As you can tell I like to create my rune spreads around figures and objects from Norse Mythology, and this spread is no different. The Midgard Serpent is a beast that is said to live in the ocean that surrounds the world and is so long that he is able to bite his own tail. In this layout we use the fact that the serpent is able to bite his own tail and it’s important in the reading that we are aware that if we’re not careful the results of this layout can pass us by.
You do not need to worry about placing the runes in the “flowing” pattern of the image above. The purpose of line in the image is to give you a feel that we are placing the runes to create a serpent. However the line also helps us to better understand the positions and their meanings. We pretend that we start at position one (the tail) and we “walk” along the line until we reach the head of the serpent at position seven. As we “walk” along the serpent we must make “uphill journeys” which represent obstacles or situations that we may need to overcome. The “downhill journeys,” for example moving from position two to position three, are times after we have conquered or overcome an obstacle. These are periods when we can relax a little and once again prepare ourselves for future hurdles that may come our way.
Now let’s take a look at the rune positions and their meanings.
1 – Represents our feelings in the distant past in relation to the situation we are asking the runes for help with.
2 – Represents the struggles with this situation as a result of our feelings from position one. Also the “hump” symbolizes the obstacles we may have overcome and we should be aware of how we handled the situation in the past because it may once again come back to us in the present time (position four).
3 – This point concerns our feelings about the situation during the present time. Physically it is the closest rune to us as we lay the runes down so it not only represents the present time, but also the close connection to our heart or feelings.
4 – Position four is when we start the journey towards our outcome. The obstacles we may have had in the past (at position two) may come back into play for us here. We also see that the “hump” here is a little steeper, which may mean that the obstacle is even more difficult to overcome. However, we do have our past experiences with this matter to help guide us along our path.
5 – At position five we reach the peek of our journey and we can see our goal clearly. This rune will tell us about our feelings and how they can begin to control us once we think we can achieve our goal. We cannot let our feelings get the better of us, rather we must learn to understand that we need these feelings to gain our goal but at the same time not let them control us.
6 – Position six reminds us that we still have to work towards our goal if we want to achieve it. Take this rune to heart. If it is telling you that you need hard work to get to your goal then you’ll need to listen. If it’s a rune about power and control, you may need to be strong and control your emotions in order to get to the goal.
7 – This spot represents the Midgard Serpent’s head. Most of the time this is our goal. However, according to Norse Mythology, the serpent is so large that is able to bite its own tail. If we are not watching what the other runes are saying to us so we can reach our goal we may find ourselves passing by our goal and beginning once again on the tail of the serpent.
This rune layout represents a sort of “timeline” to reach our goal. Position one starts us off at the tail of the serpent and we must work our way towards the serpent’s head at position seven. We must be aware that time, like the Midgard Serpent, can often be seen as a cycle. Time continues to move from one day to the next as the sun and moon rise and fall letting us know that a new day has come and gone. This cycle continues unbroken in our mind unless we form “breaking points” to split up this constantly moving cycle. With time we use “breaking points” like weekends or holidays to give us a rest from the busy workweek, which can have a monotony of it’s own. The “breaking point” for this layout can be seen as our goal for the situation we are asking the runes about. If we’re not careful we may pass up our goal because of our feelings of excitement to break this cycle. If that happens we may find that we may, in fact, not have reached our goal at all and instead have restarted our journey at the tail of the Midgard Serpent. Because of this we must learn to understand, control and make good use of our feelings as we try to achieve our goal.
If you wish to record your rune casts I’ve created a a printable recording sheet for the Midgard Serpent Layout rune cast.
File: Midgard Serpent Layout Record Sheet
Filesize: 127.05 kB
Before you begin casting there are a few things that you may want to do to get yourself in the correct frame of mind. In doing readings and castings the one thing that is necessary is that you are comfortable and prepared before you start. Nothing on these pages is absolutely necessary to do a rune reading (except, obviously, a rune set) so if you feel like you’d like to do something different than the way this page suggests, then please do so. You know yourself better than anyone else and what makes you comfortable will only help you in a reading. Okay with that said here are a few suggestions.
Some people say that castings should only be done during the day, outside, with the sun shining. Others will tell you that the proper time to get the best reading would be near midnight when the veil between this world and the “Other World” is at it’s thinnest, therefore getting help from spirits. I’ve even seen ways to calculate what time of the day to do a reading depending on the question you are asking. This is really all up to you. There is no hard evidence to say that one way is better than the other so try a few castings at different times and see which time works best for you.
I mentioned above about the shinning sun. Why would this be a better time than a calm day that’s slightly overcast? Well the reason is that the weather can affect our mood and the one thing that we want is to be in the best frame of mind. If you cast on a day when you’re not in a good mood this can affect the outcome. So you may want to hold off to do a casting until the weather and your mood is perfect.
Something that you may want to consider when you sit down to cast the runes is your surroundings. This can be important because of the surrounding energy fields. You don’t want to cast near power lines where the energy given off by the lines could some into conflict with your own power.
Another thing to look out for is the people around you. You don’t want to have people who are skeptical or doubt what the runes can do. If you have people around you doubting this can come into play with your own feelings about the runes. You may even start to doubt yourself and therefore get a poor or inaccurate reading.
If you are casting outside the set-up is simple. Face the sun, layout your casting cloth and pillow and take a seat on the pillow. On the opposite end of the casting cloth place your mearmots and the question written on a piece of paper, if you’d like. Gather up the runes, think about the question you are asking and then toss the runes in front of you.
If you are casting indoors there are a few possible set-ups that you can do. First find a room where you can layout your casting cloth where nothing will be in the way, and so it’s not bunched up against the sofa or anything like that. If it’s possible set up the cloth so that you can sit facing east or in the direction of the sun at that time of the day. If it’s at night then you can set the cloth up so that you are facing the moon, or to the east to “await” the rising sun. What happens if you can’t lay your casting cloth to face to the sun? Well you can just cast in whichever direction that the cloth fits in the room. Or you can try to layout the cloth so that the longest side of the cloth is parallel with the longest wall in the room. The choice is up to you.
You are now ready to start casting. You have your casting cloth laid out in the setting of your choice, you’re in a surrounding that makes you comfortable and everything is perfect. Now gather your runes and have a seat because it’s time to cast. Layout your runes face-up in front of you and make sure that they are all there. If you have a pouch that you use to carry your runes in place them back in the pouch and mix them up. If you have small rune tiles, or large hands, you can mix the runes up in your hands. Concentrate on your question and toss the runes down on the cloth in front of you. Now you’re going to need to choose the number of runes that you’ll need for the spread that you have chosen. To do this you are only going to use then runes that landed face-up. If, by chance, you do not have enough runes to fill the places in the spread you have chosen you can do a few things. You can re-cast the runes that have landed face down, cast the whole spread over, or leave the places in the spread blank. I suggest that you re-cast the remaining face down runes.
When the runes land on the cloth in front of you, how do you know which runes to pick up? There are a few ways to determine that. You could pick a single spot on the cloth before you cast the runes and then pick up the face-up rune closest to it to fill the first spot in the spread. You would then pick up the next closest rune to that spot for the second place, and so on until you’ve filled all the places in the spread.
Another way to do it is to draw an imaginary line down the center of your casting cloth and pick the rune that lands face-up and closest to the line. Start with the rune that is closest to the line first. If there are two that are about the same distance then pick the rune that is closest to you and the line. After you have filled all the places in your spread the next thing is to read them using the meanings of your runes. Which can be found in the Rune Meanings section.
Once you have the meanings of the runes memorized the only thing that you’ll need to have for a casting will be a set of runes. The other items on this page are optional but can really help set the mood for your cast, which helps you to focus your mind and can lead to better results.
You can either buy or make your own runes to cast with, but this is the one thing that you will need.
If you plan to carry your runes with you it’s good to have a pouch or some type of container to carry them in. Try to pick a material that will not “suffocate” your runes. Pick something that will allow energy to get to your runes and also allow them to release energy as well. Any fabric material works well but something like metal container may not be the best choice. A wood box can be a good idea, just try not to use wood that’s heavily coated with stain and/or varnish.
If you don’t have the meanings of your runes memorized then it is a good idea to have with you a sheet with all the meanings on them. You can get a list of the rune meanings for various sets in the Rune Meanings section. Just select the set of runes that you are using.
It’s a good idea to have a casting cloth especially if you plan to do a lot of outdoor castings. This way you can cast on the grass, sand, or any other outside surface and not worry about trying to find the runes buried under something. You can make the casting cloth any size you’d like, but remember that you will be tossing the runes onto them, so try not to make it too small. A good size for a casting cloth, which is also personal to you, is to measure it from the lengths of your body. Stand up and stretch your arms out so you make a “t” shape with your arms parallel with the ground. Measure from fingertip to fingertip. This is the width of the casting cloth. Now extend your arms up above your head and measure from the floor to the tip of your fingers. This is the length of your casting cloth. The material and color of the cloth is up to you, although white is a great color for all around use.
If you’re doing a lot of outdoor readings you may find that sitting on the ground for a long while may get uncomfortable. I suggest that you use a casting pillow, sometimes called a stol. This actually serves two purposes. First it makes reading more comfortable so you can concentrate on casting and reading the runes. The second thing it does is put you a little higher up above the runes and give you a feeling of being “above” the runes more. You’ll feel like you’re on another plane reading making the power you add to the cast a little stronger. Another purpose you can use the casting pillow for is to place it at the opposite end of the casting cloth and place your mearmots on.
These are personal items and talismans that help you to focus your mind. If you are doing a reading for yourself, use items that mean something to you and to the reading. If you are casting about concerns in your family, you may use pictures of members in your family. If you are doing a casting for someone else, then use items that are personal to them and to the cast.
Some people, like myself, like to record all of their readings so it is good to have a pen or pencil and paper with you to write the information down. If you’re doing a reading for someone else they may want to have the information for later use or reference. Also there are times when you do a casting that you may want to read more into the reading but can’t remember the exact casting meaning for the runes. You can write the runes down and read them when you have the exact meanings near you. The one other reason that you may need a pen or pencil and paper is for writing the question down that you are casting for. It will help you focus your mind and you can place it with the mearmots when casting.
The Medieval runes of healing and magick are special as they were not used in rune casting but for protection and healing. In fact they were mainly associated with gods and goddesses that were worshiped secretly in Christian times.
Sound: “sz” as the sound in “ease”
Stands for: Wolf-hook (Ancient Iron Weapon)
Magick/Healing use: Used to bind and eliminate harmful influences.
Sound: “oe” as the sound in “er”
Stands for: Our Planet (Mother Earth)
Magick/Healing use: Helps to reincorporate human actions with the world.
Sound: “ue” as the sound in “ee” or “ö”
Stands for: Turning point
Magick/Healing use: Revives former powers and helps assist in crises of healing.
Sound: “zz” as in “buzz”
Stands for: Thunderbolt of the God Ziu
Magick/Healing use: Concentrates and channels cosmic energies to maintain correct order.
Sound: “ss” as in “kiss”
Stands for: Disk of the sun
Magick/Healing use: Brings the healing power and warmth of the sun.
Sound: “mm” as in “humming”
Stands for: Phases of the moon
Magick/Healing use: Reminds us that we must experience good and bad alike.
Sound: no sound
Stands for: Bellows
Magick/Healing use: Contains the power of motivation.
Sound: no sound
Stands for: Emptiness
Magick/Healing use: Represents the power of the place where all existence began.
The Elder Futhark consists of 24 runes divided into three groups of eight, known as an ætt (singular of ættir), which are said to be ruled over by both a god and goddess. The first ætt is ruled over by Frey and Freyja, the deities of fertility. The second ætt is ruled over by Heimdall and Mordgud, and the third and final ætt is ruled over by Tîwaz and Zisa.
I have added to this page the color associations for each rune. The first color will be the color that I have assigned to the rune and the one in parentheses is the color assigned by the author D. Jason Cooper in his book Esoteric Rune Magic. If there is are no parentheses for a second color that simply means that my color choice is the same as Mr. Cooper’s.
Stands for: Cattle
Color: Green (Brown)
Casting meaning: Fehu is a rune of power and control. It represents new beginnings and “movable” wealth such as money and credit. It is a rune that gives us the power we need to obtain wealth as well as the power we need to hold on to it.
Stands for: Auroch (like a wild ox)
Color: Orange (Dark Green)
Casting meaning: Uruz is also a rune of power, but unlike Fehu, it’s a power that we can neither own nor control. In a casting it can mean that personal success is near. For charms and talismans use Uruz for its healing powers.
Stands for: Thorn (or Giant)
Casting meaning: This rune represents the ability we have to resist unwanted conflicts in a passive manner. It is a rune of protection and can tell us of a possible change that would have otherwise come without warning. You can use the protection aspect of Thurisaz as a defense against adversaries.
Sound: “aa” as in “aah”
Stands for: Mouth (or Divine Breath)
Casting meaning: Ansuz is a rune that symbolizes stability and shows us order. It is also a rune that indicates intellectual activities and directly represents the divine breath of all life and creation.
Stands for: Wheel, Cartwheel (or Riding)
Color: Blue (Black)
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to focus our energy so that we may obtain our goals. However to do so effectively we must be “in the right place at the right time.”
Stands for: Torch
Casting meaning: Kenaz is a rune of knowledge, understanding, learning and teaching. It allows us to view situations with more clarity than we normally would.
Sound: “g” as in “gift”
Stands for: Gift
Color: Gold & Silver (Red)
Casting meaning: Gebo represents the honor and connection that is created between people when they exchange gifts. The connection and honor is similar to the connection and honor that a person has with the gods for giving them life.
Sound: “w”, “v”
Stands for: Joy
Color: Pink (Blue)
Casting meaning: This rune shows us the balance between all things even when in a chaotic world. It is also a rune of fellowship, common goals and well being to all things. If you come across this rune in a reading you can expect good news to come your way.
Stands for: Hail, Hailstone
Color: Blue (White)
Casting meaning: Representing a hailstone we can expect time and situations to be constricting if Hagalaz turns up in a reading. But much like a hailstone will eventually turn to water, which flows smoothly, these situations and times will eventually flow smoothly for us.
Stands for: Necessity (or Need)
Color: Black (Blue)
Casting meaning: This rune represents how our need or want of something can put a restriction on us. It restricts our possibilities but also contains the power we need to break free from those restrictions.
Sound: “i”, “ee” as in “east”
Stands for: Ice
Color: Brown (Black)
Casting meaning: Like an icicle formed at the start of winter, with this rune we can only wait until the warmth of the sun allows us to be free from a constricting form. Isa represents a halt in activity until a change is made.
Sound: “j” like the “y” in “year”
Stands for: Harvest (or Year or Season)
Casting meaning: Jera is a rune that represents the cycle of life. With this rune we see that we must go with the flow of nature to obtain the goals we want.
Sound: “eo”, “æ”
Stands for: Yew Tree
Color: White (Green)
Casting meaning: Eihwaz is a rune that can be used as a magical protector and facilitator. It shows us that in the event of an ending situation we find the start of a new situation.
Stands for: Dice Cup (there are many variations)
Color: Blue (Red)
Casting meaning: Perdhro reminds us of the uncertainties in life and represents freewill and the connection of the restrictions we have due to our circumstances. It is viewed as a rune of memory and problem solving.
Sound: “zz” as in “buzz”
Stands for: Elk (or Protection)
Color: Black (Purple)
Casting meaning: This is a rune of great restraint power, defense and protection. Use this rune in charms and talismans to protect yourself as well as your property.
Stands for: Sun
Casting meaning: With the help of this rune we tend to be able to see things more clearly. Like the sun sheds light on dark times, with Sowulo we too can find the light during dark times.
Stands for: Creator
Color: Green (Red)
Casting meaning: Teiwaz can promise us success in our actions but this time without personal sacrifice. It also means success in “legal” matters but only if we were in the right to begin with.
Stands for: Birch Tree (or Birch Twig)
Color: White (Blue)
Casting meaning: Like the birch tree coming to life from a seed planted in the earth, Berkana represents a new beginning and is also a powerful birth rune.
Sound: “e” as in “every”
Stands for: Horse
Color: Red (White)
Casting meaning: Ehwaz reminds us that in order for success there must be a natural flow in the task at hand. With this rune to give us power as well as it making use of our good intentions we can surely achieve such success.
Stands for: Man (as in human, not gender)
Color: Blue (Purple)
Casting meaning: Mannaz has many powers. First it is a rune that lets us know we can achieve our fullest potential. Secondly it reminds us that we, as humans, all have shared experiences in life. Lastly we can use the power of this rune to gain the upper hand in disputes and arguments.
Stands for: Water (or Lake)
Color: Black & White (Green)
Casting meaning: Laguz represents the power of water and its easy flowing nature. We must learn to “go with the flow” when this rune shows up in a reading so that we can take full advantage of our powers.
Sound: “ng” as in “long”
Stands for: Fertility
Color: Brown (Black)
Casting meaning: This rune allows us to spread our energy out far and wide. It is a protective rune mainly for the protection of our homes. To use Inguz effectively we must learn to build up our powers over time and then release the power all at once.
Stands for: Day
Casting meaning: Dagaz represents a stability between opposites, such as light and dark. It can stop harmful energy from getting to you but at the same time allow the good energy to slip through so that you can make good use of it.
Sound: “o” as in “old”
Stands for: Home (or Odla – sacred ancestral land)
Color: Copper (Brown)
Casting meaning: Much like Fehu this is a rune of wealth. But unlike Fehu, Othala represents a wealth that cannot be sold. This is wealth like family, friendships or our culture and heritage that is passed down to us. It represents an enclosure and maintains the existing state of things as they presently are.