Ian Parkin is the author of this post.
What are rune readings?
The reading of rune stones are now one of the most accurate fortune telling tools you can find for answering a specific question. An ancient oracle, older than the New Testament, it is widely held that the runes were a sacred gift from the Norse god, Odin. Nowadays a rune reading assesses cause and effect, and your stones, once cast, will indicate potential outcomes. If you are a truth seeker, this “Transformative Oracle of Self” must and will serve as its own teacher, eventually divulging hidden wisdom from the meanings of each of the runes.
Rune Readings And The True Power Of Casting Divination Stones
Rune readings - divination by casting stones with Norse symbols have a very deep history. Along with Greco-Roman and Celtic myths, the Norse pantheon and the stories of its gods and heroes in ancient times have held sway over the imaginations of many throughout centuries. One of the most fascinating and puzzling aspects of this lore are the runes.
Historical evidence reveals rune symbols were the first system of writing to be developed and used by Germanic peoples in the earliest years of the common era. Various different types of runic alphabets were in use throughout northern Europe, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Iceland well until the 15th century when the Latin alphabet wiped away its last traces.
It was not until the very end of the 18th century and the advent of romanticist interest in the heroic past that runes again became a topic of interest. The second half of the 20th century and our own age saw the obsession with them peak again, this time from those interested in divination, tarot cards, the spiritual and the occult. But why would a mere script used for writing possess such magnetism for the seekers of the hidden truth?
The thing about divination rune stones is these symbols were never "just" an alphabet writing system. Usually carved out in straight lines (to make the characters suitable for cutting) into different materials like pieces of wood or stone. Runic inscriptions have, for centuries, been charged with spiritual ideas and other elevated concepts. These ideographic or pictographic characters carried notions of cosmological principles and powers. Each represented a different energy, natural force, god or mythical being. To cast the rune stones for divination was to invoke and direct the power for which they stood. These magical properties in effect made them similar to the letters of the kabbalah but, so far, little evidence of direct correspondence has been found. Instead, the use of divination rune stones as a spiritual concept exists as a perfectly singular system and mirrors the cultural and religious heritage they stem from. This had made them an obligatory area of study for anyone interested in neopagan paths seeking to continue the Norse tradition as well as those casually interested in the subject. Runes are suitable for divination, meditation, pathworking etc. but knowledge of their cultural and spiritual background is of paramount importance if one is to expect any tangible results.
The 24-characters of the Elder Futhark Runes are divided into three Aettir or groups of eight, each character being infused with different meanings. The blank rune symbol was not part of Norse mythology and was added by recent rune readers. The ancient Roman historian Tacitus, in Chapter X of his Germania, describes the divination and casting of lots practiced by Germanic tribes at the time where runes are "scattered at random onto a white cloth. Then, the priest of the community, 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." This effectively places rune readings among the oldest fortune telling methods still in use in their (more or less) original form.
Three different poems have been preserved: the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, the Norwegian Rune Poem, and the Icelandic Rune Poem. Most of the current knowledge of their meanings come from these three "Rune Poems", providing a short stanza about each symbol, which are a "must read" for anyone just starting off. Again, it is impossible to stress enough the importance of understanding the underlying mythos and the ancient world they belong to in order to get the most out of them. The secret powers of divination rune stones carry with them ancient wisdom that runs deep.
How did Odin discover the runes?
According to Norse legend, Odin “swung” by his feet, for nine (long) nights from the Tree of the World (Yggdrasil tree). “Wounded by my own blade”, Odin was in physical pain, thirsty and hungry. Legend has it, he “spied” the runes and “with a roaring cry” he “seized them up” and fell from the tree. It is said that from this absolute knowledge, Odin carved 18 runes. Rune Masters, shamans or chiefs, practiced high magic, using the runes for divinatory purposes. They also had practical influences, i.e. for healing, love, weather, fertility and more.
Be mindful that during the pre-Christian era, all creations were viewed as living things. So, that anything from twigs to leather was thought to have sacred powers.
Most unfortunately, the ancient methodology for rune casting for divination was lost somewhere in time. Either Rune Masters did not record the sacred knowledge needed to interpret the scripts of the ancient alphabet or any written wisdom did not survive. Any runic magic fortune telling secrets were buried with the Viking Rune Masters.
Who lost the runes?
While even the most learned scholars can’t agree where or how rune stones originated, Iceland did hold onto them for divination and invocation of higher powers the longest. But in the 17th century, casting small stones for runic divination was banned by Icelandic law. Anyone found to possess these magic runes was “burned alive”. Unfortunately, with the Rune Masters’ deaths, the runes as magical tools died too, as if pages were ripped from the Book of Time. About the only survivors are found in sagas, songs and poetry.
Who found the runes?
As the runes “traveled” from place to place with warriors and traders etc. it was necessary to create an alphabet for collective consciousness. A Germanic alphabet was named futhark, after the first six letters of the runes. It’s interesting to note runic words were written and read from right to left. One hypothesis is that the Goths of Germanic mysticism created the runic alphabet.
Another supposition is courtesy of L. F. A. WimmerM, who was a Danish Rune scholar in the 19th century. He observed a glaring resemblance between Latin letters and specific runes. This led him to deduce that a solitary German scribe referred to the Latin alphabet to create the Runic alphabet to be used for written communications. Many scholars resonate with the concept that one man developed the runes. Because it would provide a definitive answer about when, where and why the Lost Runes were conceived.
There is a long held myth in more modern times that runes must come to you as a gift. Another myth is that you must make your own runes. Both are nonsense. If you want to do your own rune stone readings you can buy a little drawstring pouch of 25 runes, which will come with a little instruction book. Later, you may be inclined to create your own personal set.
Nobody, but you, can get a real grasp on what the runes will signify in your personal readings. Possibilities are: connection between little self and Big Self, bridging the gap between Self and Divineness, a direct line to our Knowing Selves and so on.
Let me take you higher. As you conduct research about the wise but obscure Runes Oracle, you will read or hear, ‘ask a question’. This works to a certain extent, but what is little known is that runes are powerful tools, when used as a form of divination, if presented with issues.
Modern Runes consist of 24 rectangular tiles, with the ancient runic symbols, and some rune sets include one blank tile which represents fate, our spiritual journey, or the “Path of Karma”.
I still have my first set of runes that came with Ralf Blum's Book of Runes. Although I have had these for a long time now you can still find some on Amazon.
They make a marvelous companion during your journey to highest consciousness. Although they may not be the traditional meanings, I have found my rune readings (with their different variables to tarot readings) to be a great help and a useful method when making important decisions in everyday life.
Using a rune spread, like you find in tarot layouts, can be make good use of your intuition and higher self when comparing the rune meanings to your current situation.
How do you do your own rune readings?
To read your runes for the first time place them all in a pouch and shake them up a little. While holding the bag of rune stones start thinking of: "the issue for today is…"
The true power of the runes comes alive by making one small tweak which changes your role to an active one, rather than passively asking a question and (meekly) accepting the Runes advice.
The best way to begin bonding with your runes is to concentrate on an issue. Put your hand inside the pouch. Start mixing them up. This is a great way to relax before you begin. Try to touch as many little stones as possible, until you feel a strong compulsion to “draw” one from the bag.
Hold it in your hand and meditate on the symbolic meanings as they relate to the issue. Write any insights and then look up the traditional meaning in the little guide.
To encourage runes to “talk”, try working with one rune stone in the beginning. Try not to get discouraged if the runes ignore the issue you posed and put their wisdom on possible outcomes to a different issue entirely.
Actually, this means you’ve reached a significant milestone. The runes now trust you enough to concentrate on what you need to know, not what you want to know.
Keep practicing and you will no doubt begin to receive ageless wisdom and beautiful messages from your own rune readings.
An important thing to keep in mind is that if you are not confident conducting your own oracle reading with the Norse Runes, a consultation with a psychic casting your runes can bring quick and exact answers to pressing questions.