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The Elder Futhark Ættir and Their Significance

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

The Elder Futhark runes are a set of twenty-four runes from ancient times that we use today for divination and magical purposes.


This post will cover the ættir (or families) that the runes are split into. But if you're looking to learn about The Origins and Nature of the Elder Futhark Runes, check out that post.

The three aettir of the elder futhark runes. Freyr's aett, Hagal's aett, and Tyr's aett.
The Elder Futhark Runes


What are Ættir?


The term "ættir" is the plural of ætt, an Old Norse term essentially meaning "family." There are three ættir within the Elder Futhark runes, and each consists of eight runes.


The resonances of each ætt differ and can interact with rune readings in different ways. For example, if you're doing a rune read and get a lot of runes from one specific ætt, this could be something to consider in context with the rest of the read. You may look at the resonances between the runes in the vertical rows in more advanced readings.


The three ættir are named as follows: Freyr's Ætt, Hagal's Ætt, and Tyr's Ætt. Each of these is a god of the Norse pantheon, and they bring further significance to the runes they are associated with.


Without further ado, let's get into the three ættir:


Freyr's Ætt

Freyr's aett is the first third of the Elder Futhark runes. It includes fehu, uruz, thurisaz, raidho, kenaz, gebo, and perthro.
Freyr's aett

The runes of Freyr's Ætt range from the first rune Fehu to Wunjo. (From left to right, the depicted runes are Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo, and Wunjo.)


Freyr is the Norse god of fertility and the harvest, and his twin is the similarly associated fertility goddess Freya, who can be seen as a parallel to Venus.


Each of these runes has resonance with the means, modes, and actions that are required for life on a basic level and for fulfillment. They have to do with abundance, self-defense, relationships, and interaction among both humans and the divine.


Fehu

The Elder Futhark Rune Fehu. Also known as fe, feh, feoh, and frey.
Fehu Rune


Fehu upright: associated with movable wealth and abundance in any area of life as related to the reading. Prosperity abounds with Fehu upright. It could pertain to a new relationship or an extremely fulfilling relationship if the read is about love.


Fehu reversed: loss of wealth and loss of feeling of self-confidence. It could indicate a loss of relationship if the read pertains to romance.


To learn even more about Fehu, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Fehu.


Uruz

The Elder Futhark Rune Uruz. Also known as ur and urz.
Uruz Rune

Uruz upright: denotes willpower and stubborn strength to burst through barriers and attain your goals at any cost. Uruz could represent unbridled energy that can be beneficial but equally destructive if unchecked. It may also point to good vitality.


Uruz reversed: may point to a sapping of vitality; fears and the lack of confidence to do what is necessary to attain goals.


To learn more about Uruz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Uruz.


Thurisaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Thurisaz. Also known as Thurs and Thor. The thorn rune.
Thurisaz Rune

Thurisaz upright: can represent a time to be defensiveness or defensiveness on the part of someone. It also relates to chaos and godly strength. Some sources say that Thor's hammer inspires this rune, but it also represents a thorn. The counterpart of Thor is Loki, who is Chaos. Thurisaz is also a protective rune, but whereas Algiz is more defensive, Thurisaz is more offensive.


Thurisaz reversed: typically indicates that the time for defensiveness is over. When doing a love reading, it could mean a letting down of defenses on the part of the person that you're looking into.


To learn more about Thurisaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Thurisaz.


Ansuz

The Elder Futhark Rune Ansuz. Also known as as. Odin rune.
Ansuz Rune

Ansuz upright: this rune indicates messages be it messages from another person or messages from the divine and other worlds. It relates to Odin and therefore also represents wisdom and knowledge.


Ansuz reversed: a lack of communication or lies and deceit. Misinterpretation of social interaction and messages.


To learn more about Ansuz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Ansuz.


Raidho

The Elder Futhark Rune Raidho. Also known as reid and rad. The wheel rune.
Raidho Rune

Raidho upright: represents a wheel and is often read as synonymous with The Chariot tarot card, but while these parallels can be useful, don't be limited by them. Raidho relates to being on a journey -- this could be internally, spiritually, or literally traveling from one place to another. Upright, Raidho indicates a clear path with little to no obstacles. Speedy travel to the destination.


Raidho reversed: there may be problems or blockages that are keeping the journey from coming to easy completion. Tests and difficulties abound. This stagnation could be literal if pertaining to real travel or emotional/spiritual/psychological depending on the context of the read.


To learn more about Raidho, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Raidho.


Kenaz


The Elder Futhark Rune Kenaz. Also known as kano, ken, kawn, and kaunan. The torch rune.
Kenaz Rune

Kenaz upright: illumination, breakthroughs, seeing eye-to-eye, and enlightenment. This could be in terms of divine understanding or in relationships with other people depending on the context of the reading. Since this rune represents a torchlight, the creative force of fire is relevant here.


Kenaz reversed: left in the dark. Internal feelings of lack and misunderstanding. Something is fizzling out into the darkness. If this rune is pulled in a love reading, Kenaz could relate to a clandestine or lusty affair.


To learn more about Kenaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Kenaz.


Gebo

The Elder Futhark Rune Gebo. Also known as gifu or gyfu. The rune of gifts.
Gebo Rune

Gebo upright: gifts, mutual agreement, reciprocity. In a love reading, this rune could mean that there is a fulfilling and equal relationship unfolding or may point to sex. Gebo could also refer to divine gifts.


Gebo reversed: there is no reversal for this rune.


To learn more about Gebo, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Gebo.


Wunjo

The Elder Futhark Rune Wunjo. Also known as wynja or wyn.
Wunjo Rune

Wunjo upright: joy, success in relationships and in solving difficult problems, happiness with the relationships in your life. Security and prosperity.


Wunjo reversed: unhappiness and problems. In a love reading, it could point to arguments and even parting ways with each other depending on the qualifying runes that surround. A bad time to start new ventures.


To learn more about Wunjo, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Wunjo.


Hagal's Ætt

Hagal's aett is the second group of the Elder Futhark runes. This aett contains hagalaz, nauthiz, isa, jera, eihwaz, perthro, algiz, and sowlio.
Hagal's aett

The runes of Hagal's Ætt range from Hagalaz to Sowlio. From left to right, the runes of this ætt are Hagalaz, Nauthiz, Isa, Jera, Eihwaz, Perthro, Algiz, and Sowlio.


Some say Heimdall rules Hagal's ætt. Heimdall is a god who possesses both foreknowledge and extraordinary senses such as hearing and seeing. Heimdall and Loki have an antagonistic relationship and will kill each other during Ragnarök, which is the destruction and end of days in Norse mythology, after which the world will cyclically regenerate into a new world.


These runes are about the experiences that disrupt, influence, and provide unexpected turns to luck. Although some may despair at finding a few of the runes from this ætt in their read, change and challenges are ultimately for the best and benefit the experience and evolution of the individual and, therefore, the macrocosm.


Hagalaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Hagalaz. Also known as hagal. It is the first rune of Hagal's aett.
Hagalaz Rune

Hagalaz upright: often paralleled to The Tower tarot card, this card portends destruction, drastic change, and a major disruption of the status quo. This rune represents the natural force of hail and portends chaos, change, and transformation. Resistance will not assist this process; acceptance and willingness to shift is the best way to ride the wave to a successful ending. Life is in constant flux, and we cannot stay in the same state or mode forever. This rune is a significant turning point that may lead to suffering if you allow it to, or you can ride the wave towards your Truth. This is a shift of temporary discomfort.


Hagalaz reversed: there is no reversed meaning for this rune.


To learn more about Hagalaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Hagalaz.


Nauthiz

The Elder Futhark Rune Nauthiz. Also known as naud, naudirz, not, nautiz, nied. The need rune.
Nauthiz Rune

Nauthiz upright: there are needs not being met, perhaps indicating the need for self-care and going inside to reflect. Often denotes lack on either a physical or spiritual level. It could pertain to the need to gain external emotional support because there is a lack of it. It's difficult to make moves without sufficient means.


Nauthiz reversed: in most traditions, this rune has no reversed meaning. Use your intuition to discern which definition calls the most to you.


To learn more about Nauthiz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Nauthiz.


Isa

The Elder Futhark Rune Isa. Also known as isaz, isa, is, iss, and isarz. The ice rune.
Isa Rune

Isa upright: frozen, stagnation, delays, and holding back from doing anything. Now is the time for introspection. Readings about another person could pertain to someone keeping their distance, watching, and gathering information before making any risky moves.


Isa reversed: this rune has no reversed meaning.


To learn more about Isa, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Isa.


Jera

The Elder Futhark Rune Jera. Also known as jara, jeran, and jeraz. The rune of harvest.
Jera Rune

Jera upright: things that were manifested are coming to fruition and are ready to harvest. Things are going to be good, and you are moving into a time of abundance. Depending on the read, it could mean business success, success in romantic relationships, or that the person you desire has been manifesting you. Jera could have to do with fertility in the sense of having creative ideas or literally.


Jera reversed: this rune has no reversed meaning.


To learn more about Jera, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Jera.


Eihwaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Eihwaz. Also known as eoh, eow, ihwaz, and iwarz. Yew tree rune.
Eihwaz Rune

Eihwaz upright: it is significant that Eihwaz means death and is the thirteenth rune because Death is also the thirteenth tarot card in tarot. Eihwaz means death and rebirth: the end of a cycle to make room for a new one to begin. This rune is not negative but portends the shedding of that which doesn't serve for new possibilities.


Eihwaz reversed: this rune has no reversed meaning.


To learn more about Eihwaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Eihwaz.


Perthro

The Elder Futhark Rune Perthro. Also known as perdhro, perthro, pertra, and perthu. The rune of gambling.
Perthro Rune

Perthro upright: now is the time for taking chances. Fortune is on your side, and taking a gamble will most likely end in a positive outcome. Associated with divination and gaining occult knowledge.


Perthro reversed: someone has been keeping secrets. Now is not the time to act. Focusing on this circumstance is wasting your energy.


To learn more about Perthro, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Perthro.


Algiz

The Elder Futhark Rune Algiz. Also known as elhaz, eoih, and algr. The protection rune.
Algiz Rune

Algiz upright: this is the most well-known rune of protection. You are protected by divine forces, friends, or your own efforts. There is nothing to fear. Stay in touch with your inner wisdom.


Algiz reversed: you've been over-expending yourself and taking risky actions that are leaving you unprotected. Now is the time to reconnect with your intuition and take specific time for self-care. If in a love reading, it could be that the person does not have your best interests at heart or wants to use you.


To learn more about Algiz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Algiz.


Sowilo

The Elder Futhark Rune Sowilo. Also known as sowulu, sol, and sunna. Sun rune.
Sowilo Rune

Sowilo upright: clarity, joy, happiness, success. In contrast to the torchlight of Kenaz, Sowilo represents the light of the sun. There is no darkness to be illuminated: it is the day. Use your creativity and skills to bring you to the goal outcome that you desire.


Sowilo reversed: this rune has no reversed meaning.


To learn more about Sowilo, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Sowilo.


Tyr's Ætt

Tyr's aett is the third and final runic family of the elder futhark. This aett includes tiwaz, berkana, ehwaz, mannaz, laguz, ingwaz, dagaz, othala.
Tyr's aett

The runes of Tyr's Ætt range from Tiwaz to Othala. From left to right, the depicted runes are Tiwaz, Berkana, Ehwaz, Mannaz, Laguz, Ingwaz, Dagaz, and Othala.


Tyr is an important Norse god of war, justice, and oaths. Tyr sacrificed his hand to help capture the wolf Fenrir (one of Loki's chaotic children that will play a destructive role during Ragnarök).


Tyr's Ætt speaks to the interplay of the divine and humane forces at work. These runes connect with higher functioning, human elements, and spiritual experience.


Tiwaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Tiwaz. Also known as teiwaz, tyr, tiwar. Rune of Tyr.
Tiwaz Rune

Tiwaz upright: often associated with the Divine Masculine counterpart. Tiwaz is another name for Tyr, so it represents his courage in sacrificing his hand for the greater good as well as a victory -- whether it be in battle or otherwise. It represents forward motion and doing what is necessary even if it is uncomfortable. In a love reading, it could be sexual energy (think boner).


Tiwaz reversed: a retraction, lack of motivation, and the will to move forward. In a love reading, it could be a lack of passion, attraction, or a cease of communication.


To learn more about Tiwaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Tiwaz.


Berkana

The Elder Futhark Rune Berkana. Also known as berkano, bairkan, beorc, and bjarkan. Fertility rune.
Berkana Rune

Berkana upright: often associated with the Divine Feminine counterpart. Berkana represents new beginnings and creativity in ventures. Your creativity will bring your dreams to fruition.


Berkana reversed: a creative block. In love readings, it could be a third-party situation if you're reading about a specific person that you're reading about to get the lay of the land.


To learn more about Berkana, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Berkana.


Ehwaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Ehwaz. Also known as ehwass, eih, eoh. The horse rune.
Ehwaz Rune

Ehwaz upright: some associate this rune with The Lovers tarot card. But it is essentially about trustworthiness, loyalty, and companionship. Ehwaz represents the front side of a horse because of the importance of their relationship in journeying.


Ehwaz reversed: disloyalty, someone is untrustworthy. Alternatively, you may not have been being kind or reliable to yourself as of late.


To learn more about Ehwaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Ehwaz.


Mannaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Mannaz. Also known as madr, madir, and mann. The humanity rune.
Mannaz Rune

Mannaz upright: empathy, humanity, the self and others, the microcosm and the macrocosm in conversation. Academia, intelligence, and companionship.


Mannaz reversed: isolation, a disconnect of intelligence, lack of empathy, feeling outcast.


To learn more about Mannaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Mannaz.


Laguz

The Elder Futhark Rune Laguz. Also known as lagu, lagaz, and logr.
Laguz Rune

Laguz upright: intuitive connection, emotions, creative flow, feminine energy, and dreams.


Laguz reversed: cut off from intuition or emotions; a misunderstanding or misinterpretation between yourself and the world or other people.


To learn more about Laguz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Laguz.


Ingwaz


The Elder Futhark Rune Ingwaz. Also known as inguz, enguz, and ing. Rune of Ing.
Ingwaz Rune

Ingwaz upright: the significance of the fertility god Ing. Tying up loose ends, masculine creative force, sexual energy, and security. All is well.


Ingwaz reversed: this rune has no reversed meaning.


To learn more about Ingwaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Ingwaz.


Dagaz

The Elder Futhark Rune Dagaz. Also known as daeg, dags, and dogr. Rune of dawn.
Dagaz Rune

Dagaz upright: the light at the end of the tunnel, breakthroughs, and turning darkness into light. A balance between energies.


Dagaz reversed: this rune has no reversed meaning.


To learn more about Dagaz, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Dagaz.


Othala

The Elder Futhark Rune Othala. Also known as othalan, othila, odal, odhil, and othel.
Othala Rune

Othala upright: Heritage, family, and generational wealth. A love reading could indicate the importance of family to a specific person you're reading about.


Othala reversed: Family feuds, feeling like a bad person, being a victim of generational trauma.


To learn more about Othala, check out our post on The Elder Futhark Runes: Meaning of Othala.


In Conclusion


The Elder Futhark runes are a useful form of divination, and their individual ættir shed even more light on the ways that they may be interpreted.


Don't forget to check out the linked posts that get into more details about each of the runes. The associated posts cover the meanings of the runes in divination and their magical uses!


If you enjoyed the images used for the individual runes in this post, these images are available on our Oracle Card Runes, which come with an informational pamphlet!


To go even deeper with your study of the runes, check out How to Read Runes by Kira the Rune Witch.




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