Archive for the ‘Divination’ Category
The Germanic concept of the soul is very complex, indeed, the rich lore of the soul may be testimony to a far greater understanding of the human mind and soul than we presently have. A soul casting cloth works by depicting different aspects of the soul to provide better understanding of personal motivations, desires, fears, strength and weaknesses; this can then form the basis of self-development and healing work. Just as I discussed with the World-Tree Yggdrasil, the different parts of the soul are fluid and permeable – some people may never connect with particular soul aspects, and the configuration of the soul may change over time. You will see as I discuss the different parts of the casting cloth below, that some soul aspects are deeply connected to eachother and may not always be possible to separate; you might think of this form of divination as being a little more like palmistry, some palms are missing particular lines, or have lines which flow together.
The casting cloth design here draws on a number of different sources which discuss soul lore. I have not used every single soul part ever mentioned as the cloth could potentially be the size of a football field, rather, I have taken those elements which seemed the most useful for the purpose of gaining information that could be useful to a querent seeking guidance.
Using the soul cloth is particularly appropriate for those working within the Germanic tradition or who practice shamanically (and so are open to the idea of power animals, spirit guides and the body itself as aspects of the soul). What it is important to remember is that, unlike models of the soul as a separate ‘object’ worked upon, and working upon, the world; in Germanic soul lore the different parts of the soul gather around and within a particular individual at birth – some will remain with the soul throughout life and beyond, others have become, or chosen to work with, the soul during this life time. Even more strange and bewildering is the concept that you share some aspects of your soul with your family and clan groups, but this actually makes perfect sense within a Western scientific model of self where socialisation, empathy and group identity are recognised as important to the health and well-being of the individual. Anyway, enough cogitation, on with the reading.
Mind and Memory
The centre of the cloth depicts Mind (the red half of the central circle) and Memory (the white half of the circle). I am not going to go through all the different names for the soul elements in Norse, Anglo-Saxon etc. but many readers will know about Huggin and Munnin, Odin’s ravens that personify his mind and memory; in old Norse mind is called the hidge and memory the myne - you can see the linguistic relationship. In the reading (see picture at the top). You might also remember me talking about my encounter with my own ravens during my journey with the Algiz rune - in this case my journey revealed to me that work needed to be done with Munnin, I need to work with my memories to release patterns of illness held within them.
In the reading, the realm of memory is not of relevance to the flow of Wyrd at this point, however, the realm of thought is very busy indeed. My client had indicated that she would like guidance on her romantic life and it was clear that there was an issue here. As you can see, the purple rune of partnership, Ehwaz, is sitting happily upside-down surrounded by Fehu reversed beneath it, Wunjo on its side to the right, and Dagaz above. The first thing that came to mind looking at these runes was the, forgive me, sexy element here - meanings for these runes include sensuality, ecstasy, partnership, gateway, need I say more. It was clear to me that partnership was important to my client, and at the centre of her focus at the present time; sweeping my hand over the cloth confirmed to me that the flow of energy from the reading was towards the Dagaz rune – the Ehwaz rune essentially blocking the Fehu and Wunjo runes. Ehwaz can be a very dark rune, the partnership it speaks of is partnership on all levels, including with the shadow self (the bits of you you hope others don’t see). To me, the position of the runes indicated that, although all the sexy deliciousness of these runes was present, there was a more destructive element at play which was effectively blocking the more fulfilling, stabilising and beneficial aspects of Fehu and Wunjo. I went on to note that Raidho rune, down at the tale of the red area of Mind, this rune will come rolling forward soon, bringing change and perhaps releasing the impasse caused by the Ehwaz rune (if Ehwaz is the horse and rider, then Raidho is the road to be travelled). My client noted that she is taking a journey shortly so it may well be that this time provides her with the space she needs to see the road clearly and pass through the gateway of the Dagaz rune.
Originally, the three runes at the top of the Mind were face downwards – we will come to them in a moment.
Wode – immediate connection to the divine
The dark blue crescent above Mind and Memory relates to the person’s immediate connection to spirit and the divine. Its name relates to the God Odin, bringer of inspiration, wisdom and prophecy. It is not so much about instinct, more intuition – that feeling that someone is trying to tell you something (which normally means they are). This crescent, and the Athem (below) are both tied in to the ‘sacred breath’ – gift of Odin, this is the in-breath where wisdom is gathered in, the athem is the out breath. My client has two runes in this section of the cloth, Thurisaz and Othala. The Othala rune (inheritance, ancestry, social capital) rests above the relationship runes in the Mind and counsells that my client will find wisdom through contemplating what advice her beloved dead would give her, and what impact the situation may have on her own descendents. The Thurisaz rune rests above the three runes in Mind which were face down – my intuition told me these runes represented aspects of herself which my client was ignoring (rather than being irrelevant to the reading). The three runes were Uruz, Algiz and Kenaz (strength, protection, creativity). I took from this that my client feels that something is wrong, she may feel angry and frustrated, but not know why; this anger may be caused by a feeling that she is losing her strength, stability and potential to be creative within her life. The reading reveals that this is not the case and that these aspects of herself are still very much present. My client will need to take moment when she feels anger and frustration and try and identify where these feelings really come from; she should also make sure that she takes time to celebrate her own qualities – transforming anger and frustration into power.
The astral body (hamr/ hyde) is somtimes referred to as the ‘appearance’ – it is the bit of you that travels about when you dream and journey in your own form. When you meet someome and you instantly like or dislike to them, you are probably picking up on the energy of their astral body - the way that they project themselves upon the world.
My client has Jera, right at the bottom of her Hamr, suggesting that her self image is undergoing change which will be fairly significant and take the best part of a year. This fits in well with the position of Mannaz within the Valkyrja (see below). My client was also interested in advice about her career, and the position of Jera suggested to me that my client’s identity will shift as she changes who she is in her working life. The position of the Jera rune indicates that patience will be needed and that my client should let her developing career grow naturally, rather than trying to rush this important period of decision making.
Valkyrja – the ‘highest self’
Work with the Valkyrja might be likened to the practices of ‘Knowledge and conversation with your Holy Guardian Angel’, the union of anima and animus, kundalini rising, or any other practice which permanently alters the individual so that they are in closer union with the divine (or have achieved a state of personal wholeness – depending on your world view). The Valkyrja is often likened to a swan, or a maiden. Union with the Valkyrja takes a great deal of work, but that does not mean that they are not at work in your life. My client has Mannaz at the very centre of the Valkyrja section of the cloth (the rainbow coloured segment), this is the rune of humanity itself, of your impact on community and society. As I looked at the rune I saw my client cradled within the arms of the divine and felt a wave of reassurance wash over me. The rune spoke strongly of the fact that the transformation (particularly in terms of career) my client is going through is blessed and that she has great gifts to offer to the community, particularly as a networker, communicator, and an exemplar of her own beliefs and passions - I was also guided to reminder her of the strength, protection and creativity she possesses.
Kin-fetch, Fetch, Hamingja, Lyke
I will do another example reading using this cloth soon so that different aspects of the cloth can be explored. In this reading, the Gebo rune (gift giving, exchange) was positioned at the intersection between the Fetch (your own personal power animal, a companion and representative of your inner self), the Kin-Fetch (like the fetch, but attached to a family, clan or close group), the Hamingja (my client’s reserve of power and luck, and the Lyke (physical body). To me, this further emphasised the message which had come with the Mannaz rune: my client draws strength, and gives strength through her skills as a worker for the community. Her complete sense of physical and emotional well-being comes from these acts of exchange and bonding on all levels. There seemed to be no obvious negative aspect here but I reminded my client of the importance of receiving as well as giving.
The Gebo rune also emphasised the importance of trusting that the right career path will unfold in time. To me, this was a very positive rune which indicated the strength of my client’s value system and her potential for helping others.
As discussed above, the Fetch is a part of the self which is often represented as an animal. Some of the first work rune magicians do is to establish contact with their fetch (also note that in shamanic practice, power animals are vitally important to the work). Sometimes the Fetch is confused with the Valkyrja, in my experience, your Fetch is more intimately connected to your own personal well-being (their strength will be sapped when you are weakened, their spirit will be downhearted when you are depressed) – for this reason working with them can help you understand yourself.
My client had Laguz reversed within the turquoise segment for her Fetch. This suggested to me a personal sadness, probably hidden from others, which should be addressed. I also noted that Laguz was positioned along the edge of the Valkyrja segment, suggesting that the strong sense of reassurance given when we looked at the Mannaz rune was intended to help with this. I agreed with my client that future work together would include a power retrieval to meet her power animal and begin work to address the sadness this part of the reading indicates.
We completed the reading by going over the areas for action and checking that all the areas my client had wanted to cover had been addressed.
Book your soul reading
I am pleased to now be able to offer readings via Skype (as well as in-person and recorded). Registering for Skype is free, you will simply need a webcam so that you can see the cloth as we do the reading. Don’t forget that I also offer free readings if you are happy to be used as an anonymous case study for the blog (and don’t mind which casting cloth you get…)
Buy your own soul cloth
You can buy a soul cloth from my shop. These are hand painted on silk so each one will be slightly different. I am also able to pain cloths on commission if you have a particular design in mind.
Learn the art of rune casting
There are still one or two places left on my two day Rune Casting course on 26th February and 5th March, the next course will be on 27th March and 10th April. Click on the link to view more information or email email@example.com to book!
The advantage of working with a casting cloth is that it takes some of the agony out of throwing your runes down upon a completely blank surface which you then have to read completely intuitively - but there is still room for much more variation than you get from a rune spread. You can see this if you look at my entries on rune spreads where, essentially, you have a defined number of runes which are placed in a pre-determined pattern. A casting cloth is different because any number of runes may fall within different areas of the cloth – some may be entirely irrelevant to your client and so contain no runes at all, while others may be extremely significant and contain large clusters of runes. You can see this in my example for this week – there are a large number of runes falling in the upper and lower segments of the cloth, with almost none at all falling at the sides.
I should point out that the act of ’casting’ the runes can be done in any number of ways; I vary between a slow ‘pouring’ action with the runes coming directly from the bag, to a scattering approach with handfuls of the runes sprinkled like seeds upon the cloth. In this instance I sprinkled the runes liberally across the cloth in all manner of directions, so how they ended up clustering in the centre I will never know (as I had my eyes shut). While it may be obvious that the act of reading will require your psychic channels to be open and your concentration to be high, it should not be forgotten that the act of casting itself is absolutely essential to the success of the reading and must be done with intent and a clear focus on the person you are doing the reading for.
The Nine Worlds cloth features Midgard (the Middle World) at the centre of the cloth, representing the outward personality of the person – the ‘talking’ bit which interacts with the World around it. The rest of the Nine Worlds are arranged as follows (starting with the yellow segment at the top and moving clockwise)
- Asgard (the realm of the Gods) – representing the higher consciousness and connections to spirit
- Ljossalfheim (the realm of the ‘light elves) – representing the logical, thinking self
- Nifelheim (the realm of ice) – representing stability and strength but also obstacles and rigidity
- Jotunheim (the realm of the giants) – representing chaotic, destructive drives, personal power and survival instinct
- Hel (the realm of the dead) – representing subconscious desires, intuition, connections to ancestors
- Svartalfheim (the realm of the dwarves) – representing the creative drive which brings subconscious desire into manifestation
- Muspelheim – dynamic force, drive for change
- Vanaheim (the home of the Vanir) – representing the emotions, vitality and harmony
As a note, working with the Nine realms is not like working with neat and tidy systems (e.g. the Qabbalah); the realms are permeable, sometimes there are more, sometimes less, sometimes different beings dwell in different places – and they tend to move location quite a lot. As with any aspect of rune lore, working from the texts to discover what you can about each of the realms, and then undertaking meditation and journeying to discover them for yourself is by far the best way to improve your ability to work with them in readings.
Moving on to the reading itself, you can see that the majority of the runes for this client fell within Hel or Asgard, while a single rune fell edge up in the centre of Midgard. As a reader you will need to use your intuition to decide on where to start with the reading. I tend to move my hands over the cloth to help with this, while other people see particular runes shining more brightly, moving to get their attention, or simply get a ‘feeling’. For me, the energy of the runes was moving inwards towards the centre but the runes in Hel were gently rising towards the surface, whereas, those in Asgard were pressing downwards. The rune at the centre was Raidho, the rune of movement, travel and interaction with the external world (think how much more you pay attention when you are visiting somewhere new, Raidho assists us with mindfulness and correct action by reminding us to keep our eyes on the road); the fact that it was on its side emphasised the nature of this rune as a wheel in motion and I got a strong sense of my client focusing in on where she was in her life and where she would like to be.
My attention was pulled towards Hel, the three runes falling within this World being Perthro (the movement of Wyrd, chance or ‘fate’), Fehu (again a rune of movement, and also of vitality and wealth) and then, right on the edge bewteen Hel and Svartalfheim (the place where the desires within Hel are transformed into action), Sowilo (the rune of the sun, true will, following your own star). All of these runes suggested to me that my client had spent a long time suppressing some of her own needs, and these were now rising to the surface and trying to make themselves known. I felt that my client now desires to be master of her own destiny more, to adventure within her own life, to release some of her resources for her own use and discover more about who she is. The fact that the Sowilo rune was right on the border between Hel and Svartalfheim suggested to me that these desires are very close to manifestation, particularly if we consider that Sowilo (the sun) is pulled within a chariot (represented by Raidho which we have already noted as the rune whose energy is most present for my client at this time). This movement of energy seems very positive and exciting, except that these subconscious desires may have a tough time rising to the surface while the conscious self is so bound up in the runes literally jostling with eachother in Asgard above…
While Hel is the realm of subconscius desire (or fears if the runes are ill-aspected), then Asgard is higher consciousness – in Freudian terms we might relate Hel to the id which tells you what you want and Asgard to the super ego which tells you what you should do. In many cases, the runes appearing in Asgard will be very positive, and in this case the Wunjo rune in the centre (joy in family and friends, wholeness, a sense of support that helps you achieve your goals) is a lovely rune to have in the very centre of the cluster – suggesting that my client draws a great deal of strength and happiness from her family and close friends. It is a little difficult to see in the picture I’m afraid, but it is the rune at the top of the circle and it is lying on its side which indicates that there are some difficulties in this area and so the rune which should provide the greatest strength and happiness for my client is also the cause of some friction at present (perhaps leading my client to question her reliance on family and friends, even though they are so important to her). For me, it is the runes clustering around the Wunjo rune which are causing the problems, and it is likely that the ‘off-kilter’ Wunjo will right itself if these can be tackled.
On the left hand side of Wunjo, located in, or on the borded, with Vanaheim, we find Gebo and Thurisaz. Vanaheim is the realm of the emotions, so these two runes will be impacting on my client’s emotional well-being – pressing in and making demands upon the Wunjo rune. The Gebo rune is a rune of promises, gift giving and fair exchange – its nature is very complementary to the Wunjo rune but, perhaps on this occasion, my client feels that promises are not being honoured, and that she herself is being bound by obligation in a way that is no longer helpful. Sitting behind the Gebo rune we have the Thurisaz rune, representing anger, defensiveness and passion – it is pointing downwards and seemed to me to almost be head-butting the runes beneath it. I got a sense of Thurisaz operating on two levels here – in one sense it is a source of antagonism and anger, but in another sense it is holding in all these pent up frustrations and worries, it has become a means of dealing with the immediate situation (think how anger can sometimes spur you on, or how a desire to defend and protect those we love can keep us going through difficult times). The energy of Thurisaz is often located within the subconscious, and it seemed to me that the barrier this rune is forming will need to be released if its negative qualities are to be transformed into the power and strength that it can represent when it is felt in the heart (rather than pushed down in the subconscious or rearing up within the conscious mind).
On the right hand side we find Teiwaz (justice, self sacrifice, duty) and Dagaz (change, clear sightedness, gateway, light). These two runes are in, or on the edge of Ljossalfheim, the realm of thought and the logical mind. Like the Thurisaz rune, the Teiwaz rune is pointing down, and I felt that, again, this rune was pressing down upon my client like a self-imposed duty, demanding sacrifice and allegiance to the ideals of Wunjo (regardless of personal cost). While the Gebo rune makes demands through emotion that promises and obligations be fulfilled, the Teiwaz rune is doing the same thing within the logical mind. Behind it, the Dagaz rune again felt to me like a dual-function rune – in one sense my client sees very clearly and is therefore able to keep the intricate balance between the runes jostling together, but in another sense I felt that she did not want to see as this might cause disruption and lead to her betraying the ideals she holds so dearly (represented by Wunjo, Gebo and Teiwaz).
The last rune facing upwards was the Ansuz rune (communication, inspiration, connection with your higher self), it had gone spinning off along the realm of Ljossalfheim and over the edge of the cloth. I felt that a real problem for my client was an inability to express herself, to voice the way she was feeling and thinking and be heard, the rune also emphasised the fact that the energy of the Wunjo rune (my client’s guiding principle) was being disrupted and twisted by the runes crushing in upon it from Vanaheim and Ljossalfheim.
To complete the reading I drew three further runes to provide guidance on what could be done to start to disentangle the crush of runes in the conscious self, allow the Wunjo rune to return to its upright position and the runes rising up from the subconscious to manifest.
In Hel I drew Inguz, the seed of potential which I saw as interacting with the waters of Pethro, the growth and vitality of Fehu, and the warm sun of Sowilo. I advised my client to focus on her life achievements to date and to see them, not as things that need to be preserved, but as seeds which she must scatter so that they can grow. This rune would form an excellent basis for healing work following the reading.
In Midgard I drew the Ehwaz rune, again, very complementary to the Raidho rune as it represents the horse (and Raidho is the chariot). I took this to mean that my client needs to look for the places in her life where she feels supported – there is help available to her which will make her journey easier.
Up in Asgard I drew Hagalaz (the rune of the hail storm). In lore, the hail stone of Hagalaz goes on to form the seed of new growth, so I felt there was a strong link with the Inguz rune which I had drawn for the realm of Hel. To me, the Hagalaz rune indicated that disruption was already underway within my client’s life and, rather than resisting it, allowing it to unfold (and perhaps also wading in herself and causing a bit of disruption rather than always seeking to keep the peace) would help the process of transformation.
As you can see, the Nine Worlds reading has a multitude of possible outcomes - this reading didn’t even touch on three of the Worlds and yet there was still plenty of material. The cloth can also be turned so that the yellow segment points off to the left – then the cloth can be used to as a forecasting cloth for the eight sabbats. You can order a cloth for yourself following this design from my shop or book a Nine World reading for yourself.
As with the previous cloth I featured, the design for this casting cloth was given to me during a journey to see the three Norns. It features the upper, middle and lower realms which can also be viewed as the higher self, conscious self and subconscious self, or as Asgard (the realm of the Gods), Midgard (the realm of Man) and Hel (the realm of the Dead). Asgard is reached via the Bifrost bridge or rainbow bridge, and the design of the cloth features a rainbow at its centre which connects the three realms; its colours can also be related to the chakras (referred to as ‘hvels’ (wheels) in the modern Northern tradition). The central design is bounded by the energies of fire and ice, the primal forces from which all manifestation flows – fire representing pure energy and ice pure form, neither is able to manifest unless combined with the other. Runes that land on the rainbow or the three elipses indicate energies presently at work, while those in the realms of fire and ice represent energies which are nearing the surface but not yet manifest.
This cloth is 90x90cm, which makes it excellent for throwing the runes down and allowing them to scatter where they will. Even with this big cloth, the Jera rune (year, harvest, time) went spinning off across the floor, rolling fast on its edge, its two halves spinning over and over each other. This signalled to me that my client was very focused on the future, feeling that time was running away with her and worried that she would not be able to manifest all the things that she desired; this was to become a central theme of the reading.
There were sufficient runes turned face upwards for me to feel that all the runes facing downwards could be treated as being irrelevant to the reading.
The Fehu rune (vitality, wealth, forward movement, growth) was also balanced on its side (I turned it over for the picture); it had settled very close to the top edge of the cloth, in the realm of fire. Closer to the point of manifestation was Inguz (the seed of potential) and the rune closest to the active part of the cloth was Isa (lying horizontally). The theme of seed, growth and harvest was very strong on the left side of the cloth, and it seemed to me that the ice rune lying on its side represented a blockage which was stopping my client from accessing these energies (hence the anxieties about the future). An important motif for this casting cloth is of fire and ice coming together to create the rainbow bridge and the three realms – so clashes of fiery and icy energies are key to the reading.
The green elipse represents the conscious self, the realm of Man, and so it is appropriate that the Mannaz rune (the rune of Man) is found here; however, it is reversed which indicates that my client is having anxiety about her self image and her role in the world. The Mannaz rune falls in the red spectrum of the rainbow – suggesting these anxieties run deep, creating insecurity. On the other side of the elipse we find the Kenaz rune (torch), it has fallen in a relatively free area of the cloth and its fiery nature suggests that my client may be able to start working through the energies of the obstructive Isa rune by using her creativity (Kenaz being the rune of the craft person). A secondary meaning of the Kenaz rune is that of an ulcer or sore, and I felt that it also indicated gnawing worries and concerns – again, bound up with the anxieties for the future.
The upper realm is very busy, and I felt that there were perhaps too many things going on (compare this elipse with the clearer middle and lower realms). The Ehwaz rune is taking on an important role in mediating between the conscious self and higher self – the Ehwaz rune being the rune of partnership which might signify a loved one or perhaps my client’s own animus. The Ehwaz rune is situated over the green spectrum of the rainbow, indicating that loving relationships are important to my client – this is emphasised by the presence of the Gebo rune in the indigo spectrum, the rune of exchange and gift giving as a means of communicating with others. However, the presence of the Thurisaz rune reversed (indicating a defensive position) and the Hagalaz rune reversed (indicating anxiety about loss of control and concern about adversity in the future) suggest that my client may not trust that gifts of love and partnership will be forthcoming without effort, maintenance and control on her part.
The rune poised above the others, at the highest point within the self, is the Eihwaz rune – a rune of strength, transformation, and flexibility. These features of strength come up again within the reading and there is much that is balanced and strong within the reading, particularly on the central axis (which we might see as the very core of my client’s being).
The reading indicates that my client is very cerebral with a great deal of personal strength to draw upon , but also a high capacity for worry and over thinking.
The lower realm seems relatively clear in comparison with the crowded upper realm. The rune Raidho mediates between the conscious and the subconscious. It rests upon the violet spectrum of the rainbow, providing a clear and high vibration connection between mind and body - it is a rune of ritual action, progress, the motion of the wheel, the rider. The rune suggests that routine, mindfulness and a focsus on the simple actions of the present will help to keep my client grounded and centred when she feels worries about the future overwhelming her.
The runes in the lower realm are Uruz (strength, stamina, health) and Berkano (rapid growth, fertility, feminine power). As the Ehwaz rune (partnership, often represented by the union of horse and rider) mediates between the conscious self and higher self, so the Raidho rune (rider) mediates between the conscious and subconscious; this suggests to me that my client has good instincts and should be able to trust in her intuition at both an instinctive and a psychic level.
Later in the reading I drew some runes from an additional set to clarify elements of the reading – this included the runes in the lower realm and, once again, I drew the Raidho rune – emphasising the benefits to my client of focusing on the rhythms of her body and daily routines.
On the right hand side, in the realm of ice, I found the Nauthiz rune and Sowilo rune (both fiery runes). The nauthiz rune indicates need and distress, it is the need fire lit in the coldest times to bring back the warmth of the sun (represented by Sowilo). There are strong echoes of the blockages seen in the fire realm here, the Nauthiz rune is closer to manifestation than Sowilo – the fire must be lit if the ice is to melt and the true will (also represented by the Sowilo rune) found.
Finally I drew two futher runes to shed more light on the interplay between fire and ice in the reading. In the fire realm, the Sowilo rune appeared again – indicating to me that my client’s task is to break through the obstacles of ice (in the reading manifesting themselves as anxiety, a need for control, preconceptions about life path and self image) and allow the energy of fire to flow and guide the way (the Sowilo rune) to development and growth (bringing in the energy of the Fehu rune and a good harvest in the future). In the ice realm, the appearance of the Uruz rune emphasised the strength my client possesses (both Isa and Uruz representing strength) but also gave a reminder that the union of fire and ice produces water and deep cleansing at an emotional level.
The casting cloths I feature in these articles (as well as others like them) will soon be available via my on-line shop. If you would like to train in rune casting, I am also running the first Rune Casting course of 2011 on Saturday 26th February and Saturday 5th March.
The latest addition to my on-line shop is a collection of hand made clay rune sets, each individually crafted and empowered. A clay rune set is a lovely addition to any runester’s collection. My first rune set was made of clay and I still love it to this day. My rune sets are hand made and each is unique, do visit the shop and see!
If you like the look of a clay rune set but would rather craft and empower it yourself, then come on one of my rune making days…
A rune casting cloth essentially works by dividing up the areas on the cloth into sections with different meanings, there are an infinite number of designs and we are going to explore a few over the next few weeks. The casting cloth featured this week is separated into three sections, representing Urd, Verdhandi and Skuld (past, present, and ‘future’). Some casting cloths are drawn very geometrically, but I like to take a more intuitive, organic approach and my casting cloths reflect this by looking more like pictures than diagrams. The design pays homage to the Well of Wyrd around which the Norns work, the blue ‘well’ in the centre represents the present, the yellow green area on the left is the past and the dark green area on the right is the future.
Prior to the reading I asked for the blessing of the Norns, lighting a candle in their honour and asking for their guidance. As the reading was done at a distance, I chanted the name of my client three times to establish the connection and then cast the runes upon the cloth. Interestingly, the majority of the runes landed face down in a clump within the ‘past’ section of the cloth; this is quite unusual as normally we would have a larger number of runes to work with and they wouldn’t clump together so much. Looking at the casting, I felt that the runes wanted to give a very clear and precise message to my client, hence the simplicity of the spread.
Normally, I would start the reading in the past, but in this instance I felt that starting with the present time was the correct approach. I noted that the Inguz rune was positioned almost at the centre of the cloth, suggesting that my client is building energy, storing it up ready for release – the prominant position of the Inguz rune suggests that this is the client’s main focus at this time. Slightly to the edge of the pool and closer to the ‘future’ part of the cloth, is the Perthro rune; while the Inguz rune has no ‘reversed’ position, the Perthro rune is not the right way up if we are reading the cloth from right to left, however, in this instance I felt that it was very significant that the Perthro rune (associated with the Well of Wyrd) was positioned within the Well and pointed towards the Inguz rune at the centre of the reading. To me, the reading indicated that the store of energy being built up by my client is also being supplemented by external sources, her own ‘seed of potential’ (as represented by Inguz) being fed by the waters of the well poured over it by Perthro. In this reading the Perthro rune is both positive (providing energy to the Inguz rune) and negative – as we will discuss next.
I then looked to the future, noting that there were only two runes – suggesting a level of focus and freedom in the future notably absent in the clogged up past. The two runes, however, are both positioned over one of the lines flowing over the cloth and it seemed to me that there was a threat that they would be swept up, back into the past; this was emphasised by the presence of the Othala rune reversed, suggesting the influence of ancestors, family and learned behaviours will influence my client in a way that threatens to undo the energy she is pouring into her future endevour. The presence of the reversed Kenaz rune, so close to the reversed Othala reminded me of the Kenaz rune poems which speak of illness and childhood – it seemed likely to me that there will be a real threat in the future of past pain resurfacing and old patterns taking hold. For me this was emphasised by the position of the Perthro rune, if we view it as a ‘cup’ pouring water into the Well, then it is interesting that it is facing the past – the flow of Wyrd being directed backwards rather than forwards into the future.
I then looked to the past, noting the large cluster of runes flanked by the Teiwaz rune (the spiritual warrior, martrydom, attempts to remain balanced and objective) and the Algiz rune (protection). Given the messages from the future about learned behaviours and family issues, it seemed likely to me that my client had had to assume the position of the protector and guardian in the past, making difficult choices and personal sacrifices for the sake of family peace or approval. It may be that family issues remained unspoken, literally swept under the carpet with my client being charged to keep it that way. The presence of the Nauthiz rune, the need-fire, suggested that my client had been aware for some time of a sense of emptiness or a lack of completion in the self - perhaps this feeling providing the driving force for the work in the present of storing up energy for future use.
I sought guidance concerning any face down runes that were relevant to the reading (i.e. as a hidden or unacknowledged influence) and was guided to turn over the rune in the centre of the cloth next to Inguz. This turned out to be Berkano, a rune that is very complementary to the energy of Inguz, providing the means by which the energy within the seed can grow and develop. Berkano is the rune of Spring, manifesting new life, hopes, dreams, happiness and fulfilment. I felt that my client would benefit from working with the energies of Berkano, seeking, in a very practical sense, to make real the life she is working towards through amassing energy within Inguz. It may be that, without an outlet for the energy raised to manifest, it will be lost, leading to my client repeating old patterns (as discussed in relation to Kenaz and Othala).
This reading indicates two important questions that should form the basis of future readings (or additional readings within the same session). The first would relate to the way in which the energy of the Berkano rune might be harnessed to allow my client to manifest her dreams and bring growth and development; the second would complement this, focusing on the way in which old patterns of thought and the expectations of others my client feels she needs to meet (whether real or perceived) meet might be resisted. These additional readings would normally provide practical advice on what my client could do to ensure more positive outcomes within the future, perhaps including healing work or working with particular rune energies.
I would also like to say thank you to my clients who have agreed to let me use their readings as examples on my blog. I will be doing a number of demonstration readings using different cloths so, if you are happy to have parts of your reading posted anonymously, do get in touch – your reading will be free (first come first served)!
Before we start looking at different types of casting cloths, we should cover the basics. As the name suggests, rune casting is different to rune spreads because you literally ‘cast’ the runes down – the way in which they fall being just important as the runes themselves. This can make readings much more dynamic and you will need to develop your intuitive and psychic skills to a greater extent as the runes fall in a unique way for each individual. Casting cloths marked out with particular ‘domains’ (e.g. past, present, future) can help to provide a framework for your casting – but a great deal of the reading will depend on your relationship with your runes and your ability to interpret what they are telling you.
Over the next few weeks we will look at particular casting cloths and example readings – this article is intended to give you an overview of some of the basics.
Your casting cloth
Many of the techniques already covered in the articles on rune spreads remain the same – you still need to work in a safe space, connect to spirit, and prepare the runes for your reading (by clearing any energies from previous readings and setting your intention for the present reading at hand). Once you are ready you can either scatter the runes directly from the bag/container or take one or more handfuls and scatter them on your cloth.
Even if you don’t use a cloth marked out with a particular pattern, a casting cloth is really helpful. It will take on energy as you work with your runes, mark out clearly the area you are working in, and the laying out of the cloth will, in time, form part of your preparation for your reading – signalling to your subconscious and spirit that you are ready to begin. The traditional colour of the cloth is white (reported to us by our old friend Tacitus in his records of Germanic divination) but go with what works for you.
How have the runes fallen?
One of the reasons why a rune spread is easier to work with is that you already know what you are looking for - a rune casting is a little bit more complicated, and much scarier to begin with. Possibly the most difficult part of a reading is the very beginning – you have thrown the runes down and now they all stare up at you – refusing to speak or tell you where to start.
Before we start talking about the runes on the cloth, you will also need to decide whether you ignore any runes that have fallen outside the area of the cloth. Normally these would be disregarded, but if one pings off in an unexpected direction, then it could signify an event outside the person’s control or perhaps an aspect of their personal power or soul which they have lost connection with. If you have a ‘pinging rune’, collect it, take a brief look and explain its meaning to your client, then set it to one side to look at again once you have more information from the rest of the reading – often its meaning will be obvious to the client straight away but sometimes the remainder of the reading is needed to cast light on its significance.
Direction of the reading
If you have a casting cloth, then there may be a picture on the cloth to help you (e.g. sections for past, present and future), but the runes will still have fallen in a unique pattern within each individual section on the cloth. You may have a cloth which makes it very clear which way is ‘up’ so you don’t have to worry about working out which runes are well aspected and which ill – but in many cases there won’t be any clues except the patterns the runes make themselves.
To work out what the general shape of the reading is trying to tell me, I like to move my hands over the spread, sweeping them over the runes to help me gauge which rune/s are the ‘pivot’ of the reading – the still point around which the rest of the reading revolves (often these runes can then be taken to signify the person you are reading for). The pivot runes might be clear because of the question the person asked (e.g. they are asking about their physical health, in which case Uruz would be a good rune to look for), or it may be that one rune stands out from the rest (e.g. it is in the centre of the reading, many runes cluster around it or swirl outwards from it). In examples 1 and 2, the green Uruz rune might be identified as being at the centre of its rune cluster either because it is in the middle – or because the question is about health.
Whatever the case, trust your intuition and start to speak (once you open your mouth it will get much easier), if in doubt start with saying the meaning of the rune and indicate that you believe it to be the focus of the reading - inspiration will soon start to flow. If we take spread 1, we might say as a quick overview that the reading is focused on health and that, although there may be threats to health in the immediate present (with the metalic purple Thurisaz hovering menacingly below), these should not be of concern as protection is at hand (silver Algiz rune) through the support of a partner or loved one (purple Ehwaz rune). The focus rune will then act as a point of orientation for the rest of the reading (the position of the other runes being read relative to the position of the first rune).
Once you have determined the key runes in the reading, you will want to look at their individual positions. To start with you will want to have a good grasp of when a rune is indicating a positive influence and when a negative; there are lots of books out there which discuss rune positions, below are some of the most generally accepted meanings for rune positions.
Well aspected, upright, shining stave, bright stave
All of these are words that essentially mean that the rune is the way up it appears when written, you can look to the traditional rune meaning for guidance on what the rune is trying to say.
Ill aspected, upside down, murk stave
All of these are words for a rune appearing upside down to the way it is normally written. Example 2 has the green Uruz rune and silver Algiz rune facing upside down. This changes the meaning of the reading as it suggests that ill-health will be a problem, and that the person will not receive the help and support they need during this time. If the picture showed a full spread, then the causes of the illness might be inferred by runes clustered below and around the Thurisaz rune (metallic purple), while runes around the silver Algiz and indigo Ehwaz could reveal more about why the support needed isn’t available. If a way to alleviate this problem isn’t forthcoming from the casting, then a smaller spread can be done later to find out what action can be taken to help.
You will also get runes that appear on their side or just look lopsided, this is when the position of the other runes will be important. For example, you can see that the triangle of the purple Thurisaz rune is pointing slight upwards towards the Uruz rune – suggesting that its power is directed towards the person (and is therefore impacting on their health). If it were pointing downwards, it might be read as being part of the person’s defence (you would look at the surrounding runes to see whether this was excessive or helpful). Some people always read runes on their side as being ‘murk staves’ – but I haven’t found this to be the case, it is more likely to be an imbalance or be directly related to the position of the other runes.
A rune might also appear face down (so you can’t see its symbol). Some people take this to mean the same as a ’murk stave’ – they turn the rune up and read it in its negative sense. Others (including myself) leave the runes face down and interpret them as being unnecessary to the reading; a significant exception to this would be if the face down rune was in the very centre of the reading (like a ‘pivot rune’ discussed above) – I would take this to signify that the questioner is unaware of this important influence at this time, it is hidden in some way and you will therefore want to look closely at this rune and its significance.
So, you now have a very brief overview of some of the techniques of rune casting – we’ll cover them in much more depth over the next few weeks.
Despite snow, technological quagmires and the pitfalls and hindrances that the half month of Isa appears to be bringing, StarFire Alchemy has reached orbit and blazed into being today!
I have worked on various projects with Kay Gillard, my co-founder, over the years and our paths have now come together – both of us wanting to further our passion for supporting the community of dedicated energy workers and healers out there and expand the boundaries of our own practices. We are bringing our existing practices together under the banner StarFire Alchemy and will also be forming new groups and developing new courses in 2011 and beyond.
I will, of course, be continuing with my regular articles on RuneCraft; and dedicated runesters will be able to find out about my courses and workshops – as well as a new series of distance learning modules which I am putting together for those of you who can’t make it all the way to London… But there will also be much, much more available via StarFire Alchemy for those of you who who are interested in other forms of energy work. Our programme of events and courses includes psychic development, shamanic training and reiki (as well as RuneCraft) – whether you are a complete beginner or a practitioner looking to continue your development, there will be something for you.
Please do visit our website to view our existing and planned courses and events and, of course, let us know what you think! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on twitter or Facebook (easy links to the left of our webpages). I am, of course, particularly keen to hear from runesters who are looking for training – if you let me know what you want then I can tailor my courses more readily to suit your needs!
For those of you who receive my news letter, I will be sending out one further issue and subscriptions will then move to the StarFire Alchemy newsletter.
The twenty-four rune spread is very detailed and is also a really good practice spread for the rune practitioner who has mastered the simpler spreads and knows there there are some gaps in their understanding – everyone has runes they connect to more easily and working with all 24 forces you to engage with those you find less accessible. The only problem with the spread is that, as you become more proficient and the runes speak to you more clearly, a reading can take anywhere between one and three hours. Because the spread focuses one each of the runes in the Elder Futhark in order, it also reveals patterns within the Futhark itself and makes it clearer why the order is so important.
The blackthorn runes in the first picture are laid out in the order of the Elder Futhark, while the holly runes below demonstrate a twenty-four rune spread. You will see that I have turned all the runes the right way round but have not turned them upright if they came out of the bag reversed or on their side. A variant to this reading would be to leave any runes that appeared the wrong way up as the are – concluding that they are not important to the reading. I prefer to work with them all, but have found that sometimes two or more runes will be giving exactly the same advice making the reading repetitive (as particular messages are being emphasized). As preparation before trying rune castings this is a really useful spread, it helps you to trust your own intuition and see the way in which particular messages flow through the runes ; on one memorable occasion the message ‘do your accounts’ came up over and over in a twenty four rune spread – a casting may have said exactly the same thing in a more concise fashion, but the twenty four rune spread hammers the message home and helps you trust the information you are receiving before you progress on to castings.
Begin your reading in exactly the same way as normal, asking for guidance from spirit, clearing the bag, focusing on the issues for the reading to address. Then lay all 24 runes out in front of you (or, if you prefer, lay them out one at a time as you speak so you don’t get distracted by the runes that are coming). As an aside, the holly rune set here has runes of an uneven shape and I am often asked whether this detracts from the reading (as you may know what rune you are drawing); some people will find this difficult if they like to move the runes around in the bag while choosing, but I hover my hand over the runes to sense which one is calling and then take the first to brush my fingers (so it doesn’t matter if I immediately know which one it is from the touch).
This post would be exceptionally long if I were to go through a full analysis of this spread, so instead I am going to draw out some of the key points as I see them to give you a flavour of a 24 rune reading:
The first Aett (row of eight) speaks to me of a deep process of inner transformation. Externally it may seem that there is little movement: the ice of the Isa rune on its side stops the energetic flow of the warm Fehu rune; the creative fire (signified by the position of Kenaz) is contained within the gestating enclosure of the Inguz rune, the energy and motion of the Ansuz and Raidho positions are repressed by the downward pointing Algiz and Othala. Internally, however, there is great change at a deep level: the endurance and stamina of Uruz is turned inwards as the core of the self transforms with Eihwaz; the darkness of the subconscious is illuminated by an urgent need for change (with Nauthiz, the need-fire appearing in the chaotic and powerful position of Thurisaz); the communication received through Ansuz comes from the lower world of the ancestors and the subconscious (the rune appearing here being Algiz – personal protection- reversed), the journey takes the soul down into the realm of the ancestors and challenges the self to shake off outmoded thought patterns(with the Othala rune of inheritance appearing in the position of Raidho – to ride). While the upside down runes and winter runes present within the first Aett could be read as signs of danger (for example, the reversed Algiz rune at Ansuz could suggest vulnerability to misadvice from others), but to me the transformation of self seems like a natural process: the will (Wunjo fallen on its side) surrenders to the gift of the Gods (through its position at Gebo) and the rune of self (Mannaz) is found in the place of Wunjo – the self made whole and joyous at the end of the first Aett.
As you can see, the 24 rune spread relies heavily on the way in which one rune interacts with another (see two rune spreads for more on rune pairings). As well as looking at what rune falls in each rune position, you can also trace patterns across the reading. For example, in this reading the Hagalaz rune falls in the position of Berkano, and the Berkano rune falls in the position of Hagalaz – the dynamic formed by the cold hail seed of winter and the exuberant growth of spring will be of great importance to the client. While this continues to speak of a transformation through hardship that will lead to new growth, it also emphasises feminine qualities – the Hagalaz rune being the domain of the Goddess of the Underworld and the Berkano rune the Goddess of Spring. To me these two runes speak of great power and great potential, my client should have confidence that the changes she is undergoing will lead to possibilities she cannot even begin to imagine as yet.
Other runes may provide clues to when changes will occur – the Kenaz rune, which we saw earlier enclosed within the Inguz rune, manifests in the position of Jera (year). Note how interelated the shapes of these three runes are and the way in which the Inguz rune slowly opens out into the Jera rune of slow development and finally the Kenaz rune with its outpouring of creativity. If interpreted as ‘time’ Jera rune may suggest change within a year, but to me it seems likely that the new period of growth will coincide with the turning of the Wheel of the Year – when spring comes and the Hagalaz hail seed germinates into the bright green shoots of Berkano.
When doing the 24 rune spread, do try and consider each rune in turn – it will really help to hone your abilities as a rune reader. Something to ponder on is whether a rune which is found in its own position indicates that the energy is particularly balanced, particualrly powerful, or not powerful at all (as it has no dynamic with the other runes). You will see that in this spread the Laguz rune of water, emotions, dreams and magic is in its own position – it is the intution you develop as a reader, just as much as the your knowledge of each rune, that will guide your interpretation of how each rune has fallen.
I am now making distance readings available for those not based in London (or those who would like to have a recording and picture of their reading to peruse at their leisure). There are three types of reading available: yearly forecast, general rune casting, and specific topic/question (but bespoke readings can also be arranged on request).
My readings focus on the way in which your personal Wyrd (your soul, luck, power and fate) and the Web of Wyrd (the Web making up all the worlds as they flow from the past into the future) are interacting together. The reading will identify particular challenges, obstacles and opportunities in your life and provide guidance on how these might best be approached.
To see the readings available please visit my shop.
My reservations about readings for the coming year are that runes focus on what should be coming to pass – as rune practitioners we can either decide to flow with the reading (taking its guidance and acting accordingly), or to try and manipulate the flow of Wyrd to ensure a different outcome (using our rune crafting abilities to re-shape destiny). This act of re-shaping destiny is a path demonstrated to us by the God Odin, who ensures that the forces of Chaos are defeated at the last battle, though he cannot avert his own destiny to die. For me, a reading is simply the first step in a journey, it is not a declaration of certain truth but rather an indication of the way in which the present is likely to flow into the future. Having said that, a year is a relatively short space of time, and the runes are excellent indicators of the types of opportunities and obstacles that are preparing to manifest upon your path.
The example spread was done on the birthday of my client and used a rune set made from an oak tree which she had planted herself many years earlier. The reading starts at the top with her birth month (November), showing Uruz lying on its side and progresses clockwise. The shape of the rune on its side emphasises the qualities of the wild aurochs, as it looks like a pair of horns driving forward; this said to me that the client was having to use all her strength and stamina to get through a troublesome patch – probably involving a clash of wills and the need to stand her own ground.
The second rune was Ehwaz, the rune of partnership. The rune spoke to me of two people holding hands and walking into a rosy sunset – it suggested that this would be a time of sweet reminisence and teasing possibilities, the client’s attention would be on romance rather than long term partnership.
January sees the opening of a cycle of difficulty centred around self image and, particularly, around where the person is going in her life. The reversed Mannaz indicates a period of soul searching, and anxiety about the way in which others perceive her e.g. is she a success, should she be doing different things? Followed swiftly in February by the Isa rune on its side, the reading indicated to me that my client would be feeling trapped within her life, unsure how to proceed or what to do to free herself from these concerns. This would in turn, lead to the reversed Laguz rune in April, an emotional reaction to the previous months’ frustation – perhaps a recognition of feelings previously bottled up and ignored.
In May the tide turns with the appearance of Teiwaz, representative of the spiritual warrior who is able to look upon things with clear sight and balanced judgement and to take the action (and make the necessary sacrifice) needed to ensure the right outcome. This indicates that the period of introspection and frustration will provide the necessary spur for my client to understand herself better and start to stear a truer course for herself. In turn, June shows a possible negative reaction to this new, active, person on the part of family and friends – perhaps old patterns of reliance and mutual support will change and my client will need to rely more heavily on her own strength and resources.
Sixth months into the reading my client has a breakthrough, the path becomes clear and she is ready to step forward and make the changes necessary to transform her life. Dagaz literally means ‘day’ and it is heavily associated with transformation and swift action. With the light of day, the burdens and fears of the night are lifted, and the traveller upon the wheel of the year may step forward confidentily with the light of the sun upon her back. The appearance of the Dagaz rune prepares my client for the necessity of creating her own light to see by in July – the Nauthiz rune suggests that the inner transformation will be followed by a period of hard work. Following immediately after the Dagaz rune, Nauthiz speaks of the need-fire which is lit on the shortest day of the year to call the sun back – it suggests that my client will be able to carry the fire of day with her and so face further difficulties and uncertainty with greater confidence and strength (as long as the work is put in in July).
August brings the Othala rune on its side, perhaps suggesting a flaring up of the difficulties presented by the Wunjo rune, but at a deeper level. My client may run up, not against her kin of the present, but against the internalised values they have passed on to her (which may now be a hindrance rather than a help). There may also be some difficulties in her home life, perhaps demands placed upon her which require her to hold on tightly to the the fires of Dagaz and Nauthiz kindled earlier in the summer. The Othala rune is on its side, not reversed, so a period of adjustement, rather than great difficulty is suggested.
In September the Perthro rune brings opportunity, excitement and a new rush of energy from an unexpected source. The perthro rune looks like a cauldron on its side, and to me it speaks of a pleasant relief after the hot fires of Dagaz and Nauthiz, as well as being a confirmation that the difficult emotions experienced through the reversed Laguz rune (back in April) have now been diverted on a more productive path.
Finally, in October, with the appearance of Algiz, my client is counselled to take care of herself and not to expose herself to unnecessary danger or risk. I read this rune as indicating that, with all the new direction, purpose and opportunity now coming into my client’s life; she could potentially be misled and end up floundering if she doesn’t keep her head firmly on her shoulders.
Following on from this twelve rune spread, I drew a further two runes to provide more enlightenment regarding the period of difficulty my client would be experiencing from January through to April. I asked that the runes provide information on the challenges faced, and chose blackthorn wood as a representation of potential blockages and issues within the subconscious (you could simply note down the twelve runes and use your full set again to draw supplementary runes). Interestingly, the two runes pulled were Dagaz and Nauthiz, the runes that appear six months later at the point where my client is making change in her life – to me this indicated that the period of difficulty would come because my client already had the sense within her that change was necessary. In a sense, the months from January to April are a gestation period for the light of Dagaz and Nauthiz – these two runes might be read as ‘transformation of that which is coming’, my client is literally changing her destiny.
I then asked for guidance on the action my client could take to assist her in flowing with her own Wyrd and engaging with this process of transformation so as to minimise the obstacles and difficulties presented. I used a holly rune set (sometimes associated with Teiwaz, the rune that starts the process of change in May) and drew Gebo and Laguz. Both are runes which are very open and accepting, speaking of movement that is in continuous motion (rather than being jerky or sudden). Gebo is a rune of acceptance, of gift giving, and counsells that one must fulfill ones obligations to give and also to receive. Laguz is the rune of water and is heavily associated with emotion, as well as with purification. I recommended to my client that, at the end of each day, she spend some time calmly re-capping the day’s events, focusing on the way she felt about them and whether she had allowed herself to truly give and truly receive. By acknowledging her actions and emotions, my client will hopefully be tuned to the messages coming from her subconscious and higher self and so find the adjustment easier.
In Power and Principles of the Runes Freya Aswynn provides a twelve rune reading based on the twelve signs of the zodiac. While we know that the Germanic peoples had their own astrological systems, we know little about them. This spread is provided for you as a taster of the way in which rune casting, astrology and Germic lore can be combined to provide a rich web of meaning to draw from (for example, the rune practitioner is likely to have journied to the twelve palaces and the wisdom they have gained there will inform the reading).
There is significant cross-over between the Hellenic and Germanic cultures in terms of their religious and magickal practices, and so it isn’t too much of a leap to assume some sort of correlation in astrological systems. Nigel Pennick has reconstructed a system of astrology drawing on Germanic, Celtic and Hellenic systems (see Runic Astrology: Starcraft and Timekeeping in the Northern Tradition and my own exploration of Rune Calendars); and he notes that the realm of the Gods included twelve palaces which Aswynn (in Northern Mysteries and Magick) assigns to the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
We can therefore create a twelve rune spread using the twelve palaces (augmenting our knowledge of the twelve palaces through Aswynn’s assignation of the zodiac signs):
- Bilskinir meaning ‘lightning’, the dwelling of Thor, a mighty being who fights the forces of Chaos. Aswynn assigns this palace to Aries and a rune in this position would indicate sources of strength, passion and courage.
- Thrymheim meaning ‘thunder-home’, the palace of Skadi, a giantess of such might that the Gods married her to one of their own. Skadi is independent of spirit and a fierce hunter. Aswynn assigns this to Taurus and a rune in this position would indicate sources of endurance, tenacity and as well as the client’s connection to home and sense of security (Taurus being very much associated with home and Skadi agreeing to live separately from her husband because they could not get on in each other’s homes).
- Folkvang meaning ‘field of warriors’, a series of nine castles belonging to the Goddess Freyja, twin to the God Frey, and mistress of magick and sorcery who also claims a share of slain warriors. Aswynn assigns this to Gemini because Freja is a twin. A rune in this position would indicate sources of wit, cunning and the power to persuade which is a feature of this alluring goddess.
- Himmingbjorg meaning ‘heaven hall’, home of Heimdal, the God who guards the bridge to the realm of the Gods and can see all things. Aswynn notes that he is associated with Dagaz and Midsummer and is sometimes none as the ‘Shining Ase’ (Ase – of the Aesir), for this reason she places him at cancer. A rune in this position would indicate the way in which the client makes judgements and interacts with the world around them.
- Breiablikk meaning ‘broadview’, a palace where no evil may enter and home of Baldur, the beloved Prince of the Gods. Aswynn assigns this palace to Leo because it is the sign where everything is in visible manifestation. A rune positioned here would indicate the aspect of the self which the client presents to the outside world.
- Sokkvabekk meaning ‘stream of time and events’, the home of Saga, the goddess of History who drinks in her palace every day with Odin and sing songs of gods and heroes (Saga is sometimes seen as an aspect of Frigga, Odin’s wife). Aswynn equates this palace with Virgo, a rune placed here would indicate the person’s inner nature, his or her inner monologue which may, or may not, be shared with others.
- Glitnir meaning ‘hall of splendour’, the home of Forsetti, the god of justice (‘human’ justice which seeks compromise and agreement). Aswynn equates this palace with Libra and a rune in this position would indicate the way in which the person approaches decision making and conflict resolution.
- Gladsheim meaning ‘shining-home’, the palace of Odin, father of the Gods. Aswynn equates this palace with Scorpio as it is the hall of those slain in battle (except those claimed by Freyja). Odin is a complex deity with many layers and subtle ways, a rune in this position would indicate hidden desires and personal power.
- Ydalir meaning ‘valley of the yews’, the abode of Ullr, the hunter god and bowman, beloved of Skadi (even though she is married to someone else). Aswynn equates this palace with Sagittarius as Ullr is the divine bowman, a rune in this position would speak of the person’s independence and autonomy, as well as their ability to pursue their dreams.
- Landvidi meaning ‘white land or broad land’, this is the home of Vidar who will only speak once he has avenged the death of his father Odin at the last battle. Aswynn equates this palace with Capricorn, a rune positioned here would speak of hidden talents and strengths as well as the person’s tenacity and stamina.
- Valaskjalf meaning ‘halls of silver’ – the palace of Vali who will avenge the death of Baldur and survive the last battle, heralding the new age. Aswynn equates this palace with Aquarius, a rune in this position might indicate a person’s inventiveness, their ability to think outside the box and how ruthless they will allow themselves to be in pursuit of their goals.
- Noatun meaning ‘shipyard’, the home of Njord, father of Freyja and Frey and benevelant God of the sea and harbours. Aswynn associates this palace with Pisces, a rune in this position would indicate the source of a person’s emotional and psychic power.