Reading the Runes

A rune reading provides a snap shot of the way in which Fate or Wyrd is flowing at a particular point in time, for a particular person or group.  It is less a prediction of your future and more an oracle helping you understand your present situation and the choices available to you.   

Runes can be thrown on a cloth and interpreted free-form or they can be set down in a pre-determined ‘spread’ in a similar way to tarot.  The free form method is known as rune ‘casting’ as it literally involves casting the runes down on the cloth.

The beauty of the runes is that because they are a magical system as well as a divinatory one you can work with them to shape the future as well as to read it.  Experienced readers sometimes work with two rune sets.  The first is used to do the initial reading and the second is used by asking the question ‘What runes can I work with to influence xxx’ and laying down additional runes next to the first casting/ spread.

Rune spreads archive

The following links take you to a series of articles on rune spreads.  These currently link to old web archives and some may be broken.  I will be re-publishing the full series over the coming year.

Rune Casting Archive

The following links take you to a series of articles on rune spreads.  These currently link to old web archives and some may be broken.  I will be re-publishing the full series over the coming year.

Wyrd

Loosely translated as ‘Fate’.  Wyrd is very bound up with the concept of time; after the Gods name the phases of the moon and the stations of the day, the Poetic Edda describes  a ‘Golden Age’ which precedes the arrival of three women (normally interpreted as being the Fates):

On Itha Plain met | the mighty gods:
shrines and temples | they timbered high,
they founded forges | to fashion gold,
tongs they did shape | and tools they made.

Played at draughts in the garth: right glad they were,
nor aught lacked they | of lustrous gold-
till maidens three | from the thurses came,
awful in might, | from etin-home.  (The Poetic Edda)

These stanzas describe the first stirrings of ‘doom’ – 0nce the maidens arrive the Gods will know ‘lack’, for they are also subject to Fate.  Immediately after this, the Gods breathe life into Ask and Embla (the first man and woman) who are described as ‘unfated’ before the Gods gave them being.  Imagine a short story as follows : ‘They lived happily ever after’.  To me this is what a world without Wyrd might look like – no substance, no narrative, no sense of who ‘they’ are, of adventure or excitement, of love or loss.  The beginning of the Poetic Edda is lika an unfolding, each new phase of creation demanding the realisation of the next phase; a pattern has been set into motion and that pattern is Wyrd.

Wyrd is sometimes described as being like water (as in the Well of Wyrd), new souls are believed to be born from the Well and naming ceremonies in many cultures include a blessing with water.  Wyrd is also the name of one of the Fates in Anglo-Saxon mythology (corresponding with the Norse Urd), she is the Norn of the ‘past’ from which the present and future flow forth.  The Fates spin, weave and cut the threads of Fate, and Wyrd is often characterised as a web or woven cloth.  The important thing to remember is that Wyrd is a dynamic force, it is always in motion, continuously present as it flows from the past and into the future.