If you plan to buy a set of runes at some bookstore, like Barnes & Noble, you’ll most likely be buying a set of the Elder Futhark runes unless it says otherwise on the box/set. The reason for this is that the Elder Futhark is a good starter set as well as being a good set for all around castings. If you buy a set from some new age shop (online or at a store near you) you should have a choice of different sets. If you do it this way then it is important that you get the rune set that is right for you and the type of casting that you will be doing.
The first question you may have is “How do I know which rune set is right for me?” Well, take a look at a few things. Do you plan to have more than one set in case you want to do different readings? Is this just a simple interest or do you plan to further your study on the runes? Are you going to be making your runes?
If you plan on making your runes, I strongly suggest that you start by making the Elder Futhark runes. The reason is that this set if good for any cast that you will do. There are 24 runes in this set so you can ask simple, general questions as well as specific, in-depth questions and still get a good reading. If you plan to be asking a lot of more vague questions then you can get by with a smaller set of runes like the Younger Futhork. If the questions you have are going to be more specific then you may want to use a set that contains more runes, like the Northumbrian runes, which contain a total of 33 runes.
The next question to look at is “Will I be using ‘reversed’ runes in my readings?” Like some uses of the tarot cards, the runes can be reversed if you choose to use them in such a way. However, be aware that some runes are always ‘upright’ no matter which way they land. This is because of the shape of the rune. One such rune is Gebo, which looks like a large “x”. Any way this rune lands it will appear that it is ‘upright’. I have not included reversed rune meanings in the rune meanings section because I personally do not use them. If you’d like more information on the reversed meanings of the runes, you’ll have to find a book that contains that information.
You should also look the rune set itself. Do you like the way the runes look and feel to you? Does the material your set is made from matter to you? Do you prefer to have a small set or a large set? Do you care for the history behind the set? Also take a look at the uses of the runes, a set like the Medieval Runes of Healing and Magick Set were not used for casting so you obviously won’t choose to make or buy a set of that type to cast with.
The last and most important thing when picking a set is to make sure that you’re comfortable with it. Make sure you pick a set that you’re interested in and that you know really well (or want to learn really well). The more you use your runes, the more you’ll start to understand what they are trying to tell you. Even experienced rune casters need time to get familiar with a new set. Each set has a different “personality” and it’s up to the caster to figure it out.