Runic divination, "runecasting", is not "fortune telling". Runecasting works deeply with the subconscious. The rune pouch with its runic symbols represents the entire universe. As one poses a question, one's entire conscious and unconscious mind is focused toward that question, so that the runelots selected are not truly random selections, but rather choices made by the subconscious.
Runecraft operates on an ancient form of psychology. Even back in Viking times, there was a remarkable understanding of the human psyche. They recognized cause and effect, and the interconnectedness of all things. The word to describe this interconnectedness was "wyrd", which was eventually perverted into the modern meaning of "weird". It did not originally mean something unusual or strange. Rather, it referred to the far-reaching effects of that which one does. The concept of "fate" was also not as we know it now. Instead of a helpless predestination, "fate" meant a destiny created by one's earlier actions. Wyrd was pictured as a web, like that of a spider. The symbology is excellent. When the spider steps onto a thread (a path) the vibrations affect the entire web and that which is contained within the web, just as our actions affect our immediate world and those around us, and the actions of others affect our lives.
When one does a runic reading, one usually addresses a particular issue, and examines the past, the present and the "future", or rather "what will be if one follows the path one appears to be on". The future is always perceived as mutable, changeable. The runic reading is done as an evaluation process, not as fortunetelling. One has an opportunity to look at what has occurred in the past (regarding the issue being questioned), what is occurring right now, and what direction one is headed.
A runecaster does not see the future. He/she examines cause and effect and points out a likely outcome.
Not exactly occult, is it? It's not supernatural and it's not very mysterious--although the uninitiated considered it a delving into mystery, much like a patient of a psychiatrist might. It's certainly not magical or demonic. Instead it is a methodology for examining the path one is on and what the effects might be, by making use of one's subconscious (i.e. an "intuitive perception"), unfettered by limited conscious belief systems.
Dowsing, or "divination" by bent stick or pendulum is similar. It is not supernatural. It is, again, a manifestation of one's subconscious. All "intuitive perception" is such. Nothing magical about it, merely a means of awakening one's right-brain.
History of Runes
The Runes are an old alphabet from ancient Scandinavia. They are simple 24 signs and all are formed out of straight lines. Around the time of the Roman Empire runes were carved on wood with knife. Thus the runes are all made up of straight lines and all sharp cuts with no curves in them.
Like all ancient languages the runes have mystic associations. The runes are magical symbols that convey the story of creation, life, destruction, and rebirth, and these forces constantly occur on many levels of being. They were considered sacred and said to originate from the ancient god Odin. Odin was the chief god of the Vikings. According to myth, Odin wounded and in pain, hung himself upside down on the Tree of the world for nine nights until the runes were reveled to him. He then brought them with him to mankind. In the Tarot deck also Odin is represented as a Hanged Man.
At one time the Runes were a language and used for communication, but like most ancient languages they have a sacred and ceremonial purpose as well, Each letter has a meaning and these can be used for divination.
Runes are found all over Europe. Sometimes they are memorial stones. They stand on graves with the names of those who have died. One such stone is the Danish King's memorial to his wife. Runes were carved on caskets and gold rings, they were on ornaments and even on coins.
Runic alphabets begins with six letters F, U, TH, A, R, K and because of this they are called Futhark. However with time the alphabet changed depending on where they were used. Casting the runes was always a sacred ritual, done before the alter of some god along with lamps, incense and spells.
Runes were thought to protect and guard. Warriors wore the rune Tir for safety in battle. Lovers wore runes to attract their beloved. Married people wore runes to save their marriage. Runes were carved on doors to safeguard the home. Farmers used runes to keep their livestock safe. Runes were carved on swords to give extraordinary powers during battle.