The eighth Rune of the Third Ætt of the Elder Futhark
(for more information on the Third Ætt per se, go to

This is an installment in a series covering each and every Rune of the Elder Futhark. In this series, instead of giving the esoteric meaning of the Rune by citing the Rune poems written in Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon (a.k.a. Old English), or any modern commentary, the etymology of the Rune name is presented.

               O     O
           O            O
        O                  O
     O                        O
       O                    O
          O              O
             O        O
                O  O
             O        O
         O               O
      O                     O
   O                           O

Pronunciation: “oh-thuh-lah” or “oh-thah-luh,” the former based on there being  a stress pattern of “oh” with primary stress and “lah” with secondary stress, the middle syllable thus being reduced (“uh” instead of a full “ah”); the latter based on there being a single expiratory pushing out of air that dwindles as the word progresses...

Writing: The OTHALA stave represents phoneme /o/, and is used to indicate the sound of “oh.” However, when you take a look at the words that OTHALA turned into in the various Germanic languages and dialects, you might get the impression that this o-sound may have been more of a fronted vowel, like the ö in German schön.

Etymology: OTHALA goes back to a Proto-Indo-European word atos or atta “daddy, mommy (nursery word)” [see the “Runic Reflex Index” of the University of Texas at Austin’s Linguistics Research Center:]. Cognates include (but there are just so MANY cognates, too many to go into here): Old English æðel (homeland, property, inheritance), and the Old English word for a person whose æðel/homeland it is: æþeling (noble). The Indo-European word came through Latin thence into English as our word atavism (ultimately from Indo-European atta) (throwback, recurrence of ancestral form; see ibid.) Modern German runs the gamut of parts of speech with noun Adel, verb adeln, and adjective adlig, all from OTHALA.


...Now, NOTICE the entire semantic domain covered by OTHALA through time. Let this be the MYSTICAL MEANING of OTHALA. Study it and ABSORB it.

AUTHOR: Francis Tokarski