Mannaz – The rune of Man

Norse mythology

Published 19 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The underlying symbolism of the Mannaz rune is exceptionally advanced.

ᛗ – Mannaz is the name of the m-rune, symbolizing Man in the sense of humanity.

In the Salzburg manuscript, the name of the rune is manna, which is the rich Gothic form of the Germanic word meaning man.

This article is part of our exclusive series on the origins and secrets of the Nordic runes in the Elder Futhark and the merits of the intriguing Uthark theory proposed by the Swedish philologist Sigurd Agrell, professor at Lund University, Sweden.

The Uthark is a secret cipher, based on positioning the Fehu rune at the end of the rune row, like an ace in a deck of cards, revealing esoteric philosophy reaching deep into the heart of Norse culture and religious beliefs.

In the sagas of the Norse, the first man and woman were created by the gods out of two trunks of wood, Ask and Embla. However, there is much to suggest that the Norse viewed human creation as much more complex than the story of Ask and Embla alone would imply. The Mannaz rune is a clear example of this, which suggests that the true essence of humanity is mirrored in the stars.

Meaning and interpretation

According to Tacitus, the Germanic peoples north of the Roman Empire venerated a deity called “Tvisto” – the Son of the Earth. His son, in turn, was known as Mannus, who was seen as the ultimate originator and founder of the people. The root of the word Mannus, in turn, most likely originates from the Sanskrit Manusya, derived from Manu – the name of the demi-god progenitor of humanity according to the Vedas.

The underlying symbolism of the Mannaz rune is exceptionally advanced, and the secret codes found in it and presented by modern researcher Magnus Stenlund is a major indication that the underlying esoteric philosophy has been intentionally embedded into the runes and especially when arranged in the UTHARK.

Mannaz is the 20th rune in the Futhark, thus the 19th rune of the Uthark rune row, and according to the Uthark hypothesis its magical and true number is thus 19.

Number 19, according to the Mithraic magical mysteries, is also the great macrocosmic number, uniting the 7 ruling planets and the 12 star signs of the Zodiac.


The 12 star signs of the classical Zodiac and 7 astrological planets depicted in the Hellenistic astrology chart Tellema Mundi. Photo: Meredith Garstin/CC BY-SA 3.0

According to many ancients, the various stellar deities of the planets and stars were parts of a vast anthropomorphic macrocosmic celestial deity, which was also believed to be reflected in the microcosm on Earth in the manifested form of Man. This very belief has been deeply encoded into the Mannaz rune.

Symbolism and magical use

It may seem far-fetched at first glance that the previously mentioned world view lies encoded in the rune of Mannaz, based on mystical numerology of the planets and the zodiac. However, upon closer examination, there is no doubt that this is indeed the case.

Firstly, there are exactly 7 other runes hidden in Mannaz: Uruz, Kenaz, Wunjo, Isa, Ehwaz, Laguz, Dagaz. 5 of these also appear mirrored in Mannaz: Uruz, Kenaz, Wunjo, Isa and Laguz. In other words, both the numbers 7 and 12 are hidden in the rune. The deliberate intent of this numerological symbolism becomes even more evident when one also adds the numerical value of each rune, according to the Uthark rune row, which is 1 for Uruz, 5 for Kenaz, 7 for Wunjo, 10 for Isa, 18 for Ehwaz, 20 for Lagu and 23 for Dagaz. The sum of all these runes (1+5+7+10+18+20+23) is 84, which is 7 times 12.

Like on many artefacts with magical inscriptions the sum of all the runes usually hold a deep meaning and often includes 13 or 24.

The encoded numerology in Mannaz, summarized by rune researcher Magnus Stenlund.

In other terms, the symbolism of Mannaz suggests that the macrocosm lies encoded and reflected in the microcosm of Man. The advanced and obvious numerology of the Mannaz rune is one of the most spectacular confirmation of the Uthark hypothesis.

Another confirmation that the symbolism of Mannaz has been made very intentionally is that all the angles of all the runes are made in perfect 45 degrees save for one exception – the X-shaped Gifu rune. Gifu is made more upright and therefore doesn’t fit in either Dagaz or Mannaz.

The Gifu rune (in red) doesn’t fit into Mannaz. Photo from Runkalendern

The fact that Gifu doesn’t fit into the Mannaz rune is not due to a modern stylization either, as it can be clearly seen on the Kragehjul spear shaft and Undley bracteate shown here, as well as the Kylver stone and Vadstena bracteate shown here, that Gifu was carved differently on purpose.


In terms of rune divination, Mannaz rune represents humanity at its very finest, as a sacred part of a cosmic whole. In a rune reading, Mannaz therefore primarily refers to our most authentic expression and our rightful place in life, what is referred to in Vedic tradition as our svadharma.

The basics of rune divination

According to Norse belief, the runes represent aspects of the web of destiny, called the web of Urd (Wyrd). This web is intimately connected to time and the three Norns; Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. The Norns are weaving the threads of the web and represent what was, what is and what is to come.

The Roman historian Tacitus, among others, noted that rune divination was a widespread practice among the Norse. One of the most basic forms of such divination is to pray and draw three runes on twigs or cards which will signify the three Norns. By reading the web of Urd one may understand the present of Verdandi as well as the past, and also lift the veil of Skuld and see what lies hidden in the future.

Are you on the right path in life or have you ended up in a context where you don’t feel you belong? A misaligned Mannaz suggests that you are not in harmony with yourself and your surroundings. In contrast, an aligned Mannaz, for example as a third rune pointing towards the future, can indicate that you are indeed on your way towards achieving this.


Discover the following rune Laguz – The rune of water

The Nordic Times


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