April 20, 2013
Blogging From A to Z April Challenge Day Eighteen: R is for Runes
Runes are literally the letters of the old Germanic languages before the Roman alphabet was adopted. You have likely seen runes before, such as on the materials for the Lord of the Rings movies or books. While it might look like cool writing, there are people who believe that runes are more than just letters. These people actually think that runes hold the secret to divination.
There are three commonly-used runic alphabets: Elder Futhark, Anglo-Saxon Furthorc and Younger Futhark. Germanic languages such as Danish, German, Norwegian, etc were developed from these alphabets.
Rune casting is how runes are commonly used for divination. You create the runic alphabet on a series of small bones, clay tablets or stones. These are then placed in a small bag or cup, which you shake up. You then cast the runes out onto the ground. Some runes will be facing up, which are the ones you begin to read. Like the practice of casting bones, reading runes that have been cast involves interpreting the positions of the runes as well as their meanings. And like tarot cards, runes can have many meanings which often play off the meanings of nearby runes. As you can imagine, interpreting cast runes can become quite complex.
Another method is to simply reach your hand into the cup or bag and withdraw a single rune. You can do this in succession, asking a different question before drawing a new rune. This method is much simpler since it does not require interpreting a complex configuration of cast runes.
If you are interested, there are entire books about runes and their interpretation. You can also find handcrafted runes at magic shops and other stores that sell eclectic items like sage snub sticks and the like.