Viking Runes Meaning and their Symbols

viking language 1

The Viking runes (Norse runes) were signs that emerged in the regions of Scandinavia during the Viking Age and were later exported to Great Britain and other central European territories.

It is an ancient alphabet, dating back to the 2nd century A.D., which was used both for writing and for certain ceremonies linked to prediction. If you want to know a little more about the Nordic runes, their meaning, names, and symbols, read on.

Here you will discover how to create, activate and consecrate them, and incredible Viking tattoo designs, so you can choose the one you like the most.

Magical Runes and Symbols

Viking runes symbolize the movement of energy that exists around us and within us.

Each Nordic rune represents moments, goods, or losses that are about to arrive or leave your life. Its correct interpretation advises you on how to attract and keep the positive things that come or to overcome adversities if you suffer any harm.

Nordic Runes: What is the meaning of Rune?

The original meaning of the word “rune” never appeared in any text, object, or elsewhere. This is to be expected, as runes mean “secret, mystery or whisper”.

Nowadays we know the meaning of the Celtic and Viking Runes through word of mouth transmitted throughout time. Although it is also true that the ancient Norse engraved huge rocks with Viking symbols, as a form and means of communication with their gods.

Thanks to these inscriptions on large stones, we know exactly what the runic letters were used for in the Germanic villages, from the 2nd century onwards.

Viking letters: Meaning of the 24+1 Norse Symbols

Learn instantly, the meaning of each of the Viking runes of the elder Futhark and how it is interpreted today. To learn more, click on each Viking rune.

Fehu Rune

Fehu Rune Tarot

Represented with the symbol of a horned cattle head. The Fehu rune shows the virtues and defects of this sacred animal in many cultures. Fehu portends positive things such as wealth, courage, motherhood, and prosperity, but it can also symbolize negative aspects such as weakness, clumsiness, or servitude.

Uruz Rune

Uruz Rune Tarot

It presages the beginning of a new cycle in our life. It represents the strength and needs to transform our inner self to adapt to this new phase. Changes usually produce rejection, but this new stage pushes you to renew yourself and improve your current life compared to how it was before.

Thurisaz Rune

Thurisaz Rune Tarot

Graphically, it embodies a sharp tooth. It arouses pain or strife and represents the physical affliction of childhood development and also the heaviness of spirit produced in adulthood. The real meaning of Thurisaz comes from the opposition between right and wrong, or specifically, between life and death. Thurisaz is a symbol of regeneration.

Ansuz Rune

Ansuz rune tarot

It means “wisdom, mouth” or simply spoken word. It symbolizes knowledge and the communication of news. Anything to do with words, from learning to write or read, is represented by the Ansuz rune. In a rune run, it encourages you to change, reinvent yourself and take on new challenges.

Raido Rune

Raido rune tarot

It alludes to a journey, upcoming changes, and any kind of transitional phase in your life. Raido represents the struggles and deep exploration in your evolution as a person. It also alludes to the inner strength and maturity needed to evolve from adolescence to adulthood. Raido symbolizes an inner process of transformation.

Kenaz Rune

Kenaz rune tarot

Its meaning is “torch or light” and is associated with knowledge and intellect. Kenaz embodies the light that illuminates ignorance, bringing wise ideas. It symbolizes the opening of new ways, a luminous beacon of repair and understanding between two people. Inverted, it warns of negative emotions, mistrust, and broken relationships.

Gebo Rune

Gebo rune tarot

Its symbol expresses the union or where two circumstances meet. It represents the crossroads where two different paths that have different origins coincide. The Gebo rune symbolizes future professional unions, personal connections, or love relationships. Gebo has a positive attribute, it announces moments of success and prosperity.

Wunjo Rune

Wunjo Rune Tarot

It expresses triumph, greatness, and conquest. Wunjo symbolizes success achieved by overcoming challenges, times, and obstacles along the way. It is the realization of dreams and goals after total personal growth. Wunjo represents going through a difficult path and taking risky decisions until full satisfaction is achieved.

Hagalaz Rune

Hagalaz rune tarot

It indicates uncontrolled events, which may be detrimental in some way. Its symbolism refers to hail that devastates crops, trees, and goods, causing a period of scarcity and difficulty. The rune Hagalaz warns you of material or emotional losses, both accidental and intentionally abandoned.

Nauthiz Rune

Nauthiz rune tarot

This rune is associated with betrayal, slavery, pain, and disobedience. The Nauthiz rune warns of a state of lack or danger. In casting, it foretells something dark approaching your life. Nauthiz also advises you to make an inner analysis to detect and find weaknesses and strengthen them in the face of possible difficulties.

Isa Rune

Isa rune tarot

It symbolizes ice and is associated with cooling or stopping something, without rushing or taking risks now. Isa advises pausing your projects temporarily until you can carry them out without interruptions for reasons beyond your control. The rune Isa invites you to wait without acting, as the one who shelters in a safe place, until the storm passes.

Jera Rune

Jera rune tarot

This rune symbolizes what provides you with food, especially the fruits that are collected every year patiently, with your effort. It invites you to be calm and gives time for the natural periods to be fulfilled to obtain what has been cultivated. The meaning of the Jera rune is to be patient with the finished work and wait for its reward.

Eihwaz Rune

Eihwaz rune tarot

It personifies maturity, endurance, and fortitude. Eihwaz indicates the achievement of goals thanks to the choice of decisions made with conviction and firmness. It invites you to be responsible, and mature and to look forward by assuming the past. In the rune roll, it alerts you of probable attacks that can cause us some setbacks.

Perthro Rune

Perthro rune tarot

It is the origin of something new that comes to you without expecting it or that you were already waiting for. Perthro leads you to find things you had lost, receive unsuspected news, pleasant surprises, or have a love propose to you. It is the Viking rune of destiny and foretells that something mysterious will soon be revealed to you.

Algiz Rune

Algiz rune tarot

It represents the essence of conservation and protection of pure and authentic ideals and those related to nature. The Algiz rune encourages caring for life in any form, especially flora, fauna, or within the family. Algiz is associated with protecting and defending the home environment, friendship, health, and prosperity.

Sowilo Rune

Sowilo Rune Tarot

Also known as Sigel and Sowelu, it informs you that you are ready to take action and start doing the tasks you put off. This rune encourages you to take initiative, gather strength and take action right now. The Sowilu rune moves you to start a new phase with a renewed mentality and to recognize what you denied some time ago.

Tiwaz Rune

Tiwaz Rune Tarot

It means courage, determination, encouragement, and justice. The Tiwaz rune symbolizes a spear as a sign of firmness, courage, and conquest. In a Viking rune run, Tiwaz foretells a time of triumph or great achievements, achieved with your constant effort and honesty.

Berkana Rune

Berkana rune tarot

This rune is linked to fertility and birth, whether it is the birth of a new son or daughter, feelings, new friends, or the origin of new love bonds. Berkana is a symbol of motherhood, childbirth, family environment, care in the home environment, and the beginning of a strong friendship or a close relationship.

Ehwaz Rune

Ehwaz rune tarot

It is linked to the act of moving physically and mentally towards new places or goals. Ehwaz symbolizes a new day when good things await you. In a rune run, Ehwaz represents metamorphoses and changes of all kinds, such as relocations, a better disposition, new connections, or rethinking a work situation.

Mannaz Rune

Mannaz rune tarot

It is related to humility and caution in our behavior. The Mannaz rune advises you to act in a conscious and focused way, without doing it in exchange for a reward. Mannaz guides you towards a lifestyle free of pride, without selfish interests, and where the right values are part of you.

Laguz Rune

Laguz rune tarot

Closely linked to the realm of the unconscious, intuition, and your deeply hidden feelings. Laguz reveals your rejection of what you don’t know, your distrust, and your hostile treatment of unexpected novelties. The Laguz rune encourages you to cultivate your spirit and to think better thoughts.

Ing Rune

Ing rune tarot

It symbolizes the entry into a stage of personal fulfillment, creativity, and happiness in your life. The Ing rune represents the resurgence of a reserved behavior, towards a more open and social one. In a rune run, Ing gives you the strength and talent needed to face a new challenge or to overcome an old obstacle.

Dagaz Rune

Dagaz rune tarot

It is a rune of revealing, honest and clear attributes. The symbol of Dagaz is linked to the day and the sunlight that shines in a daily and welcoming way. The Viking rune Dagaz represents a stage of change and regeneration in your life, where a period full of success, abundance, and well-being begins.

Othala Rune

Othala rune tarot

It represents fortune, social status, family, lineage, and homeland. Othala is linked to human life and its most important virtues and yearnings. This Nordic rune refers to the wealth of spirit and mind, not only to economic well-being. Othila also symbolizes legacy, both material, personal and intangible.

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Odin Rune or Blank Rune

Odin o Blank rune added later, is out of the other 24 runes of the Old Futhark or Norse alphabet.

Odin or Blank rune tarot
Odin or Blank

It lacks graphism, (sometimes a central point appears) it symbolizes what cannot be foreseen, the hidden, the uncertain. The Blank rune represents the beginning and the end, the Nothing and the All. According to the Viking culture, Odin built the planets, the firmament, the mountains, and the seas and created all beings living on earth. If it appears in a rune run, the entire reading should revolve around it. It is the most powerful rune of all.

While some Vitki (rune readers) do not include it, its use allows for more enlightening and accurate readings within Futhark’s own vision.

Futhark: Viking Alphabet

We have evidence of the ancient runes and their meaning, as well as the different runic alphabets of Viking or Norse origin: The Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, which is the most widespread, and the Younger Futhark or Scandinavian.

The graphic symbols of the runes are formed by simple forms of writing in the Proto-Nordic language. They are signs composed of diagonal or vertical lines, more or less short and followed by each other, but not including horizontal or curved lines.

Elder Futhark Runes

Old Futhark was composed of 24 runes grouped into 3 groups of 8 runes called Ætt, in honor of the Scandinavian clans:

  1. Freya´s Ætt
  2. Heimdall´s Ætt
  3. Tyr Ætt
Elder Futhark viking

Futhorc: Anglo Saxon Runes Alphabet

Anglo-Saxon Futhorc was an extended version of the Old Futhark, consisting of between 26 and 33 runes.

Futhorc Anglo saxon runes viking

Younger Futhark Runes

Young Futhark or Scandinavian is the most recent and shortest version of the Elder Futhark. It consists of 16 runes grouped in 3 Ætt.

Younger Futhark viking

Rune Alphabet: Other Vikings use

In addition to the use in writing or to speak with the gods, the rune alphabet was also used as:

  • Calendar or Runic Staves: this perpetual calendar consisted of a 19-year cycle (Metonic cycle). Each year was represented by one of the 16 runes of the young Futhark, plus 3 other special runes, Arlaug, Tvimadur, and Belgthor, corresponding to the aureus numbers 17, 18, and 19.
  • Symbology in some groups or societies is attracted by the mystical and occult meaning of the runes. A clear example of this can be seen in the Nazi army, with the use of the double rune Sowelu or Sigel, for their defensive squads of the SS.
  • Magical and powerful elements based on ancient Viking beliefs. Also, the runes were admired and interpreted by students of esotericism, oracles, and other premonitory arts.

With the passage of time, the Viking runes began to have a similar meaning to the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Something logical, since the Vikings resorted to the runes to contact the gods and to know what events were about to happen.

Rune symbols: Norse runes meaning

“The name was given to each symbol of the Runic Alphabet” is the best definition we can give you of what a rune is. According to different ancient peoples, the root “run-” comes from “secret”, “whisper” or “poem”.

Viking runes have the meaning of a complete word and not just a letter that needs other letters to make sense, as is the case with Latin or Greek alphabets.

Viking Writing: Norse mythology runes

According to the Poetic Edda “Hávamal”, a poem written in Old Norse, and in its section called “Rúnatal”, the god Odin is said to be the creator of the runes. Stanzas 137 and 138 reflect how Odin obtained the runes through his own death.

137. I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

138. None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

There are two different stories of how the Viking runes came to men:

viking runes odin
  • One story tells how the god Ríg, after having 3 sons with human women, chose to reveal the runes to one of his descendants.
  • The other traditional Norse story tells how Kettil Runske, a mere human, had stolen 3 mystical staffs from the god Odin, from which he would learn his alphabet and magical power.

Celtic Runes: Are they Viking rune symbols?

Viking runes are sometimes called Celtic runes, as both were two ancient peoples who shared a common past in history and Norse Runes alphabet.

The Celtic peoples formed by Gauls, Galicians, Belgians, Lusitanians, and Bretons… spread over most of southwestern Europe before the presence of the Germanic and Viking tribes that came from Scandinavia and Jutland.

The Vikings were mainly engaged in trade and exploration, reaching their peak between the 8th-11th centuries. The place of Viking origin is what we know today as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

Norse Magic Runes

Ancient writings reveal that the Norse runes, besides being used as a method of transcription or as a yearbook, were also used with mystical intentions, taking advantage of their magic to guide us during our existence.

magic nordic runes

Thus the Viking runes have been and are used for:

  • Perform Spells with powerful runes that attract wealth or as Viking Tarot in the rune roll, to predict future events.
  • Create Amulets engraved with runes, Earrings, Rings, Bracelets, and Pendants for the beard and hair … as protection and spiritual guidance.
  • Tattoo your symbols as an offering to the gods and that they offer their power and help before combat or in other aspects of life, such as having children, good health, or for Love.

Rune reading

With Viking runes, as with other divinatory systems such as a free or personalized Tarot spread, you can get answers and advice on how you will do in love, in the world of work, in your finances, or whatever you deeply wish to know.

Free Rune Reading Online

With the Norse rune tarot you connect with your deepest self, so you should reflect and concentrate on the issue that concerns you, before making the spread.

The interpretation of this free Viking rune spread is more a piece of advice on how to proceed in your actions towards what you desire, rather than something inevitable that is beyond your control.

Triptych of the Norns (Past, Present, and Future)

carta tarot runica reves
Algiz rune tarot


*Protection, recovery, aid, defense*
Mastery of physical possessions and feelings. Anticipates the arrival of some advantageous opportunity, without anything or anyone being able to interfere negatively with it. This rune cultivates the inner fighter in you and defends you from false or dishonest behavior.
If you are already in a problematic phase, accept it and face it, you will soon find a way to overcome it, but do not wait for it to resolve itself without doing anything.

*Regression, anguish, distress, helplessness, risk*
It is time to be on your guard and to examine with caution what is going on in your environment, be it family, professional, or in a relationship. Do not take part in dubious-looking businesses in which you are competent.
As a piece of advice, study well all the pros and cons of each situation, because although it may seem like a good opportunity at first, it may have a shady side that will make you regret it later on.

carta tarot runica reves
Kenaz rune tarot


*Fire, victory, motivation, enlightenment*
Motivates you to emerge from obscurity and anonymity. This rune brings you the light that nourishes your fervent desire to create. Kano is the fire under the control of two lovers, it is the light that chooses you to light your path and attract the right situation to advance your goals.
This flame makes you see clearer, create more, and be freer. It enlightens your mind and spirit, enlivens your sexual passion, and opens a stage of harmony and understanding with your partner. Be active, and persist and you will have guaranteed success.

*Low self-esteem, loss of energy, clumsiness*
Beginning of unstable situations or waste of a favorable occasion in your life. Risk of losing a friend or estrangement in your relationships. Possible setback in your sentimental life, so you will have to deeply master certain emotions that can be melancholic or depressive.

carta tarot runica reves
Raido rune tarot


*Travel, moving, changes, something unexpected*
Personal renewal on an inner and physical level where you must hear your own spiritual voice. This rune stimulates and propels you on your journey towards achieving new goals. It also signals possible changes of address and even country.
It announces a call, visit, or unexpected situation. It advises and encourages you to transform your life through an exciting journey and possibly in good company.

*Disorientation, disorder, lack of progress*
Harmful changes or a moment of transitory blockage are approaching. Possibility of suffering some kind of personal separation rather than a rapprochement that you do not expect. Advises not to neglect relationships, try to be positive, and have a good character.
Despite this painful situation, it is probable that you will bring out its good side, eliminating old problems and correcting some circumstance that was about to explode.

Remember that although Destiny may be written, you have the power to change it with your daily effort and to achieve whatever you set your mind to.

How to interpret your Viking rune reading: Runic Triptych

This online rune reading is also known as the Three Runes Oracle and you must extract or flip 3 runes to answer what is troubling you.

There are 3 ways to interpret the meaning of each rune depending on the questions you are asking and your own needs:

  1. Triptych of the Norns (past, present, and future).
  2. Expressed challenge and the best way to overcome it.
  3. Understand a certain situation and receive the best advice.

In this free rune tarot, the first mode is used, which allows you to understand and analyze what has happened so far and deal with it in the best way to overcome it.

  • Rune of the Past: They indicate the situation you had before and has led you to where you are now. What it has been.
  • Rune of the Present: Brings you a possible solution to your query if you begin to act, to change what worries you. What it is now.
  • Rune of the Future: It is perhaps the most important and will guide you in your consultation to glimpse what will happen and how you can make it beneficial for you. What it should be.

You should pay attention to the 3 runes as a whole to better understand what they want to convey and give you the right answer to your query. This way you will see it within the framework that concerns you in a clearer and more precise way.

activate runes

How to make and activate your own Viking Runes

In ancient times, the Vikings made the runes for their own use, as they represented them and served as an amulet, carrying them with them everywhere.

If you want a talisman or a set of runes made by you, we are going to show you how you can make your own Viking runes, made of stone, wood, or clay.

Runes Tattoo: Amazing Viking tattoo ideas

Norse runes have extreme symbolic power. Since their emergence, they have continuously been used as mystical amulets that the Vikings wore for guidance and protection.

The rune was worn on the neck as a pendant, or in a small pouch, embedded in shields, weapons, or clothing, although the permanent way to have them always on you, was through a runic tattoo.

viking tattoo

If after knowing what the different Viking runes mean, you identify with one in particular or it inspires you and fills you with positive energy, surely you want to carry the magic of the rune tattooed on your skin.

We will help you with the best images of rune tattoos, to clarify where to get the Viking tattoo, see how it looks, and advise you on what size, position, and Viking tattoo design is perfect for you.

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