Symbols carry much power. We use them to communicate with others, to warn, direct, and convey emotion. Among many other things. In the magical world, symbols are that much more powerful because they are also believed to induce change in the spiritual. And, in my opinion, runes are the best to use for almost any purpose. Here we provide you with 10 potent protection runes that will ward off negative energy, enemies, and illness.
The word rune means “a mark or letter with magical significance”, according to the Oxford Dictionary. While I agree with this very simple definition, I would tell you the runes are much more than that. I don’t think they can truly be defined or even fully understood by any one person or practitioner. Odin had to give up his own eye in order to receive the knowledge of the runes, for gods’ sake.
For this article, we are specifically referring to the Elder futhark system of runes. An “alphabet” of sorts or collection of symbols that have been in use since at least 150AD and stem from the Germanic peoples of Europe. While each rune represents a letter or phonetic sound, it’s also said to represent physical, mental, and spiritual concepts and actions. Many pagans and witches today feel drawn to the Elder futhark runes and use them in their personal lives for protection, love, vitality, and to connect with the old gods.
This world is so focused on the physical…all the things we can see, taste, touch, feel, smell. But we frequently forget there’s another world all around us. The spirit world. And just as people and the environment in the physical world can affect us, spirits and the spiritual world can also affect us. Whether you believe in spirits or not, there is energy. Everything is made up of energy, as are we. Therefore, we are affected by the energetic vibrations that we come into contact with on a daily basis. These people, energies and/or spirits can bring good things or bad things. They can bring health or illness, joy or sadness, safety or danger.
Just as you protect yourself when you are out in public or protect your home from physical dangers, you should also consider protecting yourself from spiritual dangers. Protection runes are a great way of shielding yourself, family, and home from outside influence and malevolent forces. Be they physical or spiritual. The elder futhark runes have been used for centuries to ward off enemies, illness, and misfortune. You can use them in this way too.
If you google protection runes, typically the first that will pop up is Algiz. Most people think of this rune when we hear protection rune. Well, it’s for a good reason. Most scholars and modern Norse pagans associate algiz with protection because the symbol itself is in the shape of elk antlers. Elk use their antlers to protect themselves from enemies, be they from their own species or predators of another kind.
In addition, Algiz connects us to the divine, as we see its points or antlers reaching up to the sky…to the home of the gods. According to Tyriel on Runesecrets.com, the Algiz rune is intricately “connected to the Valkyries (otherworldly psychopompic warriors) and because it connects us to the gods, it also grants us higher instincts”. And obviously the sharper our instincts the better we sense danger coming.
Tyr is the Norse God of justice and is also known as a spirit warrior. He sacrificed his arm in order to protect the other gods from the ferocious wolf Fenrir. Tiwaz is Tyr’s rune and therefore is employed in times when protection is necessary. It’s particularly helpful in protecting one’s family and loved ones from harm. If it’s justice you need, then justice you will get with Tiwaz. Sometimes justice is required in order to protect ourselves from outside threats. And if you are in need of clarity in a cloudy or confusing situation, this rune works wonders.
Some folks shy away from using this rune and assign negative meaning to it because it is often seen as a “thorn”. I don’t see thorns as being bad necessarily, as I’ve used them in protection magick over the years with palpable results. Therefore, thurisaz is a potent protection rune when viewed as a thorn protecting those who mean to harm us and come to close.
In addition, Thurisaz is Thor’s rune and represents his hammer. And just as Thor uses his hammer in battle, we too can use this protection rune in our personal battles. Whether that’s with an enemy, illness, or some other danger that threatens our wellbeing. If you work with the god of thunder, this is an even more powerful rune.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve utilized this protection rune in my own practice. It doesn’t just bring protection, it brings lessons, healing and comfort. Interestingly, most sources don’t tell you it can be used for protection. But because I work closely with Odin in my practice, and I use this rune to invoke him, I’ve found it is indeed effective in shielding and warding practices. It’s also considered the voice of the Allfather. So if you’re in danger, this rune will allow Odin to speak to you and warn you directly. Remember, the gods want us to be able to defend ourselves too.
Ehwaz is a symbol that resembles a capital M, but it actually represents two horses’ heads touching noses. Or the full body of a horse, depending on how you look at it. Either way, it is the Horse rune, and is imbued with protective qualities because of its link to one of man’s trusted companions. According to Cassandra Eason in “A Little Bit of Runes”, the “horse is a sacred animal to the Norse, especially horses that carried their riders into battle.” If you’re heading into a battle of any kind, carry Ehwaz with you.
Just as the Yew tree is known to protect against evil spirits and physical maladies, so too does the Yew rune Eihwaz. The Eihwaz rune will not only protect against evil, it will also help you survive a long Winter season in your life. I don’t mean the season exactly, but more a phase in your life where everything seems cold and dead. Utilize this protection rune to preserve your mental faculties, protect against depression, and move you forward to a brighter time in your life. The yew tree is one of the longest living trees and is home to much wildlife that seek protection in its branches and bark and roots. You can seek its protection too through Eihwaz.
To most people, Berkano isn’t a protection rune…it’s a healing or nurturing rune. And yes I agree one hundred percent However, because Berkano is the sacred rune of the goddess Berchta (and Freya and Nerthus), it can be used to invoke the goddess’s protection. Berchta in particular is a protective deity for mothers and children. But even if you don’t work with these specific goddesses, Berkano represents the birch tree. This tree was the first to emerge after the last Ice Age and is a powerful symbol of rebirth and outlasting the “frost”, so to speak.
As far as protection runes go, I think a lot of pagans forget Uruz or the Rune of the Aurochs. Aurochs were a type of wild oxen that have been extinct since the sixteen hundreds. But they were once fierce, wild game for our ancestors. This rune is extraordinary in situations when our fears impact our daily lives. When we feel weak or vulnerable, the protective rune Uruz inspires strength and courage within us. And encourages us to defend ourselves and break through those emotional and mental barriers that might hold us back. But think about it, would an Auroch defend itself and its herd? This is how Uruz works phenomenally in self presevation and protection.
You might not think of Freyr being a god of war, but he is. He’s widely known as a fertility or earth god and supposedly prefers his peace over war. But the truth is, he is a paradoxical god and will go to war when needed for his people. Keep in mind, in order to have peace one must first fight the required battles. And, as Ingwaz is Freyr’s Rune, it is a protective symbol for those who want to defend their peace. Freyr is also said to be a protective god of the hearth and home.
When I’ve had tough times in my marriage, this rune seems to pop up in random places. Reminding me that my union is truly a gift. And to treat it as such. If you’re looking for a protection rune that specifically guards a romantic relationship, Gebo is your symbol. If someone or something is threatening your relationship, this protective rune will help your relationship rise above the threat and thrive.
Gebo is literally an X but when looked at deeper is the union between two lines…or in a personal view the union between two people. They are separate but meet in the middle and form one symbol together. Just like a partnership or a marriage. I also like the fact that the X symbol is frequently used as a warning sign in the physical world…therefore is just as effective in the spiritual world to warn negativity away from a special union.
How you choose to use these runes in your practice is up to you. But we thought we’d give you some suggestions that have been effective for us:
I’d like to put a lot of buzz words here but that would be too …September 15, 2023