Here are various layouts that can be used for runecasting in order of increasing complexity. The first two can be done quite quickly. The others take great deliberation. I often spend several days on the more complex layouts. A description of each position on the layout follows the diagram.
Five Rune Layout
Seven Rune Layout
Peschel, A Practical Guide to the Runes.
Select five runes one at a time and lay them face down on the rune cloth. [Three runes are placed side by side. One is placed above the center and the final one is placed below the center.]
The three horizontal runes represent your past, present, and future. It is usually best to turn over the center rune (1) first. This is the rune of the present and will show your problem as it is now. It can also show your state of mind. A negative rune in this position that does not seem to be in synch with the question can often show that you (or your querant) are of a very troubled and agitated state of mind.
The rune in position to left of the center (2) signifies the past and will tell you what was in the past that caused you to be in your current position.
Next read the rune laying above the center (3). This indicates the help that you can expect to receive in the problem at hand. If there is a negative rune here, it can indicate an unwillingness to accept the advice given by the runes or another person, or it can indicate delays or slight problems that may impede the speedy resolution of the matter in question.
The rune below center (4) indicates what aspects of the problem must be accepted and cannot be changed. Positive runes here show a lack of troublesome influences and oppositions, while negative runes show the obstacles to your success.
The rune to the right of center (5) is the result rune. This rune indicates the final outcome, given the other factors in the runecast.
This runecast indicates recent future happenings, usually within three months.
Peschel, A Practical Guide to the Runes
This runecast gives a bit more detail with more information on how to deal with your problem and on what lead you to your present dilemma in the first place. It usually speaks of events three months into the future and into the past.
If you wish to use this layout but want information on happenings more current than three months, be certain to concentrate on your time frame as well when you are concentrating on your question.
The questions you can answer with this layout can be much broader in scope than with some other runecasts. Instead of asking "yes" or "no" or "what about my relationship?", you can ask questions like "How will my job progress if I take this new business course?" or "If I started seeing other people, how would my current lover accept it?" Through questions like these, you can certainly get enough information to solve all but the most complex problems.
Select seven runes and lay them out in a row of 6 with the final one below the row and centered as shown.
In this reading, you will have to be interpreting two runes at a time. The first two runes are the problem.
Runes 3 and 4 are read next. These show the factors in the past which have led up to the situations at present.
Runes 5 and 6 are the two most important runes in this runecast. They represent the advise the runes are giving you, and extra special care must be taken to interpret their meanings as they relate to one another. They can indicate a need to wait and not act or a need to act immediately. They also may indicate a total shift of emphasis to new realms totally unrelated to the problem in question.
The final position, rune 7, is the result position. Keep in mind that a positive rune in this place (or a negative one, for that matter) will only be truly positive (or negative) if the preceding runes indicate such an outcome.
This is a challenging runecast and certainly worth the time it takes to master it.
Edred Thorsson, Runecaster's Handbook.
Fehu: Money matters. Psychic energies.
Uruz: Physical health. Vital energies.
Thurisaz: What opposed you (perhaps physical).
Ansuz: Sources of inspiration and intellectual expression.
Raidho: Travels&emdash;inner or outer.
Kenaz: Creativity. Erotic relationships.
Gebo: What will be given to you.
Wunjo: Relationships, friends. What will give you happiness.
Hagalaz: Area of possible crisis leading to transformation.
Nauthiz: What resists you (psychically). Source of discontent.
Isa: What is constraining you.
Jera: Where rewards can be expected. Relationship with the natural environment.
Eihwaz: Hidden influences, state of whole being. Relationship with the numinous environment.
Perthro: How you will find joy.
Algiz: Thing that needs attention. Way to the gods.
Sowilo: What will guide you.
Tiwaz: Cognitive state. Legal matters. Ideals.
Berkano: What provides growth and beauty.
Ehwaz: With what or whom you should work. Erotic relations.
Mannaz: Overall psychic state. Attitude toward death.
Laguz: State of emotional Balance. What will test you.
Ingwaz: What you should contemplate.
Dagaz: Area of unexpected synchronicity.
Othala: Greater family matters. National or community issues.
Aswynn, Northern Mysteries
The Airt (Ætt) of Freya is primarily related to practical and mundane matters. One selects the runes unseen and places them in the area next to the runes already there. These meanings are very simple and on the most basic level serve as the background for a strait forward reading, in which questions of a practical nature can be answered.
Fehu - Financial strength and prosperity of the present and near future.
Uruz - Health matters.
Thurisaz - Conflicts and complexities of an aggressive nature; psychological problems.
Ansuz - Communications and transmissions; points things back to sources in the past.
Raidho - What is right or not right; what move to make; decisions; returns.
Kenaz - Opening up of new ways; opportunities; information.
Gebo - All matters of an exchanging nature; contracts; personal relationships.
Wunjo - Gain; accomplishments; that which is wished for.
The second airt, of Hagalaz, principally corresponds to emotional matters and the psychological conditions present within the individual.
Hagalaz - The uncontrolled forces in the unconscious, which are usually of a disruptive nature and which usually originate in the past.
Nauthiz - Restrictive forces in the unconscious; fears, anxieties; feelings of guilt.
Isa - Blocks; stultified conditions; grievances; anything that the individual is not prepared to let go of; the formation of the personality; conditioning.
Jera - Hopes and expectations; turning points; gradual changes; results of earlier actions.
Eihwaz - The driving forces in the unconscious; motivation; sense of purpose.
Perthro - The deepest creative part of the unconscious; the hidden realm of higher material that is waiting to come to fruition and birth; hidden talents; occult or psychic abilities.
Algiz - The strong protective side in the unconscious; the influence which will protect you; religious aspirations.
Sowilo - Position of the higher self in relations to the unconscious; the direction in which you will be guided by the higher self; the ability to establish contact between the higher self and the unconscious.
The third airt transcends the two others, in that it largely relates to relationships with other people, and also to the sexual side of life. Whereas the first ætt is largely concerned with the outer world, and the second mainly deals with the inner world, the third ætt synthesized both the inner and outer world, and most of the runes in this ætt contain a dual meaning involving both aspects.
Tiwaz - Creative energies in the martial sense; where your strengths lie; where to direct your energies in taking initiatives; honor and justice, leadership and authority.
Berkano - Fertility; birth' rebirth; growth; maternity; family life; feminine mysteries.
Ehwaz - Adaptability; relationships with others; joint efforts; cooperation; sexuality.
Mannaz - People at large; attitude toward others; other people's attitudes towards you; legal matters, friends and enemies; intellect.
Laguz - Emotions; stability; imagination; psychic matters; affections.
Ingwaz - Integration; gestation; expectations; progeny.
Dagaz - Transmission; opposites; position between light and darkness; initiation; balance between the worlds outside time and space; cosmic consciousness; change from one thing into its opposite; new beginnings.
Othala - Home life; country; spiritual heritage; experience; foundation; fundamental values; establishing.
Aswynn, Northern Mysteries
The pattern of the Norse Ættir of the Heavens (which points out North, South, East and West, and the quadrants between) is combined with the other most obvious division of "space", that of the nine worlds of Yggdrasil, to form the Worldstead design used to divide the casting cloth into fields of meaning. In reality, this figure represents the "collapsing" of multidimensional space into a two-dimensional model&emdash;as do many sacred symbols of all kinds. The fields are names for the nine worlds of Yggdrasil and derive their meanings from these concepts. (The actual cloth should not have the names of the worlds on it.)
The lots falling within the inner circles made up of Midhgardr-Àsgardhr-Hel-Ljóssálfheimr-Svartálfheimr (which in the three-dimensional model make up the vertical column) give a reading of the subjective or psychological state of, or influences on, the person. Those of Ljóssálfheimr and Svartálfheimr are more "personal". while those of Àsgardhr and Hel are more "transpersonal". The lots coming down in the outer fields of Niflheimr-Muspellsheimr-Vanaheimr-Jötunheimr (which together with Midhgardhr form the horizontal plane in the Yggdrasil model) clarify the state of the objective universe and how it affects the person in question. Note carefully the special synthesizing function of Midhgardhr&emdash;the center&emdash;where all potentialities are (or can be) manifested.
The runes are cast blindly upon the cloth and are read as they lie on the cloth in their steads of meaning. According to personal custom, lots which land face down may be read as murk-staves or they may be removed from the cloth and set aside. "Inverted" runes cannot be read as such operations of this kind. Those that fall off the cloth altogether should be disregarded. (Note, however, what these lots are&emdash;they may be significant by their absence!)
Once a final configuration has been established, a complex picture may appear. This kind of casting is sometimes so complex that it cannot be fully interpreted in one sitting (especially by beginning runecasters). Therefore, be sure and draw out a record of the casting. Often the direction a lot is facing&emdash;it may seem to be "pointing to" another lot&emdash;gives subtle clues which reveal nuances in the lot's interpretation. For this reason a sketched record is preferred. The true significance of the casting may not be realized until sometime later when your are contemplating the working record. Continued next page.
The pattern resulting from a casting upon the airts can be read in several ways. You may start from what is now manifesting itself in Midhgardhr and work out to the more remotely influential realms, e.g., from Midhgardhr to Ljóssálfheimr and Svartálfheimr, and from this pairing to Àsgardhr and Hel, and from there to the outermost realms of Vanaheimr. Or, you might reverse this process working from Niflheimr and Muspellsheimr back to Midhgardhr. Ultimately, no linear progression is really inherent in this pattern&emdash;it is rather an ultra dimensional model. Therefore, intuition may be each runester's best guide.
Niflheim: Nordhr (North). That which resists you. Passive or restrictive influences from the outside. Things tending toward dormancy. The deepest part of the shadow in the unconscious. Nifelhel of Niflheim means literally "fog world". Fog is an intangible, insidious state between water and air. All the rejects of the conscious get deposited here. It is the place from which conflicts originate.
Jotunheim: Austr (East). That which confuses you. That which may be left to chance. Forces pressing for change. Realm of crisis. Disruptive, raw masculine forces of the unconscious; the destructive male urge; the chaotic part of the self.
Åsgard: Landnordhr (Northeast). Higher influences. Nature of relationships with the divinities. The veiled branches of the question. Matters of honor, positive (active) influence from past states of existence ("incarnations:)--ørlög. Individuality. Highest plane. Higher self. Spirituality.
Vanaheim: Vestr (West). Promotes growth. Erotic relationships. Persons of the opposite sex. Balancing influences. Forces of continuity, structure, and well being. Feeling (Water).
Ljóssálfheim: Utnordhr (Northwest). Mental influences. Family matters. Messages of Huginn&emdash;directions in which you should plan. What will help you. Paths to help you realize influences from Àsgardhr. (Air). Plants, elves, tree spirits and birds are ruled over by Freyr, Lord of the Vanir.
Midgard: Center. The way people come together to manifest themselves in life. The outcome in life. Ego consciousness. The Personality, Ego Consciousness or Lower self.
Hel: Utsudhr (Southwest). Hidden or suppressed instinctual desires. Nature of automatic functions or behaviors. The hidden route of the question. Negative (passive, restrictive) influence from pasts states of existence&emdash;ørlög. Destructive part of the Feminine, hidden fourth aspect of the moon; the devouring part of the mother; the half-alive half-dead daughter of Loki, half black, half white.
Svartálfheim: Landsudhr (Southeast). Creative emotional influences. Money matters. Messages from Muninn&emdash;things you should reflect on. Paths to realize influence from Hel. Sensation (Earth). The Dark Elves are smiths, like Volund, working with minerals, taking base materials from the earth and transmuting them into higher materials.
Muspellsheim: Sudhr (South). State of vial energies, that which vitalizes you. Active influences from outside. Things tending toward activity.
These books can be purchased from Amazon.com at a discount. Click on the hyperlinked title to be taken to the Amazon.com website.
Peschel, Lisa A.: Practical
Guide to The Runes,
Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, ISBN
0-87542-593-3. Thorsson, Edred:
Handbook : At the Well of Wyrd.
Red Wheel/Weiser , 1999: ISBN=157863136X. Aswynn, Freya: Leaves
of Yggdrasil: A Synthesis of Runes, Gods, Magic, Feminine
Mysteries and Folklore.
Llewellyn pub. St. Paul MN, 55164-0383, 1989, ISBN
0-87542-024-9. She has a new edition out, with a
different name: Northern
Mysteries and Magick: Runes, Gods, and Feminine
Powers, Llewellyn pub. St.
Paul MN, 55164-0383, 1998, ISBN: 1567180477.
Peschel, Lisa A.: Practical Guide to The Runes, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, ISBN 0-87542-593-3.
Thorsson, Edred: Runecaster's Handbook : At the Well of Wyrd. Red Wheel/Weiser , 1999: ISBN=157863136X.
Aswynn, Freya: Leaves of Yggdrasil: A Synthesis of Runes, Gods, Magic, Feminine Mysteries and Folklore. Llewellyn pub. St. Paul MN, 55164-0383, 1989, ISBN 0-87542-024-9.
She has a new edition out, with a different name:
Northern Mysteries and Magick: Runes, Gods, and Feminine Powers, Llewellyn pub. St. Paul MN, 55164-0383, 1998, ISBN: 1567180477.