runes are broken into three sections or groups of eight,
called aett (aettir, plural). This helps one to remember
their order, and later, you will see, has significance in
the rune name is given, then its phonetic value, its symbolic
image, and finally the esoteric meaning used in divination.
Rune users disagree on whether or not to place a different
meaning on a rune that falls in an inverted or reversed
position. Some runes look the same upside down and right
side up. These cannot be "reversed". Nevertheless,
any of the runes may appear as a "merkstave"
(which literally means "dark stick" and implies
a "dark" meaning), depending on how the runes
are cast. Note that a "reversed" or "merkstave"
meaning is not the opposite of its primary meaning, but
usually has a more negative connotation.
Fehu (F: Domestic cattle, wealth.) Possessions won or earned,
earned income, luck. Abundance, financial strength in the
present or near future. Sign of hope and plenty, success
and happiness. Social success. Energy, foresight, fertility,
creation/destruction (becoming). Fehu Reversed or Merkstave:
Loss of personal property, esteem, or something that you
put in effort to keep. It indicates some sort of failure.
Greed, burnout, atrophy, discord. Cowardice, stupidity,
dullness, poverty, slavery, bondage.
Uruz (U: Auroch, a wild ox.) Physical strength and speed,
untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom,
energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding,
wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes (usually for the better).
Sexual desire, masculine potency. The shaping of power and
pattern, formulation of the self. Uruz Reversed or Merkstave:
Weakness, obsession, misdirected force, domination by others.
Sickness, inconsistency, ignorance. Lust, brutality, rashness,
(TH: Thorn or a Giant.) Reactive force, directed force of
destruction and defense, conflict. Instinctual will, vital
eroticism, regenerative catalyst. A tendency toward change.
Catharsis, purging, cleansing fire. Male sexuality, fertilization.
(Thorr, the Thunder god, was of Giant stock.)Thurisaz Reversed
or Merkstave: Danger, defenselessness, compulsion, betrayal,
dullness. Evil, malice, hatred, torment, spite, lies. A
bad man or woman. Rape?
(A: The As, ancestral god, i.e. Odin.) A revealing message
or insight, communication. Signals, inspiration, enthusiasm,
speech, true vision, power of words and naming. Blessings,
the taking of advice. Good health, harmony, truth, wisdom.
Ansuz Reversed or Merkstave: Misunderstanding, delusion,
manipulation by others, boredom. Vanity and grandiloquence.
(Odin is a mighty, but duplicitous god. He always has his
(R: Wagon or chariot.) Travel, both in physical terms and
those of lifestyle direction. A journey, vacation, relocation,
evolution, change of place or setting. Seeing a larger perspective.
Seeing the right move for you to make and deciding upon
it. Personal rhythm, world rhythm, dance of life. Raidho
Reversed or Merkstave: Crisis, rigidity, stasis, injustice,
irrationality. Disruption, dislocation, demotion, delusion,
possibly a death.
(K: Beacon or torch.) Vision, revelation, knowledge, creativity,
inspiration, technical ability. Vital fire of life, harnessed
power, fire of transformation and regeneration. Power to
create your own reality, the power of light. Open to new
strength, energy, and power now. Passion, sexual love. Kenaz
Reversed or Merkstave: Disease, breakup, instability, lack
of creativity. Nakedness, exposure, loss of illusion and
(G: Gift.) Gifts, both in the sense of sacrifice and of
generosity, indicating balance. All matters in relation
to exchanges, including contracts, personal relationships
and partnerships. Gebo Merkstave (Gebo cannot be reversed,
but may lie in opposition): Greed, loneliness, dependence,
over-sacrifice. Obligation, toll, privation, bribery.
(W or V: Joy.) Joy, comfort, pleasure. Fellowship, harmony,
prosperity. Ecstasy, glory, spiritual reward, but also the
possibility of going "over the top". If restrained,
the meaning is general success and recognition of worth.
Wunjo Reversed or Merkstave: Stultification, sorrow, strife,
alienation. Delirium, intoxication, possession by higher
forces, impractical enthusiasm. Raging frenzy, berzerker.
(H: Hail.) Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled forces,
especially the weather, or within the unconscious. Tempering,
testing, trial. Controlled crisis, leading to completion,
inner harmony. Hagalaz Merkstave (Hagalaz cannot be reversed,
but may lie in opposition): Natural disaster, catastrophe.
Stagnation, loss of power. Pain, loss, suffering, hardship,
(N: Need.) Delays, restriction. Resistance leading to strength,
innovation, need-fire (self-reliance). Distress, confusion,
conflict, and the power of will to overcome them. Endurance,
survival, determination. A time to exercise patience. Recognition
of one's fate. Major self-initiated change. Face your fears.
Nauthiz Reversed or Merkstave: Constraint of freedom, distress,
toil, drudgery, laxity. Necessity, extremity, want, deprivation,
starvation, need, poverty, emotional hunger.
(I: Ice.) A challenge or frustration. Psychological blocks
to thought or activity, including grievances. Standstill,
or a time to turn inward and wait for what is to come, or
to seek clarity. This rune reinforces runes around it. Isa
Merkstave (Isa cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition):
Ego-mania, dullness, blindness, dissipation. Treachery,
illusion, deceit, betrayal, guile, stealth, ambush, plots.
(J or Y: A year, a good harvest.) The results of earlier
efforts are realized. A time of peace and happiness, fruitful
season. It can break through stagnancy. Hopes and expectations
of peace and prosperity. The promise of success earned.
Life cycle, cyclical pattern of the universe. Everything
changes, in its own time. Jera Merkstave (Jera cannot be
reversed, but may lie in opposition): Sudden setback, reversals.
A major change, repetition, bad timing, poverty, conflict.
(EI: Yew tree.) Strength, reliability, dependability, trustworthiness.
Enlightenment, endurance. Defense, protection. The driving
force to acquire, providing motivation and a sense of purpose.
Indicates that you have set your sights on a reasonable
target and can achieve your goals. An honest man who can
be relied upon. Eihwaz Reversed or Merkstave: Confusion,
destruction, dissatisfaction, weakness.
(P: Lot cup, vagina.) Uncertain meaning, a secret matter,
a mystery, hidden things and occult abilities. Initiation,
knowledge of one's destiny, knowledge of future matters,
determining the future or your path. Pertaining to things
feminine, feminine mysteries including female fertility,
and vagina. Good lot, fellowship and joy. Evolutionary change.
Perthro Reversed or Merkstave: Addiction, stagnation, loneliness,
(Z or -R: Elk, protection.) Protection, a shield. The protective
urge to shelter oneself or others. Defense, warding off
of evil, shield, guardian. Connection with the gods, awakening,
higher life. It can be used to channel energies appropriately.
Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain
a position won or earned. Algiz Reversed: or Merkstave:
Hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of divine
link. Taboo, warning, turning away, that which repels.
(S: The sun.) Success, goals achieved, honor. The life-force,
health. A time when power will be available to you for positive
changes in your life, victory, health, and success. Contact
between the higher self and the unconscious. Wholeness,
power, elemental force, sword of flame, cleansing fire.
Sowilo Merkstave (Sowilo cannot be reversed, but may lie
in opposition): False goals, bad counsel, false success,
gullibility, loss of goals. Destruction, retribution, justice,
casting down of vanity. Wrath of god.
(T: Tyr, the sky god.) Honor, justice, leadership and authority.
Analysis, rationality. Knowing where one's true strengths
lie. Willingness to self-sacrifice. Victory and success
in any competition or in legal matters. Tiwaz Reversed or
Merkstave: One's energy and creative flow are blocked. Mental
paralysis, over-analysis, over-sacrifice, injustice, imbalance.
Strife, war, conflict, failure in competition. Dwindling
passion, difficulties in communication, and possibly separation.
(B: Berchta, the birch-goddess.) Birth, general fertility,
both mental and physical and personal growth, liberation.
Regenerative power and light of spring, renewal, promise
of new beginnings, new growth. Arousal of desire. A love
affair or new birth. The prospering of an enterprise or
venture. Berkano Reversed or Merkstave: Family problems
and or domestic troubles. Anxiety about someone close to
you. Carelessness, abandon, loss of control. Blurring of
consciousness, deceit, sterility, stagnation.
(E: Horse, two horses.) Transportation. May represent a
horse, car, plane, boat or other vehicle. Movement and change
for the better. Gradual development and steady progress
are indicated. Harmony, teamwork, trust, loyalty. An ideal
marriage or partnership. Confirmation beyond doubt the meanings
of the runes around it. Ehwaz Reversed or Merkstave: This
is not really a negative rune. A change is perhaps craved.
Feeling restless or confined in a situation. Reckless haste,
disharmony, mistrust, betrayal.
(M: Man, mankind.) The Self; the individual or the human
race. Your attitude toward others and their attitudes towards
you. Friends and enemies, social order. Intelligence, forethought,
create, skill, ability. Divine structure, intelligence,
awareness. Expect to receive some sort of aid or cooperation
now. Mannaz Reversed or Merkstave: Depression, mortality,
blindness, self-delusion. Cunning, slyness, manipulation,
craftiness, calculation. Expect no help now.
(L: Water, or a leek.) Flow, water, sea, a fertility source,
the healing power of renewal. Life energy and organic growth.
Imagination and psychic matters. Dreams, fantasies, mysteries,
the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld. Success
in travel or acquisition, but with the possibility of loss.
Laguz Reversed or Merkstave: An indication of a period of
confusion in your life. You may be making wrong decisions
and poor judgements. Lack of creativity and feelings of
being in a rut. Fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering.
Madness, obsession, despair, perversity, sickness, suicide.
(NG: Ing, the earth god.) Male fertility, gestation, internal
growth. Common virtues, common sense, simple strengths,
family love, caring, human warmth, the home. Rest stage,
a time of relief, of no anxiety. A time when all loose strings
are tied and you are free to move in a new direction. Listen
to yourself. Ingwaz Merkstave (Ingwaz cannot be reversed,
but may lie in opposition): Impotence, movement without
change. Production, toil, labor, work.
(D: Day or dawn.) Breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight
clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan
or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed
by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal.
Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point,
the place where opposites meet. Dagaz Merkstave (Dagaz cannot
be reversed, but may lie in opposition): A completion, ending,
limit, coming full circle. Blindness, hopelessness.
(O: Ancestral property.) Inherited property or possessions,
a house, a home. What is truly important to one. Group order,
group prosperity. Land of birth, spiritual heritage, experience
and fundamental values. Aid in spiritual and physical journeys.
Source of safety, increase and abundance. Othala Reversed
or Merkstave: Lack of customary order, totalitarianism,
slavery, poverty, homelessness. Bad karma, prejudice, clannishness,
provincialism. What a man is bound to.