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An Introduction to the Runes by Sterling Knight

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

"Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs, many symbols of might and power, by the great Singer painted,

by the high Powers fashioned, graved by the Utterer of gods."

Havamal, Verse 141

Hail and Welcome!

Welcome to the world of Runes. The word "rune" means "mystery" or "secret," and casting the runes enables the runestyr to explore the mysteries of the Nine Worlds, of the relationships between the Gods and humanity, and what they would show you for your life and spiritual growth in the world today.

The key to runecasting is a knowledge of the meanings of the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark (as the runes we will be using are called), and then relaxing and letting the runes speak their ancient secrets to you in your mind, in that place beyond conscious thought.

The meanings that are given here are traditional ones and work very well indeed. Start with them. After a time you may find some runes to have a different emphasis or leaning, perhaps some runes affect the meanings of others in the cast, or they may have a different meaning altogether, Don't worry, listen to them. Just as we all may speak English, but speak it differently, so will your runic "accent" be individualistic.

The Runes

Name Meaning

Fehu Social success, wealth, energy, foresight, new beginnings

Uruz Strength, defense, form, tenacity, freedom, health, understanding

Thurisaz Reactive force, directed force, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst

Ansuz Inspiration, synthesis, transformation, words, communication

Raidho Rationality, action, justice, ordered growth, journey

Kenaz Technical ability, inspiration, creativity, transformation, offspring

Gebo Gift, generosity, magical exchange, honor, sacrifice

Wunjo Harmony, joy, fellowship, prosperity, friends

Hagalaz Change according to ideals, controlled crisis, completion, inner harmony

Nauthiz Resistance, recognition of karma, innovation, self reliance

Isa Concentrated self (ego), consciousness, self control, unity

Jera Reward, plenty, peace, proper timing

Eiwaz Enlightenment, endurance, initiation, protection

Pertho Good fortune, knowledge of karma, fellowship and joy, evolutionary change

Elhaz Connection with the gods, awakening, Higher self, protection

Sowilo Guidance, hope, success, goals achieved, honor

Tiwaz Truth, justice, rationality, self-sacrifice, analysis

Berkano Birth, becoming, life changes, shelter, liberation

Ehwaz Harmony, teamwork, trust, loyalty

Mannaz Divine structure, intelligence, awareness, social order

Laguz Life, water journey, sea of vitality, sea of unconsciousness, growth

Ingwaz Rest stage, internal growth, gestation

Dagaz Awakening, awareness, hope/happiness, the ideal

Othala A home, group prosperity, group order, freedom, production integration

Choosing the Runes

The choosing of runes can be done in many ways. Casting, throwing, stirring, and pulling all are very good ways to choose your runes and all are equally valid.

For now, we will learn a method of stirring. Later on you may wish to experiment with other methods or even devise your own. This is very much to be encouraged, as we are even yet reclaiming and rediscovering lost lore while simultaneously exploring new grounds of knowledge with the runes.

Stirring is very simply accomplished by placing all of the runes face down on a table or flat surface and stirring them with your hands, swirling them while thinking of your question.

Now choose three runes at random and place them in an inverted triangle still keeping them face down. I've created a rather fancy figure you can use for this. Or any other surface or design you'd prefer to place the runes upon.

Place the runes in the colored circles. The words in the circles are the names of three goddesses, the Norns, that are appropriate for runecasting. You'll learn more about them as you continue your runic education.

The green circle can be seen as the past, the yellow as the present and the blue circle as the future or outcome. Starting with the past, turn over the runes in turn and, using this book, read the meaning of the rune in the context of your question. Then do the same with the present (yellow) circle, blending it with what you got from the past rune. Finally do the same with the rune in the blue circle. It's OK if this feels awkward, it'll improve with practice and experience.

As you may guess, this runecast is often called the Nornic Runecast. Let's take a closer look at this very useful runecast.

Firstly, the names. These goddesses are similar byt subtly different from the Fates of Greek mythology. Urdhr means "that which has become," Verthandi means "that which is becoming," and Skuld means, "shall." As you read, try to see how Urdhr and Verthandi blend together to show the path into Skuld.

Urdhr - The rune in this position tells not only the past of the problem but the root causes. It shows what in the past has brought about the present.

Verthandi - The rune in this position speaks of what is in the process of happening right now, where you or the problem are right now.

Skuld - The rune in this position speaks of what should come about, through the synthesis of the actions of the first two runes, given what you learned from the first two runes.


The future is not out of your control. You can change it by changing your course of action. There is free will!

Consulting the runes is consulting an oracle. As such, questions are best framed as "What do I need to know about my love life?" rather than "Should I take Diane to the movies?" and "Tell me of my financial situation" instead of "Should I sell Apple now or wait?"

To become adept with your runes, cast them often, once a day or at least once a week. If you can't think of a question, simply ask for their wisdom for where you are right now. Keep a diary or journal of the casts and your interpretations. This will help you trace your growth and progress, as well as allowing to check on your accuracy.

Find others who share your interests. The runestyrs path needn't be a solitary one.

Well, you're on your way, your Runic Path!

May the ever-changing god Odhinn, who won the runes and their knowledge for himself and for us, be your light and guide as you look through the mists to the Light, and may the gracious goddess Freyja comfort and sustain you in your search.

Hail and Farewell!

"Out of the homes all-hidden,

Out of the Ways all-wide,

Need be I name the Norns,

And deem the sisters draw nigh.

Urdhr, Verthandi, Skuld."

Thanks for your interest in our blog. Feel free to leave a comment, opinion or whatever in the Comments below. And subscribe at the bottom of the page to get alerted when there's a new post, event or whatever.


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