For the purposes of this spread, I have correlated the nine worlds of Northern Mythology to the nine-fold division of the psycho/somatic complex as stated by Carl Gustav Jung, probably the most spiritual advanced psychiatrist of this century.
This system is more complicated and requires some study of the Norse Myths as well getting familiar with the theories of Jung. However, doing a reading in this format can deliver a wealth of useful data, on all levels of being. Indeed, a whole reading can be devoted to a particular level. For instance, the level of the soul, or the level of the personality, or spiritual levels of a higher order; thus, a very thorough consultation might involve three readings of nine runes each. All of these will overlap at some point, but the approach is generally useful.
One can narrow things down and fine tune a reading by means of follow-up readings – looking at the previous reading information from a different perspective. For example, if a psychological reading gives certain data which suggest a need for further enquiry one can then use the same nine-fold cloth but this time from the perspective of the soul.
The third type of reading is purely for those people who accept the reality of gods and goddesses, never mind in what form; so a consultation with the god or goddess directly can be obtained through the mediation of the runes and the reader, if at all sympathetic toward the idea of ‘the Gods’. I will offer my opinion as to what god/dess go with what square, but from here those people who want to take things further should seek a religious commitment to these gods, before proceeding. Information as to how is offered in the appendix of “Northern Mysteries and Magick”.
The significance of each position in the spread
1 Asgard, the realm of the Gods, ruled by Odin. In a reading, any rune placed here denotes higher spiritual ambitions, Higher Self, Inspiration, matters of honour and sacrifice. The realm of pure spirit. This realm can be accessed through the rune Gebo. Psychological attribute: Individuation.
2 Vanaheim, the realm of feelings; ruled by the Vanir, the gods of fertility, pleasure, peace and prosperity, all matters of eroticism and relationships. The element of Water. This realm can be accessed through the rune Inguz. Gods to call on for access to this very pleasant realm are Freyr and Freyja. Psychological faculty: Feeling.
3 Light Alfheim, realm of the light alfar, spirits of Air, all mental activities, art, creativity, plants trees. Ruled over by Freyr. Access rune: Sowulo. Psychological faculty: thinking.
These are the three Upper Worlds, which can be accessed through pathwork and guided meditation using the given rune as a doorway; also power can be invoked from that realm through the associated rune.
The next three area the three Middle worlds. The first two, Nifelheim and Muspelheim, generated all of the other worlds.
4 Muspelheim, the realm of fire. Together with Nifelheim, a source of eternal creation through the interactions of their respective elements, Fire and Frost. Muspelheim is inhabited by the sons of Surt, who at the Ragnarok will destroy Midgard. A very hostile world; no traveling attempts have ever been recorded. For those whom want to tempt wyrd, Dagaz is the ruling rune. For the purpose of divination, however we focus upon the creative aspect of Muspelheim and allocate this word the psychological faculty of intuition.
5 Nifelheim, like Muspelheim its polar opposite, it is a very hostile world. It is ruled by an all devouring serpent; Niddhog, the eater of the evil dead and drinker of blood. Nifelheim is a realm of fog and mists, it is the realm of the shadow side of the unconscious; again a no-go area, the rune belonging with it is, not surprisingly, Nauthiz. Psychological association; Shadow.
6 Midgard , the realm of humanity, the inhabited world, civilization. Its guardian and protector is Thor. The rune connected with it is Jera. In psychological terms, this world represents the ordinary waking consciousness, the Ego or Mundane self.
Now we come to the Under Worlds.
7 Swartalfheim , the realm of the Inner Earth, the domain of the dwarves, who deal with precious metals and stones, working smithcraft; taking base materials and transforming them into higher materials, by means similar to alchemy. Their ruler is Modsognir and the rune that will grant access is Eihwaz. The psychological faculty attributed is: sensation.
8 Jotunheim, realm of the frost giants, raw disruptive male power. This realm is tricky and confusing, it contains the realm of Utgard Loki, a King of Giants who cheats Thor by trickery and sorcery. The access rune is Isa. In this realm, nothing is as it appears, however those well versed in shamanic traveling should be able to go there. For this reason I have assigned to this realm the Jungian psychological concept of the Animus, the male part of the self.
9 Hel , the realm of Hella, the goddess of death, counterpart of Odin in this respect. Odin takes the heroic dead shared with Freyja, those dead who in life were devoted to a specific God or Goddess may hope to share their realm with this deity after death. All others go to Hella’s ream, a recycling plant for reincarnation. This realm can be traveled to quite safely provided certain precautions are taken. A pathworking to give to access this realm will be provided in chapter 6 on runes and magic. The realm of Hella can be accessed to communicate with ancestors and obtain knowledge from the dead. The access-rune is Hagalaz. Psychological aspect: Anima, female part of the self.
You will have noticed that Asgard, Midgard, and Hel are connected linearly. I am very pleased with the result of this diagram as it is actually an improvement on the earlier one given in ‘Leaves of Yggdrasil’ and repeated in ‘Northern Mysteries and Magic’.
Thank you Odin!
Yggdrasil Readings – Page 4 of 5
All the access runes provided are non-invertible which means they are completely neutral in term of positive or negative; they function purely from an impersonal perspective as are keys to power – indeed, the might be called the nine ‘songs of power’. Each one can mediate energy and information from their respective realm.
For interpretation, one views the runes in connection with the three levels in turn. Examining the runes in the three Upperworlds we see that only Dagaz is in a favorable position. Nauthiz in Asgard is not favorable and neither is Thurisaz inverted in Light Alfheim.
When interpreting, one has to develop the art of sensing which runes are compatible with which world and how they may affect each other. Nauthiz in Asgard means in this reading that the person is not yet or is not at this moment on-line with the forces and intelligence’s of Asgard. Lightalfheim, too, is inaccessible as there is a negative Thurisaz blocking any influences for this realm. Dagaz, the rune of Dawn and enlightenment in Vanaheim, the word of Vanir, states clearly that from this realm help can be sought and inspiration obtained – perhaps in the form of artistic endeavors. More could be said about this but space is limited.
Turning to the middle-worlds, we find Berkana inverted in Muspelheim. Obviously, in the context of this particular reading, this realm is hostile to creative forces represented by Berkana, and therefore Berkana appears inverted. Nifelheim contains Sowulo, indicating that this realm can be of help. Since Nifelheim, amongst other things, represents the darkst, unacknowledged aspects of the personal subconscious as well as being a foggy place, Sowulo provides a redeeming factor. The sun can drive the fog away and shine her light on the amassed negative garbage in the subconscious.
From this, practical knowledge can be obtained and unpleasant ‘forgotten’ traumatic memories can be accessed, processed, assimilated and transmuted to positive power, through meditation on the relationship between Sun and the Shadow. Midgard has Laguz inverted; this suggests feelings of loss and disappointment in a worldly matter, a let down by a loved one, being ‘ripped off’ or deceived; perhaps tears. This says you have to get in touch with your feelings, perhaps sort things out in a confrontation before you can let go and move on.
Moving on to the three Underworld runes, we come to Perthro inverted in Swartalfheim. Swartalfheim is the world of hidden treasure and Perthro is the rune of hidden mysteries and unexpected wind falls… but since it is inverted, there is nothing to expect from this combination. No access. In Jotunheim we find a situation of conflicting perspectives. Ansuz, the rune of Odin representing, amongst other things, communication, appears inverted. Aesir and Giants are opposing forces as we know, and this combination tells me that a row is about to ensue and the advise given is, be very careful with any form of communication, keep you mouth shut for the moment and don’t put anything in writing; there is a clear danger of abuse.
Finally we come to the inverted Algiz in Hella’s realm. While its upright form indicates the tree of life, Algiz inverted is the symbol of the tree of death. This combination is not entirely negative however. The advice offered is seek the counsel of your elders who went before, ask for protection, information is available, call on you ancestors and watch you dream space as it is likely that they will respond through this.
This is quite a comprehensive reading, and my interpretation is condensed by necessity into a few paragraphs. It is given as an example to experiment with. The only way to become proficient with this as well as any other type of reading is practice and hard work. Always keep records and give yourself marks; review the record at least once a year to assess your progress.
The interpretations I have given for the above reading are no fixed hard and fast, play about with it and the sooner you can dispense with this interpretation offered by me as an example, and develop your own, the better you will become at reading the runes.