Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rune Lessons

I found the following online somewhere YEARS AGO I have No Idea who the author is :(

Rune Lessons
Spreads 1

Spreads are a useful divinatory tool. They are arrangements of rune ranging from one to twenty-four runes. Each position in the spread has it own significance and thus the order in which runes are drawn helps to determine their meaning in the reading. For any spread there are three main aspects to consider

1. Number of Runes
The number of runes in a spread determines the amount and nature of the information provided. As a rough rule, the more runes in a spread, the more work you will have to do as reader. With a 3-rune spread you can easily tell your client the full meaning of each of the runes. However with a 7-rune spread your client risks information overload if you do this. Not only do you have more runes to consider but you have to work harder drawing together the pertinent aspects and producing a summary interpretation that the client can easily absorb

Spreads of 1-3 runes are ideal where the reading is focussed around a decision which needs to be made. 4-6 rune spreads can be related to a decision but at least as important as the outcome is the need to take full account of contributory factors. Spreads of 7 or more runes are generally best used when a full picture is required of a situation or issue. It may be that action from the querent is called for but a short-term decision is not usually as important to these spreads as the need to establish long term direction.

2. Meaning of Each Position
Any given rune has a multitude of potential meanings many of which will not be appropriate to the issue under consideration in a reading. The spread is a tool used by the reader to narrow the message of the runes. Each rune can perform one or more of the following functions.

* DESCRIPTIVE - It can describe a situation, eg "Your life feels like it has come to a standstill"
* ADVISORY - Commenting on a situation and offering guidance, eg " Beware of deceit at this time. Choose your friends carefully"
* PREDICTIVE - It can suggest how events may turn out in the future provided the rest of the reading is heeded, eg " A positive end is likely with economic prosperity and emotional fulfillment"
* REPRESENTATIVE - It represents a person, animal or object, usually, but not exclusively, the literal meaning of its name or what its glyph depicts, eg Lagaz (Lagu) could be a lake

The more runes in a spread, the more diversity in functions the runes in that spread are likely to serve. In a single rune spread, the rune has to describe the situation, offer some guidance and give an idea of outcome. In a 7-rune spread though it is quite feasible for each rune to fulfil a single function. The title of a position in a spread can act to limit the functions that a rune in that position can perform and accordingly narrow the range of meanings available.

Let us consider this with a practical example. We have a 2-rune spread. The first position is entitled "Situation" and the second is called "Outcome". We can be fairly certain that runes in the first position will be descriptive and runes in the second position will be predictive. However since the purpose of divination is to provide guidance (as considered in the previous lesson) there must be an advisory function in the spread somewhere. In fact the meanings offered by the two runes in the spread are equally likely to offer an element of advice. However if we were to change the title of the second position, making it "Advice" then we can expect the guidance function to reside with that position and meanings offered by the first position rune to confine themselves largely to those which describe the situation.

This illustrates the importance of giving careful though to the titles of the different positions in a spread and hence to the function performed by those positions.

3. Shape of the Spread
There can be an element of sympathetic magic in spread design. The layout of the spread itself is intended to reflect the desired outcome. This can be illustrated by considering some possible shapes that can be produced by using three runes.

[Diagram showing 3 spreads, one triangular, one L shaped and one like an arrow]

If we ignore the fact that with just three runes there is more than an element of "eye-of-the-beholder" in these shapes, the shapes themselves may potentially have cultural significance s. The first is an equilateral triangle and since the three runes are an equal distance apart this might suggest they are equally important in the reading. Shape #2 is like a letter "L". In Britain those learning to drive have to have an additional "L" plate on the car as a warning to other drivers. The L shape then in Britain is associated with learning. The third shape resembles an arrow. We generally associate arrows with instruction and/or direction. A sign with an arrow upon it is not only illustrating a possible direction, it is ordering us to go that way.

Just because a shape is possible though does not mean it will be of use, or indeed that all shapes are equally good. Shape 1 would be difficult to apply, it is too mathematical and abstract. If the client wanted to know what lessons could be learned from a given situation then shape 2 might be applied. It would work in Britain and be understandable in English-speaking countries where the initial letter of the verb "to learn" is indeed "L". In drawing up spreads it is important to understand that the recognition and connotations of shapes may vary from region to region. There are few shapes that can be said to have universal meaning. Shape 3 is possibly one that does. It would be good for use in a reading with someone who feels that they have lost their way and was seeking new focus/direction in their lives.

In this lesson we have been introduced to the concept of rune spreads which are a powerful divinatory tool. We have seen how the choice of spreads is influenced by what one is trying to achieve. Moreover it then assists in narrowing the range of meanings from all those which are possible to those which are appropriate to a particular reading. We introduced the 4-function rune model which is overly simplistic but useful for learning purposes. Because rune reading is a mystic process we are not normally aware of the mechanisms underlying it. However an awareness of them at this stage will prove helpful for the next lesson when we start looking at actual spreads.

Spreads 2

In the previous lesson we introduced to the concept of rune spreads and saw how they could be used in divination. Choice of spreads is very much a matter of individual preference. Some rune readers find a spread they feel comfortable with and use that with all their clients whereas others like to vary the spread according to the nature of the information the querent is seeking to find out. We will be looking at some actual spreads in this lesson so that you can make an informed decision.

Choosing Spreads
When you start out as a runecaster it is probably best to stick to simple spreads. This way you don't have too many different runes to cope with which can initially be confusing. As your confidence grows you will come to appreciate the power of more complex spreads and how they can be used to provide a significant amount of detail about a situation including revealing information that may be deliberately concealed or otherwise unknown.

Which spread you apply in a given situation is very much a matter of personal choice coupled with intuition. Before making your decision, look at the client and their requirements, the issue itself and how you feel. It is easy to overlook the last of these. Divination is not a mechanical process, it very much depends upon the ability and focus of the reader. Rune casting can be physically and emotionally tiring. One of the great joys of the runes is that they are able to convey complex and deep meanings in very small spreads. If you are already weary and confident that a simple spread will offer sufficient illumination then there is no need to use something more draining. It is important to always be professional in your approach and ensure that you do not short change the querent, whether or not the reading is a commercial one or a favor for a friend. However remember that a three rune spread competently interpreted is much better than a 10-rune spread where some details are missed because the reader was fatigued. Go with how you feel, let your heart guide you. Sometimes you will know instinctively to use a complex spread with a situation that on the surface appears straightforward. Experience and listening to your psychic side will guide you to the correct course of action.

Spreads are like everything else, you will find some that feel natural to you and which you use regularly, others that are harder to use and which seem artificial to you, and some you truly dislike and will never use. You may well decide to settle on just using one of the three rune spreads which is fine. As a new reader though you should try as many spreads as possible in order to find the one, or ones, that suit you.
Single Rune Spread

Ralph Blum calls this spread Odin's Rune and using just one rune, it is the simplest possible spread. The depth of the analysis it can therefore offer is somewhat restricted. Its not a spread to use then if you need to look at a situation in some detail.

What it is ideal for are those situations which necessitate a quick direct response to a given set of events. It favors simple questions of the kind "Should I .. ?". Unless you receive Peorth in its more secretive aspect [or the Blank Rune if you use it], then Odin's Rune is always unequivocal, leaving you in no doubt what the runes are saying to you. However the amount of advice this spread provides is inevitably limited and hence for major life-changing decisions many people prefer to use one of the 3-rune spreads instead, for great insight in the same situation.

A quick decisive response is what Odin's rune always offers and it should be used in those situations where this is what you require.

Three Rune Spreads
Spreads which use 3 runes tend to be particularly popular amongst runecasters. Partly this is because of their ease of use and partly because we do know, thanks to the Roman historian Tacitus, that a 3-rune spread was used in antiquity. It is important however to realize that we don't have details of this ancient spread beyond what Tacitus wrote which means we know little more than it used three runes. Since divination has always been a secretive art, it is unlikely that the diviner would have shared details with Tacitus particularly as he was the enemy so the reliability of the information he has to offer must be in doubt anyway. All 3 rune spreads you will therefore encounter are modern and none has a greater claim to authenticity than any other. Nor is this important. It matters that a given spread works for you not whether it worked for a Viking runecaster.
Standard Spread

Blum's 3-rune spread was the first rune spread used by a great many rune readers. The spread presented here is a slight variation upon it. Like the runes themselves this spread is elegant and deceptively simple.

[3 Rune spread]
Deeper patterns (which will be considering as a topic in the next lecture) can occur with this spread though generally we find this happens less than with most others. Each of the runes in the spread serves a different function (predictive, advisory and descriptive) and the spread can therefore produce quite a detailed analysis. This is a quick easy spread which is adaptable to most purposes.

[Staves of Wyrd Spread]
Another 3-rune variant which is given this particular title in Silver
Ravenwolf's The Rune Mysteries though this is a traditional spread with
an obvious link to the Norns.
This makes it popular with traditionalists, some of whom will not use any other spread. As there is no rune specifically performing the advisory function it can be a little harder for novices to tease out advice from the reading. In addition, as we addressed previously, the use of "future" implies that future events are pre-ordained, which we know is not the case. This aside, it can be a very useful and revealing spread, highlighting factors in the past which led to the present situation. You should therefore be prepared for the fact this spread can yield some surprises.

[The Laguz Spread]
A spread which forms the shape of the Laguz (Lagu) rune, a fact that is significant because it is intended for those who are willing to "go with the flow". Since there is no predictive element in this spread, it is for those who are prepared to think about the present and put total trust in the runes, rather than seeking particular outcomes. Laguz (Lagu) is a rune of intuition and psychic powers and this can thus be a very revealing spread, being particularly good amongst the simple spreads for probing deep emotional issues and bringing to light hidden factors. It is also a good spread for learning with.

Five Rune Spreads

[Cross of Thor Spread]
A good analytical spread which gives a helpful overview of a situation, taking into account both supporting and obstructive factors. This spread is quite unusual though in having two runes performing a predictive function. It is ideal therefore for someone who is very concerned about outcomes.

[5 Elements Spread]
This fascinating spread is to be found in Donald Tyson's book Rune Magic. It is quite different from most of the spreads we have looked at so far since it is used to give an insight into personality rather than events.

1. INTELLECT - relates to studies, invention, composition, mathematics, science and the classical arts
2. DESIRE - relates to battles, lust, cruelty, anger, hatred, desire and works of destruction
3. STRENGTH - relates to labor, endurance, persistence, silence, suffering and woe
4. LOVE - relates to family, friendships, devotion, obsessions, illusions, fantasy and lyrical arts
5. BALANCE - symbolizes the querent and relates to politics, religion and magic

In this lecture we have taken a brief look at a number of the hundreds of spreads which are available. The three rune spreads are all excellent for learning with and the "Staves of Wyrd " and "Standard Spread" have both served many a rune caster well. The others are much more specialized but were to give you an idea of how widely spreads vary, from spreads with no predictive elements such as "The Laguz Spread" to those with two or more predictive components, such as "The Cross of Thor". Though some traditionalists dismiss spreads as an idea derived from other divination techniques such as Tarot, nonetheless many well-regarded authors on the runes, such as Aswynn, make use of them.

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