Welcome back, Rune-fans and Rune-curious!
(Sidenote: for the detail-oriented, some resources will refer to a user of Runes as a vitki — this is an Old Norse word for a “Wise One,” a sorcerer and shamanic figure who was conversant with the Runes [plural = vitkar])
So the last post left us at the point of obtaining a set of Runes. This post will now skip forward, and advance on the presumption that this acquisition has already taken place…
…and now you’ve got your Runes, and you’re ready to solicit wisdom on a more cosmic scale…except, what exactly do you do, right??
First, you need to have a physical space cleared away into which you’ll be casting your Runes. Any flat or mostly flat surface will do, although you may want to keep your Runes out of filth and such if reasonably possible… I often use the black and white patterned cloth that you see in some of the accompanying photos as a sort of “Rune-cloth” onto which I’ll toss the Rune-chips when I do readings…but you don’t have to use a cloth. Also, if you do want to use a cloth, it doesn’t have to look like mine — anything that feels appropriate to the occasion, and that will help you to be in the most Rune-centric and divinatory state you can be in, is the perfect thing!
Now, there are a few initial steps you can start off with that are actually kind of all-purpose applicable toward virtually any type of divination that you want to engage in (or even divination-adjacent endeavors, like meditation and energy-healing). Basically, it can be helpful and conducive to good results if you do something(s) to sort of “mark off the interval” as representing an experience that will be especially meaningful to you. The idea is that if you’re petitioning the Divine for wisdom and counsel, then the least you can do is show the Divine that you actually care about the issue and the interaction!
So how do you do this? You can be as sparse in your approach as simply taking a few deep breaths and stating silently to yourself what your intentions are in carrying out this reading (“I’m seeking advice/wisdom/inspiration/etc., and that’s it!”)…or you can get very elaborate, and incorporate things like candles, incense, crystals, and all manner of other spiritually-minded gear into your preliminary “warm-up routine.” The point is that you likely will benefit if you do engage in a bit of “warm up” before doing readings (although this has to be a kind of warm-up that feels right to you). You’ll probably do best if you can achieve some sense of transition from out of your ordinary rhythms and default state of mind, even if that transition is a subtle one. You can also surf up some great ideas for use in this regard if you just visit your favorite search engine, and arrive bearing phrases like “spiritual grounding exercises”…
Once you’ve had your transitional moment, and you’re ready to begin the reading, you’ll need to be sure that all 24 Rune-chips are in the small cloth bag that most Rune sets come in — if you don’t have a Rune-bag, you’ll have to improvise something similar. When all of the Runes are in the bag, I like to mix them up by poking my left hand into the bag at waist-level, while my eyes are trained on the far wall (that is, I don’t directly watch what my hands are doing when I do a Rune-cast — in fact, I intentionally and directly do not watch what my hands are doing). I use my left hand because I’m naturally right-handed, and I want to be sure that I’m not able to exert too much conscious control over the results of this process. I like to then stir up the entire bag of Runes several times before I’ll feel ready to grab any for the reading, and while I mix the Runes, I concentrate on the question that I’m asking. This can be a very precise full-sentence kind of query (with multiple parts, even: “I’m seeking counsel on how to handle it if my boss really is leaving the company, and alternatively, whether I should hit her up for a raise if she stays…”), or it can be a more vaguely stated, conceptual thing (“So, my job stuff…?”). Many practitioners advise going for the greatest specificity possible in formulating your questions…but I’d advise trying a few different approaches just for the experience before deciding that one way is the way you have to go. To be honest, some readings will seem to almost demand one approach, while others will feel like they’re pushing for another. Listening to the intuitive voice is always pretty good policy here!
So once I’ve got the bag mixed, and my question has psychically suffused it (by virtue of my having mentally repeated it a few times over), I pull forth however many Runes will comfortably make it out of the bag in my left hand. It’s important to not get so greedy or ambitious here that I end up accidentally spilling a bunch of hopeful but not firmly grasped chips all over the place… Next, I drop the entire handful I’d grabbed onto the flat area that I’d designated for catching the Runes. Hopefully, I’ve done this from a high enough altitude above that surface that there was some legitimate jostling and separation of Rune-chips during descent and landing (they need to disperse somewhat across the “landing area”)…but not so high an altitude that any of the Runes vaulted off of that official landing area and onto the ground.
Once you’ve done these things, you’ve got yourself an official Rune casting (or, I think of it as a “scatter,” although I may have made that term up…?). Next time, we’ll start to decode the results…
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