THE ELDERFUTHARK RUNES **
Hail to whomever spoke them,
Hail to whomever knows them,
Gain them who grasp them,
Happy they who heed them.
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Joanne Walmsley Sacred Scribes
Because the runes are an ancient guidance (and to some, divinatory) device predating many others, they bring into our consciousness a more grounded, earthy value system.
Too often we are not able to see viable alternatives or solutions to problems, because we are so enmeshed in the situation. The runes allow us to explore alternatives we may not have thought of. They may show the circumstance in a way that can reveal aspects of the issue that could have been previously overlooked.The runes may show simple solutions and insights that were missed because we have become so deeply involved in the issue.Often we are unable to see clear solutions whilst in the grips of a dilemma. The runes show us aspects that we are unable to see due to our emotions being in upheaval.They convey their message, and often their answers, on a subconscious level. The runes show you your most viable options. Often we are able to see a variety of valid solutions once we are out and away from the situation.This is called 'hindsight'.
The runes point your attention towards those hidden fears, issues and motivations that will shape your future by their unfelt presence within each present moment.Once seen and recognised, these elements become absorbed into the realm of ‘choice’.
The runes will not tell you precisely what to do with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer - rather, they will comment on a situation and give you a new perspective from which to view things.This gives you greater objectivity, which in turn, will help with clear, positive decision making.
As the old Norse language had no future tense, these runes were not used for definitive ‘future’ predictions as such. Rather, they were to be consulted for the ‘present’, which in turn lays the path for the ‘future’.
In ancient times, the runes were not kept in, nor drawn from a bag or box.Nor were they laid out in a pattern or spread.When an issue was to be considered or an inquiry made, sticks or twigs would be cut from nearby trees.Fruit-bearing trees were favoured, as this traditionally reflected the notion that one’s intentions and actions in casting the runes would bear fruit in the future. The runic symbols would then be cut or carved into the wood.
If the consultation was to be held by a river, creek or stream, runecasters would often choose stones and pebbles;then with clay, berry juice or whatever they had at hand, inscribed the runic symbols. Twigs, sticks, pieces of wood, stones and pebbles were used for runes as they were considered to embody the sacred.
The runecasters always asked permission and thanked the trees or rivers for their sacrifice in the casting ritual. Once this was done, a sacred space would be prepared.
The runes would then be cast three times to examine the issue.This was done to ensure that no hidden elements would be missed, and to repel any ‘shadow forces’ from the past that may interfere with the outcome.
Once cast, the runes were meditated upon and in time, interpreted. The sticks were then burned with their ashes left to honour the place of casting.Stones, if used, were often scattered back into the river from whence they came, to be cleansed and purified and returned to their natural home.
Later in history, Runecasters, Rune Masters or Vitkis began making sets which they were able to keep with them at all times.For these, small bags or pouches were made, often of rough materials of the era, or of weaved straw and/or reeds. Often, these pouches contained alongside the runes, other talismans, bindrunes, totems or symbols, such as pebbles, feathers, animal bones, crystals and the like.Often the totem or symbol represented the spirit of the Runecaster or Master and offered protection to the runes, the caster, and the ‘inquirer’ or ‘seeker’ if present.
Many ancient Runecasters would stain their runes with red pigment to enhance their magical potency.
Runecasters of old would shake their pouch and scatter the runes onto the ground. Descriptions of runic divination in Norse literature refers to the runes as being ‘thrown’, ‘cast’ or ‘scattered’ rather than laid out in an order or spread, like the Tarot.
For some Runecasters, once cast, only those runes falling with the symbols facing up were interpreted.Other casters read theirs from left to right, right to left and sometimes even vertically.Other Runecasters simply used their intuition to choose the runes that resonated with the vibration of the inquiry/enquirer.They then interpreted all runes; those facing up, as well as the ‘upside down’ runes.The ‘upside down’ runes are called ‘reversed’ or ‘merkstave’ and have meanings of their own.
The runes can be cast a variety of ways, all of which are up to the individual Runecaster.Any method one chooses can be considered valid. The simple act of choosing and laying out the runes forces us to separate ourselves from distractions and concentrate solely on the object of our inquiry.
On an inner level, the journey into the subconscious or unconsciousness can involve giving up the power of the conscious mind, in order to gain greater knowledge of the unknown.
Some people like to set aside a time each day at which to cast the runes.Others prefer a more formal approach; by lighting a candle or perhaps a stick of incense, taking time to compose themselves, collect their thoughts and become in-tuned to the energies of the runes before casting.
You are always able though, to consult the runes without formal preparation. When casting in any manner the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the method you choose.Your ‘need’ is what brings the energy of the runes into play and the runes themselves will teach you how they want to be read.
When in search of guidance, focus your thoughts on the issue whilst holding your rune bag.This will send your energy and vibration, and that of the issue/query into the runes. The more focused your thinking, the clearer the answer. You will know instinctively when it is time for you to choose your rune/s.
Individual runes can be chosen, drawn out of the bag (or box) and laid out on a casting cloth. The runes can then be meditated upon and interpreted.
Alternatively, all the runes can be placed on a casting cloth, face down.The intention then is to intuitively tune into the message of the runes, using the energy both you and they resonate with, by passing your hand over them, choosing the rune your hand or fingers feels most attracted to.Once you have chosen the rune, turn it over from left to right and place it in front of you. It can then be interpreted.
Sometimes it is beneficial to hold the runes in your left hand whilst asking for guidance and assistance in meditation. To do this, you may wish to simply draw a single rune from your bag. The rune will give you insight into your issue.
Like both the I Ching and the Tarot (as well as some other Ancient Oracles), the runes should not be consulted too often or repetitively, as time must be allowed to pass so that changes have the opportunity to take place.
The runes are a valuable tool that enhance our creativity and problem-solving capabilities.