How to do a Rune Reading — Part 4

Rune-cast, pic 2: Nauthiz identified and analyzed.  One Rune down, four to go!
Rune-cast, pic 2: Nauthiz identified and analyzed. Our next order of biz will be turning over some of those face-down Runes…!

To briefly summarize where we stand, as we enter this fourth post on how to conduct Rune readings: in analyzing this example scatter of Runes, I talked about how I like to take in the number of Runes that I end up using, how they might have distributed themselves after I tossed them onto the landing area that I’d designated for them (i.e., were they orderly vs. chaotic in their scattering of themselves…?), and how many Runes landed face-up versus face-down.  I also then got into the specific meanings that might be flowing forth into the reading via Nauthiz, the only Rune that had landed face-up…

The next step I like to take is turning over all of the face-down Runes one at a time to see what additional information they’ll reveal.  Remember that there’s a lot of potential data available based not just on the literal and associated meanings of the Runes that will be uncovered here, but also based on the ways in which the Runes are oriented compared with the others in the cast, on how they might color and influence each other when considered together in the context of the reading, and the ways in which they fit into some key subdivisions of the Runic alphabet (more on this later, but for now, I’ll plant the info-seed here that we’ll be breaking the 24-letter Futhark into three groups of eight Runes each…).

So without further delay, here’s the first of those face-down, “subtle Runes” in the scatter:

Rune-cast, pic 3: We've turned over our first face-down Rune...and it turns out to be Tiwaz, the
Rune-cast, pic 3: We’ve turned over our first face-down Rune…and it turns out to be Tiwaz, the “T”-Rune…

Behold: Tiwaz!  This is the Rune that served the old Germanic tribespeople as their letter “T.”  It functions mostly like our own version of the same letter, except for the fact that it’s not used in combination with the “H”-Rune to create the “th” sound that we English-speaking types are so fond of — the Futhark actually has a separate Rune designed for the sole purpose of denoting that “th” sound.  That Rune won’t make an appearance in this series, as — spoiler alert!! — it’s not one of the other face-down, subtle Runes, but I wanted to point out that there’s a certain added purity about Tiwaz that our own “T” doesn’t quite share, as Tiwaz means the “T’ sound, and nothing but the “T” sound in Runic work…

Tiwaz also means “Tyr.”

And so we reach a place where some of that knowledge of Norse Mythology that I mentioned earlier in this series will come in handy.  Tyr, you see, is one of the Norse Gods, and this Rune is one of several that directly refers to one of the members of the Norse Pantheon.  So in order to start pondering what this Rune might be adding to the overall mix here, you need a quick primer on Tyr…

Like his more famous brother, Thor, Tyr is also a son of Odin, the King of the Norse Deities.  Tyr’s most renowned exploit has to do with Fenris, one of the most terrible and most feared monsters in all of Norse Mythology.  Fenris was a child of Loki, the Mischief-God, born with the form of a fearsome wolf.  Even when young, Fenris was evil-natured.  He was also growing so fast that the Aesir (= Odin and his people) feared he would quickly pass beyond even their considerable abilities to subdue or defeat him in any conflict.  They enlisted the help of some of the most gifted artisans among the Dwarf people to create a magic ribbon, and they fooled Fenris into letting them tie him up with it.  Fenris wasn’t as bright as he was brawny, but to his credit, he sensed trickery, and he agreed to be bound with the ribbon only if one of the Aesir consented to place their hand between Fenris’ mighty jaws for the duration of the exercise.  If everything with the ribbon was fair and above-board, he reasoned, then no one had anything to worry about, and after Fenris burst the bonds of the ribbon, he’d release that captive hand and wrist unharmed…but if the Aesir were using some kind of sorcery to mess with Fenris here, well, then things wouldn’t go quite so well for that particular God’s lower arm.  The Aesir all looked around at each other, unsure what to do in the face of the monster and his surprisingly keen analysis…but then Tyr stepped up, grinning impatiently, and he casually offered his hand so that they could all get on with their day.  In recent times, Tyr had been the only one of the Aesir brave enough or committed enough to have gone on feeding Fenris, and so the great wolf settled down slightly upon seeing that it was this one among all the Aesir who was volunteering…

Tyr teaches cucumbers what cool is all about, as he offers up his hand so as to buy an eon's worth of relative peace for his people...  Public domain artwork by Viktor Rydberg, reproduced by John Bauer.
Tyr teaches cucumbers what cool is all about, as he offers up his hand so as to buy an eon’s worth of relative peace for his people… Public domain artwork by Viktor Rydberg, reproduced by John Bauer.

Things then went on just about as you might imagine: the Aesir bound Fenris with the ribbon (which was named Gleipnir, for the record…)…the Dwarf-magic of the ribbon held, and Fenris couldn’t break it…and he then realized he’d been tricked, and would remain bound until the Norse version of the Apocalypse arrived at the end of Time…but he did at least still have Tyr’s hostage hand clamped between his jaws…

So Tyr knowingly and willingly lost his hand, in order to save his people from otherwise inevitable destruction at the claws and fangs of the rapidly maturing wolf-demon.  Among other attributes, then, Tyr and his Rune, Tiwaz, represent: justice, discipline, nobility, dedication, loyalty, decisiveness, law, duty, dignity, courage, ethics/morals, and sacrifice for the greater good.

All of which sounds very impressive!  But how do those concepts then fit into our blossoming interpretation of our Rune-cast?

More will come into focus as we continue to turn over the other subtle Runes to see what they have to say to us here.  Meanwhile, though, it was at about this point that I was struck with what I call an “intuitive hit” — meaning, for no apparent reason, an idea suggested itself to me, and since it felt “right” to me in that moment, I plucked it from out of the trillions of other notions cascading around my brain-stem, and I hung onto it.  The idea was this: the four face-down, subtle Runes in this scatter will be describing traits and skills that the adept Rune-reader will bring with her or him into each and every reading (and certainly a sense of serving the greatest good and the needs of the person receiving the reading should be a Rune reader’s watchwords, as might a focus on things like justice and dedication and morality…).  That’s why these four Runes specifically “need” (remember the discussion about Nauthiz…?) to be in this reading!  I’ll return to this intuitive hit of mine as we continue onward, because it only got itself more firmly entrenched in my head as I went on turning over the rest of the subtle Runes.  But more on that when we return!

For now, contemplate the Rune of Tyr (and also contemplate how often this symbol appears elsewhere, too, even when not being intended for use as the Rune, Tiwaz — it’s essentially an arrow, and humanity uses arrows all over the place)…

Tiwaz, the
Tiwaz, the “T”-Rune, and signifier of Tyr, one of the most selfless Gods you may ever meet…

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2 thoughts on “How to do a Rune Reading — Part 4

    1. Thanks for the positive comment, Rosewyn — I’m so glad to hear that this series is turning out to be helpful for you! I’m working away at the next post, and I should have that one up soon. Please do stay tuned!

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