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Folk Futhark, Parts 1-4

Introducing Witan Svan Herul's creation, the Folk Futhark! This is THE rune set of the Asatru Folk Assembly and our Hofs! If you've seen any of Witan Svan's murals, you may have noticed that he uses runes from all four of the main futharks: Elder, Younger, English, and Armanen. The purpose of this, and of the Folk Futhark in general, was to create a living tradition of runes for our modern Folk.


We are no longer Proto-Germanic, nor Vikings, nor Saxons of the Heptarchy, and we are certainly not all Armanen...We are modern Aryans, with our roots spreading across all of Europa, and we are building a modern tradition of Asatru and rune work. This Futhark holds the same concepts and mysteries of the Elder Futhark runes, but some of the staves themselves are borrowed from the other three rune rows. With all this being said, now that we've talked about the Folk Futhark and what it means for the AFA and modern Asatru, I'd like to start a rudimentary study on the Folk runes, and explaining why Witan Svan chose different staves, if applicable, beginning with the first three runes.

FEHU - This is the first rune of every main futhark, and often symbolizes cattle or wealth, as cattle was wealth for our ancestors. Going beyond that, Fehu can be read as a rune of opportunity and POTENTIAL. Some have equated it to the potential energy that existed before the Big Bang! This fits well with the idea that the Futhark, when studied in order, tells the story of the Cosmos from the beginning to the rising of Gimle out of the waters. While the concepts and name are the same as the Elder Futhark, the stave has been replaced with the Armanen rune known as FA, which is described as "the primal fire."


URUZ - This is always the second rune of any given rune row. It's also one of the runes that means the same thing in both Elder and Armanen rows, although with added connotations in the Armanen.


As Fehu is potential power, or wealth in cattle, or opportunity waiting to happen, Uruz is the logical next step in the greater story told by the Futhark. Uruz is raw, primordial power...it is the aurochs of our ancestors' days. If Fehu is your potential energy; Uruz is having your fists up. Fehu is energy waiting to be used; Uruz is energy READY to be used. Uruz is having a round in the chamber. Uruz is being centered and grounded and ready to defend or attack.


THURISAZ - The third rune of most rune rows, it is the next step after Uruz.


Where Uruz is having your fists up, or your weapon loaded, Thurisaz is throwing the punch or firing the first round. The point in the middle of the rune represents the APPLICATION of the potential energy represented in the previous two runes.


Thurisaz also represents Þórr, the Warrior Prince of Heaven and Earth. Think of the top of the symbol as Heaven/Ásgarð, the bottom as Earth/Miðgarð, and the middle point as Þórr charging forward to unleash the might of Mjölnir on anything that seeks to harm the worlds of Gods and Men.



ANSUZ - This is the rune of Óðinn and the Æsir in general. it relates to communication and CONNECTION with the Gods, as well as the gifts given to us by Óðinn and his brothers when our Folk was first created from two pieces of driftwood.


The stave of this rune is the same as it is in the Elder Futhark, as you can see to the left. One way to remember the meaning of Ansuz is to look at the shape and think of the vertical "spine" as representing Yggdrasill. From there, it has two arms reaching downward from the top; this can be viewed as the Gods connecting with our Folk from their seat at the top of the World Tree.



RAIDHO - The rune of the ride, the ritual, and the RIGHT ACTION. On top of these concepts, Raidho also represents natural law and the proper turning of the wheel in regard to life's various cycles. Additional, our Gothar wear this rune on our rings, and our stoles, as it is considered the rune of the priesthood since the Gothar are the stewards of the various rituals and spiritual traditions of our people.


This rune's stave is the Armanen rune called RIT, but it is very similar to the Elder Futhark stave. The only difference is that the 45-degree angle leg is shorter than the vertical 90-degree angle leg.




KENAZ - This rune translates roughly to "torch," which is fitting as it is a rune of TRADITIONS and passing them from generation to generation. Kenaz is closely tied to Heimdallr, Heaven's Ward, the Watchman of the Gods, born on the waves at the edge of the world. This is because Heimdallr brought structure and fire and runes to our people, and gifted us his blood so that we may have yet another connect to the Divine.


The Folk Futhark stave for this rune is borrowed from the Younger and English Futharks. As you can see, it looks similar to a torch seated in a wall sconce, whereas the Elder Futhark stave looked more like the letter "C" made out of two sticks.


GEBO - This is the rune of GIFTS. This gifting cycle is the foundation on which the AFA is built. The Gods have blessed us so abundantly, and even more so since Founder McNallen revived their worship here in Miðgarð, because of the gifting cycle. If there is a rune that symbolizes Blót the best, it would be Gebo!


This stave is one of the most different from its Elder Futhark cognate, as it is borrowed from the Gibor rune of the Armanen Futhark. The shape looks to me as a connection between the upper and middle worlds, as if to symbolize the path that the gifts between us and the Gods travel upon.


WUNJO - The rune of JOY and harmony! This one is simple, but also quite broad in the scope of its usage. You could use this for anything relating to hope, perfection, contentment, or positivity. For example, I have it carved on the inside of my wedding band, to remind me of the joy in marriage.


This stave is unchanged, it is the same as the one used in the Elder Futhark. Just a line version of the letter P.




HAGALAZ - There are no "bad runes," but there are ones that should be treated more cautiously than others. Hagalaz is one of them. The name translates directly to "HAIL,” and can be associated with the “storms” in our lives. Chaos, struggle, challenges, anything that can be difficult for us but give us opportunity to grow. My Gothar Program mentor told me that this could symbolize the ancient Germanic custom of holmgang, where two men would battle to the death to prove who was right in some dispute. Hagalaz may make you feel like you’re fighting for your life, but there’s a reward on the other side!


This stave is also taken from the Armanen Futhark, from the Hagal rune, called the “Mother Rune” by many Armanists. I view this stave as the various lines being differing paths that could be taken to the center of the rune, which represents Victory at the end of those paths. Victory through trial.


NAUTHIZ - This rune's stave is unchanged from the Elder Futhark, and it still represents the "NEED-FIRE," or the flame of necessity. When pulled during divination, Nauthiz can symbolize both necessity or constraint. The stave resembles two sticks being rubbed together to make a "need-fire."





ISA - This rune's stave is also unchanged from that of the Elder Futhark. The word "Isa" means "ice," but we should also take into consideration that Meister Von List felt it also could relate to "iron". Isa is a rune of STASIS, stoicism, and steadfastness. When this rune is pulled, it likely means that the user should remain strong or unmoved throughout whatever struggle they feel the rune is relating to. The stave resembles a wall, or the stillness of a person standing upright, unphased by circumstance.







JERA - This stave is different from the one seen in the Elder Futhark. Jera translates to "YEAR," and its meaning is quickly found here. It represents the changing seasons, a full cycle of time, the distance from Charming of the Plow to Freyfaxi. As you look at the shape of Jera and think of Freyfaxi, think back to Inguz and Charming of the Plow. Inguz is the fresh seed newly-planted, while Jera is the seed after it has grown roots and fruits. The stave literally looks like a seed in the earth, with a root stretching downward, and its reward thrusting upward to be grabbed by the Folk.








Gothi Trent East







*This article was originally published in separate installments.

"Folk Futhark, Part 1," (Introduction, Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz), The Runestone, July 2022

"Folk Futhark, Part 2," (Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz), The Runestone, August 2022

"Folk Futhark, Part 3," (Gebo, Wunjo, Hagalaz), The Runestone, August 2023

"Folk Futhark, Part 4," (Nauthiz, Isa, Jera), The Runestone, June 2024

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