Mannaz is the Rune of humanity and all that is encompassed by humanity – the descent of man from the gods; the family structure, social status and social structure; the attitudes that family, friends and enemies hold toward one another; individuality and the self; consciousness, morality, the intellect, and invention; and the capacity to work cooperatively together for the benefit of the community. Mannaz deals with the group, whereas Ehwaz dealt with a partnership with a single person. Mannaz, drawn as the Rune for Joy (Wunjo) with its mirror image speaks to the pleasure people take in one another. No person is an island; the ability to survive and thrive require mutual interdependence and understanding.
Northern mythology contains more than one story of how humanity came to be descended from the gods. In one tale, Odin and his brothers gave Ask and Embla life; Odin blew the breath of life into the first human beings. In another story, Heimdall, a son of Odin, journeys to Midgard, guests with three married couples, sleeps between them as their guest, and each wife later gives birth to his sons, thus imparting the blood of the gods into the human race. Each son was believed to have inspired a social class – the warriors, the crafters, and the farmers. Mannaz is therefore a Rune that inspires cooperation between people in the community for the benefit of everyone in that community. In this it has a connection to the Rune Raidho.
Receiving this Rune in a reading can mean cooperation, compatibility, mutual understanding, teamwork, or conversely the development of the self in relation to one’s higher purpose. If Mannaz arrives inverted, it can mean that the group attitude is hostile toward the questioner, self-delusion (the things one does not wish to see), depression, suffering, immorality, or even mortality.