The Eight Witch's Runes

Posted by Michelle Gruben on

The Eight Witch's Runes

The Witch’s Runes are a set of magic symbols used as an oracle. (They’re unrelated to the Norse runes and other archaic alphabets.) While the exact age of this symbol set is unknown, it draws upon familiar images that will be instantly recognizable to the unconscious mind. Over time, Witch’s Runes have gained a reputation as an easy-to-learn, no-frills method for divining the past, present, and future.

Author Dana Corby published an article in the Crystal Well magazine in the 1970s outlining a traditional divination method using 13 runic symbols. (It has since been expanded and re-released as a paperback and e-book.) The Witchs Runes system later got the book treatment from Susan Sheppard in 1998 with A Witch's Runes: How to Make and Use Your Own Magick Stones.

Since we are dealing with an evolving, folk magick system, there are no authoritative texts on the Witch's Runes. There are a few different versions of the Runes on the market—sets may contain eight, 10, or 13 tiles. (Meanings vary too, depending on who you ask.)  Thirteen is an excellent witchy number, but the eight-rune set wins points for its symmetry and simplicity. A set of eight Witch's Runes corresponds to the eight Wiccan Sabbats, providing a built-in mechanism for answering questions of timing.

Witch's Runes

Occasionally, Grove and Grotto offers handcrafted Witches' Runes sets.  Or, you can make your own from wood or stone tiles.  Check out the suggested meanings and correspondences:

The Moon (Midwinter)
Inner thoughts, intuition, contemplation, solitude, change.

The Birds (Imbolc)
News, business matters, communication, inspiration and beginnings.

The Leaf (Ostara)
Growth, abundance, promise of harvest, good fortune.  A strong "maybe".

The Rings (Beltane)
Love, passion, partnership, harmonious union, joy and pleasure. In readings, means "probably".

The Sun (Midsummer)
Success, pride, and power. Progress, stability.  A definite “yes.”

The Wave (Lammas)
Close family and friends, privacy, secrecy.  Rest and withdrawal.

The Crossed Spears (Mabon)
Opposite viewpoints.  Conflict, arguments, negativity.  A stalemate or pause in action.  In readings, "probably not."

The Black Rune (Samhain)
Endings and departures.  Scarcity, pain and loss.  A definite "no."

Witch's Runes

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  • I can’t believe I just carved a set that is not real !:made up in 1970-2990? Shit fire!

    Madam Robina Verbena on
  • To Susan Sheppard: Just saw your comments on the various witchy runes and mine in particular. As I said, I’m not accusing anyone of “stealing” anything from me, certainly not you. Yours are unlike mine both in symbol and method, and your title is enough different from mine that there shouldn’t be any confusion — though with all the similar titles out there, some confusion is inevitable!
    As far as I’m concerned the matter is closed and it’s all good. If anyone brings it up to you again, you can send them to me to set them straight.


    Dana Corby on
  • — Nor am I accusing anyone here of “stealing from” me. There is one system, PMH Atwater’s “Goddess Runes,” that’s a system she invented using the set I sold her in 1980. When I learned about it and contacted them they thought I was going to sic a lawyer on them, but we’re cordial and actually reference each other in our books. And by the way, for those of a feminist-exclusive, Goddess-only bent, theirs is a good system.

    Dana Corby on
  • Merry Meet!
    Some of you have mentioned me & my system “The Witches’ Runes,” and seem confused, so here’s the backstory:
    I was originally taught this system by Lady Sara Cunningham in 1972 as part of my Craft training, and first published an article about it in The Crystal Well in 1975. I started selling the set, with just a cheat-sheet, a couple of years after that, decided it really needed a proper instruction book in 1992, which is when I gave the system its current name; it really didn’t have one before. I self-published it the old fashioned way, by making copies at Kinkos from a paper master-copy, until 2016, and at that time sold the book only with the rune set. The Amazon version came out, with new material so it could stand alone, at Samhain of 2017. So no, my system isn’t derivative of a system that came out in 1990. We Witches are a very creative lot, and there’s bound to be some overlap! My next book, due out in a few months, is “Royal Roads: Pilgrimages into the Four Elements and Beyond.”
    If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to either email me at the addy above or look me up on Facebook.
    BB, Dana

    Dana Corby on
  • Hi,
    I like the symmetry and minimalism of the 8 rune set. Can you tell me more about the source of this tool. Is it your idea?
    Thanks, Ron

    Ron Strilaeff on

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