Category Archives: Runes

Hagol/Hagalaz

Original meaning: Hail

Sudden changes and disruption are indicated. Forces beyond your control are interacting with you. There may be delays – patience is indicated.


Hagol is the rune of creation. The lines of the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem speaks of the creation of a hail stone and its final transformation into water. Hagol therefore symbolizes not only creation but the process of transformation in life. It is the rune of life change and the shaping energies that brings about that change. It is somewhat symbolic of Wyrd also as what the poem does not say is that the water will again evaporate into the clouds to be sent back down again as rain, hail, sleet, or snow. It is therefore ever going through changes based on laws laid down at the beginning of time. Much as the water in the well of Wyrd goes through its cycles condensing as dew on the World Tree only to fall back into the Well, Hagol goes through its cycles. Many runesters see this rune as symbolic of the “cosmic egg” or a set pattern as in a crystal, but this does not agree with the Northern European view of an ever changing universe.


Hagol can also be seen as a rune of fertility as it falls to the ground to water growing crops. But here it has its destructive tendencies too, leveling crops, and injuring cattle; change is often not without destruction.


In divination, Hagol can be taken that a period of change may be about to take place, or that a new creation in one’s life is coming about. In magic it can be used to bring about such change.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Ing/Ingwaz

Original meaning: Good outcome
Your efforts bear fruit. Good results are expected. A child may be conceived, a love affair may begin. Good fortune is yours at this time.

The name of the rune Ing is also the name of the Norse god Frey. Therefore the rune Ing is a rune of fertility, peace, and plenty. Many runesters see it as the “castrated male,” but in truth, it is the virile father. Ing is the principal of male virility and along with Beorc is the rune of the start of new life. While Beorc is the nurturing of motherhood, Ing is the protectiveness of the father. Ing was protector of the frith, the peace that surrounded a community along with the prosperity that kept it safe. Frith guilds in Anglo-Saxon England kept the peace, and Ing is a good rune for policemen and other “officers of the peace.” Wars and strife broke the peace necessary for the care of crops and animals. Ing therefore symbolizes a provider, protector, and leader.

Ing is also tied to the hero who shows up out of nowhere to save a kingdom and then returns whence he came. This motiff is common throughout Northern European mythology and may give the rune added meanings. Ing may indicate the knight in shining armor, the one that shows up suddenly to set things to right and then leaves as quickly as they came. In this sense Ing may indicate unexpected gifts from the gods, the sudden happy surprise.

In divination Ing can indicate a prosperous period of peace, sometimes romantic love. In spellwork, it can be used to promote fertility and peacefulness.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Is/Isa

“Original meaning: Cease
A time of waiting. Plans are frozen. Be patient, this is only temporary. Resume seeking your goals at a later time.

The rune verse of Ís is a warning, “beware of that which is beautiful, for it can contain great danger.” Its meaning can be seen in such old sayings as “”all that glitters is not gold”” and “appearances can be deceiving.” It is the alluring song of the sirens or the insincerity hidden behind the con man’s pitch. It is the beautiful woman or handsome man that uses their physical beauty to achieve dishonest means. It is a warning to look out for things that are too good to be true. It is the cold uncaring individual willing to use deception to achieve their means, and unwilling to change themselves.

On another level, Ís symbolizes the standstill of the frozen sea, the inability to change. It is cold, unyielding and deadly. Some runesters see Ís as a rune of the ego but this is highly unlikely. If it does indicate anything about the self it most likely refers to a cold unchanging individual whose life is at a standstill. It may be that Ís was what brought about the “battle fetters” a condition brought on warriors by a curse to prevent them from taking action.

In divination, Ís can mean, “beware, watch your step,” or it can indicate one’s life has cometo a standstill. In spellwork, it can be used to bring activities of some kind to a complete halt, to ice it over.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Lagu/Laguz

Original meaning: Knowledge

The situation is fluid. Changes occur. Trust your intuition – your unconscious knows the correct course of action to follow. Pay attention to your dreams.

Lagu is another journey rune, this one of the sea. It is to Sigel, what Eh is to Ræd. It is the rune of the rough passage, of the terrifying transformation. An alternate name for this rune in the Proto-Germanic is Laukaz or the leek. Leeks are known for their rapid growth and are sacred to the god Thunor (Thor). Here again we see the North Sea storm symbolism for Thunor is god of the Thunderstorm. Lagu, therefore refers to rapid uncontrolled change which if geared towards growth can be helpful, but if allowed to go astray may lead to destruction. Leeks were also used for healing though, and this is Lagu’s good aspect. Physical healing in and of itself can be a rapid though controlled process like the growth of a leek, and rapid change if controlled can lead to great progress for any undertaking.

Lagu’s name means “sea” and this indicates that the rune itself may have links to Wyrd. Much of the water symbolism in Norse Mythology was tied to the concept of Wyrd (see Bauschtaz), and the rune Lagu is perhaps no different. Lagu may refer to one caught in the results of their own deeds, caught in their own wyrd, being tossed about like an uncontrolled ship on the ocean. Lagu may then be those times in life of great travail, bankruptcy, divorce, family deaths, things that often seem beyond our control.

In divination, Lagu can indicate rapid change good or bad. In spellwork Lagu can be usedto promote growth and healing, but one must be careful to control these processes. A safer rune to use for such things is Beorc.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Mann/Mannaz

Original meaning: Humanity
Someone knows more than you do. Seek them out – ask their advice. You must work with others if your endeavors are to bear fruit.

Mann in the ancient Northern European tongues meant both sexes not just the male. The word for male in Anglo-Saxon was wer while in Old Norse it was ver. Mann represents all humans can be, it is a rune of mortality, of happiness and betrayal. The moral of the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem is clear, when things are going good it is easy for humans to be kind and loyal, but when death is near, personal survival takes over. One noted runester takes Mann to indicate the perfect man, the sort found in Plato’s philosophy. However, the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” verse seems to indicate something much different; a typical human with all their flaws.

Mann is the rune of Mankind’s mortality. We are quick to act and behave with honor and dignity when the going is good, but when our worlds begin to crumble around us, the survival instinct kicks in, and we betray even those whom we love. Even so, Mann also represents all of Mann’s noble qualities, though these are better represented by other runes such as T??r. Mann is neither a negative or positive rune, but one of reality. For all we are, we are still mere mortals questing to comprehend what we often cannot.

In divination, Mann can mean many things, but it usually indicates to beware of betrayal, to watch ones self and others. In spellwork, it can be used to reinforce one’s own mortality.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Nied

Original meaning: Patience
Be patient , protect yourself first , meet your basic needs. Delays or resistance may plague you for a while, but results will ultimately be positive. Look after your health.

Nied is the rune of necessity and constraint. It is representative of the stresses of everyday life. However, stress, as the rune poem verse says need not be a bad thing. Often, it can signal a need for change, and if this signal is heeded, the changes to be made can lead to healing of mind, body, and soul. It is the rune of the overcoming of all odds. Whereas Wynn is a rune of joy and happiness, Nied is its nearly its opposite. Nied is the “school of hard knocks” where lessons are learned by necessity. It is therefore a rune of struggle, sometimes of the ordeal. Nonetheless it can be used to help fight hardships one endures. In the Sigdrifumal Sigdrifa advises Sigurdh to carve Nied on his finger nails and any drinking vessel to avoid enchantment. Nied can be used to avoid those situations that cause hardship by constraining those very causes. It is also the rune of the need fire, the fire created from a fire drill and used by the ancient Northern Europeans to drive away pestilence and disease and other forms of evil. For this reason, Nied also represents not only the stresses of everyday life, but the ability to overcome them.

In divination, Nied indicates a need that may have to be met or overcome. In spellwork it can be used to overcome such obstacles.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Os/Ansuz

Original meaning: Mouth
Seek advice from one in authority, or with the wisdom of experience. An examination or test is indicated, which should not present you with difficulties.

Os is the rune of the god Woden (Odin), god of magic, death, and speech. It was Woden (Odin) who first won the runes for mankind when he hung on the World Tree for nine nights and nine days. It is therefore the rune of wisdom and esoteric secrets. It is the rune of knowledge and the power that knowledge can bring. It can been seen as the rune of the psychic death and the spiritual rebirth of the shaman or spell caster. This makes it the rune of “shamanic” ecstasy. In order to win the runes, (Woden) Odin hung on the World Tree for nine nights and nine days without food or drink. From the “Hávamál” stanzas 138 and 139 of the Elder Edda.

Wit I that I hung–on that wind swept tree,

Nights all nine–wounded by a spear,

And given to Odin–myself to myself,

On that tree which no man knows–from whence its roots rise.

Given no bread–nor horn,

I looked down–I took up the runes

Screaming I took them up–I fell back from there.

It is linked to all powers of speech and the written word such as poetry, song, and prose. It also governs the words of the magic charm. It is the word well spoken, the ability to sway others, the rune of poetic inspiration. Being the rune of speech it is also connected to the word of power, the secret word spoken only in arcane circles. It is the rune of runes, esoteric secrets known only to the enlightened. Os is therefore linked to divine inspiration, the flash of enlightenment that comes out of the blue. It is also the `them or breath of life, as Odin was god of the winds was giver of divine breath to mankind.

In divination, Os can mean divine inspiration, enlightenment, or a time when words will flow easily and freely. In magic workings it can be used to draw up magic energy or to receive enlightenment on some issue.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Peorth/Perthro

Original meaning: Mystery
There is much still hidden. Trust your intuition. Activities dealing with the occult are favored. You may find that which was thought lost forever.

The meaning of the word Peorþ (Peorth) is unknown, but many have taken it to mean ‘lot box” and therefore see a link to Wyrd. However, it is important to remember that nothing is truly random, there is a cause for everything even if our mortal minds cannot comprehend it. The laws of cause and effect were set down long ago and the entire universe must follow this laws set down in Wyrd. The verse of the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” also stresses the happiness of warriors gaming together. This may be symbolic of warriors going off to face their wyrds, the doom of battle, without out fear, but laughing in the face of death. Taticus speaks of Germanic tribesmen gambling themselves into the point of slavery, and then cheerfully accepting that state.

Even the mention of the Beerhall in the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” brings in the concept of Wyrd. The beerhall was where the ancient Germanic ritual of symbel was commonly held. Symbel is a rite to place one’s self into the flow of the events of Wyrd, to better understand one’s actions, and act accordingly. (Bauschatz, page 83). Symbel is an Átrú drinking rite in which rounds are made; with the first round the Norse gods are boasted, with the second the ancestors of those present, and after the third participants boast of their own past deeds and then vow to do greater ones. The point of this rite is to place one’s self in touch with Wyrd and thereby gain mægen by boasting of great deeds one can accomplish.

In divination Peorþ may mean a stroke of luck or indicate the unknown. It is rarely used in spellwork, but may be used to bring about the outcome of one’s wyrd.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Raed/Raidho

Original Meaning: Wagon
A journey or change is indicated, perhaps spiritual, perhaps physicial. Progress is made. The time is right for trade. Unexpected news coming.

Raed symbolizes a journey, either a physical one or a spiritual one. The ancient Europeans saw the universe not as space but as action, for them where action was not taking place, there was a void where nothing existed. This action or movement is reflected in Rae. This action was also reflected in the metaphysical realm by the movement of the dew dripping down from the World Tree into Wyrd’s Well, only to become dew again. This action was symbolic of the flow of time itself. It is the rune of ordered movement and as such also is the rune of the dance and the rhythm to the dance. It is the rune of time keeping and travel. It is also symbolic of the sun’s course across the sky as well as that of the moon. This being so Raed is tied to the passage of the day, the months, and the seasons.

As can be seen by the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” verse, any journey seems easy to the one not taking it. The ancient Northern Europeans saw action as necessary to the maintenance of the universe, non-action was seen as evil or detrimental. Therefore, it was desirable to take the long hard journey, to be constantly in movement. Yet, anything seems easy to one that does not do it. Raed is related to the other “journey” runes Lagu and Sigel, as well as Eh which also implies movement.

Raed can also represent the hard journey, the difficult road to travel in life. The “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” verse could refer to the refusal of the hero to take that journey, a part of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Refusal indicates a loss of what could have been a great reward, while acceptance can mean great benefits will be received after a hard time of travel.

In divination Raed means a journey that should be or has been taken. In magic, it can be used to send one on a journey or to keep ordered movement.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

Sigel/Sowilo

Original meaning: Victory
Rest and recuperation after your successes. Strengthen the life force. This is a rune of power – the power to change one’s condition. Opposition is easily overcome.

Sigel is the rune of the sun, and therefore is linked to all of the sun’s imagery. The Northern Europeans however did not view the sun as masculine like the Greeks and Egyptians, there was no sun god per se. In the Mediterranean regions the sun was often seen as harsh; bringing dry, hot summers. Northern Europeans however saw the sun as a goddess due to the warmth she gave in the often cold north. This warmth was seen as the warmth a mother or wife gives their children or husband. It is a feeling of love and safety. It was the sun’s rays that allowed the crops to grow, the same crops that would be stored for the onslaught on winter.

Sigel is a rune of protection and good weather. Strangely, enough it is often connected to Thunor (Thor), god of the thunderstorm, as is the fylfot though this may be due to his role as protector. It is also a rune of beauty, the words used in the Ancient Northern European tongues for beauty were also used of the sun’s rays. Overall, Sigel is a very positive rune, although the imagery of its rune poem verse also link it to Lagu whose verse is similar, the difference being Sigel is a safe journey while lagu’s is a rough one. Sigel is the opponent to ?

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below: