The runes are an ancient Germanic alphabet used for many
purposes including writing, divination and magick. Mainly
used throughout northern Europe at about 100 BC to 1600.
Tacitus, in Chapter X of his, Germania, describes a form
of divination used by Germanic tribes: "To divination and
casting of lots, they pay attention beyond any other people.
Their method of casting lots is a simple one: they cut a
branch from a fruit-bearing tree and divide it into small
pieces which they mark with certain distinctive signs and
scatter at random onto a white cloth. Then, the priest of
the community if the lots are consulted publicly, or the
father of the family if it is done privately, after invoking
the gods and with eyes raised to heaven, picks up three
pieces, one at a time, and interprets them according to
the signs previously marked upon them."
Runes are an oracle from which you seek advice. It is best
if your describe your current situation and ask detailed
questions. The reading can be somewhat obscure, they cant
imply certain answers, but this is where your intuition
Runes are a system of divination which helps you analyse
your path which you will take if you continue doing what
you would, that is the most probable outcome. The future
is not fixed in concrete. It changes all the time, if you
don't like the outcome, then take action to change it. In
ancient times, runes were used for divination and magick,
in addition to writing. The word "rune" means mystery, secret
or whisper. Each rune has esoteric meaning and properties
beyond its mundane meaning and phonetic value. Each rune
translates into a word or a phrase signifying concepts important
to the people of old who used them, representing the forces
of nature and mind. Each rune has a story attached to it,
a relationship to a deity.
Odin, the Norse High God of the Aesir, hung from the world
tree, Yggdrasil, impaled on his own spear, for nine days
and nights in order to gain the knowledge of runes. When
they appeared below him, he reached down and to pick them
up. The runic knowledge gave him power. He later taught
this knowledge to the Vanir goddess Freyja. She in return
taught him the magic of seithr. Heimdall, the god who guarded
the Rainbow Bridge, taught the runes to humans. Runic alphabets
first appeared among German tribes in central and eastern
Europe. Some runes symbols were taken from other alphabets
such as that of the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Rearly
Romans. They were designed to be suitable to carve into
wood and stone. The most early runic inscriptions are dated
to the late thired century CE, but it is most probable that
they have been used long before that.
The Elder Futhark, or the old Germanic alphabet, contains
24 letters divided into three aettrs. The first six runes
spell out futhark. As the runes spread further north in
Europe, some runes were removed from the alphabet, this
reduced it to 16. In about 500CE, thee Germanic tribes invaded
Britain. They brought the runes with them and some were
changed. One who aspires to become adept with runes must
have some knowledge of the mythology, history, and culture
of ancient Europe and Scandinavia. Much of what you find
here will merely point you in the right direction. The rest
is up to you. Delve as lightly or as deeply as you wish.
Work with the "Elder Futhark" the runic alphabet which is
a composite of the symbols most commonly used in northern
Europe. The names of the runes of the Elder Futhark are
speculative recreations of what linguists call "proto-Germanic"
or "Indo-European". There are many versions of the runic
alphabets. Each has variations in names, shapes, esoteric
meanings and magical uses. One should not mix futharks,
or the intent or meaning becomes mixed. The Elder Futhark,
the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the Younger (or Scandinavian)
Futhark are most today.
The runes are broken into three sections or groups of eight,
called aett (aettir, plural). This helps to remember order,
and has magickal uses also. First the rune name is given,
then its phonetic value, its symbolic image, and finally
the esoteric meaning used in divination. If a rune is reversed
(upside down) in a rune reading, it has a different meaning
than if upright. Some runes look the same upside down and
right side up. These cannot be "reversed", but they may
have a "merkstave" (which literally means "dark stick" and
implies a dark meaning ), depending on how the runes are
cast. Note that a "reversed" or "merkstave" meaning is not
the opposite of its primary meaning, but usually has a more
GERMANIC RUNE CHARACTERS
(The Elder Futhark)
Fehu (F: Domestic cattle, wealth.) Possessions won or earned,
earned income, luck. Abundance, financial strength in the
present or near future. Sign of hope and plenty, success
and happiness. Social success. Energy, foresight, fertility,
Fehu Reversed: Loss of personal property, esteem, or something
that you put in effort to keep. It indicates some sort of
failure. Greed, burnout, atrophy, discord. Cowardice, stupidity,
dullness, poverty, slavery, bondage.
Uruz: (U: Auroch, a wild ox.) Physical strength and speed,
untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom,
energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding,
wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes (usually for the better).
Sexual desire, masculine potency. The shaping of power and
pattern, formulation of the self.
Uruz Reversed: Weakness, obsession, misdirected force,
domination by others. Sickness, inconsistency, ignorance.
Lust, brutality, rashness, callousness, violence.
Thurisaz: (TH: Thorn or a Giant.) Reactive force, directed
force of destruction and defense, conflict. Instinctual
will, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst. Atendency
toward change. Catharsis, purging, cleansing fire. Male
sexuality, fertilization. (Thorr, the Thunder god, was of
Thurisaz Reversed: Danger, defenselessness, compulsion,
betrayal, dullness. Evil, malice, hatred, torment, spite,
lies. A bad man or woman. Rape?
Ansuz: (A: The As, ancestral god, i.e. Odhinn.) A revealing
message or insight, communication. Signals, inspiration,
enthusiasm, speech, true vision, power of words and naming.
Blessings, the taking of advice. Good health, harmony, truth,
Ansuz Reversed: Misunderstanding, delusion, manipulationby
others, boredom. Vanity and grandiloquence. (Odhinn is a
mighty, but duplicious god. He always has his own agenda.)
Raidho: (R: Wagon or chariot.) Travel, both in physical
terms and those of life-style direction. A journey, vacation,
relocation, evolution, change of place or setting. Seeing
a larger perspective. Seeing the right move for you to make
and deciding upon it. Personal rhythm, world rhythm, dance
Raidho Reversed: Crisis, rigidity, stasis, injustice, irrationality.
Disruption, dislocation, demotion, delusion, possibly a
Kenaz: (K: Beacon or torch.) Vision, revelation, knowledge,
creativity, inspiration, technical ability. Vital fire of
life, harnessed power, fire of transformation and regeneration.
Power to create your own reality, the power of light. Open
to new strength, energy, and power now. Passion, sexual
Kenaz Reversed: Disease, break-up, instability, lack of
creativity. Nakedness, exposure, loss of illusion and false
Gebo: (G: Gift.) Gifts, both in the sense of sacrifice and
of generosity, indicating balance. All matters in relation
to exchanges, including contracts, personal relationships
and partnerships. Gebo Merkstave (Gebo cannot be reversed,
but may lie in opposition): Greed, loneliness, dependence,
over-sacrifice. Obligation, toll, privation, bribery.
Wunjo: (W or V: Joy.) Joy, comfort, pleasure. Fellowship,
harmony, prosperity. Ecstasy, glory, spiritual reward, but
also the possibility of going "over the top". If restrained,
the meaning is general success and recognition of worth.
Wunjo Reversed: Stultification, sorrow, strife, alienation.
Delirium, intoxication, possession by higher forces, impractical
enthusiasm. Raging frenzy, berzerker.
Hagalaz: (H: Hail.) Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled
forces, especially the weather, or within the unconscious.
Tempering, testing, trial. Controlled crisis, leading to
completion, inner harmony. Hagalaz Merkstave (Hagalaz cannot
be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Natural disaster,
catastrophe. Stagnation, loss of power. Pain, loss, suffering,
hardship, sickness, crisis.
Nauthiz: (N: Need.) Delays, restriction. Resistance leading
to strength, innovation, need-fire (self-reliance). Distress,
confusion, conflict, and the power of will to overcome them.
Endurance, survival, determination. A time to exercise patience.
Recognition of one's fate. Major self-initiated change.
Face your fears.
Nauthiz Reversed: Constraint of freedom, distress, toil,
drudgery, laxity. Necessity, extremity, want, deprivation,
starvation, need, poverty, emotional hunger.
Isa: (I: Ice.) A challenge or frustration. Psychological
blocks to thought or activity, including grievances. Standstill,
or a time to turn inwardand wait for what is to come, or
to seek clarity. This rune reinforces runes around it. Isa
Merkstave (Isa cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition):
Ego-mania, dullness, blindness, dissipation. Treachery,
illusion, deceit, betrayal, guile, stealth, ambush, plots.
Jera: (J or Y: A year, a good harvest.) The results of earlier
efforts are realized.A time of peace and happiness, fruitful
season. It can break through stagnancy. Hopes andexpectations
of peace and prosperity. The promise of success earned.
Life cycle, cyclical pattern of the universe. Everything
changes, in its own time. Jera Merkstave (Jera cannot be
reversed, but may lie in opposition): Sudden setback, reversals.
A major change, repetition, bad timing, poverty, conflict.
Eihwaz: (EI: Yew tree.) Strength, reliability, dependability,
trustworthiness. Enlightenment, endurance. Defense, protection.
The driving force to acquire, providing motivation and a
sense of purpose. Indicates that you have set your sights
on a reasonable target and can achieve your goals. An honest
man who can be relied upon.
Eihwaz Reversed: Confusion, destruction, dissatisfaction,
Perthro: (P: Lot cup, vagina.) Uncertain meaning, a secret
matter, a mystery, hidden things and occult abilities. Initiation,
knowledge of one's destiny, knowledge of future matters,
determining the future or your path. Pertaining to things
feminine, feminine mysteries including female fertility,
and vagina. Good lot, fellowship and joy. Evolutionary change.
Perthro Reversed: Addiction, stagnation, loneliness, malaise.
Algiz: (Z or -R: Elk, protection.) Protection, a shield.
The protective urge to shelter oneself or others. Defense,
warding off of evil, shield, guardian. Connection with the
gods, awakening, higher life.It can be used to channel energiesappropriately.
Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain
a position won or earned.
Algiz Reversed: Hidden danger, consumption by divine forces,
loss of divine link. Taboo, warning, turning away, that
Sowilo: (S: The sun.) Success, goals achieved, honour. The
life-force, health. A time when power will be available
to you for positive changes in your life, victory, health,
and success. Contact between the higher self and the unconscious.
Wholeness, power, elemental force, sword of flame, cleansing
fire. Sowilo Merkstave (Sowilo cannot be reversed, but may
lie in opposition): False goals, bad counsel, false success,
gullibility, loss of goals. Destruction, retribution, justice,
casting down of vanity. Wrath of god.
Tiwaz: (T: Tyr, the sky god.) Honour, justice, leadership
and authority. Analysis, rationality. Knowing where one's
true strengths lie. Willingness to self-sacrifice. Victory
and success in any competition or in legal matters.
Tiwaz Reversed: One's energy and creative flow are blocked.
Mental paralysis, over-analysis, over-sacrifice, injustice,
imbalance. Strife, war, conflict, failure in competition.
Dwindling passion, difficulties in communication, and possibly
Berkano: (B: Berchta, the birch-goddess.) Birth, general
fertility, both mental and physical and personal growth,
liberation. Regenerative power and light of spring, renewal,
promise of new beginnings, new growth. Arousal of desire.
A love affair or new birth. The prospering of an enterprise
Berkano Reversed: Family problems and or domestic troubles.
Anxiety about someone close to you. Carelessness, abandon,
loss of control. Blurring of consciousness, deceit, sterility,
Ehwaz: (E: Horse, two horses.) Transportation. May represent
a horse, car, plane, boat or other vehicle. Movement and
change for the better. Gradual development and steady progress
are indicated. Harmony, teamwork, trust, loyalty. An ideal
marriage or partnership. Confirmation beyond doubt the meanings
of the runes around it.
Ehwaz Reversed: This is not really a negative rune. A change
is perhaps craved. Feeling restless or confined in a situation.
Reckless haste, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal.
Mannaz: (M: Man, mankind.) The Self; the individual or the
human race. Your attitude toward others and their attitudes
towards you. Friends and enemies, social order. Intelligence,
forethought, create, skill, ability. Divine structure, intelligence,
awareness. Expect to receive some sort of aid or cooperation
Mannaz Reversed: Depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion.
Cunning, slyness, manipulation, craftiness, calculation.
Expect no help now.
Laguz: (L: Water, or a leek.) Flow, water, sea, a fertility
source, the healing power of renewal. Life energy and organic
growth. Imagination and psychic matters. Dreams, fantasies,
mysteries, the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld.
Success in travel or acquisition, but with the possibility
Laguz Reversed: An indication of a period of confusion
in your life. You may be making wrong decisions and poor
judgements. Lack of creativity and feelings of being in
a rut. Fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering. Madness,
obsession, despair, perversity, sickness, suicide.
Ingwaz: (NG: Ing, the earth god.) Male fertility, gestation,
internal growth. Common virtues, common sense, simple strengths,
family love, caring, human warmth, the home. Rest stage,
a time of relief, of no anxiety. A time when all loose strings
are tied and you are free to move in a new direction. Listen
to yourself. Ingwaz Merkstave (Ingwaz cannot be reversed,
but may lie in opposition): Impotence, movement without
change. Production, toil, labor, work.
Dagaz: (D: Day or dawn.) Breakthrough, awakening, awareness.
Daylight clarity as opposed to night-time uncertainty. A
time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of
change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness,
the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance
point, the place where opposites meet. Dagaz Merkstave (Dagaz
cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): A completion,
ending, limit, coming full circle. Blindness, hopelessness.
Othala: (O: Ancestral property.) Inherited property or possessions,
a house, a home. What is truly important to one. Group order,
group prosperity. Land of birth, spiritual heritage, experience
and fundamental values. Aid in spiritual and physical journeys.
Source of safety, increase and abundance.
Othala Reversed: Lack of customary order, totalitarianism,
slavery, poverty, homelessness. Bad karma, prejudice, clannishness,
provincialism. What a man is bound to.
Blank Rune: There is no historical support for a "Blank
Rune" in runic divination. It was invented in the 1980's.
It should not be used in a rune casting. If you bought a
rune set with a blank piece, save it in case you lose another
rune piece, but don't use it in rune casting.
Runic divination, "runecasting", is not "fortune telling".
Runecasting works deeply with the subconscious. The rune
pouch with its runic symbols represents the entire universe.
As one poses a question, one's entire conscious and unconscious
mind is focused toward that question, so that the runelots
selected are not truly random selections, but rather choices
made by the subconscious.
Runecraft operates on an ancient form of psychology. Even
back in Viking times, there was a remarkable understanding
of the human psyche. They recognized cause and effect, and
the interconnectedness of all things. The word to describe
this interconnectedness was "wyrd", which was eventually
perverted into the modern meaning of "weird". It did not
originally mean something unusual or strange. Rather, it
referred to the far-reaching effects of that which one does.
The concept of "fate" was also not as we know it now. Instead
of a helpless predestination, "fate" meant a destiny created
by ones earlier actions. Wyrd was pictured as a web, like
that of a spider. The symboloism was excellent. When the
spider steps onto a thread (a path) the vibrations affect
the entire web and that which was contained within the web,
just as our actions affect our immediate world and those
around us, and the actions of others affect our lives.
When one does a runic reading, one usually addresses a particular
issue, and examines the past, the present and the future,
or rather what will be if one follows the path one appears
to be on. The future is always perceived as mutable and
changeable. The runic reading is done as an evaluation process,
not as fortune telling. One has an opportunity to look at
what has occurred in the past (regarding the issue being
questioned), what is occurring right now, and what direction
one is headed.
A runecaster does not "see the future". S/he examines cause
and effect and points out a likely outcome. It's not supernatural
and it's not very mysterious, although the uninitiated considered
it a delving into mystery, much like a patient of a psychiatrist
might. It's certainly not magical or demonic. Instead it
is a methodology for examining the path one is on and what
the effects might be, by making use of one's subconscious,
unfettered by limiting conscious belief systems (i.e. an
"intuitive perception"). Dowsing, or "divination" by bent
stick, or pendulum is similar. It is not supernatural. It
is, again, a manifestation of one's subconscious. All "intuitive
perception" is such. It's a way of awakening one's right
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