The Road to Runes: Learning the Layouts
Before I expand further into learning the individual meanings of the runes, I wanted to understand a bit more about the different layouts used in rune divination. Like tarot, there are various ways of displaying runes, and each layout can have different meanings and is useful in different types of situations. We’ve already had a look at a three rune spread, showing what has happened, what is happening right now and what is going to happen; past, present and future. More metaphysically, this can be seen as our current situation, our desired situation and the eventual actual outcome of the situation. We’ve also looked at pulling a single rune, and using that to give us some guidance on a single question. But how else can the runes be used for divination?
The Four Directions
Pull four runes and lay them at north, south, east and west. The Rune Site tells us that each of the positions of the runes can be named for each of the dwarves that hold up the sky; Nordri, Austri, Sudri and Vestri. This cast expands upon the three rune cast by adding in an extra rune which tells us of what obstacles may be in our way.
Nordri: North, the past. What happened to lead the subject to ask the question they are asking today? What led to this situation? Why are we here, in this position, today?
Vestri: West, the present. What’s happening right now? How are people feeling? How are they dealing with the current situation? How are subjects reacting to one another?
Austri: East, future obstacles: What stands in our way? What opportunities are there? What challenges, and what chance to overcome these?
Sudri: South, future outcome. What may we expect at the end of this situation? How will it be resolved? Indeed, will it be resolved, or will it lead to another situation beyond this one?
Five Rune Spread
You or your client pulls five runes and spreads them in a line, and they are read left to right. Blackwitchcoven.com tells us that these runes, one to five, are the present, the obstacle, a desired goal, a concern and the final result.
Rune One: This is the truth of the current situation and should directly relate to the question the caster or client has asked.
Rune Two: This rune will describe or foretell an obstacle which will occur in the caster’s journey.
Rune Three: This rune should relate to the caster’s goal, but may reflect an unconscious desire.
Rune Four: This rune deals with any worries, concerns or even anxieties about the situation in question. It may be that the caster didn’t appear to have any worries, and was simply looking to the runes for reassurance. This rune will deal with any subconscious worries that are lurking behind the scenes.
Rune Five: This rune gives some guidance on what the actual outcome may be.
Seven Rune Layout
This one seems more complex, but is incredibly useful for obtaining more detail and specifics about your situation or problem. Sunnyway.com tells us this spread can often tell us how we ended up in this position in the first place, and can look three months in to the past, or the future. Another left to right reading, simply choose seven runes, lay six out left to right with the final rune by itself, below the first six.
Runes One and Two: These should give details on the current problem; what is happening right now; people’s current feelings, reactions and actions; how we are dealing with this situation right now and how it is affecting us.
Runes Three and Four: what happened in the past to lead to this situation? What are the root causes?
Runes Five and Six: These are the two key runes that will provide the necessary guidance for this situation. Try and interpret the meanings of each rune and see how they relate to one another, in order to get the best advice possible. You may be told to move on, to let something go, to hang on to something, to wait, to act; it’s important to try and glean as much meaning as possible from these two runes.
Rune Seven: The overall outcome. The meaning of this rune will be affected by the runes that came before, so if it’s a rune where the meaning could be either generally negative or positive, look to the prior runes and see how positive or negative they are, and their meanings; do they back up a negative outcome? Or would that make little sense in the context of this reading?
This sounds like a really complex reading, and I doubt I’m ready for it yet, but it’s really interesting to see how the runes can be used together, and not just as individual messengers.
About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.
She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.