A lot of information regarding runes can be found on the internet and in litterature. There is, however, good reason to study this with certain caution, since you can find a lot that seems to be of somewhat less serious nature.
Runes were used for several different purposes. They were used as a means of communication between people for messages, accounting and of course also for love letters, inscribed on staffs of wood or similar. You can even find examples of rune "graffitti" on statues from the middle east, where some viking once felt the itch to scribble his initials into the marble. Our rune stones convey a message that stretches over a thousand years, telling us about people, names and destinies in countries far away.
Using runes for magical purposes was also an important aspect. The runes were revealed to Othin after nine days of suffering, and were therefore symbols of vast magical powers. They could be used in a positive way as protection, for curing illnesses and for telling fortunes and divination. There was of course another side as well, when runes were used for casting spells on enemies.
The basic meaning of the runes seems to be reasonably well supported, which I stick to when I use runes as decoration on my forged objects. When it comes to fortune-telling, divination and similar youŽll find a lot of New Age components in certain books about the subject. How to judge that is of course up to each individual interested in this subject. But, using runes for magic was infact done, and inscribing them on red-hot iron would seem rather powerful in that sense.
The table below shows the older futhark, consisting of 24 signs. This was replaced with the younger futhark with 16 signs around the 8th century. Each rune is described with name, basic meaning and the positive magical meaning according to several sources. If the rune would appear upside down when casting runes, this should be interpreted as a warning for the opposite. But, as indicated above, there is a considerable uncertainty in this.
|RUNE:||LETTER, NAME:||BASIC MEANING||MAGICAL MEANING:|
|Cattle, animals, wealth||Symbolises material and spiritual wealth, happiness and reaching of goals.|
|Basic, primitive power, oxen||Dawn, new life, rebirth and energy. Can symbolise initiative and spiritual strength, and may indicate a positive change.|
|Thurs, giant, troll||A very powerful rune, symbolising power, chaos and transformation as well as protection by the gods.|
|Asagod||Stands for communication, gift of speach and song. May indicate that such talents are about to be evolved.|
|Travelling, carriage, riding||Powerful protection rune. Stands for order and structure and to overcome obstacles. Said to be the rune of Thor.|
|Wound, abscess, fire||The torch rune, symbolises warmth and enlightening. Associated with ritual fires when celebrating the winter and summer solstice.|
|Gift||Stands for harmony and balance, the ability to give without expecting anything in return and paying tribute to the gods. Can indicate that something positive is to be expected.|
|Joy||Symbolises joy and happiness, life force and sensuality. May indicate an upcoming positive and creative period.|
|Hail||Stands for unexpected and drastic events that may be difficult and troublesome, but events that are necessary. A rune that indicates change.|
|Misery, forcing someone||A powerful rune of destiny, connected to the three goddesses of fate, Urd, Verdandi and Skuld, who weaved the web of destiny. May indicate trouble and difficult challenges.|
|Ice||Symbolises stagnation and waiting as well as structured discipline. May indicate a warning that a pause might be necessary in planned actions.|
|Year, yearly growth||A fertility rune connected to Frej and Freja. Symbolises sowing and harvesting - what is sowed will also need to be harvested.|
|Possibly cliff, earth, stone||Stands for stability and continuity, physical health and being down to earth. There might also be a connection to shamanic rituals and dance.|
|Yewtree||Symbolises the plant kingdom, being on the right path. Protection rune also associated to spears and arrows.|
|Moose||A very powerful protection rune, a warning for intruders. The so called "horror helmet" is a combination of four R:s in a cross arrangement with the spikes ourwards. This rune is also connected to spiritual animals, and protects its bearer against evil forces.|
|Sun||Stands for the sun, warmth, summer, hart and also victory. A very positive powerful rune.|
|Tyr (Asagod from whom we have named Tuesday!)||A rune with strong, forwardpointing energy, can also symbolse sword and postitive manhood. Also stands for boldness, balance and ability to make sacrifices.|
|Birch||A female rune associated to Freja and fertility. Also represents healing, elemental beings and inner beauty.|
|Horse||The horse rune is connected to Sleipner, the eight-legged horse belonging to Othin. It symbolises communication and travelling between worlds and different levels of awareness. A rune for shamans and magicians!|
|Man||Represents man kind as a whole, compassion and loyalty towards your clan, e.g. those near and dear to you.|
|Water||The water rune stands for emotions, subconsious energy flows and the travelling of the soul. Also associated to intuition and psychic force. Another rune for the shaman.|
|Ing (a fertility god)||A rune of joy, represents male fertility, forces of creation and creativity as well as the growing forces of spring. Also connected to Frej.|
|Day||Symbolises the transformation between night and day in that order. It is the rune of dawn and the new day. Can indicate new possibilities or a new insight.|
|Land, property||This rune is a symbol for the land we have inherited from our ancestors, the homestead and the clan. Can also symbolise wealth and a connection to our forefathers as well as cultivation, not only of the soil but also of the soul, art and handicraft.|