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Introduction to Reading the Runes
Meanings, Interpretations and Associations

Some notes on interpretations and associations

The runes featured in these pages are from the Elder Futhark, and from the Anglo-Friesian Futhark  - the forerunner of the Anglo-Saxon runes later used throughout Britain. I have not included the 9 later runes added by runecarvers in the Northumbria region of Britain from around 700AD. I will get around to doing that one day  . . . .

In the meantime, wherever you see the term "Anglo-Saxon" I am referring to the runes first appearing in Britain, probably in the 3rd Century AD. Archaeological runologists call these the "Anglo-Friesian" runes because they were also in use in the Friesia region of the Netherlands.

aurochsThe runes all have names that were significant to the ancient Germanic tribes, Norsemen and Anglo-Saxon pagans who used them. Some were named for gods, like Ing and Tiw; some for animals and plants such as the Ox or a Birch twig; some for natural features - a lake, or hail; some for everyday objects that they used e.g. a carriage and an archer's bow; and some for timeless concepts such as joy, a gift, and humanity.

The rune meanings are augmented by further interpretations for upright (right way up as shown on each of the rune meaning pages), reverse (upside down) and converse (face down) presentation, and all these meanings and interpretations are detailed in the following pages.

birch twigThe runes are traditionally associated with gemstones or crystals, trees, plants or herbs, colors, and the elements. Sometimes these associations are pretty obvious.

For example Berkanan, The Rune of Growth and Fertility is associated with the fast-growing birch tree, its color is dark green as are birch leaves, and its element is Earth from which the tree springs.

  a woman's best friend

Less obvious is the herbal association with Lady's Mantle or Dewcup (Alchemilla vulgaris). But a good Herbal will tell you that Lady's Mantle is also known as "a woman's best friend" because it regulates the menstrual cycle and clears inflammations of the female organs. What better association for the rune of growth and fertility?

moonstoneAnd the association with Moonstone (also known as Wolf's Eye, Fish's Eye or Water Opal) .is due to the gem's supposed ability to promote growth and maintain a high energy level in its users.

There is a good commercial website dealing with the selection and use of crystals and gemstones at Best Crystals. And a good basic guide to the use of herbs can be found at A Modern Herbal. These links will open in new windows or tabs so you can just close them to return to the Runemaker website.

fehu     uruz     thurisaz     ansuz     raido     kauno     gebo     wunjo     hagalaz     naudiz     isa     jera     ihwaz
perth      algiz      sowilo      tiwaz       berkanan       ehwaz      mannaz       laguz      ingwaz     othila      dagaz


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