Reading the Runes

For centuries, rune carvers and rune magicians have divided the Futhark into three clans, or groups. In creating rune ciphers, the rune row was divided into three rows, groups that has gotten their names after the first rune in each group.

The first group, which starts with the Feh rune, is called Freya’s Clan; the second group, that starts with Hagall, is called Heimdall’s Clan; and the last, starting with Tyr, is consequently called Tyr’s Clan. Hence the division in clans on this page.

The interpretations on this page come from a combination of archeological and historical sources, inspiration from some books, as ”Runmagi och Shamanism” by Atrid Grimsson, as well as ”RUNA”, by Bodvar Bjarke, but also my own searching, drumjourneying, meditating, carving and in other ways working with the runes.

Freya’s clan: Feh | Ur | Thurs | Ass | Reid | Ken | Gifu | Wynja
Heimdall’s clan: Hagall | Naud | Iss | Jara | Pertra | Eoh | Algiz | Sol
Tyr’s clan: Tyr | Bjarka | Eih | Madr | Lagu | Ing | Odal | Dagaz

FehFeh, Fehu

Sound: F

Feh means cattle, and cattle represents wealth. Feh represents the kind of property that can be sold and bought (contrary to the long-term landownership represented by Odal), which also includes the financial aspect of life – money. Generally one can say that Feh represents happiness and prosperity.

But there is another side of Feh which is equally important. Feh symbolizes completion, the circle is closed, and it’s time to take the next step.

Feh indicates that you have reached your goals, completed your mission, and that you are entitled to some well-deserved rest, enjoying the fruits of your work. No more loose ends.

Reversed, this rune can be interpreted differently, very much dependendent on time, place and circumstance (which is always true for all the runes). At times it may indicate a lack of wealth, financial problems. But it can also be interpreted as greed – an exaggerated interest in financial matters and/or materialistic values.

A third way of reading the rune is that it may indicate loose ends, unfinished projects, and the energy leakage that comes from that. The versatility of the runes demands a great sensitivity performing oracle work, and Feh is no exception to this rule.

UrUr, Ururz

Sound: U

Ur represents a beginning, the unmanifest, the unborn on its way to be born. In the Swedish language many of the runes are still alive, and the word ”ursprung” means origin.

Ur symbolizes the ”Ginnungagap”, emptiness, as much as the original cow Audhumbla, the untamed and wild, the first living creature in the universe, who out of ice and salt licks the oldest god Bure (father of Bur, who in turn is father to Odin and his two brothers Honer and Lodur, and they are in turn fathers of all the gods).

Ur always concerns some kind of beginning, a birth of something new, ending a cycle and beginning a new. Ur represents challenges and everything concerning the unknown.

There is an immense creative power in this rune, and at the same time the uncertainty connected with everything that is new and unknown. What shall I do now? Dare I step out into the unknown? Dare I start something completely new, something I never did before – and maybe noone else either?

Ur represents our free will – our ability to make new decisions, that may take us into new circumstances and dimensions.

Reversed, this rune may indicate an unwillingness to take chances, to approach the unknown.

ThursThurs, Thurisarz

Sound: Th

Thurs represents the ancient giants, and especially the oldest of them all – the giant Ymer, slain by Odin and his brothers, and from whose body the whole of Midgard (the midworld, the world of humans) is created.

Thurs represents chaos and transformation, a necessary destructive force out from whose purgatorial ashes the bird Phoenix rises. Like an active vulcano, covering the landscape around it with lava and ashes, Thurs burns everything that comes in its way – and at the same time many cultures have always blossomed around vulcanos, since the earth there is so rich with minerals and other good things.

There is definitely something very sexual about this Thurs-energy. But it has very little to do with romantic love – more as a purely lusty combination of pleasure and pain.

Searching for equivalents in other traditions and thought systems could be either one of the gods Shiva or Kali, the zodiac sign Scorpio or the planet Pluto, which represents both birth and death, sexuality and power, violence and revolution. Thurs can be very frightening, since it reveals our darkest, most dangerous and destructive sides within. But fear is a good servant, and a bad master. We have to tear down the old, to give place for the new.

At its worst Thurs represents forces of evil – but just as well the purification, katharsis, from which new enrgy and insight can be born.

A lot of power can be won out of this rune, but one may have to be prepared to offer something in return. Odin gave one eye into the well of Mimer to be all-seeing, and Tyr sacrificed his right hand into the mouth of ”Fenrisulven” the ”Fenris wolf”, gaining invincibility in battle.

The road to wisdom and inner wealth, the way of the shaman, is a painful road, and all awakenings brings both suffering and clarity. But on this road Thurs is an indispensable resource.

If this rune comes up reversed – watch out!

AssAss, Ansurz

Sound: A

Ass is the rune of the gods, ”Aesir”. Therefore it is very powerful, in being connected to all the gods. It represents divine powers and the intervention of the gods.

Purely from a cosmological point of view, one could see the theory of ”Uthark” as a story of the creation of the world. The Ur rune would then represent the void before creation, Thurs the great chaos of original creation (Big Bang?) and Ass the coming of the gods. The next rune, Reid, would then represent the order and structure induced by the gods, after the chaos.

Ass also represents the air, breathing and what we call ”spirit”. Ass represents all forms of direct communication, such as speaking and singing. In combination these aspects of Ass mean divine inspiration, a message from the gods, spiritual insights and wisdom, conscience.

Reversed, the Ass-rune can on one hand be interpreted in the way that the divine power is there, but distorted, rather than a lack of this power. But sometimes a reversed rune has to be interpreted as meaning a lack of that particular energy. In that case Ass reversed could mean anything from the gods leaving me, not protecting my actions anymore, to the fact that something is wrong with my ability to breathe and speak.

It is of course very difficult to interpret runes with so many different meanings, but that is precisely why it takes quite a lot of experience and intuition to do oracle work with runes.

ReidReid, Raidu

Sound: R

Reid is the rune of the god Thor. Thor brings order and protection, and fights the chaotic powers of the ”thurses”, the giants. Therefore Reid is considered a good rune for protection against evil, just like the Thor’s hammer (going by the name Mjoelnir), which was always a very popular symbol in Scandinavia, especially during the Viking age, and it is again gaining in popularity, nationwide.

Reid represents structure, and overcoming efforts and troubles. Representing the number 4 (the four wheels of the wagon), Reid also represents the four directions and the four elements.

Reid is also called the ”wagon-rune”, representing a forward-going power, to travel. As mentioned before, in the Swedish language (and other Scandinavian languages) one can still find many words that reflect the meaning of the runes. There is a saying – ”Ordning och Reda” – in which the word ”reda” has the etymological origin in ”Reid”, and also means the same, in order of creating a conscious structure.

Reversed this rune indicates disorder, chaos, frustrating stagnation, lack of goals and direction in life.

KenKen, Kauna

Sound: K

Ken has more than one meaning. One of the ways of interpreting this rune is that it represents fire, and it is also called the ”torch-rune”.

It represents illumination and heat, inner as well as outer. It is accordingly connected with both the gods Heimdall and Surt.

Heimdall is the white god who represents wisdom – enlightment – and holy, ceremonial fire. He is also the bringer of the runes to humans. Surt is in charge of the fire kingdom Muspelheim, and represents the burning, destructive fire. This is not ”good” or ”bad”, since both aspects are needed. Sometimes we have to burn away old garbage (even if it hurts), to give room for that which is new and fresh.

In ancient Indian, Vedic tradition, there is something called the Kundalini-force. There is a whole philosophy around this, how to control this power through meditation, how to let it flow through the chakras (energycenters) of the body and up through the crown-chakra. This internal fire-force can find its equivalent in the esoteric explanation of the Ken rune.

Another way of interpreting this rune is ”wound”, ”boil” or some other kind of injury. It is logical to draw the conclusion that which ever way one applies to interprete this rune, it is about dangerous forces, hard to control. We need these forces for our survival, but we can also easily harm ourselves with it. As the flaming sword, it can be of great good, but it can also be turned against us and cause severe damage, maybe even death and annihilation.

And we need fire – to warm ourselves, to cook our food, bake our bread, to weld the steel, to burn pottery and bricks.

Reversed this rune can mean two opposite things – a destructive, uncontrolled fire, as well as the loss of fire; inner energy, enthusiasm. Everything becomes dark and incomprehensible.

GifuGifu, Gebu

Sound: G

Gifu goes by the name ”Giftrune”, and concerns mutual and unselfish giving. Gifu represents the ability to sacrifice, to give without expecting anything in return.

Gifu can give a premonition of a God-given gift (the meaning of being ”gifted”), but it also concerns offering, sacrificing back to the gods.

On the whole one can say that Gifu describes harmony and balance in life. Therefore there is no reversed position.

On a more ceremonial, esoterical level Gifu also represents the six directions (East, South, West, North, the Above and the Below).

WynjaWynja, Wunju

Sound: V

In one sense there are two runes that represent joy – Wynja and Sol. Wynja represents a more physical, sensual energy. It is a childish rune, in its pure and innocent playfulness.

Wynja is also sexual, in the way that it concerns more the joy and pleasure of love-making, rather than the procreation of children. Wynja is connected to the god Frey, in the meaning of Peace and Joy. Love and falling in love are typical aspects of this rune.

Wynja concerns living in the present, rather than planning and expecting too much. Positivity and playful creativity are also obvious aspects of Wynja, as is physical and emotional wellbeing.

Reversed it indicates an inability to enjoy – sorrow, inhibition and hindrances.

HagallHagall, Hagalaz

Sound: H

Hagall is a word that still is in use in the swedish language, ”hagel”, and means ”hail”. On a physical level a hailstorm can be devastating. it can ruin buildings, crops, cars and everything that comes in its way. Really large hailstones kan kill both humans and animals.

On a more esoteric level Hagal is not only a destructor. Hagal can certainly offer a rather bewildering and revolutionary experience, but it is often signalling greater changes. Transformation, the journey from one world to another; something that definitely isn’t necessarily something bad.

Hagal represents the cosmic forces we can’t counteract or avoid – my destiny, natural forces that force me into a new stage in my life.

NaudNaud, naudirz

Sound: N

Naud is the rune of ”need”, of emergency. Naud is intimately connected to the three goddesses of destiny, Urd, Verdandi and Skuld, sitting at ”Urdabrunnen”, the well of Urd, weaving the web of life and destiny for everyone and everything.

Naud can sometimes signal hardships on its way, but also great challenges. Naud encourages us to concentrate on the essential, ”do the needful”, not wasting our time on anything but that which absolutely has to be done.

In magical work the rune Naud can be combined with other runes to strengthen a prayer or magical formula.

Naud is also connected to different kinds of initiations.

Depending on what Naud is connected with, it can be interpreted as a power source, or in the worst case hardships as poverty, starvation and desperate need. In any case it foretells hard work and resistance, but also the fact that whatever happens, is what shall happen.

IssIs, Iss, Isarz

Sound: I

The rune Iss – the ”ice-rune” (is means ice in Swedish) – harmonizes with snowflakes and their crystallized, perfectly regulated, six-fold form. There is cold and stillness, but structure as well. Iss has its home in Nifelheim, the kingdom of frost.

There is no such thing as spontaneity and activity connected to Iss. Contrary, it carries a strong emphazis on withdrawal, standing still and heavy armour.

One can in this rune also find an element of strict and well choreographed disciplin, something that in many occasions can be very positive – a perfectly synchronized disciplin creates a very powerful force, individually as well as collectively.

One can easily create an image of an enormous cathedral, perfectly symmetrical in its architecture, or maybe hundreds of buddhist monks in straight lines, perfect synchronised in chanting mantras. Or a military parade, with hundreds of young men in clean uniforms, performing their drills with absolute perfection.

The strict esthetics of old Japanese culture also reminds of the tough discipline of the Iss-rune.

So in contact with Iss one should be cautious of any tendencies towards exaggerated formalism and inhibiting strictness. One negative aspect of this rune is the spiritless, inhuman monotony.

In ancient Nordic magic the ice counts as a fifth element, together with earth, water, fire and air. The preserving force, its crystallized structure, the generative powers of the cold (remember that the world was created through the meeting of Nifelheim and Muspelheim – in the meeting of heat and cold cosmos is born), all these qualities exist within the ice, and is needed to achieve balance on earth, and in all the worlds.

The transparency of the ice brings a lot of clarity. Water, which represents emotions, has as ice frozen to a hard substance, in which you cannot take a bath, you can’t drink it, and you can’t catch fish in it – an effective protection against vulnerability, and hindering emotional involvement. Sometimes this is to be desired, and with the help of Iss, also you can walk on water!


Sound: J

Jara, the rune of seed, growth and harvest. Ethymologically, the word Jara is the same as the German Jahr, or the English Year, meaning the whole cycle of life. WInter, spring, summer and fall, and over again. It concerns the circulation of seasons, the work of preparing and sowing the fields, and the patience required awaiting the harvest.

One ancient Swedish greeting phrase is ”Ars ok Fridar”, which means that you greet people with a wish of good harvest and peace. ”Fridar” is in this regard a wonderful word, because it relly means peace, not only in the meaning absence of war, but also in the deeper sense; peace of mind.

This rune is in many ways a Scandinavian equivalent of the symbol Yin/Yang (it even resembles this oriental image). Jara represents the meeting between the seasons, between light and darkness, day and night, man and woman, and among the gods Jara represents the sacred, sexual marriage ritual between the God and Goddess, Frey and Freya.

Sex is both a means of enjoyment as well as survival, and Jara is sexually a very important rune – this time concerning the means of survival more than pleasure; the procreation of children, and also the animals on the farm and in the nature. It was common practice in pre-Christian times (and most probably hundreds of years into Christian time, only more secretly) that men and women in the springtime would go out on the fields to have sex, as a ritual to please the gods (mainly Frey and Freya), and to be sure that this procreational force would spread to the earth.

Jara also represents hopes and expectations for the future.

PertraPertra, Perthu

Sound: P

Pertra is also called the ”Rockrune”. It is very easy to derive this word and meaning from the greek petros, or the latin petrus, which means rock. Pertra represents the mineral kingdom and the earth.

Pertra stands for stability, rigidity, having both feet on the earth. It also represents the physical body and health.

Reversed this rune can point out problems with health, presumably because of lack of contact with the earth, lack of balance.

EohEoh, Iwarz

Sound: E

Eoh is intimately connected to the yew tree, which nowadays is relatively uncommon, but in the time of the vikings it was very popular. Yew tree is very strong, and yet flexible, and the best bows and arrows were made from it – which of course also carries a lot of symbolism in it.

In a broader aspect this rune also represents the whole of plant kingdom, and from a symbolical psychological point of view, the patient and slow growth. Yew tree grows very slowly, so it does requiere a lot of patience. Eoh also represents Yggdrasil, the world tree, and there is one theory, proclaimed by more than one, that the tree Yggdrasil is not originally an ash tree, but a yew tree.

The tree that once stood in the old Uppsala town (center of pre-Christian cult), representing Yggdrasil, is said to be green all the year around, which of course confirms this theory.

As most plants give freely of their fruit, Eoh also represents unselfish and patient giving.


Sound: -Rz

Algiz is a very important rune for many things, and mayby most of all protection. It represents the animal kingdom, and it is called the ”moose-rune”. More than that, it represents our power animals and ”fylgjor” (protective spirits). It represents inner strength, being in contact with all the animal forces within and without.

One of the most powerful protection symbols in ancient scandinavian magic is the ”fearhelmet”. This symbol is made from four Algiz-runes in four directions, meeting in the middle, which symbolically is a helmet that protects from that which we fear the most.

Reversed, Algiz can indicate a lack of contact with our survival instincts, lack of communication with our true nature, within and without, meaning lack of protection.

SolSol, Sunna, Sowilu

Sound: S

In all scandinavian languages Sol is still the word for the sun, and that is also the meaning of this rune.

Sol and Wynja are the two major ”joy-runes”, and Sol represents a higher form of joy; happiness, and love. It is closely related to the heart, and of course to the summer season. A typical manifestation of the Sol-rune is a bright and warm summer day.

Simply speaking, Sol represents a strong positive force, and lifegiving warmth. But no rune, meaning no aspect of life, is good in a too large or too small dose. Too little means lack of life and light, and too much means drought, and feeling burned out.

TyrTyr, Tiwar

Sound: T

Tyr is one of the oldest gods in the Scandinavian pantheon, and is said to have been the husband of the Mother Earth-Goddess Nerthus. Ull is another god that is also supposed to have been married to her. Whatever it was like, noone can be sure of, since the Mother Goddess was was the primary deity during the bronze age and also before that, so whoever was her husband was of inferior importance.

During the Viking age Tyr has slipped back into the background as an existing, but inactive god. Maybe Tyr had his major popularity period during early iron age (500 B.C.-400. A.D.). His importance as a warrior god has been overtaken by Odin and Thor (Thor because of his diligent protective nature, and Odin representing the more shamanisticly inclined, extatic and intoxicated warrior bezerks. The word bezerk is also an ancient swedish word, meaning ”bear-shirt”, and indicates that the warriors go into their bear-identity, fighting in an extaticly powerful, superhuman bearmood.), and also to some extent Freya. One has to remember that Freya is not only a love-goddess. After dying in a battlefield, half of the warriors go to Odin in Valhall, and the other half goes to Freya in her hall Folkvang. There is a ”Kali-like” aspect of Freya, in which she is close to subjects as birth and death, sexuality, seduction and procreation.

Tyr has a strongly outgoing, directed forward energy. The attribute of Tyr is the sword, and accordingly he represents great unselfish courage, and a masculine warrior energy. With clarity and wisdom he cuts through the deepest of darkness.

As in many Native American traditions, being a warrior means much more than being a fighter, a soldier, but also a strong spiritual power and selfcontrol. This is very obvious referring to the bezerks of Odin. Going bezerk was not at all going out of control, entering chaos – it was a kind of controlled ecstasy, a conscious trance state, meant to win any battle.

True challenges can be taken with this rune. In the Edda, by Snorre Sturlasson (ca 1220) the story is told of how the ”Fenris wolf” got loose, and had to be caught with an invincible snare (by the name of Gleipner), and the gods were only allowed to do this on the condition that one of the gods would put his hand as a pawn in the mouth of the wolf. Tyr was the only one who dared, and as result of this he lost his right hand, but he achieved invincibility.

This myth has parallells in Celtic and ancient Indo-european tradition (like so many other myths), and bears witness about matchless courage and self-sacrifice.

Tyr brings the courage to enter dark tunnels, without knowing where or when one will come out to the light again.

Tyr gives an inner balance, and a lot of masculinity. This rune, if any, symbolizes the potency of manhood, on all levels.

Reversed, the Tyr rune may represent cowardness, weakness, lack of initiative, impotense and lack of character. Or it gives a rigid, forward and abusive nature, an obstinate non-listening bulldozer attitude.

BjarkaBjarka, Berkana

Sound: B

Bjarka , the ”Birch-rune”, does not represent the plant kingdom, like Eoh, but very much the fertility aspect of womanhood, Mother Earth. If one wants to find one single plant that more than any other plant represents female physical beauty and attraction (within the flora of northern Europe), it’s hard to find anything better than the birch tree.

Even though the birch tree is, and was, rather common in Sweden, it was regarded as a holy plant. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it – rather the opposite. From a purely practical point of view birch is an excellent kind of wood. It burns well, is good material for constructing tools or furniture, and even the sap, the bark and the leaves can be utilized for different purposes.

Bjarka represents the goddess Frigga in her maternal, caring aspects, and the goddess Freya in her seductive, beautiful and in all aspects attractive female qualities. Bjarka also represents nourishment, healing powers and natural forces.

Reversed it may represent infertility, argumentativeness, martyrdom and all misdirected female qualities.

EihEih, Ehwaz

Sound: Eih

Eih represents all forms of communication and journeying. Eih also goes by the attribute the ”horse-rune”, and represents inner journeys as well at outer. This is a very good rune for shamans and those who engage in the very old scandinavian shamanic tradition of ”seid”, since Eih on one hand represents the journey of the soul, and on the other hand the transforming exstacy. Hallucinogenic drugs are also connected to this rune.

With the help of the transcending power of the ”horse-rune” we can travel between the worlds. This rune of horses is of course also strongly connected to the horse of horses, Odins eight-legged horse Sleipnir. One interesting aspect of Sleipnir is that all the warriors who died and are going to Odins abode, Valhall, will ride there on Sleipnir. So Eih is also intimately connected to the powers of death. And from this one can also easily see the connection to Odin himself.

Reversed this rune can, at worst, indicate violent accidents and death, preferably in connection with travelling – a car accident is an extreme manifestation of the reversed Eih. So is drug overdose.

MadrMadr, Madir, Mannarz

Sound: M

There are runes for every element, for the plant, animal and mineral kingdom, for male and female – and then there is a rune that explicitly deals with that which is human; Madr. This rune represents everything that is characteristic for humans, and their path through life.

Madr represents the meeting, between two or more individuals, as well as the inner meeting, integration of our different inner parts – achieving balance. Madr encourages self-consciousness and awareness of the self.

Madr also shows how men and women learns to know themselves through mirrors, mirroring themselves in each other, and seeing man as part of microcosmos and macrocosmos, how every individual can mirror him- or herself in the universe all around, and also the universe within.

Madr emphasizes the uniqueness in being a human being, always having a choice, always having the power to change the future.

On a mythical level, Madr represents Ask and Embla, the two first human beings, created out of two trunks of tree by Odin and his two brothers Honer and Lodur. Ask is the man, created from an ash tree, and Embla is the woman, created from an elm tree. Lodur separated the tree-trunks from the earth, and transformed the trees into human bodies, with ability to move. Honer gave them consciousness, mind, intelligence and will. And Odin gave the most important gift of them all – spirit.

Reversed this rune indicates a person with a low self-esteem, and a lack of ability to communicate.

LaguLagu, Lagurz

Sound: L

Lagu is the rune of water, and everything connected to water. Water symbolizes emotions, intuition, tears, the subconscious, flow, energy streams and the revitalizing rain. We are naked when we take a bath, and Lagu represents nudity, sensitivity, receptiveness and vulnerability. We pour water in and on our bodies to become clean, inside as well as outside, and we water our plants so that they will grow and bear fruit.

Included in Lagu is both the practical and pleasurable side of life – taking a bath can be very enjoyable, feeling the soft water surround the naked body, and we grow beautiful flowers as well as fruits, grains and vegetables to eat.

Lagu represents the ability to float along in the river of life, to sensitively adapt to the circumstances without stopping our own flow, without abusing our own will.

Reversed this rune indicates a repressed flow, inhibited emotions and drought.

IngIng, Ingwarz

Sound: -Ng

Ing represents masculine sexuality, the male procreational force of the god Frey, physical love and male attractiveness.

Ing is always on the move towards new goals, and represents all the creativity and ability to manifest that lies within sexuality. Ing represents the force of spring, all the plants starting to grow after the long cold sleeping winter, all the animals and people mating and creating new offspring.

Ing is truly an auspicious rune that brings a lot of satisfaction, in its power to sow freely in abundance.

Another name for Frey is Froe, which literally means seed. This indicates the divine power to create. For hundreds of years, Frey and Freya were regarded the most important and utmost gods of all. In an agrarian culture, such as Scandinavia, the procreational force is very important, and the god Frey was always sculptured with a huge penis, symbolizing this force.

This obvious connection between male sexuality and all kinds of creativity is interesting, since it sheds more light on why we create so many destructive things and circumstances today. If sexuality as whole would be embraced instead of feared, as it is today, many of the crazy, destructive and horrible things manifest today would probably not be around for too long.

OdalOdal, Othala

Sound: O

An old swedish word for peasant, farmowner, is ”odalman”. The word Odal in itself means land that has been owned by the same family for many generations. Odal represents cultivating, growing, in all aspects – growing crops of all kinds as well as on a more intellectual and emotional level, through culture, art and craftsmanship.

Odal concerns establishing ourselves, putting our mark in history. It’s about the safety in the family sphere. In ancient Scandinavian culture, the family, the clan, was of a profound importance in everyman’s life.

Odal also represents our ancestors, and the upkeeping of old traditions. And on a more personal level, if you are a believer in reincarnation, Odal also deals with previous lifetimes.

Reversed this rune may indicate rootlessness, isolation and living without a real link to the past. Being homeless, outcast or outlaw are obvious sides of this rune reversed, and it is from many points of view very interesting that Swedish neo-nazis, out of their desperate search for roots, and lack of substantial knowledge about practicly anything at all, has chosen Odal as a symbol. Their feelings of being outcast, and having practicly no education and no connection to history, are probably the reasons for this obviously unconscious rune magical affirmation.

In some scriptures Odal is displayed as the last rune, and that is of course one of the many different orders that one kan find. I have chosen the order recommended by Sigurd Agrell, in his book ”Runornas Talmystik och dess antika förebild” (1927), in which he explains that the fact that the rune Dagaz comes before Odal on the ”Kylver slab” and in some anglo-saxon rune alphabets, is most probably a misunderstanding. Already in the 5th century A.D. Eoh and Pertra were getting outdated in the practical sense of writing, which meant that only the truly competent knew the original order of the runes. Eoh and Pertra are in an opposite order on the ”Kylver slab”, and so are Dagaz and Odal, but on all bracteates (round pendants with the runes in a circular pattern) the order is different. And considering the fact that the ”Kylver slab” is an exception in Scandinavia, Sigurd Agrell draws the conclusion that the order on the pendants are the accurate order. And in that case Odal comes before Dagaz.

Dagaz Dagaz

Sound: D

Dagaz is yet another rune with a name and meaning that still exists in modern Swedish language. ”Det dagas” means ”day is breaking” – the sun is coming back after a long dark night.

This is a very adequate metaphor, since Dagaz concerns a passage from darkness to light. When we are born, we have to go through a very narrow passage, and looking at the rune, one can easily picture it as that passage. Dagaz may also resemble a butterfly, which is just as accurate, since this rune represents transformation and awakening.

There is also a pubertal sexual aspect of this rune. As a caterpillar the butterfly only eats, and does not mate, but as a butterfly it has reached the maturity required to procreate, to give birth to the coming generations.

On a more personal level Dagaz represents an experience of enlightenment, sudden insight, and in full bloom this rune can indicate clairvoyance, having the ability to see what others can’t.

Dagaz is one of the runes (Dagaz, Gifu, Hagal, Eih, Jara, Naud, Sol, Iss, and Naud) that look the same if you turn it upside down, which further enhances its independence. No matter how life turns out, you can’t turn the energy of this rune. In opposite to Thurs, the transformation Dagaz brings is much more harmonious, and will always lead to something positive.