Divination Using Runes

Runes originated with the ancient Etruscans and were spread upwards throughout the Alpine regions to Northern Europe via the trade routes. The Germanic tribes took them and adapted them to their own needs and use. The oldest and most widespread of the Germanic runes are the Elder Futhark or Common Germanic Runes. The word rune, which occurs in various forms in Germanic and Celtic languages, means “a mystery” or “holy secret” that is “whispered”.

Runes were traditionally carved into bone, wood or stone which accounts for their angular shape. The lack of curves made it easier to create the shapes in either hardwood or stone.

These 24 Elder Futharks are divided into three groups or aettir. Each group of eight Runes can be linked to the eight directions on the horizon, to the seasonal festivals, and to various cycles of time and stars.

Modern users of the Runes sometimes add a twenty-fifth rune which is completely blank. This is called Wyrd. This Rune has no traditional or historical basis, but many find it very useful in their readings. It symbolizes fate, karma and the inevitable.


Nine of the runes read the same whichever way up they fall. The remainder can fall in a reversed position if the reader prefers to use reversals (and this is by no means necessary). If you chose to use reversed runes, the meaning is subtly changed by the way the rune falls. In general, reversed runes point to negative influences or situations that need to be addressed or the necessity for caution. Sometimes they simply show that a positive effect of the rune is watered down, diminished or will be delayed in some way. Reversed runes often point to an aspect of yourself that you have been unwilling to face but which you are now ready to acknowledge.


Single Rune: This cast answers a question quickly and simply.

Three Rune Cast: This cast gives a quick answer/overview to a single question/issue. Lay out three Runes in a row from left to right.

                                          1    2    3

The Runes represent past (Rune 1), present (Rune 2) and future (Rune 3).

This cast can also be extended to a Nine Rune Cast using three Runes for the past (top row), three Runes for the present (middle row) and three Runes for the future (bottom row).

                                          1    2    3

                                          4    5    6

                                          7    8    9

The Horseshoe Cast: This cast gives a more general overview of your life and uses 21 Runes. Lay down seven groups of three Runes in the shape of a horseshoe or arch. Each group covers a category.

The seven categories are:

  1. The past situation.
  2. The present situation.
  3. Developments in the near future.
  4. What you don’t expect.
  5. People around you.
  6. Obstacles and opposition.
  7. The outcome.

The Scatter: This cast is difficult for beginners but is very effective. Reach into the Runes and grab a handful. Scatter them before you. Those that lie near to you are closest in time in relation to your situation. Those that are further out are further from you in the future. Take note of which Runes are close to each other for they will affect each other in your reading. Allow your intuition free rein to divine the meaning from the placement of the Runes.

Alternatively, you can scatter a handful of Runes onto the pattern of a horoscope divided into the 12 houses. The position of each Rune indicates the area of life that is affected.

Please note:
Þ and þ = TH and th
Ð and ð = DH and dh


The first name is the Old Germanic form (eg. Fehu), the second is the Old English form (eg. Feoh).

Þurisaz (Þorn). Variant: Thurisaz Meaning: Giant
This Rune symbolizes hardship, a painful occurrence, discipline, knowledge, introspection, deep thought.
TALISMAN: aid for discipline, study, meditation, resolving a bad situation.
Reversed: Warns that careful consideration avoids wrong decisions or inappropriate action.

First Aett
fehu Fehu (Feoh) Meaning: Cattle
This Rune symbolizes concern with physical and financial needs, prosperity, and money, promotion, self-esteem. Rewards for past efforts.
TALISMAN: for achieving a goal, starting a new enterprise, money, business, promotion and finding a job.
Reversed: What you have achieved may slip through your fingers.
uruz Ūruz (Ūr) Meaning: Wild Ox
This Rune symbolizes sexuality, fertility, the unconscious, passion, vitality, instinct, and wildness.
TALISMAN: to increase sexual potency and energy, hunting, strengthen the will.
Reversed: Lost opportunities or you are too easily led.
ansuz Ansuz (Ōs) Meaning: Ash Tree or Divine Breath
This Rune symbolizes justice, a shaman, authority figure, leader, clairvoyance.
TALISMAN: help in divination and magic, wise decisions, success, and leadership.
Reversed: Problems with authority figures, lies or deceptions.
raidho Raiðō (Rād). Variant: Raidhō Meaning: Wheel
This Rune symbolizes a journey, quest, progress, life lessons, change, and destiny.
TALISMAN: protection for travelers, brings about change, ease into a situation and reconnect.
Reversed: Signals caution and reassurance in personal relationships. Travel delays.
kenaz Kēnaz (Cēn) Meaning: Flaming Brand of Pine Tree
This Rune symbolizes creativity, inspiration, wisdom, insight and the solution to a problem.
TALISMAN: aid in study, creativity and inspiration, fertility and dispelling anxiety and fear.
Reversed: Freely give up something that has to pass away.
gebo Gebō (Gyfu) Meaning: Gift
This Rune symbolizes a gift, generosity, unexpected good fortune, relationship, love and partnership.
TALISMAN: to find or strengthen a relationship, to bring luck and fertility.
No reversed meaning
wunjo Wunjō (Wyn) Meaning: Joy
This Rune symbolizes recognition, success, reward, joy, bliss, contentment, achievement of goals.
TALISMAN: for the completion of a task, success in an endeavour, motivation.
Reversed: Delays.
Second Aett
hagalaz Hagalaz (Hægl) Meaning: Hailstone
This Rune symbolizes disaster and destruction, a sudden loss, ordeal, clearance, a testing time, a karmic lesson, a drastic change.
TALISMAN: for removing unwanted influences and breaking repeated destructive patterns.
No reversed meaning meaning
nauthiz Nauþiz (Nyd). Variant: Nauthiz Meaning: Need
This Rune symbolizes discontentment, obstacles, poverty, hardship, responsibility, impasse and frustration.
TALISMAN: to fulfil a need, to turn a negative fate around.
Reversed: Revaluation of something disowned, self-control is essential.
isa Īsa (Īs) Meaning: Ice
This Rune symbolizes withdrawal, rest, inactivity, blockage, stagnation, potential, patience and reflection.
TALISMAN: to stop a process, to give oneself breathing space.
No reversed meaning
jera Jēra (Gēr) Meaning: Year/Season
This Rune symbolizes change, the yearly cycle, reward, motion, productivity, inevitable development.
TALISMAN: to bring about change, for fertility and growth.
No reversed meaning
eihwaz Eihwaz (Ēoh). Variant: Ihwaz Meaning: Yew Tree
This Rune symbolizes change, initiation, confrontation of one’s fears, turning point, death, transformation.
TALISMAN: to bring about a profound change, to ease a life transition or extreme difficulty.
No reversed meaning
perthro Perþ (Peorð). Variants: Perth, Perthro Meaning: Dice Cup
This Rune symbolizes change, rebirth, mystery, magic, divination, fertility, sexuality, new beginnings and prophecy.
TALISMAN: to aid divination and magic, fertility, easing childbirth, enhancing psychic powers.
Reversed: Reveals guilty secrets.
eihaz Elhaz (Eolh-Secg) or Algiz Meaning: Elk (Sedge Plant) or Protection
This Rune symbolizes protection, assistance, defence, warning, support, a mentor and an ethical dilemma.
TALISMAN: for protection, hunting and to build a defence.
Reversed: Vulnerability, watch health and examine advice carefully.
sowilo Sōwulō (Sigel). Variant: Sōwilō Meaning: Sun
This Rune symbolizes success, positive energy, increase, power, activity, fertility and health.
TALISMAN: for extra energy, strength, success, healing, optimism, drive, enthusiasm, fertility.
No reversed meaning
Third Aett
telwaz Teiwaz (Tīr) Meaning: the god Tîwaz/Tîw/Tyr
This Rune symbolizes duty, discipline, responsibility, responsibility, self-sacrifice, conflict, strength, a wound, physicality, the warrior path.
TALISMAN: to protect in the material sphere, to give victory or strength or to strengthen the will, for healing a wound.
Reversed: Danger through ill-timed or hasty action.
berkano Berkana (Beorc) Meaning: Birch Tree
This Rune symbolizes healing, fertility, new beginnings, growth, conception, plenty and clearance.
TALISMAN: for healing (especially involving infections), for a good harvest, to achieve conception, for making a fresh start.
Reversed: Upheavals in the home, selfishness.
ehwaz Ehwaz (Eh) Meaning: Horse
This Rune symbolizes motion, transportation, a call for divine aid, energy, power, communication, will, recklessness.
TALISMAN: for power, communication and transportation, to deliver a spell.
Reversed: Timeliness is of the essence, there is an appropriate moment for everything.
mannaz Mannaz (Man) Meaning: Man
This Rune symbolizes the human race,it can be a significator, self, family, community, relationships and social concerns.
TALISMAN: to represent a person or group of people, to establish social relationships.
Reversed: Look inside to see the reasons for your feelings of isolation.
laguz Laguz (Lagu) Meaning: Moving Water (salt or fresh)
This Rune symbolizes emotions, deep fears, the unconscious mind, things hidden, revelations, intuition and counselling.
TALISMAN: for enhanncing psychic abilities, confronting fears, stabilising mental or emotional disorders, uncovering the hidden.
Reversed: Warns against over reaching or giving into temptation.
ingwaz Ingwaz (Ing) Meaning: the god Inguz
This Rune symbolizes work, productivity, bounty, community, balance, connection with the land.
TALISMAN: for fertility, successful farming, growth, general health and balance.
No reversed meaning
dagaz Ðagaz (Dæg) Meaning: Day
This Rune symbolizes happiness, brightness, success, activity, a fulfilling lifestyle and satisfaction.
TALISMAN: to bring a positive outcome to any venture.
No reversed meaning
othala Ōþila (Ēþel). Variants: Ōthila, Ōthala Meaning: Own Land
This Rune symbolizes property, land, inheritance, home, the family name, legacy, synthesis, sense of belonging.
TALISMAN: for acquiring property, complete a project, bring strength to family ties.
Reversed: Radical departure form old ways.
wyrd-blank Wyrd (optional rune). Variant: Woden Meaning: The Unknowable
This Rune symbolizes fate, karma, the inevitable. Influences are entirely out of your control.
TALISMAN: for acquiring trust in yourself and in life itself, acceptance of past, present and future, to open all possibilities.
No reversed meaning