Rune Meanings, origins and uses

What Are Runestones? Tips, Uses, and Rune Meanings

Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Avia

If you’re a fan of this website (or signs and symbols in general) you’ve probably heard about runestones.  But have you really dove into rune meanings, their uses, and their origins?  If not, I totally understand.  Runestones and their meanings can be a bit overwhelming.  For one, there are 24 runes with specific meanings (that is, if you consult the Elder Futhark runes – which are commonly used runes for various purposes).  Not only can all two dozen rune meanings be challenging to remember – there is a whole slew of other implications, symbolism, and importance behind these ancient and profound stones and their markings. 

That said, I thought I’d give you the low-down on runestone meanings – what they are, how to use them, and everything in between.  Oh, and BTW: This article explores the 24 Elder Futhark rune meanings. There is the Younger Futhark (which is 16 divinatory stones), and other systems of runes. Just to be clear – I’m working with the Elder Futhark ilk of runes in this post. I hope to dive into other types of runestones – but for now – this is all the rune news I have for you (but stay tuned for more fun insights!). So, let’s get jump-jiving into these precious, profound rune meanings, shall we?!?

Table of Contents

What are Runestones?

The word rune comes from the Old Norse word rún, which means mystery or secret.

Runestones have been around since the days of the Viking Age and continue to fascinate people today. A runestone is a stone slab with writing on it in one of the Germanic languages. A rune can also be a small stone or object with an inscription and has been used in ancient times for divining outcomes or discerning patterns in the tapestry of life.  

As historical markers, runestones typically contain information about the person who erected the stone, or about someone who died or was buried there. Runestones are found in Scandinavia, Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and other parts of Europe. 

Many runestones were carved by professional rune masters, who were paid handsomely for their work. The inscriptions typically commemorate the death of a prominent individual, such as a chieftain or warrior. Many also include references to Norse mythology or boastful statements about the deceased’s accomplishments in life.

Most runestones date from the Viking Age (roughly 800-1050 AD), although some are much older. The vast majority are in Sweden, where there are more than 3,000 known examples; Norway has another 1,500 or so specimens of ancient runes uncovered by historians and archeologists. 

The earliest known runestones were big boulders believed to be erected by Scandinavian settlers in what is now southern Sweden. These early stones were simply inscribed with names or brief messages. Later, runestones had become more elaborate, smaller (portable), and with designs that often included scenes from Norse mythology or depictions of everyday life.

What is the Purpose of Runestones?

Rune Meanings, origins and uses
Rune Meanings, origins and uses

The purpose of Runestones is threefold. Firstly, they were used as a means of communication between the Norse people and the gods. Secondly, they were used as a way of recording history and events. Lastly, the runes are a unique writing system for our ancients – each represents a letter (not too dissimilar from the Celtic Ogham). Together, each rune mark conveys sentences, thoughts, poems, ideas, and so much more. So, you could say that runes for ancient civilizations was the core of exchanging higher ideas or just a way to communicate thought.

The first known use of runestones is centered around Scandinavian runes, which recorded battles and victories. However, it is believed that they were originally used for magical and religious purposes. Ultimately, we might need a time machine to really break down the reality and true purpose of runes. One thing is true – these ancient stones and their markings are purposed to convey thoughts, ideas, and messages on many different levels.

Tips for Activating Runestones

Because runestones are believed to hold powerful properties, when practitioners use them, they go through steps to activate them. This can be done by simply touching it with your hand while focusing your intent on what you want the stone to do. It’s important to state your intent out loud when doing this, as it helps to focus your power and ensures that the activation process goes smoothly.

After the stone is activated, it can then be used for its intended purpose. Whether that’s providing protection or bringing good luck, each stone has its own unique properties that can help you in your day-to-day life. Just remember to recharge and cleanse them periodically so they can continue working their magic!

How to Store Runes

Runes can be stored in many different ways, depending on your preference. You can keep them in a pouch, box, or even on a string. I like to keep mine in a small wooden box that I decorate with the rune symbols. Whatever way you choose to store your runes, make sure they are kept in a safe place where they will not be damaged or lost.

Tips on How to Use Runestones

If you’re new to runestones, start by finding a set that speaks to you. There are many different kinds of runestones, each with its own unique designs and meanings. Once you have your set, it’s time to start using them!

There are many different ways to use runestones. The most popular way is for divination and guidance. To do this, simply hold the stones in your hand and ask your question out loud. Then, cast the stones onto a flat surface. In one method, the stone that lands closest to you is your answer. For example, if you’re wondering whether or not you should take a new job, you would ask: “Should I take the new job?” The rune that falls closest to you should provide insight that will help you determine guidance or direction to your question.

Another way to use Runestones is for spellwork and manifestation. To do this, charge each stone with your intention before using it in your spell or ritual. For example, if you were doing a money spell, you would charge each stone with the intention of attracting more money into your life.

Meaning of Each of the 24 Runestones (Elder Futhark System)

Now that we’ve got a summary of what are runestones let’s dive into rune meanings.  Here are meanings for all 24 runestone meanings in the Elder Futhark rune system.

Fehu Rune Meaning

In Norse mythology, Fehu is a rune that represents cattle. This symbolizes wealth and prosperity, as cattle were often used as currency in ancient times. The word “fehu” can also be translated to mean “luck” or “success.” This makes sense, as having a lot of cattle was seen as a sign of good fortune and prosperity in ancient times.

Keywords When Reading the Fehu Rune

Prosperity, Fortune, Wealth, Good Luck, Security, Success. Fehu meaning in a reading may also indicate a windfall or changes on the horizon that could lead to enhanced opportunities

Uruz Rune Meaning

The Uruz rune is one of the most ancient and powerful symbols in Norse mythology, and it means “wild ox.” It represents the sheer virility and power of the ox. When this rune shows up in your daily castings or readings it is a sign of primal energy, assertion, and achieving goals through intense focus and hard work.  This rune represents strength, determination, and raw power. It is often associated with the berserker warriors who were said to go into a frenzy in battle and were almost impossible to stop. The Uruz rune can also be used for courage and protection.

Keywords for the Uruz Rune

Raw power, Strength, Confidence, Presence, Vitality, Primal energy, Courage, Authority, Determination

Thurisaz Rune Meaning

The Thurisaz rune means ‘giant’ or ‘monster.’ It is known to symbolize chaos, destruction, transition, and change. It can be seen as a representation of the primal forces of nature. When seen in your daily readings it might be a sign of deep transformation or sometimes danger.  This is a disruptive type of force that should be heeded when it comes up in your readings.  For me, when the Thurisaz pops up – I tend to lay back, resist action, stop, and wait for what is next to come.  It’s not an ominous sign – but it is definitely something that should be considered before moving forward. 

Chief Keywords for the Thurisaz Rune

Disruption, Corruption, Devastation, Big change, Sudden impact, Potential pain, Erratic energy – (in other words, sit and wait – cuz this is a doozy of a rune potentially signifying sudden calamity)

Ansuz Rune Meaning

The Ansuz rune is associated with the god Odin. The name Ansuz is derived from the Proto-Germanic word Ansuz, meaning “a god.” The Ansuz rune represents communication, both verbal and nonverbal. This rune also represents divine inspiration, clarity of thought, and intellectual power. This rune is iconic for deep exchanges of the psychic, spiritual, intellectual, and verbal kinds.

Notable Keywords for Ansuz Rune in a Reading or Casting

Removal of obstacles, Clearing the air, Getting clarity in communication, Renewal, Feeling inspired, Connecting with ancestors and deities, Cues to higher callings and higher power

Raidho Rune Meaning

The Raidho rune means “ride” or “journey,” and the term also has connections with the words “wagon” or “chariot.” As such, this rune is associated with travel, movement, and change. This rune can represent either positive or negative change, depending on the context in which it is used. When this rune appears in your reading, it may be time to explore new horizons. This could mean physical travel to new places, but it could also represent mental or emotional growth. Now is the time to break out of your comfort zone and learn something new.

Key Concepts Associated With Raidho Meaning

Raidho rune in a reading may signify concepts like travel, adventure, movement, motion, change, or adjusting from one point in life to another (physically or emotionally)

Kenaz Rune Meaning

The Kenaz rune’s literal meaning is “torch” or “light,” but it also carries the connotations of “clarity of vision,” “enlightenment,” and “knowledge.” In terms of divination, Kenaz represents new beginnings, fresh perspectives, and creative solutions. As a charm or talisman, it can be used to banish darkness and bring light into your life.

Kenaz Rune Keywords

The Kenaz rune meaning in a reading could indicate a bright idea, fresh perspectives, inspiration, or a spark of creativity.  It may also signify you will experience renewal in your life, special guidance, or your path will soon become illuminated with new wisdom

Gebo Rune Meaning

The Gebo rune is associated with the concept of giving and receiving. This rune symbolizes balance and reminds us that we must be willing to give in order to receive. The Gebo rune also represents hospitality, generosity, and selflessness. When this rune appears in a reading, it is a reminder that we should always be ready to lend a helping hand without expecting anything in return.

Gebo Keywords

The Gebo rune expresses concepts such as gratitude, giving, receiving, establishing balance, charity, selflessness, friendship, and new partnerships that promise mutual benefits

Wunjo Rune Meaning

I love this rune! Why? Because it embodies happiness and delight. The word “Wunjo” means “joy,” and this rune is all about contentment, and fulfillment. When this rune appears in a reading, it is a sign that good things are on the way. if you have been experiencing difficulties, the Wunjo rune may indicate that relief is on the way. This rune also represents community, friends, and family. If you are feeling lonely or isolated, the Wunjo rune suggests that it is time to reach out and connect with others.

Wunjo Keywords in a Reading

This happy rune indicates better times are in store. In a reading, it indicates renewed feelings of satisfaction, security, happiness, and joy.  In a predictive sense, the Wunjo could signify the possibility of relief from bad times, removal of obstacles, and refreshed relationships that bring about celebrations.

Hagalaz Rune Meaning

The Hagalaz rune meaning is “hail.” The hail this rune describes is the weather phenomenon when ice forms during thunderstorms, and is known to be incredibly destructive. Consequently, this rune is often seen as a sign of tumultuous or damaging times.  This rune is also used to represent the elements of water and ice, and it can be used to represent the destructive power of nature. It is also associated with fertility and new beginnings because with any kind of destruction, renewal typically follows.

Hagalaz Keywords and Meaning in a Reading

In a reading the Hagalaz rune may indicate a period of struggle.  It may also signify a time when we are called to “earn our stripes” or our mettle.  Meaning, the Hagalaz points to a time that will reveal our true grit in the face of adversity.  Keywords for this run include: Potential destruction (and renewal to follow), challenges, delays in progress, disruption, adjustment

Nauthiz Rune Meaning

The Nauthiz rune is associated with the concept of need or necessity. This may be a need for physical resources like food or shelter or a more metaphysical need for knowledge or self-awareness. The rune can also represent the difficulties and obstacles we face in life and the determination required to overcome them. The Nauthiz rune can also indicate a challenging relationship that requires us to grow and evolve.

Keywords for the Nauthiz Rune

This rune captures that feeling of an itch that we just can’t scratch. It speaks of wanting, needing, and yearning – and very often – it’s a nagging feeling that we are unfulfilled (and not quite sure what will quench that unmet desire).  Keywords include confusion, struggles, and neediness. The Nauthiz invites us to be self-aware to determine what are needs are, and how they can be met.

Isa Rune Meaning

The Isa rune meaning is interpreted as “ice” or “freezing,” but it can also represent stillness, introspection, and deep contemplation. Ask yourself what ice does – it stops life in its tracks.  Consequently, the Isa rune in a reading could indicate a period of cessation or stagnation.  Not to worry though, because as we all know, ice eventually thaws.  Therefore, that period of being “put on ice” in our lives will pass. 

Isa Keywords and Meaning in a Reading

In a reading, this rune may indicate a period that we feel seized up – as if we can’t move in one direction or another.  It signifies a holding pattern where we are frozen momentarily.  Keywords include: Delays, the need to take a break, putting projects on hold for a time, cessation, seized up, or being temporarily out of commission.

Jera Rune Meaning

The Jera rune is one of the most commonly found runes in ancient Norse and Germanic sites. Its name means “year” or “harvest,” and it is associated with fertility, good luck, and abundance. This rune is often used in divination and magical practices relating to agriculture, harvest, and fertility.

Jera Keywords

Jera keywords include: Gain, surplus, reward, harvest, manifestation. In a reading, the Jera rune indicates a time of reaping what we have sown in life. It often refers to finally receiving the fruits of our hard-earned labor.  The Jera may also indicate a time of intense spiritual growth in our lives.

Eihwaz Rune Meaning

The Eihwaz rune is one of the most ancient and sacred symbols of the Norse tradition. This powerful rune represents the Yggdrasil, the cosmic tree that connects all nine worlds of the cosmos. Its name means “yew or ash” (as in the trees).  Some interpretations of the Eihwaz rune may include concepts of death or transformation.  However, other interpretations include strength, vitality, and determination.

Eihwaz Keywords and Meaning in a Reading

Transformation, change, and shifts in our lives after a time of intense challenges or struggles. Depending upon the surrounding runes, the Eihwaz may also signify a connection with community, strength in numbers, and a time of soulful growth and change.

Perthro Rune Meaning

This rune meaning is a bit tricky. The elusive Perthro rune symbolizes chance, gambling and fate. But its meaning is far more intricate. The Perthro embodies a sense of the larger, grander scheme in life. It represents the complex web of life and all its interconnections.  It is often associated with the Norse god Odin, the all-father god of wisdom, rule, and order. 

Perthro Keywords and Significance in a Reading

The Perthro meaning deals with heady concepts such as: Destiny, fate, and the trajectory of our lives. In a reading, the Perthro points to people and events that impact and influence our lives.  Because this rune is linked with the matrix of life, it’s important to pay close attention to surrounding runes to see how they may affect our life-path

Algiz Rune Meaning

Algiz is literally translated to mean “elk,” but its name and meaning are also connected to concepts like shielding or protection, and it is often seen as a symbol of defense. This rune can be used to ward off negative energy or to create a barrier against harm. It is also associated with the god Thor and can be used to invoke his protection.

Keywords and Algiz Rune Meaning in a Reading

When the Algiz shows up in my readings, my imagination conjures up the idea of a magical patronus (spirit guardian), such as a regal stag or elk.  As such, the Algiz signifies divine protection. It also cues us in on our inherent ability to conjure internal power when we need to defend ourselves.  Keywords for the Algiz include: Royalty, guidance, guardianship, confidence, defense, and being grounded.

Sowelo Rune Meaning

The Sowelo rune is associated with the sun, and its meaning is literally “sun.” This rune represents energy, life, vitality, health and success. It is a powerful rune that can be used for manifesting your goals and bringing positive change into your life. When you see this rune, it is a sign that you should take action and seize the opportunity before you.

Keywords for the Sowelo Rune

Success, clarity, positivity, energy, thriving, and other words that describe a sense of feeling electrified, uplifted, renewed, etc.  The Sowelo rune is an auspicious one and should be considered a good omen of hope and prosperity in a reading.

Tiewaz Rune Meaning

The Tiewaz rune is a symbol of courage, victory, and honor. This rune represents the warrior spirit and is often used in rituals and spells for protection and strength. The Tiewaz rune is associated with the Norse god Tyr, who exhibited relentless determination in establishing order and justice.  He was known for his strength, grit, power and inexhaustible persistence.  

Tiewaz Keywords

In addition to signifying strength, determination, leadership, and admirable stamina, the Tiewaz is also associated with fertility and abundance, making it a powerful symbol for growth and new beginnings. In a reading, the Tiewaz may remind us that anything worth having is worth giving our 100% in getting.  It is a rune of hard-core work and perseverance with a goal to render order and improvement in our lives.

Berkana Rune Meaning

The Berkana rune is associated with the birch tree, and its meaning is thus connected to new beginnings, fertility and regeneration. This rune also signifies growth, both physical and spiritual. The three parts of the symbol represent the stages of birth, life and death, while the curved lines represent the continuous cycle of creation and destruction. 

The Berkana in a Reading

In terms of personal development, the Berkana rune suggests that it is always possible to start anew, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. This is a rune of hope and possibility. Keywords for the Berkana include: Starting anew, revitalization, resurgence, and fresh beginnings.

Ehwaz Rune Meaning

The Ehwaz rune is one of the most important runes in the Elder Futhark, as it symbolizes the horse. You’ve got to remember that the horse was a tremendously powerful figure in Norse life. It was a regal beast that facilitated life, victory in war, and accomplishment in the community. Therefore, this rune is associated with the same concepts. The Ehwaz is also symbolic of travel, mobility, and changes. The Ehwaz rune is also associated with trust, teamwork, and partnership. In terms of the individual, this rune represents the importance of balance in one’s life.

Ehwaz Keywords

Because this rune embodies the power of the horse, keywords for the Ehwaz include concepts such as: Mobility, strength, partnership, accomplishment, determination, and teamwork. It is also a rune that indicates travel (either physical or metaphysical).

Mannaz Rune Meaning

The Mannaz symbol is that of a human being. The name Mannaz is derived from the Proto-Germanic word for “man.” The Mannaz rune represents human beings and their potential. This rune also symbolizes relationships, both good and bad. When drawn, this rune suggests that one should look to their own strength and abilities, as well as the help of others, in order to achieve success. This rune can be used for protection and healing.

Keywords for Mannaz Rune

Some keywords for this rune include: Connection, harmony in relationships, being grounded, community, friendships, and working together for a common purpose.

Laguz Rune Meaning

Laguz is the rune of water, representing the flow of life energy and the power of transformation. It is a symbol of fertility and creativity, and can be used to represent the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Laguz can also be used to represent the element of emotions, dreams, and intuition. In addition to being associated with water, the Laguz is also linked to the moon.

Laguz Keywords and Meaning in a Reading

When the Laguz pops up in my castings, it lets me know it might be time to go within and tune into my intuition.  The Laguz encourages trust in feelings or listening to internal “hunches.”  Keywords include: Internal power, instinct, perception, manifestation, and using our psychic abilities to attract what we need in our lives.

Inguz Rune Meaning

The Inguz rune is a symbol of fertility, new beginnings and the potential for growth. It is associated with the god Ing, who was responsible for planting and harvesting crops. This rune represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth. When you see this rune, it is a reminder that everything is connected and that change is constant.

Inguz in a Reading and Keywords

It’s important to relate to the Inguz as a principal of latent, inherent power.  This type of power can be compared to a wee seedling waiting to surge forth from the soil. It needs care and nurturing.  In the same way, the Inguz in a reading could point to your inner potential that needs to be tended to in order for it to burst forth in the world. Keywords include: Potential, life, growth, rebirth, and possibilities.

Dagaz Rune Meaning

The Dagaz rune is a biggie in the Elder Futhark, as it symbolizes hope, new beginnings and change. This rune is often associated with the break of day, when the sun rises and brings new light and energy to the world. The Dagaz rune can also be seen as a symbol of rebirth and reincarnation, as it represents the eternal cycle of life.

Dagaz in a Reading

This versatile rune can be used for a variety of purposes, such as creating positive change in your life, manifesting your dreams and goals, or simply bringing hope and light into your daily existence. If you are facing a difficult situation or period in your life, the Dagaz rune can serve as a reminder that this too shall pass and better days are ahead.

Othala Rune Meaning

The Othala rune is an ancient and powerful symbol in Norse mythology. Its name means “inheritance” or “ancestral property,” and it represents the idea of a family or clan’s lineage and history. It is also linked with concepts of home and security.  The Othala is associated with strength, stability, and prosperity, as well as the protection of one’s home and community. 

Othala Keywords

As you might expect, the Othala keywords include concepts such as home, prosperity, security, community, and stability.  In a reading, the Othala points to what makes us feel safe and secure. It may also signify things that make us feel closer to family and our ancestry.

Tips on How to Do a Rune Spread

When it comes to doing a rune spread, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • First, you need to have a clear question or intention in mind before you begin. This will help focus your reading and give it more meaning. 
  • Second, take your time when choosing the right runes for your spread. There is no rush – trust your intuition and go with the ones that feel right for you. 
  • Third, be open to the messages the runes have for you. They may not always be what you expect or want to hear, but they will always be honest and accurate. 
  • Lastly, don’t forget to relax and have fun! Runes are a great way to connect with your intuition and receive higher guidance.
Rune Meanings, origins and uses

Ways to Use Runes to Improve Your Daily Life

Runes can be used in a number of ways to improve your daily life. Here are some examples:

1. Use runes as a tool for self-reflection and introspection. By taking the time to carefully consider the meaning of each rune, you can gain valuable insights into your own thoughts and feelings.

2. Use runes as a way to focus your attention on positive goals and outcomes. When you regularly reflect on what you want to achieve in life, you are more likely to achieve it.

3. Use runes to help you make difficult decisions. Sometimes it can be helpful to consult the runes before making an important decision. By doing so, you can get clarity and peace of mind about what is best for you.

4. Use runes as a form of protection against negative energy. If you feel like you are surrounded by negativity, placing runes around your home or office can help create a barrier against negative influences.

Frequently Asked Questions About Runestones

Are all runestones made of stone?

No, not all runestones are made of stone. Some are made of wood, bone, or even metal. However, the vast majority are made of stone, and the material often depends on the geographical region where the stone was found. For example, in Sweden and Norway, most runestones are made of granite, while in Denmark they are usually made of limestone.

What are the types of runes?

There are three main types of runes: Elder Futhark, Younger Futhark, and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. Each has its own unique set of characters and meanings.

What are runestones?

Runestones are ancient Scandinavian stones with inscribed writing. They were used to record and commemorate important events, such as wars and Viking raids. Some of the most famous runestones can be found in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

What are runestones used for?

Runestones were used to record and commemorate important events, such as wars and Viking raids. In some cases, they were also used as boundary markers or to mark gravesites. They were (and still are) used for divinatory purposes to clarify patterns and paths in life. Runes are also used for communication, as the markings symbolize letters, deities, and concepts.

Closing Thoughts About Runestones

Runestones are a unique form of communication that has been used for centuries. These stones have a variety of uses, from divination to honoring ancestors and gods; they even possess their own meanings which can be interpreted to gain wisdom and illumination. By understanding the history and meanings behind these rune symbols, we can gain insight into our past as well as gain greater insight into ourselves and our lives today.

Mighty brightly,

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