a setup of runes and Tarot

Which Divination Method Should You Learn: Tarot or Runes

a setup of runes and Tarot cards with an Amethyst druzy in the middle
© Virginia Castiglione

If you’re just starting to practice witchcraft, you may already have heard about Divination tools. Even though Tarot is the most famous one, Runes have become popular lately as well. Both of these tools are great when you are feeling lost in your path. Whether you feel like there’s someone trying to hex you or you’re in need of a new direction, these options are great.

In this post, we will be uncovering some secrets held in both of these tools. You may not know about these secrets, and you’ll discover which one is better for you!

First of all, what exactly are divination tools?

In my personal opinion, I like the word “oracle” better. This is so because it is more related to neutral guidance. This is basically what divination tools are for. However, it’s true that you can also find answers in the Divine. That’s when the concept of Divination comes into play. Divination is not a craft that should be taken as a joke. On the contrary, you should really engage in what you’re doing. Try to be aware of the energies that you’re summoning.

Knowing the meaning of a rune or an Arcana is not enough. You need to be open and receptive in order to get the specific message it holds for you. There are many ways to perform a reading, and it may differ from witch to witch. That’s why, in order to do a proper reading, you need more than just a book that would explain the meaning of each item. You also have to engage with yourself and the tool. (If you need some ideas to connect with your Tarot deck, we have previously covered this topic.

Tarot and Runes are organized in such a way that they tell a story. With Runes, you will learn Norse history. You will come to understand how people from that culture understood life. With Tarot, you’ll wander the Fool’s journey through the Arcana. You’ll draw closer to different ways to understand life through both of these oracles.

a setup of runes with an Amethyst druzy, pink Himalayan salt and Peppermint
© Virginia Castiglione

Where Do Runes Come From?

An ancient Norse legend has it that Wotan (Odin, also known as Allfather) was so desperately looking for knowledge that he gave one of his eyes to Mimir. He would allow Odin to drink from the well that waters the Yggdrasil (which is the tree that holds the nine worlds).

He then knew what to do: He hung himself from one of the Yggdrasil branches for nine days and nine nights. The runes were revealed to him during that time. As the symbols emerged before him, so did the knowledge he so desired. He wasn’t very pleased with what he saw, but knowledge always comes with a price, which he would willingly pay to get.

Futhark Runes are 25 archetypes divided into 3 so-called aettir. Each of these aett contains 8 runes and are ruled by a main deity: Freyja (Fehu’s aett), Odin (Haegell’s) and Tyr. Then, you have an extra rune: Odin, or the blank rune. Each rune has a meaning related to Norse mythology and their daily life: from cradle to grave, harvest and frightening winters. These archetypes were usually carved into wooden slices, or even stones. Today, you can find Runes carved into gemstones or shaped out of clay or silicone. You can get Runes in any metaphysical store. But, if you’re interested in Runes, the most efficient way to devote yourself to them is to craft your own set.

a setup of Tarot cards with an Amethyst druzy in the middle
© Virginia Castiglione

A Brief History of Tarot

In regards to Tarot, its origins are more mundane but equally (or even more) mysterious. Some archaeologists dug up Tarot cards’ designs in pyramids that dated back to Ancient Egypt. However, the most popular organization in the English-speaking world nowadays is Rider-Wite Smith. It has 78 cards which are divided into the Major and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana are the main 22 cards, which range from 0 (The Fool) to 21 (The World). In a spread, the Major Arcana represent an acute issue. On the other hand, the Minor Arcana consist of 56 cards, organized into 4 suits (Pentacles, Swords, Cups and Wands). There are 14 cards each, organized from Ace to Ten and the Court Cards (Page, Knight, King and Queen). The Minor Arcana represent some details to bear in mind that might help you change or enhance your path.

the hands of a femme presenting person shuffling a Tarot deck in what looks like their shrine

Some Differences in Usage

Every witch has their own way to perform a reading. However, there are some differences in how Tarot and Runes are supposed to be read. For example, you can’t shuffle Runes the same way you’d shuffle a Tarot deck. You can’t pull the same number of Runes as you’d pull cards from a Tarot deck. This is a practical difference and you won’t know which one feels better until you do a reading yourself with each of these tools.

Keep in mind that the most important thing is to connect with whichever oracle you’re using. It is also important to be receptive to the message you receive. Remember that when you’re reading a Tarot or Rune spread, you become a channel to the Divine. Sometimes, what you know about the oracle may not be what you’re feeling at the time. It’s important to have an open mind. Trust yourself and whichever source you’re connecting to in order to channel that information.

the back of Tarot cards strewn all over a table
Foto de Mikhail Nilov en Pexels

Which One Should You Use?

Well, as you may already know, Tarot and Runes are both powerful tools. In my experience, Tarot may help you get to the rock bottom of your worries. You may want to stop, though, when the answers begin to be more vague. If the Arcana doesn’t reveal something to you, it may have its reasons. You can try to ask as many questions as you want, and even get an answer, but are you ready to hear what they have to say?

When it comes to Runes, they’re more severe when it comes to giving an answer. If you’re the type of person that prefers simple but clear advice, go for the Runes. However, you have to be very careful to not disrespect these sacred archetypes. They hold not just information, but the energy of deities. Studying some Norse mythology is a must before you begin reading Runes. This is so even if you’re not planning on working with Norse deities.

If you ask for my advice and have the chance to get a set of both Runes and Tarot, please do. Follow your intuition. You’ll know which one fits your needs better or which you feel more likely to use to guide you through a specific affair. Once you get to master both of them, you can combine Tarot and Runes to get a much clearer spread.

But Are Runes and Tarot Only for Reading?

Not necessarily. You can use these tools to cast spells, and there are many ways to do this depending on which one you want to use and how. For example, I have my own incantations in which I invoke the energies of a specific Rune through its name. But you could also draw one from your set and place it on your altar to summon that energy into your life. The same is true for Tarot. You can also enhance your meditation by placing a card beside yourself as you meditate. There are many ways of using these tools.

Leave a comment below if you’re interested in getting more ideas and rituals that you can use!

Avery Martinez
Avery Martinez

Avery Martinez is a Content Writer at Aquamarine Content. Their big three are Aquarius Sun and Moon and Sagittarius rising. Avery started to consciously work on their spiritual life in their teenage years. Nowadays they define themselves as a crafty witch who integrates their witchcraft to daily life. They’re currently studying Performing Arts, and spend their spare time designing outfits, drawing, and reading. They feel connected to the Tarot cards The Wheel of Fortune and The Tower. You can find them in their flamboyant Instagram account as @nightsscales.

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