The Runes are an ancient Germanic and Norse alphabet believed to have been in use in Northern Europe for 2,000 years. In Viking times, the Runes were carved into bone, small rounds of wood or stones. The Old Norse meaning of the word “rune” is thought to be “to whisper the mysteries.” There are 24 symbols in the Elder Futhark, or Anglo-Saxon, “Viking” rune alphabet. Each symbol relates to an ancient saga or poem from the Eddas, an 8th Century collection of Norsemen’s and women’s travels to Iceland, Greenland and North America. These stories include the interaction of the Norse gods and goddesses with humans, and are filled with powerful forces, courage and mystery.
Each of the 24 rune symbols has many meanings and identifies specific actions, energies and guidance for those who enter into the RuneQuest. Each rune also has symbolic color/s which represent it in ritual adornment and the creation of Cairns or Ancestor altars set in nature. By “casting” (throwing) or drawing a small runestone from a bag, or tray the questioner may ask for directions or information on the next best step in his or her life.
How to go on your own RuneQuest
- In this version of the process, look at the following rune images and choose one without first reading its description.
- When you choose your rune, before reading further, see what the image symbolizes for you.
- Then, read the description below. These descriptions assist the questioner in interpreting the specific meaning of this rune, relating it to their personal life and intentions for the future.
- Ask a friend or partner to look at the rune with you and share their interpretation for and with you.
- Create a blank wooden Rune Disc on a circle of cardboard, a disc of wood, a special stone, a cloth banner, and commemorate your Rune Quest. You can carve or burn the wood, or paint your stone or banner with the symbol your Equinox Rune. Many of us in our community place these wooden discs or painted banners on personally-adorned staffs which stand outside our front doors year round.
The RuneQuest is meant to be an interesting and evocative experience and is drawn from the Old World indigenous cultures of many of our ancestors. As an ecopsychology and dedicated intentional undertaking, the RuneQuest may help us to reclaim and enliven original Earth honoring practices and traditions brought by our ancestors to North America. We are re-creating these powerful ancient healing and intention-focusing traditions as we bring forward perennial guidance to serve and heal contemporary needs. In the ancient wisdom practices of Northern Europe, it is believed that, through the RuneQuest we may also direct right action and commitment to the Earth, our community environment and life purpose for the coming year. You may choose to dedicate the next year to honoring the special rune which chooses YOU!
The RuneQuest is here. The Transformations of Autumn Equinox are nigh!– Blessings from Godmother Marcie Telander
Elder Futhark – Rune Meanings (drawn from Old Norse & Germanic languages)
Sound: “f” Stands for: Cattle Color: Green
Casting meaning: Fehu is a rune of power and control. It represents new beginnings and “movable” wealth such as money and credit. It is a rune that gives us the creative power we need to obtain wealth as well as the power we need to honorably hold on to it.
Sound: “oo” Stands for: Auroch (wild ox, elk or moose) Color: Orange
Casting meaning: Uruz is also a rune of power, and cosmic primal energies. But unlike Fehu, it is a power that we can neither own nor control. Drawing it can mean that personal success is near. For charms and talismans use Uruz for its’ healing powers and profound transformation.
Sound: “th” Stands for: Thorn (or Giant) Color: White
Casting meaning: This rune represents the ability we have to resist unwanted conflicts in a passive manner. It is a rune of protection and can tell us of a possible change that would have otherwise come without warning. You can use the protection aspect of Thurisaz as preservation against negative action from others. It is a rune that also reminds us: When pricked by discovery and truth, Wake Up!
Sound: “aa” as in “aah” Stands for: Mouth (or Divine Breath) Color: Purple
Casting meaning: Ansuz is a rune that symbolizes stability and shows us order. It is also a rune that indicates intellectual activities and directly represents the divine breath of all life and creation. Ahhhhhh, breathe, simply breathe!
Sound: “r” Stands for: Wheel, Cartwheel (Solar Cycle of Seasons, the life-path) Color: Blue & Black
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to focus our energy so that we may obtain our goals. However to do so effectively we must be “in the right place at the right time,” being clear about following our true path and authentic life journey. Like the seasons, everything must Change! Seek, then head in the right direction.
Sound: “k” Stands for: Torch Color: Yellow
Casting meaning: Kenaz is a rune of knowledge, understanding, learning and teaching. It allows us to view situations with more clarity than we normally would. It reminds us of shared interests, crafts, art and community—Kin.
Sound: “g” as in “gift” Stands for: Gift Color: Gold & Silver & Red
Casting meaning: Gebo represents the honor and connection that is created between people when they exchange gifts. This honoring relationship is similar to the connection and gratitude for giving us life that we may have with the gods/goddesses/Divine.
Sound: “w”, “v” Stands for: Joy (great gift of grace, a boon) Color: Blue
Casting meaning: This rune shows us the balance between all things even when in a chaotic world. It is also a rune of fellowship, common goals and well-being for all things. When you draw this rune in a reading you can expect blessings to come your way.
Sound: “h” Stands for: Hail, Hailstone Color: Blue & White
Casting meaning: If Hagalaz turns up in a reading we can expect time and situations to be constricting, even to seem frozen. But much as a hailstone will eventually melt, turning to water which flows smoothly, these situations and times will eventually flow smoothly for us. Patience, not frustration, will be required before transformation may occur.
Sound: “n” Stands for: Necessity (or Need) Color: Black & Blue
Casting meaning: This rune represents how our need or want of something can seem to put restrictions on us. Directing all our attention toward something restricts other possibilities but also contains the focused power we need to break free from limitations.
Sound: “i”, “ee” as in “east” Stands for: Ice Color: Brown & Black
Casting meaning: Like an icicle formed at the start of winter, drawing this rune indicates we must wait until the warmth of the sun allows us to be free from a constricting form. Isa represents a halt in activity until a change is made, and flow can begin again.
Sound: “j” like the “y” in “year” Stands for: Harvest (or Year or Season) Color: Brown
Casting meaning: Jera is a rune that represents the cycle of life. With this rune we see that we must accept and move with the organic turnings of nature to obtain the goals we want. Everything comes in its appropriate season. The Harvest is soon to come.
Sound: “eo”, “æ” Stands for: Yew Tree Color: White & Green
Casting meaning: Eihwaz is a rune that can be used as a magical protector and facilitator. It shows us that if we remain calm, resilient and conscious at the end of an event or relationship we will find the transforming start of a new situation.
. Sound: “p” Stands for: Dice Cup (there are many variations) Color: Blue & Red
Casting meaning: Perthro reminds us of the uncertainties in life and represents our freewill interacting with the restrictions we have due to our circumstances. It is viewed as a rune of memory, resourcefulness and problem solving—stone by stone, step by step.
Sound: “zz” as in “buzz” Stands for: Elk (or Protection) Color: Black & Purple
Casting meaning: This is a rune of great restraint, power, defense and protection. Use this rune in charms and talismans to preserve yourself as well as the land where you live and which you love. It can stimulate, awaken your Higher awareness and purpose in life.
Sound: “s” Stands for: Sun, Healing Color: Yellow
Casting meaning: With the help of this rune we tend to be able to see things more clearly. Like the sun sheds light on dark times, with Sowelo we too can find the light during dark times. Big healing is in store when this rune is drawn.
Sound: “t” Stands for: Creator Color: Green & Red
Casting meaning: Tiewaz can promise us success in our actions and without great personal sacrifice. It also means success in matters of Justice, if we are honorable and truthful. This is a very powerful communal Leadership and Earth Protection Rune.
Sound: “b” Stands for: Birch Tree (or Birch Twig) Color: White & Blue
Casting meaning: Like the birch tree coming to life from a seed planted in the earth, Berkana represents a new beginning and is also a powerful birth rune. We may be preparing to “rebirth” our own personal purpose and health in very active and powerful ways.
Sound: “e” as in “every” Stands for: Horse Color: Red & White
Casting meaning: Ehwaz reminds us that in order for success to be assured–there must be a natural progression in entering the task at hand. With this rune to give us healing power as well as making use of our good intentions–we can surely achieve such success.
Sound: “m” Stands for: Man (as in human, not gender) Color: Blue
Casting meaning: Mannaz has many powers. First it is a rune that lets us know we can achieve our fullest human potential. Second, it reminds us that we, as humans, all have shared experiences in life. Last, we can use the power of this rune to gain our communal goals in disputes and arguments.
Sound: “l” Stands for: Water (or Lake) Color: Black & White & Green
Casting meaning: Laguz represents the power of water and its’ easy flowing nature. We must learn to “go with the flow” when this rune shows up in a reading so that we can take full advantage of our powers. Finding the way to stream-line our process brings success.
Sound: “ng” as in “long” Stands for: Fertility Color: Brown
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to spread our energy far and wide. It is a protective rune used mainly for the preservation of our homes and the natural environment. To use Inguz effectively we must learn to build up our powers patiently over time. When the moment comes to protect and preserve, we will be most effective if we release this power all at once.
Sound: “d” Stands for: Day Color: Yellow
Casting meaning: Dagaz represents the stability between opposites, such as light and dark. It can stop harmful energy from negatively affecting you–but at the same time allow positive healing energy to slip through so that you can make specific use of it.
Sound: “o” as in “old” Stands for: Home (or Odla – sacred ancestral land) Color: Copper & Brown
Casting meaning: Much like Fehu this is a rune of wealth. But unlike Fehu, Othala represents a wealth that cannot be sold. This is communal and spiritual wealth such as family, friendships or our culture and heritage that is passed down to us. It represents an enclosure and maintains the existing state of things as they presently are.