Rune Symbols: A Beginner’s Guide to Divination

April 4, 2016 11:23 pm Published by

Sometimes we just need a message from the Universe to pull us through. Does this ring true for you? My grandmother relied on answers from her pendulum for big and small life questions, her open-mindedness to divination tools caught my attention at a young age and I was instantly hooked. Oracle cards, tarot, palmistry, astrology, pendulums, tea leaf readings, name a divination tool and you’ll be sure I’ve dabbled in it. Runes are new for me though, I’ve always been intrigued by their symbolism but never knew how to use them.


You could be wondering how to proceed in a relationship, or just looking for some guidance as you start your day. Rune symbols can remedy many of the nagging questions you might have racing through your head. Here are some basic history and tips I’ve learned for getting started.


A Brief History of Rune Symbols

Before the Latin Alphabet, rune letters were used to write German languages. Their roots can be found in Old Norse, and they make up an ancient runic alphabet containing 24 symbols. Rune symbols have been found to date back as far as 150 AD. They have been discovered on spearheads, charms, and even on headstones in the form of spells! It is said that the word “rune” has come to mean “secret, something hidden,” and many people believe the symbols were used as a form of divination. Some people continue this practice today.

3 Ways to Use Runes as a Divination Tool

There are several ancient tales that explain how to cast the symbols.



Around 98 AD a book was written (The Germania) detailing Germanic tribes. In this book, a story is told of symbols being chosen from “a nut-bearing tree” in groups of three. In this version, you will draw three rune symbols to answer your question.



In an Old Norse saga (Ynglinga Saga) dating between 1869-1872 a king learns his fate when all of the “chips” are cast. This refers to a full reading casting all 24 symbols



A biography of Saint Ansgar written around 875 CE, recalls the lives of some of the common people during the Viking Age. In the accounts of the everyday people, Ansgari describes several situations where runes are used for divination. He refers to these instances as “drawing lots.” This describes the method where you will draw only one rune symbol at random.

  • The symbols should be cast East to West or facing the sun
  • Symbols should be cast on a white cloth
  • Facedown symbols shouldn’t be read
  • Reversed symbols take on a different meaning

Meanings of the Rune symbols vary slightly from source to source, but here’s an image that shows the simplest meanings I’ve found. In general, the reversed symbols will mean the opposite.


I purchased my new set of runes at a local crystal shop, but quite a few Etsy sellers offer handmade sets, here’s one of my favorite finds.

Whether you’ve had experience with using Rune’s as a divination tool or you’re just starting out I’d love to hear about your experience!

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About Cassie

Cassie Uhl is a published author, artist, intuitive, and founder of Zenned Out. She created Zenned Out in 2012 with the mission to build a brand that normalizes spirituality. In 2018 she self-published her popular and interactive Goddess Discovery Book series. In 2020 her writing and art became more mainstream with Understanding Auras, Understanding Crystals, and Understanding Chakras, published by The Quarto Group. Her writing style and art combine to help marry accessibility with deep spiritual topics. It is her goal to help others understand and live spiritual practices that can change the world. Inspired by her open-minded grandmother, Cassie has been meditating and working with her energy since her teenage years. She received her 200hr YTT in 2012 with a focus on breathwork. Now, her work focuses on energy work, journeying, mediumship, death midwifery, and healing through traditional Celtic shamanic practices.