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Four Directions Layout

Since the runes have a solid base in Norse Mythology the names for each of these positions is named after each of the dwarfs that are said to hold up the sky, which (according to Snorri Sturluson) was the skull of the giant Ymir.

Four Directions Layout

Four Directions Layout

The idea for this layout is simple, just a North, South, East and West pattern to place your runes in. The meaning for each position is just as simple…

  1. Nordri (North): The past – Influences that have had an effect on the past in relation to the topic of the cast.
  2. Vestri (West): The present – things presently happening that have an effect on the present in relation to the topic of the cast.
  3. Austri (East): The future – possible obstacles to watch for that may hinder the outcome or goal you have set.
  4. Sudri (South): The possible outcome of the rune cast.

Things to be aware of for this cast

This cast is very similar to a three-rune layout because we have the past, present and future involved with it. However, be aware that the third rune (Austri) is not the one that “predicts” the future for you. Its mission is to try to make sure you’re aware of any obstacles that may come your way as you try to reach your goal. The last position (Sudri) takes on the role of the usual “future position” for a three-rune layout.

Another thing you should be aware of is that the outcome position is only one possible outcome. You may end up with a rune here that, by itself, makes little or no sense in relation to your topic. If this is the case you need to make sure that you look at the reading as a whole and see what it is the runes are trying to tell you.

Recording Sheet

If you wish to record your rune casts I’ve created a a printable recording sheet for the Four Directions Layout rune cast.

File: Four Directions Layout Record Sheet
Version: 1.0
Downloads: 2456
Format: PDF
Filesize: 122.92 kB

Timeline of Rune History

This is only a brief timeline of the runes. I will be adding more as this site continues to grow so please be sure to check back often.

5th century B.C.E.
In the Alpine region the ‘alphabets’ known as North Etruscan, North Italic or Alpine come into existence. Later these ‘alphabets’ will play an important role in the development of the runes.

4th century B.C.E.
The Alpengermanen are thought to have come into contact with Alpine (or North Italic or North Etruscan) ‘alphabets’ and made use of them.

3rd century B.C.E.
There is a fusion between the Alpine alphabets and the pre-systemized runes forming the 24 staves of the Germanic or Elder runes. A bronze helmet found at Negau in Steiermark that was dated to possibly the 3rd century B.C.E. was inscribed in a Germanic language with Alpine lettering.

2nd century B.C.E.
Rome conquered Etruria and brings in the Roman alphabet. However the letters of the Etruscan alphabet may have advanced north through traders.

Near the end of the 2nd century B.C.E. Germanic survivors of the battles of Vercellae (the Cimbri) and Aquae Sextiac (the Teutons) stay in the area. The Cimbri, before crossing the Alps back towards Germany, may possibly have learned the runes and passed them on the Suevi.

1st century B.C.E.
The Cimbri, Suevi or possibly the Teutons advance the runes northwards down the Rhine river. At this same time the Marcomanni move the runes eastward. A goblet found at Vehlingen with a runic formula is dated to the 1st century B.C.E.

1st century C.E.
The Roman author Tacitus writes his “Germania 10” in which he gives an account of the divinatory methods of the ancient Germanic people. Also in this work it is presented that although men carried out the rituals Tacitus may have witnessed, women were held in high regard for their holiness and gifts of prophecy.

200 C.E.
A lance tip carved with runes is found at ØvreStabu in Norway and is said to date to this time.

400 C.E.
Around this time Rome is looted by people who are familiar with the runes. These people may have taken some Roman letters and incorporated them into rune lore. Also the Kylver stone, a Gothic grave slab in Gotland, shows us the first f-u-þ-a-r-k (f-u-th-a-r-k) order.

550 C.E.
A gold medallion found in Vadstena Sweden shows the three families of runes separated by double dots.

800 C.E.
Earliest date of a purely Norse rune-stave inscription.

1000 C.E.
Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem is written.

3rd century C.E.
By this time the runes have made their way to Denmark, Jutland, and Scandinavia by traveling along North Sea costal routes consisting of the Frisian Islands, Heligoland Bay as well as across Schleswig-Holstein.

6th century C.E.
Saxons bring to England the 28 rune-staves of the futhork that was developed in Friesland.

9th century C.E.
Development of the 33 rune-staves in Northumbria.

Early in the 9th century the use of the Germanic Futhark comes to an end. However, after a short transition an entire Scandinavian rune-row comes into existence mainly based on the Germanic runes.

11th century C.E.
Icelandic rune poem is written.

13th century C.E.
Norwegian rune poem is written.

16th century C.E.
Runic inscriptions in Gotland date to as late as the 16th century.

17th century C.E.
Runic inscriptions in Iceland date to as late as the 17th century.