Critical Review of the Elder Futhark: An Historically Accurate Universal Rune Set

21 June 2019, 17h54:

Winter Solstice for the Southern Hemisphere

Today is the winter solstice – that time of year where the hours of darkness outweigh the hour of light in the Southern Hemisphere, the exact opposite is true for our Northern counterparts. The activity of life slows down in preparation for rest and restoration during the colder months.

This winter solstice edition is going to follow on my Evolution of the Runic Alphabets. Winter is aligned with water, an element versatile and variable, which can be found in all physical states. We experience water in it gaseous state, such as steam and mist, its liquid form in rivers and lakes as well as solidly frozen in ice and snow. Here we witness water’s capacity for change and to an extent its adaptability, each season it shifts with the requirements of life and forges itself anew. During winter, water takes on a more solid state, cold and seemingly unmoving, still and silent. Winter aligns with silent strength, a state that represents nature’s ancient way of quiet contemplation. Here we heed the wisdom of our ancestors and take time to not only understand our environment, but also ourselves. Thus, for this winter solstice I will discuss the most ancient of runic alphabets, that of the Elder Futhark.


The runic alphabets have become a prominent feature on my blog and my designs, mostly due to my fascination with this ancient writing script and how it can be utilized to gain wisdoms from the depth of our own souls.

I have written an initial summary post of the Elder Futhark as well as discussing the flow of the runic languages from both an historic and linguistic perspective. During my extensive research into the subject I have read countless literary works in an attempt to determine both the original form of the Elder Futhark as well as creating a standardized and universal set of runes. I have listed the most informative references I discovered during my research. My research has subsequently been converted into an Elder Futhark Mini Oracle deck available for purchase from my MPC online store.

Here, I would like to focus on my research process for the Elder Futhark and how I came to choose the letter, rune script and meanings for each based on the most prominent and trustworthy information from hard-to-find expert runologist and runology sources. I will group the discussions around the potential origin of the Elder Futhark, its division and use, the basic alphabet structure and the sorting of conflicting rune meanings.

Elder Futhark Runes

  • Oldest Runic Alphabet (150-800 AD)
  • Writing System for the Germanic tribes and Northwest Germanic dialects
  • A set of 24 letters
  • Full alphabet first discovered on the Kylver Stone, Gotland, 400 AD
Kylver Stone, Gotland, Sweden, Elder, Futhark, Runes, Viking, Germanic

Elder Futhark Origin

The parent language or linguistic origin of the Elder Futhark is highly debated and could have arisen from Latin, Greek or Etruscan. There is also indication that the Elder Futhark is derived from the Semitic-Arabic writings dating from the Bronze Age and early Iron Age in the Near East. This Semitic origin places the Elder Futhark in the time frame of 2000-1000 BC, which indicates that it may even be older than the Greek alphabet (750 BC)! The evidence the author provides for this becomes highly technical from a linguistic, writing and pronunciation aspect, but it simply stems from the the fact that both the Elder Futhark and Greek language share traits of the previous ancestral language… Read more in my Runic Evolution & Linguistic History eBook! Available for pre-order (publishing 03 July 2020) for Tablets, Smartphones, Kindle and KDP Select @ Amazon! Please note that the eBook will NOT be made available for free.

Runic Evolution & Linguistic History

The Elder Futhark rune names, rune symbols and rune meaning tables provided in the book above (with links to free downloads!) can be used in conjunction with my Elder Futhark Mini Oracle Deck, which is representative of the most accurate and universal Elder Futhark alphabet and can be purchased from Make Playing Cards!

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Elder Futhark Mini Oracle Deck available from https://www.makeplayingcards.com/sell/marketplace/elder-futhark-runes-mini-oracle.html
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Elder Futhark Mini Oracle Deck Sample


“Oh how wonderfully exciting. I have just processed the order now. The kids are learning all about Norse Mythology at the moment and are so excited to have their own set of cards to learn the symbols and at that size… perfect.

Thanks so much for being so accommodating and for making such pretty cards.”

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