Learn the Viking Runes: Manaz

A silver pendant with the letter a on top of a rock.
A silver pendant with the letter a on top of a rock.

Manaz is a rune that truly represents how runic alphabets evolved over time. The symbol for man – and by extension, humanity and community – Manaz looked like a person with upraised arms in the Younger Futhark alphabet. In the Elder Futhark – the runic alphabet featured in our rune sets and pendants – Manaz looks much more like the letter M, with crossed arms representing the bonds between family and friends. 

Understanding Manaz: How Was Manaz Rune Used – Historic Examples

Manaz appears frequently in early examples, because the idea of mankind and community are key concepts of all strong cultures. We see Manaz appearing in all three rune poems, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Anglo-Saxon. The Icelandic version is particularly inspiring.


Man is an augmentation of the dust;

great is the claw of the hawk.


Man is delight of man

and augmentation of the earth

and adorner of ships.


The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen;

yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow,

since the Lord by his decree

will commit the vile carrion to the earth.

What Does It Mean When Manaz Appears When Reading Runes?

Manaz is a joyful rune, representing the happiness that comes from being part of a community as well as the pride that comes from one’s own contributions to make society stronger. The appearance of Manaz in a reading can be a sense that one is reaching a balanced state of benefitting from the relationships they’re in and simultaneously bringing one’s gifts and abilities into the relationship to benefit everyone. 

Manaz is sometimes depicted as Odin sitting on his throne with his precious ravens, Huggin and Munnin, on his shoulders. Huggin represents thought and Munnin memory. This framing urges us to make choices based on what we know and understand of current circumstances as well as on the wisdom and experience of our ancestors.

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