Rune Question for you all

I haven’t gotten to my rune books yet, and have been using the information that the lovely @Susurrus has posted. But I have a question …

I keep on drawing my runes with the backside up and I’m taking this to mean it’s merkstave … but it doesn’t feel right, or fit in with my tarot or oracle cards. Am I reading it wrong or what?

I really need to get to those rune books. So many books so little time!


I guess you can go with intuition there… but I’ve never thought of the backside meaning anything! I draw my runes blind from their bag after mixing them and just flip them over when I pull them out.


This is what i do when draw a rune & they come out with the backside facing me.

Then it’s how its laying after being flipped if it’s Brightstave or Merkstave.



Ehwaz by the way :laughing:


Yep, don’t overthink it! Some people read them reversed but it’s a concept which came to reading runes from Ralph Blum’s books in the 1980’s and are a carry-over from Tarot divinations.

It’s up to you if you want to give them a different interpretation or just flip them and use their upright meaning.



I second both of you @Amethyst & @Francisco… my future reading list & not to mention the ones I found on my bookshelf to be read…

I forgot to mention not only what Francisco stated about Merkstave but that also there are runes that are traditionally only read Brightstave, unless your beliefs are that like tarot, each rune has a Merkstave reading. (I think I noted which ones they were within the Runes individual posts. :thinking:) You know what, I’m going to go check…


I guess I’m too easily influenced by my tarot pulling. LOL! We’ll see how it goes without the merkstave tomorrow.

Thanks love, but my runes are round. They can come out sideways as well as upside down. I think I’ll cool it on the merkstave till I get used to reading them more.

Thanks, @Francisco, I think that’s what I’ll do. I’m complicating matters too much.

You did! I got Othala today, and I was like, I don’t see any poverty or homelessness or anything like that today.

Thanks, everyone!


So, with them being round you don’t have to read Merkstave… it is something that was introduced well after the Elder Futhark Runes themselves. So it’s more personal preference.

If you are more comfortable reading them them all as upright than I say go for it! You & your runes will find a happy medium however you choose to read them. I didn’t read reversed tarot or runes when I first started & it took a long while before I attempted it with Tarot & Runes.


Oh there is a rune that depending on the set will come out sideways & that is actually Brightstave… I belive that rune is :dagaz: So anything but it being “sideways” is considered Merkstave for those that read a Merkstave reading. I will also double check that, but I believe it’s that one or it may be Gebo :gebo: because that one sometimes has two “XX” marks together (although I believe they are stacked on top of each other)… I will get back to you on that one.

I would definitely recommend the book by

Those are both great books & the second one is from start to finish any question you may have about the runes & using them. I keep it in my library for reference & make sure that you use the index to jump to different parts of the book if you need to. It’s definitely more for reference than to read straight through.


Thanks, love! I have that one book by Josh Simonds on my wish list. I’ll have to get it soon.


There are tons of alternate Rune cheat sheets online but you’re right, it’s not enough. I’ll give you a link that presents a bit more than a cheat sheet but not as much as some of the books on your wish list which could be helpful at least for now. Also, you’re right to go with everyone’s advice for now and not worry about reversed, or anything other than the forthright meaning of each rune you draw and possibly work in how it relates to your Tarot/oracle draws — with time you will work in the rest, but intention in the mean time is key and if you draw it intending for the upright to be the draw, then that will work just as well as you are on this journey.

As for your Othala drawing I don’t know what your cheat sheet says but this site aligns with my books and says:
Othala ᛟ - “Heritage”
Othala is the rune of inheritance. It tells of our lasting legacy, spiritual heritage, values becoming aligned to what is truly important, communal prosperity and fundamental values that we have inherited from those before us. Reversed it can indicate and unwanted inherited issues and prejudice. *It is important to note that unfortunately this symbol has been co-opted by Neo-Nazis and so caution is required with it!

KEYWORDS: Legacy, inheritance, spiritual growth, abundance, values, contribution

I just found this site that is a download reference for even more information and I actually love it!!! I need to cross reference it’s accuracy with my own books and practice, but it may be just what will help you here and I’ve attached as a reference what it says about Othala. It takes patience to load the webpage but worth it!



OOh, thank you, @jan_TheGreenWitch! I’ll have to go check hat out! Some great information!


A short and fantastic reply. I personally don’t read the Runes reversed, but then again I don’t read Tarot or Oracle cards reversed either. I tend to read them all like Gypsy cards - in a bunch as if a comprehensive story is being told.
Thanks for clarifying!



" Othala :othalan:

Overall Meanings/Keyword(s): Property, Home, Ancestor, Homeland, Endurance, Kinship, Obstacles, Ancestral Inheritance

Rune of heritage – what we came into the world with in terms of who we are born & raised by. Literal inheritance of land or other property. Usually more tangible inheritance from our family of origin.

The tension between traditions & how you’re approaching life. Living lifestyle parents may not agree to or hide true self.

Here you may rest your bones, knowing a feeling deeply, the support of your family & the stable structures you erected over time & spiritual space. This is the sacred hearth that will forever cradle & comfort your soul & kin. This is your touchstone. This is yours.

Heart, home, spirit, bone/ Unconditional support surrounds me through thick & thin. By the glowing hearth light, I reflect the resonance, faith, & inheritance of my kin.

Healing harmonious family relationships, clarity about the self, and communication with ancestors.

Signifies assistance from family & friends or older people. Cultivation of a garden for skill to build stable resources. Relation to past lives.

Brightstave/Upright: Self-contained hereditary power. Ancestral property. Stable prosperity & well-being. A solid peaceful home, family, or group life is indicated & as one that leads to continued growth. True Freedom from a secure base. New dwelling or allegiance in the offing. Productive interactions with outsiders are continuing possibility.

Othala - 24th Rune of the Elder Futhark & 8 of Tyr’s Aett :othalan:

The referenced book in my information posts is by the author of the pdf you posted & contains all of that & then more over years of him practicing & using runes throughout his life. It was available on Kindle Unlimited, but that may have changed now.

The information that she is using comes from:

Runes Information… a collection of all the information within the forum about runes & their uses.

It is also referenced in the Casting Runes Course: Spells8