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
familiarise 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 here 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.
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.
Yet another suggestion would be what is sometimes called the rune-cast method. 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 practise.
The Blank Rune And Further Use
We have now covered all the symbols on the runes, and have looked in detail at their meanings. It is
now necessary to consider the rune which has no symbol, but which has a strong meaning, and that
rune is the blank rune or wyrd. We will then progress to learn which runes to use to create new names,
and which runes should go before and after the name to symbolise the aspirations of the holder. We
shall also take a look at the runic Kabbala, before discussing ways of casting the runes.
This rune has no connections with any planet, zodiac sign, bird, plant or animal. It is the rune of
karma or fate, and concerns things which cannot be predestined, but which also cannot be avoided. As
it has no symbol, it has no place within the runic alphabetical system, and is only used when casting
The word wyrd is actually Anglo-Saxon, not Nordic, and relates to the Viking word Orlog, meaning
destiny, doom or fate. This rune is another with a strong ‘Odin connection’. The Vikings looked to
Odin as their primary god, the one to whom they entrusted their lives, yet who often showed a path
which instilled fear and trepidation.
For those unfamiliar with the word karma, this Indian word basically means destiny. I strongly believe
that we are all subject to destiny or fate. When we start in this life, we are given a book on which the
outline of the story is written. It is up to us to fill in the missing pages, so we retain free will and
The outline of the story is what is meant by destiny or karma. Often this concept is linked to past
lives, and what should or should not have been done. It is also linked to the way we have behaved in
these past lives, and putting right the wrongs we have done in order to progress and to learn.
Some people will call karma the law of cause and effect. This, however, can lead to the incorrect
assumption that karma is punishment for past misdemeanours. Karma is more realistically the
opportunity to make amends for things we may have done wrong before, either within this lifetime or
in a previous one. Not everything can be controlled by us. There are some things which happen and
leave us with no choice one way or the other. Such things are said to be ruled by fate, all of which is
indicated by this rune. That doesn’t mean to say we forget about our ability to make choices, as this is
still an important part of the meaning of this rune.
It is said that the only way to break the karmic chain is by the Law of Grace, which basically means
learning forgiveness. Every action creates karma, but by using karmic progression you can ease
matters and learn. Karma can be explained as the inability to live up to something you know you
should do or could have done.
Drawing this rune suggests to some degree that we must place our trust in those things which we may
not understand totally, whilst admitting our fears, but not remaining fearful. Karma will determine
your destiny only if you let it, and remember you only get out of a situation what you put into it.
There is only an opportunity to better oneself. Bad karma can only be created by ignorance, lack of
wisdom, and lack of love, as well as by fear and negativity.
The Wyrd Rune In A Casting
When this rune is drawn, the indications are that there is to be a major change, or that a stage has been
reached in the questioner’s life which is likely to prove a turning point. Sometimes this rune can
suggest a death. This is by no means a certainty, and it would not be advisable merely to give this
interpretation when casting the runes. It may mean the death of a situation, in much the same way as
the Death card in the Tarot.
Sometimes it is necessary for a situation to end for a new one to begin. We must have faith that what
comes will ultimately be for the good, or at the very least be an opportunity to learn. Maybe we
should look to the death of self-image or another part of our personality when this rune is drawn.
Things will definitely change, and we must consider changing with them if we are to survive intact.
Powerful forces are at large, and we must be subject to them.
To the Vikings, the blank rune was more than ever Odin’s rune, as he was the god who dictated man’s
fate. Should you be seeking an answer to one specific question and decide to draw one rune alone, the
blank rune suggests that now is not the time to ask the question and you should try again at another
The Runes & The Elemental Links
Most people with even a smattering of knowledge of astrology will be aware of the elements of earth,
air, fire and water, and that three zodiac signs fit into each element. It should come as no surprise,
therefore, to learn that a rune also corresponds to each element.
What follows here are the most widely accepted linkages between the elements and four of the runes.
Also given are other runes which are said to link in with the element being discussed.
The element of earth is concerned with solid foundations, and with keeping in touch with reality. It
may be interesting to learn that Eihwaz, an earth rune, is sometimes called ‘the Rune of Death’ because
of the poisonous qualities of the yew tree with which it is associated.
Also associated with the earth element are Uruz, Wunjo, Berkana, Othila, Isa (which can also link
with the water element, ice being frozen water) and Jera. Isa, Eihwaz and Jera are also said to link
with the New Moon.
Kaunaz is, surprisingly, a water rune. It relates to bonfires, but does not equate to the element of fire.
To the Vikings, bonfires were a physical light in the darkness, as well as symbolising inner knowledge
or enlightenment. It relates to emotions and intuition, and therefore its element is water. Some
runemasters will disagree here, preferring to keep Kaunaz with its symbol of fire.
Also associated with the water element are Perth, Lagu, Ing, Raido and Gebo. Hagalaz has
connections with ice, and so also correctly belongs with this element. Kaunaz, Raido and Gebo are
said to link with the waning of the moon. Gebo and Raido also link with the element of air.
Ansuz, an air rune has a strong connection with Odin, who was considered to have discovered the
runes in the root of the Tree of the World, and as such has a link with the ash tree. He was also
considered to be the source of knowledge and inspiration and it therefore follows that Odin should be
described as the source of language, and the runes as a form of communication.
Ansuz relates to the element of air, to divine breath, to thought and to the power of the intellect.
Also associated with the element of air are Teiwaz, Berkana (which also links to earth having a
duality in element) and Ehwaz, which also link with the waxing of the moon. Algiz is also said to link
with the air element, as do Sowelu and Mannaz.
It should be noted that some runemasters suggest that Ansuz is more correctly linked with fire and
water rather than air.
Dagaz is a fire rune, and represents day, breakthrough. It is associated, too, with the dawn of the
world, since the earth was born in flames. Dagaz is considered to be the illuminator, the light, and as
such cannot be destroyed. It is the guardian by the doorway, a protective force against anything
harmful. Dagaz is another case of elemental duality, associated both with fire and air.
Also associated with the element of fire are Othila and Fehu, which also link with the full moon, and
with the element of earth – again, being dual in elemental nature. Thurisaz, Nauthiz and Eihwaz are
also said to link with fire, but it is worth noting that many runemasters consider Eihwaz as belonging
to all elements.
“We inherit ourselves.”
Othala – “Oh-thall-ah” – Literally: “Homeland” or “Ancestral Lot” – Esoteric: Inheritance, estate, noble
Rune of anscetral spiritual power, divine inheritance and earthly estate.
Psi: ancestral spiritual power
Energy: ancestral spiritual power, inheritance, heaven on earth, “The gift of Ing”, paradise, utopia
Mundane: household, estate, inheritance
Divinations: A home or estate, group prosperity, group order, freedom, productive interaction; or lack of customary order, totalitarianism, slavery, poverty, homelessness, xenophobia, racism, genocide.
Rightful inheritance from ancestral holdings
Collection of numinous power and knowledge from past generations
Acquisitions of wealth and property
Right understanding of global unity
Security, safety, protection, the walls of Asgard
Ascension to King amongst men
Realization of Paradise
“Time is an illusion that once realized, is lovingly embraced, none the less.”
Dagaz – “Day-gahz” – Literally: “Day” or Dawn – Esoteric: Awakening
Rune of the hyper-consciousness. The process of concept becoming realized.
Psi: paradoxical truth, incommunicable experience, conceptual realization, Enlightenment, satori
Energy: twilight/dawn polarity, non-dual reality, unity, synthesis, transmutation
Mundane: another day, daylight, the inevitability of dawn
Divinations: Awakening, awareness, hope-happiness, the ideal, paradigm shift; or lack of vision, sleep, blindness, hopelessness, cataclysmic change.
Attaining the mystical moment through penetration of the secret of paradox or non-duality
Reception of mystical inspiration – the gift of Odin.
Disappearance and the act of becoming the invisible
Invisibility as an organizing principle of Higher Consciousness
Synthesis of right-left brain dynamics.
Transformation of one thing into its opposite
Integration of female and male into complete being
“Only when we know our solitude to be different from our loneliness
can we be whole enough to honor another’s place.”
Inguz – “Ing-guz” – Literally: “Seed” or “The god, Ing” – Esoteric: Process, space
Rune of isolation or separation in order to create a space or place where the process of transformation into higher states of being can occur. Rune of gestation and internal growth.
Psi: internal growth, personal development, the power of suggestion, the inner-child, wholeness
Energy: earth-god, stored energy, gestation process, male mysteries, subtlety, planned bursts
Mundane: male sexuality, agriculture
Divinations: Resting, gestation, internal growth, expectation, time for oneself; or impotence, scattering, movement without change, frivolity, immaturity.
- Storage and transformation of power for ritual use.
- Stored Energy
- Passive meditation and centering of energy and thought
- Sudden release of energy
- All forms of subtle, creative action
“Our future selves call us from infinite pasts, and each night are eroded with our dreams.”
Laguz – “Log-uhz” – Literally: “Water” or Ocean – Esoteric: Unconscious, Collective Memory
Rune of the unconscious context of becoming or the evolutionary process. Rune of Life’s longing for itself.
Psi: emotion, psychic powers, unconscious mental processes, love, dreaming
Energy: life energy, ocean spirit, origins of life, collective unconscious, the astral plane, love as unity, evolution
Mundane: water, imagination, occultism, dreams
Divinations: Life, passing a test, sea of vitality and of the unconscious growth, memory, dreams; or fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering, depression, manipulations, emotional blackmail, lack of moral fiber, fantasy, poison, toxicity
“We are each a savior, each a god.
It is the fear of what this means which binds us to the realm of humankind.”
Mannaz – “Man-az” – Literally: “Mankind” – Esoteric: Humankind, awareness
Rune of the Divine structure of intelligence in the human soul or psyche. Rune of the horizons of human existence and collective potential.
Psi: mind & memory (Hugin & Munin), the difference between human and all other life, development of the intellect, rational mind, perfected intelligence
Energy: psychic order of the gods reflected in humankind, projection of Self into time
Mundane: thinking, planning, analysis, the human condition, people at large (contemporary: the masses)
Divinations: Divine structure, sustainability, intelligence, awareness, social order, divine influence in life; or depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion, collective suicide, bigotry, elitism, intellectual arrogance.
Realization of the divine structure in humankind
Increase in intelligence, memory and mental powers (passing tests)
Unlocking the third-eye hvel, the “mind’s eye”
Activating the dynamics of your own inner Christus, or Higher Self
Awareness of our roles as co-creator with the gods and nature
Mental and spiritual potential
“The mind will trust the body, the body will trust the mind.”
Ehwaz – “eh-was” – Literally: “Horse” – Esoteric: Trust
Rune of harmonious teamwork and trust. Rune of pairs of entities working together for a common goal.
Psi: trust between individual entities, sexuality
Energy: trust, cooperation, the Fetch
Mundane: animals, teamwork, friendship
Divinations: Harmony, teamwork, trust, marriage, loyalty, a friend; or duplication, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal, nightmares, indecision, an enemy.
Activating the energies of your inner Fetch
Ability to detect deceit and uncover subtle queues
Facilitates swiftness in every regard
Establishing trust and bonds with animals (ie. horse whisperers)
“The most obvious Truth is hidden deep within, and only you will ever know it.”
Berkano – “Burr-can-oh” – Literally: “Birch Goddess” – Esoteric: Birth, Sanctuary
Rune of continued growth and continual rebirth or renewal in all things. The rune of becoming.
Psi: secrecy, silence, safety, mature wisdom, dependence
Energy: container/releaser, female fertility, trees and plantlife
Mundane: motherhood, healing, gardening, child raising, the womb
Divinations: Birth, becoming, life changes, shelter, liberation, sanctuary, secrets; or blurring of consciousness, deceit, sterility, stagnation, conspiracy, insecurity
Rebirth in the spirit
Strengthens the power of secrecy
Works of concealment and protection
To contain and hold other powers together
Realization of stillness, the Now-ness of all things
Bringing ideas to fruition in the creative process
What is higher than the self is the Self become Higher.”
Tiwaz – “Tea-waz” – Literally: “The god, Tyr” – Esoteric: Justice, Sacrifice
Rune of the balance and justice ruled from a higher rationality. The rune of sacrifice of the individual (self) for well-being of the whole (society).
Psi: spiritual warrior, honour, righteousness
Energy: sovereign order, sacrifice, right decision making
Mundane: the rule of law, fairness, peace keeping
Divinations: faith, loyalty, justice, rationality, self-sacrifice, analysis, victory, honesty, even-handedness; or mental paralysis, over analysis, over-sacrifice, injustice, imbalance, defeat, tyranny.
Obtaining just victory and success in battle, litigation or legal matters
Building spiritual will and development of sound judgement
Develops the power of positive self-sacrifice
Develops the “force of faith” in magic and religion
“The guide leads you to the doorway, then waits for your return.”
Sowilo – “So-iölo” – Literally: “Sun” (Sol) – Esoteric: wholeness, success
Rune of guidance, goal setting and success.
Psi: central nervous system, seat of the soul, revelation, wholeness
Energy: sun-wheel, strengthening the hvel/charka, cosmic energies, motivation, life-giving force, action
Mundane: sunlight, fire, meeting of goals, confidence, taking action
Divinations: Guidance, hope, success, goals, honor, life purpose, faith in outcomes; or false goals, bad advice, false success, gullibility, loss of goals.
Transmutation of thought into energy for action
Activating highest values
Strengthening of psychic centers (hvel aka Chakras)
Increase in spiritual will and optimal health
Guidance through the pathways, “enlightenment”
Victory and success through individual will
“Fear has its place in every heart. Courage is only a response.”
Algiz (or Elhaz) – “Al-jiz” – Literally: “Elk” – Esoteric: Protection, Higher Self
Rune of the essential link or connection with the patterns of divine or archetypal consciousness, such as the Valkyrie. Rune of the possible danger of realizing this link when unprepared.
Psi: divinity, higher self, the state of listening
Energy: protective teaching force, the divine plan, Valkyries
Mundane: protection, safety, spirituality
Divinations: Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life, protection; or hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of the divine link, fear.
Strengthening of hamingja (personal gravity, ‘luck’) and life force through courageous deeds
Mystical and religious communication with non-human sentient beings
Communication with other worlds, especially Asgard
Receiving instruction on the magical potential of the runes
Banishing the fear of death
“The beginning and end are set. What’s in between is yours. Nothing is in vain, all is remembered.”
Perthro – “Per-throw” – Literally: unknown – Esoteric: The Norns, Fate, Lot-Cup
Rune of fate and the unmanifest. Rune of probability and the role of luck in the evolutionary process of the all things. Universe at play.
Psi: co-incidence, living with the unknown, the art and magic of guessing, pattern recognition, prophecy
Energy: evolutionary force, luck, nothingness, the unborn, the unmanifest
Mundane: gambling, random occurrences, guessing
Divinations: Good omen, knowledge of örlög, fellowship and joy, evolutionary change; or doom*, psychological or emotional addictions, stagnation, loneliness, delusion, fantasy, unknowability.
*Doom is the way in which the uncontrolled aspects of our self conspire in our destiny. It does not necessarily mean death.
Perception of the layers of örlög and wyrd
Manipulation of cause and effect
Placing runic forces in the stream of Nornic law
Alteration of probability and dependence on luck
The creation of favorable circumstances
Chance, gambling, divination and the art of guessing