Posted in Tradition / Mythology / Germanic on Monday, September 7, 2015 by Joel Höglund


The old alphabet in the germanic part of europe consisted of runes. The usage and style has varied over time and place, but they all seem to stem from the runerow commonly called The Elder Futhark. The image above depicts a bracteate found in Vadstena, Sweden, with the elder futhark written in a circle. The rune row is here written in the most commonly used order:

ᚠᚢᚦᚨᚱᚲᚷᚹ ᛬ ᚺᚾᛁᛃᛈᛇᛘᛋ ᛬ ᛏᛒᛖᛗᛚᛜᛟᛞ

Every rune has a name to it, which thankfully have been passed down to us through various rune poems. However, the poems that have been found are associated to younger rune rows as the scandinavian or anglo-saxon runes. In many cases the names are the same in both rune rows, so it is very likely that these were their original names also. There are however some exceptions where we can't be quite as sure if the derived name is also true for the elder futhark. Below is a table containing the runes of the elder futhark, their name and their meaning in modern english.

f  Feh  wealth, cattle
u  Ur  aurochs, beginning
th  Thurz  giant, thorn
a  Ass  a god of the Æsir
r  Reid  ride, wagon
k  Ken  torch, wound
g  Gibu  gift
w  Wynja  happiness
h  Hagal  hail
n  Naud  need
i  Is  ice
j  Jara  year
p  Pertra  rock
ï (æ)  Eiwahz  yew
z  Algiz  elk
s  Sol  sun
t  Tyr  Tyr, the god
b  Birka  Birch
e  Ehwaz  horse
m  Madr  man
l  Lagu  water
i  Ing  Ing, the god (Frey)
o  Odal  heritage, estate
d  Dagaz  day


Just as the latin alphabet we use today, the runes symbolize a phonetic value, a sound. These are usually the first sound value of the name, but in some cases it is the last sound value.

Last updated on Thursday, July 14, 2016