The Norns are the Norse goddesses of fate. Urdh was the goddess of the past, or what has been. Verdhandi is the goddess of the present, what is. Skuld is the goddess of the future, or what shall be. Fate or wyrd was a very important factor in the psychology of the ancients.
A Norns cast is very simple, consisting of three runes, drawn one at a time from the rune pouch and laid in a row. If face down, flip them over as if turning the pages of a book.
The first rune represents the past of the situation in question. The second indicates the present, the path that the querier is currently on. The third suggests the future, a likely outcome if one continues on the present path.
Find a suitable place to do the reading. You do not want to be disturbed. Try to sit facing North if possible, the direction of the Gods in Norse mythology. Place a small white cloth on the surface in front of you. You work with the runes on this cloth. This cloth protects them from getting dirty and also forms the boundary for the casting.
Carefully form a question in your mind. Take your time doing this, as it is very important that you do not change the question midway through the reading. Once you have the question firmly fixed in your mind begin to gently mix the runes in their bag or container. Continue to mix the runes until you feel compelled to take up a small handful.
Cast them onto a white cloth, and see how the symbols land. Some will be face down – ignore them. If a rune is upright, it has a certain meaning. If a rune is upside down, it has a different meaning. The combination of the visible runes affects the interpretation. Sometimes the runes might “sing” to you and the answer to the question is instantly clear. Other times, not so much.
Runes are oracles, and oracles are often obscure. Each rune can mean many different things. It is up to the runecaster to decide how these meanings apply to the question at hand. You may get even deeper interpretations through your own “gut” reactions to the rune’s definition. However, don’t delude yourself in thinking that you have a completely different understanding of the cast than indicated by the traditional interpretations. Stick to the recognized interpretations, but learn to expand on their meanings through insight and meditation.
Rune Stones usually come in a set of 24 ancient alphabetic symbols, along with a book of instructions defining the symbols. They can be made of different materials – wood or glass are the most common – and usually kept in a pouch or box.
There are many versions of the Runic alphabets. Each has variations in names, shapes, esoteric meanings and magical uses. One should not mix futharks, if you do, the intent or meaning becomes confused. The Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the Younger (or Scandinavian) Futhark are the most frequently seen versions of the Runic alphabets in use today.
The Runes are broken into three sections or groups of eight, called aett (aettir, plural). This helps one to remember their order, and may have significance in magickal uses.
Ideally Runes are cast on an East-West axis or facing the sun. A white cloth is laid down and used to determine the direction of the casting. From here the focus should lie with the pressing question.
After casting the stones onto the cloth the ones which have fallen the right side up are read and depending upon whether the Rune is reversed or not will have a bearing on its meaning and the reading as a whole.
An alternative to casting the Rune stones …
Pick a Rune stone randomly for a day reading; you can also do what is known as a 3 Rune spread. Some feel that the day Rune is a good way to get an answer to a single question. The 3 Rune Spread is used for asking broader questions whereas the single Rune can be drawn on a daily basis.
- Note: The “traditional meanings of Runes should not be regarded as absolute. They are helpful indications to layers of meaning – nothing more.
Runic divination, “runecasting”, is not “fortune telling”. Runecasting works deeply with the subconscious. The rune pouch with its runic symbols represents the entire universe. As one poses a question, one’s entire conscious and unconscious mind is focused toward that question, so that the runelots selected are not truly random selections, but rather choices made by the subconscious.
Runecraft operates on an ancient form of psychology. Even back in Viking times, there was a remarkable understanding of the human psyche. They recognized cause and effect, and the interconnectedness of all things. The word to describe this interconnectedness was “wyrd”, which was eventually perverted into the modern meaning of “weird”. It did not originally mean something unusual or strange. Rather, it referred to the far-reaching effects of that which one does.
The concept of “fate” was also not as we know it now. Instead of a helpless predestination, “fate” meant a destiny created by one’s earlier actions. Wyrd was pictured as a web, like that of a spider. The symbology is excellent. When the spider steps onto a thread (a path) the vibrations affect the entire web and that which is contained within the web, just as our actions affect our immediate world and those around us, and the actions of others affect our lives.
When one does a runic reading, one usually addresses a particular issue, and examines the past, the present and the “future”, or rather “what will be if one follows the path one appears to be on”. The future is always perceived as mutable, changeable. The runic reading is done as an evaluation process, not as fortunetelling. One has an opportunity to look at what has occurred in the past (regarding the issue being questioned), what is occurring right now, and what direction one is headed.
A runecaster does not see the future. He/she examines cause and effect and points out a likely outcome.
- Rune Power
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