Rune Stone Meanings: A 5-Minute Overview
It’s always intriguing to discover a new form of divination; after a while, using the same tools over and over again can start to feel a little predictable, or maybe isn’t yielding the right result. While it can be intimidating to start a new practice, when you open yourself up to alternate mediums for self-evaluation, you can gain profound new insights into your spiritual and emotional self. If you’ve been contemplating adding rune stones to your divination repertoire, get ready for them to ‘rock’ your world after reading this article!
Where Does the Practice of Rune Stones Come From?
The origins of rune stones date all the way back to the 4th century when these sigils had little mystical meaning and were simply a form of language. Primarily believed to be a Germanic interpretation of the Latin alphabet, runes served as the main form of writing in ancient Scandinavian countries. Used to communicate, memorialize graves, proclaim ownership, and much more, rune stones are a language in and of themselves. As such, it took centuries for those studying them to agree on exact meanings for each symbol.
The modern runic alphabet was popularized by a book published in the early ’80s called The Book of Runes, which is still referenced and in circulation to this day. In modern times, they’re used primarily as a form of divination and are purchased as a basic set with a casting bag.
How Do Rune Stones Work?
Much like a deck of Tarot cards, a set of rune stones are imbued with personal energy, usually by holding them and thinking of one’s question or problem, then are ‘cast’ in order to perform a reading. It can be as simple as pulling one stone for a quick answer, or as thorough as casting a Futhark lay, which involves 24 stones and is done on New Year’s Day to predict your upcoming year. There are thirteen traditional readings, and most books on this subject will teach you the meanings and occasions for each. As with tarot cards as well, rune stones have different meanings when they’re cast upside down- so be sure to check your rune guide before freaking out about your reading!
What Does Each Rune Stone Mean?
There are 24 traditional runes that you will see used in most basic divination stone sets; depending on the versatility of the set, it may have all of these sigils or a smaller selection. These are the sigils that have the most universal meanings and can be used for beginners.
Mannaz - The Self.
This rune symbolizes self-awareness and personal investment. When inverted, it can be interpreted as a sign to self-reflect, or represent isolation.
Gebo - Collaboration.
Also known as the Gift Rune, this stone often indicates opportunity and union. Since the value of any gift is in the eye of the beholder, this stone has no inverse - you must decide how to accept it.
Ansuz - A Sign.
Sometimes called the Messenger Rune and is closely associated with the god Loki, this stone can indicate either wisdom and meaning, or strife and miscommunication if it is drawn upside down.
Othila - Attachments.
Othila signals a time of separation, as indicated by the closed off portion of the rune. When cast inversely, with the open end dominant, it means welcoming or inclusion.
Uruz - Strength.
Related to your strength of character, this stone symbolizes courage or cowardice depending on which direction it is cast in. Likewise, it can also represent opportunities, missed or taken.
Perth - Initiative.
This rune symbolizes the outcome of potential action - it is a sign that you have a big decision to make, and could gain a reward, or potentially be taking a risk depending on the draw.
Nauthiz - Opposition.
While the meaning of this rune is one of conflict and hardship, don’t despair- it may have no true inverse, but drawing this stone upside down indicates learning from your struggle.
Inguz - Rebirth.
Inguz best represents a state of transformation, and abandonment of negative influence. It is a symbol of celebration, and as such has no inverse (which may account for its perfect symmetry).
Eihwaz - Patience.
Another symmetrical sign with no inverse, this rune indicates a need to let things play out naturally, and accept the outcome of situations you cannot influence. It is wise, but not passive.
Algiz - Transition.
Algiz symbolizes change on the horizon, and how you will accept that change. Depending on the direction of the rune, you should either proceed with confidence or caution.
Fehu - Wealth.
Don’t get too excited - Fehu doesn’t mean you’ll win the lottery. It symbolizes a positive gain, whether it be money, health, power, or affection. The inverse indicates loss or stagnation.
Wunjo - Restoration.
If you draw this rune stone, you have the potential for renewed energy and feelings of self-assurance. When drawn upside down though, this sigil means doubt is on the horizon.
Jera - Stability.
Jera is a harbinger of responsibility and consequence, depending on how it is drawn. It can represent being in a time of great potential, or of squandering it if you don’t act appropriately.
Kano - Sacrifice.
Nothing good worth having comes easy, as this stone can attest. Expect hard work and focus if you draw Kano. Inverted, it may indicate the need to abandon that which no longer serves you.
Teiwaz - Conquest.
While other runes may counsel you towards patience and giving, Teiwaz is confident and single-minded. Drawing this stone upside down signifies a lack of focus, perhaps even laziness.
Berkana - Awareness.
Consider problems with care and attentiveness if you draw Berkana; it is a sign of due diligence. Drawing it on the inverse may indicate a being at a loss, or indecisivenes
Ehwaz - Progress.
Not to be confused with Eihwaz, this rune implies an evolution- any changes coming are an improvement on your current state. Draw the inverse though, and it could mean you’re stuck.
Laguz - Alignment.
If you draw Laguz, you are most likely in a state of re-evaluation or deep self-reflection. When reversed though, it can mean a sense of disillusionment or self-delusion.
Hagalaz - Warning.
Like other rune stones, Hagalaz has no inverse- the message on this one is loud and clear. There are intense and meaningful changes in your future, so shore up your emotional defences.
Raido - Changes.
Another sigil of progress, Raido concerns how you experience the journey, instead of what’s waiting at the finish line. You may be unhappy or stagnating though if you draw it upside down.
Thurisaz - Energy.
Linked to the god Thor, this rune is believed to be imbued with divine power-which can be inspiring, but also destructive. Proceed with caution and reflection however you draw this stone.
Dagaz - Awareness.
Dagaz is another one of the few runes with no inverse, and that is because it is solely a symbol of celebration- you may have had a breakthrough in your life, or found a higher meaning in life.
Isa - Temperance.
This rune stone is a strong indicator to invest in stillness- emotional, physical or mental. Perhaps you have been pushing too hard for too long; Isa guides you to act with patience.
Sowilu - Completion.
Sowilu denotes the end of your journey; whatever you have been striving for, you have found it. Much like an ouroboros though, Sowilu shows that one end is another beginning.
Time to Cast Your Stones
As you can see from the layered meanings and implications, rune stones are not just a simple bag of rocks- they can be an informative tool to add to your repertoire for growth and self-discovery, along with your well-known classics. Practice and enthusiasm will have you becoming an expert in rune stone divinity in no time.
Related Article: Rune Basics: Can They Help You Attract Abundance?