Algiz Rune Meaning and Symbolism


In today’s article, we will tell you about Algiz Rune considered one of the most powerful and popular runes in Norse mythology. If you are curious about its meaning, read on.

The Algiz Rune (also known as Elhaz, Eolh, and Ihwar) is a character of the runic alphabet used by the Germanic peoples of northern Europe between the 3rd century and the 17th century.

It’s a rune of protection, defense, and warding.

Most scholars agree that the name of this rune is most likely not the historical one. However, in the absence of firm evidence, the name is based on a reading of the rune’s name in the Anglo-Saxon Runic poem, first suggested by Wilhelm Grimm (Über deutsche Runen, 1821).


Meaning and Symbolism of the Algiz Rune

Algiz is a rune that has several meanings in its origin, so much so that it is mentioned in the Song of Sigrdrifa and the Song of Exalted.

Its main valence is Help, Protection, and Healing (the latter not for everything). But Algiz also has a greater valence: Birth and Rebirth.

During some of my travels in Northern Europe, I could see that even in recent times some graves still bore the person’s birth date with Algiz next to it and the death date with the inverted rune next to it.

Algiz is the imprint of the swan, the solar bird par excellence into which the Valkirye transform when they go to collect the chosen warrior who falls on the battlefield to lead him to Odin.

It is believed that the representation of Algiz symbol may represent:

  • an outstretched hand
  • a swan in flight
  • antlers of an elk
  • branches of a tree

The symbol has several meanings, including:

  • Protection

The Algiz/Elhaz rune is one of the best-known and most popular runes in the Elder Futhark system. It is a powerful symbol of protection and guidance. Algiz is also seen as a powerful symbol of growth, both spiritual and physical, helping us overcome obstacles and connect with the gods

Invoke Algiz to gain guidance, protection, and connection with your guardian spirits and guides. Algiz offers you great comfort and reminds us that when we live in harmony with the earth, it will protect and shelter us. This rune is excellent for travel and can guide us safely through many different worlds.

  • Courage

The name Algiz is derived from the Proto-Germanic word élkis, meaning “elk.” The elk was a sacred animal to the Germanic people, and the shape of the rune is based on its antlers. The elk was also seen as a symbol of strength, stamina, and courage. It represents the strength and stamina needed to overcome challenges.

  • Defense

The Algiz rune, because of its strong connection to Heimdall, the guardian of the stronghold of the gods, is also a powerful symbol of defense; the outstretched hand could precisely represent the ‘act of defending oneself.

The Algiz rune protects a person just as a shield, causing any negative energy directed against them to simply bounce back.

  • Rebirth and Resurrection

Algiz is the rune attributed to Balder, the sun god. He was pierced by a mistletoe branch thrown by his blind brother Hodr, whom Loki had tricked into bringing Balder down.

Balder is the only god who can access Hel and will return after Ragnarok when the waters recede from Earth and the ancient runic tablets are found.

Balder’s return marks the end of darkness and the beginning of a new era of light and life. Algiz means just that: rebirth and resurrection.

  • Communication with the Divine

Another characteristic of the Algiz rune is its ability to communicate with the deities and entities of the Higher Realms, particularly Heimdall and the Valkyries.

The inverted symbol, however, can be used to access the realm of the dead, giants and the unconscious.


Algiz Rune in Divination and Reading

The one who draws this rune can count on the protection of a powerful guardian angel.

Algiz recommends being understanding and helping others, but not feeling responsible for their lives. This will also make it easier to lend them help.

See also our guide How to read Runes


The rune informs that it is an appropriate time to take risks and venture into a new project, if desired.

There is no reason to be afraid, as long as one takes a decisive attitude and weighs the pros and cons of the situation.

Algiz assures that one will feel surrounded and protected by the people around us and enjoy the benefits of positive influence.

He also reminds us, however, that it is we ourselves who know our virtues and limitations best: we must therefore be alert to spot possible dangers in time and, if we do not feel able to deal with them, at least manage to avoid them.


Algiz’s advice is clear: one must be cautious. If you act carelessly, you will probably regret it.

One is also surrounded by negative energies that hinder one’s path.

The best thing, Algiz says, is to defend yourself against them and not try to overcome them until you are fortified in body and spirit.
It may also be that you are not getting the right distance from other people’s problems and that this is draining your energy.


Old Germanic name: Algis, Elhaz

Old Norse name: Ihwar

Anglo-Saxon name: Eolh or Olh

Old Celtic name: Eileadh

Syllable: z

Deity: Heimdall

Tree: Yew

Herb: Angelica

Crystal: Amethyst

Color: Gold

Zodiac sign: Aquarius, period from January 5 to January 20.

Animal: Moose

Tarot: 18th Major Arcana – The Moon

Astrology: Moon in Cancer/Sun in eighth house

I Ching: 29th hexagram, K’an – The Abyssal (the Water).


Is Algiz a good Rune?

Algiz is a good rune because it represents protection, higher self, safety, spirituality, new beginnings and new life. It can be used to bring positive change and new energy into your life. Algiz is also a good rune for those who are seeking guidance or direction in their lives.
algiz rune meaning

Algiz Rune in Jewelry

As we have already seen, Rune Algiz is a powerful symbol of protection, making it the perfect amulet to wear as jewelry. As a rune of the second aett, Algiz is associated with defense and safety.

viking rune algiz

This symbol is often used as a talisman to ward off evil and negative energy. Algiz can also represent new beginnings, making it a perfect charm for those starting a new chapter in their lives.

Whether you’re looking for a talisman of protection or a symbol of new beginnings, wearing Rune Algiz jewelry is a beautiful way to stay connected to your roots.

norse necklace with viking runes

Algiz Rune Tattoo

Algiz rune tattoos are very popular among those who follow the Norse faith, or seek protection, strength, and victory in their lives. The rune may also be used to symbolize defiance, courage, and determination.

For many, getting a Rune Algiz tattoo is a way of showing their commitment to their faith, and their belief in the power of this symbol. There are a lot of different ways that people choose to design their Rune Algiz tattoos.

Some people opt for a simple design, while others go for a more elaborate one. No matter what the design, though, the meaning behind the tattoo is always the same. If you’re thinking about getting a Rune Algiz tattoo, make sure you do your research.

Once you’ve found the perfect design, though, you’ll have a beautiful tattoo that will represent your faith and your beliefs for years to come.

algiz rune tattoo

Algiz Rune in Nazism

The Nazis appropriated many pre-Roman European symbols, such as the swastika and odal rune, in an attempt to glorify an idealized “Aryan/Norse” heritage. One of these was the so-called “life rune” (from the German Lebensrune), also known as the Elhaz or Algiz rune.

Elhaz means “elk” and in early Europe, this symbol had meanings related to stags or hunting, as well as honor, nobility, or protection. The Nazis used the symbol in various contexts, including the SS’s Lebensborn project.

The Lebensborn was a Nazi project that encouraged Aryan women to have children with SS officers in order to increase the population of “pure” Germans.

The project was started in 1935 and ended in 1945. During that time, an estimated 7,000 children were born as part of the Lebensborn project.

The Lebensborn project was the brainchild of Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. Himmler was obsessed with creating a “master race” of Aryans and believed that the best way to do this was to increase the number of “pure” Germans.

The Lebensborn project was discontinued at the end of the war. Many of the children who were born in Lebensborn homes were taken to orphanages or foster homes, and many never knew their true origins.

Logo of a Nazi-era pharmacy with the white “rune of life.” The logo was introduced by the Deutsche Apothekerschaft (pharmacists’ association) in 1936 at the request of chief pharmacist Albert Schmierer (1899-1974). The symbol has also been used in the official emblems of medical and dental associations.

pharmacy logo in germany with algiz symbol

Pharmacy logo with Algiz Rune, Germany, 1936 Image credit

The upside-down algiz rune symbol was used in the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen-Gusen to indicate the date of death of prisoners

Even during World War II, these two runes (ᛉ for “born,” ᛦ for “dead”) were used in obituaries and on tombstones to indicate birth and death dates, replacing the asterisk and cross symbols (* for “born,” and the cross for “dead”)

Algiz Rune in Modern Times

Contemporary examples include the use by the American National Alliance (since 2007), the National Alliance was once the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States, before it imploded in mismanagement and factional fighting following the death of its founder, William Pierce.

national alliance logo with algiz rune

National Alliance’s logo

Today, despite attempts to revive it, it remains a tiny group that engages in little activity.

The Algiz rune was also adopted by the Flemish nationalist Voorpost in their logo

Voorpost logo with algiz rune


It also appears in the logo of Die Todesrune Records, a minor Spanish black metal record label.

Die Todesrune Records logo with algiz rune

Die Todesrune Records

Pop Culture

Following Ralph Blum (1982), the rune Algiz is given a sense of “protection” in some modern runic divination systems. Blum (1982) himself glosses Algiz with “Protection; Sedge or Rushes; An Elk.

Shop Viking Jewelry

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