Runes originated as a germanic alphabet. As a form of divination they are similar to Tarot or I-Ching. They are symbols inscribed on any number of mediums ( plastic, wood, stones, cards ect. ). There are more then one version of runes, such as the Younger Futhark (16 runes) the Anglo-Saxon runes (28 runes) the Elder Futhark (24 runes) and so on.
The word "rune" comes from the Gothic "runa" and means a "secret thing", a "mystery". Prior to a written alphabet, runes wre used as pictoglyphs by the ancient germanic peoples. They date back to about 200 B.C.E. The runic letters or "Runastafr" are used as a means of divination. The casting of the runes is called "Runemal". A "Vitki" (magician or wise one) is the person actually using the runes. The name "Futhark" comes from the first letter of the first six runes. "Galdr" is the mantra used in runic rituals.
The runes are divided into three families (aettir) of eight runes each. Each aettir is named after the Norse Gods: Freyr, Hagal, and Tyr.
Freyr's aettir - Fehu, Uruz, Thursiaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo, Wunjo
Hagal's aettir - Hagalaz, Naudhiz, Isa, Jera, Eihwaz, Perthro, Elhaz, Sowilo
Tyr's aettir - Tiwaz, Berkano, Ehwaz, Mannaz, Laguz, Dagaz, Othala
There are four layouts normally used for runic divination, they are:
1. Odin's Rune
2. Three rune spread
3. Runic cross
4. Three life spread
Place the runes in a rune pouch and shake them up. Draw out one rune. This represents the crux of your present situation or the basic answer to your question.
Three Rune Spread:
After placing the runes in a pouch and shaking them up, draw three of them out and lay them in a horizontical line in front of you. Reading them from left to right. the first rune represents the present situation. The second rune represents future challenges,. And the third rune represents the best outcome.
After placing the runes in a pouch and shaking, pull out six runes. The first rune goes in the center of the spread, and this represents the current situation. The second rune goes to the right of the first rune and represents the past. The third rune goes to the left of the first rune and represents the future. The fourth rune goes below the first rune and represents the foudation of the situation. The fifth rune goes above the the first rune and represents the challenge ahead. And finally the sixth rune goes above the first and fifth rune and represents the best outcome.
Three Life Spread:
In this spread, five runes are used for exploring past incarnations. Again, after placing the runes into the pouch and shaking, withdraw five runes. The first rune is placed to the right of the spread and represents birth and childhood of this life.
The second rune goes to the left of the first rune and represents the present. The third rune goes to the left of the second rune and represents the future in the present life. The fouth rune goes below the second rune and represents past incarnation. The fifth rune goes above the second rune and represents future incarnations.
Each reading is based upon the individual Vitki's interpretation and intuition. This will become clearer and more in depth with practice.
It is said that "Odin"; the Norse High God of the Aesir, was the first to obtain the runes and their power.Using his spear, he impaled himself for nine days and nights, on the world tree, " Yggdrasil ". He then passed on the runic knowledge to the Vanir Goddess, Freyja, whom in return, taught him the magick of "seither". In time, " Heimdall " the God who guarded the Rainbow Bridge, passed on the runic knowledge to mankind.
This song cites the experience's of Odin at the Yggdrasil:
" I know that I hung,
on the windy tree,
all of the nights nine,
wounded by spear,
and given to Odhinn;
myself to myself,
on that tree,
which no man knows,
from what roots it rises.
They dealt me no bread,
nor drinking horn,
I looked down,
I took up the runes,
I took them screaming,
I fell back from there. "
" Knowing that we know so little, should be inspiration for reaching to the sky "
The Runes - Elder, Anglo-Saxon, Younger Futharks, Gothic Runes