by Lavrans Reimer-Møller
This booklet is intended to enable the aspiring Runester to work with the Runes as an oracle. It contains a reference guide to the meanings of the Runes for use in divination, as well as a method based on the 9 Realms of Yggdrasil. It is the sincere belief of the author that the practice of Ásatrú is bound together by the Runes, and that the modern heathen practicing the old Nordic-Germanic religion has a duty to learn the basics of Runekraft.
The Runes are a set of symbols which manifest fundamental cosmic forces to help or hinder. In Runecasting we observe the manner in which predestination meets free will; while our Ørlög or fate may be somewhat predestined, the trick is in how we learn to play that hand which has been dealt to us! The Runes may be seen as indications of the flow of various types of energy; the querent can and should try to work with these currents to his or her advantage.
The first step recommended in learning the Runes is to commit the divinatory meanings to memory. A good way to do this is to make a set of Rune cards using 3 x 5 file cards and a bright red magic marker. (Do not use the permanent type as it will soak through the card!) Mark the Rune on the front of the card; then write in pencil on the back of the card the key phrase, letter and other meanings as you perceive them through your study of this booklet and the other books recommended, as well as your personal practice. Once you feel you have covered the basic meanings, you should type the information on the back of the card in place of the pencil notes. This booklet attempts to cover the basics; you should acquire and read the Runic Trilogy by Edred Thorsson (see book list in appendix). It is also helpful to write a reference book by hand, taking those meanings which you feel are the best for your personal purposes and practices.
You should acquire a set of your own Runes to use. While there are various store-bought Rune sets available, it will yield the best results if you make your own. Runes have been made from various types of wood as well as stone, antler or horn. You should avoid the 'mud cookie' Runesets sold with the books by Ralph Blum, although you might try making your own ceramic or clay set if you have the skill. What matters is that you develop a close personal relationship with your Runes.
For daily practice, get in the habit of selecting a Rune each night before retiring, with the thought that it will give you an indication of what to expect the following day. Use the Rune cards at first until you are well-versed in the lore; after you have selected the card, try to recall as many of the phrases and ideas associated with it as you can. Then meditate on it and fix it in your mind. Some may find it useful to even try to fall asleep and dream of what the Rune will bring you. Then pay special attention the next day to see how that particular Runic energy manifests itself in your life. Some will be inspired to keep a diary or journal to jot down notes.
It should be very clearly understood that in the method and system outlined in this booklet, the Runes are considered to be a key to understanding the pagan/heathen religious philosophy of Asatru. One needn't be a practicing member of this belief to use the Runes, but far more meaningful results will be obtained if they are used as a part of that practice. The more one learns about the history, mythology, culture and traditions of Northern Europeans, the more one will come to understand the meanings of the Runes within the context of Asatrú.
This system is the Elder or Germanic FUTHARK of 24 symbols; there is no such thing as a 25th "blank" Rune. Any modern version of the Runes which adds this fake rune or re-arranges the sequence and meanings will not be compatible with this method.
The Runes are not judgmental in the Jehovanist sense of that term; they are not indicators of the usual dualistic concepts of "good" or "evil". They are quantitative, not qualitative. Depending on the nature of the forces represented, the relationships between the Runes in a casting and how they fall in the 9 Worlds, they may be seen as bright or murky Runes, forces to help or hinder. In the philosophy of Asatru, you are responsible for your actions. Your success or failure depends on how you utilize the tools available to you.
Outline for Runic study
1: Study the Runic Trilogy by Edred Thorsson; acquire the suggested books by Gundarsson or Aswynn and others which are compatible with the Asatru philosophy.
2: Make your own reference book and journal by hand; write down the ideas which best represent your conception of the Runes, the Realms and the results of your work.
3: Make a practice flash card set on 3x5 file cards; write key words on the back of each card and memorize them.
4: As a learning method, pick a card at random each night before retiring. Meditate on the meanings of that Rune and sleep on it, then note the ways in which that Rune manifests itself the following day.
5: Use the Runes to answer simple questions for yourself and others; write down the results in your journal.
6: Acquire your own set of Runes; handmade sets are best. Use wood, bone, stones, antler or any material you feel comfortable with. Avoid plastics or artificial materials.
7: Make a casting board or cloth. Choose the layout which works best for you; if wood, carve the pattern. If cloth, mark or embroider. On other surfaces, draw or paint the design. That surface should be reserved for Rune casting only.
8. Make your Runic work an expression of your religious and spiritual life as an AsatruaR. Read and study all the uses of the Runes in both theurgy and thaumaturgy.
9. Do not use the Runes to do readings strictly for profit, or to manipulate or harm others (unless they deserve it!).
10. Remember that this is where predestination meets free will: learn to play the hand that's dealt you!
FEHU: F WEALTH : Fee, Money Matters, Psychic energies
New Beginning, social success, foresight, , travel, money,
OR: Greed, failure, atrophy, poverty, discord.
Rune of wealth and expansive energy. Rune of new beginnings and the circulation of power.
Mobile property, dynamic power, wealth in motion, nourishment, fulfillment, ambition satisfied, love fulfilled, profit and gain, conservation of what has been gained, share profits, protect gains, mobile magickal power, Luck, Raw energy of Cosmic Fire from Muspelheim, share and power will grow. Use it or lose it. Ethical behavior based on tradition and wisdom; investment. Social success, foresight, fertility, becoming, gold. Channel of power, personal evolution, mobile magickal power, increase of wealth, consolidate emotional relationship, hasten affair to next stag. Sending Rune, travel, new beginnings.
Murk: Greed, burnout, atrophy, poverty, discord; outcast in society, inner alienation from self, control creative energies, offensive aggression, blockage of vital energies, failure, selfishness, difficulty in consolidating financial status. Bad luck, lack of control, wastefulness. separation, breakup of relationship. Disruptions may be only temporary.
URUZ: U STRENGTH: Physical Health, Vital Energies
Strength, constancy, vitality, tenacity, pattern, luck, health,
Or weakness, obsession, misdirected force, inconstancy,
Rune of vital power and will; Rune of formation and of organic structuring.
Freedom, form, work performed; upwelling of emotions, outpouring of energy, controlled energy leads to strength, power results from striving towards inner goals, burn away weakness, vigilance, draw new circumstances into life, initiate new conditions, primal forming force, fertilizing essence, shaping power, defines origin and destiny, inexorable force in motion, vital formative essence; once begun, difficult to stop or change direction.
Murk side: weakness, obsession, misdirected force, domination by others, sickness, inconsistency, ignorance, obsessive protectiveness, possessiveness, misdirection of energy.
THURISAZ: Th FORCE:What Opposes you
Reactive force, directed force, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst;
OR, Danger, defenselessness, compulsion, betrayal, dullness.
Rune of reactive and directed Force; reaction to clash of polarized forces- reaction may be dangerous, caution; erotic expression intensifies, but may be painful, dangerous. Correct application leads to evolution and regeneration, crisis for good or ill, catalyst for change, action, applied power, instructed will, cosmic phallic power, breaker of resistance, awakening; fiery energy organized and directed; force and formation combined; unexpected stroke of luck.
Murk side: Danger, defenselessness, compulsion, betrayal, dullness, outside enemies, misery, hastiness, weakness.
ANSUZ: A ANSWERS: Sources of inspiration, intellectual expression.
Divine inspiration, word-power, synthesis, transformation, intellect;
OR: Misunderstanding, delusion, manipulation.
Rune of ancestral sovereign power of the mind, consciousness, inspiration, enthusiasm, the power of the use of symbols for transformation of the consciousness, Rune of Odinn. Words, divine conscious power, Odinic self-transformation, symbolic systems, language skills, power of persuasion, spoken word, ability to imitate, access to source of consciousness, transformational spiritual experience, intellectual achievement, numinous knowledge, spiritual and magickal power, clairvoyance, Odinic inspiration.
Murk side: Misunderstanding, delusion, manipulation by others, danger from misuse of knowledge, unwholesome influences, stifling of intellect, biased advice, trickery, lies, misinformation, consider the uses of adversity.
RAIDO: R JOURNEY Inner or outer Travels
Rationality, good advice, justice, ordered growth, journey;
OR; Crisis, rigidity, stasis, injustice, irrationality.
Rune of ordered change and progress. Rune of rationality and the dynamic process of right order in the world. Action, cosmic cyclical law, religion, ritual; long hard journey of growth and becoming; ethical deeds, experience in outside world, change in domestic situation possible, make use of reason and good judgment, action and energy arranged according to ritual; religious law over civil authority, let right action flow through you; safety, comfort in travel; plans set into motion; breaking of stasis.
Murk: Crisis, rigidity, stasis, irrationality, beware of bad advice, violence, stultification, need to travel at inconvenient time, sudden journey, arrival of unwelcome company, delays, breakdowns, missed connections; sluggish, ineffective, unforeseen contingency.
KENAZ:K CREATIVITY A Torch
Artistic or technical ability, erotic relations, craft, transformation, offspring;
OR disease, decay, break-up, inability, lack of creativity.
Rune of Creativity and technical ability to shape things in the objective and subjective worlds. The Rune of Art. Enlightenment; controlled energy, inspiration; fire contained, will to generate, sexual lust, analysis and breaking into component parts; fire of the torch, hearth, alter, forge, pyre. Aptitude, shaping or reshaping of present situation; knowledge combined with ability, manifestation of the union of opposites, passion, physical well-being, self-confidence, positivity, clarity, dispels darkness, secrets revealed, sexuality=creativity, energy.
Murk: Disease, decay, break-up, inability, lack of creativity; uninspired, unwanted dissolution, darkening of the light in situation or relationship; outgrowing old way of life, end, termination; temperament, anger.
GEBO: G GIFT:What will be given to you
Generosity, gift, magickal exchange, honor, sacrifice, divine vision;
OR: Influence-buying, greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice.
Rune of the gift, exchange between two poles; the Rune of sacrifice of self to Self, or to one's fellows to bring honor to the Self. Rune of hospitality and generosity. Ecstasy, harmony between lovers, harmonious exchange, a gift requires a gift, synchronistic experience, charity, mystical union=power greater than the sum of its parts. Partnerships; equilibrium=unity of action and intention, harmonized balanced inner concentration; avoid unfair unbalanced transactions.
Murk: (Not reversible, but may be negatively positioned) Influence-buying, greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice. spend wisely, don’t depend on gifts, beware of financial enslavement, weakness, poverty.
WUNJO: W JOY: What will give you happiness; relations
Joy, harmony, fellowship, prosperity;
OR stultification, sorrow, strife, alienation.
Rune of pleasure and harmony within the self and in society. The Rune of well-being. Hope, ideal harmonization of elements; social and domestic harmony; good physical health, bring together disparate elements,harmonize inner and outer lives; new social relations, material prosperity from business relationships; the root force of attraction between sympathetic beings; harmonious existence of varied affiliated forces; working together in true syncretic manner, goodwill between siblings; binds different fields of force together, as in Rune-binding; strengthens links and bonds, realization of multiplicity of relationships.
Murk: Stultification, sorrow, strife, alienation; loss of individuality in group mind, minimizing ego leads to loss of individuality, poor relations with others, inner alienation from Self and the Gods; failure to harmonize, bring together; business relations fail.
HAGALAZ: H: HAIL Change: Area of possible crisis leading to transformation
Change, according to ideals, controlled crisis, completion, inner harmony;
OR: Catastrophe, crisis, stagnation, loss of power, loss of prosperity.
Rune of crisis and catastrophe, condensation of powers into seed-form from which further developments, positive or negative become possible, sudden unexpected change, new creation, transformation, re-unification of opposites, Be Prepared! Self-ordering based on mythic models, apply pure ideals, reshaping present situation based on higher forms, evolution within fixed framework, union of Fire and Ice= Cosmic egg. Crisis must be controlled, not avoided. Change may be for the better in the long run.
Murk: Catastrophe, crisis, stagnation, loss of power, destruction of vital power, change for the worse.
NAUTHIZ: N: NEED; Necessity- What resists you, Source of discontent.
Resistance, leading to strength; recognition of Ørlög; Innovation, Need- Fire, self-reliance;
OR: Constraint of freedom, distress, toil, drudgery.
Rune of resistance, which can kindle a fire of higher will, or which can constrain the self development; Rune of the power of the ordeal in life. Beyond your control, cause and effect, action and reaction in a chain of events, fire must come from within, need to banish distress, stress turned to strength through consciousness, crisis forces original thought and innovation, salvation from within.
Murk: Constraint of freedom, slavery, toil, drudgery, laxity. Hostile environment. will is resisted, friction, look within, lack of dynamic tension. Beware of easy path, which leads to personal atrophy.
ISA: I: ICE Stasis: What is constraining you.
Concentrated self; Ego-consciousness, self-control, unity of being;
OR: Ego-mania, dullness, blindness, dissipation.
Rune of constriction and coagulation, Rune of concentration in a static or frozen state; Potential in stasis, unused source of power, impediment, inertia, entropy, stillness, ego, concentration, inward concentration, darkness, cold, element of cosmic Ice; solidifying, binding, concentrated self, self control, inner resources, unity of purpose, power of control and constraint, freeze matters as they are, delay, isolation, inner core of strength. Centering of powers on internal vertical axis.
Murk: Ego-mania, dullness, deception. Blindness, dissipation, freezing of life-forces. Blind to the totality, hidden danger, weakened will, controlled by outside forces, inability to concentrate consciousness.
JERA: J: YEAR Harvest; where rewards can be expected; Relationship with the natural environment.
Reward for positive action, plenty, peace, proper timing;
OR: repetition, bad timing, poverty, conflict.
Rune of reward for actions in a cyclical process; The results of actions. Fruition, patience to act at proper time, eternal cycle of return; Arising/ Being-Becoming/ Passing away/ New arising. Reap what has been sown, tangible results of efforts, timing, great wheel of the year, applications of Synchronicity, Turning of horizontal plane around vertical axis. Realization of cyclical nature of multiverse.
Murk: Repetition, bad timing, poverty, conflict; efforts achieve no results, enslavement; misdirected efforts, failure to capitalize on previous efforts, out of synch with nature.
EIWAZ: Ei: DEFENSE:Yew Tree: Hidden Influences;
State of whole being; Relationship with the numinous environment.
Enlightenment, endurance, initiation, protection;
OR: Confusion, destruction, dissatisfaction, weakness.
Rune of the vertical axis of enlightenment; spiritual or intellectual process of becoming; unity of upper and lower worlds meeting in Midgard. Reward, plenty, peace, proper timing, vertical cosmic axis, numinous initiation, life/death, synthesis of above and below, mental toughness and flexibility, discipline ignites inner flame, independence from the order of the Cosmos, controlled changes in consciousness, realization of inner strength protects, former lives, yoga/Zen.
Murk: Confusion, destruction, dissatisfaction; weakness. This Rune too early in life may cause deep confusion. Burn-out leads to death and decay. boredom, meaninglessness, softening of will and self-discipline.
PERTHRO: P: LUCK: How you will find Joy.
Good omen, knowledge of Ørlög, fellowship and Joy, evolutionary change;
OR: Addiction, stagnation, loneliness, malaise.
Rune of the Nornic process of Birth/Life/ Death/ Rebirth. Rune of change and the evolutionary process. Divination as operation of Ørlög- the primal laws; time, the Nornir, cause and effect, synchronicity, fate, change, karma, but not predestination, good luck, good outcome in rune-casting, constant change, yet remains the same. inner transformational process at work; Luck= the ability to capitalize on opportunity; make your own luck.
Murk: Too much of this force can cause chaos, destruction, confusion; dissipation, squandering of vital forces; stoppage of this force leads to stagnation, loneliness, withering of life-forces. Bad luck; unable to grasp outcome, future uncertain, out of synch with flow of events.
ALGIZ: Final R(Z): (Elhaz: Elk) PROTECTION: Thing that needs attention: Way to the Gods.
Connection to the Gods, awakening, higher life, protection;
OR: hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of divine link.
Rune of the essential link with the patterns of divine or archtypal consciousness; Rune of the possible danger of realizing this link when unprepared. Mystical communication with non-human sentient beings; communication with other worlds, strengthening of luck, life force and magickal power; union with fetch-Fylgja. Do not grasp Algiz: become it. Sacred force protected by divine power, Divine inspiration, empowerment of inner archtypal god-forms; protection by means of self-realization.
Murk: Hidden danger, consumed by divine forces; loss of divine link. damaged by awesome, archtypal forces; cut off from source of divine inspiration- fetch.
SOWILO: S: SUCCESS: Sun: What will guide you.
Guidance, hope, goals, honor, Success;
OR: False goals, failure, bad advice, false success, loss of goals.
Rune of outside guidance in making a transformation; guided journey; Rune of the link in the inner Sun with the outer Sun. Beacon attracting seekers, solar wheel, higher being, necessity of dealing with darkness to gain true wisdom, illumination, guidance, fixed concentration on goal leads to success; good for water journey, listen to higher Rede, light burns away external appearances, opposition to ISA. breaks inertia, luck, divine empowerment, strengthens chakra Hvel, feminine solar energy, a bolt of lightning.
Murk: False goals, bad counsel, false success; gullibility, ;loss of goals, failure; unthinking attraction top goals set by others; dishonorable means; a tendency to look outside of yourself for answers and guidance. Loss of a sense of purpose, no goals in life; confusion and defeat due to a lack of direction.
TIWAZ: T: JUSTICE:Tyr/Tiw: Cognitive state, legal matters
Troth, faith, loyalty, justice, rationality, self-sacrifice, analysis, victory;
OR: Mental paralysis, over analysis, over-sacrifice, injustice, imbalance.
Rune of balance and justice ruled by higher rationality; Rune of sacrifice of the individual for the well-being of the whole. Order, endurance, good judgment, based on careful analysis of the facts, strive to order the environment in a rational way; reliability, loyalty, faithfulness, law, passive regulation, divine order in the multiverse, world order, spiritual discipline, force of faith, the power of the detached transcendent wisdom at the center of all; outcome of litigation.
Murk: Injustice; mental paralysis, over-analysis, over sacrifice; imbalance, bogged down in details, limitation in vision, always planning, never doing; self=sacrifice to the detriment of ultimate interests; confusion, irrationality.
BERKANO: B: BIRTH: Birch Goddess: What provides growthand beauty.
Birth, becoming, life changes, shelter, liberation;
OR: Blurring of consciousness, deceit, sterility, stagnation.
Rune of the containment and release of energy leading to continued growth and continual rebirth and renewal in all things. Rune of liberation and becoming. Self-contained continuous propagation, creative originator of being, collector and conserver of energy; enclosure, liberator of pent-up energies, leads to new growth, new beginnings based on old patterns, gradual changes; importance of new things, spiritual growth within tradition, domestic change within tranquil environment, new erotic aspects, prosperity and beauty, rebirth of spirit.
Murk: Blurring of consciousness, deceit, sterility, stagnation, lacking awareness, fascination with the beauty of appearances, sterility of mind and body, death.
EHWAZ: E: HARMONY: Horse: With what or whom you should work; Erotic relations.
Harmony, teamwork, trust, loyalty, marriage;
OR: duplication, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal.
Rune of harmonious teamwork and trust; pairs of entities working together for a common goal, the outside partner. Harmony of rider and horse; dynamic teamwork with partner, mentor or spouse; teamwork without loss of individuality, necessity to give and take, formal partnership, mutual trust, harmonious duality, other worldly or astral travels, realization of unity; union of opposites= Frey&Freya= erotic union.
Murk: Duplication, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal; loss of self in partner, too much “harmony”; divorce.
MANNAZ: M: SELF: Man: Overall psychic state: Attitude toward death.
Divine structure, intelligence, awareness, social order, divine influence;
OR: Depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion.
Rune of the divine structure of intelligence in the human soul or psyche; Rune of awareness of the horizons of human existence. Self actualization, realization, empowerment, individuation; Order from divine ancestry, ego, embodied self-consciousness, heroic struggle, divine shaping of humanity in Midgard, mortality ensures becoming, nobility and power of spirit, intelligence born of divine knowledge, divine link.
Murk: Depression, mortality, blindness; self-delusion, perception of hopelessness, weakness, dwelling on the negative, fear of true knowledge; relationships based on lies and misperceptions, tendency to live in a fantasy world.
LAGU: L: LIFE: Growth, water: State of emotional balance; What will test you.
Life, passing a test, sea of vitality and the unconscious, growth;
OR: Fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering.
Rune of the context of becoming, unconscious evolutionary process; Rune of the matrix of action. Rune of upward growth out of the roots of the unconscious to blossoming in the light. Water journey, Life energy, organic growth, a sea of dynamic forces into which you are thrust, evolution of self through initiation, transition to a new state of being, begin at once to act, vital power, do not fear the journey, well-being gained, personal growth through uncomfortable situations, guidance through difficult initiatory tests, increase in magnetism, second sight, layers of the laws of life, watery primal state, hydraulic power.
Murk: Fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering; fear of change, of the journey and unknown vastness of the deep self; danger of avoiding the Path of Life; failing the test, dams up vital force, stunted growth, withering, poverty; access to deep self is blocked.
INGWAZ:-ng: COMPLETION: What you should contemplate
Resting, gestation, internal growth, seed planted, nurturing;
OR: impotence, scattering, movement without change.
Rune of isolation or separation in order to create a space where the transformation to higher states of being can occur; Rune of gestation and internal growth. Seed planted, contained isolated separation, necessary to transformation; stasis of being, to be brought forth at the right time in full maturity; patience; listen to yourself; concepts which benefit from gestation; stasis followed by fertile dynamism, potential awaiting activation; the womb, potential energy, storing and transformation of power; centering of energy and thought.Yng-Frey's seed.
Murk: Impotence, scattering, movement without change, self-absorbtion, disassociation from environment, bottled up, unable to interact with objective world, paralytic stasis, false endings, scattering of essence, meaningless motion, failure to gather and consolidate, unbridled dynamism.
DAGAZ: D: CHANGE: Transformation; Synchronicity.
Awakening, awareness, Hope/happiness, the ideal;
OR: lack of vision, sleep, blindness, hopelessness.
Rune of the final synthesis of consciousness, then ultimate enlightenment of the mind. Ultimate principle of bipolar creativity; evolved consciousness as a divine gift from Odin; twilight/Dawn: interaction of opposites resulting in dynamic union; perceived opposites are aspects of a third idea which contains them both.Yin/Tang= Tao. The inner transformational process in action. Diurnal cycle.
Murk: Blindness, hopelessness, boredom, dullness, unprepared.
OTHALA: O: INHERITANCE: Greater Family matters.
A home; group prosperity or order; freedom, productive interaction;
OR: lack of order, totalitarianism, slavery, poverty, homelessness.
Rune of the homeland; the spiritual state of internal well-being, freedom and security in which development and growth can take place. Self-contained hereditary power; greater family matters; the group, kindred or tribe; Home or Homeland; the "Inner" as opposed to the outer; self vs. non-self; group vs. non-group; secure in the home; give and take within the environment; active consolidation of gains; protected fortification; stable prosperity; inherited wealth; customs and order maintained within group; vigilant defense of home; freedom stemming from secure home-base; sacred enclosure; ancestry; torc- ringwall; inborn ancestral qualities; common interest in home, family, clan; collection of numinous power from past generations; metagenetics.
Murk: Lack of customary order, totalitarianism, slavery, poverty, homelessness; danger comes from failure to preserve customary order and tradition within group.
Once you have successfully integrated the Runes into your conscious as well as sub-conscious mind, you will be ready to use them for divination. Some who are gifted with a highly developed psychic ability may be able to do highly accurate readings by selecting and casting Runes onto a blank surface such as a cloth or board. There are also a number of reading and casting methods outlined in various books, although one is cautioned against any method which is merely adapted from an incompatible system such as the Tarot card spreads.
For our purposes, we will use a method based on the 9 Worlds of Yggdrasil. In figure A, we see the diagram of this arrangement used by Edred Thorsson in his Runic trilogy and elsewhere to define the relationship between the Realms. Following the material on the Realms, we will see several ways in which this diagram may be transformed into a grid upon which to cast and interpret the Runes. As with the Runes themselves, it is recommended that you first take the time to familiarize yourself with the lore of the 9 Worlds. In addition to the material presented here, much more can be gleaned from a study of Norse and Teutonic mythology, and in the works by Freya Aswynn and KveldulfR Gundarsson. Eventually, you should be able to visualize the Realms as magickal lands of wonder.
The next step in Runecasting is to translate the lore of the 9 Worlds into a diagram upon which they may be cast for purposes of defining how those energy streams may operate in the various areas of existence. The diagram of my own devising (Fig B) arranges those Realms in a balanced set of pairs of opposites with a result in the center in Midgard. In addition, there is a definite Hierarchy in the vertical center, balanced with the 4 Realms of the horizontal plane. I have found through intensive personal experience that this diagram provides very workable results!
In addition, I have also included several other diagrams which may be more workable for others.(Fig C) The first is from Thorsson; the next two are variants. In all cases they operate in the principle of pairs of balanced opposites producing a result in Midgard similar to the way Yin and Yang produce the Tao in Chinese philosophy.
In selecting and casting the Runes try to imagine that you are forming a magickal link with the Hamingja of yourself or that of the querent. Through the Hamingja , a form of the guardian spirit, we invoke the Norns to provide us with the information we seek. For example, during a reading you may imagine that a dialog is taking place between your Hamingja and that of the querent, and that this information is being passed along through your interpretation of the Runes in the Realms.
You should find a special method of selecting Runes which seems to yield the best results for you personally. I find that 9 Runes, selected and cast on the board in sets of 3 seems to work best. These sets of 3 may be interpreted as Urd, Verdandi and Skuld, or Past, Present and Future; however they don't always work in a chronological sequence.
Whether you use a bag or a bowl, 'let your fingers do the walking' and select the Runes. The right Runes will seem to be drawn to the fingertips. Learn to trust your intuition! Then shake the Runes in your hands and drop them onto the board or cloth. Practice this until you have gotten fairly good at it; it does little good to have the Runes land in a little pile in Midgard, or worse, scattered on floor. If a Rune should land outside the diagram, it may be best to disregard it and pick another Rune. A Rune which appears to be inverted from your point of view may or may not give it a negative connotation; it depends on the Rune and its relationship with other Runes on the board.
Depending on your intuitive powers, begin to get the Runes to tell a story. Don't play guessing games: the more you know about the querent's situation, the better job you can do of describing the forces at work. Learn to look for patterns or lines of flow in the way they land on the board. Look for balanced opposites. I take face up Runes to be forces coming to you; face down, going away, forces to be pursued. Keep a journal and write down the reading, then check back later to see how your interpretation synchronized with actual events.
The design you choose may be carved into a board, embroidered on white linen, drawn on a heavy piece of craft paper or marked in some way on leather.
If you have had any previous experience with other forms of divination such the tarot cards, it is important that you approach the Runes as a different system. The tarot cards, astrology and related magickal methods as found in Crowley and the Golden Dawn are part of a system which is non-European in origin. It is based on Hermetics and the Kaballah, systems with have nothing to do with the Nordic-Teutonic symbols of the Runes and their basis in Northern European mythology. Do not mix these systems!
( from "Runelore"- Edred Thorsson S Weiser used by permission)
The vertical Axis
Divination: Higher influences; nature of relationship with the divinities; the veiled branches of the question; matters of honor, positive influences from the past states of existence (Ørlög); divine inspiration, idealism, altruistic impulses.
General: Realm of consciousness in and of itself complex, with many halls within, among them Valhol; Abode of the Fetch (Fylgja); house of the Spirit. Home of the Æsir, highest form of consciousness, divine state of being; abode of the magickal personna (Wode); the synthesis of the memory of divine existence (Myne) and the intellect (Hugh).
Divination: Mental influence. Family matters; messages of Huginn- Directions in which you should plan. Paths to help you realize influences from Asgard. Crystallization of ideas into clear thoughts. Intellectual process. Communications, messages. Manifestation of inspiration.
General: The realm of the Light-Elves, ruled by FreyR; angelic intermediaries; Broad expanses of light; abode of the mind (Hugh): the intellect. contains manifold levels; halls or abodes; the brightness of the human intellect.
Divination: Self-awareness, Ego consciousness. The manner in which people manifest themselves in life. The Outcome of the question in life. That which is of greatest concern; the area of personal activity and involvement.
General: Middle Earth. the material manifestation: Earth. the body of man; the all-potential of the Self. In Midgard, all worlds meet. The central reality of humanity, the realm in which the mind and body are in a symbiotic state. Not a geocentric philosophy, but one which puts the here and now at the center of our and the gods attention. The result of the interaction of opposites: the Tao.
Divination: Creative emotional influences. Money matters. Messages from Muninn: things you should reflect upon. Paths to realize influences from Hel. How you feel about the matter. How your feelings influence the matter.
General: Abode of the Hamr- Shape or Hide; a subterranean world of darkness where shapes are forged; realm of the emotions. The Dwarves; the Formative aspects of being. The realm of Formation. All things in Midgard have their original shape in Svartalfheim.
Divination: Intuition. Hidden or suppressed instinctual desires. Nature of automatic functions or behavior. The hidden root of the question. Negative- passive, restrictive- influences from past states of existence- Ørlög ( karma) Pre-formative, deepest levels of the psyche.
General: Realm of the instincts. Abode of stillness and inertia; unconsciousness.
The final resting place of the soul of the non-Erulian. Abode of the dead, from where souls undergo rebirth. The dead are ever present and actually nourish the living with their presence. Once entered, it is very difficult to leave without great power, usually from outside. Realm of the goddess Hela Lokisdottir; Not a place of punishment, more a place of rest- a state abhorred by the Teutonic mind, which from this state awaits re-awakening. The realm of Niflhel is the lowest level in Hel, a place totally lacking in being.
The Horizontal Plane
Divination: Cosmic Ice; That which resists you; Passive or restrictive outside influences; things tending toward dormancy; pulling inward, unrealized potential, stored-up energy; preservation, centering, containment. The deep-freeze. [YIN]
General: Realm of mist becoming ice, abode of contraction and magnetism. The force of anti-matter; a force constantly pulling inward upon itself; a black hole. North: the origin of all waters (that become Ice) a zone of negative-non existence.
Divination: Cosmic Fire; State of vital energies, that which energizes you; active outside influences; things tending toward activity. Expansion, light, heat, utilization of resources, work done, action.[YANG ]
General: Realm of fiery sparks, abode of expansion and electricity; force of pure energy expanding away from itself. The origin of all forms of positive energy . The South represents the outward expanding energy drawn to the anti-matter of Niflheim, and providing the conditions that make Midgard possible between them. Existence is impossible in Muspelheim; the beings ascribed to both Niflheim and Muspelheim can only exist on the edges of these realms. Surt and the fire giants live here; origin of Loki.
Divination:The Vanir: Promotes orderly growth; erotic relationships, persons of the opposite sex; balancing influences; forces of continuity, structure and well-being. Planning, prioritizing, stable and secure but less dynamic. Forces and energies under your control.
General: Realm of organic patterning and coalescence- water. Abode of forces in a fruitful and static balance. A well-tended garden. The West; harvest. The Vanir are the gods and goddesses of productivity and organic growth. Patterning of organic existence in this realm. The world of eternal balance of a cyclical nature; the idea of constant growth; eternal well-being, peace, pleasure and comfort. The realm of organic, personal and cosmic cycles.
Divination: Chaos: That which confuses you; that which may be left to chance. Things that test you; forces pressing for change; realm of crisis. Disorderly growth, taking risks, casting your fate to the winds. Forces and energies not under your control.
General: A realm in constant motion, seeking to oppose and give resistance to whatever it meets. Force of dissolution and deception. Reactive power of destruction necessary to evolutionary change. The East: the realm of the Jötir -the giants of the Air, in counter-balance to Vanaheim, Jötunheim is a place of constant change; it and its inhabitants seek to oppose and change anything they come up against. The realm itself cannot undergo its own metamorphosis; it is a catalyst for change and evolution, itself unable to change or evolve. It is a place of dissolution and deception. It is the reactive power of destruction necessary to evolutionary change.
Original artwork © by Lavrans Reimer-Møller
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