In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about the art of rune reading. So, if you have always wanted to learn to read runes, this article is for you!

So, what is rune reading? Well, runes are ancient alphabets, and rune reading is an ancient divination practice.

Now you probably already know that you can have your runes read by an expert. But did you know that it’s also possible to learn this art for yourself?

And that’s exciting, right?

But before we get started with our rune reading guide, there are a few supplies you’ll need:

Rune Stones

Despite their name, rune sets can be made using a wide range of materials, including crystals like rose quartz; jade; moonstone; and amethyst. And other materials like glass and wood.

For ease, many people choose to buy premade rune sets.

And you can buy these sets from your local occult shop, and from a variety of online retailers.

But, whilst there are many online retailers selling this product, is a particularly good place to start your search.

Here you can find a huge selection of different products to choose from, like this gorgeous rainbow set.

Usually, your rune stones will come wrapped in a cloth or small bag. This is useful for keeping them together when they’re not in use. And it is essential for some forms of readings.

So,  if your set doesn’t come with a bag or cloth, you will need to find one yourself.

And if you would prefer not to buy rune stones, you can make them yourself.

To do this, simply choose your material- pebbles or small pieces of wood are ideal.

Then, use paint or a marker pen to copy symbols from a runic alphabet. Remember, there are different alphabets to choose from, so pick the one that speaks to you.

A rune reading sheet

The second thing you’ll need is a rune reading sheet. This is just a simple piece of white cloth so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find.

But remember:

The cloth must be clean and free from stains

And it must be big enough to layout your runes

Next, you need to find a way to interpret your runes:

Find a rune meaning chart

A rune meaning chart explains the possible meanings associated with each of your runes.

But it is important to remember that there are different runic alphabets. And rune signs and meanings can differ between each set.

This makes it extremely important that you choose the right rune stone meanings and interpretation chart… before you learn how to read rune.

For example:

If you are using Viking runes, use a Viking rune chart like this one

Or, if you are using Anglo Saxon runes, use an Anglo Saxon chart like this one

Although the different runic alphabets often look similar, using the wrong chart can affect your reading. And this could result in you receiving the wrong advice.

However, even if you find the right chart to use, the meaning of runes can be difficult to uncover.

And that’s because rune interpretation is far from an exact science. In fact, many runes can be quite vague and can have multiple meanings.

This means that they can be a little difficult to decipher, even with a meaning chart. But don’t be put off!

With practice, runes can be a brilliant way to gain clarity in your life.

Now, what’s next:

Find somewhere which is sunny, quiet, and that faces north

If possible, try to find a quiet space outside to begin your reading. This will help you to connect with the powers of nature.

Many people also recommend facing north, as this is where the Norse gods are believed to reside.

OK, you’re all set. Now you just need to prepare your mind:

Concentrate on a question or situation that you would like guidance with

Before you start a rune reading, it is important that you have a clear intention in mind.

So, think of your question and hold it steady in your thoughts.

Got it? Great, you’re ready to begin!

Now, there are many different types of readings. So, let’s start with one of the easier options:

Daily Reading

Daily Readings are used to answer simple questions. Because of this, they are often used every day.

And because they are so simple, they are a perfect way of reading runes for beginners.

So, to conduct your own daily reading, simply:

Gather your stones into a bag or cloth

Close your eyes Concentrate on your question

Then, pull a single rune out from the set

Finally, use your rune meaning chart to decipher the answer to your question

It’s that simple!

But don’t forget, the meaning of a rune isn’t always straight forward. And this means that it can be tricky to pinpoint exactly what your rune is telling you. But with practice, you should find that your abilities improve.

OK, so you’ve mastered the daily reading, what’s next?

The 3-Stone Spread

Also known as the ‘past, present, future’ spread, the 3-stone spread can give you a more detailed reading than is possible with a daily reading. But it is still easy enough for complete beginners.

So, how do you complete the 3-stone spread? Let’s take a look:

Gather your stones into a bag or cloth, close your eyes and concentrate on your question.

Then pick one stone and set it down on the left-hand side of your cloth. This stone represents the past and tells you how your past affects your question.

Next, pick out a second stone and lay it in the middle of your cloth. This stone represents the present and tells you what is currently affecting your question.

Then select a final stone and set it down on the right-hand side of your cloth. This stone represents the future and the outcome of your question.

Once all of your stones are laid out, you can begin to interpret them.

But remember, understanding runes can take practice… and a little patience.

So, if the meaning of your casting isn’t immediately clear, don’t despair.

Instead, try giving yourself some time to mull those meanings over. You may find the runic meaning of your reading becomes clearer over time.

The Full Cast

The full cast can be used to ask questions about the past, present, or future. And unlike the previous methods, you won’t be picking out runes.

Instead, you’re going to be throwing them all down onto your rune reading sheet. This is often called ‘casting’ your runes.

So, how does it work?

Start by gathering all of your runes into their bag or cloth

Then close your eyes and concentrate on your question

Next, gently toss your runes onto your rune reading sheet

The runes that land face-side-up hold the answer to your question. So, once you’ve cast, it’s time to start reading the runes!

OK, what’s next?

The Grid Spread

As its name suggests, the grid spread involves placing your runes in a grid formation on your reading sheet.

To start:

Place your runes in a grid formation and concentrate on your question

Then, move your none-dominant hand over stones slowly

When you’re hand is over the rune that holds your answer, you should feel drawn towards it… But don’t worry if this process takes a little time.

OK, what’s next?

The 5-Stone Cross

The 5-stone cross may feel a little more complex than the methods we have seen so far, but it is still a good form of rune casting for beginners.

So, if you want to give it a try:

Select five stones from your set whilst concentrating on your question.

Then, place a rune in the center of your rune reading sheet. This stone represents your question and current state of mind.

Next, place a rune to the east of your central rune. This rune represents the past and how it impacts your question.

Then, place a rune to the west of your central rune. This stone represents the barriers you are currently facing.

Then, place a rune to the south of your central rune. This represents something you must accept.

And finally, place a rune to the north of your central rune. This rune represents the future and the outcome of your question.

Because reading the 5-stone cross involves a lot of interpretation, it can help to write down the different stones alongside their meanings.

This can help you to concentrate and make sense of what you are being shown.

OK, are you ready for something even more complex?

The 7-Rune Layout

Rune symbols can tell us a lot on their own. But this layout goes further by asking you to read the meaning of pairs of runes.

You see, by reading runes together, it’s possible to uncover more in-depth rune divination meanings. And this translates to more detailed and precise readings.

So, how does it work?

Start by selecting seven runes whilst concentrating on your question

Then, lay six runes of your runes in a line

And place your final rune below this line

To read your runes:

Look at your first two runes first. They represent your current problem.

Then, look at runes numbers three and four. They represent the past factors that have lead to your current problem.

Next, look at runes five and six. These runes are especially important because they give advice on how to deal with your problem. Should you take action, or wait it out? Ask for help or face your problem alone?

And finally, look at the rune which you placed below the others. This rune symbol is your outcome. It tells you what will happen if you follow the rune’s advice.

Of course, reading rune stones in pairs can take quite a lot of practice. So, if you struggle at first, don’t feel bad.

Remember, it can be helpful to write your runes down. That way, you can give yourself breaks, and return to your reading later.

Pro tip: try taking a walk in nature. You may find that the answers come to you as you bask in the fresh air.

OK, so what’s next?

The 9-Grid Layout

The 9-grid layout is believed to have been in use for thousands of years.

In this formation, each rune is assigned a number based on its position in a grid. So, to start, place nine runes in a 3 by 3 grid, like this.










To read your runes, think of a question and start by reading the bottom horizontal line:

Rune 8 represents hidden influences from the past

Rune 1 represents basic past influences

Rune 6 represents your present attitude to these past events

Next, read the middle horizontal row:

Rune 3 represents hidden influences in the present

Rune 5 represents the present state of events

Rune 7 represents your attitude towards these present events

Then, read the top horizontal line:

Rune 4 represents hidden influences that may prevent the outcome you seek

Rune 9 represents the best possible outcome to your question

Rune 2 shows your response to the result

Phew, that’s a lot to interpret. But if you are still looking for more, you can try moving on to the tree of life:

Tree of Life Layout

The tree of life layout is particularly popular amongst Norse rune readers. And it is interesting because you do not need to have a specific question to use it. Instead, you can create a more general reading about your life.

So, let’s look at how you set your tree up. You are going to need seven rows to do this.

Then, starting at the top:

Place one rune on row one– this rune represents your most positive accomplishments

Place two runes on row two– these runes represent your physical and mental feelings and current energy levels

Place two runes on row three– these runes represent your recent accomplishments and moral code

Place one rune on row four– this rune represents your current health

Place two runes on row five– these runes represent your creative influences and love

Place one rune on row six– this rune represents your imagination and your direction

And finally, place one rune on row seven– this rune represents your present influences concerning your home

Your end result should look something like this:

OK, so that’s pretty in-depth! But if you’re looking for something even more detailed, try the Futhark layout:

The Futhark Layout

The elder futhark layout is a very detailed rune reading that is usually cast on new year’s day. And that’s because it provides a full year of information in one go!

But to get such a detailed reading, you’re going to need to use a lot of runes- twenty-four in fact!

So, if you’re ready for a whole lot of interpreting, start by laying out your runes in three vertical lines. You should have eight runes in each line.

Now, to read your runes, start with the leftmost vertical row. You should begin reading from the top, and the significance of each rune is as follows:

Row one

  1. How you will achieve wealth
  2. How you will achieve physical and mental health
  3. How you will achieve defense and/or destruction
  4. How you will achieve wisdom and/or inspiration
  5. The direction in which your life-path is headed
  6. Your future wisdom
  7. Skills to be achieved and/or gifts granted
  8. How you will achieve peace & happiness

Row two (the middle row)

  1. Future changes that are coming to your life
  2. What you need to do to achieve your goals
  3. Obstacles that may hinder you
  4. Your Successes and achievements
  5. What will challenge you and/or what choices might you have to make
  6. The Inner skills that will manifest throughout the year
  7. The life & death situations you will encounter
  8. Your guiding Energy

Row three (the right-most row)

  1. Your legal affairs
  2. How you will achieve personal growth and/or beauty
  3. Friendships and relationships in the year
  4. Your social status
  5. Your emotional status
  6. Your sexual influences and emotions
  7. How you will achieve balance
  8.  How you will gain wealth, assets, or wisdom in the year

Now, that is a whole load of information to interpret and remember. So it’s a really good idea to write your interpretations down.

Pro tip: Take a photo of your runes so that you can easily go back and work on your interpretation throughout the year.

OK, so there we have it: Everything you need to know to start reading runes.

Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments!

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