View Full Version : Runic Divination

Monday, November 7th, 2005, 02:59 PM
The word rune itself first meant "mystery" or "secret," that is the runes symbolized the mysteries of the universe. These mysteries were originally identified with the holy symbols and with certain phonetic sounds of the Germanic peoples. When one reads the runes in divination, one is in essence reading a portion of wyrd. This can be shown by the ancient Anglo Saxon term for rune stone, hlot. Hlot became our term "lot" which still means "a portion" or "a share." Thus each rune in a runic reading symbolized a lot or portion of wyrd, specifically those portions of wyrd belonging to the person a reading is being done for.

In ancient times, runesters (taken from the Old English word rynster) may have been a specialized class separate from that of the oridinary witch or healer (much as other specialists such as the leech or healer and the sei­ kona were different from a witch), and even today many believe it takes years of training to become adept at using the runes in spell work. To do traditional runic divination, one needs twenty four rune lots (commonly mistakeningly called "rune stones" today), one for each rune of the Elder Futhark, preferably made of wood, a white cloth, a fairly peaceful area, and a list of the runic meanings or a book on the runes (at least until one has learned the meanings for one's self).

The ancient Germans when reading the runes did so under an open sky using lots made from a nut bearing tree, so if one wishes to be fully traditional, this is the way to go. According to modern runester folk lore the best runes are those one has made one's self, however nearly any set will do for an average reading. In order to do a rune reading the following steps can be followed.

1) At the beginning of each reading one needs to lay the white cloth flat out on the ground, and lay the rune bag with the runes in it on the cloth.

2) One will then want to take a few deep breathes and meditate on the question they wish to ask. Questions cannot be in the future tense as the future is not yet been determined. The runes only forecast what is likely to happen, just as weather radar can forecast rain. Just as shifting weather patterns can rapidly change the weather thus fooling the weatherman, Wyrd can shift patterns fooling many that do a rune reading.

3) Once one has formulated the question, a brief charm may be said such as the following adapted in part from the Elder Edda:

Wyrd is called one---Weordende another,
Scored they on wood---Scyld is the third,
There they lay laws---There they life choose,
For Mankind's sons---Orlogs they speak.
Runes read well---The layers of Wyrd.

4) One should then draw the runes from their bag. The most traditional way of doing a reading may be done by taking all the runes into both hands, throwing them up into the air, and then, with eyes closed, drawing three runes from the rest one at a time. The first is wyrd or the past, the second is that which is becoming or the present, finally the third is that which should become or a possible outcome for the present. Readings can be done with anywhere from just three runes to using all twenty four, but for beginners the basic three rune reading is best. Once the runes have been drawn, it is time to figure out their meanings and how they relate to the question asked. This is best done by looking at the three rune staves, and thinking about all of their possible meanings. It is then a matter of sorting out the meanings that don't apply to the question asked.

There are other readings that can be done, and for the most part these can be found in books by other authors. However, a full 24 rune reading can be done with ease. In step 4 instead of drawing three runes away from the rest, leave the runes as they lay. Then try to figure out by the groupings of the runes the three divisions of the past, the present, and that which might become. Once this is done one will want to observe the position of the runes. Those that are inverted sometimes indicate a warning of some kind. Runes that are tightly packed together will indicate one aspect of the situation asked about and their combined meanings will point to the truth behind the situation. A 24 rune reading can be difficult to do, but is often well worth the effort. Unlike a three rune reading one can actually see the flow of Wyrd from the runes in the past to the present, and then the possible result of the actions those runes represent.

Sometimes a reading makes no sense at all and may take longer than a few brief moments thought as to its meaning. One should write the rune staves of such a reading down and possibly even sleep on it, hoping for inspiration from dreams. Or one could take omens, that is look for signs in nature to confirm a reading. For example, there are many omens in European folklore. A black bird getting in a house meant death, while seeing a raven when embarking on a journey meant success. If the first violet bloomed before the snow thawed, it was to be a good year. There are countless other omens in every culture. Omens tend to be culture specific, so it is best to study what your own tradition may have seen as an omen. If all else fails a second reading can be done.

Source (http://www.ealdriht.org/divrune.html)