haindl.jpg (9246 bytes)Haindl Rune Oracle

This deck/book set contains a 25 card deck painted by Hermann  Haindl of the Haindl Tarot. The art is good. It does not seem as dark and dreary as Haindl's Tarot deck.   There are more primary colors mixed in the background of this deck, often giving a rainbow effect. There are less browns. The scenes are hexagonal in shape. Each Rune letter is formed form something in nature, most commonly trees, stones and wreaths of plants or flowers. There is also the occasional rainbow, lightening flash or other heavenly apparition. The four corners of the card each contain a symbol. The upper left corner has the Rune letter; the upper right spells the Rune name out in English; the bottom left has a number; and the bottom right has the corresponding English letter. The "yr" card is numbered both zero and 25. The cards are squarer than most Tarot cards and measure 3 1/8" X 4 1/8".

The little booklet that comes with the deck provides upright and "inverted" meanings for each card. Interestingly, the little booklet provides inverted meanings for several Runes which can not be read as inverted. Rune meanings are a subject of some controversy and a discussion on how "traditional" these meanings are is beyond my capability. These meanings appear to be based on the Rune Poems. The booklet and the full length book were both written by Nigel Pennick. I did a quick comparison with Freya Aswynn's Leaves of Yggdrasil and Edred Thorsson's Runelore and the interpretations did not seem far off. This also means that if your experience with Runes is limited to Ralph Blum, you will find the meanings different. The little booklet also provides instructions for four spreads: The Single Card Draw; The Three Norns; The Runic Cross; and Tyr's Spread.

There is also a full length book for this deck. It provides some historical information followed by a detailed discussion of each Rune card running several pages in length. This is followed by a discussion of divination in general and divination with Runes and Rune cards in particular. Over a dozen spreads are provided, with a few drawn from Tarot like the Celtic Cross and the Papus spread. The Horoscope spread provides brief interpretations for each rune in each house, upright and reversed. A section titled "Significant Runic Combinations" lists each rune and describes the significance of various key pairings. A similar section on key "Triads" (three Rune combinations) follows. There is a brief summary and several Appendices:


  1. The Runic Houses or Sectors - divides the Runes into 24 15' sectors assigned to hours on the face of a clock
  2. Runic Time Correspondences - assigns a block of time by hour and day to each Rune. For example: Ur - 8.00 July 14 until 14.00 July 29
  3. General Correspondence of the Runes - This Appendix has correspondences with Trees, Polarity, Elements, and Goddess/God.
  4. Glossary of Names and Terms Used in This Book

Overall, this book provides an excellent introduction to the runes, including discussions of the cultural and religious background of the people who used them.

I recommend this deck\book set for those who are interested in divination using Rune cards. I have dabbled a bit with the Runes ( I am merely a dilettante) and my research seems to indicate that many serious students of the Runes do not look kindly upon the current trend of making Runes more like Tarot. Pennick addresses this concern, though he does not address cards per se, in the forward to his book. There are probably a lot of reasons for this trend including the fact that it is easier to buy a deck of cards than to carve your own Runes. Cards also provide a convenient divination format in the form of spreads. I think that cards can be a good introductory device and I am happy to see that one of the more respected writers on this subject wrote the book for this deck. I would certainly recommend this deck over Blum's Rune decks from both an artistic and a scholarly viewpoint. It provides a fairly comprehensive introduction to the study of the Runes which has not been dumbed down or made fluffy to suit a New Age audience.


Unlike many esoteric and magical traditions, the runes are not and have never been controlled by a centralized authority: there is nor priesthood of runecraft. This makes the runes a very open area. There is a body of generally accepted authentic lore, and also a considerable body of myth and speculation. These are contained in a number of books and in the systems of rune-practice derived from them. Today, in many parts of the world, there are practitioners of runic divination, runic astrology, runic numerology, runic cryptography, runic meditation, runic exercise, rune-magic and runic art. This healthy diversity attests to the continuing vitality of the runes, over 2000 years after their inception.

Although the runes are one of Europe's most ancient oracles, this does not mean that they cannot be used in a modern way and remain true to themselves. Only fundamentalists express the impossible wish to return to the past, to ignore the history which has come between then and now. The present, including this book, is an expression of the sum total of all things which have happened to date. So it is impossible to undertake a return to past conditions.We must go forward, using the best of the old and the best of the new, a principle known in the United States as retronuevo, upon which this study is founded..."

The Haindl Rune Oracle pg. 5 and 6

Haindl Rune Oracle (Book and Deck Set)
Art by Hermann Haindl, Book and Booklet by Nigel Pennick
Published by  US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow S., Stamford CT, 06902, (800) 544-2637, Fax: (203) 353-8431

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Images copyright 1997 US Games

This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson