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Norse Runes - First Aett's Runes Meanings

Updated on May 18, 2012

In this article I wish to teach you about the meanings of first 8 runes of the Elder Futhark. Elder Futhark is made of 3 Aetts, each Aett contains 8 runes. In order to use runes in modern divination and magical practice, it is important to learn some of the basic meanings and correspondences, before you begin your divinational or magical work.

Fehu Rune Meaning

Let's will start with very first rune in the entire Elder Futhark - Fehu. Fehu is a rune that is often associated with money and monetary gain, but this is just a tip of an iceberg.

Number - 1

Letter - F

Other Names: feh, feoh

Positive: social success, new beginnings, strength, success, positive energies

Negative: disagreement, lost of hope, poverty, defeat

Fehu literally means "cattle". In the old days, cattle was a symbol of being rich - one who had a lot of cattle, had a lot of "money". That's why Fehu is often associated with money and monetary gain. But this is just one thing. Yes, Fehu is a rune of wealth, but not just monetary, also spiritual wealth - something we lack these days. What is more, you should not consider Fehu to be a rune that attracts a lot of money - wealth is something each one of us understand in different way, for some it's living simple, but with someone we love Others understand wealth as having a lot of money, or at least a place to sleep and food to eat. Think about that.

In diviantion, when you receive Fehu, it suggest suggest and gain, but it also embrace you to meditate about possession, money and wealth. Fehu also represents new beginnings, that's why it's often used as talisman in new ventures, such as new business project. In Magick, Fehu is a rune of powerful energies that can be used to energize yourself, improve your productivity, or support things that we would like to see successful.

It's very positive rune strongly related to our physical reality, but it also have its dark side. Negative side of Fehu might suggest lack of energies that could be used to achieve success, it might also suggest defeat, or the fear of loosing material wealth. It symbolizes the problems of our physical world, the problems related to our "love" towards material goods.

Uruz Rune Meaning

Uruz is second rune of the first aett, and it's often associated with freedom, independence and good health. Uruz is representing aurochs, European wild ox (sorry, the species is extinct).

Number – 2

Letter - U

Other Names: ur

Positive: strength, protection, stamina, freedom, form, health

Negative: weakness, obsession, being dominated by others, illness, ignorance

Uruz is a rune that should be considered as representation of both physical and mental strength, and development of these two elements of our life; and either manhood and womanhood. It's also a rune of health. Uruz is a rune that talks about personal freedom and independence, something that we all seek in our life on Earth planes.

Uruz gives you energy and strength to act, but when under no control, this energy might be destructive, so you must take care that this energy will be controlled by your conscious mind. If you have dreams, Uruz gives you strength to fulfill them. Use this strength to stay focused on the life you want, and don't use your strength to make harm.

On the reverse, Uruz might be a sign of weakness, or strength that is used in wrong way. It might also symbolizes illness, or lack of control over your own life.

Thurisaz Rune Meaning

The third rune of the Elder Futhark is Thurisaz - in my opinion, it's quite often neglected rune as it's associated by many with dangers and negativity. In reality, there are no negative runes in first aett, and Thurisaz, when properly understood, can protect you against unseen dangers of your life.

Number – 3

Letter - Th

Other Names: Thurs, Th, Thorn

Positive: directed force, erotic vitality, the will, determination, regeneration, life lessons

Negative: danger, lack of protection, blind aggression, betrayal, sadness

Thurisaz is the force of brutal nature, but also a rune that suggest you to stop what you're doing, sit down and just observe. There is a chaos around you, everything's flying and if you don't want to get hit by something dangerous, you need to hold still and observe everything around you - only by doing so, you will find a safe path.

Thurisaz stands for giants, dangerous creatures, feared even by the gods of Asgard. But it's also a rune of Thor, the protector. This means, that Thurisaz might either means dangerous situation in your life, but also a protection against danger. For years,Thurisaz was used in some amulets for protection.

If the energy of Thurisaz is blocked, you might loose your protection, and the danger will come. Often, Thurisaz might warn you against enemies or problematic situations that are closing to you - sit and observe, maybe there's something wrong going on around you, which you don't see?

Thurisaz is also a rune of male sexuality, if you're interested :).

Recommended Runes Guidebook

Introduction To Norse Runes & Runic Magick
Introduction To Norse Runes & Runic Magick

The Introduction To Norse Runes & Runic Magick will introduce you to Norse Runes, a complex system of divination and magical work. With it, you will learn the meanings of all 24 runes, and their correspondences to elements, numbers, letters, deities, etc. You will learn how perform a divination, and magical runic ritual, and more!


Ansuz Rune Meaning

Ansuz, the fourth rune of the Elder Futhark, and first aett. It's a rune of Odin himself, symbolizing divine power, but mainly - the breath. Breath is the symbol of life, it is said that one of the gifts from the gods to humans was breath, in other words - the source of life power.

Number – 4

Letter - A

Other Names: Ass, Ansur, Os

Positive: inspiration, synthesis, creativity, transformation, spiritual power, wiseness, word

Negative: misunderstood, false words, problems with communication, bad advice, manipulation

The basic meaning of the rune is simple - sign. As I already said, it's also a rune of Odin. First, it's the sign from heaven, telling you that you're either doing the right thing, or bad thing - which one is it, requires skills and interpretation. Ansuz is a rune of communication and speaking, it helps you turn your thoughts into words, and communicate your will with the rest of the world.

Because it's the rune of Odin, it represents transformation - Odin hanged on the Yggdrassil for 9 days and 9 nights before he was blessed with the knowledge of the runes. He died, and he was reborn. Ansuz might suggest that you need to "die" in metaphorical sense in order to transform yourself - something similar is a common theme in case of shamanic traditions all over the world.

Ansuz is a rune of creativity and intelligence, showing you the path of intelligence and wiseness.

On the negative side of this rune, Ansuz might try to tell you that your behavior is wrong and you're walking wrong path. It might suggest lack of communication between two bodies, or using your knowledge for wrong deeds.

Raido Rune Meaning

Raido is the fifth rune of the first aett, and fifth rune of the entire Futhark. It's associated with a coach pulled by horses, and thus, it can be read as travel - but it's no only a physical travel, but also a journey on other planes - mental and emotional as well.

Number – 5

Letter - R

Other Names: Reid, Rad

Positive: rationality, action, movement, justice, development, order, control, journey

Negative: crisis, stagnation, injustice, irrationality, lack of runes

Raido is a rune of journey - a journey inside your own mind, or a journey from one state to another - for example, a journey from childhood into adulthood. Raido suggest a change that is taking place, or a change that should take place. It's also a rune of seeking your true purpose in the world around you - your destiny, as some people refer to.

Raido is a rune of experiencing - it doesn't talk about the world, it shows you the world through your sensory organs like eyes or ears. In short, Raido says "live your life, dammit" :). But it also have a darker side, it's a rune of stagnation and lack of changes - a crisis that is caused by your stagnation. And it can warn you of negative messages and negative actions, for example - acting against your true will.

This rune can show you your destiny, the paths you should walk, or at least it will protect you in your journey - either physical, or mystical journey of life.

Kenaz Rune Meaning

The sixth rune of the first aett and the entire Elder Futhark is called Kenaz - this rune is translated as fire, or a torch, and indeed - it's a burning flame of love, inspiration and creativity. It's also a rune of protection and gaining knowledge. It can burn you, but if you know how to use it, it's one of the most useful runes.

Number – 6

Letter - K

Other Names: Ken, Cen

Positive: inspiration, power, passion, love, creative fire, transformation, creativity, manual skills

Negative: illness, fever, lack of life force, breakdown, stagnation, lack of creativity

Kenaz, as torch can be described as the rune that gives you light in the time of trouble - whether it's lack of creative ideas, and you're in need of inspiration, or if you have bigger problems, and you're looking for guidance, a way to deal with these problems - Kenaz will help you here.

As fire rune, Kenaz can also destroy negative emotions and energies, it's often used in magical rites, which goal is to cleanse the place of negative energies. And of course, Kenaz is a rune of great inspiration and creativity, and passionate love between male and female. Generally, it's positive rune and should be perceived as such. Kenaz is also a rune of acquiring knowledge - not the knowledge itself, but the process of learning, it's perfect talisman for students and learners.

Fire is also a force of transformation - things might transform into new forms. On the negative side, you might expect problems with creativity, lack of inspiration and stagnation. You should look for the ways to keep the fire burning.

Gebo Rune Meaning

One of the most positive runes in the first Aett, Gebo is a rune of giving and magical exchange... Or exchange in general. Ancient Norse believed that there is nothing for free and everything is an exchange of something. And based on our knowledge of the world, this is truth.

Number – 7

Letter - G

Other Names: Gifu, Geofu, Gyfu

Positive: success, understanding, loyalty, protection, gift, magical exchange, respect

Negative: loneliness, dependence, jealousy, imbalance, sexual blockages, seperation

As gift, we understand different things - Gebo might stand for physical gift, like one we receive for birthday, magical gift of love, or gift of knowledge. Generally, Gebo represents the exchange of things - if you receive, one day you will have to give back. If you give, one day you will be gifted. Not necessary by the same person, but the Universe repays all. Gebo in some way represents Norse view upon Karma. Gebo says "give, and the Universe will give you back" - whatever you give.

In the symbol of Gebo, you can see unity of two entities. Thus, gebo often represents lover. But it might also represents (on its negative side) loosing things, and falling into a trap of taking without giving anything by yourself. Gebo also represents success or defeat. Success or defeat should also be understood as the element of the Universe exchange.

Wunjo Rune Meaning

Wunjo is the last rune of the first aett and generally, it represents joy. It's a rune of success and happiness that tell you the same thing like the famous song "don't worry, be happy". This is also the rune that completes the first aett, the most "earthly" plane of runes.

Number – 8

Letter - W

Other Names: Wynja, Wynn, Wyn

Positive: harmony, happiness, friendship, joy, success

Negative: sadness, arguments, false plans, depression

Wunjo says that you should be happy, and that you've achieved success (or you're about to achieve success). In all field of your life, you should expect harmony and peace. Wunjo is very powerful, and very positive rune telling us that we right now we should work towards happiness and joy, and worry not about any problem we might currently have.

Wunjo points you to important things, upon which you should focus upon - family, health, physical condition, mental stability. When all the elements of your life are at harmony, you're experiencing happiness. On the negative side, Wunjo warns you against loosing your independence and unique identity. It warns you about lack of harmony and problems you might face, problems that hold you back. In such case, Wunjo warns you, it says "be careful, and have your eyes opened".

That's it!

You've learned the basic meanings of all 8 runes of the first Aett of the Elder Futhark. I hope this hub was educational enough, if you liked it, make sure to rate it :).


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    • cruelkindness profile image


      6 years ago from an angle view.

      Very well done hub.

      Informative and interesting.

      Cruelkindness (Subliminally Thoughtless)


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