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Introduction to Rune Casting

    Divination through runes is a common practice used in modern Pagan traditions. But don’t be fooled, no form of divination truly predicts the future. Rather, rune casting works with the subconscious to offer guidance and help you explore the potential outcomes to tackle difficult problems.

    Used wisely, runes can be a powerful tool to help you take control of your life and make informed decisions.

    Interpreting runes for divination can be a mysterious affair – the multi-layered meanings of the symbols may be hard for modern readers to comprehend. But, with a little patience, practice, and this rune casting guide, you’ll be reading the runes like a pro.

    Let’s get started, shall we?

    What Is Rune Casting?

    Rune casting is an ancient oracular art form for gaining insight and wisdom into the unknown. Runes are carefully laid out in a specific pattern or chosen randomly, allowing the user to seek guidance on matters of the heart, mind, and soul. By using the symbolic power of the runes, you can gain clarity and direction in moments of uncertainty, ultimately helping you to make the best possible decisions.

    Runes won’t predict the future, but they can open your eyes to possibilities and potential scenarios. By reading the symbols and their meanings, you can gain insight and understanding of the situation at hand. Runes can provide clarity and direction, helping you to make better decisions and take action that will lead to a desired outcome. With the help of runes, you can explore different options and make decisions that are in line with your goals and desires.

    Rune casting is like a mirror, reflecting back what you are doing and offering choices for what you can do to create a different future.

    History and Origins

    The runes of the Futhark are more than mere symbols – they are a powerful and ancient alphabet, believed to have been gifted to mankind by Odin himself. Unlocking the secrets of the runes can unlock great universal forces and knowledge of the gods. These symbols were used in Germanic and Scandinavian countries before the Latin alphabet came into use in the late Middle Ages. With the runes, one can tap into a timeless source of power and wisdom.

    From a Germanic perspective, the runes weren’t just some ordinary alphabet. They were seen as eternal, “pre-existing forces that Odin himself discovered through a tremendous ordeal”. These symbols weren’t simply invented by man but instead were revealed to him by the gods as a source of great power.

    The mysterious, ancient art of rune-staves, or carved wooden sticks, is believed to have originated from the symbols etched into the rocks of the Bronze and Iron Age in Scandinavia. The Roman politician and historian Tacitus, in his book Germania, wrote of the Germanic people’s use of these carved staves for divination. This practice, which has carried on for centuries, is a testament to the power and mystery of these symbols.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How Do Runes Work?

    When you cast the runes, it’s not telling the future. It’s about unlocking the power of the subconscious. As you ask a question and focus your conscious and unconscious minds, the runes you choose become more than random symbols. They become a reflection of the choices made by your innermost self, offering insight into the answer you seek.

    What Can I Ask The Runes About?

    While some may contradict me, in my opinion you can ask the runes about anything.

    The trick is to be crystal clear with what you want to achieve from a reading. Whether you want insights into a problem you’re facing or an answer to a specific question, the important part is focus and intention.

    Don’t expect definitive answers or a glimpse into the future. Instead, use a reading to explore potential causes and effects and to gain insight into possible outcomes.

    What do I need to get started?

    While it’s true that to cast runes, you’ll need a set of stones or cards to work with, the type doesn’t matter. If you’re just starting out, I suggest picking up a simple set of rune stones that you can find at most crystal or metaphysical shops.

    Once you’ve decided to continue with your journey, you can buy a set with more intention and meaning or craft your own from materials such as wood, stones, crystals, bone or even metal.
    Regardless of the material used to make your runes, it’s the intention and action behind them that really counts. Personalizing your set with your own thoughts, feelings and goals can make them a powerful tool in manifesting your destiny.

    Something else you might have seen in rune casting is a rune cloth. While this isn’t essential to get started, it can make a nice addition to your practice.

    Traditionally, a white fabric is used for this purpose, with specially-designed cloths available if you want to take your readings to the next level. Not only does this cloth protect the runes from dirt and damage, it also serves as a sacred boundary for your rune casting.

    How do I store my runes?

    It’s important to treat your runes as precious and sacred objects. Keep them clean and safe by storing them in a soft pouch or felt-lined box. Not only will this protect your runes from damage but it will also keep them together so you don’t lose any.

    Some rune sets will come packed in a pouch already but if not, there are plenty available to purchase or you can repurpose any bag or box you have on hand.

    What is the blank rune for?

    You may have noticed that many rune sets come with a blank rune, sometimes called Odin’s rune.

    Many people have different views on the validity of blank runes. Traditionalists argue that there is no evidence of them being used throughout history. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to include them in your oracle readings.

    If you’re feeling unsure, just pull out any blanks that are included in your set before you start your ritual. It’s your choice how you want to use them, so make sure to use them in a way that best suits your practice.

    How to Cast Runes

    Find a peaceful spot where you can curl up and start your reading session. If you’re using a rune cloth, lay it out on the table or floor before you.

    Now is the time to do whatever you need to get into the mindset of your ritual. Whether that’s lighting a candle, burning incense, or doing a short meditation, make sure you focus your energy and prepare your mind.

    Place your hand in the bag and mix the runes around until they are thoroughly shuffled.

    Now we are ready to begin.

    Visualize the question or topic you want to explore and reach into the bag, drawing your runes one by one.

    Single Rune Cast

    If you’re new to the art of casting, I suggest starting out by selecting a single rune and exploring its meaning and how that may relate to the issue or question you focused on.

    A single rune draw is a simple way to dip your toe into the field of rune casting if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the many symbols and interpretations. Plus, you’ll be surprised how much clarity and direction you can gain from one rune stone!

    Once you’re more comfortable, you can explore some of the different rune casting layouts to find the one that speaks to you or suits your particular purpose.

    3-Rune Cast

    A 3 rune cast is a simple yet powerful layout. Pull three stones – one at a time – out of the bag, placing them in a line from right to left.

    Option 1: Problem/Solution

    Rune 1 represents a broad overview of the issue

    Rune 2, in the middle, reveals potential obstacles

    Rune 3 represents possible solutions or actions to take

    Option 2: Past, Present Future

    Rune 1 represents the past: this could be stagnant energy holding you back or something you need to take from the past to help you move forward today.

    Rune 2, in the middle, is the present. An opportunity or challenge that you’re currently facing.

    Rune 3 represents the future. A possible outcome or direction you are heading.

    5-Rune Cast

    To do a five rune cast, you will draw five stones from the bag, one at a time, and lay them out in a cross like pattern starting at the centre and then moving in a left, top, bottom, right pattern.

    There are several ways to assign each of these positions in a reading but one common way is to use the centre line of the cross to represent past, present, and future as in the 3 rune reading but the added runes above and below give further guidance.

    The rune at the top represents where you should be focusing your energies. These things are within your influence or will offer you the results you desire.

    The rune at the bottom shows areas you should not be focusing on as they are either unchangeable or will not help you achieve your goals.

    9-Rune Cast

    Once you’re more familiar with reading the runes, you’re ready to try a nine-rune scatter cast. Nine is a powerful number in Norse mythology, and this cast can tell you a lot about your current situation – but it’s a more difficult to interpret than the other rune spreads as it relies heavily on your intuition and a deeper knowledge of rune meanings.

    To begin, take nine runes from your bag. Close your eyes, take a moment to focus on your intention, and scatter them on the cloth.

    Picture a bullseye on the cloth. The runes that have landed closer to the centre have the highest importance while those that are further away are less related to the current issue.

    Take note of any clusters of runes or stones that are touching – these runes should be read as combined influences – things you should focus on together.

    Runes that are spaced on opposite sides may represent contradictory forces or either/or choices.

    Start with the runes that have landed face up as these are the more pressing influences.

    Next, flip over the runes that have landed face down and note these as upcoming possibilities.

    As you can see, a 9 rune cast is a lot freer than the previous spreads we discussed. It’s all about tapping into your own intuition as you interpret the symbols and their position within the spread.

    Interpreting Your Results

    Interpreting the results of your rune casting is a crucial step in unlocking the secrets of the Norse Runes. Once you’ve laid out your chosen spread, it’s time to take a closer look at the individual runes and what each one represents. A good place to start is my post on rune symbols & meanings.

    It’s important to remember that each rune symbol holds many interpretations, so don’t get too bogged down in the details. As you examine each symbol, pay attention to any emotions or thoughts that come up for you. Trust your intuition, as it will often guide you towards the insights you need the most.

    Remember that, while each rune has a unique meaning and significance, it’s also important to consider how they relate to one another within your chosen spread. Look for patterns, connections, and themes that emerge as you examine the symbols as a whole. You may find that certain runes reinforce or contradict one another, or reveal a new perspective on a particular situation or challenge in your life.

    Ultimately, the success of your rune casting practice lies in your ability to interpret the results and apply their wisdom to your own life. So take your time and keep your mind open to different possibilities.

    Reversed runes

    Reversed runes, also known as merkstaves, are runes that appear upside down or inverted in a spread. Many people interpret upright and inverse runes the same way (especially when starting out) so there’s no need to worry about these if you’re already enjoying your practice as-is.

    But, if you’re looking to add another layer of complexity to your readings, you can consider reversed runes as having the opposite meaning of their upright counterparts.

    Interpreting reversed runes requires an open mind and a willingness to see things from a different perspective. Rather than viewing them as negative omens, reversed runes offer a unique opportunity for self-reflection and growth. They may point to areas in your life that require your attention or suggest potential challenges that lie ahead.

    Interpreting reversed runes is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. As you become more comfortable with interpreting them, you may find that they add a new dimension of insight and depth to your readings.

    The ancient art of rune casting is a powerful tool for unlocking the secrets of the self. By exploring the origins and different types of runes, learning how to cast and interpret them, and experimenting with different spreads, beginners can embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. As author Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

    So trust your intuition, have fun, and let the Norse runes guide you on your path. Happy casting!

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