I was always a bit odd in comparison to the average child I went to school with. While other kids were joining the girl scouts and playing sports I was tucked away with my mom studying the magic and wonder of the metaphysical world. I collected crystals and stones at such an early age that I don’t remember a time when I didn’t. I had tarot cards, pendulums, and runes all before the age of 13. I studied herbology, aromatherapy, magic, palmistry, and mythology. Everything she learned, she eventually taught to me and it was and always will be a special bond that we share with one another. Those memories of her teaching me are some of my most treasured and it was those very special times when I realized that not only is she my mother, she is my greatest teacher and friend. Although she is a very gifted Tarot card reader, she has always had an affinity towards runes and Nordic mythology. In elementary school I was the only child that had luck trolls named after actual Norse dwarves (Nordi, Sudri, Austri, and Vestri), and by the time I was about 13, I was reading and writing in the Runic alphabet as a way to secretly code personal journals and notes.
Then in the grass, the golden figures,
The far-framed ones, will be found again,
Which they owned in golden days.
(Prophecy of the Seeress Poetic Edda)
What Are Runes?
Runes are a system of pictographs that were used by the Norse before the Latin alphabet. Unlike the Latin alphabet, they were symbols of magic and power representing the forces and objects of nature, and were not necessarily used for writing. It was believed that by calling upon the appropriate rune one could thereby make contact with the force in nature that the symbol represented. The word “rune” not only means letter but also mystery, secret or whisper. Since ancient times runes have been used for divination, and magic, more than for writing. There were runes to influence weather, to aid the crops, and to heal the sick. They were carved on many everyday, but important items including weapons, drinking horns, spears, the prows of ships, and the timbers of houses. Most people had their own combination of runes, usually for luck and protection. Each rune has an esoteric meaning as well as an everyday meaning and phonetic value.
Runes In Myth
Norse mythology tells the story of Odin the Norse god of the Aesir, who hung himself from the Yggdrasil (The Tree of Life), impaled by his own spear, for nine days and nights in order to gain the knowledge of runes from the Well of Urd with the Norns. When the runes appeared below him, he reached down and took them up, and the runic knowledge gave him power. He later passed on this knowledge to the Vanir goddess Freya. She, in turn, taught him the magic of seidr. Heimdall, the god who guarded the Rainbow Brige, taught the runes to mankind.
Runes As Oracle
Rune castings are not fortune telling in the sense that one actually sees the future; they are an oracle from which one seeks advice. The future is not fixed, it changes with everything we do. Runes give a means of analyzing a path and a likely outcome. If you do not like the prediction, it is possible to change the path and therefore the outcome. Rune casting works best if you detail your current circumstances and then ask a specific question. Although Rune readings are sometimes obscure, and not very detailed, they will hint towards answers. This is when the rune caster’s intuition comes into play.
Making Your Own Runes
Runes can be made from a variety of different materials, which may include bone, stone, wood, clay, and metal. Traditionally they were made of wood, as according to Nordic myth the first humans were made of “wood, ash and elm”. The Elder Futhark system of Runes, which is the oldest form, is made up of 24 characters. Very often a 25th “blank rune” will be included with sets. In Runic divination, there is no historical support for the inclusion of the “blank rune”. It was invented in the 1980’s and should not be used in a rune casting. If you have a set of runes that includes the blank rune, do not use it in casting, but save it to use as a backup. Should you lose one of your 24 Runes you will be able to create a matched piece using the blank one.
DIY Eldar Futhark Stone Runes
When choosing the materials for your runes, use your intuition to guide you in selecting the best material that is right for your personalized set. When using stones, the possibilities are endless. You can choose a stone because you like its appearance. Or using a crystal dictionary, you can find something that has specific properties that appeal to you and your current situation. As with most work involving crystals, trust your intuition and you will never be disappointed. Very often even when a crystal is chosen based on appearance, it will end up being the right one for you. For my set, I chose Moss Agate for the beauty of the stone and the connection it has to the earth. Does size matter? Not really. Again, find something that is right for you. I used very small stones because that is what I had available, but you can make them any size you would like. Just make sure that they are large enough to paint and to read. Why paint stone Runes rather than carving them? Carving stone Runes requires both experience and skill, and while it is not impossible for a beginner, I’ve found that painting them works just as well and is far less expensive and less time consuming option. Using paint also prevents the mess of stone dust and the danger that may come from carving certain toxic stones.
The method used here to paint the stones is also the same method that is used for curing paint for use on ceramic mugs and glass. By baking the stones after they are painted and dry you are curing and hardening the paint making a much more permanent mark and therefore does not require sealant. Please keep in mind that if you decide to use other another type of paint marker or stone it will be necessary to do a test Rune first to ensure that the baking doesn’t cause discoloration of any kind. When testing this method, I tried several different paints and stones and the combination I have used here provided the best results. If you try a different combination and it works for you, please let us know in the comments section below, we would love to hear about your results!
25 Tumbled Moss Agate Stones approximately .5”-.75″ long (or a different stone of your choice)
1 Deco Color Liquid Silver Opaque Paint Marker
Newspaper for covering your work space
A small baking sheet lined with foil
Rubbing alcohol and a paper towel or cotton balls
Rune Chart (See below or Click Here for a printable pdf version!)
Prepare your stones by washing them with gentle soap and water. Once they have completely dried give them a swipe with some rubbing alcohol using a paper towel or cotton ball to remove any residue or oil. Once the alcohol has dried completely you can begin painting your stones using the chart below [ download a pdf version here ]. If you are not familiar with the characters it may be a good idea to practice on a piece of paper until you feel confident with your work. Allow your runes to dry untouched for 24-48 hours. They will dry to the touch within a short time but you want them to dry completely and the extra time will ensure this.
Once your stones have cured for a day or two place them painted side up on a small baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place them in a cool oven on a rack placed in the center and set the temperature to 220° Fahrenheit. Once the oven has reached 220° Fahrenheit, continue to bake the stones for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off and allow the stones to cool inside the oven. When the stones are completely cool, they are ready to be used!
Consulting The Oracle: Basic Rune Readings
One Rune Reading: This type of reading is best for a specific question. Focus on your question and pull a rune. The rune may indicate a simple yes or no answer, or it may be more conditional.
The Three Rune Reading: This type of reading is useful if you would like to get some insight on a specific situation. Select one rune and place it face up, then select a second and place it next to the first, the final rune once selected should be placed next to the second. The first rune represents past events, the middle one is the current situation and the third will represent the end result if the situation remains unchanged.
Scattered Rune Reading: Focus on a question or situation, take all of the runes in your hands and scatter them. You can read them all in relation to each other or focus on small groups that may have landed together.
Nine Rune Reading: Pull nine runes and hold them in your hands, focusing in your question. Then scatter the runes. Read face up runes first, as they will relate to your current situation and the circumstances which led to you there.
Fran’s Recommended Books for Beginners (listed alphabetically by author)