Intro to Runes

Divination through runes

An Intro to Runes


Divination is the practice of gaining insight into one’s future path by connecting to the divine. This doesn’t always mean fortune-telling or trying to predict what is going to happen next. You can utilize divination practices to get in touch with your own intuitive wisdom and to receive spiritual guidance about any area of your life. These practices can inspire clarity about your course of action; what you may not be seeing in your current situation, what steps you may want to take next, and what the potential outcomes may be based on your choices. Whether you believe this higher guidance comes from deep within your own subconscious or from angels and guides outside of you, divination practices can be a really wonderful way to strengthen your spiritual connection.

There are many forms of divination and the majority of them involve reading or interpreting messages via symbolic images. Some methods of divination include tarot, oracle cards, scrying, tea leaves…and runes.


What are runes?


Runes refer to the symbolic letters of the runic alphabet; the writing system of many ancient Germanic languages. In addition to being a form of written communication, it is believed that these symbols were also utilized for magical purposes; often as a means to receive omens and predict the future. There is a great deal of mystery around the origin of runes and from where they obtained their deeper meaning. Even the etymology of the word rune is derived from the Old Norse and Old English words for mystery and secret. Stories from Norse mythology connect the origin of runes to Odin, the god of wisdom and sorcery.

In more recent times, runes have become a popular method for divination. Many people cast runes (which is another way of saying “read” runes) in order to gain spiritual insight. The runic symbols are usually carved into crystals, stones, or small blocks of wood. Regardless of the material used for the carving, they are often referred to as “rune stones.” Most use the Elder Futhark alphabet which contains 24 letters; all holding deeper spiritual symbolism and meaning. Runes are typically kept in a pouch or small bag.


How do you use runes?

Runes are read in a similar fashion to tarot or oracle cards. Traditionally, rune stones are cast or tossed onto a white cloth before their message is interpreted. You don’t need to use a special cloth for your stones but make sure you conduct your reading on a clean surface. When casting runes, you want to focus on a particular question or area of your life where you need clarity. You can conduct a single rune casting or utilize a variety of different spreads and layouts. 

Each letter of the runic alphabet has symbolic meaning and corresponds to a particular object as well as a concept. For example, Fehu means cattle or livestock and it represents wealth, abundance, and success. Most sets of runes will come with a book or chart to help you understand their deeper meanings. As you go about interpreting the runes during a rune casting, trust what intuitively comes to you. Does the shape of the symbol and/or the particular object it represents make you think of anything specific? What might this mean for you in your own life? Trust your first instinct when interpreting the message. For example, if you ask a question about what action you can take in order to advance in your current job and you receive the Inguz symbol – which relates to fertility and growth – you might immediately get the intuitive hit that you are only distracting yourself with career questions but what you really want to ask about is starting a family. Or in a different interpretation, you might just take the symbol as a positive sign that a promotion is on the horizon.

Ways to cast runes


As with all forms of divination, make sure you’re grounded prior to working with your runes. Create some sacred space. Set an intention or say a prayer that you only receive insight and clarity from your highest level guidance and that you trust that all the wisdom and knowledge revealed to you is done out of love. Get clear on what question you want to ask. Examples would be, “What is really going on in my relationship?” Or “How can I best handle this situation with my client?”  

If you’re doing a single rune cast, pull one rune from the pouch and lay it out in front of you. Interpret the message.   If you need a bit more insight into a situation, you’d probably want to do a more complex rune layout. Spreads can be created with as many runes as you’d like, although 3, 5, and 9 rune layouts are the most common. Decide what each rune you cast will represent in your situation. For example, if you’re doing a three rune layout, you might decide that the first rune you pull is representative of the past as it relates to your question, the second rune indicates where you are in the present, and the third rune represents what the potential future outcome may be. Another good way to do a three rune cast is to let the first rune refer to where you are currently in the situation of your inquiry. The second rune would then indicate what may be blocking or hindering you in the situation and the third rune would be a possible action you can take.  

You can also cast runes without using a particular spread or layout. You may want to empty the bag of runes out in front of you and interpret the stones that are face up and closest to you. You can also take all of the rune stones and randomly arrange them face up and in front of you. If you’re using this method, you might want to place your hands – palms down – over the stones. Then, closing your eyes, let your intuition guide you to the stone or stones to interpret.  

Runes can also be used every day as part of your daily introspection and spiritual alignment practice. Just as you would pull a tarot or oracle card of the day, you can pull a rune of the day. You might want to ask,“What is the overall theme today?” Or “What energy can I bring today?” It can be helpful to record your daily rune castings in a journal. Like a muscle, the more you practice working with your intuition by way of the runes, the stronger it gets!         

Disclaimer:  Please consult a healthcare professional for any medical advice. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition.