There are as many different ways to read the runes as there are ways to cast and read any divinatory system. Any of the books you can get on the market will provide you with several different ways to read runes, including complicated, multirune castings. But here we’ll start with three easy castings that will allow you to begin working the stones immediately and getting used to their energies and how they operate.
First, a word about casting methods. It’s not necessary to come up with a huge elaborate ritual that includes casting a circle, calling quarters, invoking deity, etc., every time you want to do a reading. But you should develop a routine for starting and conducting a reading and stick to it. My routine goes something like this:
I spread out my rune cloth, then pour the stones onto the cloth, right side up. I put them in their alphabetical order, the blank rune standing separate from the rest, and then I say, “Holy Goddess, mother of earth, mother of us all, guide my hand as I cast the runes, guide my mind as I interpret their meanings, guide my soul as I take them into my life.” Then I turn them all over and stir them around clockwise, using my right hand to stir as I concentrate on the question I am posing. I select the runes and interpret.
You can incorporate candles or incense, or have your own special way of doing things. You can even do the whole elaborate setup if that’s what plucks your duck. It’s all about what works for you. It doesn’t matter WHAT you do as long as you do it each time you read the runes; the routine will set your mind up for divination, and that’s the goal here.
Wording your questions is also important when reading runes. Unless you are doing a yes or no reading (see below), asking the runes a question that can be answered by a yes or no isn’t going to work. It’s best to word your question in a general way. For example, if you are asking relationship questions, you wouldn’t want to ask the runes, “Is Jimmy cheating on me?” A better question would be, “What do I need to know about my relationship with Jimmy?”
Now, on to the castings.
Cast #1-One-Rune Draw
Pose your question and draw one rune. This one is great for a daily casting, to use the runes as a guide for your day. For example, before going to work, you ask the runes, “What do I need to know to make this day successful for me?” You draw Ansuz, right side up. I would read this as meaning communication is very important for you on this day; be sure to explain yourself clearly, to speak up when necessary and to listen to what others need to say to you.
Cast #2-Three-Rune Draw
Pose your question and draw three runes. The first rune is Overview; it gives you a general understanding of your question. The second rune is Course of Action; this rune tells you what your options are and what you might want to do. The third rune is Outcome; self-explanatory.
Cast #3-The Yes or No Draw
This cast allows you to pose questions that can be answered with a yes or no, and I credit this to Tony Willis and his book ” Discover Runes.”
Pose your question and draw three runes. Take note of how many runes are upright or reversed. If the runes you draw are nonreversible, then you need to know if their meanings are generally negative or generally positive.
When all three runes are positive, the answer is definitely yes. When all three runes are negative, the answer is definitely no, but the meanings of the runes will usually tell you why and what you might be able to do to up your chances of success.
When two runes are positive and one is negative, the answer is yes, but some aspect of the situation will not meet your expectations. Again, the meanings of the runes may clue you in to what aspect this is. When two runes are negative and one is positive, the answer is no, but it may not be too bad in the end.
Two negative runes with a nonreversible rune should be treated like three negatives.
For those of you who use the Blank Rune, this next part is important. If the Blank Rune appears in your yes or no draw, it means one of two things: either the question is not ready or able to be judged, or you are better off not knowing the answer. After waiting a day, you can ask the question again. If the Blank Rune appears again, you can try asking the runes a third time. However, if the Blank Rune appears a third time, then you really should give up asking the question because you are simply not meant to have an answer.
Once during a session, I gave a yes or no reading to an acquaintance. She did not tell me what her question was (I don’t require that querents ask their questions out loud unless they want to), but when the Blank Rune came up and I told her that I couldn’t give her an answer, she laughed.
“I’ve asked that question every time I get a reading, and I always get the same answer,” she said.
“Then the gods are telling you to stop asking the question,” I told her.