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.