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Rune Casting 101: Unlocking the Wisdom of the Norse Alphabet

Hands holding stones with runes

June 3, 2024
Estimated Read Time: 8 Minutes

Are you ready to dive into the mystical world of Rune casting? Today, we’re excited to explore this ancient Norse divination practice with you. Runes are more than just a set of alphabetic symbols – they’re a powerful tool for self-discovery, guidance, and insight. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of Rune casting, from the origins of Runes to creating your own set and interpreting their messages. So, grab your favorite beverage, get comfy, and let’s explore this source of ancient wisdom together!

The Origins and Significance of Runes

Wooden runes on the ground

Runes have a rich history dating back to ancient Germanic and Scandinavian cultures. These alphabetic symbols were used for writing, but they also held sacred and magical significance. According to Norse mythology, the god Odin discovered the Runes through a self-sacrifice ritual, hanging from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights. This sacrifice granted him wisdom and the ability to share the Runes with humanity.

Each Rune represents a specific energy or concept, such as strength, protection, or transformation. When used for divination, Runes can offer guidance, clarity, and insight into various aspects of life, from relationships and career to personal growth and spiritual development.

Rune Meanings and Interpretations

Runes falling out from the bag

The Elder Futhark, the most commonly used Rune alphabet, consists of 24 symbols. Each symbol has its own name, meaning, and interpretation. Here’s a more in-depth look at the 24 Runes and their meanings. Here’s how to read this list:
Symbol – Norse Name(Translation to English): Symbolic Meaning

  1. ᚠ – Fehu(Cattle): Abundance, prosperity, and new beginnings
  2. ᚢ – Uruz(Wild Ox): Strength, courage, and untamed potential
  3. ᚦ – Thurisaz(Thorn): Challenges, protection, and personal growth
  4. ᚨ – Ansuz(Mouth): Communication, inspiration, and divine wisdom
  5. ᚱ – Raidho(Ride): Journey, progress, and movement
  6. ᚲ – Kenaz(Torch): Enlightenment, creativity, and self-discovery
  7. ᚷ – Gebo(Gift): Generosity, partnerships, and balance
  8. ᚹ – Wunjo(Joy): Harmony, comfort, and contentment
  9. ᚺ – Hagalaz(Hail): Disruption, unexpected change, and transformation
  10. ᚾ – Nauthiz(Need): Patience, endurance, and resourcefulness
  11. ᛁ – Isa(Ice): Stillness, reflection, and clarity
  12. ᛃ – Jera(Year): Cycles, harvest, and reward for effort
  13. ᛇ – Eihwaz(Yew): Resilience, adaptability, and spiritual growth
  14. ᛈ – Perthro(Dice Cup): Mystery, chance, and hidden potential
  15. ᛉ – Algiz(Elk): Protection, defense, and connection with higher self
  16. ᛋ – Sowilo(Sun): Success, vitality, and positive energy
  17. ᛏ – Tiwaz(the god Tyr): Justice, leadership, and self-sacrifice
  18. ᛒ – Berkano(Birch): Renewal, rebirth, and nurturing
  19. ᛖ – Ehwaz(Horse): Trust, partnership, and forward momentum
  20. ᛗ – Mannaz(Man): Self-awareness, interdependence, and community
  21. ᛚ – Laguz(Water): Intuition, healing, and emotional balance
  22. ᛜ – Ingwaz(the god Ing): Fertility, growth, and new beginnings
  23. ᛞ – Dagaz(Day): Breakthroughs, transformations, and enlightenment
  24. ᛟ – Othala(Inheritance): Ancestral wisdom, heritage, and spiritual legacy

When interpreting Runes in a casting, consider the individual meanings and how they relate to the question or situation at hand. Pay attention to recurring themes or symbols, as they may highlight areas of focus or importance. Trust your intuition and allow the Runes to guide your interpretation.

When interpreting Runes in a casting, it’s essential to consider the individual meanings and how they relate to the question or situation at hand. The position and orientation of the Runes in the cast can also influence their interpretation.

How to Create Your Own Rune Set

Wooden runes

While you can purchase pre-made Rune sets, crafting your own can be a meaningful and magickal experience. Here’s a simple guide to creating your Rune set:

  1. Choose your material: Wood, stone, or clay are popular choices
  2. Select a set of 24 similarly-sized pieces
  3. Inscribe each piece with a Rune symbol using a permanent marker, paint, or engraving tool
  4. Consecrate your Rune set by passing it through smoke, sprinkling it with saltwater, or imbuing it with your intention
  5. Store your Runes in a special pouch or container

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Rune Casting Techniques and Spreads

There are numerous ways to cast Runes, each offering a different level of insight and complexity. Here are a few popular techniques and spreads to explore:

Single Rune Draw

The wooden rune in hands

Ask a question and pull one Rune for a straightforward answer. This method is ideal for quick insights or daily guidance.

Three-Rune Spread

Three runes on the table

Pull three Runes to represent different aspects of a situation. Common interpretations include:

  • Past, present, and future
  • Situation, action, and outcome
  • Mind, body, and spirit
  • Challenges, opportunities, and advice

Five-Rune Cross Spread

A cross made from runes is on the table

This spread offers a more comprehensive look at a situation. Arrange the Runes in a cross pattern, with each position representing a different element:

  • Center: The heart of the matter
  • Top: Challenges and obstacles
  • Bottom: Foundations and underlying influences
  • Left: Past events and lessons
  • Right: Future possibilities and outcomes

Nine-Rune Cast

Nine runes and candles on the table

Arrange nine Runes in a 3×3 grid to explore a situation in-depth. Each row and column can represent different aspects, such as:

  • Rows: Physical, emotional, and spiritual influences
  • Columns: Past, present, and future

Runic Pathworking

Hands, with long black nails, holding a rune

Select a single Rune, rather than pull a random one, and meditate on its symbol, meaning, and energy. This practice can help you internalize the Rune’s wisdom and apply it to your life.

Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to cast Runes. Experiment with different techniques and find what resonates with you. Keep a journal to record your castings, interpretations, and insights, as this can help you track your progress and deepen your understanding of the Runes over time.


Woman's hands holding runes

Rune casting is a fascinating and powerful divination practice that can offer valuable insights and guidance on your spiritual journey. By understanding the history and meanings of Runes and creating your own set, you can forge a deep, personal connection with these ancient symbols. Trust your intuition, embrace the wisdom of the Runes, and let their messages guide you on your path.

At Wicca Academy, we believe in empowering you with the knowledge and tools to explore your spirituality and intuition. If you’re ready to dive deeper into the world of divination and magick, check out our online courses and resources. Happy Rune casting, fellow witches!

Check out these related articles:
Beginner’s Guide to Pendulum Divination
Intro to Palm Reading
How to Cleanse a Tarot Deck
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