Norse Runes

Norse Runes (aka Odin’s Runes) are an ancient alphabet used in Germanic countries. Today, they are used in magic and divination by many Pagans and Witches.

Although their meanings can sometimes be a bit obscure, most people who work with runes find that the best way to incorporate them into divination is to ask a specific question based upon their current situation.

Although you don’t have to be of Norse ancestry to use the runes, you’ll have a far better understanding of the symbols and their meanings if you have some knowledge of the mythology and history of the Germanic peoples; this way you can interpret the runes in the context in which they were meant to be read.

To give you a feel for the the history of Odin and his runes, read the “Hávamál.” This is a 13th century poem found in the “Codex Regius,” a collection of Old Norse poems from the Viking age.


The Words of Odin the High One
from the Elder or Poetic Edda (Sæmund’s Edda)
translated by Olive Bray

Odin’s Quest after the Runes (verses 137-144)
I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla’s sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer’s drops I was showered.

Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs,
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.

For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Daïn,
Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs,
All-wise for Jötuns, and I, of myself,
graved some for the sons of men.

Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,
dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,
dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,
dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?

Better ask for too little than offer too much,
like the gift should be the boon;
better not to send than to overspend.
Thus Odin graved ere the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again.

Rune Definitions

Hover over each rune to read its meaning.

Rune Definitions
Mannaz Gebo Ansuz Othila Uruz Perth Nauthiz Inguz Eihwaz Algiz Fehu Wunjo Jera Kano Teiwaz Berkana Ehwaz Laguz Hagalz Raido Thurisa Dagaz Isa Sowelu Odin



Germanic Name: Mannaz

English Name: The Self

Meaning: The starting point should always be the self, and a proper relationship with yourself is essential: on this depends that all other relationships may flow properly, including your relationship with the Great Mystery.

This is not a moment to look for praise about your achievements, nor is it the time to put all your attention in possible results. Do not judge and do not be intolerant. Remember the past and think about the future, but focus on the present. Try to live your ordinary life in an extraordinary manner.



Germanic Name: Gebo

English Name: Partnership

Meaning: Fortune smiles, and nice surprises will arrive unexpectedly. Something positive is on its way, something that is totally deserved. You will probably receive awards, maybe a promotion, an acknowledgement or a gift. There is hope and joy. There are fulfilled promises and dreams come true. There is grace and forgiveness.

Maybe some type of partnership is about to be born. If this is the case, Gebo reminds you to keep your individuality: remember that true partnership occurs when two beings form a team, each one retaining their own singularity.



Germanic Name: Ansuz

English Name: Signals

Meaning: This Rune advises you to expect the unexpected. It is a message that calls you towards change and renovation, maybe even towards a new life. There will be new relations, new links, new contacts created, and therefore it is recommended that you keep your eyes and ears open during meetings or casual encounters.

On the other hand, Ansuz reminds you that you must first love and nourish yourself before trying to love and nourish others: it is impossible to give what one does not have. This Rune reminds you to remind yourself.



Germanic Name: Othila

English Name: Separation

Meaning: This is the Rune of beneficial gain. It indicates a moment in which tangible preparation will yield tangible results. It is an excellent opportunity to learn, to become better, to expand. New acquisitions will be favoured.

It also introduces a time of blessings in which actions taken will very probably be successful and bring new and better opportunities for growth. This is a moment that, if recognized, will reward you with all kinds of important benefits for your development.



Germanic Name: Uruz

English Name: Strength

Meaning: This is the Rune of endings and new beginnings. It is a Rune of transition indicating that the life you have lived until now must change to make room for a new form. You might suffer the loss of something or someone with whom you hold strong emotional links. However, Uruz reminds you that it is an entirely natural process: death, fertilization, gestation and rebirth. The ashes fertilize the ground for future crops.

Learn to adapt to the moment, using the strength of your masculinity or femininity as support, and look for the opportunity that hides behind the loss.



Germanic Name: Perth

English Name: Initiation

Meaning: This Rune is associated with the Phoenix, the mystical bird that consumes itself in the fire to later rise from its own ashes. Powerful forces of change and renovation are in movement.

On the side of the mundane, there will probably be surprises such as sudden gains or the start of an unexpected relationship. On the spiritual side, it is time to rise above yourself, above ordinary living, in order to acquire a wider vision. Perth reminds you that the external is unimportant, except when it is a reflection of the internal.



Germanic Name: Nauthiz

English Name: Constraint

Meaning: Drawing this Rune indicates that there might be delays and changes in the direction of your actions. There are strong reasons to review your plans carefully. Restriction is necessary.

Nauthiz suggests to identify your Shadow, the dark side of your nature whch reflects to the outside in the form of weakness. Try to discover what is it within you that attracts misfortune to your life. Difficulties and failures, however, can teach us plenty about ourselves. If necessary, rectify your direction and restore your internal balance. Look for the positive side of adversity.



Germanic Name: Inguz

English Name: Fertility

Meaning: This Rune represents the need to share, to be wanted, the search for similarities and an impulse towards harmony in personal relationships. It could well signal a new way, a new relationship, even a new life.

Inguz symbolizes the end of a time of lethargy, a liberation from tension and uncertainty. However, it is necessary to fertilize the ground for such liberation.



Germanic Name: Eihwaz

English Name: Defense

Meaning: This Rune is related to the difficulties that arise at the beginning of a new life and the defenses that we build around us when facing the unknown. It often announces a time of waiting, and thus its main advice is patience.

It is recommended to foresee consequences before acting. Once your decision is totally clear, then you will be able to carry out the action with ease. Take advantage of this moment to put your house in order and to tend to your personal affairs.



Meaning: Opportunities and new challenges are characteristic of this Rune. With them, however, unwanted influences may arrive, and thus it becomes necessary to protect yourself. Here, your maximum protection is the right action at the right moment.

If you are experiencing pain, do not deny it or try to hide from what is happening. Observe it and learn from it, feel it and let it go: the more you allow yourself to feel it, the faster you will be able to release it. Algiz reminds you that you will grow, and being aware of this may be your best protection in moments of doubt.



Germanic Name: Fehu


Pronunciation: Fay-Who


Literal Meaning: Cattle


English Name: Possessions


Key Concepts: Wealth, money, food, sustenance, initial conditions, luck, personal power, circulation of power,  financial strength, prosperity


Psi: Beginner’s Mind, presence, freedom, first impressions, young love


Energy: mobility, luck, charisma, dynamic power, liquid and mobile transferable energies, abundance, circulation, ‘mana’, sexual attraction


Mundane: money, recent purchases, reputation, freshness, fashionability


Divinations: New beginnings, social success, foresight, energy, travel, money, control; or greed, failure, atrophy, poverty, endings.



Delegating your energy to another, power transference or projection; the sending rune

Drawing gravity into the personal sphere

Promotion of personal and social evolution, changing circumstances of importance

Increase in personal monetary wealth

Beginner’s mind and presence as a tool for consciously creating a fresh start


Notes: This is the Rune of realization: an ambition satisfied, a love conquered, a reward received. It often signals the presence of abundant nourishment of all kinds, physical as well as spiritual.


Nevertheless, it reminds you that in moments of good fortune we run the risk of getting carried away by success, thus behaving imprudently. Fehu advises you to be aware of this so as to not let it happen.  Enjoy your good fortune and do not forget to share it: the good will of feeding others is a sign of a well-fed being.



Germanic Name: Wunjo

English Name: Joy

Meaning: This Rune announces a state of security and relaxation, a sense of well-being. Light is finally peeking through the clouds, fruits hang heavy on the branches, and bad times are finally staying behind.

You may see yourself surrounded by joy, pleasure and comfort both at home and outside. There is clarity and a new energy that will allow you to understand, to balance, to renew yourself and your personal relations.

Necessary changes have already been carried out, and now you may rejoice and receive Wunjos blessings freely.



Germanic Name: Jera

English Name: Harvest

Meaning: This Rune often announces a fertile season, a happy coming to term. Jera is the Rune of beneficial results relating to any activity or interest that concerns you at this moment of your life. You have prepared the ground and planted the seed, and now you must cultivate it. Jera offers an incentive towards success.

Do not expect fast results, however. As with a harvest, a cultivation cycle or maturing process is needed to finally be able to recollect the fruits of your labour. You have done a good job, and now Jera advises you to persevere and to be patient.



Germanic Name: Kano

English Name: Opening

Meaning: Fire often symbolizes intense emotions and passion. However, you are reminded that passion, like everything else, has two sides. Excessive passion could lead to destructive obsession, but on its positive side it can lead to creativity. A clarity of intent in your attitude is required in order to avoid falling into its negative side.

In the area of relationships, Kano announces a mutual opening. The torch of understanding is lit again for both, and the creative power of such fire could lead to great breakthroughs.



Germanic Name: Teiwaz

English Name: Warrior

Meaning: Masculine energy and the active principle are characteristic of this Rune, bringing as a result an anxiety to conquer. Teiwaz is the Rune of courage, dedication and absolute trust in ones own resources.

In situations on interpersonal relations or devotion to a cause, Teiwaz advises perseverance, at the same time reminding you that patience can sometimes be a kind of perseverance.

Look within yourself and deeply analyze the foundations of your life. By doing this, you may get to know and harness your deepest and most powerful resources.



Germanic Name: Berkana

English Name: Growth

Meaning: This Rune indicates flowering and maturation, and is related to new forms. Growth can occur in everyday, family or interpersonal situations. The process of self-change is in movement and will be benefited.

For growth to occur freely, however, Berkana advises you to eliminate all resistances through a deep cleansing process. If necessary, ask for expert help to carry it out. Once resistance is cleared out through constancy and a proper attitude, then flowering can occur.



Germanic Name: Ehwaz

English Name: Movement

Meaning: This Rune signals a time of transition and transformation. It indicates changes of all kinds: of house, attitude, life, business directions or personal relations. Ehwaz informs you that you are required to face any necessary transition and to carry it out diligently.

There is a sense of continuous progress, a notion of growth that could well be related to a business venture or the development of an idea or project. There is much movement at hand. Now is the time to allow the old to die in order to make room for the new.



Germanic Name: Laguz

English Name: Flow

Meaning: The characteristics of this Rune are water, intuition and the ebb and flow of emotions, relations and vocations. Particularly, it announces the satisfaction of emotional needs.

In spite of the fact that everything flows appropriately at this moment, it often signals the need to cleanse, revalue, reorganize, recenter. It indicates that the intuitive aspect of your nature is awake, and therefore Laguz advises you to harness it.



Germanic Name: Hagalz

English Name: Disruption

Meaning: Maybe you find yourself surrounded by negative events apparently beyond your control. Drawing this Rune indicates the possibility of havoc or jolts in your reality, security, work, relations or beliefs.

It is necessary to realize that you are not at the mercy of external circumstances. I create my own reality. In other words, your own nature is creating what is happening, and therefore you are not helpless. Carefully examine the situations surrounding you and your own beliefs and attitudes towards them. Hagalaz informs you that you hold the solutions in your own hands.



Germanic Name: Raido

English Name: Journey

Meaning: This Rune is related to communication and harmony of something made up of two elements. It often signals the possibility of a journey, be it in the physical world or to the depths of your being. Such journey could well be towards self-healing or self-change. Raido advises you to moderate any excess in your life. Maybe an unexpected union will occur in your life, or maybe you will reunite with someone close that you have not seen in a long time. Or maybe the reunion predicted by Raido refers to certain internal aspects in you that have been in conflict for some time.



Germanic Name: Thurisa

English Name: Gateway

Meaning: Thurisaz indicates the presence of new options opening before you. However, it is advised to stop in front of the gate before crossing it, to look at the road that led you up to here.

This Rune points toward the need of not acting yet, but to examine past experiences and circumstances before continuing towards success. It is not a moment to make decisions, but rather to strengthen your ability to wait. Review your past closely. Observe it, bless it, and let go of everything you need to let go of. Then cross the door.



Germanic Name: Dagaz

English Name: Breakthrough

Meaning: Dagaz denotes important breakthroughs in relation to whatever concerns you. The moment is right and therefore success is assured. This is the Rune of radical trust, even if circumstances require you to jump to the void with apparently empty hands.

It often introduces an important time of prosperity and great results. However, you are reminded to pay attention and not allow yourself to be carried away or to behave carelessly in your new situation. Humility and generosity are advised.



Germanic Name: Isa

English Name: Standstill

Meaning: Positive achievements are not probable at this moment. Activities are frozen and maybe all your plans are halted. Nevertheless, do not despair: this is the moment of gestation that precedes birth.

This pause is probably due more to external circumstances rather than internal. However, try to find what internal aspects keep you in this position and let them go. Clean, discard, let go of the past. This will help accelerate the thawing process.

Remember that the seed sleeps under the ground during winter. Trust your own process and wait for the signs of Spring.



Germanic Name: Sowelu

English Name: Wholeness

Meaning: This is a Rune of great power that indicates a moment of profound regeneration, a search for totality. It signals the need to become aware of your essence in order to express it in a creative manner, thus increasing your vital force. It also points to the need of admitting something that you have long denied, something that has remained under the shadows: now it is time to bring it out unto the light.

It might be prudent to stay away from a pressing situation, remembering that withdrawing at the right time is a sign of force and not of weakness.



Germanic Name: Odin

English Name: Unknowable

Meaning: The Blank Rune means the unknowable and unseen are active in your life at this time. In the beginning there was nothing, and in the end, nothing remains. Control can not be used on that which does not yet exist. As with the Fool in the Tarot, you may have to leap over the precipice into the void. But do so empty-handed and with utter faith. What becons is the creative power of the unknown.

Norse Rune Reading

Click on the reading that you would like to perform.

Unless otherwise indicated, images on this website are courtesy of,, and

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.