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Rune Meanings [Rune Stone Divination, Symbols & Casting]

Written by, Jelena Kabic

Updated May, 4, 2022

Have you ever seen someone perform a rune reading?

It can be an exciting experience! But if you’re like me, you may have wondered what all the runes mean.

This article is for those interested in learning about the rune meanings, the rune stone divination, symbols, and casting.

So let’s dive into the divine sea of runes and find out everything there is.

What are runes? What are they used for?

“Rune” means mystery, secrecy, or whisper in Germanic languages. Runes are an ancient Germanic alphabet that was used for writing, divination, and magic throughout

As such, this set of symbols can be interpreted in many ways depending on the context in which they are used. For example, you can use runes to communicate with spirits or deities or use them to create spells and charms.

Aside from their practical uses, runes can also be interpreted as meditation or spiritual practice, allowing us to understand our subconscious thoughts and feelings better.

Therefore, whether you are reading the runes for yourself or others, you must approach each reading with an open mind and respect for their power and complexity. Stay with us, and we’ll dedicate a separate section to how you can read runes.

The history of rune meanings: Origin & Development

While the specific origins of the runes are unknown, they are believed to have originated in Scandinavia. The earliest known use of runes dates back to the 1st century CE when they were carved into wood and stone as a form of writing.

Furthermore, it is known that the rune meanings have been passed down through oral tradition for centuries by Germanic tribes such as the Vikings and the Angles. However, over time, various cultures and belief systems have assigned different meanings to each rune, resulting in a complex web of symbolism that can be difficult to untangle.

That said, rune meanings can vary depending on the culture that uses them. For example, the meaning of the rune Fehu is different in Norse mythology than it is in modern Germanic paganism. However, some general meanings are associated with each rune.

As the spread of the runes continued, they had become associated with magic by the Middle Ages and took place in spells, charms, and divination. Even today, runes are still used for writing and meditation purposes.

Nevertheless, despite their long history, there is still much that we don’t know about the origins of runes and their meanings.

The mythology of runes: Runes in Magic and Mythology

Runes have been a source of fascination for many cultures throughout history, and their meanings are steeped in mythology and legend. Norse mythology, in particular, is closely associated with runes and the Viking culture that used them.

In the legends, the first runes are said to be created by Odin, the Germanic god, after he sacrificed himself on Yggdrasil. He hung from the tree for nine days and nights, piercing himself with his spear. During this time, he had a vision of the runes and their meanings. When he finally came down from the tree, he brought the knowledge of runes with him.

But, Odin is not the only god associated with runes. The goddess Freyja is also said to have taught her husband, Odin, everything he knows about them. In some stories, Freyja gives Odin the runes’ knowledge and enlightenment.

Runes symbols: Explaining the symbols and their meanings

We mentioned that the runes’ symbols and meanings could vary depending on the interpretation and culture. So, let us give you an intro to the ancient and powerful world of meanings of each rune symbol.

The Elder Futhark Rune Symbols

Look at the table below and connect the number in front of each rune with the picture above.

Rune Symbol Stylized Drawing Meaning
  • Fehu
Bull/ Cow Wealth, Abundance, Good Fortune
  • Uruz
Ox/ Bull Strength, Power, Manliness
  • Thurisaz
Thorn/ Spearhead Protection, Defense, Wards
  • Ansuz
Eagle/ Raven Communication, Inspiration, Knowledge
  • Raidho
Wagon Evolution, Travel, Decision making
  • Kennaz
Torch Inspiration, Vitality, Creativity
  • Gebo
Gift Balance, Vision, Kindness
  • Wunjo
Joy/ Happiness Satisfaction, Harmony, Rewards
  • Hagalaz
Hail Nature, being put to the test
  • Nauthiz
Need Conflict, Bearing, Restriction
  • Isa
Ice Challenge, Clarity
  • Jera
Year Harvesting, Gathering rewards
  • Eihwaz
Yew Tree Death, The World Tree
  • Perthro
Dice Cup Destiny, Mysterious, Secret
  • Algiz
Elk Instincts, Protection, Mutual efforts
  • Sowilo
The Sun Healthy, Respect, Cleansing
  • Tiwaz
Tyr (the god) Justice, Leader, Logical, Warrior
  • Berkana
Birch Tree Feminine, Birth, Fertile
  • Ehwaz
Horse Movement, Progress, Change
  • Mannaz
Humanity Friendship, Help, Socialization
  • Laguz
Water Dreaming, Hoping, Intuition
  • Inguz
Seed Growing, Goals, Home
  • Othala
Inheritance Heritage, Value
  • Dagaz
Dawn Complete, Certainty

How to use runes?

Runes can be used for various purposes such as divination, magic, and self-exploration.

As a matter of fact, some of the most popular methods for using runes include:

  1. Casting your runes. You need to hold the runes in your hands and focus on a particular question/ issue before casting them onto a flat surface to read their patterns and symbols.
  2. Consulting rune meanings. If you are looking for more guidance or inspiration, you can also consult the meanings of various runes to help inform your divination practice.
  3. Incorporating runes into spells or meditations. You can use runes in magic or meditation to help you unlock your inner potential, focus on a particular goal, or overcome challenging obstacles in your life.
  4. Use them as guidance in your life. Use runes as a tool for self-exploration — their meanings can help you understand yourself better and make positive changes in your life.

Using Rune Stones For Divination

Runestones are a popular way to use runes for divination. To use rune stones, you will need a set of 24 or more rune stones and a quiet place to work. Once you have all materials, you can follow these steps to read your runes:

  1. Cleanse your space.
  2. Ground and center yourself.
  3. Ask your question or focus on your issue.
  4. Cast your runes onto a flat surface.
  5. Read the runes that landed face up.
  6. Draw your interpretation.
  7. Close your reading.

Thank the runes for their guidance when you finish your reading and close your space.

Using Runes In Rituals

We’ve mentioned already that you can use runes to create powerful rituals and spells for healing, protection, abundance, and other purposes. So, to use runes in your rituals/ spells, you will need a set of runes and a place where you won’t be disturbed.

These are some of the most common methods for utilizing runes in magic include:

  1. Creating an amulet/ talisman. Runes can be inscribed on a piece of paper or cloth, which can then be used as an amulet or talisman to help focus your intention and manifest your goals.
  2. Writing spells and incantations. You can use runes to write powerful spells and incantations that harness the energy of these ancient symbols.
  3. Making rune stones. Another popular way to use runes in magic is to create your rune stones. You can do this by inscribing symbols on small stones or pieces of wood, which you can later use in spells and rituals.
  4. Incorporating runes into meditation. Use runes as a focus for meditation — their energy and symbols can guide you on your inner journey.

Casting rune stones and reading the results

There are different ways to use runes, and one, in particular, involves casting them onto a flat surface, creating patterns or symbols on paper that can help you find solutions to problems in life, etc. But, you must know that runes don’t provide direct answers. On the contrary, they guide you through all the possible solutions to a specific issue you’re dealing with.

While there are many traditional interpretations for each rune stone and their associated symbols, it is most important to trust your intuition and follow the insights that feel right to you.

Tip: Keep a journal or create a rune stone “oracle” deck filled with symbols, patterns, and meanings that resonate with you.

What is rune casting?

Rune casting is the act of using rune stones or other objects to gain insights into a person’s current situation, future goals, or potential outcomes. Typically, this involves selecting one or more rune stones from a set and interpreting their meanings based on their shapes, symbols, and other characteristics.

How to cast runes?

There are many different ways to cast runes, and the method you choose will depend on your personal preference and style. Some people prefer to use a specific spread, while others cast the runes and see how they fall.

Here are various rune castings layouts to help you get started:

3-cast rune

3-cast rune layouts are some of the most versatile and simple to use. You can use them for a specific question or an overall layout that offers advice on multiple subjects. This layout is also helpful if you want to ask about future events.

You need to know that this layout will let you know that the

5-rune cast

The 5-rune cast is similar to the 3-cast layout but with two extra runes. This format expands on the first set of three runes, adding more information about what has already happened. The second set of three reveals information about what will happen next, and the third set offers guidance on how best to deal with the situation.

To do a 5-rune layout, place your runes into five separate piles of three. Here’s what these sets mean:

9-rune cast

The 9-rune cast is probably the most popular and well-known of all the rune spreads. It can be used for any question and provides a comprehensive overview of a situation.

To do a 9-rune layout, start by casting your runes into your usual method (e.g., onto a cloth or directly onto the ground). Once they have landed, pick up the first nine you see.

Now, look at them carefully. The runes at the edges are considered less significant than those in the center (although this is not always the case). When runes are closely packed (next to one another), they might be complimenting forces. Whereas when runes are on opposite sides of the cloth, they may be conflicting forces.

But, it would be best if you focus on those runes that are face-up on the cloth. We advise you to write down their symbols to look them up on the table later.

As far as the ones that are upside down, turn them on the other side but keep them in the same position and look up their meanings. These runes represent external or future influences, possibly revealing new opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Overall, runes are a powerful tool for divination, magic, and self-exploration that can help us unlock our inner selves and better understand the unseen forces that shape our lives.

And whether you are just starting with rune casting or have been practicing for years, there are many layouts that you can use to get the information and guidance you need. This article enables you an excellent insight into the rune meanings, how to use rune stone divination, and how to recognize and read their symbols or patterns.

Experiment with different rune casting layouts until you find one that feels right for your style and situation, and then practice regularly to develop your intuition and interpretation skills. With time and experience, you will be able to read the runes like a true pro!


Runes can be interpreted in many ways, and there is no single “right” way to do it. However, the methods described in this guide are some of the most common and straightforward to begin interpreting runes.

Runes can provide information about the past, present, and future. However, you should not use them to make predictions. Instead, you could use them to help you gain greater clarity about a situation.

The most common runes are those that make up the Elder Futhark alphabet.