How to do a Rune Reading — Part 3

Okay.  When we last parted, I left you with this photo of the Rune-cast that I did here so I could walk you through my reading process:

Rune-cast, pic 1.  For those of you who want to peek ahead at the upcoming material...
Rune-cast, pic 1, revisited…

I wasn’t delving into any specific question for my own personal illumination when I drew and cast the Runes this time around, by the way, although that’s often the way we approach these things — rather, I simply asked: “Which combination of Runes do I most need to discuss in this series of posts, so that my analysis will be of maximum benefit to anyone following along…?”

If you take a few moments and study the scatter, a few factoids should jump out at you:

1)  I ended up pulling out five Runes to use in this reading.  This is a pretty average number for me.  If I’m dealing with a really complex issue, I might go for more, and for something pretty simple, I might want less, but five is a solid quantity of Runes: enough to yield up plenty of information, but not so many that I’ll end up feeling like I’m trying to take a sip from out of a fire-hose that’s been turned on full-blast…
2)  The overall shape of the spill of Runes looks pretty orderly.  None of them ended up piled on top of each other, none made as if to jailbreak right off the table, and they don’t seem to be all oriented in wildly different directions.  I personally feel that a more wild scatter can be an indication of a more wild underlying set of real world conditions.  Here, the more calm and orderly scatter might be taken to suggest that, say, your article’s author here has this situation well in hand, and will be delivering the informational goods in a systematic and accessible manner (let’s hope so, right…?).
3)  Only one of the Runes landed face-up, while the other four landed face-down…

And that brings us to a very important question: what significance do you attribute to face-up Runes versus face-down Runes?  You’ll of course get a different opinion on how to handle this question from virtually every Rune-enthusiast you ask.  My own approach is pretty simple, and experience generally seems to validate it for me (your mileage may certainly vary, though, and you’ll do well to test this as you practice!).  Basically, if a Rune lands face-up at the outset, I take this to mean that the factors indicated by this Rune will show up fairly obviously and without any vagueness, ambiguity, or concealment in the life of whomever the reading is being performed for…and if a Rune lands face-down, I view it as indicative of a force that will make itself known in much more sly and subtle fashion.  These latter forces will still be felt, but they’ll be much easier to miss or to forget about as things unfold.  It’s that simple for me: face-up means obvious and overt, and face-down means crafty and covert.

So after I take an initial look at the overall scatter, which is a bit like getting a bird’s eye view of an entire forest, I then start to zoom in on individual Runes…which is like entering that forest and then looking at each separate tree, one at a time, up close and personal.  And I always start first with the face-up Runes.  Here’s the one and only face-up participant we have in this particular scatter of Runes:

Nauthiz, the
Nauthiz, the “N”-Rune!

This particular Rune is called Nauthiz — it served the old Germanic tribespeople as their version of what we today know as our own letter “N.”  As mentioned upstream in this series, though, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that in addition to corresponding to a specific sound that humans use in their spoken communications with one another, each Rune also has a literal meaning, plus a range of associated meanings.  What do I mean by “literal” versus “associated” meanings here…?  As an analogy, consider how that statue of the gracious Lady standing on that little island in New York Harbor rather literally means “Liberty”…but she also symbolizes some associated concepts as well, such as hope, opportunity, new possibilities, promise, faith, maybe even issues revolving around immigration…

So back to the Runes: here, the literal meaning of Nauthiz…is “Need.”  Please keep that definition in mind, as I’ll be returning to it in a paragraph or two…

But let’s first take a quick look at some of the additional meanings that are also associated with Nauthiz…  On one level, Nauthiz can talk about the simple maintenance we have to do in our lives just so we can persevere as physical and social beings: we have needs to which we absolutely must attend. We have to run errands, perform chores, work, eat, sleep, breathe… We have literal needs. On another level, this Rune can reference the bleaker variety of neediness that informs words like “poverty” and “hardship.” Nauthiz can sometimes hint at coming expenditures or other downturns. And on yet another level, there’s a concept found in Rune-lore that has to do with what’s called “Need-Fire,” which may have a literal meaning rooted in some historical fact, but which also works as a great symbol for the overall concept of Need itself. Nauthiz looks at life in strict terms of what’s needed versus what is not – wants can seek lodging elsewhere! – and Nauthiz also keeps tabs on whether our true needs are being met.

Now, with all that having been said…what do we do with Nauthiz here in this particular spread?  We know that it’s the most central Rune in the scatter, and that it’s the only one that landed face-up — so according to my own methods, it will be the one with the most obvious impact on the areas contemplated by the reading — and we know that it literally means “need.”  The central position and the face-up landing suggest that each of the other Runes might look to Nauthiz in this spread as the “hub of the wheel” that will link them all together into a coherent whole.  That feels fairly intuitive and fitting, based on the available facts…  But where to go next??

Here’s a helpful guideline in divination: during the interpretation phase, always refer back periodically to the original question used to launch the reading.  In this case, that question was “Which combination of Runes do I most need to discuss in this series of posts, so that my analysis will be of maximum benefit to anyone following along…?”

I’m going to now point out something that seems maybe oversimplified, given that we’re trying to use ancient, arcane, complex techniques here to wring wisdom from out of the fabric of the cosmos…  But my question was aimed at calling forth the Runes that I will most need to discuss in this series of posts, right?  Again: the Runes I will most need to discuss…

I remind you now that Nauthiz means “need!”

I am hereby taking this particular Rune’s placement, orientation, and facing to mean that the Runes heard me loud and clear on the whole “Which Runes do I most need” business, and the Nauthiz Rune has appeared so as to give the entire scatter a physical and thematic nexus point around which to organize itself, all based on the concept of need.  A powerful lesson to take from this first Rune in the reading is the notion that sometimes we don’t have to look much beyond the literal meaning of a Rune to figure out why it’s in the spread, and what it means within the context of the reading.  In this case, each other Rune is adjacent to the one that invokes the concept of “need,” and since I asked for Runes that we’ll need, I’m being reassured that that’s what we got!  Like I said: that might seem oversimplified, but I do believe it’s the correct way to start off here…

We’ll break for the day at this point, but next time, we’ll start turning over some of those face-down Runes, and start to weave together a larger and more complex overall interpretation.  And don’t worry: it will all be exactly what we need it to be — Nauthiz has assured us of this!

Rune-cast, pic 2: Nauthiz identified and analyzed.  One Rune down, four to go!
Rune-cast, pic 2: Nauthiz identified and analyzed. One Rune down, four to go!

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