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    Rune Casting Question

    So, I've been studying runes for about 6 months now. I feel comfortable enough to buy a rune set and start practicing while I work on making my set.

    The reading that I've been doing is pretty decent but I haven't found much on the Runes coming up sideways. The majority of what I've read just talks about upright and reversals. My intuition tells me to somehow mix both meanings but then again I don't want to feel like I'm missing something.

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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by EboLikeRambo247 View Post
    So, I've been studying runes for about 6 months now. I feel comfortable enough to buy a rune set and start practicing while I work on making my set.

    The reading that I've been doing is pretty decent but I haven't found much on the Runes coming up sideways. The majority of what I've read just talks about upright and reversals. My intuition tells me to somehow mix both meanings but then again I don't want to feel like I'm missing something.
    I have several rune sets I use personally, some are stones, one is on dice and one is staves. My preferred method for casting is to cast (to toss the whole lot and read what comes up). So for me, reversals/sideways aren't a thing I do...because my runes can come up in any direction. What I do look at is how they fall in relation to other stones/staves and the patterns that form.

    If you interpret reversed as the inverse/opposite of the rune, then a sideways rune might combine both qualities or represent something that is sort of inbetween the two opposites. If you interpret reversed runes as a blocked energy, then sideways might be the rune energy moving in a strange direction (think wind: it can be blowing with you, against you or sideways).
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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by EboLikeRambo247 View Post
    The reading that I've been doing is pretty decent but I haven't found much on the Runes coming up sideways.
    Be advised there is very little historical evidence the runes were used for divination. They were a writing system, they had prosaic and esoteric purposes (the esoteric amulets and such found by archaeologists are actually quite fascinating). But divination? Not as far as we know.

    Now, can you use runes for divination as a modern tool? Certainly. I do. And they work. But it's all a modern conceit. And that "runes reversed or sideways" stuff seems to come from ceremonial magick or tarot or some such. I think you are free to ignore it. A rune is a rune no mater how it lands! In the historical inscriptions, runes could be written backwards or inverted, and it did not seem to change the meaning!

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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by hraefngar View Post
    Be advised there is very little historical evidence the runes were used for divination. They were a writing system, they had prosaic and esoteric purposes (the esoteric amulets and such found by archaeologists are actually quite fascinating). But divination? Not as far as we know.

    Now, can you use runes for divination as a modern tool? Certainly. I do. And they work. But it's all a modern conceit. And that "runes reversed or sideways" stuff seems to come from ceremonial magick or tarot or some such. I think you are free to ignore it. A rune is a rune no mater how it lands! In the historical inscriptions, runes could be written backwards or inverted, and it did not seem to change the meaning!

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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by hraefngar View Post
    Be advised there is very little historical evidence the runes were used for divination. They were a writing system, they had prosaic and esoteric purposes (the esoteric amulets and such found by archaeologists are actually quite fascinating). But divination? Not as far as we know.

    Now, can you use runes for divination as a modern tool? Certainly. I do. And they work. But it's all a modern conceit. And that "runes reversed or sideways" stuff seems to come from ceremonial magick or tarot or some such. I think you are free to ignore it. A rune is a rune no mater how it lands! In the historical inscriptions, runes could be written backwards or inverted, and it did not seem to change the meaning!
    I would not say that "a rune is a rune no matter how it lands"...Firstly, regardless of the historical evidence, runes have evolved as a divination system and just because there is no evidence to suggest that it was ever used as such, well that is not proof that they never were! That is the beauty of magic and such systems anyway, things do evolve and things do often have inherent meanings or take on new ones.

    I think calling it "conceit" is a little unfair too...it's just a different and valid perspective, that's all. The point is, it HAS evolved and the positions do matter as much as the runes themselves, otherwise why bother with any of it? Granted it's pretty subjective and of course one can read them as they feel intuitively, but I don't think that aspect is worthy of being dismissed.

    If you are going to use the runes as a divination system, I don't see much point in touting the fact that "there is no historical evidence for this or that". How much modern pagan/magic practice would there even be if we all needed proven historical foundations for all we do and believe?

    Now, to the main point...in my use of the runes and of those with whom I learned, I consider a rune landing on its side to represent some unknown element involved, some decision that has yet to be made perhaps. It is neither face-up, which usually indicates the presence or importance of that rune's energy in some way or another, nor face-down, which can mean "no", "not yet", "this hasn't manifested", "this isn't important", etc. It is something of a limbo and I have seen it make perfect sense in readings and have seen the results of exactly what the rune on it's side was talking about.

    That being said there is still no rule that says you have to interpret side-landing runes, but really...why not? Why wouldn't you? Again if you are going to use them for divinatory purposes, why not be open to all possible interpretations or aspects TO interpret?
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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aethiriel View Post
    If you are going to use the runes as a divination system, I don't see much point in touting the fact that "there is no historical evidence for this or that". How much modern pagan/magic practice would there even be if we all needed proven historical foundations for all we do and believe?
    Well, if one has already decided that one doesn't care about the historicity of practice, then of course one doesn't care that the practice is wholly modern. But those people who do care about the historicity of practices - of whom there are quite a few - do care, and do care to note that in case they are dealing with someone else who might care.

    Generally speaking, when dealing with recons, it's rather a waste of cycles to be surprised when they care about historicity.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aethiriel View Post
    I would not say that "a rune is a rune no matter how it lands"...Firstly, regardless of the historical evidence, runes have evolved as a divination system and just because there is no evidence to suggest that it was ever used as such, well that is not proof that they never were! That is the beauty of magic and such systems anyway, things do evolve and things do often have inherent meanings or take on new ones.

    The logic is invalid in two of your premises and it's not your fault these two particular examples are repeated ad nauseam in neopagan runic literature:

    1. " I would not say a rune is a rune no matter how it lands" If it's not a rune what else is it? The rune is the inscribed symbol not the esoteric interpretation or the medium on which it is inscribed; ergo no such thing as a blank rune and a rune is always a rune.

    2. "Just because there is no evidence to suggest it was ever used as such, well that's not proof they never were" This is a particular fallacy of informal logic, called Argumentum ad Ignorantiam, it is an unwarranted assumption not a logical argument. This type of logical fallacy is commonly employed in rhetoric, and seen quite often in neo pagan rune books. The site below contains an explanation of and a few examples of this type of flawed logic:

    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/...from-Ignorance


    The other issue often overlooked, or just not understood, by those who use the Elder futhark for divinatory purposes (which is the common set used) is that we have absolutely no idea what, if any ‘inherent value’ these runes had outside their individual sound values. Why? Because the elder futhark represents proto Germanic, there very few elder futhark inscriptions and there is no rune poem for the elder futhark, even the names of these runes have been reconstructed by linguists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aethiriel View Post
    I think calling it "conceit" is a little unfair too...it's just a different and valid perspective, that's all. The point is, it HAS evolved and the positions do matter as much as the runes themselves, otherwise why bother with any of it? Granted it's pretty subjective and of course one can read them as they feel intuitively, but I don't think that aspect is worthy of being dismissed
    Modern rune divination did not evolve from the pre-Christian Germanic tribes it has had quite a separate trajectory, it is the product of 19th-20th esoteric occultism. The first form of runic divination was the 19th century 18 rune system called the Armanen runes. This system was based on the younger futhark and futhorc and had strong ties to the völkisch, anti semitic, national socialist symbolism of nazi Germany.

    Subsequent to Von List (inventor of the Armanen runes) a few authors tried to purge rune divination of its association with nazi fascist occultism; not with much success. The modern form of rune divination is largely the result of Howard Blum's The Book of Runes, written in 1982. We also have Blum to "thank" for the oxymoron that a blank rune somehow has meaning, the marketing of Blum's book was masterful in that it included a free bag of runes.

    Since there is now a thriving market for rune divination books, sets, cards and exercises publishing houses have and are making a killing, unfortunately the vast majority of these authors don't have much of a clue (or care less) about the history of the runes and repeat the same historical fluff and fallacious logic.

    The position of the runes only matters to modern rune diviners, in runic inscriptions the runes were written in any direction; left to right, right to left, upside down, beginning at the bottom of the object or at the top or cryptographic (encoded). They were written with spaces between words or without spaces, there are also local variations of standard futhark characters. Decorative letter forms were also created such as combining the staves of two runes to form a bindrune or mirror images, called mirror runes, neither of which changed the sound value or had a purpose other than the mundane.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aethiriel View Post
    If you are going to use the runes as a divination system, I don't see much point in touting the fact that "there is no historical evidence for this or that". How much modern pagan/magic practice would there even be if we all needed proven historical foundations for all we do and believe?
    This is true and most reconstructionists have no issue with any form of divination (at least I don't). Historically there has always been intuitive individuals that are able to divine orlog but what most of us don't understand is the need to support the modern practice of rune divination with pseudo-history or fallacious logic, it is what it is.
    Last edited by Hildeburh; 21 Apr 2017 at 06:58 AM. Reason: Quoting error

  8. #8
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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Hildeburh View Post
    2. "Just because there is no evidence to suggest it was ever used as such, well that's not proof they never were" This is a particular fallacy of informal logic, called Argumentum ad Ignorantiam, it is an unwarranted assumption not a logical argument. This type of logical fallacy is commonly employed in rhetoric, and seen quite often in neo pagan rune books. The site below contains an explanation of and a few examples of this type of flawed logic:

    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/...from-Ignorance
    This nit needs picking, IMO, because calling 'logical fallacy!' inaccurately or unnecessarily cheapens discourse: 'that's not proof they never were' is not, in itself, an example of Argument from Ignorance, since it doesn't attempt to frame the absence of evidence as evidence in favor of the proposition (in this case, use of the runes for divinatory purposes in antiquity). It's often used as part of an Argument from Ignorance, either explicitly or implicitly, but the presence of the phrase isn't in itself an indication that the fallacious argument is being made.

    Rather, Aethiriel sticks to saying, 'But they could have been used for divinatory purposes back then; we don't know for sure!' - which is quite true as far as it goes: there is no evidence either way. But, as you go on to point out, it's irrelevant (trivially true); the things we do know render it highly unlikely that, even if the runes were used divinatorily in antiquity, there is any connection or resemblance to modern divinatory use, and that such a connection or resemblance is not necessary.

    The first form of runic divination was the 19th century 18 rune system called the Armanen runes. This system was based on the younger futhark and futhorc and had strong ties to the völkisch, anti semitic, national socialist symbolism of nazi Germany.
    I call Godwin .

    Or to put it more seriously: I'm not sure what purpose is served by invoking Nazi Germany, with which the Armanen runes cannot possibly have had strong ties before 1920 (the year NSDAP, the Nazi Party, was founded - and the year after von List's death), when citing the ties the Armanen runes had from their inception (which, incidentally, was 1902 according to Guido von List's claim of when he had the revelation of the runes, so technically 20th rather than 19th century, though I'd certainly call von List himself a 19th century figure) to Romantic Nationalism and the völkisch movement is ample evidence of the unsavoriness of the philosophic milieu in which they were developed.

    While I'm picking nits, I'll note that the Blum who inflicted us with the nonsensical 'blank rune' is Ralph H. Blum. The 'H' might well stand for 'Howard' for all I know, but he's not 'Howard Blum'.

    I'll reiterate, in case it wasn't clear, that I'm entirely in agreement with what seems to be your main point, that rune divination cannot, but also need not (and thus should not) look to ancient provenance to justify its existence, and appreciate the details you've supplied about modern runology.

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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aethiriel View Post
    I think calling it "conceit" is a little unfair too...
    I'm not Hraefngar, and thus could be mistaken, but based on the context, I believe he was using the word 'conceit' not in the sense of 'vanity, arrogance, excessive pride', but in a way more akin to its sense as a literary device.

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    Re: Rune Casting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by SunflowerP View Post
    I'll reiterate, in case it wasn't clear, that I'm entirely in agreement with what seems to be your main point, that rune divination cannot, but also need not (and thus should not) look to ancient provenance to justify its existence, and appreciate the details you've supplied about modern runology.

    Sunflower
    Glad we agree and that you enjoyed the history of rune divination 101 but perhaps in your next reply you could give us some actual evidence that runes were used in divination by the pre Christian Germanic peoples, rather than indulging in “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”(ad ignorantiam).


    Quote Originally Posted by SunflowerP View Post
    Or to put it more seriously: I'm not sure what purpose is served by invoking Nazi Germany, with which the Armanen runes cannot possibly have had strong ties before 1920 (the year NSDAP, the Nazi Party, was founded - and the year after von List's death), when citing the ties the Armanen runes had from their inception (which, incidentally, was 1902 according to Guido von List's claim of when he had the revelation of the runes, so technically 20th rather than 19th century, though I'd certainly call von List himself a 19th century figure) to Romantic Nationalism and the völkisch movement is ample evidence of the unsavoriness of the philosophic milieu in which they were developed
    Possibly reread my last reply I didn't say, the Armanen runes had strong ties before 1920 (the year NSDAP, the Nazi Party, was founded - and the year after von List's death). But you did!

    I said " (This system) was based on the younger futhark and futhorc and had strong ties to the völkisch, anti semitic, national socialist (symbolism) of nazi Germany"

    Here is an article outlining the use of Armanen rune symbolism by the Nazi Party:

    https://www.academia.edu/6240698/Naz...of_Norse_runes

    It can be unplatable to some that runic divination has a past intricately linked to the völkisch ideology of Nazi Germany, but it is what it is. I guess its nicer to assert that it harks back to pre Christian ideas than to truely understand it origin. A bit revisionist for my taste, but thanks for correcting my dates, its been a while since I've discussed the origin of rune divination.

    I'm picking nits, I'll note that the Blum who inflicted us with the nonsensical 'blank rune' is Ralph H. Blum. The 'H' might well stand for 'Howard' for all I know, but he's not 'Howard Blum
    It's not nitpicking to correct inacurracies, I for one appreciate that but I would have appreciated your reply more if you had added something original to the discussion.
    Last edited by Hildeburh; 22 Apr 2017 at 07:08 AM. Reason: Grammer

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