The Soul Map: A Northern-Tradition Shamanic Divination Method
The outline for this divinatory chart was downloaded into my head while I was in Helheim. I asked my patron deity for a useful diagnostic method for clients, and She gave me this. I have no clue as to its antiquity. While some people have commented that the circles and lines vaguely resemble the Kabbalic Tree of Life, there is nothing kabalistic about it. I do not see it as synchronous with the spiritual maps of other cultures. The center row does tend to line up with the chakras, but the folks in India did not invent the major energy centers of the body; they are present in all of us...and it is interesting to note that there are two, not one, for the sixth row.
The terms used are partly Norse and partly Anglo-Saxon. I go back and forth between them in my daily practice. I include the alternate terms where I have them available. Some are only found in one language or the other. Choose which rolls better off your tongue.
This is a map of the human soul, and all its accessories, which includes the body. I'm not interested in debating how authentic it is, because the sucker works, and it works really well. I've found it to be a crucial first tool in figuring out what's going on with someone, especially when their problem seems to be spiritual rather than simply psychological in nature.
Making the Soul Map
The image above shows my soul map, embrodery on linen. If you make one for yourself, the basic layout should stay the same, but the aesthetics are entirely up to you. Send me a picture of yours, and I'll post it. Here are Soul Maps of Other Practitioners.
How To Use The Soul Map
For a full-out reading, I do two rounds of divination for the client using this map. The first round is done with a set of indicator stones, which will give a general overview of the client's condition. The second round is done with runes, which give more specific information about what can be done to improve things. If the client comes back to me repeatedly, I generally only do the second round for them on future dates. The first round is usually only repeated if there is serious spiritual upheaval in the person's life.
The Soul Map should be a good jumping-off point for a variety of questions, which can be asked with the runes, or any other divination method that works for you and the client. For instance, one might find a blockage in the physical area, and do separate divination for a potential solution; or one might ask about a Wyrd stone, in order to find out who to talk to.
I made my soul map out of linen, hand-embroidered with the spaces. It took months, and before anyone asks me to make one for them, they had better realize that it would cost a good deal. Ideally, the practitioner ought to make their own, and one can start with any piece of cloth or paper, with the circles marked out in magic marker.
Stones For The First Round
I am currently using small blobs of colored glass, of the sort that one finds in the cheap gift and craft store, because they're inexpensive and they work, and I needed a number of identical items in different colors. The colors themselves were chosen out of what I had around; other practitioners might find different colors more useful. The number of each type, on the other hand, was chosen by dowsing, and you might want to stick with those.
1. Normal (18, dark blue). Functioning within normal limits. Not exceptional, but not unhealthy either. Could possibly be made better with work, but no cause for alarm. If this falls on a space referring to non-physical abilities, it might mean possible talent but lack of training and practice; in "normal" people those abilities are generally latent.
2. Weak (5, light blue). Functioning below normal levels. One would hope that with work one could improve in any way. However, after a year of working with this system, I've discovered that the weak stone tends to come up referring to something that is an unfortunate but inherent and permanent problem - a genetic illness, a hardwired learning disability, brain damage, irreversible physical disability, etc. These are the weaknesses that we come with, and that teach us about the nature of limits. The issue here seems to be not so much about trying to improve the problem as accepting it as a limit and learning ways to compensate and still do what needs to be done. Ingenuity, not denial, is the key here.
3. Exceptional (6, iridescent black). Functioning at better than normal levels. This can indicate natural talent or learned ability; either way, the individual shines here.
4. Blocked (6, white). There is a physical, mental, or emotional block in the way. Unlike weak stones, I've found that blocked stones indicate something which could be moved by the individual if they had motivation to do so, and were willing to put in a great deal of uncomfortable work. While the problem might look insurmountable, it isn't; it's just difficult. Whether the individual is ready to deal with the problem right now is a different issue; perhaps it is urgent, and perhaps it can wait until they are more prepared. This should be checked with runes in the second round.
5. Wyrd (5, clear). This is the signal for divine intervention, the interference of the Gods and spirits, and/or some sort of serious karmic debt. Basically, if a Wyrd stone turns up in an area, it means that circumstances there are out of your control. There are plans for you, and they are going ahead whether you consent or not. The best thing to do under these circumstances is to do separate divination on Who wants you to do What, and how to go about that.
6.Missing (1, black, smaller than the rest). This is fairly serious, and indicates that the client has lost a part of themselves. More information - probably a separate reading with runes or other methods - should be done on the issue to decide whether retrieval is necessary or possible. I have not included separate explanations of this for each placement; if it does come up, an entirely separate reading needs to be done about the issue, and the spirit-worker must figure out what has been lost, and if anything can be done about it.
Stones For The Second Round
Here I generally use my runes, because I'm used to them and they work well with this system. I am rather clear from what Hela has told me that this system was not designed for runes per se, and that any divination system with simple symbols will work for it. Names aside - and I got the idea that these names were much younger than the actual map - this seems to be a technique that is older than the runes and their introduction by Odin. However, I use them because they do work nicely here.
Generally, the indicator stones tell you where a problem is, and perhaps what sort, and the second round tells you the source of the problem, or more details on its nature, or a possible solution. For example, assume that your client gets a Blocked stone on the Litr space in the first round. In the second round, they get Berkana, the rune of growth and nurturing. This would suggest that the problem is not physical, but one of lack of growth; their life (and probably their sex life) has been stuffed into a little box, and they need to grow past their current idea of themselves in order to regain that vitality.
For another example, assume that your client gets a Wyrd stone on their Fylgja space. This would indicate that Something is looking at them, and wants their attention for an important task or lesson. The second round could help determine who it is. If they were northern-tradition folk and drew Ansuz, that would be a clear indicator of Odin to me, as that's his rune. If they weren't, further divination might have to be done to get an idea of who was tapping them on the shoulder.
Although I generally start out with only one rune per space, it's not uncommon for me to pull more than one if the first one needs clarification. Sometimes the meaning is obvious, and sometimes it cries out for more information.
(Old Norse ham, pronounced hahm; Old English hame or hama, pronounced originally hah-meh or hah-mah, and in modern English pronounced haim)
Your astral body. Not your aura; the part of you that lies within your physical body and is (sometimes) twin to it. Some people's hames are less like their physical bodies than you might think, and this can create discomfort. This position on the soul map shows, first, how harmoniously your hame works with your physical body, and second, how much control you have over it. If you are reading for someone who is not a practitioner of energy work or magic, default to the first definition. If they are someone who works with energy or magic, the second definition is very important, as blind and careless energy work can alter your hame in ways that can affect your physical health.
The hame is the part of your soul that can be shapeshifted into another form, with work and training. Shapeshifting your hame will not change your flesh into that shape - obviously, the flesh is a lot more solid - but over time, if you spend a lot of time in another shape, it will attempt to make slow changes. If the shapeshifting is actually something that it is possible for your body to change into, it will gradually start to work over time in small and subtle ways. On the other hand, if it's not something that the human body - or even your personal body - was built to become, then it can create problems and dysfunctions. For example, constantly becoming a hoofed being and then forgetting to (or being unable to) properly correct the bone structure afterwards can cause slow damage to the physical knee and ankle joints. Attempting to make a solid adult body taller or shorter can cause problems with the spine, and so forth. Shapeshifting isn't something to play with regularly unless you know what you're doing.
For the first round: Most people will get Normal here, which means that the hame is in reasonable harmony with the body, but there isn't any great ability to work with it. An Exceptional stone denotes ability to move it around and adjust it, either naturally and unconsciously, or consciously after training. (Many athletes and martial artists fall into the first category.) Weak suggests a difficulty with controlling the hame, and suggests that it is far more affected by the lich than the other way around. Blocked means a problem with the hame; perhaps it is too different from the lich, which can cause dissociation. Working on issues of the body and of body hatred in general can help, as can doing energy work, but be prepared to uncover some unpleasant emotions. Wyrd on this area denotes that the Gods and spirits have plans for this person's hame, which may or may not be under their control. Natural shapeshifters, those with a predisposition to become god-possessed, and those locked into their bodies for cosmic purposes may turn up with a Wyrd stone here.
For the second round: The runes should describe in greater detail the individual's issues with their astral body. They may describe the way in which it tends to act, or the way in which the individual handles it. For example, Eihwaz or Algiz here might suggest that the hame is mostly used to created heavy shields for defensive purposes, while Peorth might suggest random tiny changes, and Ansuz might mean the ability to travel astrally on errands.
(Old Norse litr, pronounced leet-r)
Litr means literally "health" or "blooming hue". From what I have learned, from delving into people's hames with both hands, as it were, litr is more than just good health. It is a particular kind of energy which gives vivacity and "color"; it seems to come from the lower pelvic area, and as such can be seen as that which Ayurvedic practice terms "kundalini". It is sexual energy, as this is its most natural channel, but it can also be channeled in other ways. It encompasses such concepts as "virility" (but is not limited to men; women need litr just as much), "lustiness" (not just for sex, but for all things physically and emotionally pleasurable), and general enthusiasm for life.
Without litr, the person's experience of life is dull and wearying. Their sex drive may be low, or blocked, either by emotional issues or by hormonal problems. Often a general problem with the litr shows up first as sluggish sexual energy. They may be generally fatigued and unenthusiastic about life; this is not so much an issue of all-out severe depression as a mildly pessimistic grey pall thrown over their life.
For the first round: A Normal stone is obviously average sex drive and vitality, and an Exceptional one might be lean in either a sexually intense or a particularly vivacious direction, or both. This placement could also suggest an innate talent for sex magic. A Blocked stone is the client who is lacking in litr, as described above, due to either emotional problems, or hormonal or neurochemical issues. A Weak stone indicates someone who has always been chronically lacking in litr. Wyrd on this stone might indicate that these energies are directed in their expression, or dependent for their existence, on the Gods and spirits. I have often seen this for people who are god-spouses, or sacred prostitutes, or who use sexual energy as part of their spiritual vocation.
For the second round: The rune should describe the nature of the client's litr, or if it has trouble, the reasons why, and if anything can be done.
(Old Norse lyke pronounced lee-keh; Old English lich pronounced leekh, with gutteral ch like the German ach)
The actual physical body. Stones that show up on this space are generally medical issues; this is the place of the purely physical container for your soul.
For the first round: A Normal stone simply means average health. An Exceptional stone is the athlete, or the person in glowing health, or the one with more stamina than anyone else. A Weak stone might be a chronic health problem, perhaps something the client was born with, which must be compensated for. A Blocked stone is ill health due to long-term habits, and the health can be improved with time and effort and discipline. A Wyrd stone suggests that the current health issues are a lesson imposed from the outside, and dealing with them will require figuring out and learning that lesson, and changing the appropriate behaviors.
For the second round: The rune pulled by the client may show the area of health most in need of improvement, or the one that will be most relied on to support the stress level in the near future. Separate readings can be done for health purposes; see the Healer's Diagnostic Runes.
(Old Norse vili, pronounced vee-lee; Old English willa pronounced wee-lah)
Vili is the will, the inner force that motivates you, pushes you through hard times, and allows decisiveness. One of Odin's brothers is named for this quality.
For the first round: A Normal stone is average willpower and decisiveness. An Exceptional stone suggests that this is one of this person's strengths, and might also suggest that any laziness or slacking on their part is consciously or subconsciously motivated by other things that they are getting out of delaying. On the other hand, a Weak stone on Vili suggests the opposite; this is the person who is continually pushed back and forth by the currents of life, and needs outside help and support to stay on track. A Blocked stone indicates that the individual has deliberately given over their will to someone else for some reason; this can be found in victims of trauma and abusive relationships, but it can also be found in those who thoughtfully choose to live under some kind of strict discipline for spiritual or emotional reasons, such as monastics, devoutly religious folk, career military people, or consensual submission. (Be careful not to jump to assumptions on this placement until you have questioned the situation; admonitions to "take back your will" might be useful for a battered wife, but not a Buddhist nun. The difference lies in whether or not the will has been given over unconsciously due to damage, or consciously due to a strong inner understanding of one's need for discipline and structure.) A Wyrd stone here suggests that the Will has (or needs to be) given over to a Higher or Deeper Power for some reason, for an unspecified period of time, in order to accomplish what needs to be done.
For the second round: The rune that comes up will show the way in which the client's will acts, and the way in which they make decisions. Haegl, for instance, might indicate a strong will but chaotic judgment and random, knee-jerk opinions. Tyr suggests the warrior-type who will fight to get their way every time. Laguz is the one who goes with the flow, but it might suggest passive-aggressive behavior. Beorc might show the client whose will is strongest when channeled through nurturing activities; alternately, it might signal someone whose will is growing stronger with time and attention.
(Old English mod, pronounced moad to rhyme with road)
This word is cognate with our modern word "mood", and it does refer to the emotions, although with less of the connotation of "lack of control" that we hold today. This point shows whether one is in touch with one's feelings, and how one sees them. It is also a good indicator of how well one interprets and handles the emotions of others.
For the first round: A Normal stone shows a fairly healthy, if not terribly introspective, relationship with the emotions. The client is neither uncomfortable with socially and situationally-appropriate emotional displays nor particularly repressed in showing their own, although they may not be interested in having more than a semi-conscious idea of why they or others are feeling any particular way. An Exceptional stone does not necessarily indicate that the person is overemotional; rather, it is an indication of someone who has a deep knowledge of their own emotional nature, and also has the ability to understand that feelings of others, even when they come from alien motivations. The client with the Weak stone on this point may vary from the overemotional individual who simply reacts without understanding their emotions (or, often, being able to control their emotional outbursts), to the emotionally repressed individual whose repression is based (perhaps justifiably) on a fear of becoming the first type should they relax their guard. I've also observed Weak stones here on people with mild autistic-spectrum disorders, which come with an inability to interpret the emotions and social cues of others.
A Blocked stone here doesn't necessarily indicate that the person is entirely blocked emotionally, but there will be one large area that is behind bars, generally because they fear it, or wish it didn't exist, and have refused to deal with it. Ironically, I've found this placement frequently in people who come across as open, caring, and empathic, and who may follow spiritual paths that encourage this attitude. Usually, they've dealt with the selfish negative parts of themselves by locking them in the mental basement rather than consciously working on them. A Wyrd stone here can sometimes be the mark of the healer, the person whose emotional nature is "used" by the Gods and spirits for the good of the community, often without their understanding of what is going on. It can also indicate someone whose current emotional troubles are due to spiritual interference.
For the second round: This rune can further interpret the individual's emotional issues, possibly pointing to a problem area, or suggesting the direction in which the client needs to go in order to be emotionally whole.
(Old Norse ond, pronounced ohnd; Old English aethem, pronounced aah-them, with ae like the a in pack)
The word "ond" means literally "breath", and it is mythically what was breathed into the lifeless human body in order to make it live. The idea of the Gods breathing the soul into the body is found in mythic traditions all over the world, and it is clear that what is breathed in is not air, but life force. Whether it is called prana, mana, chi, qi, ki, huna, orgone, life force, or anything else, those who work with it know what it is. It has as many flavors as there are beings in the Universe, and it runs through all things to one extent or another.
Any energy worker (such as a Reiki or Chi-Gong practitioner) will tell you that the various flows of ond through the body and soul affect and are affected by their health. This placement speaks of the flow of ond throughout the client's hame; is it sluggish, or vibrant? What does it need to do better? If the reading is centering on the client's health issues, the Ond placement is as important as the Litr and Lich placements for informative purposes.
For the first round: A Normal stone means that the client's energy flow is functioning within normal, healthy limits. Any problems are minor, and likely only physical in nature. An Exceptional stone indicates the person who has a natural talent for energy work, and who consciously or unconsciously works with their own flow of ond in some way. A Weak stone is the client whose ond moves slowly or sluggishly, and who may need regular aid in keeping it moving, be that energy work done by others or some form of physical exercise that speeds up the flow. A Blocked stone indicates one or more blockages of energy, which may need to be worked on by a professional, as they can contribute to physical and mental problems. A Wyrd stone indicates someone who has the potential to be (or already is) a conduit for divine energy; this placement is sometimes found in those rare people who "horse" deities and spirits for purposes of spirit-possession or god-possession.
For the second round: The rune drawn can help determine the nature of a blockage, or the nature of the individual's energy flow.
(Old Norse huge, pronounced hoo-geh; or Old English hyge, pronounced hee-geh)
The two ravens that sit on Odin's shoulders and spy for him are named Huginn and Muninn, or Thought and Memory. They represent the two parts of the cognitive process, Huge and Munr, or Hyge and Mynd; we get the word "mind" from the latter word. They also work very well with modern conceptions about the right and left sides of the brain. The Germanic peoples were well aware that the cognitive process is twofold: one must be able to reason, and one must be able to retain. The Hyge and Mynd must both be in order, and to work together. Of course, people being the imperfect creatures that we are, generally one is stronger than the other and pulls most of the workload. Hyge is the rational part of the cognitive process; it is the thinking, reasoning left-brain part that can examine input and draw conclusions.
For the first round: A Normal stone here indicates intelligence and reasoning ability that is well within normally functioning limits; not exactly genius, but no problems. An Exceptional stone indicates the individual with the sharp, and possibly even brilliant, mind. A Weak stone indicates difficulty with the rational thinking process; there may be learning disorders that affect reasoning and the ability to conjecture consequences, or the emotions may hijack things too often. A Blocked stone is a mental obstacle, usually around mental discipline and education; the client may have had a bad experience with the learning process in general in their youth, and may have given up on stretching their mind and learning anything new. A Wyrd stone in this placement suggests the potential to think clearly about spiritual matters that might overwhelm less intellectual minds, and translate them in understandable words, while not losing the spiritual experience to skepticism.
For the second round: The rune drawn here gives more information on the nature of the client's thinking process. The result should be compared to the rune on the Mynd placement, as the two should work together as one entity.
(Old Norse munr, pronounced moon-r, or Old English mynd, pronounced meend)
Mynd is the memory, which includes the daily short-term memory and the overall long-term memory of past events. While we tend to think of the thought process as being the most important part of the mind, anyone who has had a stroke and impaired their ability to retain information, or who was born with difficulties in the area, will tell you that thinking is as much about your mental filing system as it is about your thought process. Not being able to find the right thing in your memory banks can stop the creative process cold.
For the first round: A Normal stone indicates that the memory is functioning healthily and well. And Exceptional stone indicates the person whose memories often come in better-than-average clarity and detail, with almost hallucinatory envelopment. In rare cases, they might have an eidetic or photographic memory. A Weak stone here indicates a neurological difficulty with memory - perhaps the memory failures attached to attention deficit disorders, or other learning problems. A Blocked stone indicates a repressed memory, usually one that is pushing at its prison and needs to come out. A Wyrd stone may indicate the ability to remember past lives, or perhaps to tap into ancestral memories in one's bloodline.
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn will tend to describe the nature of the individual's memory, unless there was a Blocked stone; in that case, the rune will tend to describe the nature of the blockage.
(Old Norse godhi, pronounced go-thee; Old Norse gythja pronounced geeth-yah)
These old words for some form of spiritual practitioner (often used today basically as synonyms for "priest" and "priestess") have an alternate meaning; they have also been used to refer to the higher self. What that means, in simple non-Newage terms, is this: If you are being the best you can be, and fulfilling your entire spiritual potential, what would that look like? Your higher self is the part of you that knows, or at least senses, what that would resemble, and is strongly drawn toward paths that would get you there. For some people, this part is quiescent or suppressed; for others, it is awake and seeking but still fairly vague in its yearnings and direction. This placement on the soul map gives information on that part of you.
For the first round: A Normal stone indicates that the higher self is whispering, but not speaking loudly enough to interfere with the ordinary journey of life. (The "ordinary" condition of humanity is to be going about their daily business, with awareness of the sacred, but not swallowed by it. Mystics and gythjas and spirit-workers and such are not living ordinary lives.) If they have come to a point where they want more guidance, they will have to search hard for it. An Exceptional stone indicates the individual who already senses keenly where they need to be going, and perhaps is already on the path. A Weak stone indicates that the higher self's voice is being overridden by other mental voices, such as the demands of ordinary life or the internal fears and desires. A Blocked stone indicates that it has been entirely shoved into a closet, usually because the individual in question fears where that path may lead and refuses to go towards it. A Wyrd stone is the indicator of someone whose higher self is being called by the Gods and spirits in some way, and achieving their full spiritual potential is entirely in the hands of the Otherworldly beings.
For the second round: The runes drawn generally refer to the path that the higher self is drawn toward, unless the previous round had a Blocked stone; in this case the rune will generally be relevant to the blockage in question.
(Old Norse fylgja, pronounced feel-gyah)
Spirit guides. These are the forces that work with us in this lifetime. The placement can indicate deities, including one's patron deity, or spirits, or ancestors.
For the first round: Unless you see an Exceptional or Wyrd stone here, you can assume that spirit guides are not playing an important role in the client's life, and perhaps are not likely to. If the stone is Blocked, the client is not ready to hear or deal with spirit guides, and s/he needs to do internal work in order to figure out what is blocking that channel. An Exceptional stone suggests someone who finds it natural and easy to talk to noncorporeal beings, and a Wyrd stone tells of being chosen by particular Gods and/or spirits, perhaps for teaching, perhaps to do a job.
For the second round: The rune ought to tell more about what sort of spirit guides are involved, or why there aren't any, and/or if anything can or ought to be done about that. If a separate reading is done and a lot of negative runes come up, it may be that the client is not meant to follow that path at this time.
(Old Norse kinfylgja, pronounced kin-feel-gyah)
This is the point of ancestry, the collected wisdom of your genetic forebears, and your spiritual relationship with them. Some people are called by the spirits of their ancestors, and feel strongly drawn to the spiritual wisdom passed down in the memory of their bloodline, whether they recognize it as such or not. Others may not be tapped by their ancestors nearly as strongly, and some may be destined to walk away from their cultural bloodline entirely and do something else not found in their ancestry. These differing relationships can be read in this space.
For the first round: A Normal stone tells of an ordinary relationship with one's ancestors; there are no geases passed down, and no particular need to serve the family bloodline in any way. The ancestors can be called upon, but they have little obligation to the client beyond that of a general interest in the continuance of the bloodline, and they may or may not answer. An Exceptional stone is someone with special gifts passed down genetically through the family line, perhaps psychic gifts, or perhaps gifts in more mundane areas. They may have skipped generations, but usually they can be remembered in recent family members. These gifts come with a responsibility to the family line of those who passed them on; they must be used in particular ways in order to do right by the ancestors who passed them on, and not misused. Sometimes the gift can be honorably refused; sometimes this is an offense. On the bright side, the ancestors have a vested interest in this client, and are more likely to be of use.
A Weak stone in an indication not only of few ancestral gifts of worthy use, but that one's ancestors are really not worth calling upon, and the client should look elsewhere for aid. This is sometimes seen in adoptive children, and can be a signal not to bother to pursue that path. A Blocked stone indicates that the client is taking a path entirely different from - and perhaps antithetical to - that of their ancestors, and will find no help or aid at all in that direction. This is often the placement of the rebel who breaks away from all family traditions, faiths, and even relationships, in order to fulfill a destiny that involves starting their own. Both Weak and Blocked Kinfylgja folk, at best, have the potential to shed old spiritual and genetic patterns and start a fresh dynasty or clan that is not tied to the past.
A Wyrd stone on this point suggests that it is not just the ancestors, but the Gods and spirits of the ancestors, that have the vested interest in this person. There may be genetic gifts, such as someone with an Exceptional stone, but it is the ancestral Gods and wights that will have the final say in whether and how they are to be used.
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn will tell how the ancestors and their Gods may be of service to the client, or alternately why they will not be, and where they should turn instead.
(Old English maegen, pronounced maah-gen, with a as in pack)
Maegen is a concept that most modern people have lost, although the idea of "honor" seems to be a remnant of this idea. The concept of maegen rests on the idea that there is tangible personal power that is earned by deeds of honor: walking one's talk, giving one's word and keeping it. Every time you break your word, you lose maegen. If you continually shy away from commitments, never actually putting yourself in a position where you need to be held to your word, you fail to build up a supply of maegen and thus are not in a much better position than the individual who breaks their promises. You can also lose maegen by committing unethical and harmful acts against others, and gain it by refusing the temptation to do those things when the chance is given to you.
Maegen is more than just mere social capital. While showing oneself to be a keeper of one's word is good for building public trust, the concept of maegen stresses that this is a power to be built even in isolation, and that it is not dependent on the opinions of others. The idea is that every time you give your word and keep it, you build up a fund of power behind your word that gives it more cosmic impact. In this way, the maegen supports the vili. One's maegen can often be sensed by others, and those with strong maegen will be instinctively trusted more by those who sense it. It's more than just reputation, it's an actual force attached to the soul that can be felt and used.
For the first round: A Normal stone indicates an ordinary amount of maegen; the client is average when it comes to giving and keeping their word. Nothing awesome, but nothing terrible. An Exceptional stone here is someone with a very strong adherence to their code of honor; their word is their bond, and they can be trusted to walk their talk. A Weak stone in this placement suggests the commitment-phobe, or the one with lazy ethics who likes to squeeze out of promises, who lives their life avoiding being pinned down or having their feet held to the fire. They may place feelings as having more value than commitments, with the idea that if it no longer feels good to do, one ought not to have to do it any longer, regardless of how that impacts other people. A Blocked stone in this area indicates a long history of oathbreaking, even if only in small ways, that has built up to such an extent that the individual will have a hard time overcoming it, but it is still possible with diligent work and painfully correct ethics. A Wyrd stone in this area suggests that the client's relationship with the Gods and spirits is such that broaches of maegen will be directly followed by divine consequence and retribution.
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn for this placement generally show where the client needs to look for ways to build up a greater fund of maegen.
(Old Norse hamingja, pronounced ha-ming-ya)
The word hamingja has many meanings, but all seem to center around the concept of some kind of luck - not the sort of luck that comes out of nowhere, and you either have it or your don't, but the sort that can be created or earned. Another way to describe it might be good fortune, and another might be "mojo", in the modern sense of something laden with fortunate power. Hamingja can imbue an object, or a person. For example, a gift has more hamingja than something that you bought, because it has the energy of the giver's intention and good wishes behind it. A gift that was used frequently by someone or worn on their body has even more. An heirloom passed down over time has yet more hamingja, for the same reasons. Gifts given by children out of real feeling for the recipient seem to have an inordinate amount of hamingja. A bride was considered to have a great deal of hamingja, and the wife was the keeper of the household's hamingja, because she was closest to the hearth, the center of the home.
Maegen may be built in isolation (although it is best done with other people), but hamingja is something that must be granted through one's links to community. For a person to build up a fund of this quality, they must be seen as valuable and worthy by others. Sometimes it is built up by the exchange of gifts or favors (done with a whole heart and not grudgingly, or there will be no hamingja in it), but more often it is done by one's work for the community as a whole. Your luck grows as people count you among their assets.
For the first round: A Normal stone indicates an ordinary level of hamingja; the client has some community ties, but is not in any important positions of trust. If questions show that they are actually in an important position of trust, a Normal stone may not be good enough; they may need to work on building up their public value. An Exceptional stone means that the client has a great deal of "communal luck", and is considered of great value to the people around them. A Weak stone often indicates the loner, or the person with few community ties, or the outcast. This can be due to low social skills, mental problems, personality issues, childhood damage, or simply a life path that is more concerned with personal development than with communal belonging. A Blocked stone indicates that the client has done some great public error in some community that has damaged their hamingja, but not beyond repair; they can choose to make it up to people, or to start over in a new community and try to build a new fund of hamingja there. A Wyrd stone in this placement indicates that any hamingja the individual will get from their community will be entirely dependent on their relationship to the Gods and spirits. (For example, it is said in many places that shamans lose their luck when they die and are reborn, and they get all future luck from the spirits that they work with.)
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn generally show the source and nature of the individual's hamingja, and can also show whether it needs to be built up or not. Having a great deal of hamingja, while a good thing, is not everyone's wyrd.
(Old Norse ve, pronounced vay; Old English wih, pronounced weeh)
The word ve, or wih in Old English, denoted something that was otherworldly, mystical, and possibly dangerous. It is also the name of another of Odin's brothers. In terms of the soul map, the ve is what my assistant refers to as "your Spooky". In other words, it's your innate psychic ability, which seems to be genetically inherited and is different for each person.
For the first round: A Normal stone seems to indicate that the client is normal for the vast majority of the population...in other words, pretty much entirely psychically repressed. Normal psychic function for modern Western humans is very little; they may get the occasional hunch, or message, or once in a while a word or two from a god or spirit, but for the most part it does not play a part in their daily lives. An Exceptional stone is the individual with real psychic potential, which they may or may not be using. Sometimes great potential manifests as pressing talents that cannot be ignored, and may even cause instability.
A Weak stone means that the individual was not born with a great deal of innate potential, and anything that they do in this vein will require hard work. A Blocked stone suggests that there is talent, but it is consciously or unconsciously blocked, often by fears or distaste. Sometimes it is completely repressed; some people have even made use of their own talent to repress itself, which sounds odd but is very possible, depending on the talents in question. A Wyrd stone on this placement indicates that the individual's ve is entirely given to them, and controlled by, the Gods and spirits; these are often folks who become chosen to be spirit-workers of some sort.
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn will further describe the talents in question, and possibly their best usage. If the first round had a Blocked stone, the rune may describe the nature of the blockage.
(Old Norse odhr, pronounced oh-ther; Old English wod pronounced woad to rhyme with road)
The first syllable of Woden/Odin's name, the wod is the ability to merge with Divine Consciousness in some form. This can take the form of spirit-possession, god-possession, or simply mystical union with the Universe. While this sort of thing is pursued by mystics throughout the ages, they have all learned one thing about it: if you achieve it at all, it will be by the will of the Powers That Be, and it's not possible to live constantly in that kind of state. Indeed, it's something that can only safely be experienced for short periods of time, as long-term exposure tends to slowly loosen your soul from your lich...and that does become permanent after a while, a condition that is called Death.
Wod can be more loosely defined, if you blur the edges a bit, as the ability to easily achieve altered states in a spiritual context. Those last few words are important; anyone can get drunk or down a tab of acid, but that's no guarantee of touching the Divine Spirit. Consciously controlled altered states, which are the shamanic worker's stock in trade, are very different.
For the first round: A Normal stone indicates that the client has an average ability to move into altered states, which generally means not very easily or with much control. An Exceptional stone is the individual with the talent in this area, even if they are not using it for spiritual purposes per se. They may have been constant vivid daydreamers as children, or have a knack for trancing out while dancing, drumming, or staring at patterns. This can be cultivated into a knack for other kinds of controlled trancework. A Weak stone indicates that the individual is not the sort for whom altered states come easily; it may be that during this lifetime they need to be well grounded in their body and learn about the limits of the physical. A Blocked stone suggests that there is talent present, but it is being repressed due to fear. This is not always a bad thing - altered states can be dangerous - unless it is becoming an issue in their spiritual lives. A Wyrd stone indicates that the client has the potential for - or is already engaged in - some form of spirit-possession, god-possession, channeling, or being used as a conduit.
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn will usually describe the client's relationship with altered states, and perhaps their relationship with their deities, if they have any.
(Old English orlaeg, pronounced or-lahg, or orlog, pronounced like it looks)
The concept of orlog is sometimes confused with the wyrd; they are related but subtlely different things. One could say that the orlog is the path to wyrd. In Eastern terms, your orlog is your personal karmic record to date. It is the dance that you do with Karma, the law of cause and effect, and it contains everything that your have gained and lost towards achieving your ultimate goal, whatever that might be.
For the first round: A Normal stone indicates that one's orlog is proceeding at an ordinary, functioning pace. The client is learning the lessons that are needful, and moving in the right direction - not spectacularly, but not avoiding or backsliding either. An Exceptional stone indicates the individual who has jumped onto the wild horse of their destiny and is thundering down the track at a fast pace. It is important to remind them that although they are moving in the right direction, they can still be knocked off by poor attitudes or bad judgment. A Weak stone indicates someone who has not yet grasped the concept of cause and effect, and that everything you do comes back to you in one form or another. They may be making bad errors, and need to think deeply about where their lives are going. A Blocked stone here indicates a great fund of bad mistakes, unlearned lessons, and general damage that needs to be worked through before progress can be made. A Wyrd stone in this position suggests that the Gods and spirits are speaking to the client and attempting to give aid, but they need to listen and accept what is said.
For the second round: The rune(s) drawn can indicate the current lessons on the path, or suggestions for direction, or one's general behavior towards the laws of the Universe.
(Old English wyrd, pronounced just like the word weird, from the Old Norse Urd, the first of the three Norns)
Your wyrd is your final destiny. Embracing the idea of wyrd does not require you to believe in an already-written, unchanging destiny. Everyone's wyrd is different; some are "destined", if you will, to be allowed to choose their own path with no outside interference at all. Indeed, it sometimes seems as if the world is made up of those who have a set destiny, with the script in the can ready to act out and penalties if you stray from the path, and those who are entirely free to wander with no guidance at all. Generally the first group spends a lot of time moaning about their lack of free will, and the second (larger) group spends their time moaning about how they have no idea what they're supposed to do with their lives.
Your wyrd is the thing that your higher self knows about, and attempts, when you let it, to pursue that path. It may not be the thing that you were raised to think that you ought to do. It may not be any one thing; the majority of people have flexible destinies. They may need to learn certain specific lessons, but the learning can be done in many different ways and contexts. For some people, the only wyrd is to experience choice and to have experiences, as many as possible.
For the first round: A Normal stone on this placement indicates that the client, like most people, has a flexible wyrd. They are not destined to do any one particular thing with their entire lives; whether they achieve fame or fortune or even karmic understanding will be largely dependent on their own choices. An Exceptional stone on this position is the individual who is meant to do something special with their life, although they may still have the choice to refuse it. Success is not absolutely guaranteed; even the blessed can screw up badly. A Weak stone in this position indicates the wanderer, the one who has all the choices and none of the guidance, the clean slate whose mistakes will be paid for the next time around. A Blocked stone suggests that the individual has deliberately walled off the path to their wyrd, usually out of fear of what it might be. A Wyrd stone on the Word position is the fated life: the Gods and spirits have a use for you, and you are going to be their tool whether you like it or not.
For the second round: Ask a question about your destiny, and the runes will answer! Unless, of course, you draw Gar, in which case be prepared to hear someone laughing just out of hearing range...