1. Describe the geographical and temporal distribution of your chosen symbol set. If the symbol set was used cross-culturally, describe how each culture used your chosen symbol set. (min. 200 words)

Runes are most commonly associated with the Germanic cultures such as the Anglo Saxons and the Norse.  As a result, their area of use was rather broad and includes modern Scandinavia, Iceland, Germany, and even to some extent most of modern Europe as the Vikings did travel throughout the entire region.  It is easiest to say though that where there was a Germanic language spoken, runes were present (Plowright 3).

But where did the runes come from?  The earliest inscriptions of runes can be traced back to the second century CE, and possibly even older with the “Meldorf” broach possibly dating to 50 CE (Pasxon 5).  Thorsson states that there was a “pre-runic” time period where the runes were more ideographic or hierographic than a representation of sounds like they are now conceived, and this dates into at least the second century BCE.  The Elder Futhark was predominant until the ninth century CE and was over taken by the Younger Futhark and the Anglo Saxon Futhork, the latter of which survived into the tenth century CE (Thorsson, Futhark 9)

It is thought that through contact with the Mediterranean cultures such as the Greeks, Romans, and the Etruscans the runes were turned into the alphabet we currently know, and the symbols became representations of sounds, not ideas.  As a result, when this transition did happen, the rune that was created often tended to be similar to the symbols found in those three cultures (Thorsson, Futhark 3-4).

The use of runes was also varied.  As they were representations of sounds, they were an alphabet and used for writing and communication purposes.  An example of this is the Golden Horns of Gallehus which have an inscription roughly translated as “I Hlewagastiz Holtijaz made the horn” (Golden horns from Gallehus).   It can be inferred from Tacitus that they were also used for divination purposes (Tacitus, Germania).  Runes were also used for magical purposes as one can see in the Havamal which describes the various uses and meanings for some of the runes, and a Shamanic type initiation through death and rebirth to gain the knowledge of the runes (Larington 14-38).

  1. Describe the division of sacred and profane use for this symbol set in cultural context (i.e. how was the symbol set used in every day life, and how was it used in religious contexts?). If you find no such division, explain why you think that the set was either entirely sacred or entirely profane in the culture. (min. 200 words)

There were many uses for runes by the Germanic people.  The profane use was as a written language.  As the various runes were an alphabet, with each symbol representing a sound, they were used just as we use the modern alphabet.  We could envision the people that could read and write runes would use them to do just about everything we do with writing today.  There is no example of any major writing in runic script though, which leads me to have the impression that they were more magical in function.  There are shorter inscriptions though which often were either marks of identification such as place names and the name of the owner, or graffiti (Pasxon 7).  In the later years, you finally had extended writing with the Abecedarium Nordmannicum being the oldest known manuscript containing runes dating from the ninth century CE (Thorsson, Futhark 6).

Much of what we know about runes in an non-profane way comes from two sources though, the rune poems, and the Eddas and Sagas of the Scandinavian people. 

With regards to runes for divinatory purposes, the rune poems are what we currently look to for guidance with regards to their meanings.  I have some qualms about this being the original purpose of the rune poems though.  When I read them, they seem to be written to do two things.  One is to teach the alphabet much as today we would say A is for aardvark, B is for boy, etc.  They also seem to be teaching a moral or values of the culture.  An example is the Old Norse rune poem for Fehu: “Money causes kinsmen’s quarrel; the wolf is reared in the forest.” (Plowright 21)  This is basically saying our modern statement that money is the root of all evil. 

Needless to say, in modern interpretations of runes, we use the meanings gleaned from the rune poems for the meanings of the runes, and they do work.   How they were physically used was by casting lots, as is mentioned by both Tacitus in Germania and Caesar in The Conquest of Gaul (Thorsson, Wyrd 4)

Magic purposes are best seen throughout the lore.  The Havamal is one of the best sources to start with for the magical uses of runes. Within it, there are descriptions of how to use various runes magically.  There is also a description of how Odin learned the runes via sacrificing himself to himself (Larington 14-38). 

We also have examples in the sagas of the runes being used magically.  In Eigl’s Saga runes are used to determine if a horn of drink contained poison.  When he carved and blooded the runes along with an incantation, the horn burst because it did contain poison (Green XLIV).  Another example from that saga is that someone carved runes for healing, but miscarved them and as a result did more harm than good (Green LXXV).

  1. Describe the life of a seer in an Indo-European hearth culture, their techniques of divination, and the respect they received. (min. 300 words)

The völur (sing. völva)  in the Germanic cultures were women that practiced seiðr, which is a combination of magic and prophecy.  One of the best accounts of how these women were treated comes from the Saga of Eric the Red.  In this saga it talks about how the völva would make rounds to the various settlements.  People invited her into their houses.  She was fed, and well taken care of.  Her clothing was of high quality, and she was basically revered by the folk.  The völva would be dressed including a hood and ornate staff.  She had with her a bag of talismans, and would otherwise was dressed warm as this was happening in winter. (Sephton Ch. 4).

This kind of lifestyle is also supported in the archeology.  There have been many graves of women that had the tools of seiðr in them, a staff being one of the most common object.  These women were buried with riches, and appear to be of a high status.  At the Fyrkat site in Denmark, the richest grave was that of a woman, and it contained the objects of seiðr in it (Price).

After describing how the völva was treated, it then goes on to talk about how she did seiðr.  She was lead up to the high seat and would sit and go into a trance through the others singing.  Once she goes into trance, questions were able to be asked and answered (Sephton Ch. 4). 

We also have other accounts of women seers.  In Tacitus’ The Histories we see a mention of a well to do woman that prophesizes a German victory over the Romans (Tacitus, Histories 4.61).  We also have Strabo mentioning in Geography about priestesses that also acted as seers.  These women would take the prisoners from battle and sacrifice them.  Then some would divine from the blood of the victims.  Others would divine from the entrails of the victim (Strabo 7.2.3).

Ultimately, the völva were very well treated women.  They were respected and taken care of.  They were also feared some because they did practice seiðr, which is also a form of magic, along with their ability to divine the future.  That in itself is something that should be feared and respected as it could be used against you.

  1. Describe what you have done to connect with this symbol set on a spiritual level, where your ideas came from, and how it has affected your method of learning this set. Some examples might include (but are not limited to) carving or sacrificing for your runes, gathering each kind of tree for a set of ogham, or doing volunteer service at your local zoo to get more closely acquainted with the behaviors of animals. (min. 300 words)

My chosen divination set are the Elder Futhark runes.  When I first got a set, I tried to connect purely by rote memorization.  I would read the meaning, and try to memorize it and connect it to the symbol. While I can normally do things like that easily, the runes did not let me connect and learn them that way.

I then went on and tried learning and connecting by meditating on the meanings.  Meditation and trance work not being something that came easily to me at that time did nothing but frustrate me.  This reduced me to using the runes with a cheat sheet to determine the meaning.

It wasn’t until I attended a workshop on Rune Galdr that I was able to finally connect with the runes.  From that workshop I got the idea to basically sing the alphabet, similar to how we learn our modern ABCs.  It was through doing this on a regular basis, and also combining it with my reiki practice at that time of charging a crystal grid under my bed, that finally one day the runes just connected, and I was able to use them without aide.

Once I had connected with the runes, I then worked with them to get a deeper connection.  I started to read the rune poems and meditate on the rune poem with the rune.  I have also gone on to blood some sets of my runes.  While it was not a matter of me making runes from scratch, when I got a set that was able to actually soak up some blood, I pricked my finger and traced the rune shapes with my blood.  Since then, until I burnt the set as a sacrifice, that set of runes was very accurate and I felt a real connection to them, where as the rest I don’t have the same feeling.

Ultimately, once I got my initial connection, I got deeper meaning and stronger connections to the runic symbols through the use of them.  The more I use them, the more I learn about them.  This has lead me to have some slightly different views of what the symbols mean, but overall they are similar to the “standard” meanings.  The more I use the, the more I connect, and the more they become a part of me.

  1. Describe the overall symbology of a chosen divination method as well as each individual symbol in that set. Review and compare to your answers to this question from Divination 1, explaining how and why those views have changed over time. If you have changed your primary symbol set, why did you change? (min. 400 words for the descriptive essay, and 100 words per symbol)

Overall, runes are about being practical.  They are easy and quick to carve.  This leads to them being easy to put on stone and possibly a reason why there was so much graffiti with them.  Being easy to carve also makes it possible to easily make a set for divination, or to do magic such as bind runes with them.  They are practical in that they deal with the every day events and concerns of the people that were using them.  The themes were along the lines of agriculture, natural phenomenon, and religion.

Many of the symbols are symmetric along the vertical or horizontal axis.  This has lead some people to consider the runes to be “upright” and “reversed” with the reversed position being considered the opposite in meaning of the upright one.  There is no direct evidence as to how the runes were use for divination though, much less that they actually were.  The modern concept of pulling out one or more runes and laying them out is also not supported by the primary sources.  In Tacitus’ Germania and Caesar’s The Conquest of Gaul they talk specifically of casting, not drawing.  We are assuming that it was runes they were dealing with though as there is no reference as to what was on the staves they cast (Plowright 121).

Overall, the way runes are used today for divination is very often different from how they were possibly used before the tenth century CE.  I have already mentioned how they are now often drawn instead of cast.  We also have no sources saying that reversed runes have a different meaning while many people currently do follow that idea.  The meanings have also shifted to a more modern interpretation.  As an example, Uruz originally referred to a now extinct ox.  The modern interpretation is that of strength.

The order of the elder futhark runes is also something that we see variation on.  Traditionally the runes are divided into three ætts or families of eight runes.  They also start with Fehu, but depending on which source you use, they either end with Dagaz or Othala.  If we end with Othala, you get a nice symmetry starting from movable/mutable wealth (Fehu, cattle) and ending with immovable/immutable wealth (Othala, home/inheritance).  I normally put Othala as the last rune, not Dagaz.

The more I work with the runes, the more the meanings are refined or changed to me.  When I started out with the runes, I saw Perthro as pure chance.  Now, when I pull that rune, I see it more than just chance, but the cornucopia.  First the shape is similar in that they both can hold something, and they are both traditionally with the opening on the side, not top.  Also, the cornucopia is a symbol of the bounty of the land and harvest come late fall/early winter.  This bounty is itself is also a chance.  Some years it’s good, others it’s very lean.  This is just one example of how I have seen things change over the last ten or so years of working with runes.

For the following rune definitions, I am using the standard definitions and rune poem translations from Plowright’s Runic Primer.  OERP stands for Old English Rune Poem, OIRP for Old Icelandic Rune Poem, and ONRP for Old Norwegian Rune Poem (Plowright 20-41).

f Fehu. wealth, cattle, money

Fehu is all about your immediate wealth.  Cattle, gold, and similar meanings for this rune are all talking about what you have in hand that you can give away or spend.  The rune poems for all three cultures talk about how money causes problems.  This is suggesting you are cautious with your wealth as far as advertizing it, but also suggests that you spread it around instead of hording it.

To me, I see Fehu as dealing with our current form of immediate wealth, money.  Depending on how it comes out in the reading, it’s either talking about the influx or efflux of money from whomever the reading is about.

u Uruz. aurochs, wild ox.

Uruz is really about primal strength.  The Aurochs is a large, ancient form of what eventually became our domestic cattle.  The ox is a common animal to be used for things like plowing.  Both these animals portray the idea of strength.  The idea of a primal, and potentially uncontrollable strength comes from the OERP "Aurochs is single-minded and over-horned, a very dangerous animal - fights with horns - a notorious moor-treader; that is an intrepid being!”

To me, Uruz is raw power.  It means physical strength to do whatever the task is.  It also is cautionary in that with great strength damage can be done, so you have to temper the strength to task at hand.

x Thurisaz. A giant.

Thurisaz is often interpreted as the god Thor as this is the rune “Th” and he is associated with killing giants.  That is really not what the rune poems say though.  The OIRP and ONRP both talk about giants making women sick.  Giants in the Germanic cultures were not friendly beings but often were causing trouble.  They were part of that beyond the boundary of the town.  They were not beings that were to be messed with, but respected and feared from afar.  This is why there was a need for a god to kill them.

To me, I prefer the OERP, “Thorn is extremely sharp, for any warrior to grab it, evil; excessively fierce to any man who amongst them rests.”  When I draw this rune, I see it as a thorn and often describe the rune as being the same as the thorns on a rose bush.  Once the thorn gets in you, it hurts, and it will continue to hurt you until you get rid of it.  To me, this is the most negative rune in the set.

a Ansuz. A god

Ansuz is often translated as Odin.  This is likely because the rune poems talk about deity.  As in modern thought the chief deity is Odin, this has become the interpretation.  Also, the OIRP mentions the chief of Asgard and Valhall’s leader which is Odin.  What is interesting though is the OERP talks about language and wisdom.  Wisdom is also something that Odin was constantly searching out, e.g. Mimir’s well and his sacrifice of himself to himself to learn the runes.

To me, I look at Ansuz more towards the language than towards Odin.  I see this rune as being all about communication.  This could be communication between the person and deity, or it could just be a plain communication issues between them and someone else.

r Raido. Riding.

Raido is often interpreted as a chariot.  If we look at all the rune poems though, they all refer to a journey on or with a horse.  There is no talk of a vehicle being pulled by the horse.  The poems are all talking about a physical journey and riding the horse, which may be rough.  The OIRP and ONRP also remind us that while it may be a rough journey for us, it is worse for the horse.

To me, Raido is about the mode of transportation.  In modern terms, this is the horseless carriage, or car/bus/truck for most people.  I have seen this rune pulled, and then find out that the person either just had problems with their car, or shortly thereafter have problems with their car.  This just confirmed to me that this rune is about the mode of transportation.

k Kenaz. Torch, Sore.

Kenaz is talking about fire, as in the torch which is described in the OERP.  It is also talking about disfigurement of a person as in the other rune poems.  At first look these aren’t related at all.  The more I thought about it though, I came to realize that if the torch goes wrong, it will cause the sores talked about in the other poems.

To me, I honestly don’t like or agree with the rune poems on this.  I do agree that Kenaz works as fire, and have had success in using it magically with that meaning.  What I see it more as though is a spark.  This is a rune of inspiration.  When I pull this, I like to see it as that light being turned on in ones subconscious to inspire them to do whatever is at hand.

g Gebo. Gift.

Gebo is the runic version of *Ghosti.  The only rune poem for this is the OERP which talks about giving to those less fortunate, and in return getting recognition.  In other words, giving within your means, and receiving back within their means.  It is also often interpreted as partnership, which in some respects does require a similar arraignment.

To me, Gebo is *Ghosti.  It is a gift for a gift.  It is reciprocity.  When this comes up in a reading, I see it as you either have something coming to you, or you need to give something in return.  If I am doing a reading involving love or relationships, I do see this somewhat as a partnership.  All partners in the relationship need to give something to the rest, and they also need to receive something in return.  In this case, I read it similar in that it’s a cautionary to remind them that everyone involved needs to give and receive within their means to everyone else.

w Wunjo. Joy.

Wunjo is simple joy and happiness.  This also only has the OERP as the only rune poem.  In the poem, it describes how happiness is the lack of pain and sorrow while also having a good reputation and the basic necessities of life.

To me, Wunjo is also simple joy and happiness.  When this gets pulled, I often describe it as the emoticon :P where the rune is the same as the P meaning the tongue sticking out.  Usually I am finding it referring to the person being in a happy and comfortable state.  Sometimes though, it has come through as meaning they are lacking that in their life, and the advice that comes through is that they should look at what is blocking their happiness and change it.

h Hagalaz. Hail.

Hagalaz is usually interpreted as the runic equivalent of the death card in tarot.  This is supported by the rune poems in that hail is a destructive force.  It would destroy crops and cause much pain and hardship to the people for at least a short time, if not longer term such as happening when crops were almost ready to harvest.

To me, Hagalaz is talking about a major change.  This is not always a negative as the rune poems state.  I look to the first line of the OERP “Hail is the whitest of seeds.”  The use of the word seed makes me interpret this as every ending is a new beginning.  Most people see this as the worst rune to pull, but I see it only as a caution that you are, have, or are about to deal with some kind of major change in your life.

n Nauthiz. Need, Necessity.

Nauthiz is talking about the basic needs, or the necessities of life.  The rune poems all talk about how having your basic needs unfulfilled, you are really limited in what you can do, and you also are often put into difficult situations where you have to do things you really wouldn’t want to do to meet your needs.

I read Nauthiz in a similar way.  It is referring to your needs to survive.  If these needs are not met, you are faced with constraints on what you can do.  When it comes up, it tends to be a reminder to quit dreaming and focusing on the here and now, and what needs to be done to meet all your obligations, and often to cut back on the obligations.

i Isa. Ice.

Isa is interpreted as ice.  All the rune poems support this.  The OERP states that it is pretty to look at, but it is also dangerous to deal with.  The other rune poems all caution that is it dangerous.  What I find interesting is the ONRP talks about it being a bridge.

To me, Isa is also ice, but I have a rather broad and less foreboding interpretation of it.  Ice is in itself beautiful, especially in the form of ice sickles.  It also can be very strong, such as the ice roads in Alaska and Canada that carry tractor trailers in the winter.  When I interpret it, I usually am seeing it as a tenuous base for something.  It is there, it is a strong base for now, but it is slippery and will eventually disappear, so do something with it or you will lose it.

j Jera. Year, Harvest.

Jera is talking about fully grown fields and the harvest that you are going to get out of it at the end of the year.  The rune poems are all talking about the bounties of the earth, and how a good harvest leads to a good year.  The ONRP also talks about a good harvest being the gift of Freyr.

To me, Jera is talking about the bounty of the earth.  The design of the rune itself also makes me see it as a rune of cycles.  When this rune is pulled up, I usually am describing it as what is happening is part of a cycle, and to keep an eye out for repetitive habits and events.  I also have seen it come up though as a notification that someone is about to reap the benefits of what they earlier sowed.  It all depends on how it shows up.

y  Eihwaz. Yew tree.

Eihwaz is referring to the yew tree in all the rune poems.  They all talk about its strength, but also about how flexible it can be.  The OERP and ONRP also talk about yew being a good wood for fire, pleasant to burn, but tough to ignite.  Traditionally, the yew has been used for bows, and the OIRP talks about it in that use.

To me, I see this rune being a representation of Yggdrasil.  This tree is usually thought of as being an Ash rather than a Yew tree though.  When I read this rune, I see it as being a strong pillar of support for everything.  I also see it as being the center of all.  This is why I see it as Yggdrasil, but it is also supported by the rune poems as they talk about the strength of the yew tree.

p Perthro. Board game, musical tune.

Perthro is referring to games in the OERP, the only poem for it.  The poem seems to be talking about the joys of playing a game of chance.  It can also be interpreted as an early form of our modern drinking games based off of the reference to it being played in beer halls.

To me, I have always had trouble with this rune.  Chance and the common interpretation of “dice cup” really did not fit for me.  What I have found to fit is to think of it more as a cornucopia, or horn of plenty.  This ties the rune to Jera and the harvest.  The harvest is a chance.  It may be large and bountiful, or it may be nothing.  It also may be something in between.  I haven’t found any connection to board games or music with this rune though.

z Algiz, Elhaz. Elk.

Elhaz is another rune with only the OERP to go by.  In the rune poem it talks about Elk-sedge.  Elk-sedge is a kind of grass that grows in marshy areas, and eaten by elk like animals, hence its name.  The plant itself though has sharp leaves, which ties into the common interpretation of protection. 

When I see this rune, I see it as protection and defense.  As I mentioned above, the plant is not a kind and gentle plant.  When I look at the rune itself, it looks to me like the antlers on an elk or similar animal, and these animals will use their antlers for defense.  So, when this comes up, I am usually interpreting it as a need to watch your back and be prepared to defend or protect yourself, or a sign that someone is doing that for you.

s Sowilo. Sun.

Sowilo is referring to the sun itself.  All the rune poems talk about it being a good thing to see for various reasons.  The common theme though is that seeing the sun means it is good weather, and you can now do things you cannot do in bad weather (sailing per the OERP) or it will slowly remove the bad things (ice in the OIRP).

When I see Sowilo come up, I am looking at it as a very good omen.  I see this rune as being all the positives that one sees with a bright sunny day.  It is warmth, light, and a way of bringing bad things to light and start working on fixing them.

t Tiwaz. The god Tiw (Tyr).

Tiwaz is referring to the god Tyr in all the rune poems.  The reference is either about the nobility of Tyr, or that he lost his hand to keep his honor.  These all point to the meaning of the rune being that of honor.

When I look at Tiwaz, I also see it in a similar fashion.  I relate it back to the story of how Tyr lost his hand, and how he did this because he made an oath, and that was the punishment for breaking the oath.  This rune is usually interpreted by me as justice, and doing what one has to do, no matter how unpleasant it may be.

b Berkana or Berkano. Birch.

Berkana is referring to the birch tree itself.  All the rune poems describe the tree in some fashion.  The birch tree is usually one of the first trees that start to grow in a field.  It represents a new growth, and beginnings in both the runes, and in Ogham.

When I see Berkana, I see it just as that, new growth and new beginnings.  This to me is referring to the start of something new.  This is the beginning that is referenced to in Hagalaz.  To me it speaks of opening your eyes and seeing all the possibilities that are out there as what you are about to start on is not set in stone, but yours to shape.

e Ehwaz. Horse.

Ehwaz is also one that has only the OERP for it.  In the poem it talks of the horse being something that is owned by the nobles, and that it is a sign of wealth.  It also mentions that the horse is used to exchange speech.

When I am looking at this rune, I see it as the partner of Raido.  Both of these runes are talking about some kind of travel.  When I look at Ehwaz, I see it as some kind of spiritual travel, and often equate it with spirituality.  This comes in part from the exchange of speech that is mentioned in the rune poem.  Traveling speech reminds me of guided meditations, and that is associated in my mind with spirituality.

m Mannaz. Man, Human.

Mannaz is referring to the person.  The rune poems all talk about man and how he can be both good and bad.  This rune is basically describing human nature.

When I look at this rune, I see it mostly talking about the self.  Usually when I see it come up in a reading, it is taking what is around it and referring it to the person that is getting the reading.  This rune basically is telling me where the focus of the reading is.  It is something that is under the control of the person, or it is something to do with the person themselves.  In the event it is a group reading, like an omen, this is of course referring to the group as a whole instead of an individual.

l Laguz. Sea.

Laguz is the sea or water.  The OERP talks about it being a dangerous road for ships, the OIRP talks about it being the home of fish, and the ONRP talks about it flowing and being costly as gold.

The more modern interpretation is that water is an emotional element.  When I look at this rune, I also do see emotions as being a part of it.  Water makes a good analogy for emotions as at times it can be calm and pleasant, but that can very quickly change to turbulent and violent.  I have seen it come up though with regards to weather, and refer directly to the fall of precipitation from the sky.  Sometimes water just means water.

q Ingwaz. the god Ing (Freyr).

Ingwaz is again a rune with only the OERP for it.  The rune poem references to the traditions of Freyr and his funeral boat.  Freyr was a member of the Vanir and was one associated with the earth and fertility.

Fertility is one of the more common modern interpretations.  When I look at the rune, I see it as a seed.  This rune talks to me of the future potential.  So, the idea of fertility does speak to me here.  It is not just sexual fertility though.  This can be the inspiration that is needed for a project or the resources to start something new.  This rune kind of combines Berkana and Jera in its meaning to me.

d Dagaz. Day.

When I look at the only rune poem (OERP) for Dagaz, I see two things.  One is that it seems to be referring to dawn.  The other being that it seems to refer to “The Lord’s Day” in a very Christian sense.  Overall, it does refer to joy over the day.

To me, I don’t really connect with the poem at all.  I see Dagaz as being a rune of a timeframe.  Where Jera talks of cycles and I see that as talking about things on a year scale, Dagaz refers to things on a day scale.  This rune to me usually means the here and now, or the very near future or past.

o Othala. inheritance, estate, ancestral land.

Othala is the last rune, and it also only has the OERP for it.  The poem talks about family property, and how important that is to the person.  This is often interpreted as the inheritance of stuff from your family.

I see this as two meanings.  One is as your home.  This is where your center is, and where you are most comfortable.  I also see this as future wealth, and wealth that is not easily spent.  This is the partner to Fehu in that respect.  This kind of wealth is in things like property, big ticket items, and things that are tough to part with emotionally.  These are all things that one would likely inherit when a loved one passes.


After I wrote up all these answers, I looked back on what I did for divination 1.  Overall I haven’t changed how I look at the runes since then.  If anything, I have refined their meanings to better suit how they speak to me.

  1. Describe the primary sources available regarding your chosen symbol set, explain the place of inspiration in your interpretations, and describe how the synthesis between historical source work and inspiration plays in your personal practice. (min. 600 words)

The primary sources for runes are wide and varied.  The obvious place to start is with the inscriptions that have been found.  There are thousands of these throughout the Germanic lands.  A lot of them are of the form of “Helgi was here” and similar types of graffiti along with inscriptions saying who the thing belongs to or was made by.  There are thousands of runic inscriptions that have been found.  These are good to see how runes were used in everyday life.

The rune poems are probably the best source to find meanings for the runes.  Generally speaking, there are three sets of rune poems (Anglo-Saxon/Old English, Icelandic, and Nordic) that are looked at to understand what the meanings of the runes were.  In general, the rune poems agree with each other, but at times there are differences.  To me, these poems seemed to serve a dual purpose of teaching the runes, and teaching morals.  I am not fully convinced though that they are much more than how we teach our letters today with “A is for aardvark, B is for boy, C is for cat…”  In the end though, the meanings generally do work, so it doesn’t truly matter.

We also have some potential contemporary examples of how the runes were possibly used.  Tacitus and Caesar both talk about the casting of lots in Germania and The Conquest of Gaul respectively.  They don’t mention in detail what was carved on the lots that were cast though, so we are making an educated guess that they were runes.

We also have the lore to aide us.  The Havamal talks about how Odin learned the runes.  It also describes how the runes are to be used and what they can do.  We also have the runes appearing in many sagas.  The one that stands out most in my mind is Egil’s Saga where runes are used at one point to detect poison, and at another point to harm and heal someone that is sick.  While both are showing how to use the runes magically, the latter case also shows the proper way to destroy runes.

As far as divination is concerned, I draw heavily from the rune poems.  The poems for me are a great place to start when looking for meaning.  As I was writing about how I interpreted all the runes, I was surprised how much my current interpretations actually were in a loose agreement with what the rune poems actually said.

The poems though are not how I learned the runes.  I only seriously started to look at them long after I was able to read runes.  When I started, I tried various books and cheat sheets of meanings, but they never clicked.  Instead, I had a more divine inspiration when learning the runes.

I believe that my learning by intoning the runes, combining them with energy flow, and doing that consistently over a long period of time is along the same lines as how Odin when about learning the runes.  It was an ordeal and a chore that really did not involve any true study.  Instead, I worked with them in a very basic fashion, basically singing the alphabet while visualizing the rune and sending energy into a crystal grid based on that rune, and in the end became tuned into them.  This is the likely reason that I have slightly different views of some of the runes, especially ones such as placing Thurisaz as a worse rune to pull than Hagalaz.

Since the time that I learned the runes though, I have started to modify my thoughts some based on the rune poems, but if I have a conflict between the two, I go with my gut.  I also have modified the meanings based on rune readings I have done.  The practical experimentation and finding out what clicked where is more important to me than being true to the historical meaning.  In the end, if I pull a rune and I get a meaning from the pull that is completely different from what it normally would be, I have to go with what I see as my experience has told me that what I see is more important than what I think when it comes to divination.

  1. Maintain a journal of regular divinatory practice (entries at least weekly; daily is ideal) for 5 months. At the end of that five month period, write an essay reflecting on the importance of daily practice; the results seen (including whether your ability to work with this symbol set has increased and why you think it has); and your feelings about the symbol set's strengths and weaknesses after this period of work (min. 1000 words)

This requirement was not an easy one for me.  I am not a huge fan of journaling in the first place, and I don’t really like the idea of having to do a certain thing on a regular basis, especially daily.  After having completed it, I do have to agree, I did learn a bit about myself, but overall I have to say I did not get much out of this from the daily practice.

I did my journaling with a daily rune pull from 22 September, 2008 until 22 February, 2009.  The rune pull was done in the morning usually right before I went to work.  I usually asked the question of “What will come of today?”  At the end of the day before bed I would take another look at what the rune was and see if it agreed with the day.  In general, the runes were either fuzzy because of the generality of the questions and so it could potentially be said to agree with how the day went, or for some days they really were right on as to what the overall theme of the day was.

In all honesty, this practice did nothing for me, and I have stopped doing it once my journaling was done.  It did not do anything to teach me any deeper meanings of the runes.  It was at the end a drudgery that had to be done, if only to complete the journal.

I got more meaning out of the divinations I did for others during this time period.  I did some readings at a local psychic fair during that time.  When I did the rune pulls, I had the person I was reading for pull and cast the runes, then I would interpret what they cast.  In general these clients were not people I knew, but people that often just walked in off the street.  They also tended to get readings not just from me, but from people that did tarot readings for them.

When I was doing these divinations, I was impressed with how forceful and accurate the runes are.  The runes being only twenty four symbols means that they have to be very direct in what they are saying unlike Tarot’s seventy eight cards which can tweak the meaning with subtle nuances. 

The readings were varied.  The most common questions I got were about what I have heard called the big three, love, money, and work.  When cast, the runes would often speak to me, and I could tell just by looking at them without truly reading them, as to what they were saying.  It was when I started to read them, interpret them, and then explain what they were saying that I was able to get out those subtle nuances.

One reading that stands out for me was for a woman that appeared to be in her forties or fifties.  She asked about her health.  Just by looking at her, I could tell that she currently was   not doing well.  When I read the runes, they spoke very clearly to me that she was not doing well physically, and for the only time I’ve seen it happen, Hagalaz was actually speaking to me as death. 

This reading stands out in my memory as it was one that I really had to temper what I said to what the runes were saying.  The runes were screaming out to me that she was going to die, and soon.  I didn’t know that woman before that day, and I have not seen her since, so I honestly do not know how it turned out.  Obviously, I couldn’t just come out and tell her that but instead I had to temper it to give her that basic idea.  This was a lesson to me of how powerful the runes were, and a lesson of tact for us.  What was even more useful from this experience is that this woman went to all the tarot readers and asked the same questions.  After she left, we all talked to each other just to confirm what our readings said.  We were all in agreement.

I also did omen pulls, both for personal rituals and grove rituals, during that time.  These were yet different in experience.  The questions asked in rituals are much more precise and we generally answered them with one rune pulls.  Normally we ask what does each of the Kindred give us, so we get three runes.  What I normally try to do is to take the three runes and relate them to the Kindred that gave us that rune, and to each other.  This tends to fall into being a small story about where we as a Grove are at this moment in life.  Often we can see some hints of our past, and where we are going.

In the end, I found that doing regular daily, or I suspect even weekly, practice really did nothing for me.  I had hoped that over the five months that I would get into the practice and that I would be consistently getting useful meanings out of it.  I did not.  It became a chore and really did not do much for me.  At best it may have put into my mind to be careful for the day, but overall it was done only to meet this requirement and had no lasting value for me beyond that.

What had value for me though was doing the divinations for others, and pulling omens for rituals.  As I did these, I actually connected deeper to the runes.  I found meanings and nuances that I did not see before.  Having to verbalize what I saw in a coherent fashion really made me see how the runes all related to each other, and related to the question.  Practical experience doing readings for others did much more to increase my understanding of the runes than any daily or weekly practice could.  In the end, for me I would find that regular practice with doing divination for others to be much more effective than doing daily divinations for yourself.  As I have heard many other diviners say, reading for yourself doesn’t work well.

  1. Describe your method of taking an omen or doing divination in your private practice, from start to finish. Include any prayers said, deities invoked, or sacrifices made. (no minimum word count)

When I do divination for someone, I first explain to them that the runes are powerful, and they are blunt.  I also explain to them that the way I have found the runes to work best is to be very precise in what your question is, and to not ask yes or no questions.  I feel if you’re going to ask a yes or no question, you might as well do a coin toss as that’s essentially what you’ll get from the runes.

Once they have a question in mind, I then have them play with the runes in the bag until they feel that it is right to cast them.  I instruct them to grab however many they feel are right, and cast them on the table (or whatever flat surface is around) however they want.

When this is done, I then take a look at the runes as an overall layout.  I try to see if there are any patterns in how they fell, if there is any directionality in these patterns, and if there is an overall rune in the pattern.  I also take note of any runes that run away, usually catching them as they fall off the table.

After I take a look at the overall layout of the runes, I then start looking at the individual runes.  Usually I will start with what the overall pattern suggest is the most important part, or “focus” of the pattern.  I don’t deal with the reversed/upright runes as having opposite meanings.  To me, the runes keep their meanings no matter how they fall.  They may be directing influence on other runes though based on the direction they point. 

What I do take into account is the runes that fall face down.  If the face is hidden from view, I see this as something that is there, but not easily seen, or not seen at all, by the person I’m reading for.  Often these are things to look out for, or things that are helping them that they just don’t know about.

After I do all that, and see what all the runes are, I then try to explain them in a coherent fashion to the person I’m reading for.  Often I’ll explain the little groupings that form as I go along, and tie it up at the end with giving them an overall view of what is happening, and how these parts relate to the overall.

There are times when I am not sure what exactly is meant by specific runes or groupings.  In these cases I will have more runes cast from a different set, or I’ll do a rune pull to clarify what the meaning is.  I find it is important to do this with a full set of runes as it will give even more information.  For example, pulling one Hagalaz may mean a big change is happening.  Pulling three Hagalazes probably mean that death is coming.

  1. Describe the results of nine divinations you have done for others (without assistance from a book). (min. 100 words per reading, and 600 words for a summary)

These readings were done between October 2008 and February 2009.  In order to not identify who it was that I was reading for, I will just list the question and what came out of it.  They were all done via IM, and what I have here is essentially an edited chat log of what I told the client.

Client 1

 “What advice does X need with regards to her DP and spiritual work?”

7 stones came out, almost in a triskle form.  5 stones form what looks like a 7 with Ansuz, deity and words as the corner. Thurisaz in the one on the tip of the 7, an upside stone next to it, and there are 2 upside stones below Ansuz.  Sowilo sun and wholeness is directly next to the 2nd from bottom stone, and there is another upside-down stone that forms a point of a triangle between the bottom stone and Ansuz with Sowilo in line.

Based on what I see here, I am seeing you going from some strife through deity, and into wholeness.  Now to turn over the stones.  Between Thurisaz and Ansuz is Mannaz, man/self. So, that is obviously where you are, even though you don't know it.  You're heading towards a deeper connection with deity.  Below Ansuz is Elhaz, the elk, protection and defenses and below him is Eihwaz, the horse, or spiritual travel and the last rune is Othala, home.

I read this, you're going from a rather chaotic, sometimes painful past.  You're working on deepening your connection with deities, and trying to make yourself whole.  Once you get that connection, and you will, you're going to start going places.  As you're doing DP work, I suspect this will be trance journey stuff during your "mental discipline" journaling.  Like I said, Eihwaz, the horse, is all about spiritual journey.  I suspect it's going to take a bit to break down barriers to get there though as it won't be easy, but it will be right for you.  If you can't break them down, the natural defenses you have, you'll still reach wholeness and eventually home, but the spiritual journey stuff may not happen.

It looks like me to be 2 paths so, let’s explore what you're going to have to do to get that spiritual journey.  I then asked for advice on what work she needs to do for her spiritual journey.  I cast 4 runes, 3 on the base, one directly above the one on the far left, all evenly spaced.  Starting from the right, going left then up: Nauthiz - need and constraint, Fehu - money and wealth, Raido - physical journey, and Tiwaz – justice, all showing.

You just got married, so that can easily explain the constraint, especially when coupled with wealth.  She stated that she was not planning on moving soon, but she did about a year later.  She also explained that she was changing things at work with getting more hours, but lower pay, so that was a possible financial constraint. I got a feeling you may get a trial by fire, but it will be for the best, it will be what you need.  Stick with the spiritual journeying. I think this is saying work will get in the way, but make time. The more time you make for it, the more you'll get out of it.

Client 2

 "what is the future of your protogrove?"

Overall impression is good.  There is a grouping of 3 stones diagonal from top left to lower right, Wunjo - joy and happiness, Dagaz - day, and Elhaz - elk, protection.  Then there are 2 more parallel and a bit higher. The top left one is not visible and is Othala - home and inheritance, and the other is Fehu - money/wealth.  Way off to the side in line with Fehu is Mannaz - self.

The Wunjo - Dagaz - Elhaz combination is telling me that there will be good things in the short term, and you are being watched over, protected.  You will probably have some financial issues though, maybe grove, maybe home, maybe self.  I am not sure if it's good or bad the way Fehu is sitting, but it strikes me as a warning to watch the money, and not as saying good fortunes are coming. She did say you are moving soon, and Fehu is closely associated here with Othala/home, so that could be it.

I'm also seeing that you are on the outside, as if you are pushing for this, but you don't really feel a part of it.  To this, she replied that she was nervous, and it may be more of a self esteem issue. 

Overall, it looks like you are going to get it going, probably after you get your home settled.

Client 3

This was asked via e-mail with regards to starting a new business.

What is the likelihood of this being a successful venture?

What Kind of success will it have?

3 runes were cast.  2 formed a line.  The left one was Gebo, partnership/gift, the right one was not visible and was Kenaz, spark/inspiration.  The third ran away and I caught it shortly after casting, this was Tiwaz, right action.

What I am seeing in this is that it will be an inspiring and fulfilling venture.  It may not feel inspiring at the time (hence why Kenaz in not visible), but in the long run it will be.  The Tiwaz running away (I see that as making it more important) is telling me that this is the right thing for you to be doing right now.

What needs to happen next?

4 runes, again 1 ran away.  Of the 3 on the table, they form a triangle.  Laguz, waters/emotions is visible, the other 2 are not and are (going clockwise) Perthro, chance/wyrd and Eihwaz, horse/spiritual travel.  The rune that ran away was Elhaz, elk/protection.

Well, to me this is telling me you will have to invest in it emotionally.  This is obviously a chance as it can backfire (Perthro).  You may not see it right now (although you offering Druidry 101 makes me think you do) but you will also have to commit yourself spiritually too.  This all may be tough and it is a chance.  You have people watching your back though (Elhaz) even if you don’t realize it.

Where should we take this?

5 runes this time, all landed on the table.  2 were not visible.  They all form a triangle of sorts and two runes appear to intersect this triangle and both were visible… thus making a triangle with the visible runes.

Going clockwise starting from the lower left:  Laguz: waters/emotions, not visible, Eihwaz: horse/spiritual journey, not visible, Dagaz: Day, Nauthiz: Need/Constraint, Gebo: Partnership/Gift.

I find it interesting that Laguz and Eihwaz are appearing again.  I thing that this is telling you that in the short term (Dagaz) you need to take in the spiritual/emotional direction.  This may not be the ultimate end of what you do, but it is necessary for you to get started.

Who should be involved with it?

4 runes, all visible, 2 right next to each other forming a vertex of a triangle.  I get the overall feeling of Kenaz: inspiration/spark from this.  The runes going clockwise starting lower left: Ansuz: deity/words, Isa: Ice/stability, Perthro: Chance/wyrd, Gebo: Partnership/Gift.

I take this as it is saying you need to get people of similar or compatible spiritual paths as you.  Obviously they should be stable (mentally and financially), and they should want to be partners in this.  It’ll still be a chance though (Perthro) no matter what you do.

What do we need to watch out for?

Ok, overall 5 runes.  3 in a line, and then 2 off the lower left end to make it kind of like a lambda symbol.  Only those lower 2 are visible.  They are Fehu: cattle/money, Elhaz: elk/protection, not visible, Nauthiz: Need/constraint, not visible, Eihwaz: horse/spiritual journey, not visible, Ansuz: Deity/words

The Fehu and Ansuz being visible tells me that this will be very spiritually fulfilling.  But what you don’t see is that you have the needed spiritual protection.

Taking this with the question asked, I’m thinking that while spirituality may be a starting point, don’t count on it being the ending point.  Keep your eyes open and take the chance when opportunity presents itself even if it’s not spiritual based.

Client 4

This was again done via e-mail:

What guidance does Odin have for me?

I pulled 3 runs, 2 landed on the table going from top left to lower right.  The third jumped off the table and landed on the floor.  The one that ran away tends to be more important, and that was Berkano: birch, new beginnings.  So, he wants you to explore new things, and get started on the things you have on your plate, but haven’t started yet.  The other 2 runes were Dagaz (not showing itself): Day, growth, enlightenment and Wunjo: joy and happiness.  He wants you to have fun.  Whatever it is that you are starting up will be fun, and eventually lead to growth and enlightenment, even if you can’t see that at this moment.

What does the future hold for X and I? 

Ok, again 3 runes came out.  They landed in the shape of Kenaz: Fire, spark, inspiration.  The future holds some kind of inspiration overall.  The 3 runes going from the top, left, bottom, were Kenaz (not showing itself), Uruz: strength, primal ox, and Berkano: birch, new beginnings.  This is very clear to me.  The future holds a very strong and inspired new beginning between you two.    You may not see that you are inspired, you may not see that you actually are inspired, but looking back, you will notice that you were.  It’s a very good and strong future.  I must warn you though, this is not saying that it is saying you two will be together, but that he will have that effect on you.

How should I approach reconnecting?

I think it was too late considering what came out.  3 runes again (what’s with you and 3 runes today?).  One ran away, that was Elhaz, the elk, protection.  The other two runes were in almost in a horizontal line.  On the left was Dagaz: day, growth, enlightenment, and on the right was Hagalaz: hail, destruction, major change.  It’s telling me that although you two have a powerful future based on the last question, you need to be cautious not to lose yourself.  Basically, the rune reading is saying there will be major change by reconnecting, and this will be leading to your own growth, but don’t lose yourself in it.  If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  Obvious advice, but that is basically what I’m getting from this pull.

Client 5

What is the overview of your life at the moment?

5 runes came out. 3 upright in a row. One directly above in the center, and the fifth way off to the right in line with the 4th. The 4th and 5th are not visible.  The 3 visible are from left to right.... Thurisaz: thorn, Sowilo: sun and wholeness, and Othala: home and inheritance.   I am seeing this as your home life is going through turmoil at the moment, and it will become whole in time.  I asked about a wedding she was planning, and she confirmed stress from that. It looks like things are going the right way, and eventually will settle down to a dull roar.

The other 2 runes.  The one directly above Sowilo was Wunjo: joy and happiness.  You may not be seeing the joy ahead of you, but it is there.  The other one was Laguz, emotions/water.  This is all a journey.  I think with it off to the side, it's telling us about your emotional state overall.  So, I think overall, you are going to be happy with where you are going. 

So how does this all effect the idea of a PG?

4 runes, in a diagonal line (top left to lower right) of 3, and the 4th is way off to the bottom left.  Top left and lower right are visible. Nauthiz top left: need and constraints. Lower right, Isa: ice/stability.  Based just on that, it's telling me that you need some stability in this area.  I'm thinking it may be a matter of personal regular practice.  The center of the 3 was Eihwaz, the yew, world tree, and the other one is Fehu, cattle/money.  This is telling me that at the moment, I don't think it's something that will be financially easy for you to do.  You can, but it will be tough.  You will have to make tough choices.  So, take things slow.  I'm getting out of this, screaming through my head, regular practice.

Is this about regular practice on my own, with the protogrove, or both?

3 runes, kind of like an inverted hockey stick.  The center (corner) is Ing, the seed rune, Freyr, fertility and such.  The other 2 were hidden, they are Perthro (left side) which is your wyrd or fate/chance. The other one (low right) was Sowilo, sun and wholeness again.  I think this is saying that there needs to be some kind of new entity, such as a seed is.  Maybe a get the study group practicing more and more.  I don't think it's saying that it's time for formally starting a pg.  Make sure that you're not just doing this yourself, but get everyone involved.

Client 6

What does my financial picture look like this year?

9 runes were cast, which to me is odd for so many to come out.  There is no overall pattern.  At the top is Elhaz, the elk, protection at the bottom, slightly off to the side is Othala, home and inheritance.  Those are the only two visible faces.  Next to Othala, and slightly lower is Dagaz, day.  There is a grouping of 3 in the center, going top, left, bottom, they are Hagalaz - major change, Perthro - fate/chance, and Kenaz - spark and inspiration.  Crossing these in a diagonal line is Fehu - cattle/money on the top, and Tiwaz - right action/justice on the bottom.  Lastly off to the side is Isa - ice, stability.

Looking at the 5 stones in the middle, Hagalaz, Perthro, Kenaz, Fehu and Tiwaz, that is telling me that you're going to come to a point where you will have a choice to make, and either way you go, there will be major change in your financial health.  The obvious advice, choose carefully.  Seeing Isa in conjunction to these, the stable choice is probably the right one.  I think if you go right though, it'll lead to a place of stability.

Elhaz, up top is telling us overall to just be protective of your financial health.  In these times, rather sage advice.  I am seeing the Othala and Dagaz on the bottom saying to concentrate on your home in the near future.

“Tell me about their wedding fortunes."

2 stones, both not visible.  Basically, that in itself means that you can't see it, but, it's there. (Her comment: NINJA WEDDING)  Uruz - the primal ox an strength is lower left, and Mannaz - Man/self is in the upper right.  It will be a good thing, strengthening at least you, but I think this is saying it will strengthen both of you, and your ties to each other.

Client 7

How can I be patient and more calm at work?

4 runes came out.  2 vertical groupings of two forming a diagonal from lower left to upper right.  The bottom two were Ehwaz (horse, spiritual travel) and Fehu (cattle, wealth).  The other two were Nauthiz (need, constraint) and hiding was Sowilo (sun, wholeness, progress).

Overall, her spiritual work and financial health are tied together.  She needs to work on her spirituality to get through the issues she is having at work.  Knowing that a major problem that is being faced is an annoying co-worker, I think this is telling her to work on meditations and other calming techniques.

Where is her current relationship going?

4 runes came out, 2 next to each other on the bottom, and 2 further up making kind of the shape of Orion’s body.  The bottom two are Nauthiz (need, constraint) and Radio (physical travel), this first made me think that she will be moving in with him, or closer to him.  The other two were Ansuz (deity, words), and not showing, Sowilo (wholeness, progress, sun).  I took this as a cautionary warning saying to her that she shouldn’t forget her spirituality/piety because of him.  When asked specifically does this mean that she will be moving in with him, I got Perthro  (chance, wyrd) and Tiwaz (right action) which is basically saying they won’t tell us, just do what is the proper thing to do, and you will get rewarded.

What should she look out for?

5 runes came out, Mannaz (man, self) ran away and I caught it before it fell off the table.  Right off the bat it’s telling her to not lose herself.  The other 4 formed an upside down Wunjo (joy and happiness).  Starting from the tip of the Wunjo going to top then down, it went hidden, Thurisaz (thorn, defense), Perthro (chance, wyrd), Fehu (cattle, wealth), and hidden Ansuz (words, deity).  I got a few things out of this one.  Watch your money, or it will bite you in the ass.  Don’t lose yourself, or change yourself.  And don’t lose your piety.  Even if he’s not one to share her religious beliefs, don’t stop your own practice.

Client 8

What role will X have in my life?

7 runes came out, in a lopsided, upside down awen symbol.  The point was Mannaz, self.  On the left branch we only have Ansuz, word, communications.  On the center branch we have Hagalaz, major change, and Berkano, birch and new beginnings.  On the right branch we have Elhaz, elk and protection, Nauthiz, need and constraint, and Fehu, cattle and wealth.

I’m getting an overall past/present/future type reading on this.  The past is you two have been talking, and as there is much space between the runes, it was a while ago, and not really anything too personal recently.

For the present, it looks like you both are going through major changes.  You obviously have just had a major life change, and from what you told me, he has had a major change recently too.  With all change though, comes a new beginning.  Basically, it’s saying that at this moment in time, you’re both going through a period of change and you both will come out of it, probably closer than you are now.  Kind of an intertwined wyrd situation.

And the future for you two.  Watch yourself.  It’s telling me that you need to be careful with your money (Elhaz and Fehu).  It’s warning me that you are right to be weary with what is happening.  Don’t make any sudden moves or changes to your life.  Exercise financial constraint, and if he asks you to invest in something, don’t.

In the end, it looks like you two can have a good friendship, but I really don’t see it going far past that, at this moment.

Client 9

What does the future hold?

3 runes, all hidden which makes sense.  You have no idea of your future.  They are all good runes though.  Dagaz, Day. Eihwaz, the world tree, and Sowilo, sun and wholeness.  I think that its saying you'll have a bright future.  Seeing the world tree in there, it's going to be one that should be, and I think stability is going to come from that... plus, it's a foundation of spirituality. 

What advice does she need?

One rune ran away, Isa, stability.  3 stayed on the table, 2 next to each other, and one off far to the left. Ingwaz and Jera, the seed and cycles/harvest are next to each other.  This makes sense, the seed leads to the plants that will be harvested. So, remember the old saying, you reap what you sew.  I think the other two are there to remind you that you are being protected (the elk) even if you don't see it.  The Kindred are watching your back is what I'm getting out of that.

I also am seeing that stability, aka Isa, will be hard to grasp.  You can reach it, but you need to work toward it, again, reap what you sew.  Overall, I have to say, it looks bright and promising future.


I have worked before, and during this coursework, at psychic fairs doing divinations for paying customers.  That all had involved sitting face to face with the client and being able to see their facial expressions, the tone of their voice, and all the other clues that one would be able to pick up on besides what the tools are telling you.  For this requirement, I did all the divinations remotely, either by instant messaging, or by e-mail. 

All the clients were people I know in real life, and have been friends with for a while.  I also have either kept in touch through normal communications, or through reading their livejournal or other online blogs for many months prior to doing the readings.  So, I knew what major stuff was happening in their lives.  Doing the readings remotely though, I didn’t get to have the visual and audio cues that I would have had in person.

Another concern that I had when doing these readings is that it was me casting the runes, not the client.  Normally I will have the client cast the runes themselves, after thinking about the question they are asking, and playing with the runes for until they feel right to cast.  This was obviously not possible.  Instead, I had to concentrate on the question at hand, and put myself in the client’s shoes before I cast the runes for them.  At first, I was concerned that this may cause bias and inaccuracies, but as I got further into the readings, I found this was not the case.

What kind of shocked me when I was writing this all up was that none of the clients were men.  As I think back on what I have done at psychic fairs too, I have mainly done readings for women.  It makes me wonder why the men haven’t come to me, especially since I know that at that time when I advertised this on my livejournal, the majority of my friends were men.

The questions I got asked were about what I expected.  What I have written above are for the most part samplings of the readings as some got rather personal, and some were very long.  People were interested in things that were of importance in their life.  This is often the big three questions, love, money, and work.  As the majority of the clients were ADF members, I was not completely surprised to find the questions of spirituality asked.  I was surprised at the questions about starting ProtoGroves though.

In general, the feedback I have received from my readings is that they were accurate.  With client 1, I asked if they were planning to move soon.  Well, they were not planning on moving, but within a year they had gotten a job and had to move over one hundred miles away.  With client 5, I had warned against starting a ProtoGrove.  It turns out that this was a good idea as the ADF members that were local, including the client, all had moved away within a year.

With those that I did the readings via instant messenger, the feedback I got while reading was overall positive.  They all told me that what I was saying was either correct, or that I was confirming their gut feelings.  When I look back at what I said, and how things actually turned out, I am surprised at how good the results were.  

Overall, the accuracy was rather high.  There were cases though where I didn’t get things right.  One example of that is with client 2 and their ProtoGrove.  It looks like they started it, but it then went inactive rather quickly with no reports filed.  I have not asked her what happened though, so I do not know what really happened.  The other being client 6 and her wedding.  The wedding did not go off when she was originally planning it, and it did not happen that year.  She and her fiancé though are still engaged.

  1. Describe the method you would use for drawing an omen in public ritual, how it is different from any private practice you do, and how it is different from taking an omen for another individual. (min. 300 words for the essay)

Drawing omens in public rituals is something I do in a very different fashion.  For starters, doing a casting of an unpredictable amount of runes on the ground, often in low light, and having to spend the time it takes to determine what they are saying is not conducive to a good ritual.  It would just take too much time.

What I do instead is to do a small rune pull for each question we ask.  In my grove, we are normally asking what blessings each kindred are bestowing upon us through the waters we are about to hallow and drink.  When we are at the point of being ready to pull the omen, I first announce the question, while concentrating on that, and feeling around for a rune that just wants to be drawn.  Usually this will physically involve me playing with the runes, and when I pull my hand out, I let it lay flat and the majority of the time a rune is “stuck” to my hand.  At times, I get two runes out, but I do not recall ever receiving more than that on one of these rune pulls.

After the rune is pulled, I announce what the rune is, and what its general meaning is.  I then go on and pull the remaining runes for the questions we have.  If something comes out weird, I may pull another rune to clarify what I just pulled (ideally from another full set).  Once all the runes are pulled, I then go and try to tie them together to form some kind of coherent statement or story about what the Kindred are giving us.

Once that is done, I then either keep the runes out separate so I don’t forget what they were, or I take them and add them to the waters we hallow, calling out their names when I drop them in.

I would follow the same kind of procedure if I was pulling omens for an individual instead of a group, and this is how I also do it for my own rites.  The biggest difference between how I pull omens to how I do divination for others is that omens are drawing lots, while divination is casting lots.  I also am normally drawing the lots myself, whereas when I am doing divination for someone else, I have them draw and cast the lots.  The last major difference is that when drawing omens for a rite, I (we) just gave sacrifice.  I normally don’t do any kind of sacrifice before I do a divination for a person.

I hope that one day I can get to the point though where the seer for the ritual does absolutely nothing else besides being the seer.  This will hopefully allow them to be “outside” the ritual and to be able to take everything that happens into account without being distracted by actually having to do various parts of the rite.

  1. Give and explain the results of three omens taken by you in public ritual. (min. 100 words per omen)

1) This omen was taken during our Veteran’s day ritual on 11 November, 2008.  The focus of the rite was remembering those of have served in any of the armed forces, and to thank them for their service.

What blessings does Lady Liberty give?

Ingwaz: Freyr, fertility
Ehwaz: movement, change, horse (spiritual journey)
Nauthiz: need, constraint, destiny

This omen was interpreted as a message for the grove.  It was saying to us that we started something good with doing these secular holidays as rituals.  This is something that we should keep doing as it does fulfill a very good purpose to bring our religious life into a secular space, basically restarting a civic religious practice.

2)This omen was taken during our Yule ritual on 22 December, 2008.  The focus of the rite was Frigg and Odin.  There was story telling of the wild hunt, and general story telling with regards to people’s experiences with the holiday.

What blessings do we receive?

Laguz: Water/emotions

Wunjo: Happiness and joy

This omen gave all of us a very warm and fuzzy feeling.  It confirmed for us that we are doing things right as the Kindred gave us Wunjo.  This omen spoke to all of us as saying that we were all due as individuals, and as a grove, for a good and happy time in the near future.

3) This omen was taken as part of our Imbolc ritual on 1 February, 2009.  The focus of this ritual was specifically to ask the groundhog to not see his shadow the next day, but instead to harken in an early spring.

What Blessings do the Kindred give? Laguz: Water, emotions

What Blessings does Brigit give? Ansuz: Deity, communication

What Blessings does the Groundhog give? Dagaz: Day

This omen was taken as yet another positive omen.  We saw this as affirming that doing something silly such as making sacrifices to a stuffed groundhog, was acceptable to the Kindred.  We also took this as this was talking to us about spiritual and emotional growth within the grove, and that the groundhog would be kind to us and not bring about an extended winter.

Looking back on this omen in particular, it was foretelling that I was going to be going away from the grove for a while, and the grove would have to undergo its own emotional and spiritual growth in order to deal with losing a fourth of the members.  I am happy to say that since then, the grove has done very well, and grown in my absence.

Works Cited

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Green, W. C. The Story of Egil Skallagrimsson. 30 Dec 2007 <http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/egil/index.htm&gt;.

Larington, Carolyne, trans. Poetic Edda. NY: Oxford Press, 1999.

Pasxon, Diana. Taking up the Runes. San Fransico: Weiser, 2005.

Plowright, Sweyn. The Runic Primer. Rune-Net, 2006.

Price, Neil. "The Archaeology of Seidr: Circumpolar Traditions in Viking Pre-Christian Religion." Brathair 4.2 (2004): 109-126.

Sephton, J. Saga of Eric the Red. 1880. 28 Mar 2010 <http://www.sagadb.org/eiriks_saga_rauda.en&gt;.

Strabo. Geography, books 6 - 14. 27 Mar 2010 <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0198&…;.

Tacitus, Cornelius. The Histories. 27 Mar 2010 <http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/&gt;.

—. The Medieval Sourcebook: Tacitus: Germania. 26 Mar 2010 <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/tacitus1.html&gt;.

Thorsson, Edred. At the Well of the Wyrd. York Beack: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1990.

—. Futhark. San Fransico: Weiser, 1984.