizes realizing our needs and whether we’re getting what we deserve or not.|
|Isa||ᛁ||The literal meaning is ice. Symbolizes a pause or a break that you must take.|
|Jera||ᛃ||Means harvest. Shows that it’s time to reap the fruit of our hard work and enjoy the crops.|
|Tyr||ᚶ||Represents the god Tyr. Symbolizes masculinity, leadership, battle, justice, etc.|
|Algiz||ᛉ||Represents defense and protection. |
Symbolizes the power of manifestation and that our guardian angels watch over and protect us.
|Sowilo||ᛊ||Means the sun. |
Symbolizes happiness, positivity, abundance, and good fortune.
|Tiwaz||ᛏ||Means arrowhead. Symbolizes Tyr’s arrowhead, and it means you are capable of bigger things in life and can achieve everything.|
|Berkana||ᛒ||Represents the Birch tree. It symbolizes femininity, fertility, rebirth, regeneration, creation, etc.|
|Ehwaz, Eihwaz||ᛖ||Means horse. |
Symbolizes transportation, change, progress, movement, and change.
|Mannaz||ᛗ||Means humanity. |
Symbolizes kindness, humanity, humankind, friendship, individuality, etc.
|Laguz||ᛚ||Means water. |
Represents emotions, hopes, & dreams, flow, and intuition. It may also mean the mysteries of the unknown world.
|Ingwaz||ᛜ||Represents the Earth God Ing. Symbolizes seed, fertility, well-being, ancestry, family, etc.|
|Othala||ᛟ||Means inheritance, possession, ancestry, heritage, and spiritual and fundamental values inherited from ancestors.|
|Dagaz||ᛞ||Means dawn or the ending. It’s the awareness that we are nearing the end of an age and moving towards new beginnings.|
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.
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.
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.