The Road to Runes: Pocket Advisor App Review
Runes are a complex divination system based on ancient Germanic letters. They are most famously associated with Norse myths and legends and Asatru spirituality. Can these runes possibly work in a digital format?
I’m not averse to digital divination, a form of technomancy, if you will. I’ve found some tarot apps quite useful. An I-Ching app I tried once was particularly good. This makes sense as that divination system is all about numbers at its heart. But what about runes? Do the messages from the runes come from deep within ourselves? Then any tool which helps us focus could be useful. Do they come from an external power? If so, a digital app may not be the best way to access that power.
Whatever your thoughts on the power of runes, it’s always interesting to take a look and see how well the digital version of runes measure up against the traditional.
The app I decided to give a try was Runes: Pocket Advisor.
Celtic Runes, Oh No…
Straight away, on the very first page, I am putting my head in my hands and groaning. Under the heading “About Divination Runes”, this app refers to runes as Celtic Runes.
Why is this problematic? There are no Celtic Runes. Runes are not Celtic. Under duress, I have, myself, referred to the Celtic script Ogham as “like” runes, or a Celtic writing similar to runes. But the runes in this app are clearly Elder Futhark and not Celtic in the slightest. Not a great start.
The “About” section continues on to say it offers three types of divination:
- Fast divination runes, one rune to answer a single question
- Two runes, although it’s unclear why (see below)
- Three runes, for the past, present and future
The writing is tricky to understand at times. Here’s the explanation for the Two Rune divination:
A combination of two runes gives a description of the current situation and the forces that affect you now, in the present. And so the question must not touch this or can not do without question. Two runes even without question, show characteristics of the present moment.
I think it means that the two runes will give a general overview without having to ask a question, but I really struggled to make sense of this.
Clicking on the Fast Rune button brings up Thurisaz which is subtitled as Giant. The description paints Thurisaz as a negative rune, and makes it synonymous with Thor’s hammer. It then contradicts itself by stating the rune can mean security, protection and good news.
While some of these points are correct, I’m not sure of the link between Thurisaz and Thor’s hammer, Mjöllnir. Sometimes jewellery incorporating Mjöllnir has Thurisaz carved upon it, as a symbol of strength or protection, but as far as I know it doesn’t have any direct connection to the otherworldly weapon. I’m happy for someone to correct me on this!
This section follows a slightly different format. The screen shows 25 overturned runes, and the user has to click on two that they wish to overturn. I puzzled over what the number 25 represented, as there are 24 runes in the Elder Futhark. However, when I checked the list of rune descriptions, they include a blank rune which they call WEIRD or Odin’s Rune. This should be “Wyrd” if following the modern addition of a blank rune, which purports to be a link to fate itself.
There are lots of different schools of thought on the blank rune. It’s not a rune at all, really, as there is no inscription and it isn’t part of one of the three ættir. However, in modern divination, many practitioners do use a blank rune. Personally, I don’t. I find it hard enough to keep track of all the inscribed runes and their complex meanings without adding wild cards like the web of Wyrd into the mix!
My two runes in this instance were Berkana and Raidho, both reversed.
Berkana, or birch, I am told, represents hurdles or problems in the way of the birth or start of something. In its reversed aspect, it could be warning me of stagnation.
Raidho reversed, the app claims, is indicative of delays or difficult journeys. It may also mean that there are important lessons on the way.
I have to say, with both of these I agree with these points, although they are vastly simplified. Raidho is the “riding” rune and all about journeys and growth. Berkana is often associated with birth and new beginnings, so the reading given feels right, if a little vague.
The three runes set up was exactly the same as the two runes, with similarly very short and limited descriptions.
All in all, I was a little underwhelmed and disappointed with this app. It had quite a pretty interface, but was badly written and even included highly inaccurate information. It could be a useful tool for experienced practitioners as a simple way to pluck a rune name from the ether. But for beginners, it is highly misleading in terms of what the runes are, their origins, and even some of the meanings given.
- Useful for a quick way to choose a rune randomly
- Some good insights condensed well
- Attractive interface
- Refers to Germanic runes as Celtic, highly misleading
- Some inaccurate information in readings
- Vague and unclear at times
Overall rating: 2 stars out of 5. I won’t be keeping this one.
Next month… I’m going to review another app. Do let me know if you want me to look at one in particular! Hit me up on Instagram or Twitter @Mabherick.
About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.