Monday, July 4, 2011

Casting The Runes

Blue Lace Agate Elder Futhark Rune Set
The Mind Body Spirit Odyssey would like to thank the generous folks at spellbinderscorp for contributing this wonderful article to our blog.  Casting the Runes is something that I have been wanting to read more about, and this informative piece definitely provides lots of great information on the subject!  You can visit spellbindercorp's shop on Etsy where you will find a beautiful variety of hand carved and painted rune sets.  You can also read more about the process of how Lilya handcrafts these gorgeous rune sets at the end of this article. 
                                                                                            ~ diane fergurson


Runes are an ancient Germanic alphabet, used for writing, divination and magick. They were used throughout Northern Europe, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Iceland from about 100 B.C.E.( Before Common Era) to 1600 C.E. Runic inscriptions of great age have even been found in North America, supporting stories that the Vikings arrived in the Americas long before Columbus.

Runes are an oracle from which one seeks advice. They work best if you detail your current circumstances and then ask a specific question. Rune readings are sometimes obscure. They hint toward answers, but you have to figure out the details. This is when the rune casters intuition becomes paramount. Some times the Runes "sing" to you, and their meaning becomes instantly clear.

Runic divination or "rune casting" is not "fortunetelling" in the sense that one actually sees the future. Instead, runes give one a means of analyzing the path that one is on and a likely outcome. The future is not fixed. It changes with everything one does. If one does not like the prediction, one can always change paths. 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 one's earlier actions. Wyrd was pictured as a web, like that of a spider. This symbolism is an excellent example. When the spider steps onto a thread (a path) the vibrations affect the entire web and that which is 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, changeable. The runic reading is done as an evaluation process, not as fortunetelling. 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. He/she examines cause and effect and points out a likely outcome.

Not exactly occult, is it? 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 (i.e. an "intuitive perception"), unfettered by limited conscious belief systems.

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. Nothing magical about it, merely a means of awakening one's right-brain.

Since ancient times, runes have been used for divination and magic, in addition to writing. The word "rune" actually means mystery, secret or whisper. Each rune has esoteric meanings and properties associated with it, beyond its mundane meaning and phonetic value. Each translates into a word or a phrase signifying concepts important to the early peoples who used them, representing the forces of nature and mind. Each rune has a story attached to it, a relationship to a Norse God.

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 the runes appeared below him, he reached down and took them up, and the runic knowledge gave him power . He later passed on this knowledge to the Vanir goddess Freya. She, in turn, taught him the magic of seidr. Heimdall, the god who guarded the Rainbow Bridge, taught the runes to mankind.

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 and meaning becomes confused. The Elder Futhark is the most frequently seen versions of the runic alphabets in use today.

The runes are broken into three sections or groups of eight, called aett (aettir, plural). This helps one to remember their order, and has significance in magical uses.

"Divination - regardless of the tools - works because in the system one is using the individual card/hexagram/rune etc. represent the whole in some unified way. At the moment of 'random' mixing, because of intent, the cards order themselves to mirror the reality of the querier."
Sig Lonegren,
author of The Pendulum Kit and books on
dowsing, labyrinths, and sacred geometry.

Amethyst Elder Futhark Rune Set
How to do a Rune Casting

Find a suitable place to do the reading. You do not want to be disturbed. Try to sit facing North if possible, the direction of the Gods in Norse mythology. Place a small white cloth on the surface in front of you. You work with the runes on this cloth. This cloth protects them from getting dirty and also forms the boundary for the casting.

Carefully form a question in your mind. Take your time doing this, as it is very important that you do not change the question midway through the reading. Once you have the question firmly fixed in your mind begin to gently mix the runes in their bag. Continue to mix the runes until you feel compelled to take up certain rune lots. Continue to stir and select lots until you have the correct number of runes in front of you for the layout you will be using. Keep track of the order in which the runes were pulled, laying them in their proper position in the layout as you pull them. You can use any Tarot layout, or one of the methods described below.

Runes are oracles, and oracles are often obscure. Each rune can mean many different things. It is up to the runecaster to decide how these meanings apply to the question at hand. You may get even deeper interpretations through your own "gut" reactions to the rune's definition. However, don't delude yourself in thinking that you have a completely different understanding of the cast than indicated by the traditional interpretations. Stick to the recognized interpretations, but learn to expand on their meanings through insight and meditation.

Here is one way to do a rune casting. Reach into your rune bag, stir them around a bit and pick up a bunch. "Cast" them onto a white cloth, and see how the symbols land. Some will be face down ignore them. If a rune is upright, it has a certain meaning. If a rune is upside down, it has a different meaning. The combination of the visible runes affects the interpretation. Sometimes the runes "sing" to you and the answer to the question is instantly clear. Here are the two non-structured castings used most frequently.

Casting the Norns

The Norns are the Norse goddesses of fate. Urdh was the goddess of the past, or what has been. Verdhandi is the goddess of the present, what is. Skuld is the goddess of the future, or what shall be. Fate or wyrd was a very important factor in the psychology of the ancients.

A Norns cast is very simple, consisting of three runes, drawn one at a time from the rune pouch and laid in a row. If face down, flip them over as if turning the pages of a book. The first rune represents the past of the situation in question. The second indicates the present, the path that the querier is currently on. The third suggests the future, a likely outcome if one continues on the present path.

Nine-Rune Cast

This method will give a detailed overview of a person's situation, providing insight into where they are in terms of their spiritual path, and clarifying the options and possible outcomes available to them. Nine is a magical number in Norse mythology. Pick nine runes at random from the pouch. Hold them between your hands for a moment, and focus on your question (if you have one). Then scatter the runes on the table, floor, or cloth if you have one. Read the runes which land face up first. These will relate to the current situation and the circumstances which led to it. How the runes are read is largely subjective, but in general, runes lying in the center are the most immediately relevant, while those lying around the edges are less important, or represent more general influences.

"Runes that are close together or even touching often compliment each other, or may even represent a single thing, while runes which fall on opposite sides of the pattern frequently represent opposing influences. Occasionally, a rune will land completely off the cloth or fall off the table. Some people consider such runes to be particularly significant, while others ignore them completely.

"Once you have looked at the runes which landed face up (and remembered which ones they are), turn over the rest of the runes without moving them from their positions. These represent outside or future influences, and will point to possible outcomes. It is up to you to decide what the various positions and patterns in a reading mean, but once you have come up with a few general rules, try to stick with them. As I have said before, consistency is very important. However, rune readings by their nature are very fluid, subjective things. Try not to impose too much order on your readings by inventing set meanings for every triangle, square and tetrahedron. Runes are like people - you never know how they will get along together until you introduce them. Look at the patterns and relationships that appear in each reading and see what interpretations make sense to you."  ~ from Runic Journey by Jennifer Smith.


Black Moonstone Elder Futhark Rune Set
Here are two simple Rune layouts from from: A Practical Guide to the Runes by Lisa Peschel

Five Rune Layout
Select five runes one at a time and lay them face down on the rune cloth. [Three runes are placed side by side. One is placed above the center and the final one is placed below the center.]

The three horizontal runes represent your past, present, and future. It is usually best to turn over the center rune (1) first. This is the rune of the present and will show your problem as it is now. It can also show your state of mind. A negative rune here, it can indicate an unwillingness to accept the advice given by the runes or another person, or it can indicate delays or slight problems that may impede the speedy resolution of the matter in question.

The rune below center (4) indicates what aspects of the problem must be accepted and cannot be changed. Positive runes here show a lack of troublesome influences and oppositions, while negative runes show the obstacles to your success.

The rune to the right of center (5) is the result rune. This rune indicates the final outcome, given the other factors in the runecast.

This runecast indicates recent future happenings, usually within three months.


Seven Rune Layout

This runecast gives a bit more detail with more information on how to deal with your problem and on what lead you to your present dilemma in the first place. It usually speaks of events three months into the future and into the past.

If you wish to use this layout but want information on happenings more current than three months, be certain to concentrate on your time frame as well when you are concentrating on your question.

The questions you can answer with this layout can be much broader in scope than with some other runecasts. Instead of asking "yes" or "no" or "what about my relationship?", you can ask questions like "How will my job progress if I take this new business course?" or "If I started seeing other people, how would my current lover accept it?" Through questions like these, you can certainly get enough information to solve all but the most complex problems.

Select seven runes and lay them out in a row of 6 with the final one below the row and centered as shown.

In this reading, you will have to be interpreting two runes at a time. The first two runes are the problem.

Runes 3 and 4 are read next. These show the factors in the past which have led up to the situations at present.

Runes 5 and 6 are the two most important runes in this runecast. They represent the advise the runes are giving you, and extra special care must be taken to interpret their meanings as they relate to one another. They can indicate a need to wait and not act or a need to act immediately. They also may indicate a total shift of emphasis to new realms totally unrelated to the problem in question.

The final position, rune 7, is the result position. Keep in mind that a positive rune in this place (or a negative one, for that matter) will only be truly positive (or negative) if the preceding runes indicate such an outcome.

This is a challenging runecast and certainly worth the time it takes to master it.

~ spellbinderscorp


* Most of the information retrieved for this article was from one of my favorite sites www.sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
Hand Carved Elder Futhark Natural Bone Rune Set
***At spellbinders Lilya creates the most beautiful hand carved and painted rune sets made
from naturally shed Deer Antler bone and varied high quality Gemstones. Each set is created in her Sanctified work area where they are kept away from any negative influences and are hand carved using a trade secret that gives each rune a nice deep inset. Then the Gemstone rune set is painted with a conductive silver base paint which is actual silver. The Tree of Life is hand stitched in to a Faux leatherette Pouch. When all is done she takes the runes and cleanses them before packaging. So when you receive your Rune set they are clean of all influences.


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