Discerning the runes around you.
When we move through or lives we walk through a world made possible through runic interaction(s). Therefore, we can, if we look, listen, and feel what is, discern those runic interactions making our experience possible.
We must first understand the time paradigm in which runic philosophy evolved. To the Germanic peoples time, and therefore evolution of being, took place on a dual axis. The only one we can truly observe is the mundane axis that is our normal time experience. They saw this axis as Urd (that which was), Verdandi (that which is), and Skuld (that which may become). These take mythic identity in the form of the three giantess sisters called the Nornir (singular = Norn). The nornir are said to “weave” the fates of all beings into wyrd, and thus making them become. This is a dynamic only possible because of where the individual Norn observes action. Urd sees what was (actions having been done), which she communicates to Verdandi, who observes what is (action done, with action being done). Verdandi, in turn communicates this to Skuld, who discerns how the actions of the past and present should interact to create outcomes. This is the essence of the thurs/thurisaz rune- that is the interaction of two forces coming together to create the third, which is the doing.
Within this context of time, and action, we can know the past, see/hear/feel the present, and therefore understand what may become. Since we only observe the action, this is not the same as divination in the common sense, but takes the form of “hale signs,” where you do not see the potential future outcome, you see the potential luck involved in a given action. To give an example, imagine you are able to discern strong influence from what we may call fe/fehu. In common divination things are often broken down to keywords, in this case cattle/gold/wealth. Runes, being the interactions, not the items, do not fit into this mode of thought. Instead, being tied to the Proto-Indo-European root bepo (the aspect of livestock being supported by the folk so it can support the folk), it is, therefore, seeing the mutual exchange between two things for the benefit of both.
I should note here, the history of runic divination for the sake of understanding why we have tarot style divination with rune staves today.
We step back in time to 1902 Austria where a man named Guido Von List had a year long period of blindness after having eye surgery. While he was temporarily blinded, he claimed to have had the “primal runes” revealed to him. He correlated these, which he counted as 18 in number, to the section of Havamal containing 18 rune-songs. Von List was a well known occultist, and was well studied on the various tools of the occult movements of the past, most important to his Armanen Runes was his knowledge of tarot. To understand the environment, and forces at play here, we must understand that the 19th and early 20th centuries were a period of intense Germanic nationalism. We find that many folk, such as Von List, and Viktor Ryberg, etc., were trying to Germanicise the non-Germanic things around them (which would ultimately result in the Nazi movement of mid-20th century). Von List took his knowledge of tarot, and threw rune staves at it, and modern runic divination was born. Fast forward to the later mid-20th century pagan revival in Europe and the Americas, and authors took Von Lists work, and mass marketed it as tradition. It is left to the individual whether they wish to use this tarot based structure (such as the ‘spreads,’ and keyword association), or not. The only thing that is important is to understand where it fits, and that you find subjective validation in whichever path you take.
How then may we discern runes around us? This is an endless question to answer, but we have a few things to watch for. The first is knowing those interactions that are the runes. The second is sound, as each rune has its sound, which is the foundation of galdr magic. Thirdly, and by far the most difficult is shape. This third method is most difficult because shape can change, most easy to see is the change between the runic futhark rows. Another reason is that runes can take the form of codes, called lonnruner, or “secret runes.” To understand secret or coded runes we must understand how rune-staves were numbered, and even then there are variations. Each rune-stave has its number, which is more of a coordinate as it includes two numbers, first is the aett number (1,2, or 3), second is the staves number within its aett. The aett number makes it even more difficult because in some cases it is reversed. If we write out the staves from a given futhark row, we find that all of them have three rune-staves which never change position. These are where each aett begins. So we find fe/fehu being the first, known as Frey/Freyja’s Aett, hagal/hagalaz begins the second, known as Heimdall’s Aett, and tyr/tiwaz begins the third, known as Tyr’s Aett. Sometimes the aett can be reversed, so instead of Freyr’s aett being counted first, Tyr’s aett is first, and Freyr’s aett is couted third. Below is a chart showing this using the Younger Futhark in the method named “tré-runar” (tree-runes) with the aett count reversed:
So when a number is assigned to a rune-stave, it is really two numbers, such as 3:1 (3rd aett, 1st stave) for fe/fehu, for example. An example, to write the word example with younger futhark we first write its runic phonetic value as: iksambl, and then find the stave count: 2:3, 3:6, 2:5, 3:4, 1:3, 1:2, 1:4. This allows us to then create lonnrunar out of anything we can find count in. I could use the keys “|” for the aett, and “.” for the stave, which makes “example”
It is vitally important to learn this method because often we have to use it to discern a rune in the environment.
Once you have used the above methods of discerning sound, shape, and action, you must also observe what is happening around it, after all no action exists independently, so, therefore, those actions around it influence how it will manifest.
I will end here so as to not make this too wordy and confusing. Please feel free to ask me to clarify where it is confusing.