Runes For Beginners

With the uprising in popularity of Norse history and the culture of the Viking era, also comes by proxy a rise in the popularity of Viking themed items, and this includes the wonderfully complicated but knowledgeable world of Runes and rune reading. Don’t get me wrong, it has always been a practice carried on through the eras, used as a part of Shamanism (which is a very sacred and tradition based -CLOSED- practice) and as a part of scrying and fortune-telling amongst their spiritual practitioners. 

In the Viking era, they had powerful women they would consult, called Seers, or Volva (which literally translates to Wand-wed or Staff Carrier). These women were traditionally older and would carry a tell-tale staff to promote that they were a woman of such skill. They would often barter their herbal concoctions, readings and visions, and their ability to predict the future, for shelter and food in return. They would travel and trade between each village freely and were highly respected. 

runes on a table

Vision chasing and scrying were and still are a part of shamanism and not for us to practice or talk about here. But rune reading became the normal way of garnering information about the future, much like our use of tarot and oracle cards, with simple one card or one rune draws right up to full grids and layouts with different meanings behind their origin and placement.

Initially, all of these practices were seen as a very divine feminine art, with even men practising this was considered taboo. Original Norse mythology depicts Odin being mocked by Loki for taking part in ‘feminine magic’. In the Havamal, it wasn’t until Odin had hung from the life tree for nine days and nine nights and was near death, that he was gifted the knowledge of the ancient runes. 


Runes appeared before Latin, and each of the rune alphabets symbolises the most powerful forces on earth. What is still commonly used in the modern era are the 24 Elder Futhark Runes. 

Rune reading for beginners is pretty simple and can be as easy as a one rune pick from the bag or Divination Pouch, thinking of the question you want to be answered as you select a random rune. If this is more of an advanced path you want to go down I’d always suggest research the meaning of the elder runes first. It’s giving homage to Odin’s sacrifice and it’s paying great respect to such an old Norse tradition so you must do it justice if its something you want to pursue, which is where the Unlock the Secrets of the Stones pack will come in super handy for all you beginner Rune casters. It comes with a beautiful set of runes in a storage pouch and informational books so you can read up on the Rune Stones beforehand, and find out about all the Runes and their meanings. 

Once you feel comfortable with the basics you can look into more advanced rune castings. And much like the traditional Volva, you can eventually step into making your own runes and making them more personalised to you, as all 24 runes are always the same with the same meaning and basis it’s not a hard feat to customise yourself your own rune set. Whereas if you were to look into more advanced rune sets, and rune casting, such as with witches runes, then we open a whole new can of worms.

Now, Witches runes have the same basic principles as the Elder runes, but their symbolism can change and can be completely open to interpretation depending on your own views and teachings and even down to the type of witch you are. Witches runes are usually carved into healing stones or crystals, and use planetary, zodiac or alchemic symbolism, or a combination of all. 
Much like with card readings there are different spreads, rune castings you can do, or you can pull a set number of runes and throw them out onto a grid while thinking of your question. Different areas of the grid will align with different aspects of your life, or you can assign them yourself or for your client if you are doing a reading. Some practitioners will also cast all of the runes, to see where each one lands or lays and take a reading or interpretation of that as a whole, as each rune represents something significant in itself anyway. 

You can also do a Past, Present and Future rune casting with the same principle, of thinking of each and then drawing a rune from the bag. Or a three rune casting where you pick three runes completely at random with a clear mind and cast them out (onto a soft surface …not out of the window) the rune at the bottom will be what’s influencing you right now, the rune in the middle will be your “to do” and the rune at the top or furthest away will be the what will likely be the result of what is to come. There is also a three rune Mind Body and Spirit casting, much the same as above but you lay out the random runes left to right. They give you information on what is currently needed or going on now for your mind, body and spirit (soul). There are loads of intermediate rune casting ideas also featured in the book that comes with the set, taking you from these basics, right up to more complicated readings whilst also outlining the runes individual definitions. 

a rune

Rune casting, especially for beginners, requires a fair bit of dedication and research, but with this deep-rooted germanic history and all of these beautiful and amazing starter kits available, you’ll be on the path to casting runes in no time. The knowledge of the runes is a journey, and something that is earned, so our final advice is this: be patient, practice often, read well, and you’ll eventually be making your own unique sets, using rune readings as intended by our ancestors. 

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