The celestial spread is a yearly (13 runes needed) spread – starting with the month you are in now. Runes chosen 1 -12 are set up in a diamond shape starting with the right and ending up with rune 12 at the top of the diamond. The last or 13th rune should be placed in the middle. Rune 1 should be month 1 and so on. The 13th rune should be the final and should represent the “influence for the year”.
The Celtic cross spread is a ten-rune spread based on the Celtic cross.
The cross spread is used to plot the arc of your life and the forces acting on it. It is the most popular spread, giving a very complete view of the situation. The left rune represents an important element of the past. The middle rune represents a deciding element of the present. The top rune represents a force that works for you. The bottom rune represents a force that works against you. The right rune represents the critical element of the future, at the core of the final outcome.
The diamond spread reveals the dynamic forces at work in a situation. It is the spread of choice for understanding a hidden conflict. The bottom rune represents the foundation that forms the basis of the issue. The left rune represents one of the forces acting on the issue at hand. The right rune represents another of the forces acting on the issue at hand. The top rune represents the conclusion to which your strivings can carry you.
The elements spread shows the four elements and their corresponding qualities. The top rune, earth is lessons to be learned on the physical plane. The right rune; air, lessons to be learned on the mental plane. The bottom rune; fire, lessons to be learned on the spiritual plane. The left rune; water, lessons to be learned on the emotional plane.
The fork spread is used at critical turning points, to understand the dynamics of an important decision. The left rune represents the first possible outcome. The right rune represents the second possible outcome. The bottom rune represents the critical factor that determines what will come to pass.
Medicine Wheel Spread
Medicine wheel spread is a five-rune cast to give guidance to a specific problem when the questioner does not know which path to follow. The left sided rune deals with the past or source of the problem. The right rune represents the present or current influences. The bottom rune deals with the future or the way energies are flowing. The top rune shows the challenge. The center rune represents the power to call upon.
The Norn Spread
The norn spread is used to plot the crucial elements of past, present, and future, and to reveal the evolution of the situation through the arc of time. The left rune represents an important element of the past. The middle rune represents a deciding element of the present. The right rune represents the critical element of the future.
Odin’s casting spread is a five-rune cast dealing with the past, present and future. The far left rune is the distant past and the rune next to this (also on left) represents the recent past. The center top rune represents the present. The right rune represents the recent future and the far right rune represents the distant future.
Relationship spread is very useful to get an understanding of the purpose of people who are partners. It shows the role of each person in the other person’s life and the potential direction of the relationship. Rune #1: this rune represents the energy or attitude towards the relationship of the person asking the question. Rune #2: this one represents the partner’s energy or attitude about the relationship. Rune #3: the third rune shows how the partnership is doing or what the purpose of the people being together is.
Single Rune Spread
Single rune spread is used to gain a quick insight into what drives the situation, or to reduce it to the most concise summary possible. The rune represents the critical factor in the issue at hand.
Three Rune Spread
The 3-rune spread enables you to deal with the subject as it presents itself at this moment in time. The left rune is the past. The center rune represents the present. The right rune is the future.
Variety of rune sets
In addition to each rune having a meaning, the material in which the runes are carved can color the reading. Most people consistently use runes made of ceramic, stone, or wood
Symbolism of The Runes
The Runes are an ancient divination tool.
No-one knows exactly how old the runes are. Rune-like symbols appear as cave markings as early as the late Bronze Age, and they are mentioned in the Bible, but their use in ritual and as an oracle for consultation must certainly pre-date their use as a written language.
Eminent scientific runologist Dr R. I. Page of Cambridge University notes that the runic forms were well established and gave the appearance of having been in use for some centuries before the time of the earliest written language inscriptions.
The fact that the runes were each given meaningful names confirms that they had some magical or religious significance to their users long before they emerged as an alphabet for records and messages. The word Rune itself comes from the old Norse Runa meaning a secret or mystery, and it seems likely that the early Runemasters and Runemistresses were considered to have some magic or mystic power in their understanding of the runes.
The runes represent objects, gods, people, animals, concepts and occurrences. They were known by names from which their alphabetic values were taken, but it must be remembered that the early Germanic and Norse tribes who developed them did so long before they had any need for written language.
Runes are symbols or pictograms that were used by the ancients for magic and later for writing. Their origin is shrouded in mystery, but they seem to have come from Etruria, a kingdom in the land we now call Italy, and worked their way up through Germany to Scandinavia, where they had their heyday during the first millennium.
At first the runes were just used for divining and magic, but the people of Northern Europe started to use them for writing messages as well. Each rune represents something in it’s magical sense, and also represents a sound in its writing sense. The sounds usually match up with the magical meaning, too. For example the rune Dagaz represents “Day” in rune magic, and it also represents the sound “D” when it used for writing.
There are 24 runes in the full rune row or set which is known as the Futhark.
When you are starting out using runes for divination it is pretty difficult to keep track of the runes you are casting and what they all mean. It can be disruptive and confusing if you have to keep looking things up all the time, the rune meanings can get blurred and the overall sense of the cast just won’t jell in your mind. So learning the Futhark is a very important exercise for developing divining skills, and is essential if you ever want to divine for other people.
Symbolism of The Runes
The Futhark is divided into three sets of eight runes each, called Aetts. The Aetts are named after Freyja, Hagal and Tiw. It is easier to memorize the three Aetts than it is all 24 runes as a whole, so let us start by dividing the runes into their Aetts:
Fehu looks a bit like a letter F and that is it’s initial. It means cattle, a measure of wealth in ancient times. So imagine Fehu is two horns of a cow sticking through a fence. All you have to remember then is that cattle equates to wealth.
Uruz could look like an upside down U with a bit of imagination and that is it’s initial letter. Uruz means Aurochs, an extinct wild Ox, and it represents strength. Imagine the shape is a shark’s dorsal fin and remember how strong a shark is.
Thurisaz unfortunately doesn’t look like any English letter, so you just have to remember that Thurisaz is a Thorn, both words begin with TH, and the shape of the rune is like a thorn on the stem of a rose.
Ansuz is another one that doesn’t look like any English letter. It means Messenger of the gods, and you get Ansuz (I mean “answers”) from messengers. It represents communication, so if you can imagine it is a telegraph pole with one looped and one straight wire leading away from it, that might help.
Raido is an easy one. It looks like an R and that is the initial of it’s name. It stands for riding or travelling. Think of Raido as similar to radial – as in radial tire – to remind you of the travel concept.
Kauno looks like a letter K with the top leg missing, and K is it’s initial letter. Kauno means torch, light, enlightenment or knowledge. Our modern word KNOW comes from Kauno. So if you remember it as K-NOW and pronounce it in your mind as Kuh-No, that might help.
Gebo looks like an X which is how we write a kiss. Gebo means a gift, so try to think of a kiss as a nice little gift to remember this one.
Wunjo means Joy. I always think it looks like a little flag on a golf green, and if I was a golfer, it would give me joy to always reach that flag. If you can think of the word as Wun-Jo and distort the pronunciation a little it becomes Won Joy, and that’s what you have done when you cast Wunjo.
Hagalaz looks like an H with an extra cross bar, and H is the sound Hagalaz makes. It means hail and represents the disruption weather like that can cause. Imagine it looks like two walls of an alley with streaks of hail blowing across it from left to right.
Naudiz begins with the letter N and it means need, want, or necessity. Picture the rune as a person with their arms outstretched,pleading,as if they were in “need”.
Isa is the same shape as the letter I to which it corresponds. It means ice and represents solidity, or lack of change (i.e. frozen). Imagine Isa is a long icicle to remind you of the ice meaning.
Jera means year in the old tongue and the rune corresponds to the letter J. It represents, the harvest, fruitfulness and rebirth, all things that happen annually. It is not the easiest rune to picture mentally. The best I can do is – think of it as a vertical line with two arrows attached, one pointing back to the old year and the other pointing forward to the new.
Ihwaz means Yew tree and it corresponds to the letter Y. It represents defensive power and is the symbol of rune magic. By a stretch of the imagination you could look at it as an archer’s bow because these were invariably made from flexible Yew wood.
Perth is the rune of mystery and corresponds to the letter P. It represents chance, a gamble and is said to mean a dice cup used in ancient gambling games. Rotate the image of Perth 90 degrees anti-clockwise in your minds eye and it looks like a small cup with an angled lip.
Algiz is the only rune that does not start with the English letter it represents, Z. There are a couple of theories about it’s meaning. Some have it as Sedge Grass, others reckon it means Elk’s Horn, but in either case it symbolizes protective power. Sedge is a razor sharp grass that would act as a protective barrier, and the elk of course uses it’s antlers for defence. Imagine the rune as a stand of antler on an elk’s head to remind you of the defence aspect.
Sowilo means the sun and represents energy, light and life force. It corresponds to the letter S which it closely resembles in shape. This is an easy one, just think of the letter S for the sun and the angular S-shape of Sowilo will come to mind.
Tiwaz is the warrior’s rune and represents courage, tactical and diplomatic ability. It corresponds to the letter T. Since it looks like an arrow, remember it by picturing a warrior shooting an arrow.
Berkanan corresponds to the letter B it closely resembles. It means Birch Twig and represents growth and fertility and so acts as the symbol of femininity. Turn the rune on its side and there is an obvious mental image if you want to use it! But (he said with a straight face) I always picture it as an angular letter B.
Ehwaz corresponds to the letter E, and if you turn it 90 degrees anti-clockwise I suppose it could look something like a letter E if you had funny handwriting. Ehwaz means steed, mount or horse and it represents purposeful motion, progress and surefootedness. I prefer to picture it as a horse’s body (only the head is tucked around the side where you can’t see it) to remind me of the equestrian connection (come to think of it, equestrian starts with E).
Mannaz is the rune of humanity. It literally means mankind and it looks like a letter M with the middle bits extended. It represents virility, a man, the human race or humanitarian behaviour. A simple one to remember because it looks like M – just don’t confuse it with Ehwaz.
Laguz is the water rune and corresponds to the letter L. This is where our modern word lagoon comes from. It represents fluidity, ebb and flow. An alternative name for this rune is Laukaz which means a leek in the old tongue, and the leek is it’s associated plant. So you could picture this rune as a tall leek with a bent-over leaf flopping over to the right.
Ingwaz is the rune of harmony taken from the name of the god Ing. It represents the NG sound as in ring or finger. It is sometimes taken to mean male sexuality or the male genitals (!!), but the commonest interpretation is harmonious existence, peace and unification of purpose. You need to adopt some symbolism to make a memorable picture for Ing. Try to see it as two arrow heads – one pointing left, the other right – that have been married harmoniously together.
Othila corresponds to the letter O and means estate, homestead, homeland, birthright or inheritance. It represents home, inheritance or material possessions. Picture the rune as a square enclosure representing your home territory or estate, with two little paths leading up to the entrance.
Dagaz corresponds to the letter D. It is rune number 24 and appropriately enough it simply means Day. It represents daylight, dawn, transformation (e.g. from night to day) and breakthrough to new experience. You could picture it as two letter Ds placed back to back, but I always think of it as an hourglass turned on it’s side. This particular hourglass, of course, measures 24 hours.
No one knows for sure how the ancients used runes for divining. There is a vague description by Herodotus writing around 470BCE of a runecasting by Scythian tribesmen, and Tacitus detailed a runecasting in his work Germania in 97CE, but there is very little else to go on. Norse references all tell of the runes being cast or thrown, suggesting that the formal patterns used in the familiar runespreads commonly used today are modern conceptions, possibly derived from the Tarot. The 3-rune spread, Runic Cross and 3 Lifetimes spreads are good examples of the runespread.
A practical bindrune may combine two or more runes to form a single design representing the runic powers of the included runes. The purpose of the bindrune is to enable a controlled release of those runic energies for the benefit of the user, or someone he or she wants to help or influence.
Personal bindrunes may consist of your initials in the runes of your choice, creating a powerful ownership spell.
Bindrunes can only be used to help people, not to harm them. Any attempt to place a curse, prevent a person doing something, or to make something nasty happen to them will inevitably backfire on the user.
Although a bindrune is a blending of runic characters, each rune included in the design has to retain its own individuality, it has to be visible as an entity within the whole. It is best to limit the design to no more than four or five characters so that it can still be symmetrical, balanced and pleasing to the eye.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. Some very ancient and highly effective bindrunes incorporate 6, 7 or even 8 different runes. But generally speaking, the simpler the design, then the more effective the bindrune will be.
Bindrunes are devised for specific purposes. They can generate mental activity such as memory, logic, emotion, enlightenment, strength of will, courage, fairness, clarity of thought. They can aid physical actions too,such as health, strength, speed, endurance, and all the 5 senses.
Bindrunes can produce a runic field of energy to protect your person, your home or possessions, your job or your business good will, and they can enhance relationships by encouraging harmony, partnership, love or sexual attraction.
You could easily draw a bindrune on a piece of paper, wood, stone or anything and carry it with you hoping that it will have some effect. But the unempowered bindrune will be so weak that you would probably not notice any difference.
For a bindrune to work effectively it must be empowered (some runemasters refer to this process as consecration).
The choice of wood is important to the effectiveness of a bindrune, as well as choice of color if you are painting rather than carving or burning. Use your altar and incense, as well as any candles and music you prefer, while making the bindrunes. Cast a circle if you feel it necessary.
When the bindrune is complete it is then sequestered in a secret place for a period under special conditions. The place is a ley cross – a point of very high earth energy where two positive leylines cross each other. Alternately, you may again uses your altar, or meditate on the purpose of the bindrune to charge it with energy.
Once the bindrune is released from sequesterment, the imbued power is awakened and invoked on behalf of the user.
Legends claim the god Odin as the inventor of the runes. Odin’s wisdom and ability to see into the future doomed him to a dismal existence, for he could foresee the downfall of the gods themselves. Odin’s knowledge of the runes was a hard won sacrifice; during a shamanic initiation, he hung himself between the Nine Worlds from the Yggdrasil, the World Tree, for nine days and nights without food or drink. He was wounded with with his own spear, passed through the gates of Death, drank a magic potion, and returned with the knowledge of the Runes, and with power over the realm of the Dead as well as the Living. Runes are therefore said to contain the ability to unlock, balance, and control characteristics within us which can be harnessed or augmented to achieve our objectives. The most important surviving Medieval source of information concerning the Runes is the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, which contains 24 verses, one for each rune. The poem was translated by monks into Latin sometime between the 8th and 11th Centuries.
Wealth is a comfort to all men; yet must every man bestow it freely, if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.
The aurochs is proud and has great horns; it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns; a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.
The thorn is exceedingly sharp, an evil thing for any knight to touch, uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.
The mouth is the source of all language, a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men, a blessing and a joy to every knight.
Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads on the back of a stout horse.
The torch is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame; it always burns where princes sit within.
Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one’s dignity; it furnishes help and subsistence to all broken men who are devoid of aught else.
Bliss he enjoys who knows not suffering, sorrow nor anxiety, and has prosperity and happiness and a good enough house.
Hail is the whitest of grain; it is whirled from the vault of heaven and is tossed about by gusts of wind and then it melts into water.
Trouble is oppressive to the heart; yet often it proves a source of help and salvation to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery; it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems; it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
Summer is a joy to men, when God, the holy King of Heaven, suffers the earth to bring forth shining fruits for rich and poor alike.
The yew is a tree with rough bark, hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots, a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.
Peorth is a source of recreation and amusement to the great, where warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall.
The Eolh-sedge is mostly to be found in a marsh; it grows in the water and makes a ghastly wound, covering with blood every warrior who touches it.
The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers when they journey away over the fishes’ bath, until the courser of the deep bears them to land.
Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes; it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.
The poplar bears no fruit; yet without seed it brings forth suckers, for it is generated from its leaves. Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.
The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors. A steed in the pride of its hoofs, when rich men on horseback bandy words about it; and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.
The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen; yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow, since the Lord by his decree will commit the vile carrion to the earth.
The ocean seems interminable to men, if they venture on the rolling bark and the waves of the sea terrify them and the courser of the deep heed not its bridle.
Ing was first seen by men among the East-Danes, till, followed by his chariot, he departed eastwards over the waves. So the Heardingas named the hero.
An estate is very dear to every man, if he can enjoy there in his house whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.
Day, the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord; it is beloved of men, a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor, and of service to all.
The oak fattens the flesh of pigs for the children of men. Often it traverses the gannet’s bath, and the ocean proves whether the oak keeps faith in honourable fashion.
The ash is exceedingly high and precious to men. With its sturdy trunk it offers a stubborn resistance, though attacked by many a man.
Yr is a source of joy and honour to every prince and knight; it looks well on a horse and is a reliable equipment for a journey.
Iar is a river fish and yet it always feeds on land; it has a fair abode encompassed by water, where it lives in happiness.
The grave is horrible to every knight, when the corpse quickly begins to cool and is laid in the bosom of the dark earth. Prosperity declines, happiness passes away and covenants are broken.