Bjorn-gil Felag; Rancho Cucamonga, California    
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           Runic Castings & Layouts

  When using the Runes, no matter the reason, something should always be given in exchange for the energy which they have provided you. Gyfted foremost should be your undivided attention, for the search for esoteric knowledge should never be undertaken lightly. Remember, the Havamal states that "a gift ever demands a gift in return." One never actually gets something for nothing no matter how objective a perspective is taken, although the simplest gestures do often bring the warmest rewards. I could continue to list numerous possibilities on what I feel would be appropriate to gyft out, yet I realize that this should be something decided upon by each individual, as the situation warrents.
  On should understand at this point that there are as many ways to divine with the runes as there are runesters, although the most common are either tarot-like spreads or the process of simply casting out a handful upon your cloth to see what can be seen. This cloth, which you have crafted using your own energies, then gives you a place to focus your concentration of energies upon, all the while helping to place you within another space/realm whilst you then decipher or interpret your runes. Pardon?!.. you mean don't yet have a cloth!?
  Well then, to make a casting cloth you need a piece of material, preferably something which is not mass-produced by man or machine. Mine own is of cow-hide with the hair still in place on the outer side, but, of course, any natural material will do, even real silk. However most folk will state that it must be white upon the side you will read upon, yet the exterior may be of any color or material of your choosing. You can even make the cloth into a pouch in which you hold/carry your rune-stones.

  One possibiity is to begin by measuring out a nine inch by nine inch square. Any extra material beyond this newly defined space will come to symbolize the outer Elemental Realms, which you may label accordingly when you have finished the cloth. (Any runes which happen to land in this Utgard area are usually ignored during a read, or are just given a cursory glance and are thus determined as insignificant and inconsequential ties.) Now that you have defined inner and outer argins, magickally inscribe Ingwaz within the inner region to thus symbolize a doorway for questing, (for this is one of this staves energies when aptly applied.) Within this doorway, now encompass a large portion of the area with a three-fold circle to thus symbolize all of the cosmological and triadic aspects which exist within the Worlds All Wide. Then section these circles off into equal eighths (thus you are denoting the Realms beyond MidgardR) each of which will come to hold a significant influence over the staves which happen to fall within each particularly specified sphere during the cast.
Casting Cloth
  The realms should now be placed within their respective places. Starting uppermost and continuing deosil (in a clockwise direction): ÁsgardR - 1st degree, symbolizing higher influences at work• Vanaheim - 2nd degree, symbolizing balancing influences of well-being• Muspellheim - 3nd degree, symbolizing the state of vital, active energies• Ljóssalfheim - 4th degree, symbolizing mental thoughts and influences• HelR - 5th degree, symbolizing the hidden or suppressed desires• Jötunnheim - 6th degree, symbolizing that which confuses• Niflheim - 7th degree, symbolizing the dormancy which resists• Svartalfheim - 8th degree, symbolizing creative emotional memories and influences• MidgardR - the inner-most of the circles, symbolizing the Ego in life• The two remaining circles therefore represent; the Higher spiritual Self - outer most circle, and the Lower materialistic self - inner most circle. (This has been but a generalized definition of each realm. For a much more detailed and greater defined understanding of each energy sphere kindly refer to the "Nine Known Realms" section within this compilation of works.)

  Now then, as I was saying, there are basically two ways to divine. One such way, which is based upon the surviving lore, is to pour out the contents of your rune-pouch unto your casting cloth, then, whilst your eyes look skyward, randomly pick up three staves and interprete what you have selected.
  Another style based along the same fundementals is to cast or toss a comfortable handful of runes over your cloth and then read them closest to furthest from you, interjected with corresponding Realm interpretations, and taking into account adjacent staves including their correlation to one another.
  The other, highly used method of reading rune-staves, which is more publicized and thought to be a new-found concept, is to lay the staves out in what are conceived of as tarot-like spreads and thus read them accordingly. Though there are indeed many adaptable spreads which can be successfully used by a skilled rune-caster, one should be aware that not all layouts can be favorably conformed and thus utilized. A possible reason being that by laying out the staves an attempt is made to place some subconsciously preconcieved arrangement in amongst issues which have no consciously obvious semblance of order.
  Of course, if all of this is too elaborate or fancy, you may simply ask a well-defined and objective query, such as, "Show me what I now need know." Then stick your hand in amongst the staves and remove the one which calls to your fingers. Some say it gives off something akin to a carpet shock, still others "hear" that they have the one which is needed. No matter how you know, you'll know which one it is. This later method also works quite well for obtaining a "Rune of the Day" to further shed enlightening wisdom.

  Then there is the three stone spread, or "The Nornier State", which is laid out and read from right to left to thus signify in turn the problem, the reason, and the possible solution of a specific, forth-right and simplistically worded query.

[ 3 ]  [ 2 ]  [ 1 ]

This method also works well for yes/no queries, simply figure upright for yes, reversed for no, and if you pull one of the irreversible Nine, then simply interpret it or re-draw another stave. This spread, or layout, will easily enlighten one with the so-called yes/no answers to simple questions, unless, of course, there appear to be a great many variables, where-upon no precise answer may be completely and entirely obtained.

  This spread, entitled "Mimir's Head", goes one step further than the layout mentioned above, in that it is suitable for questions featuring numerous and unknown variables due to the use of two staves for better claification.

[ 7 ]
[ 6 ]      [ 5 ]
[ 4 ]      [ 3 ]
[ 2 ]      [ 1 ]

Being ideally suited to questions of this diverse type by using seven random staves, this layout covers, each in pairs, the problem in question, #1 & #2; followed by the possible reason for said situation, #3 & #4; given then is the solution to achieve in order for a resolution, #5 & #6; and the last single stone, #7; is representative of the result or out-come of the preceding council given, if heeded by the querant.

  The spread entitled "The Five Elements" utilizes five stones which are set into a plus pattern, and is a good layout for determining the querant's own position and situation at any given time.

[ 1 ]
[ 3 ] [ 5 ][ 4 ]
[ 2 ]

Starting at the top and working around deosil, each stone signifies, in turn, the Intellect, #1; Love, #4; Desire, #2; Strength, #3; and Balance, #5; in the center. Understand that this layout tends to offer somewhat ambiguious possibilities for a general insight into the problem, unless the reader is highly skilled, and can cover several spheres of influence, especially those of the physical surroundings and the social relations of the querant. I deem it as a good ice-breaker.

  "The Four Quarters" spread is ideal for you if you need further investigation and a precise answer to a complicated and intricate question, or even an overall interpretation of the querant's life for the past six months and continuing on up to the possible future of the next six months. It looks something quite like this…

[ 2 ][ 3 ][ 4 ][ 5 ]
[ 1 ][ 11 ][ 6 ]
[ 10 ][ 9 ][ 8 ][ 7 ]

Each row is divided into quarters, with the eleventh stave representing the overall tone of the read, while the 1st, 2nd, & 10th staves, signifying the First Quarter, represent the querant. The 5th, 6th, & 7th staves, signifying the Second Quarter, represent the opposition or struggling issues of the querant. The Third Quarter is signified by the 3rd & 4th staves respectively, and represent what should happen next if things continue in their current direction. Finally, signifying the Fourth Quarter, and representing the overall possible future outcome of this query are the 8th & 9th staves. This type of read is known to be very useful if the question is specific and includes persons and areas from the querant's own life.

  Here is Heimdall's Eight, a layout which is one step further into understanding the diverse complexites of the querant, and those of runic relations. This is a complex layout in that each of the stave pairs are interpreted, then those pairs across from one another. Thus adding greater depth and understandings into what the querant is searching for, and what you can provide them.

     [15]   [12]
 [16]         [11]
[1]     [10]
[2]       [9]
 [3]        [8]
  [4]   [7]
   [5] [6]

As stated, the staves are read in pairs with #1 & #2 signifying the querant's abilities; #3 & #4 are the current psychological outlook of said querant; #5 & #6 being the causes of said problem; #7 & #8 are of the resultant opposition; #9 & #10 are again of the resultant opposition; #11 & #12 are representative of the possible future if the situation is left unchecked; #13 & #14 are the resultant outcome if this read is heeded; #15 & #16 concurrently signify the here and now. Also each pair is further expounded upon by cross-matching, i.e. #1 & #2 with #9 & #10; #3 & #4 with #11 & #12; #5 & #6 with #13 & #14; #7 & #8 with #15 & #16; etc. etc.

  Finally I shall offer the highly useful "Tree of Life" spread, so named because it gives a rather clear and concise overveiw of the one for whom you are doing the reading for, whether the querant may wish to admit to the truth of the matter or not is of no real consequence. It is this particular advanced layout which has brought about the quickest, and most accurate results for me.

[ 1 ]
[ 3 ]      [ 2 ]
[ 5 ]      [ 4 ]
[ 6 ]
[ 8 ]      [ 7 ]
[ 9 ]
[ 10 ]

The first stave of this remarkable layout represents the querants highest ideals and their standards of excellence for which they are currently existing under the influence of; the second is that of their current vital forces and any other obvious energies of existance; the third stave in this spread represents the physical and mental experiences of the querant; while the fourth is that of their most ethical virtues and morals; the fifth represents the area of their most recent conquests and/or victories; the sixth is representative of health issues; and the seventh is that of love and trust issues; the eighth is within the areas of all the Arts, any crafts, and yes, even the procreational aspects; the ninth is of purly imaginative aspects of creativity; while the tenth is the state or condition of their earthly home.

  Realize that all during each specific reading and its interpretation, the RuneCaster will have to recognize any and all potential possibilities and thereby adjust for each stave's influences, individually and combined with those amongst it accordingly. Also note that what isoffered here is by no means my knowledge of runic castings and spreads in their entirety, but should none the less further enlighten you, the Seeker, as to the utter ease and sheer complexity which one has of reading the runes aright.

homeward bound

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