I’m no expert on the casting of runes, but I’ve been fascinated by them since childhood (so much so that I have four tattooed on my arm who’s meanings are personal to me!). I compiled this short and easy to understand guide using what I’ve learned through research over the years. I hope it is accurate and that it helps you! A guide to each rune (Elder Futhark) and what they mean is also available in my previous post).
What are runes?
Runes are an ancient form of oracle used by those seeking advice or guidance. They were first used by ancient Germanic and Nordic tribes, and are still popular today. The word ‘rune’ translates to ‘mystery’, ‘whisper’ or ‘secret’. They can be drawn on anything, but the most popular material are stones. The caster typically draws a rune from the runic alphabet (in this case Elder Futhark) on each stone.
What is the runic alphabet?
There are various different types of runic alphabets, but the most commonly used and recognised is the Elder Futhark. The Elder Futhark contains 24 runes, the first six of which spell out the word ‘Futhark’. As well as each symbol corresponding to a different meaning, they were also once a means of written communication in ancient Scandinavia/northern Europe. Runic inscriptions have been found on items such as jewellery, stones, weapons and other objects dating back to the 3rd century A.D., but it is likely that they existed long before that.
How are runes used and interpreted?
Runes are usually used by those seeking advice or guidance, and sometimes for predicting future events (although for obvious reasons this is not always an accurate way of foreseeing). It is critical to point out that the runes will never give you all of the answers you seek – they may hint towards them, but its up to the reader to interpret them using their own intuition/common sense! Even if the runes spin a tale of woe and despair, its good for us to acknowledge that individuals have the power to deviate from that path at any time.
How do runes work?
Rune casting is not the Norse/Germanic equivalent of fortune telling! But if you ask a question of think of a certain issue that is troubling you, both your conscious and subconscious minds will become focussed. When the runes are cast, they are supposed to be choices made by your subconscious mind, therefore enabling you to see the bigger picture with more clarity.
What can you ask the runes?
You can ask pretty much anything, as long as the question is clear in your mind as you do so.
A step-by-step guide to casting runes:
For the purposes of this post, as it is a beginner’s guide, I will use a 3 rune casting which is easier to understand and interpret if you’ve never done so before.
1. Find a quiet place.
2. Clear your mind and focus on the question you wish to ask.
(You can say a prayer or call upon higher spirits to guide you at this point if you wish, but its not essential!).
3. Lay a cloth on the table, into which you will cast your runes.
4. Randomly select 3 runes from a bag (or by laying them face down, closing your eyes etc.).
5. Place them on the cloth in front of you. Rune 1 should be on the right, with 2 in the middle and 3 on the left.
Deciphering your runes:
Rune 1 = your situation/problem
Rune 2 = represents a challenge
Rune 3 = represents a possible solution
As you progress, and if you feel that casting is helping you, you can go on to choosing more than three runes. Please note – the more runes you cast, the more difficult they are to interpret, which can actually hinder you as it makes it more complicated!
Whatever your runes tell you, always remember what I said previously – they are open to individual interpretation, and if you don’t like the answers they give you, you always have the option to act differently in order to avoid negative situations! Also please bear in mind that sometimes the runes should not be taken literally, but rather metaphorically.