Category Archives: Runes

The Runes of Odin and their Uses

Runes (Proto-Norse: ᚱᚢᚾᛟ (runo), Old Norse: rún) are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc (due to sound changes undergone in Old English by the names of those six letters).

Legend has it that Odin, hung from the world tree for nine days in order to gain the wisdom of the Runes, and he lost an eye in the process. Odin’s sacrifice and the knowledge of the runes was passed down in the poem Hávamál:

“I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.”

No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there

The original poem is much longer, and has been interpreted and edited by several people. Here is a selection if you wish to purchase a copy:


It is a relatively easy process to make a set of Runes for oneself, simply by scoring small lumps of roughly oval clay or some other crafting material and then painting them to suit.

You can also use crystals , glass or metal and paint the runes on to them, however if possible try and etch the symbols in first with either an special acid or vinegar depending on the medium you are working with.

To learn more about the meaning of the individual runes, select from the list below:

Thorn/Thurisaz

Original Meaning: Thor’s Hammer
Protection, defence. Patience is recommended. Fortunes may be changing. Re-evaluate your thinking – you may not be looking at a situation objectively.

In Old Norse this rune’s name is thurs or giant. The thurses were known for their brute strength and often were in opposition to the Norse gods, though sometimes they were helpful. The Anglo-Saxon name refers to the thorn of the rose or any other plant. However, it must be remembered that while the thorn may draw blood, it often defends something of great beauty like the rose. The Old Norse and Old Icelandic rune poems portray this rune as harmful to women, and it is also the rune with which Skirnir threatens Gerdhr when seeking her hand in marriage on behalf of the god Freyr. This is probably the dark side of the rune. Its ability to draw blood and do harm. It has for this reason been seen as a phallic symbol, the phallus that takes away the maiden’s virginity.

It is also linked to the god Thor however, a god who is linked to many plants that have thorns or thorn like structures like nettle and thistle. This is the good side of thorn, its ability to use its power to defend man and beast. Thor with his hammer and powerful arms protected both god and man from the giants. He was also responsible for sending the thunderstorms that brought water to the crops. Thorn in either aspect is a rune of silent strength waiting to be unleashed. Thorn is similar to Eolh-secg in its defensive aspects.

In divination, thorn can mean “look before you leap,” or proceed with caution. It is a dangerous rune to be used in magic but can be used for defensive spells although it is commonly seen used in mythology and folklore in curses.

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

Tir/Tiwaz

Original meaning: Success
Pursue your passion and you will be victorious. Honesty and gallantry will prevail over deceit and cowardice. You can overcome any opposition if you set your mind to the task at hand.

The rune Tír actually has two names, the one used in the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” means “glory,’ but the name used in Old Norse was Tyr, the name of the Norse god, the Anglo Saxon equivalent of this name being Tiw. Tír is a guiding force, a mark to live one’s life by. This guiding mark is the troth or loyalty between friends and family. The Norse god Tyr was the god of troth or faith kept between warriors of the same war band. Tyr was also god of victory in war, legal matters, and any other undertaking that required one to strive. Tales in the Icelandic sagas portray warriors invoking this rune for victory.

Tír is the rune of justice in all matters. However, this justice is often recieved only after undergoing trial by ordeal. The god Tiw lost one of his hands in order to bind Fenris the wolf so that justice could be served. Thus the rune Tír is not the symbol of easy victory, but victory to come if one does what is right and true and is honest in every undertaking.

In divination, Tír means a successful venture, an existence of troth and loyalty. Guidance may be in the offering. In spellwork, it can be used to gain success or to force someone to obey a legal agreement.

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

Ur/Uruz

Original meaning: Wild Ox
Determination. Strength, virility and Health are well favored. Rapid recovery from illness.

Ur is the power of the extinct wild ox, the aurochs. The aurochs was one of the largest bovines to ever live, often standing 7 feet at the shoulder. As fierce and strong as the American buffalo, its horns spread out form its skull like a Texas longhorn and made it a deadly prey to hunt. Ancient Germans used to hunt the aurochs as a test of manhood in the woods and glades of Northern Europe. The horns were prized as drinking vessels, and the hides and meat provided warmth and food for the children of the tribe.

Ur symbolizes strength, fierceness, and individuality. It is the rune of determination and individuality, the strength needed to accomplish great things. It is the rune of raw physical might or spiritual strenght. It’s traits are valuable to a warrior, but they also have much in common with the outlaw. The word fr,cne used in the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” is related to the Old Icelandic word Freki, the name of one of Woden’s wolves. Wolves in the ancient lore were commonly associated with outlaws in general and seen to have many traits in common. This trait is further borne out by description of the aurochs as a “moor walker” in the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem.”

The outlaw in Northern European society held a unique position. Outlaws because they were largely expendable were used to commit deeds that no one else were willing to do. Often the outlaw though feared and hated found themselves in the role of hero.

Many feel Ur represents the cosmic bovine Audhumla and therefore represents the vitality of the life force or m??en. This ties in with the meaning that lies behind the “Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem” verse quite well, although more likely Ur represents the physical aspect of m??en called might.

In divination it usually represents strength will be called for or fierceness and the courage to use these qualities. In magic it can be used to bring about strength and physical health.

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

Wynn/Wunjo

Original meaning: Joy
Joy and luck. Connections with Water. Recent problems are resolved happily.

Wynn is the rune of joy and pleasure. The rune name itself is related to the word winsome. This is the rune of positive thinking; to achieve few sorrows, one must use joy or happiness. In addition, they must have a good stronghold, a fortress of the self to withstand the travails of life. Wynn is the rune of elation, of happiness, of taking pleasure in life. Even with the often rugged and hard life of the ancient Northern Europeans there was room for happiness and joy; the togetherness of the family, the seasonal celebrations throughout the year such as Yule. Wynn is the rune of wishes come true, of dreams fulfilled, of togetherness and love. Wynn governs the harmony of humans, that which allows Mankind to live in peace and happiness.

Wynn also governs self esteem for without good self esteem, one can not truly feel happy. For this, one must have a strong will to survive, to combat sorrow. One who loves one’s self is usually loved by others. In essence, Wynn is the rune of frith or peace, the peace of mind one has when living in a community of caring individuals without the threat of such hardships as poverty, famine, or heartbreak.

In divination, it can mean a period of joy or that happiness will be needed. In magic, it can be used to achieve joy and happiness.

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

Wyrd

Original meaning: Fate
The rune of destiny. Outcome is unknown.

What will be, will be – you must have faith. Accept responsibility for your actions.

Wyrd is a concept – a blank rune, and its inclusion in the rune set is a contemporary invention.

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