Out of all the divination forms I practice, rune reading comes the most naturally. I attribute this entirely to my Nordic heritage; there are inherited ancestral attributes at play which lend me a great deal of nuance and intuitive understanding. But that being said, anyone can throw the runes and use them for readings!
Runic divination can be as complex or as simple as you desire; just like Tarot, you can read one rune, three runes, or every rune in the set. Traditional rune sets are made with stones or wood tokens, although different materials are acceptable, so long as they hold a positive and meaningful energetic charge for the reader. My favorite rune set is made up of stones collected from a beach near my home that has held great significance ever since I was a teenager. I prefer to make my own rune sets, but you can buy beautiful crystal and wood sets online for a reasonable price.
For the purposes of this blog, I'm going to demonstrate a reading using every rune in the set! And see the end of the blog for additional resources and information.
An Elder Futhark rune set, which is what I use, contains 25 stones - 24 runes, and one blank stone, which signifies Odin and the mysterious unknown. The Odin rune stone is the signifier in any reading; it lands wherever I am meant to direct my attention. When I find it, I find the heart of the matter within the reading.
Every rune has its own significance and story to tell; where it falls in the reading, and the direction it faces, supplies the base information. After that, it's up to me to interpret the nuances; each rune carries many different possible messages and I have to reach inside my heart and my gut to feel which message is correct in the moment.
Before I throw the runes, I hold them in my hands close to my heart. I close my eyes and, in my mind's eye, I visualize the question or the issue I am addressing. I call up the feeling that is most important to me in the moment and transfer that to the runes. Sometimes I will gently shake the runes in my hands during this process. Then, eyes still closed, I toss them onto the ground in front of me.
Step 1 is to assess how the runes have fallen. I do this by looking at them from a grid perspective. To me, the grid symbolizes the World Tree. The upper quadrants signify positive, or active, energies; the growing branches and leaves, budding opportunity. The lower quadrants signify negative, or passive, energies; the decaying leaves, the hidden roots.
Taking it a step further, I pay attention to how many runes fell in each quadrant. The left-hand quadrants represent the Feminine energies; emotional, being, passive. The right-hand quadrants represent the Masculine energies; logical, doing, active. Breaking it down thusly, it quickly becomes clear what kind of situation or challenge is before me; understanding the energies behind the situation allow me to divine the most heart-guided solution.
Step 2 is to locate the Odin rune. This is the blank rune that symbolizes the unseen forces at work all around us. No matter how many factors are at play, and no matter how complicated the situation, where this rune lands is the heart of the matter.
Step 3 is to assess how the runes are actually spread out. Groups of runes signify the active forces at play, whereas solo and outlying runes signify outside forces or factors that are of little consequence, or that desire to move closer to completion. How do I tell the difference? Pure intuition, and inference from how the other runes are interacting. It's a gut-feel process!
How runes land is also important. Runes that land face up are sending a clear and readable message. Runes that land face down usually signify the energies that are null, or inactive, in the situation. However, some face down runes are actually calling attention to energetic forces that are at play, but so far have been hidden from consciousness (this can absolutely include people who are doing sneaky things behind your back). Again, it takes intuition and inference to understand which are null, and which are asking for attention and to be called into awareness.
So, for this particular rune reading session, here we have the heart of the matter (pictured above). The Odin rune is the lower-right stone; it is blank on both sides. It tells me that this grouping of rune stones is the core of the reading. We have three runes grouped together: Algiz (top), Isa (left), and Perdho (right).
It's a little hard to see, but Algiz has landed on its side. This immediately tells me it wants to be read first; it feels like the rune is raising its hand and calling out. Algiz symbolizes Moose, and the energies that follow this animal; defense, protection, stability, safety in numbers, as well as the less positive aspects like heavy movement, solitude, and inertia. Algiz is all about willpower and how we utilize it when faced with difficult or heavy decisions. This is spot on for me, as the concern I was holding in my heart for this reading was indecision over how to proceed with an aspect of growing my business. My willpower - and my ability to calm down enough to become clear on my path - is always my strong suit, and always the first thing I forget to do! Plus, this rune carries Moose energy, which is cousin to Elk, my animal totem energy. Therefore I know this rune is hitting super duper close to home.
Supporting Algiz are Isa, which symbolizes the crystal clarity and total immobility of Ice, and Perdho, which symbolizes Destiny and all other unseen forces at work around us in the world. Isa is on the left, telling me that I am overthinking my situation and allowing my immobile thoughts to freeze me in place; a softer, more intuitive approach will thaw the ice and set me free. Perdho on the right tells me that actively partnering with Source, The Force, Life The Universe And Everything - however I choose to view it - will grant me the forward momentum I feel I am lacking.
Now that I've clarified the heart of this message, I examine all the other runes. I feel in my gut that most of the other runes don't have anything of importance to add to this conversation; that one core group is definitely the heart of the matter. However, there are two outlying runes that call to me.
First I read the rune farthest away from all the others; it's all out there on its own in the upper-left quadrant, which reads as positive-feminine. It is Dagaz, the final rune in the Elder Futhark, and it symbolizes the bright light of the midday Sun; it is a rune of satisfaction and completion. Its inverse meanings include anxiety, failure, and feeling disconnected. Seeing it all on its lonesome, I intuit that the sense of completion and success I am craving will play keep-away with me, hovering just beyond my reach, until I get over my own insecurities and begin moving forward again - in any way I can that is positive.
Finally, to close out the reading, I pay attention to the second-most outlying rune. It is Othala, the rune of Nobility and Ancestry. Whereas Dagaz is an active energy, Othala in this quadrant is a hidden energy. Othala is a reminder that we have everything we need within us to be successful, if we play to our strengths and ask for help with our weaknesses. I read it as a reminder of removal; the more I forget to call upon my inherent talents and abilities, the more I will feel divorced from my path of success. This outlying rune is not something evasive, instead it is something I can actively call closer to me whenever I desire (and remember).
And there we have it! This reading was helpful, as it provided clear insight into my confusion, as well as clear guidance on how I can move forward and out of the situation that feels so icky to me right now. Some readings are even more in-depth - and of course I could have actively read every rune and its significance if I chose - but some readings are more simple, and these can be the easiest to digest.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into the divination art of reading the runes! If you have any questions, or are interested in having me read the runes for you, just click here to email me and let me know!