When should one give a "reversed" meaning to a rune during a divination? If drawing runes one by one from the rune bag, those that upside-down are typically given a "reversed" meaning. However, there are those who feel that the direction of the rune is not relevant and makes no difference in a reading.

If one is literally casting the rune lots onto the ground or onto a layout cloth or board, the lay of the rune becomes much more significant. Edred Thorsson discusses runecasting aspects in Runecaster's Handbook, At the Well of Wyrd. I use only the first method, but if you are an experienced runester, you may find the other methods useful. This is pretty high-end stuff.

Aspect 1

"One matter crucial to rune reading is determining what aspect of a rune is to be interpreted. Should a lot be read as a bright-stave or as a murk-stave? That the negative aspects of the runes were used in magic is beyond question. Some of the "positive" manifestations of the runes can be said to often have detrimental or dangerous consequences, especially runes. There is no shortage of dark aspects in the rune row. Remember, the runes are your inner advisors, and they must be able to warn you&emdash;before it becomes too late to overcome the force of Wyrd.

"Aspects are determined in essentially [three] ways: (1) by the position a runelot falls in a casting (e.g., face up or face down; (2) inside or outside a certain field), and (3) by the angle at which one runelot is juxtaposed to another.

"It should also be noted that there is a certain question of "aspect" with regard to the relationship of a given stave to the stead in which it falls or is laid. To a great extent intuition must guide the runester in these matters.

"The determination of aspect is one of the finer points of the runecaster's skill and craft, and it is one that must be learned through personal experience because the runes will interact differently with different people. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is not a simple matter of reading reversed staves as "bad".

"(1) In casting, if a rune lands face up it is to be read as a bright-stave; if it lands face down it may either be disregarded in the reading or read as a murk-stave. The decision on how these lots are to be interpreted must be made before every casting. Also, each runester is encouraged to be consistent in this regard. The usual practice is to disregard them, however. (2) In some casting, runes that fall outside the fields of meaning or off the white cloth also may be read as murk-staves. Again, you must determine how these are to be read beforehand."


Aspect Angles

Aspect Angles

"Most of the runestaves are constructed with acute or obtuse angle combinations, and there are very few right angles in the shapes. Obtuse angles are known to have a dynamizing effect on the mind, while right angles generally have the opposite effect. In the runic tradition obtuse or acute angles promote active, positive interaction between and among runes. Right angles create static, negative interaction or they can block the flow of runic force altogether. They actually cross it.

"When using angular aspects in castings, the runester must measure (at least approximately) the angle at which any two lots in question are juxtaposed. This is done by mentally drawing lines from the two lots through the center point of the cloth, then determining the angle at which they are juxtaposed. See example diagram. If the result is between 5° and 45°(clearly acute), or between 135° and 360° (clearly obtuse) they are read as bright staves. If they fall between 45° and 135° (an approximation of a 90° right angle) they are read as murk-staves. Exact measurements are unnecessary."

Aspect Aettir

Aspect Aettir

"Probably the easiest way to see the angle aspects is by imagining a circle over the cloth that is divided into quarters and bisected by a third line that you will use to orient the rune in question to the others. Runes falling the same quarter or in the quarter directly opposite are brightly aspected, while those in the quadrants on either side tend to be murky.

"The closer a lot is to the bright angle, the more positively it is to be read. Only those close to a 90° relationship should be read as "blockages". Juxtapositions approaching 180° also have a dark aspect, but one which will lead eventually to a positive outcome. In castings these aspects only refine what is already apparent in the reading of the rune and its field.

"Aspects of this kind are much more useful and easier to determine when using a rune layout method. To determine the relationship among runes in a layout, the runester can refer to this diagram which works on the same principals as the Aspect Angles diagram.

"Example using Fehu: Runes belonging to the same triad (e.g., Fehu, Hagalaz, Tiwaz ), or to triads on either side, or to the triads on the same axes as those adjacent to the "home triad" of Fehu are to be read as bright-staves. Those in the opposite triad are read as murk-staves, but with a positive ultimate outcome. Those runes in triads at a 90° angle, those that cross the axis of the triad in question, are read as murk-staves, usually of a blocking variety."

Thorsson, Edred: Runecaster's Handbook : At the Well of Wyrd. Red Wheel/Weiser , 1999: ISBN=157863136X.

Runecaster's Handbook