Welcome to another edition of ‘Ask Charla.′ You know, here at Astrology Answers I get a lot of questions from all corners of the globe; things to do with love and romance, chakras, tarot, astrology, numerology; if it′s metaphysical, then someone at some time has asked it!
Hi, Linda! That′s a fabulous question and I′m really glad you asked it. I love working with—and even making—runes tones, yet they′re just not as popular as tarot and other means of divination. Maybe folks think a bag of rocks is too heavy to carry around!
Runes are very accurate; there isn′t as much room for speculation or interpretation as there is with the tarot and some of the other oracles. With the runes, pretty much what you see is what you get! This makes them perfect for a quick reading, one where a definitive answer is needed, without a lot of contemplation or subjectivity.
No one really knows exactly how the runes came into being, and if anyone tells you that they do, well, take it with a grain of salt. Legend tells us that the Norse god Odin hung in the tree at the center of the cosmos for nine days and nights, peering into the void to gain the knowledge of the powers and beings that called this otherworldly place home.
On the ninth day of his ordeal he started to see shapes and patterns, which were in fact, the images of the runes.
This story is told in rune poems from the Viking age. As far as the actual runes, the oldest staves are reputed to be the Elder Futhark, which can be traced back nearly 2000 years. This alphabet was used by the Germanic peoples around the time of the 1st and 2nd century.
As that area gradually became Christianized, the language converted to Latin. Stones with runic inscriptions on them can still be found across northern Europe.
Like any other method of divination, the runes work by connecting to your unconscious mind and the energies of the universe, bringing you the answers to your questions. Many people think the runes are just thrown into a bag, a stone is drawn, and that′s your answer.
This is an excellent way to get instant advice on a particular situation—kind of like drawing one tarot card out of the deck.
Drawing one rune isn′t only way to use them. Like the tarot, there are as many layouts and spreads as there are people who use them. Some spreads are complicated, while others only use a minimum of stones. I′d recommend starting with a 3-stone draw, because it gives you many different options for interpretation; past, present, future, is a good one.
Be clear in your mind about what you want each stone to represent, and have a specific, open-ended question to ask. The more vague you are, the less clear your reading will be.
Another interesting way to read the runes is to put a small cloth—called a casting cloth—onto a flat surface, then drop all the rune stones onto it. Disregard any runes that roll off the cloth, and any that are face down so that you cannot see the glyph. Only read the runes you can see, and read them how they fell; inverted or right way up.
Some readers say that runes which are touching each other are of particular importance, and the runes toward the center of the cloth are more significant than the ones on the outer edges.
The major and minor arcana of the tarot have a set order, and so do the runes. There are 3 rows—called Aetts—each with 8 runes in them. The Elder Futhark is named this way because the first 6 runes in the first Aett are Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, and Kenaz. The first letters of these 6 runes is pronounced ‘futhark.′
Don′t worry too much about the names; dialect means they changed, so one rune often has several similar sounding titles!
The runes mirror the tarot in that each stone has a different meaning, too—but that′s pretty much where the similarities end. Tarot cards are often heavily illustrated, which makes their interpretation quite subjective, based on what those images reveal to the reader.
It′s possible to get decks of rune cards that are also lavishly pictorial, but that′s a relatively modern slant, and of course, the artist is going to add their own ideas and interpretations to the deck. If you′re serious about using the runes, it′s best to stick to the stones themselves.
The tarot cards have upright and inverted meanings, and so do the runes—but not all of them. Some runes, like Gebo and Isa, are the same upside down as they are right side up.
If you′re drawing stones out of a bag and placing them on a cloth to read, I suggest you place the stones in the same position as they were when you first looked at them, whether they′re upside down, right side up, or even lopsided to the right or left. This will tell you how on top of your current situation you truly are!
Has this piqued your curiosity? I certainly hope so, for as ancient and enigmatic as the runes are, they′re worth using, particularly for the serious student of metaphysics, divination, or Norse mythology. Once you get started, don′t be surprised if you get hooked!
There′s a whole world open to you, with different organizations and associations and social media groups. Who knows? Perhaps you′ll one day aspire to be a rune master yourself!
Related Article: How to Do Your Own Rune Stone Reading