Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism, for the Novice to the Crone

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Casting The Runes

There are many ways to “cast” the runes

Each individual will eventually devise his or her own way of casting the runes. What follows are some suggestions, all following a similar path, but they are by no means fixed rules. We will discuss ways of casting the runes below.

It is important to remember that your runes are your own, and are special. You have created a link with them and that is important. Never lend your runes, unless you feel comfortable doing this. I personally would never lend runes, Tarot cards or crystals to anyone else. If you are unsure, maybe you should try drawing a rune from your pouch and seeing what you get as an answer. It is suggested that an upright rune gives a Yes answer, and an inverted one a No answer. However, those runes which look the same either way may prove a problem!

A traditional way of casting the runes is to mix them in a pouch and cast them on a cloth, usually velvet. I keep my runes in such a pouch and use them in this way. It usually happens that the runes I am intended to use find their way into my hand or between my fingers as I mix them in the pouch. I usually draw nine runes.

Others have suggested drawing three runes at a time, three times, with a break in between each set of three.

Old Nordic tales suggest that throwing runes at a person was a means of casting a magical spell. Likewise spells are said to have been cast by writing certain runic inscriptions on a piece of paper and passing it to the unsuspecting intended victim.

All these things may belong in folklore, and have no bearing on the modern usage for runes; it is up to the individual to decide. One rune master I know draws three runes which represent current circumstances. Having looked at these three runes, he returns them to the pouch and draws three more. The second set of three represents courses of action or possible outcomes. The second set is then also returned to the pouch and a final single rune drawn, which indicates influences likely to have a bearing on the problem as a whole.

Tradition suggests that Odin's number was 5. For this reason, some rune masters work with only five runes. Those interested in numerology will note that the runes total 25 if you include the blank rune. This all adds up to 7, which is a powerful and spiritual number, and for this reason, perhaps, some rune masters draw seven runes when casting.

Another means of casting the runes is to ' shuffle them' and leave them to their own devices for a while (15 minutes is usually suggested), and then draw 12, laying them on a horoscope chart especially prepared for the purpose.

We have now briefly introduced ourselves to the runes, and are more aware of their foundation and usage. As already stated, more detailed descriptions of casting the runes will be given at a later stage. Before we are able to discuss each rune in sequence, we will look at the sort of runes to buy, and w

hether it is better to make your own set, and at the symbols.

Ways Of Casting The Runes

There are probably hundreds of different ways to lay the runes for a casting. What is given here is only a selection. It is by no means exhaustive.

I would suggest that you try some of these, going for the ones with which you feel comfortable before trying your own ideas out. The reasons for this are many, not least of which it is important to familiarize yourself with the runes and how they are read as a group before progressing.

It should also be remembered that you may have some personal thoughts on the meanings of the runes at the time you are carrying out the casting, which you should not dismiss out of hand. The meanings given in this book are basic, and again by no means exhaustive. You may for example wish to use all

the reverse meanings given, even though some runes look the same either way up. Experience is the best teacher, and you must always do what you feel comfortable doing. Don't go along with something just because others do - make up your own mind.

As we said earlier in the book, many rune masters draw three sets of three runes to indicate past, present and future. These are cast and laid from right to left as shown at right:

Another means of casting the runes consists of five runes, called Odin's casting. Again these are laid down from right to left, with the third rune slightly raised from the remainder. I read these as being two pages within a book with the third rune being that which is either holding the pages together, or conversely, stopping them from being turned. I use a similar layout in Tarot readings.

Similar layout could be used with seven runes.

You could also consider using a 12 rune casting, linking each rune either with a month or with a sign of the zodiac. This is usually laid out in a circle, as in Figure 7.3, although I have seen many variations of this.

A very popular means of casting the runes is the Runic Cross (Figure 7.4). This is laid out as shown below, and using this layout can prove very rewarding.

Figure 7.4 - The Runic Cross

Yet another suggestion would be what is sometimes called the rune-cast method. Those who have read my Gems and Crystals for Beginners may see some similarities in the way this is done with one of the ways of reading crystals discussed in that book. Basically, you 'shuffle' the runes within their pouch, and having formed a circle of string on the floor, empty the pouch into it.

Those runes nearest to you have the greatest meaning. Should any have fallen outside the string circle, these can be ignored; likewise if they fall on the string or have fallen face downwards.

There are many more ways of casting the runes, and no doubt you will find one suitable for you.

Experiment and practice.


This informative Wicca How-To, plus much more, can be found in:

Runes: A Beginner's Guide (Headway Guides for Beginners)

By Kristyna Arcarti

An introduction to the ancient practice of rune crypt as it applies in modern life. There are step-by-step instructions to using runes for health, career, love life and family life. Practice boxes allow readers to test their understanding and there are case studies of runes in action.

Copyright © 1999 Kristyna Arcati

Figure 7.3 - 12 rune casting: