Rune Divination and Rune Magic
Written by Luci Johnson
According to Norse mythology, Odin, the highest Norse god, hung from the world tree, Yggdrasil, with a knife pierced in his side, for nine days and nights in order to gain the secret knowledge of runes. When the runes revealed themselves, he reached down and took them up, and the runic knowledge gave him power. He later passed on this knowledge to the goddess Freya, Queen of the Valkyries. Freya taught Odin the magic of seidr. Heimdall, the god who guarded the Rainbow Bridge, taught the runes to mankind.
The earliest runic inscriptions on stone are dated to the late 3rd century AD. The Old Germanic Runic alphabet or "Elder Futhark" contains 24 runes. The first six runes of the alphabet spell out the word "FUTHARK". As the runes spread northwards into Scandinavia, some rune symbols were dropped and the alphabet was reduced to only 16 runes. This alphabet, expanded to 33 symbols, has become known as the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. The rune names themselves have been passed down relatively intact.
Fehu is the symbol of wealth, material items won or earned. Prosperity, along with social and/or financial strength.
A loss of business venture, gambling or property. Greed, and/or bad business associations is the cause.
Physical Strength and Power
Uruz is the symbol of the wild ox: a person with great strength and raw power. Strength overpowers weakness.
Uruz can also signify male sexual jealousy. Jealousy leads to loss. Strength being enforced in an inefficient manner. Physical weakness.
Rune Meaning Thurisaz, Thor’s rune means literally "Giant". Destruction. Force is directed, and defenses must react. After conflict resolution. Sexual tension.
Vulnerability in defense. A betrayal leads to defeat. Loss of allies, tyranny.
The Voice of the gods
Ansuz tells you to listen to the wisdom from the gods. Inspiration in words, music, the birth of a child, or a creative project which is coming to fruition. Life force and ambition. Spiritual knowledge.
Knowledge is misunderstood. No creativity. Beware manipulative forces or those who would undermine. Not heeding divine advice.
Raidho symbolizes a journey which is physical, emotional and/or spiritual. Perspective is gained. A journey which leads to spiritual transformation. Good advice.to take a trip.
Isolation or loneliness. Fighting change. Bad advice, stagnation.
Kenaz is energy and light. A fire of creation and power lights the way. Artistic energy is referenced, as well as human passion, motivation and lust. Shining brightly, making all things clear. Good energy.
A lack of creativity or originality. Unclarity. Dark energy.
A gift can be something that is received, or something given. An exchange of some kind. Charity.
(Gebo cannot be reversed)
Comfort, pleasure and happiness. Visiting with friends or family. Harmony and prosperity. Success comes through an understanding of what is truly important and valuing those things of real worth. Combined efforts.
A loss of identity or an alienation of a close companion. Strife between those who are close.
The wrath of the cold icy element and the power of fundamental forces of nature overwhelm all else. A display of temper and wrath. A dispute A test of will. Crisis.
(Hagalaz cannot be inverted)
Needs have been unrecognized or unfulfilled. The path to healing and fulfillment lies in answering these fundamental needs. A course of action must be chosen. Desire and need can be a source of strength.
Beware temptation. Not all needs must be fulfilled. Do not take the path of least resistance.
Isa represents ice and the stillness of a frozen day. The act of contemplation is referenced here, with an emphasis on stillness and carefully controlled action. Ice solidifies and keeps things in place. Movement is cautious.
(Isa cannot be inverted)
Rune Meaning Jera is the symbol of the harvest. A time of plenty. An annual event. A time to reap rewards from past efforts. A person of great patience, great promise and bountiful energy.
(Jera cannot be inverted)
Eihwaz represents the Yew tree which stands protective against the elements and stretches up to the sky. Discipline and a defense of principles lead to greater understanding and success. Rely on inner strength.
(Eihwaz cannot be inverted)
Perthro represents that which we cannot fully know. Perthro, which signifies a cup, must be consumed to understand what it contains. Fate is at work here, and answers can only come with time. Explore.
To display false knowledge. To consume too heavily. To be irresponsible.
The symbol of Algiz was frequently inscribed on shields to symbolize protection. Algiz symbolizes defense of all that is sacred to you. Remember true nature. Algiz symbolizes a connection to the divine, but also the separation of man from divinity.
Hidden dangers. A poor defence. A flimsy pretence of power leads to greater weakness.
Sowilo represents the Sun: a source of great energy and guidance. A symbol of `purity in action` and a symbolic goal to be reached for. Sowilo fulfills, encourages, and represents that which should be strived for.
(Sowilo cannot be inverted)
Tiwaz represents judgement. Analysis and rational thought are represented here. Legal matters, and issues of judgement and authority are referenced.
An inability to judge effectively. An inability to think clearly, or a tendency to over-analyze. Injustice. A failure to see.
Birth and Growth
Berkano, the birch tree, represents the beginning of new life, and a personal liberation from past restrictions. A new love or a new desire. A business venture does well. A time of renewed personal energy and drive.
Strife at home or with those who are close. Stagnation. A failure to intitiate something.
Ehwaz is the symbol of "two horses" and represents travel and forward movement. Slow development is indicated, and an ability to work together. Companionship, trust and loyalty are also represented. A good relationship.
Restlessness or restraint. A failure to work together. A possible betrayal. Disagreement.
Self Identity and social Perception
Mannaz symbolizes mankind and the infinite dimensions within individuals. How individuals react to one another is referenced here. Friends, acquaintances and an awareness of complex personalities. A consciousness of others.
Self delusion. Mistrust. A failure to judge character effectively. A hidden agenda.
Laguz represents flowing waters which can heal, renew and nourish all life. Intuition is represented, but also the dark unknown waters underground: Mystery, dreams, fantasies and sources of uncertainty. Mysteries are revealed.
A starvation of the spirit. A crisis of creativity and nurturing. To lose touch with one's true dreams.
Ingwaz represents both the home and the greater world: Our oneness with the universe. Common sense is indicated here, as well as social consciousness. Love, caring, human warmth. A time of rest, or period of time spent at home. Reflect on the relationship of your personal existence to the world at large. Are there larger issues at play?
(Ingwaz cannot be reversed)
Othala represents ancestral property or personal posessions. Two meanings are possible: Heritage and core values are referenced, or physical assets and personal property. A house or home. Family. Security.
Poverty. An inability to escape the past. Family issues. Disorder.
Dagaz symbolizes the dawn. A dawning of new consciousness and awareness. Issues become clearer, at the same time they may become more complex. Hope and happiness are represented. A new start. Something is becoming clear.
(cannot be inverted)
Rune Divination and Magical Uses
In stanza 157 of Hávamál, the runes are attributed with the power to bring that which is dead to life. In this stanza, Odin recounts a spell:
Þat kann ek it tolfta,
I know a twelfth one if I see,
It is possible that the early runes were not so much used as a simple writing system, but rather as magickal signs to be used for charms. Although some say the runes were used for divination, there is no direct evidence to suggest they were ever used in this way. The name rune itself, taken to mean "secret, something hidden", seems to indicate that knowledge of the runes was originally considered esoteric.
A recent study of runic magic suggests that runes were used to create magical objects such as amulets.
How to Make a Rune Set
Runes can be made with wood pieces, clay, or semi-precious gems. There are plenty of already made rune kits. But if you can make your own, take the time to do that instead. My rune set is made out of hardened clay, and I used a permanent marker to inscribe the letters unto the clay. Now that I know how to use a hot pen to inscribe the letters on wood, I will make a wood rune set. If you think that you can cut gems with precision, by all means make a semi-precious stone set. Coordinate the colors and attributes of the gemstones with the meanings of the various letters, use the chart outlined above.
The most important thing is that the energy that goes into the creation of your rune set are pure, unmixed and entirely yours. Now find or make a nice velvet, cotton, leather or satin bag big enough for all your rune pieces. This is the final step in the rune making process.
Rune Spreads for Rune Divination
Single rune: A beginner rune diviner should start off reading one rune a day until one gets familiar with the meanings behind them. All you do is grab your bag, shake up the contents and pull out one rune stone to read its message of the day. This is a powerful way to get to know your runes. Pay attention to the subtle message the gods tell you as the meaning of the runic alphabet unfolds within your subconscious mind.
I remember that I did a ritual to introduce myself to the Norse gods before I embarked on this journey. I wrote the names of all the Norse gods I knew and liked on a piece of paper, then placed that paper under a purple candle. On the purple candle I inscribed the entire alphabet into the candle wax. Then I anointed the candle with a special oil I made. Next, the candle was lit. Soon after, I fell asleep. (Not recommended leave a candle burning unattended, my goof up). But, I had an amazing dream where I could see the faces of these Viking gods in my minds eye. I can’t remember how many gods there was but it was a lot of faces. Ever since that dream I feel truly connected to the art of runes. And you can to.
Multiple Rune Layout: I keep it real simple, but there are multiple ways you can lay out a rune reading. If you want to read more than a single rune, I suggest doing so before any other spell work. Because one can use rune combinations to empower any type of spell work. For instance, lets say that you want to do a money spell. Shake up your bag of runes until you feel the warmth coming off of the bag. Pick your runes up one by one until you reach the Fehu rune. How ever runes it takes for you to retrieve the Fehu that’s the number of runes you will use in your spell. Place the runes together and write down on a piece of paper all of the other runes that surfaced for this spell/reading. Pay attention to the assortment of messages the runes will give you. Determine if the reading is an overall positive reading for your money spell. Once you’re in the go, now you can get the ingredients together to create your money spell. This simple money spell requires a green candle, any money oil, and dried basil from your kitchen. Take the dry candle and inscribe all the runes you picked into your candle with a toothpick. Next, rub the money oil towards your body on the candle. Then roll the candle in dried basil herb. In prayer ask Freya if she would bless your spell. As I will be done. Light the candle.
This technique I use for creating spells can be used with any type of spell you want. And it does work very astutely. For protection spells use the algiz rune, for home blessings use wunjo. For love spells use berkana. Justice and courtcase spells use tiwaz. I think you get the idea. Think of your relationship with the runes as a way to communicate with the gods that will help you bring your spells to fruition. The Viking gods are warrior mystics. They are a very interesting and fascinating group with plenty of knowledge to share. Allow the Norse gods to train your mind to that of a wise and powerful warrioress. I believe that the Norse gods are the God of gods battle angels, like Archangel Micheal. And like all the other legions and hierarchies of Most High God’s angels, they have their own language they use to communicate. Well congratulations because if the gods are talking to you, you must know how to listen.