There are many prevailing theories throughout the community and within our temple regarding how exactly magick works or where the energy comes from and how it is directed but for the most part, we all believe in magick and believe that it is real. Now, what about the “k” on the end there in the spelling? That too is a thing you will see used by some and not by others. Those who use the “k” generally do so to differentiate the sort of magic we do (channeling energy with will to accomplish a set goal) with the stage magic which is an illusion for entertainment purposes. Some like the “k” while others think using it is just plain silly. To each their own!
So, what about those theories regarding what magick is and how it works? Well, let’s talk about some of those:
Some believe that the energy by which magick is done comes purely from within and that by directing this energy by their will and intent they can cause changes to occur whether it’s to raise healing energy for a friend or bind someone from causing harm to another for examples.
Others believe that the energy comes from outside themselves either from the surrounding area, from deities or other divine beings and that the magickal practitioner is merely the conduit which channels this energy to it’s intended purpose.
Still others believe it is a combination of the first two; that it is a cooperation between energies from within and energies from without to collaborate and focus through will on an intended goal.
Perhaps any of the three may be used in working magick and how the task is done is simply a matter of preference or perhaps one of the three is the correct method. Who knows? Debates over the hows and whys and what-ifs have gone on for centuries but one way or another, if you believe, it seems to work. Ultimately, that’s what is important.
There are almost as many different ways to cast and interpret runes as there are folks who use runes for guidance. Like most forms of divination it is a very intuitive process and while individual rune interpretations and ways to cast them are written down in books and on websites galore those, to me, should be looked at as a starting point for learning the runes. Once you’ve learned how other people are using them it’s time to start listening to that inner voice and interpreting what it is exactly the runes are saying to you personally.
The rune casting cloth pictured here was a wonderful gift from my tradition sister Arachne Crowsinger. I told her about my typical way of casting runes when outdoors which was, prior to receiving this gift, to find a stick and draw a circle within a larger circle on a bare patch of earth or use chalk to draw one one pavement or smooth stone occasionally then cast them into the circle so that I could interpret them.
This handy cloth folds up nicely to travel with my rune bag and saves me the trouble of having to find a good surface to draw my circles on. It has served me very well and I am ever grateful for it. Now, the reason for the two circles is this. Typically, when I am seeking guidance on a particular topic I will meditate on my question while holding my bag of runes in my hands, energizing them with my question and the task of seeking guidance. When I feel they are properly prepared I reach into the bag, stir the runes around a little bit with my fingers then pull three out without looking while I pull them. Then, once out of the bag I take the three runes and hold them about 3 feet or so above the center then drop them onto the circle letting them fall where and as they may.
Well, well, well! This time all three runes fell and stayed within the center circle. This doesn’t happen often and leads me to take notice, for this is something I should pay attention to. Now, just in the interests of full disclosure, these pictures are quite old and I don’t recall exactly what I was asking for guidance on at the time but the exact question is irrelevant here. We’re just looking at the technique because I do it the same way regardless of the question for the most part. But, here’s how I go about reading these. First, as you may have guessed, the three runes represent past, present and future with regards to the question at hand. So, from left to right we would be looking at:
1. How did we get here? What lead us to this situation?
2. Where are we now? What wisdom is there regarding the present circumstances?
3. What does the future hold? What advice or warnings are there for the road ahead if we stay on the current path?
Now, in addition to the left to right interpretation I am also looking at how close to the center the particular rune may have fallen. If the past rune is way outside of the center then it has little bearing on the present situation but if it’s in the center then it has a lot to do with it. The same is true of how strongly the present and future runes are interpreted. Close to the center, strong meaning; farther away, less bearing. If the present rune is outside of the center but the future rune is in the middle of the inner circle for example then they’re saying “Okay, here’s where you are now but that’s not the big thing, where you are going is what really matters so pay close attention to this future advice.” Also, things like, two runes touching one another means those two things are intimately linked and should be interpreted as a combined thing. (How to go about doing that is a little more in depth than I intended to go in this article but I may cover it later)
Of course, the exact interpretation of the runes themselves you can look up in your book of choice or website of choice until you reach a point of familiarity at which you can do it intuitively. I still refer to my books often because each rune has subtle variations on the potential interpretation even if the overall meaning is the same. For example, Peord (Pertho) may represent the apple tree to many and can be interpreted as representing abundance and lavishness when upright but can also represent gambling and mystery to others. If it falls inverted or reversed then it’s interpretation is also reversed more often than not. So, you have to take the interpretation to fit the question and situation and you have to rely on your intuition to guide you. Studying your runes and their meanings according to sources you trust combined with practice and gaining familiarity with them is what will allow you to hone your skills as an accomplished rune caster and diviner. Once you’ve mastered their meanings you can also use runes in spellwork and other useful magickal workings.
So, in a nutshell, that’s my way of doing a typical three rune casting. Is it what some may consider to be the “right” way to do it? Probably not. I learned bits and pieces from books, other rune casters and online before picking the things I liked and going with what works for me. Your mileage may vary but you’re welcome to use whatever you like of my technique and see how it goes. If you have any questions, I’m always happy to make up answers. 😉 Haha!
Saol fada agus breac-shláinte chugat!
Long-life and fair health to you!
(A Gaelic blessing pronounced Say-ol faw-dah og-uss brack- hlawn-cheh ch(k)oo-at)