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Viking Runes - Futhark Runes

Updated on May 15, 2014

Futhark Runes Introduction

This article focuses on learning more about the Futhark runes, also called Viking runes. Also here you can buy Viking runes and get books that teach you how to read the runes for yourself - or others. Each rune taken separately has a specific meaning. It is a symbol, along with a letter of the runic alphabet.

While the Vikings are long gone from among us, fortunately the Viking runes are still around. They have evolved over time, being incorporated in many modern traditions.

You will get here a better understanding about the history of runes, where they come from, their meaning, symbol and energy of runes.

Learn more about Viking Runes - Futhark.

Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic

Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic
Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic

This is a relatively new book on Wiking Runes Futhark, one that I truly loved reading. It is an easy read, however, if you do know a bit about Futhark runes, you will get more out of it. The book includes some real academic research rather than just some new age style information, and this is maybe one reason why I enjoyed reading it so much. If you want to know more about runic magic, or you're about to study the topic, this is a book that should not miss from your bookshelf.


What Is The Futhark

The actual runes are also called the Futhark or the Futhorc, which is basically an ordered list of the first 6 letters of the alphabet. While initially the runic alphabet were mostly letters with sounds, these days it has evolved to gain new meaning with each drawn rune.

As a small sidenote, runic was initially the language of the northern Germanic races, which was quite similar to Celtic.

The rune alphabet has all the letters in straight lines and it is said that the reason is so that they were much easier to carve in stone during those times.

As runes come initially from Scandinavia, it is not surprising that runes (actually called runestones) are stones with strange signs on them. If you ever visit Stockholm, check out the Stockholm museum, as it has several samples of these stones.

Futhark Runes Symbolism

If you are interested in runes, I am sure you have already heard by now of tarot and i-Ching. In symbolism runes are pretty similar to these crafts as well. For example both the iChing and the runes are busy with polarities (yin and yang in iChing, and fire and ice in runes).

Also regarding tarot, both the runes and tarot are a means of divination, of finding iformation that is beyond what the initial shape of the stone (or cards) and images give.

However, the symbolic interconnections between various occult arts does not stop there. Runes have also a connection with astrology, as not only the gliphs (symbols) resemble that of the zodiac signs, but also the runes are connected with the 4 astrological elements: air, earth, fire and water.

Have you ever worked with runes?

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The Runic Alphabet

The origins of the runes as an alphabet is a mystery until now. Some say that it originates from the German raunen, which means among others to cut, or to carve. Other though believe that it might mean 'holy secret', or even 'mystery'.

However what everyone agrees about is that the runic alphabet is made of a series of straight line carvings, which have no curvings at all.

Regarding its initial time, there are various schools of thought, one being that the runic alphabet is older than the actual New Testament.

The runic alphabet has evolved over time. For example there are samples of runes dating back to the Middle Ages where an alphabet of 25 symbols has been used in Sweden.

It is interesting to note that the runic alphabet is not a written down alphabet, but a carved in stone one. As in the older times only wealthy people were actually learning to read and write, they could only descipher the runes and learned to use the power of the Futhark.

Following the Middle Ages, the runes saw a decline, starting from the 17 Century, when Iceland tried to ban runes by the Church. However the 20th Century saw another growing interest in runes, even though people were now easily associating runes with the various Nazi symbols such as the SS.

Futhark: A Handbook of Rune MagiBUY NOW

A Practical Guide to the Runes: Their Uses in Divination and MagicBUY NOW

Taking Up The Runes: A Complete Guide To Using Runes In Spells, Rituals, Divination, And MagicBUY NOW

Runes for Transformation: Using Ancient Symbols to Change Your LifeBUY NOW

The Book of RunesBUY NOW

The Rune Primer: A Down to Earth Guide to the RunesBUY NOW

Runecaster's Handbook: The Well of WyrdBUY NOW

Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric RunologyBUY NOW

Runic Amulets and Magic ObjectsBUY NOW

Futhark Runes And Healing

Initially Futhark runes were also used by the Vikings for healing purposes. They were consulting the runes to find answers to health related questions.

One way to use the runes is to meditate on the healing symbols of each piece.

Here are the healing symbols of the runes:

  • Fehu - Chest and respiratory issues
  • Uruz - Strength of body and muscles
  • Thurisaz - Heart issues
  • Ansuz - Mouth, throat, teeth
  • Raido - Legs
  • Kaunaz - Ulcers, fevers, cysts and abcesses
  • Gebo - Poisoning
  • Wunjo - Issues around breathing
  • Hagalaz - Cuts, wounds, scrapes
  • Nauthiz - Arms
  • Isa - feeling of numbness
  • Jera - bowel and digestive problems
  • Eihwaz - Eye related diseases
  • Perth - Sexual organs
  • Algiz - Brain, mental disorders
  • Sowelu - Skin diseases, burns
  • Teiwaz - Rheumatism, arthritis
  • Berkana - Fertility related problems
  • Ehwaz - Back problems
  • Mannaz - Pulled tendons
  • Laguz - Kidney problems
  • Inguz - Male genitalia disorders
  • Othila - Genetic problems
  • Dagaz - Nervous problems, mental illnesses

Casting The Runes

If you're looking for a specific way to cast the Futhark runes, well, there isn't any. Every runecaster will develop his or her way of doing it, that feels best for them.

However, there are some guidelines that are best followed.

Just like with crystals and tarot cards or your wedding ring, avoid lending out your runes to others. The runes are yours and there is a strong link, a bond forming between you and your runes which should not be broken.

One of the most common ways to cast the runes (which is also seen often on TV) is by using a pouch, putting the runes it and cast them on a velvet cloth. This is how I had my own runes casted to me several years ago (which got me first interested in learning more about runes in the first place).

You can draw sets of 3 runes which stand each for the past, present and the future. This also corresponds to the set of 3 cards drawn in tarot.

Odin's casting is a set of 5 runes where the middle one is a bit raised from the other two on each side.

Some people use 7 runes, or 12. There are many casting runes methods, just as there are many tarot spreads that can be laid as well.

One of my favorite is the Runic cross, which corresponds with the Celtic cross in Tarot.

Finally another interesting way of casting the runes I've seen at a new age fair recently where the runes were all placed in the pouch and then all released at the same time on the velvet cloth. The strongest meaning had the runes that were the closest to the person that the runes were cast for.

How To Cast Runes

Did you ever have runes cast to you?

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More Rune Casting

So Where To Buy Some Futhark Runes?

When it comes to buying your own runes, it is important to get them either made of stone, bone or of wood. My own set is made of stones.

Of course you can also make your own, however I bought my snoflake obsidian runes from a new age store and I wouldn't give them away for anything.

Here are some great deals on runes to check out. But please beware of runes made of plastic or glass. They might be cheaper, however they just don't feel the same like a real set of runes.

Thank you for visiting my Viking Runes lens. Please leave your comments below.

Do you have any experience with Viking runes?

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    • Zodiacimmortal profile image


      5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      Great lens I've added it to my WIP NOrse/viking lens Noble Norse Norns

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 

      5 years ago from US/TN

      I bought a set of runes on a whim many years ago. I used to cast them now and then, but it's been a very long time since I used them.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Once you have bought the runes on them to perform a certain ritual, otherwise you do not know.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      6 years ago

      This was fun to read and I learned something new today too! thanks

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Pretty interesting lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Pretty interesting lens.

    • chezchazz profile image


      6 years ago from New York

      Very interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing this fascinating lens.

    • kindoak profile image


      6 years ago

      Eow - I came here from the FB group to like this lines but discovered I already have liked it previously... Well, then I Double Like this lens! :D

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Fascinating topic. I have had tarot card readings and bought a set myself that I have attempted to use, but I have not seen or used runes.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I have heard of runes, but I never knew what they were. Very informative lens.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      6 years ago

      First time I've ever heard of this. Thanks for enlightening me. I learned something new today.

    • kindoak profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent, thanks for highlighting my ancestral culture :)

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      6 years ago

      Fascinating! I'd never heard about casting runes before.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Just remember vaguely hearing about this. Now I know! Interesting philosophy behind the tunes!

    • Image Girl profile image

      Image Girl 

      6 years ago

      I had these years ago! Loved them and gave them away. But.. I might those amethyst runes you mentioned here... sooooo pretty and Feb's birthstone too!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Have not heard of this before. It is interesting.

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I knew almost nothing about the runes, so this page was very interesting. Thank you for sharing it!

    • punkgrinder profile image


      7 years ago

      Cool lens, very interesting

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      I learned something new today and very glad I stumbled upon your lens.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Cyprus

      @TeacherSerenia: Hey Serenia, thank you for your kind comments. This is an introductory lens about Viking runes, I am intending to write a whole series about them, and tie them to the LOTR in a follow-up lens.

    • llfincannon profile image

      Laura Fincannon 

      7 years ago from New Orleans and South Florida

      What an interesting lens!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      As one who has a Scandinavian heritage, I found this introduction to Viking runes very interesting.

    • Krafick profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a novelty to me. Amazing. I thought Vikings were just warriors and pirates. Rafick

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes I like learning about runes too - but my interest is more in the literature and where rune writing is found and what is says - and much less of the health and readings stuff.

      I am curious that you don't mention Lord of the Rings - all the middle earth writing is in Runes - at least that's what it looks like to me. I think that is what Tolkien used.

    • littlelotus profile image


      7 years ago

      never had any..... this is the first time I've ever heard of them. Very interesting :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens on Viking runes. I love learning about new things ike this!


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