This may seem a really stupid question, but I would like to understand about runes. I have my own set and I have read the book and I understand mostly. What I don't get is way they say it matters what way up they are (the symbol upside down or right way up) as it asks you to pick them when they are face down, depending on how you turn them over changes the way up they are! I am confused!
By: Vanitys_Fire Moderator / Knowledgeable Apr 26, 2013
Post # 6
"The cloth upon which the lots are cast should be made of white material. Not only does Tacitus indicate this in his report, but this practice is borne out by the symbolism of white as a sign of the undifferentiated sum of magical light. It is upon this white field that the runes play out their interweavings of force. The cloth itself should be made of linen or some other natural material, and should be between three and four feet square." At the Well of Wyrd - Edred Thorsson.
Thorsson also states that "For practical reasons, most runecasting will probably be carried out indoors, in your living quarters. For ritual effectiveness other runework should be done in the same area. One advantage to runecasting is that the vitki can carry the basic 'holy stead' around in the form of the white cloth. However, for especially important castings other holy steads might also be considered. Most beneficial are sites under holy trees-oaks, breeches, yews, ashes-or near (south of if possible) a natural spring or an artificial well. Hilltops are also good places to do runework. Outdoors, the runecaster can follow the rede of the ancient tradition more effectively and look into the sky when picking the staves for the reading. The force can be especially powerful at night if you look directly to the Northern Star-into the eye of Odhinn-while choosing the lots."
There is absolutely no evidence that points to runes being used as divination in ancient Norse practise. That is a MODERN idea. There is plenty however that explains the use of the runes in magick. Later it was used as a writing system.
The only thing written about divination among magic practioners of the time was "casting lots" but never were the "lots" mentioned as runes despite the exact same poems/sagas mention how runes were used for magic. Anyone that writes about the use of divination with the runes (as if it is an old form of divination) is just making money off the general public's ignorance. You can divine with runes, but do know, there is no "right" way because it is a modern idea.
There is very little known about the ancient Norse ways of divination. Simply put, we don't know. The only mention of divination is vaguely described as "casting of lots". So they threw (casted) small objects (wood? stone? bone?) and interpreted it.
On a non-Norse note: The use of bones or stones lightly thrown and then read is one of the oldest forms of divination and seen all over the world. So if you want to practice a form of divination that is truly "ancient", collect a bunch of rocks and give each one a meaning.
One way I've heard of that is the simplest is three stones. One means "yes", one means "no" and one is the indicator. The answer stone the indicator stone is closest to (and how close it lands) tells you your answer and the closer it is demonstrates how certain the answer is. That's just one very simplistic example as to how you can "cast lots" to divinate. ;-)
Of course, the more complex your system, the more complex and accurate your answers will be.