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How to Read Runes for Divination? [4 Different Methods]

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Written by: Tina Caro

Rune reading, rather than giving a picture of particular situations, put you in contact with your unconscious, allowing you to dialogue with yourself and to know your most hidden thoughts.

In particular, they show those thoughts that you refuse to see and recognize in yourself.

This is why it may happen that when we read the runes to other people they refuse to admit what we are seeing, both because denying certain aspects of one’s personality is easier and because they often cannot see their shadow sides. For this reason, I advise you to read the runes only to those who follow a path of personal growth and who therefore know how to get involved.

For the purpose of reading, it is also important what the rune moves within you and how you relate to the content that expresses that particular rune.

The purpose of runic divination is to acquire the information necessary to assume the responsibilities of your life with awareness and help you make choices by giving you a picture of the situations you are facing and will face.


Reading runes for divination involves using runic symbols to gain insights and answers to questions.

To begin, select a set of runes, such as the Elder Futhark or Younger Futhark, and understand the meanings associated with each rune.

Create a focused environment, draw a set of runes while concentrating on your inquiry, and interpret the symbols drawn in relation to your question.

Trust your intuition, keep a record of your readings, and continually study and practice to refine your divination skills.

It’s a personal and intuitive process that requires connection with the symbolism of the runes.

What are the runes?

Although the term “rune” indicates the graphic signs of this ancient alphabet (i.e. the written letters) it is wrong to reduce them only to letters of a mysterious alphabet because in reality, the graphic sign is not the rune, but only the design of the rune.

To better understand the subtle difference, just keep in mind that the rune has three components:

  • the sound (which is that of the letter of the corresponding alphabet: “f”, “u”, “th” and so on);
  • the sign (which is precisely the design of the rune, or the graphic part);
  • the symbol (which is the archetypal meaning of the rune itself).

The term “rune” (which means “secret” or “whisper”) therefore indicates the set of these three essential components that cannot be separated.

The purpose of the runes, which has remained unchanged over the centuries, is their use for divination, magic, and devotional purposes.

a bag of runes by MagickalSpot
My homemade runes.

Divination with the runes aims to guide the runologist to read his wyrd (or destiny) as there are essential experiences in everyone’s life that must be reached, like it or not, just as there are experiences that can be modified depending on our choices.

The Runic Oracle helps us understand these varying stages and allows us to influence them with our choices. This helps us prepare ourselves for the experiences we will face in this life.

Before we continue

Working with runes takes skill and patience and isn’t recommended in most cases. I provide these “do it yourself” articles for educational purposes, but it is strongly recommended that you consult a divination expert such as Mystic Amber and allow us to do the work for you.

This way you know it’s being done by someone experienced and knowledgeable and we’re also always here to answer questions about your reading and provide follow-up at no additional charge.

Elder Futhark Runes Reading

elder futhark rune reading service by magickal spot 2021

The Runic Oracle (Mystic Amber) will help you understand what the future holds for you or if you need some clarity about something that’s currently happening in your life by doing a reading with her Elder Futhark Runes, Tarot, and Oracle cards.

What you can expect from us:

  • Private and personalized approach
  • Reading done in less than 24h
  • Only the best quality runes
  • Free consultations before & after reading

We have helped hundreds of clients over the years, and we’d love to work with you as well.

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The magical and devotional use of the runes, on the other hand, requires that there are adequate notions and knowledge with respect to the methods of runic writing; any type of alteration, any violated runic writing rule could have serious consequences.

Having adequate knowledge of the forms of runic writing, you can approach both runic magic and runic prayers, always keeping in mind the fundamental rules that underlie magical practices, as magic acts on the collective wyrd of humanity. Any alteration that is not balanced can bring real imbalances in the daily life of the magician himself.

How to mix runes?

Before starting to read the runes, you must choose whether or not to use the White Rune and if you choose not to use it, it must be eliminated from the bag.

In a runic reading, a clear and well-formulated question is not necessary, because what they read is our path, but whoever wants to ask them about something specific can still ask it and they will answer that.

Two methods are usually used to mix runes:

  • First method: the consultant must shake the bag and think about the question (in case he wanted a specific reading) in order to magnetize it with his frequency; when he feels ready he can start the extraction.
  • Second method: all the runes must be placed on a surface upside down and mixed with each other with the left hand (the runologist can choose whether to have the consultant mix them or mix them himself) until he instinctively decides to stop (decided by who shuffles). The querent then chooses the ones that inspire him and draws them.

For the purpose of a runic reading, no special preparation is required, all you need is your own bag, a firm connection with the gods, and a runic cloth (this is not always necessary, but if you like it you can buy one online).

Traditionally, before starting a reading, a glass or horn was filled with beer or another drink sacred to the Nordic gods, to recall their presence during divination; today it is not necessary, but if you do it, it is a welcome gift.

Soon we will see the four most used divination schemes with the runes, however, any scheme that is already used effectively with tarot can also be used with the runes. But first let’s see how to get started.

How to consecrate the runes?

Consecrating your runes means making them sacred. The act of consecrating the runes is not only an action of purification or preparation of the same for divination, but also creates a true spiritual connection between you and your runes. The runes thus become an instrument of connection with your divinity.


Learning to read the runes means learning to listen to yourself.

One of the best methods for consecration is the use of white sage, a typical tradition of Native Americans. Its smoke has great purifying properties; those who do not like its intense perfume can use incense, that of myrrh or sandalwood are the most suitable; as a last solution for those who do not tolerate even incense, you can also use the flame of a candle to ask the spirits of the fire to bless your runes.


  • pass the white sage or incense over oneself, over the runes, and in the surrounding area, asking the Devas of the Air to reveal the secrets that the runes hide;
  • take a lit white candle and place it near the runes; ask the Fire Devas to purify them and to keep away any dark energy;
  • sprinkle coarse salt on the runes and ask the Devas of the Earth to make your bond with the runes strong;
  • finally, wet your fingers in water and sprinkle them on the runes, asking the Water Devas to make your runes sacred.

Concentrate and connect to the energy of the runes and invoke your guiding spirit every time you use them.

Meditate on the questions

This part is huge. You need to meditate on the question you want to ask to truly commit to this practice. Spend a few moments visualizing the questions and then proceed with your favorite rune divination method.

Rune spreads

Single-Rune SpreadDraw a single rune and interpret its meaning
Three-Rune SpreadDraw three runes representing past, present, and future
Five-Rune SpreadA more detailed spread involving five runes
Celtic Cross SpreadA complex spread for in-depth insights and guidance
Customized SpreadsCreate your own spreads based on specific questions or intentions

Interpretation methods

Interpretation MethodDescription
Intuitive InterpretationTrust your intuition and personal connection with the runes
Rune GuidebooksRefer to rune guidebooks or resources for established meanings
Combination of RunesAnalyze the combination of runes drawn and their relationships
Rune Casting and PositionInterpret the meaning based on the rune’s position in the spread
Reversed RunesConsider reversed or inverted runes for additional insights

My favorite 4 ways to read runes for divination

Method 1: The Eye of Odin (1 Rune)

This method is the simplest of all. We concentrate, mix the runes, and extract a single rune that will give us information on the specific moment of our life we are in and therefore on the phase we are going through.

You can also think of a question that requires a simple answer with this method. It is usually a method that is used daily to get a picture of what awaits us during the day we are going to face.

Method 2: Huginn and Muninn (2 runes)

This method takes its name from Odin’s two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (whose translated names mean Thought and Memory) who, according to myths, went around the world, starting in the morning and returning in the evening to report to Odin everything they had seen; as such, this method consists of extraction in the morning and one in the evening.

Odin-and-Frigga s
Odin and Frigga

The first rune, therefore, must be extracted in the morning and can provide us with information about the day we will face and the second must be extracted in the evening and will provide us with indications to understand what happened as well as invite us to reflect on the meaning of the events and how to integrate them into our path.

Method 3: The Three Norns

This method should be used when you want to examine the evolution of a situation over time.

Initially, the consultant extracts three runes, which represent past, present, and future (i.e. the three Norns that weave the wyrd tapestry), the times should not be read separately but constitute a fluid continuum, so they should be read as if they were telling you a story.

Having read the first three, the runologist (or the consultant, at the discretion of the runologist), extracts two others that are placed above and below the rune of the present; looking at the drawing, the 4th and 5th runes are positioned above the 2nd rune number and indicate respectively the cause that is connected to the past, and the best result that can be obtained in that situation (so it provides us with indications on what to do to turn the situation in your favor).

I would also add that if you encounter difficulties in interpreting some specific runes, you can proceed to extract another one that helps you understand it better.

Method 4: The casting of the runes

The last method we will see is the more traditional one and nowadays it is used in an elegant way with a special cloth for runic divination, but in reality, in ancient times it was used everywhere, so you can also use a table without a cloth or the floor; the important thing is to create a mental subdivision of the space you have chosen to use.

Generally, the classic subdivision of space is in four parts, each associated with an element, which represents various areas of life, specifically:

  • Earth: represents work, money, and material matters;
  • Air: represents the intellectual sphere, language, personal culture, and ideas;
  • Water: represents the sentimental sphere, therefore the relationships both of a couple and of friendship;
  • Fire: represents transformation, instinct, creative energy, and sexuality.

Keeping the division in mind, the runes should be mixed by shaking the bag, after which the consultant grabs a handful from the bag and drops them on the cloth/space.

The runes should be read from the center towards the outside; the center represents the past and as they go outside they indicate the present, the near future, the distant future, etc. (see the diagram).

rune reading diagram by MagickalSpot
Rune reading diagram.

Depending on the element they occupy, they give us information on that particular area of life.

Also, runes that fall outside the space we have chosen to use usually do not need to be read. For those who use the cloth, which is most runologists, the runes outside the cloth are not read.

On the market, there are special sheets for runic divination, divided not only by elements, but also in many areas of life, from love, to work, to health, and so on, and for those who use these specific sheets, the same rule applies: that is, proceed with reading from the center outwards, from the past to the future.

Read the upside-down runes and horizontal runes

The extraction of a rune that is upright or overturned does not change its meaning, in fact, each rune, whether upright or not, contains both meanings, both the one in light and the one in shadow. In fact, even runes that do not have a reverse always contain a warning within themselves precisely for this ambivalence.

Othala rune reversed by MagickalSpot
Othala rune reversed

What an upside-down rune tells you is to take time with yourself to reflect, as it indicates that the positive quality of the rune is confined to a dark part of our psyche, which you cannot see and therefore it invites you to explore your dark sides in order to unlock the inactive energy of the rune that is hidden within you.

So, in essence, it points you to blocks that you need to work on.

Should a rune be extracted in the horizontal direction, generally it is rotated 90° clockwise so it can become an upright or upside-down rune. Sometimes, the horizontal rune could also indicate a transition period that you are going through to reach it; this is up to the intuition and experience of the runologist to understand, so for those who are beginners, I recommend rotation.

You can find meanings of all runes here.

How to store the runes?

Creating your own runes yourself is a very powerful experience, but it is not always possible, so here you can find a wide selection of runes that you can choose according to your tastes. Always remember to consecrate your runes to a Norse deity who knows their language.

a linen bag for runes by MagickalSpot
My linen bag for runes.

Once you’ve consecrated your runes, the best way to store them is by keeping them in a bag. It would be preferable to keep them in a bag made with natural fabrics, such as linen (see my picture above). If you are able to sew and choose to do it yourself it will have a more powerful magical value because it will be full of your energy.

There are ready-made rune sets that are sold in boxes, but it is advisable to eliminate the box, always preferring a bag, as runic divination is totally based on shaking the bag that contains them and throwing them.

Additional tools for rune readings

Tools for Rune ReadingsDescription
Rune ClothA designated cloth to lay out and read the runes
Rune JournalRecord your rune readings, interpretations, and insights
Rune Casting MatUse a casting mat for rune casting and interpreting
Meditation and GroundingIncorporate meditation and grounding techniques for focused readings
Elemental CorrespondencesAssociate runes with elemental energies for deeper insights


The study of the runes certainly requires time, dedication, and passion. It is not a path suitable for everyone, as working with the runes inevitably leads to working with one’s limitations and shadows.

Higher people who love Norse culture and want to get involved by learning this noble tool can find many articles in the rune section of my website to start exploring the incredible world of runes and their meanings.

If runes are not the divination tool for you, don’t forget you can rely on tarot readings by Mystic Amber! With her guidance, you can unveil your future while exploring your past in order to change your present!

Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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