First on our Closer Look series is the Green Glyphs Rune deck, my take on the Elder Futhark Runes, a system of divination that has been around for millennia. Typically, runes are found in the form of stones, dice, talismans, or other objects with carvings. When I first started to learn about runes, I found it difficult to relate the Nordic symbol to the meaning. To help myself better understand the meanings behind each rune, I created this deck of cards. Each card has a runic symbol, the traditional name, and an image that encompasses the meaning behind the symbol.
The 24 runes are split into 3 Aett’s (or families) said to be ruled over by the Nordic Gods Frey, Hagal and Tyr. Frey’s Aett is the first set of 8 runes in the Elder Futhark. These runes deal with wealth, challenges, misfortunes, messages, journeys, illumination, exchanges, and joy:
Hagal’s Aett is the second set of 8 runes. The first three runes are some of the most difficult in the Elder Futhark. Yet what follows them is something truly magical -- it shows the force of change and how quickly something can go from bad to good. The 8 runes of Hagal’s Aett deal with hardship, need, blockages, rewards, cycles, mysteries, protection, and light:
Tyr’s Aett is the third set of 8 runes in the Elder Futhark. These runes deal with things like victory, birth, loyalty, humanity, the mind, pleasure, hope, and heritage. Many of these runes deal with aspects of human nature and being grounded here on this planet.
What is helpful with the Elder Futhark Runes is that the meanings are relatively simple. Each rune conveys a concept or feeling that was prevalent thousands of years ago and still remains relevant today (for the most part). Secondly, it is a very abbreviated system with only 24 symbols.
The Elder Futhark Runes are the oldest runic alphabet and one of the most widely used today. The Elder Futhark Runes were adapted from an alphabet, so the first 6 runes in the system spell out the letters F-U-TH-A-R-K.
F is represented by Fehu, U by Uruz, TH by Thurisaz, A by Ansuz, R by Raidho, and K by Kenaz. Below you will see the runic alphabet applied to modern-day English.
In the Elder Futhark system, you’ll note that many of the runes are based on simple concepts --cattle, harvest, hail, dawn, water, etc. But each of these runes also has a much deeper meaning. Much like Tarot and other systems of divination, we use these base meanings to extrapolate deeper into our own subconscious. Water is often attributed to the mind and the ebb and flow of intuition, and this is true with runes as well. This system of symbols is comprised of some of the most important aspects of Nordic life thousands of years ago.
Like the other Green Glyphs decks (with the exception of the Oracle deck), color plays a big part in this rune deck and can add an extra layer of understanding to your readings. The cards are color-coded with reds and oranges signifying misfortune and yellows and golds signifying good fortune and positivity, Greens and blues are used as neutral colors.
Let’s compare the two different rune cards above. You’ll notice that Sowilo, the sun rune with no reversed meaning, is solely comprised of golds and yellows. It’s a very positive card and always good to have in a reading. Alternatively, Thurisaz is a more complicated card. While it does have a hint of gold, it is predominantly orange, signifying a rune with some difficulties. Thurisaz is about disruption, judgment, and pain. Yet it is from these things that we grow into who we are. At the heart of the thorn is Thor’s hammer -- Mjölnir, colored with gold. This suggests that we have the power to protect ourselves from these events. From this example, you can see that there are a lot of intricacies to these cards, even though they may seem visually clean and bold.
I hope your journey with Runes helps strengthen your practice and unlocks hidden truths.