Runic Divination

History of the Runic alphabets and divination

As far back as primordial time’s man found himself fascinated by the mysterious writings of almost forgotten prehistoric languages, e.g. hieroglyphs from Egypt, American Indian inscriptions.

According to the University of Nottingham (2006)

The earliest undoubtedly runic inscriptions currently known are the short texts (mostly single words which might be names) scratched in the metal of weapons and other gear excavated from the bogs of Illerup and Vimose, in Denmark. Archaeologists have dated these to around 200 A.D although a comb found at Vimose may be about half a century earlier. (¶. 7)

However, the destiny of the mystical runes has had a much more fortuitist existence in that their sagacity has not been compromised throughout the ages, even after the Latin alphabet gained dominance in Europe. E.g., runes were inscribed on coffins and coins; they were also used in the making of calendars up until the end of the 18th century.

Some modern day linguists believe that the runes posses a much more cerebral meaning, to which one cannot find in hieroglyphs, ideograms, or in contemporary foreign alphabets; this unseen meaning exists in the subconscious realm of the mind. Runes were and are still to this day the embodiment of the world around us, in other words the quintessence of how one views the world around them. Through the mystical links amidst the differing runes a man is able to convey nearly every emotion and circumstance by combining them. Throughout the ages runes have changed their meaning, and as such through this system of adjusting dozens of meanings for one same symbol has been created (confirmation of this conjecture can be seen in that any given rune in one language had a completely different meaning in another).


For thousands of years now runes have been used in the art of divination, nevertheless at first it can seem like an art that would be better left in the past because there is no one set method of runic divination and as such it is solely up to the practitioner to decide which method to use.

I have been divining with runes for well over 20 years now and my personal rune of choice is the Elder FUTHARK runes. The first step one must take when beginning to learn to read runes is to get to know the runes themselves. This however, does not mean you have to memorize each individual interpretation of the runes. It has been my experience in teaching the art of runic divination that it is extremely important to start at the beginning with the fehu (F) and meditate on that individual rune for a day and then move on to the next until you have gone through and meditated on each and every one of them. There are several exercises one can use daily to assist in the learning of the runes, e.g. visualization, word association, physical bond etc…




As I stated before, there is no one set method in using runes for divination purposes.  Nevertheless, there are certain distinct characteristics when it comes to making runes which in turn may make them better suited for casting them, e.g. most runes are made by carving the runic symbols onto small pieces of clay, stone, or wood. These are materials are better suited for the scattering and picking up the runes. The choice of materials used to make your set of runes is an individual one, I personally follow the Druidic path and as such only use stones as I hold trees to be sacred living beings therefore my set is made from stones.

That being said I will attempt to briefly explain how to divine with the Elder Futhark runes.  Unlike the tarot when the runes are cast they are read as they fall regardless of the position they landed in because they often times land at odd angles or sideways. However, for the most part each person generally devises their own personal method of reading the runes. One method I use when looking for a simple one question reading is to pull three stones from the pouch and cast them onto the table or casting cloth if the runes fall with two of them (or all three) in the upright position and one reversed then the answer to your question is an astounding yes however, if only one is in the upright or all are reversed then the answer is no. Other methods include the Norns, Roman method, and the Nine Rune cast but we will go into that in the may issue.


Beginning in May’s issue of Pagan Pages will be starting a new online class. We will be starting first with learning the meanings of each rune and what it stands for and from there we will move on into actual art of runic divination.   I will be teaching the class.  Pagan Pages would like to see if our readers have an interest in learning Runes.  If you are interested we would appreciate you leaving a comment below so we can plan forward with our future issues

Bountiful Blessings

Bibliography and Works Cited

University of Nottingham. (2006). What are the Earliest Runic inscriptions. Retrieved March 7, 2009, from http://runicdictionary.nottingham.ac.uk/faq.php#earliest