Eirik Westcoat: The Odian Path

by Šárka Sedláková

June 24th 2020: Fortuna / St. John the Baptist / Old Midsummer. “A sacred day of the goddess Fortuna, Lady Luck. As St. John the Baptist’s Day, it is also the official Midsummer’s Day. It is customary to light midsummer bonfires on high points to celebrate the high point of the year and of solar light. Traditional locations for St. John’s Day fires are often places where the sun was observed in former times.”  (Nigel Pennick 2001 [1992]: The Pagan Book of Days, p. 82) Today we present a powerful poem by our great Skald and Rune-Master Wōðbora Galfróði:

THE ODIAN PATH

by Eirik Westcoat

I aim to follow
the Odian Path —
in three of things
I thrive and grow.
Because the quarry
in the quest is Rûna,
in thoughts and words
and works I live.

A gleaming Thought
I glimpsed in my mind:
the spark is kindled
by speaking Kenaz,
heightened and fueled
by Hagalaz and Mannaz;
a firestorm of Thoughts
flared in response.

The seed of a Word
I sought to raise:
the grain is planted
by galdoring Iŋwaz,
broken and grown
by Berkano and Ansuz;
a bounty of Words
I won in the harvest.

A mighty Work
I willed to create:
the engine is built
by uttering Tiwaz,
throttled and raced
by Þurisaz and Raiðo;
a train of Works
trailed behind.

In wisdom great
I waxed and thrived:
from thought to thought
by thoughts I fared,
from word to word
by words I fared,
from work to work
by works I fared.

The poem appears online here for the first time. It is part of a collection of poems, called “Sjálfsljóðin” (about the work of relating his self-analysis to particular runestaves in the curriculum of the Rune-Gild’s The Nine Doors of Midgard) which may be found in print, along with lots of other runic and esoteric material, in Eirik’s Eagles Mead (2019), available in hardcover only. More details about the book are at <https://eirikwestcoat.wordpress.com/eagles-mead/>. It can be ordered from Amazon at <https://www.amazon.com/Eagles-Mead-Initiatory-Poetry-Prose/dp/1947407066/> or you can search for it by title or ISBN, 9781947407060, at other Amazon sites or the bookseller of your choice.

However, this poem, and thirty others from that book, have now been reprinted in a smaller and more affordable paperback, Galdored Runes: A Portion of Eagles Mead, released on the Solstice, June 20. It can be ordered from Amazon at <https://www.amazon.com/Galdored-Runes-Portion-Eagles-Mead/dp/1947407147/>. There’s also a kindle edition at that same link. Or see <https://eirikwestcoat.wordpress.com/galdored-runes-bookling/> for more details and other store links.

David J. Jones: Daedulus Seed

June 21st 2020: Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Litha, Alban Hefin, Seventh Station of the Year / All Heras. “Midsummer, Druidic festival of Alban Heflin, Anglo-Saxon Litha, is the longest day and seventh station of the year, the time of sanctification. At Stonehenge, the heelstone marks the midsummer sunrise as seen from the center of the stone circle. Since time immemorial, people have acknowledged the rising sun of the midsummer. This is also the Day of All Heras in the women’s mysteries. Heras are women who have achieved full spiritual communion with the Great Goddess.” (Nigel Pennick 2001 [1992]: The Pagan Book of Days, p. 81) A similar construction as described by Pennick concerning Stonehenge is established at Externsteine, in Westphalia, Germany, where I have seen this magical moment many times in my young days. On this sacred day we publish a poem by David J. Jones.

by David J. Jones

Daedulus Seed

Daedulus seed of boldest manhood fell.

Flailing sycamore winged

your broken tempest

sowed itself and you

in the welcoming loam

you fought for.

Earth drawn for reasons now

obscure as why a seed should grow.

Surely only a fool would reap

the harvest of a fate sown wind

and despoil the beautiful myth

of sacrifice.

He dug, found craft, found bone,

separated one from another

and mothering earth,

found a lie,

that parts alone

lay in the victors grave marked yours,

the rest left in the haste of war.

Who found comfort in this plunder?

Not you, the fallen one,

not your living flesh and blood,

not the violated earth,

perhaps not even he who dug for his reasons

still obscure.

He had no right,

forms were missing,

permissions not given,

the T’s not crossed,

the I’s not dotted,

signatures absent,

no-one mentioned it being wrong.

His offence against a desk at MOD,

not a notion that heroes

are best left rooted deep

in hope of an equal crop.

He stated he was “deeply sorry”.

Your amulet and bracelet grace

a museum display,

a talisman long spent,

now rhinegold tainted.

Or is perhaps, the greatest luck,

a worthy death,

for a high ideal,

in the bloom of youth,

at the speed of Gods

and eternity far

from a world of dullards

at squabble over bones.

D. Jonathan Jones

Eirik Westcoat: Carve the Fuþark

by David J. Jones

May 24th 2020: The Mothers / Hermes Trismegistus. “This day is sacred to the Mothers, three goddesses worshiped in Celtic countries as bringers of prosperity and a good harvest. Also the feast day of Hermes Trismegistus, patron of alchemy.” (Nigel Pennick 2001 [1992]: The Pagan Book of Days, p. 73) Alexander E., an initiate of our German group, works on a Fellowship paper, which will illuminate the Mothers, also known as Matronae. This day is sacred to them. However, today we publish a poem by Eirik Westcoat, known in the Gild as Rune- Master Wōðbora Galfróði, a great poet and Skald, whose performances have began many a Moot and raised our moods and brought main to our minds. His works can be purchased in the links following this poem.

CARVE THE FUTHARK

by Eirik Westcoat

Carve the runes
in the right order
to work the sought-for synthesis.
Stain them in flesh
by standing in the shapes;
strengthen your body with staves.

Breathe in air
with brightest runes;
store their essence in self.
See the staves
with sight of craft
in the eyes of lich and light.

Carve them in space,
carefully with gand;
send them strong and swift.
Carve them in air,
artfully with sound;
vibrate the staves with voice.

Carve them in wood,
carefully with sax;
stain the staves with will.
Carve them in mind
with crafty thoughts;
stain those staves in self.

Craft a poem
and compose it well;
rightly tally the runes.
Cast the staves
on a cloth of white;
learn the hidden layers.

‘Tween tree and ring
and temple of flesh,
link the living staves.
Ride on rune-roads
by rowning the staves;
explore the worlds all-wide.

Carve and craft
and cast and breathe
and see and stain and stand
and rown and ride
to rightly know
the fimbul Fuþark Runes!

The poem appears online here for the first time. It is part of a sequence of poems, “The Work of Nine Doors,” (about the curriculum of the Rune-Gild’s The Nine Doors of Midgard) which may be found in print, along with lots of other runic and esoteric material, in Eirik’s Eagle’s Mead (2019), available in hardcover only. More details about the book are at:

https://eirikwestcoat.wordpress.com/eagles-mead

It can be ordered from Amazon UK at <https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eagles-Mead-Initiatory-Poetry-Prose/dp/1947407066/> or you can search for it by title or ISBN, 9781947407060, at other Amazon sites or the bookseller of your choice.

However, this poem, and thirty others from that book, will soon be reprinted in a smaller and more affordable paperback, Galdored Runes: A Portion of Eagles Mead, to be released on the Solstice, June 20. See <https://eirikwestcoat.wordpress.com/galdored-runes-bookling/> for more details and store links when they become available.

P.D. Brown: Tiw

by David J. Jones “Earth and Sky”

May 6th 2020 : On the night when Máni – mighty tongue of heaven – is now full, is the day of the Norwegian Pagan Martyr, Eyvind Kelve, who “was killed on the order of King Olaf Trygvason for refusing to give up his faith in the Pagan gods. The Enlightenment of the Buddha is celebrated in many Buddhist traditions on the day of the full moon in May.” (Nigel Pennick 2001 [1992]: The Pagan Book of Days, p. 68) A perfect day for an illuminating poem by pagan poet and Rune Master, P. D. Brown, an accomplished storyteller, excellent carver of Runestones and magical crafter of weaving words, who is profoundly steeped in the Poetic Imagination of our ancestors and skillful Skalds. The poem illuminates the mysteries behind, below and beyond the rune Tiwaz. As the Gild tradition is essentially an oral tradition it is best to experience the magical power of storytelling at a campfire on a starry night, when P. D. Brown’s words are woven into the very fabric of reality – their meaning shining in his eyes and the stars, like many of us did at the last World Moot in Vermont three years ago. Hail to the one-armed Sky-God and God of the thing!

Tiw (as in Tuesday). T, the god Tiw.

by P. D. Brown

Points up and on and to another lore;

Amidst the blue, upstanding, straight and strong,

The Father in the Sky, the God of War

Makes might have right, defeats those who are wrong,

Ideal of judgement, speared a thousand times

Down here on earth, where honour guides but few,

Berserker bullys wreak a thousand crimes,

Blaspheme this letter of the law called Tiw!

But there’s another side to him, unseen

‘Til night reveals the firmament above;

Star of the show, secured by spear pole’s head,

Two-ended shaft that joins him to his queen;

Polarity that some might name as love;

A mythic poem: earth and sky as wed.

Šárka Sedláková: Nettle –The Dark Twin of Flax

Tonight, on Walpurgisnacht, also known as Hexennacht, we publish an article about Healing Magic. Šárka Sedláková is an Elder Fellow and paramount in creating the Rune-Gild in Mainland Europe. Her constant contributions to the Gild, her beautiful photographic art, her magical insights and the fact that the next World Moot will take place in the Czech Republic are all proof of her importance to the Rune-Gild and its manifestation in Europa. This is further confirmed by the fact that Šárka is the first magician from the Czech Republic, who ever contributed and added something to esoteric runology as the following article demonstrates:

By Šárka Sedláková

Different kinds of nettle plants are growing in various parts of the world. They have their own place in folklore; they can be used for medicinal purposes and, if one uses their fibres, also for making textiles. Young Spring nettle leaves are used for cooking and can be used as a nutritional substance for pets. Based on earlier Germanic formulas, LINA (‘linen, flax’) and LAUKAZ (‘leek’), I was able to construct a galdor using the Proto-Germanic word, *natōn (nettle), and utilize its unique folkloric power in rituals.

Formulaic word LINA

Lina is probably identical with lin (‘flax’) because flax and leek are both mentioned in Vǫlsa þáttr (Flowers 2014, p. 178). This inscription can also be found on the Fløksand knife in combination with laukaz (‘leek’) to evoke fertility, growth, regeneration (Flowers 2014, p. 178; Pollington 2016, p. 335). The term lina has sometimes been seen as a kind of herbal substance. Looijenga also points out that there are edible parts of flax, namely the seeds. The sequence of runes liin can be also found on bracteates (Flowers 2014, p. 178). These multiple runes “l” can be interpreted as laukaz or lina or a combination of both of them (Mees, MacLeod2006, p. 104; Looijenga 2003, p. 355).

Nettle in Germanic and Slavic Folklore

An Anglo-Saxon spell (Harley MS. no. 585 fol. 186) mentions nettles as one of the herbs that is used against fær-stice, a sudden sting on the side. Nettles from this perspective are clearly magical and not only a medicinal plant because it is necessary to pick nettles that grow through a fence (Grimm 1882, p. 1244). Jacob Grimm further explains that this kind of stinging was considered to be caused by spirits, hags or elves, similar to an elf-shot. It is necessary to understand that we have here a stinging plant that is partly ‘evil’ and otherworldly. It can harm people, just like thorns, thistles and thorny bushes. The same nature can be used to exorcise ‘evil’ or thursic forces that caused the sickness to begin with. The word nettling also means ‘irritate or annoy someone’.

It is also worth noting that the nettle plant is mentioned under the name stiðe in the Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm. In this charm, Woden strikes a wyrm (‘worm’) with nine glory twigs. The worm then flies apart into nine pieces – diseases (Pollington 2011, p. 459).

Nettles growing around fences, in ditches and on the edge of the forest are liminal plants, meaning a hedge plant that connects two (or more) worlds. This is a source of the nettles power.

Czech and Polish folk-magic also consider that the ambivalent nature of nettle is a source of its powers (Michalička 2017, p. 25). Some nettle spells contain work with liminal spaces, such as fences, rims of a field or a threshold under which nettle plants have to be buried in order for protection. In Czech and German folklore nettles are used during a storm to magically protect beer from spoiling (Grimm 1882, p. 1790; Michalička 2017, p. 25), and in Slovenia nettles are also used as protection from lightning strikes (Michalička 2017, p. 25).

Another important Germanic magical motif can be found in a fairy-tale about a girl who had to harvest nettles with her bare hands and make shirts from nettle fibres for her brothers, who turned into swans or ravens from a curse. Hans Christian Andersen also wrote a story with boys who turned into swans who needed nettle shirts in order to turn them back into human beings. For this story, Andersen used various older folklore motifs which can be found in the ATU Index as folktales of type 451 (The Brothers Who Were Turned into Birds). Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm wrote their version, The Twelve Ravens, where the origin of fibres is not specified.

The Russian fairy tale from a collection Ненаглядная красота (1949) about Maria the Golden Hair and Ivanushka combines both textile materials. Ivanushka has to fight a fire-spitting dragon to free Maria. So, his grandmother makes him a nettle shirt and, during the process of making the shirt, she constantly cries from pain. She gives him two pieces of clothing—one is a fine linen skirt for a lower garment and the other a nettle shirt as an outer piece of armour; He then dons both pieces of clothing. The last remaining head of the Nine-Headed Dragon bites the nettle shirt and burns its mouth. Ivanushka and Maria finally kill the monster.

Formulaic word NATŌN

In order for a proper galdor formula to be written in the runes of the Elder Futhark it is necessary to reconstruct a word into Proto-Germanic, a proto-language which used the Elder Futhark. There are two reconstructed names available: *natōn and *natilōn (Köbler 2014; Orel 2003, p. 281, 282). The Germanic root *nat– (in both *natilōn and natōn) is from PIE *ned (‘to bind’). The original runic formulas tend to use shortened versions, e.g., lin instead of lina, or just „l“. Therefore, the version *natōn was selected which can be even shortened as an N-rune.

In the chart above, the functions of flax and nettle are already given, these competences should not be understood as opposites but rather as complementary forces within nature. To fortify their complementarities, we can add the third element, laukaz (leek), which would be a tip of the green flame in this magical formula of vegetables. Flax is a cultivated and soft form of power whilst nettle possesses rough and otherworldly influences.

Bibliography

Flowers, Stephen E. Runes and Magic: Magical Formulaic Elements in the Older Runic Tradition (Third Revised and Expanded Edition). 2014. Bastrop, Texas: Lodestar.

Grimm, Jacob. Teutonic Mythology. 1882. London: George Bell and Sons.

Karnauchova, Irina Valerjanovna. Krása nesmírná (orig. Ненаглядная красота, 1949). 1884. Lidové nakladatelství.

Looijenga, Tineke. Texts & Contexts of the Oldest Runic Inscriptions (Northern World). 2003. Leiden, Boston: Brill.

MacLeod, Mindy. Mees, Bernard. Runic Amulets and Magic Objects. 2006.Suffolk: Boydell Press.

Orel, Vladimir. Handbook of Germanic Etymology. 2003. Leiden, Boston: Brill.

Pollington, Stephen. Leechcraft. Early English Charms, Plantlore and Healing. 2011, reprinted POD. Anglo-Saxon Books.

Pollington, Stephen. Runes: Literacy in the Germanic Iron Age. 2016. Anglo-Saxon Books.

On-line sources:

Köbler, Gerhard. Germanisches Wörterbuch, (5. Auflage). 2014. On-line.

http://www.koeblergerhard.de/germwbhinw.html?fbclid=IwAR3FHatkVy5dZy-WbJDALYtEJAtGlZnDw-_HODhr-6od1yME-preUebIdmQ

Michalička, Václav. Kopřiva. Plevel, který šatil. 2017. Nový Jičín: Muzeum Novojičínska, příspěvková organizace.

https://www.muzeumnj.cz/muzeum-a-pametni-sin-sigmunda-freuda-v-pribore/muzeum-z-domova/publikace-kopriva-plevel-ktery-satil-pdf/

The Brothers Who Were Turned into Birds:

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0451.html

David J. Jones: Creation Myth

by David J. Jones

We present Issue #19, Threemilk Moon, which will be our last issue of that sort as we decided to post contributions by Gilders worldwide more regularly. Today a very special and highly talented poet, Skald, painter, magician, madman, necromancer and performance artist, David J. Jones, is presented. His poems speak for themselves, so I won’t say more, except: To see Rune Master David J. Jones performing his poems live is the most enchanting and powerful way to experience his genius radiating out of his Wode, the ecstatic abode of Asgard, where he turns into a channel of the Gods. His jokes are the funniest, his presence is the loveliest and yet his Soul reaches the darkest darkness sometimes, which you feel through his poetry. This is the hallmark of all great poets and great Souls…

CREATION MYTH

When the Gods made you and I my friend
they weren’t thinking of angels.
When the Gods made you and I my friend
they laughed out loud at their mischief,
their intentions were not for the good,
the heavens wept tears of blood
and the world knew punishment had come.

When the Gods made you and I my friend
the wolf, the bear, the snake,
the eagle, the raven and shark
cocked an eye and said,
“Behold! To us are born brothers”.

When the Gods made you and I my friend
the sun fled, set early,
the moon refused to rise.
Twilight reigned the world for an age.
Our womb, the abyss
stared curious into its offsprings eyes,
flinched and turned its gaze
to sweeter vistas.

When the Gods made you and I my friend
the world sought to forge us anew in our sleep.
The forge was as a mistral,
the anvil as a feather pillow
and the hammer blows as falling blossom.
The smith trailed his useless tool
and left us to our infant slumber.

When the Gods made you and I my friend
they cast us out saying “too beautiful”,
the monsters said “too ugly for our kin”
and the men just fled saying “human, too human”.
We cared not, that we were
was enough for us.
When the Gods made you and I my friend,
when the Gods made you and I.

D. Jonathan Jones

Issue #18 – Easter-Moon

Today, for our Easter Moon issue, we publish the second part of Dave Lee’s interpretation of the Germanic creation myth. The Germanic peoples, like all ancient pagan cultures, believed that every creation is followed by a destruction, after which rebirth – we’re reminded of the rune Berkano – and recreation take place: spring, Ostara, light, life, liberation. In these days though, during the Corona panic pandemic, we experience the power of destruction, Ragnarök, dissolution, chaos. But I am reminded of Dave Lee’s words: “Spring-tide is the tide of Chaos. True magic appears as everyday life becomes transparent, open to endless becoming.” In these times of chaos, look deep inside and find the dragon eye in the void, where recreation and endless becoming give birth to new possibilities and potential futures. These principles are also echoed in the following text about the process, in which the world(s) came into being.

An Evolving Creation.

Act 3: The Giants

Ymir inherited the fertility of the Gap in a different way to her. Sucking in its vast free lunch, he lived and prospered, a sublime, grotesque, unconscious, automatistic perfection. His organs mated as he slept and sweated, slept in a lumpy void with no particular up or down, slept with a Möbius strip as a pillow.

Ymir, the sloppy, dirty supergiant, already his parts have fucked, one with another, and bred giants. Each of his brood, stemming as it did from a burned-out completeness, a husk of an old flower gone to seed, took with it part of his form and power and wandered off to do giant things.

Act 4: The First Mind

Audhumla lay down in the dim red light, licking her way further into the wall of cosmic ice. The third being came as no surprise for her. Cows are not equipped for surprise, and when a half-grown, unthreatening life form appeared in the ice she just kept on licking. It grew towards her warmth, her udders swelled with expectation, and she mooed softly in pleasure at this Other to love and nurture. It looked like a man.

And the man-being bred with a giant, and the universe’s etin-genetics reshuffled once again – giving rise to Odin.

Maybe that, then, is why Ymir, the unconscious universe, went to sleep: because consciousness had arrived. Odin immediately gets a grip on the situation and out of the pre-conscious chaos slumbering around him he hacks a meaningful world.

Act 5: Time Begins With A Murder

Ymir is a grimy slob, his beer belly hanging over the edge of the greasy settee where he has snoozed for millennia, one leg fucking with the other, entities crawling out of his armpits. This is the dregs of a previous cycle of time, of evolution, as witnessed by the new stage – consciousness, Odin.

Odin walks in, and with aristocratic contempt, says ‘Look at this fucking mess’, and proceeds to make a universe from Ymir’s body and blood and hair, his empty plastic takeaway containers, cans and fag ends, the leavings of that former perfection.

It is a triumph of consciousness, not because the pre-conscious, Ymir, is evil – but because that is what consciousness has to do – that is what this tale tells us: Undifferentiated unity must be broken for individual consciousness to arise. Or, time begins with a murder.

Now the TV is on a dead channel, the 3.5 Kelvin background grime of the cosmos fizzing on a grainy screen. The eruption came and went and still just crackles on as new awarenesses gape with awe at its incredible velocity and ferocious meaninglessness. That is what it’s like at the beginning of time.

Act 6: Subcontract, Automate, Devolve Power: The Dwarves

The orderly dwarves built the hierarchies within which they live, built the whole world of perception, opened the eyes of the world… and eventually united with its light and life, when the Lady came to love them; but that is another tale, for another time.

You can find the secret powers, still at work in the world…

Act 7: The Gift Of Self To Self

Consciousness has arrived. The god has acted; what does it mean? He is alone in a universe that he has set in motion. He will wrest meaning from it by an act of sacrifice, in order to interact with the only other thing he can possibly interact with: the totality, all that he is not: the cosmos.

So, Odin met the Other, and gained the runes.

Act 8: And Here We Are!

The god has encoded the keys to consciousness in the runes. Now this pattern must be passed on to other sentient life.

So we come to the creation of humans, to the part of the story where we try to explain ourselves to ourselves, to understand what kind of being we are. The story of the three brothers ensouling us gives three forces, three centres, three ‘brains’.

Act 9: Deals, Ends, Beginnings

The realm of the gods is established, and now the Aesir, the tribe of Odin, the gods of conscious life, enter into relationships with the other entities that inhabit their universe. However, the deals they make are subject to the laws of that universe, its ancient layers, and the seeds of its downfall are sown at the same moments as many of the actions that create and sustain that world.

The Ragnarok is the tale of the completion of the processes of creation, the return of the cycle to its origin-point, the end and a new beginning.

Adapted from Dave Lee’s ‘Bright From the Well’.

Issue #17 – Storm-Moon

Welcome to the Storm-Moon issue! Today we present the first part of Dave Lee’s illuminating and surprising interpretation of the creation myth in the Edda. This story can be found with other inspiring tales and insightful articles in his Masterwork for the Gild  Bright From The Well.
The following is an excerpt from this book:
The tale we read in Völuspá and Gylfaginning of the formation of the world from cosmic fire and ice, the growth of the giant and the cow and the sacrifice of the giant to pave the way for an intelligible cosmos is not really a creation myth. There is no overall creator, sitting in gaseous solitude until he ejects everything. Rather, it is a myth about how automatic cosmic processes give rise, by a process of fatal inevitability, to stages of evolution.

It provides a sophisticated hierarchy of the development of new forms. We start with cosmic principles – fire and ice, and the pregnant magical void ginnungagap which separates them. The next level of organization to arise is that of the androgyne Ymir and the cow Audhumla. From Ymir grows the race of giants. Among these giants are the etins, wise immortals who appear to us a little like the laws of the universe. In parallel, Audhumla licks and shapes the matrix of ice and salt where a proto-man is growing. These new forms interbreed to form the first truly conscious beings – Odin and his two brothers Vili and Ve. The brothers dismember Ymir, the old universe, and build a new one which reflects their conscious state. Consciousness is carried forward from the gods into the stream of organic life when the three brothers endow two trees with that spark and give rise to the first man and woman.

We can see that we are living in a layered universe, each layer of novel development stacked on top of another layer of completed development. All the structures that our awareness is built on top of are still visible. All the ancient layers are still with us. I have hung the tales and ideas onto that robust old story, understood as a sequence of nine stages.

Preamble, Or Act 0: The Seeress.

She sits in a cave at the centre of all edges, in the twilight of morning, in the red dusk behind closed eyes. In her gaze the universe around her creates and destroys, harvests and sows, cherishes and abandons, emits and absorbs, spins the moon’s emptiness and fullness… The soundtrack is a timeless music, as if you just walked into a performance that has been going on for forty thousand years. A single eye blazes out from under the traveller’s broad-brimmed hat. He leans forward. ‘So how did it begin?’She takes a long, silent breath. Her eyeballs roll up under closed eyelids, as if she is brimming with something.’It happened in stages. Each stage led to the next, with no possibility of it happening any other way.’

Act 1: Fire And Ice

In the polarity of cosmic Ice and Fire arises the spring Hvergelmir, rivers of venom roll, frost fills the gap, thaws and drips…We are in a moment before life appears, in the presence of the most primal layer of power.

Act 2: The Cow And The Androgyne

He lives on the melting ice, always has done. In the frost-covered void he meets the cow Audhumla and feeds from the streams of milk that flow from her four udders. She too is always there, a child of the Gap-frost. She smells salt and moves away from the hot place. She blends into the mist, through which occasionally emerge glimpses of an icy void, her world ending just over there. She follows the bloody scent to the edge of the ice sheet. She lives on an eternal edge, on a shrunken border between two unlivable extremes, two universes of death. The air is always wet.

Issue #16, Wolf-Moon

Welcome to the Wolf-Moon issue! This will be the final issue under present editorship; Issue 17 onwards will be edited by Mathew Hern.

For this issue, I present my own Rune-Poem, from 2001 c.e.

 

Rune – Poem

FEE to be free must freely be given;

gold hoarded makes human cattle;

the serpent’s shining scales crawl with fatal envy.

 

AUROCH’s strength is limitless, surging from the shadowed earth;

an ancient bull bellows on the frozen moor –

but fine rain melts hard ice

 

THURS thrusting from the mindless rocks;

three thorns thrown for torment;

but this force is terrible for man or woman to grasp.

 

ANSUZ is the tearing wind of Odhr’s breath;

the mighty Word leads the wise,

but is a terrible sword to the common man

 

RIDING on the right road is a swift journey,

and in the hall a ready rede,

but rowning the rites is rough on the horse

 

KEN’s cunning fire makes clear light;

yet children cannot play

with the scourge of art

 

GIFT is honour to the host and good for the guest,

and a kiss that begets greatness;

though the wise should grasp the cost of the gain.

 

WYN is wonder when the wind waves the banner,

and happiness of the war-band;

but if a man lose his way in joyous company,

then woeful is his lot

 

 

 

HAIL is hurled from the heavens,

wreaking harm to crops, and havoc to the beast;

yet it is the seed of perfection,

sown for the world’s remaking.

 

NEED is a narrow way through hardship,

and terrible toil;

yet it is a goad to greatness,

and the midwife of magic.

 

ICE is cold beauty, the bridge over endless chaos;

slippery and untrustworthy, it is death to the fey;

but the wise may use and enjoy, while trusting not.

 

YEAR brings to term whatever we sow;

the good earth guarantees growth –

but the gain is in grief

when the germ is rotten

 

YEW stands alone, strongest in the stead;

yet its branches bear berries of death;

and none but a Lord may string the bow of fire.

 

PERTHRO is played with passion and joy,

testing and igniting the luck of bold Lords;

yet things unknown to men are born in the web of Wyrd.

 

ELKSEDGE shoots up from the mud

sharp and dangerous to the young seeker who tries to grasp it,

setting out on the bloody road to wisdom.

 

SUN’s glory guides the seaman on his voyage;

if he has no love for clouds and ice,

victorious he returns 

 

 

TYR the noble leader faces the great wolf;

a lone star shows him his truth;

often must he turn to guide his clan,

showing not his one hand.

 

BIRCH is first to brighten the young wood,

her lovely limbs beauty and birth and nurture;

but the unwary spirit may be lulled to sleep in her shade.

 

HORSE is true friend, and good speed among the nine worlds,

and joyous companionship;

but if carelessness brings nightmare, then closeness is deadly

 

MAN is joy unto man, glad mortal company in the ship of forever;

but law and compromise must he make

when love fails

 

LAKE is life’s water, and endless depth unto death,

and the place of fearful sacrifice;

but the leek thrusts up green and healing

 

ING is the God of the old forest earth,

reaching East,

reversing the spin of the polar swastika,

bringing serpent gold from the ancient past.

 

DAY is the famous light,

mirth and hope to all,

and the unseen cleft in the world’s dawn

 

HOME is the enclosure, warded with inborn might, and holy,

where live the athelings in freedom and pleasure,

if there be right;

but many a stronghold is poor in spirit,

and a place of woe to its folks.

Issue #15, Yule-Moon

Welcome to the Yule-Moon issue. We have a contribution from Michael Kelly, a piece which takes us from psychology to magic, perhaps the readiest route to the esoteric in scientistic culture. Other of his writings can be sampled here. We also have some samples of Nigel Pennick‘s magical artwork – ceramic plaques. Details of Mr Pennick’s books can be seen here.

Rune Magic for Sceptics

One of the first things that we can discern by studying the Futhark is that the runes all have concrete, readily understandable meanings. They either refer to something tangible, such as cattle, the Sun or a yew tree, or they refer to a readily understood concept, experience or emotion, such as joy, or a year. The inner principles which lie behind these rune meanings are likewise easy to understand. Everyone knows what is meant when we talk of finance, or necessity, or motherhood, or ferocity.

So if I turn around to a complete sceptic and say, “We have here twenty four runes, which are each a kind of shorthand for the things and the principles that they represent. If you spend time memorising these runes and their shades of meaning, you will give yourself an easy way of cataloguing these aspects of reality, which you will then be able to bring back to mind in all their fullness simply by seeing or thinking upon the shape or sound of the rune.” That sceptical person will find little reason to find fault with what I have said. By spending time to learn the runes, they will provide themselves with powerful mnemonic keys to bring these meanings back to mind. There is nothing ooga-booga or make-believe about this, everything is grounded in what can be seen, felt and experienced by any rational person. So far, so good.

If this sceptic then worked hard at internalising the runes, their meanings and principles, until they provoked automatic subconscious recall and recognition, they would then find no difficulty in agreeing with me when I pointed out that we had now installed brain software which would categorise and assess internal and external phenomena and impressions. For instance, if they took a car journey, they would think raidho; if they saw the Sun in the sky, they would think sowilo; if they gave a present to their spouse, they would think gebo; if they flicked a light switch, channelling electricity to illuminate a room, they would think kenaz. And all of these associations would occur naturally and instantly, purely by dint of them having learned the attributes of the runes. There is nothing supernatural about any of this.

But what if I wanted to teach this sceptic how to work magic? Would such a thing be possible? All I would have to do is point out to him that since the runes were now encoded in his subconscious, he could use them to bring into conscious consideration all manner of insights and bright ideas that might not otherwise have occurred to him. All he would need to do in order to achieve this would be to encode a suitable message in runes; these runes would then cross the conscious-subconscious divide and bring forth the desired deep level response.

For example, let’s say our sceptical runeworker is short of money. He will struggle to pay the rent this month unless he somehow manages to remedy a shortfall in his cash flow. So he takes a small piece of paper or wood and writes upon it the following runes:

F N O P F

Fehu bookends the design, emphasising his need for money. Othila has the central position, because the purpose of the required funds is the security of his home; he needs to pay the rent. Othila is flanked on one side by nauthiz, emphasising that this money is requested out of genuine need, not flippantly; on its other side is perthro, calling upon the opportunities to fulfil this need.

The sceptical runeworker then smears the prepared runes with a tiny amount of his own blood. This invests himself in the process and asserts his responsibility for the runes he has written. A gesture of this sort is not lost upon the subconscious. He then sings the rune names as he stares at the prepared paper or wood, sending his request deeper into his subconscious as he does so. When he feels ready, he burns the paper or wood to ashes, symbolically removing the matter from his conscious fretting and relying upon his subconscious to furnish the solution. This it will invariably do. Within the next two or three days, he may recall some forgotten item hidden in the loft that he may sell to raise the needed money. Or his senses may simply be more open to opportunities which are always around him in his daily life, but which he normally pays no heed to. Someone needs to hire temporary bar staff perhaps? Or he realises he has some skill that others are willing to pay for which he has never previously considered? We are all surrounded by a multitude of such opportunities every day, but we make a point of ignoring them because usually they don’t matter and we have other things on our minds. But his subconscious now jumps to the task, alerting him to these things which are usually filtered out of his awareness. If it judges that his short term shortfall is symptomatic of a longer term problem, it may even give him the necessary nudges to effect a more permanent change in circumstances. But if done properly, the magic will work. And he doesn’t have to believe in a single supernatural element; he need only believe in his own psychology.