I have always believed that Runes are the absolute best prophet for a beginner—yet they are the one I utilize frequently by and by and professionally.
Runes are incredible for novices for a few reasons. In the first place, not at all like the Tarot, there are just 25 runes, and 9 of them have no switched understanding, so you can take in the vital implications before long.
If you’ve just begun your spiritual journey, you can boost the process while pulling one Rune a day. First thing in the morning, read the interpretation and then leave the Rune out and book open to look over it again before you go to bed. That’s how I learned the Runes, and I was amazed almost daily by the insights these simple tiles provide. By then, I had been using astrology and Tarot for years, and found it hard to believe that such a “simple” tool could be so profound.
Another plus for beginners is that Runes work well for quick readings. I use them a lot for yes/no questions. You just shake up your Rune bag and pull out one Rune. If it’s right side up, the answer is yes, upside down is no, and if you get a Rune with no reversed position, you know that the outcome is either undecided or entirely your choice. Most of the time, the Rune itself will give you some juicy insights as well.
In The Book of Runes, creator Ralph Blum suggests this yes/no technique, along with two 3-card layouts: a past-present-future layout and a ‘challenge and outcome’ layout. More complex readings include a cross and a fascinating ‘three lifetime spreads’. He recommends that you read Runes as they were originally read by the Vikings, from right to left. He also gives an excellent description of important ‘how-to’ basics of reading and care that apply to any oracle — and are especially helpful for beginners.
More than any other oracle I’ve used (and oracles have been my hobby for more than 30 years!), the simplicity of the symbols and the depth and wisdom of Blum’s brief, intense interpretations are very direct. They take you into the core of things, the core of yourself, the essence of your spiritual journey, the energetic reality surrounding a question, and the kernel of truth in a situation.
Although Runes are derived from an ancient alphabet, Blum, when he published The Book of Runes in 1982, called them a “reintroduction.” The Runes were used as oracles by the Vikings, but they were last actively used in Iceland during the Middle Ages, and their original interpretations have been lost for more than 300 years.
Since Blum’s reintroduction, there have been a number of Rune versions published, including healing Runes, Christian Runes and 12-Step Runes, but Blum’s has remained the most popular. Blum, who was part of the intellectual community that grew up around groundbreaking anthropologist Margaret Mead, talks in The Book of Runes about how the Runes came to him, and how they revealed their meanings to him during one long night of writing.
For advanced practitioners, one of the big attractions of Runes besides their Viking ancestry is that you can make your own. You can also, buy any of a rainbow of stones with the Rune symbols carved onto them. Although I use the plain tiles that come with The Book of Runes for readings, I also have Runes of petrified wood, bloodstone, and tiger’s eye, and you can get them carved on amethyst, clear quartz crystals, animal bones, metal, and more.
The biggest attraction for me, though, is that when I use Rune tiles or stones, I touch the Earth. It bypasses my intellect and adds a depth, focused wisdom, and an element of energy to my readings that I get with no other oracle.