Runes and Divination

Ancient Rune Stones

The runestones that we use today for scrying and divination purposes were essentially an ancient form of alphabet. Each rune was a letter and also possessed one or more meanings.

Runic alphabets were used for carving, usually in stone or in wood. For this reason a notable feature of runes is that they are constructed almost exclusively of straight lines. Carving a circle in stone is not easy!

Runic History

The use of runes for writing and divination dates back at least two thousand years. The earliest known runes date from around the third century however many experts believe that they were in use much earlier.

The earliest known runestones – the “Elder Runes” – are Germanic in origin. They were used in central and Northern Europe and are often connected with Norse mythology.

There are, of course, many different runic systems. These include viking runes and anglo-saxon rune systems.


Our modern word “alphabet” comes from a concatenation of the words “alpha” and “beta”, the first two letter of the Greek alphabet. In a similar fashion runic alphabets are known as futharks. This comes from the first six letters of the oldest runic alphabet: f-u-th-a-r-k.

The oldest known futhark derives from the third century. This consists of twenty four letter symbols and is known simply as the Elder Futhark. A later Scandanavian simplification of the Elder Futhark resulted in a sixteen character runic alphabet called the Younger Futhark. There are also other variations such as the Anglo-Saxon Futhark.