Issue #14, Fore-Yule-Moon

Welcome to the Fore-Yule-Moon issue, with guest editor Dawid Rudzinski. Dawid is an artist and some more of his work can be seen here.

 

A Call To Arms

We live in a time when the stench of Zeitgeist is the incense on altars of abandoned Spirit. The breaking of bonds with nature shattered the shreds of the human spirit, irretrievably preventing many from rising to what is divine in Man. Fenrir’s abstract bindings are broken, his hunger freed, consumerism devours the Sun, our highest aspiration for growth.

The schools that were created for growth of the soul have been overtaken by Thurses. Religions become empty words attracting us with their exoticism; they are at most an ornament, a decoration or a superficial lifestyle. Alternative paths of development seem to be for the most part a big pseudo-magic tinsel shop. The task of the modern priest is to tune man to the best consumer performance. Such a coach will explain to you that you are a winner; then you will give your blood and lose your life, becoming the fuel for this machine of decline of the Spirit. You will do it with a smile on your face, drunk, intoxicated by dancing at the funeral of a human/god hybrid. The emptiness yawns and terrifies; depression this year is the second-most dominant disease of our time. In 2020 it will triumph, winning gold in this macabre race. Depression is a disease of the soul, it is aggression directed against itself. Fenrir is doing well!

 

dav

In all this chaos, sprinkled with powdered corpses staring at the technological idols erected on the pillars of science and atheism, the North Star, the unshakeable axis of the wheel of the world, tirelessly points the way for daredevils ready to fight the giants, to the Holy War, to a personal War for their own Spirit.

No time has called you more to find your axis mundi. To find the eternal immovable nail supporting the vault. Indeed, this path is endless, without even a visible goal. Nobody promises a golden mountain, holy peace, mindfulness or nirvana. The joy and reward is in a search of itself, a creative act which fruit becomes you alone, different, unexpected, unplanned, other. On the way to the unknown, you gradually throw off unnecessary decorations, you put on various masks to adapt to the new conditions and environment. At some point you capture at least for a moment a flash of what is invariably behind each mask …

: Reyn til Runa :!

Dawid Rudziński

Issue #13, Blood-Moon

Welcome to the Blood-Moon issue of Runa-Eormensyl blog. Today we have the final instalment of Ingrid Fischer’s Germanic Soul-Lore, Fate. As Ingrid writes, ‘the work on your soul should not stop here’; I hope some of you have been inspired to carry on this work and make it part of your lives!

FATE

Asc veit ec standa,                        heitir Yggdrasill.

hár baðmr, ausinn             hvítaauri;

þaðan koma døggvar,                      þærs í dala falla,

stendr æ yfir, grœnn,                         Urðar brunni.

 

Þaðan koma meyiar,                        margs vitandi,

þriár, ór þeim sæ,                   er und þolli stendr;

Urð héto eina,                         aðra Verðandi

– scáro á seíði – ,                     Scul ina þriðio;

þær løg løgðo,                         þær líf kuro

alda bornom,                           ørløg seggia.

– Voluspá, stanzas 19-20.

 

I know an ash tree,                 called Yggdrasil,

A mighty tree                         moist with white dews;

From there come the floods falling in the valley;

Evergreen it stands             over Urth’s well.

 

From there came three maidens             deep in wisdom-

From the water               which stands under the tree-

Urth one is called,             the other, Verthandi,

Skuld the third:               scores they cut.

Laws they made,             lives they chose:

For the children of men     they marked their fates.

Thus we are told in the Elder Edda: Three maidens, the three Nornir, determine the fate of men. Urdhr, Verdhandi and Skuld they are called. Remember that in previous chapters we spoke about them at length in connection with the Germanic concept of time. Verdhandi, that which is becoming, Urdhr that which has become, and Skuld that which out of necessity has to become.

In Old Norse soul lore there are several layers to fate, and broadly speaking we may distinguish between individual fate and the fate common to all members of a clan, a folk and even to all living beings (or beings with a soul), whereby the individual fate is also contained in the fate common to all living beings. Fate in Old Norse is called ørlög that is the primal law, fate, weird, or doom. Ørlög also means the primal layers and from here we may see that the three Nornir do not just speak the fate of individual beings (ørløg seggia) but also that of the clan and mankind in general. To say it simply, no man comes from nothing or nowhere. Each newborn child bears inherently in it all experience and all happenings from those who came before, be it the genetic make-up, the family history, the wars his forebears fought, the fields his ancestors ploughed, and so forth. Ørlög is the layers that have been laid down by past actions and which condition present and future. Implicitly, this means that each and every one of us contributes to his own fate and to that of his descendants.

I have avoided saying that each of us is ‘responsible’ for his own fate, because although we are responsible to some degree, it is only in the short time span of Verdhandi. It is all there in the well of wyrd, in Urdhr’s well. All our actions turn into what has become and what is to become by necessity, however, all our actions are pre-conditioned by those who have been before us and whose actions and results lie in Urdhr. The Old English word for fate is wyrd, a feminine noun developed from the past tense of the Old English verb wêorðan, ‘to become’ or ‘to turn’. Wyrd, therefore, is that which has become and which affects present and ‘future’1. Again, this leads us back to the Old English Wyrd Sisters or the Old Norse Nornir. This cyclic view is the Germanic concept of ‘fate’ and shows a close link with the concepts of time and causality. Urdhr and Verdhandi condition, but do not determine Skuld. This is exactly the point I have raised earlier, namely that each man is responsible for taking his fate into his own hands and giving it his personal, individual shape. Or, as Edred Thorsson says in Green Rûna, speaking about Urdhr, Verdhandi and Skuld: ‘The first two condition but do not determine the third. These conditions are produced by the deeds of the person who receives the fruits of those deeds. The Nornir are not causal agents but rather the numinous organisms through which the energies of actions are received, transformed, and re-directed back to their source.’2

Fate, as the sum of all our ancestors’ and mankind’s development which has been passed on to us, is ‘impersonal’ and cannot be changed as it is woven in and through the past, the past that was before the ‘person’ began. The ancestors (in most cases) created this past and the ones before them theirs. The fylgja carries in it all their pasts and holds the individual’s fate. It is impersonal because the seeds were laid before the individual came into being. It is stored in Urdhr and cannot be changed. What has been done cannot be undone. There is a small window though: every moment in an individual’s life when everything becomes personal. In Verdhandi it is up to the individual to deal with his fate and create new fate and a new part of Urdhr, laying the seeds for Skuld. In Verdhandi, and only in Verdhandi, the gods can have influence and guide and change the individual’s way. One could even say that the gods exist in Verdhandi eternally, at least on the level of an individual’s understanding. The gods live, work and create the past, namely Urdhr, in Verdhandi. Fate lies beyond this and even the gods cannot alter it.

Practical work:

This is the last part but your work on your soul should not stop here. This should be a life-long pursuit. There will be setbacks of course, but the most important thing is to never give up, always keep going, one step after the other.

Start by standing up straight’ inhale and intone, three times:

 

uruz ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

uruz ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

uruz ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

Contemplate the three Nornir and what they stand for. Concentrate on Verdhandi and what this means to you; what can you do in every single moment of time – now – to affect Urdhr and Skuld; and by doing so, not only affecting your own fate but also that of your descendants.

1 Germanic people did not have our concept of future; this came to us from outside our own culture and was adopted early on by Christianity.

2 Edred Thorsson, Green Rûna, Runa-Raven Press, Texas, 1996

Issue #12, Winter-Moon

New Moon greetings to all our readers! This month we have a facsimile-excerpt from a 1998 book which is hard to find these days: The Valknutr: 9 Lays of Power, by Valgard. The valknut itself, as I learned from my mentor in the Gild, Godwin, is the ultimate glyph of Odin, because it summarizes the whole of magical action as being binding or unbinding. This unpacking of the symbolic structure and meaning of the valknut is unique.

Issue 11, Holy Moon / Winter Moon

Welcome to this issue #11, falling between Holy-Moon and Winter-Moon solar months. We have another episode of Ingrid Fischer’s profound and powerful Germanic Soul-Lore, on the Fylgia.

FYLGIA

The fylgja (‘guidance’ or ‘following spirit’, a noun related to the verb fylgja which means ‘to accompany’, ‘to help’), or fetch, is that part of the body/soul complex that receives the energies rising from Urdhr (past deeds) and Verdhandi (current deeds) and transforms them into the individual’s drives and powers which influence his life.

The manns-fylgja (ON, the fetch of a man) is always portrayed as being of the opposite sex, which is reminiscent of Jung’s animus/anima. It works on a mostly semi-conscious, psychosomatic level but individuals who have taken up communication with their unconscious will come to know it and integrate it into their conscious psyche. This is part of what I mean with ‘taking one’s fate into one’s own hands’. The fylgja (at least the manns- and the ættar-fylgja) is passed on after the death of an individual mostly within one family, and we can see why people in old times put great emphasis on their ancestors. This is also partly the reason why it was so important to lead an honourable life and be remembered by one’s deeds.

However, once the individual has gained an insight into the past and his ættar-fylgja (ON, the family guardian spirit), it becomes more evident that the ‘being’ which seems to be ‘other’ than he, is in truth the sum total of all that he is, and all that he has done with the ‘gift’ of the Nornir when he was born.

Something more has to be said about manns- and ættar-fylgja. The first is a man’s individual fylgja, which everyone can have; some men have a very weak and underdeveloped one but powerful men have a strong fylgja. The second is the fylgja of the family or the clan and attaches itself always to the strongest member, who will also have a very strong hamingja. Our ancestors also believed that the fylgja could take on animal form (dyr-fylgja), and it depended on the man’s personality what animal this would be.

It seems that the fylgja is the most personal and individual part of the soul and puts a lot of emphasis on the personality of man; it is the most anthropomorphised of the various soul concepts and appears to have developed a will of its own.

Practical work:

If you have done the practical work over the last four weeks you should be ready to find your animal fetch or dyr-fylgja.

In the introduction to this course Ian mentioned Ristandi’s excellent work on how to get to know your dyr-fylgja, and I recommend that you try this method. This is a simple method from folk-tradition for finding out your animal fetch.

A more sophisticated, in-depth and time-consuming method is the Útiseta working or Rite of Sitting Out which is described in detail by Edred Thorsson1.

Preparation, meditation and the lone work in a secluded place outside somewhere allow for a powerful experience.

1 Edred Thorsson, The Nine Doors of Midgard, Third Revised and Expanded Edition, Texas, 2003.

Issue #10, Holy-Moon

Welcome to Issue 10, Holy-Moon. This issue goes out three days early, because I will be travelling over the New Moon.

This month we have another Rune-Poem, a document that demonstrates an initiate’s understanding of the runes. The title of Nathalie’s poem should make sense to all those who have contemplated the Allfather’s self-to-Self sacrifice on Yggdrasil, and the words of Edred Thorsson on his own contact with Odin.

Runa murmurs to me…

by Nathalie F.

 

FEHU is the flame of the river that spreads all over;

The essential spark to any start.

But from the bond of the snake dissensions arise.

 

URUZ is a horned and courageous animal;

His ferocity defies the novice.

But the nectar fertilises the valleys and fills the horns.

 

THURISAZ is the rage of giants;

The sleep thorn that pricks the valkyrie.

But the hammer swirls and crashes on skulls.

 

ANSUZ is the Lord of the Aesir;

His vital breath bestowed life.

But the guardian of the fountain does not spare his pledge.

 

RAIDHO is the shaman who rides;

The wheel turns and the wagon goes forth.

But he who wants to travel far will spare his mount.

 

KENAZ is the blacksmith’s art and the sun of the house;

The torch releases the darkness.

But the consuming fire defies the piercing stare.

 

GEBO is a gift for a gift;

A sacrifice to the peak of the world.

But better is to refuse what cannot be honoured.

 

WUNJO is the bliss of the carefree man;

Birds of a feather flock together.

But happiness has true worth only when shared.

 

 

HAGALAZ is the hail that plummets and destroys everything;

The shower strikes and releases the sacred seed.

But the ever green plain will turn green again.

 

NAUDHIZ oppresses chests and tightens hearts;

The vital fire flickers and resists distress.

But the hero penetrates his web and shapes it.

 

ISA is the icy beauty of the ford and the sleep of the furrow;

The bark of the rivers leads to the deceased.

But the destitute is chilled to the bone near the tree of crows.

 

JERA is an abundant harvest;

One reaps what one sows.

But everything dies and everything is reborn eternally.

 

EIHWAZ is the sacred tree that underpins the world;

The traveller breathes its vapours.

But its berries taste like the wheat of wolves.

 

PERTHRO tests luck both in combat and games;

The bold rattles the cup of fate.

But Urðr has pronounced her judgement.

 

ELHAZ raises his antlers to the highest in the helm of air;

The initiate soars on the wavering path.

But stung are those who draw too close.

 

SOWILO is the candle of the world that shows the way;

She brings hope on the hawk of the shore.

But if the Cold collapses everything will go up in smoke.

 

 

TIWAZ is the shining lantern on the pathways of the moon;

Raising towards the sky it upholds order and justice.

But the one-armed no longer wields the bough of wounds.

 

BERKANO is the glade that welcomes and conceals;

The ribbons twirl around the immaculate pole.

But barren the sanctuary becomes a cemetery.

 

EHWAZ is the close bond between a horseman and his steed;

Eager for open spaces together they hurry and glide across the worlds.

But his neighing rings like a confidence.

 

MANNAZ is the pleasure of the exchange between peers;

A life of valor calls for a glorious death.

But any given word is immortal.

 

LAGUZ is an endless stretch and the gushing source of life;

The wave stallion bursts into flame and sails seawards.

But the stand of storms works for the ferryman of souls.

 

INGWAZ lies buried in the depths of the earth;

Matured it tears its flesh to coddle men.

But an excess of embraces distracts from the utmost aim.

 

DAGAZ is the Glittering that arouses hope amongst men;

The fires of Surt consume the remains of the ancient world.

But awakened the vitki sees beyond the veil.

 

OTHILA is the sacred ancestral enclosure;

The Follower bonds with the worthy youngest of the noble lineage.

But each one within the boundaries has a role to assume.

Issue #9, Mead-Moon

Welcome to the Mean Moon issue, with Episode 5 of Ingrid Fischer’s Germanic Soul-Lore. This part is on Dreams, and how they can manifest one’s fylgja for guidance and warning.

 

DREAMS

Dreams played a significant part in the lives of the Germanic peoples, and elaborate descriptions of dreams can be read in the Eddas, as in the Second Lay of Gudrun, the Atlamál and the Baldrs Draumar, and also in Old Icelandic saga literature. Dreams in Old Icelandic literature were a favourite means of developing and taking forward the story, especially if they served as prophecy of what was certain to happen later on in the tale. However, it would be all too simple to state that dreams were used as a stylistic device only, far from it. The Germanic peoples believed strongly in the prophetic nature of dreams and it was even considered a disease not to have dreams (ON draum-stoli means a dream-stolen man, a man who never dreams). One’s own fylgja would appear in one’s dreams and warn of striking disaster, or one would see one’s enemy’s fylgja (mostly in animal shape) approaching and would thus know that the enemy was near. Dreams often supply that which is lacking in a person’s conscious attitude and their contents may be seen as the individual’s psychological self-guidance. The prospective function of dreams is an anticipation of future achievements arising in the unconscious – this is Urdhr and Verdhandi necessarily leading to Skuld, or Urdhr and Verdhandi meet and the dreamer can see that which is to become. Dreams are a combination of all perceptions, thoughts and feelings which have escaped consciousness and, furthermore, they have the help of traces of memory which lie below the conscious threshold and are no longer accessible to the conscious mind.

Dreams in saga literature often serve as a means of conveying the inevitability of fate. Man’s feeling of helplessness and powerlessness against fate is shown in many dreams and frequently it is man’s fylgja that warns of doom. It seems almost as if the fylgja would want to offer man a way out – a way of challenging and defeating fate. And indeed, the fylgja is that part of the body/soul complex that brings hidden resources and powers to the fore and offers them to the individual to absorb them into his conscious traits, thereby almost putting them on a higher level and transforming his life – if the individual is open to this. Dreams in present time may be seen much like the ones described above. They frequently show us a way out or more accurately, a way forward, if we are open to listen to them. It will always be our own soul which shows us the way, and dreams are the window to gain us access to its hidden depths.

In the following I shall give you two famous examples of dreams in the saga literature; I recommend that you read some of the better-known sagas in order to get a fuller picture not only of dreams but of life in olden times in general.

Not only fylgjur in animal shapes appear in dreams, but we also find the expressions draumkona and draummaðr, namely dream-woman and dream-man. The most famous ones are probably Gisli’s1 two draumkonur, who are two rival dream-women, one good and one evil, one believed to represent the new faith, i.e. Christianity, and the other one the ancestral belief. It is true that Gisli gave up sacrificing after coming under Christian influence when visiting Viborg in Denmark but, more strongly, the saga shows how Gisli adheres to the old ethics to the end and his belief in an inevitable fate is unbroken. The Saga of Gisli stands out from other sagas in that it describes in clear words the strong emotional bonds that finally lead to Gisli’s death, it speaks about feelings and thus goes further than other sagas, which put the emphasis on outer events, leaving the psychology of the hero in between the lines for the reader to guess. As much as the two opposite dream-women foretell Gisli’s untimely death, they even more show his inner turmoil. He has killed his brother-in-law, his beloved sister’s husband, and even though he was honour-bound to do so, he caused grief for his sister and therefore for himself and his family. Also, he is not by nature violent but is calm and considerate and a loving family man. The saga goes even further and describes how much Gisli has come to fear the dreams of the evil dream-woman; his anxiety grows to such an extent that he is unable to stay on his own and he risks discovery by his enemies rather than being apart from his loving wife and her comfort. One might say that Gisli’s slaying of his brother-in-law is a deed which is out of character and goes against the conscious traits of the hero. The blood and gore which plague him in his dreams accentuate his opposite side and as he is unable to balance the opposites in ways that would lead to him growing as personality, they seal his fate. This is made quite clear in the text where we can see the hero’s increasing inner exhaustion. It is never his courage that fails him, he becomes too weary and there is something self-resigning and passive in the way he faces his hopelessness. In the end, it seems that Gisli is glad to have arrived at the action of his last fight and his death is welcomed as bringing long desired peace.

Another well cited example of dreams in the saga literature can be found in Njal’s Saga. Gunnar of Hlidarend, lifelong friend of Njal, has the following dream: ‘…and in my dream I saw a pack of wolves coming out at me. I retreated down to Rang River, where they leapt at me from all sides, but we fought them off. I shot those that were in the lead, until they pressed so close that I could not use my bow. Then I drew my sword and fought with sword in one hand and halberd in the other; I never used my shield and did not know what was protecting me. I killed many of the wolves, and you were protecting me, Kolskegg; but they overpowered Hjort and ripped open his chest, and one of them seized his heart in its jaws. Then in my dream my rage was so violent that I sliced the creature in two behind the shoulder; and with that the rest of the wolves fled.’2 Later that very day of Gunnar’s prophetic dream events took place just as he had described them. Again, we see animals as the bearers of what is to come, and in this example they are wolves as the fylgjur of Gunnar’s enemies. Not long after this bloodbath with the feud ongoing, Gunnar is made an outlaw for three years and ordered to leave the country. He refuses to do so, as he cannot bear to give up the beauty of his homeland. This and the treachery of his wife, Hallgerd, eventually lead to his untimely death – just as his prescient friend Njal had foreseen.

Practical work:

Having concentrated on the core triad for the last two weeks, you should now start keeping a dream diary (if you already do so, even better). Watch out for any symbolism or very realistic dreams about the three components of your soul’s core triad. Are there any animals appearing in your dreams? Do you feel they could hint at your animal fetch?

1 The Saga of Gisli, translated by George Johnston, notes by Peter Foote. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1963.

2 Njal’s Saga. Translated with an introduction by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Pálsson, Penguin Books, 1960

Issue #8, Afterlithe-Moon

Welcome to this, the Afterlithe-Moon issue. This month, we have a Rune-Poem by D. Jonathan Jones, who is a poet and a Master in the Rune-Gild. His books of poetry include The Songs, available here.

There are a small number of historical Rune-Poems which all runic practitioners will (or should) know their way around. Beyond this, part of the initiatic process of the Rune-Gild’s Nine Doors programme is to write your own Rune-Poem, crystallizing your own understanding of the staves into something that can act to inspire other Runers. David’s Rune-Poem is written to the staves of the Elder Futhark, in a special structure with nine lines to each stave.

We shall also be publishing other Rune-Poems in the next few months.

Three Paths Through Midgard

A Rune Poem
By D. Jonathan Jones

Fehu
I awoke! As if at the first dawn.
What was this burning that stirred me thus?
As if all my open eyes beheld
Were a flame and as lit from within
Or as by some magic spun from gold.
Where my eye fell was fire and gilded.
Kin saw not, minds chewed cud and slept still.
The grey shapes moved silent in the woods,
Heavy hung the gold torc mystery.

Uruz
Fled I from the herd to the wild moor.
To heal, grow strong, twixt water and earth,
And so thus I did in Utgard thrive.
Bold I roamed the moor to hone my form.
I sought the beast, sought the great horned one,
My mettle to prove in hunt and kill.
I saw him not, save once in a dream,
He nosed the scraps of my shed man-skin
Said “No beast here is abroad save thee”.

Thurisaz
Thus, as a thurs I roamed the wildness,
And delighted in my strength and force,
Hate and fear my only bedfellows.
A terror to men and women was,
Till all had fled and alone I stood.
Raged I then at the wind and mountains,
Raged I then at my own fierce raging,
Until, as though I watched some other,
Sat down a fool and in this was wise.

Ansuz
Now my power seethed within its banks.
Safe, the sword enclosed within its sheath.
Thus, I set to seeking out all things
And by knowing all, perchance know me.
My eyes sought the stuff behind all forms,
Each knowing brought a hundred questions.
Was there no end to each mystery,
As I spoke its name and knew its soul?
So behold! A god now rode the beast.

Raidho
And, so the road it lay before me.
Ever I sought my stories’ kenning.
Who knows how far then did I wander?
Oft I made a path where there was none;
Driven on as if I was the mount,
Lost to the rhythm of the riding
And found within the rhythm of it.
I was road and rider and ridden;
The endless destination was self.

Kenaz
By my journeying, changed was I made.
The fevered sore brought forth the new flesh.
Ran glad into uncertain darkness,
Lit with torch of self in search of self,
Stoked I glad the timbers of my pyre.
Beat slag from mind with hammer of mind,
Forged anew, shook myself from ashes,
Burning with craft all formed at my thought,
As though it were thought that gave all form.

Gebo
Given the greatest of gifts I was.
Yet, was this body new to my mind
Or mind gifted fresh to this poor flesh?
Each breath as though a world in full flux,
Each moment charged with aeons portent,
I was gift and giver and gifted.
This one prize of all and of nothing.
To which god should I give for this luck?
Mind given mind, in this I was god.

Wunjo
Joy was all; life a roaring pleasure.
From this high place my laughter rang loud,
But the shadow that it must end loomed.
How then to cheat death in this revel?
Where voices sang my name, there was I.
Where mind sought mind, there was I searching.
Return then I, though outside remain.
I mirthsome rode to holy mischief,
To light fires in the minds of sleepers.

Hagalaz
Wyrd crashed in like hail on the barley.
Knew we our borders through their breaching.
Most crave frith, good harvest, a straw death.
What is a warrior without war?
Secret our smiles at peace broke in shards,
Enemies welcomed as an old friend.
War is the holy; it brings forth change.
Wherever swords meet there is Utgard,
The sacred isle where heroes endure.

Nauthiz
The frost of war drove our need fire’s bow,
This, then, the ordeal of our heart’s wood.
All chests tighten at the call to arms;
When steel meets steel, which need proves greater?
The coward’s life or family name?
Whose bold red dew flows down to wyrd’s well?
Whose heart proves weak and beats on in shame?
Who shall lie ash and who rise as fire?
Our doubt, the grand thrill in this testing.

Isa
With ice of will we hearth the war fire,
Fix firm in mind thought of victory.
The new blade is tempered in cold flow,
Thus hard, its doom to bathe in blood warm.
True warriors cool in battle’s heat,
Heart as stone to the death, gore and screams.
His own death as nought to the bold man.
Worse, freeze in fear or flee from the field?
Who dies, whose name and deeds live in song?

Jera
The season of war gives frith meaning.
Long are the hours at play with steel,
Thus, arms grow stronger for the harvest.
The fruit of this toil: skill at slaughter.
What is sown and grown must then be reaped.
How we die gives meaning to our life.
Warriors scream loud at the spear thrust,
But greater fear a silent deathbed,
Worse still, live on as a foe’s plough-slave.

Eihwaz
Dead is the tree without root or branch.
Rich blood flows down to roots, well and Hel,
What soars up to the highest of boughs?
Warriors are all light and all shade,
Minds dappled wild in Utgard’s bower.
Our praises sung while we were at war,
Fearful eyes watch us brood in boredom.
Peace? Better for us death’s cold embrace;
I know not me till I find a foe.

Perthro
Fate rolls our dice out on the bloodfield,
Where luck is tested best, in struggle.
Some throw the bloodtwigs and ponder Wyrd,
But the warrior’s soul is action
In the gaming of king against king,
But kings move, too, as a God’s board piece.
When swords meet, time stops, wyrd and should sleep.
The unfolding is all, is endless,
Till the lot is cast and one must die.

Elhaz
He gave good service, left not the field,
Bold in the fray his cuts were deadly.
Slain now, in youth’s full bloom and vigour.
Did some eye mark him for greater cause?
Though he lies dead what figure here comes?
Beauty beckons. A sister? Lover?
His soul soars up away from cold flesh,
In swan wings gathered toward a new fray:
Just reward for valour well tested.

Sowelo
Now onward and upward toward the glow,
Holy light strikes the crystal of will,
Thus the rainbow bridge is cast for use.
Stepped out of the cycles of rebirth,
The bold of all ages now benchmates,
No longer is a piece, but player.
He stands shoulder to shoulder with Gods
In the fight at the grand end of time,
Where all is renewed in destruction.

Tiwaz
Gazing up I saw the cloak of sky.
While heaven holds its stead all is well.
The night bright eye of the pole gazed down,
The holy nail round which the stars spin,
Sure comfort is found in this wheel turn.
Earthly life plays out in the same round,
Each man’s life as the heavens mirror,
Subject, as the stars, to rise and fall,
Lone, the tree that props this vault, endures.

Berkano
Below me lay the mothering earth.
Midgard’s mound, oh this fertile barrow,
Birch door of secrets from which life springs.
Glimpsed in the swell of breasts and buttocks,
Sap rises at her beck and lust blooms.
Full fearsome, too, into death she calls,
Roaring, cast our lot into her void.
Know all and nought in that timeless spend,
Snug grain of should in dark womb slumbers.

Ehwaz
Lovers bedded close, content entwined,
The mystery of two become one,
From this pairing oft is made new life.
Hand in hand, earth and sky make the space
Where Midgard teams with life full holy.
I ploughed a furrow, cut staves in soil,
Horses pulled together, might combined.
I, the guiding hand and eye behind,
All pairs are false: hidden lurks a third.

Mannaz
Man is made as the measure of things.
His is the eye and his is the hand.
Those parts that the noble Gods gave up
He wields, for their purpose, in Midgard.
Short his span: a curse or a blessing?
Joy and sorrow he finds in others.
Needs enemies, as much as lovers,
To describe like and not like for him.
In toil, for stead, as man amongst men.

Laguz
Life is flow, one form to another.
Each man as a ship, his soul the crew.
He braves the restless waters of life.
This cargo of gold he brings to land.
His name, his word, all that he has done,
These goods his kin share after he goes.
Rich they are while his memory lives.
Gone he to earth full moist and fertile,
Forth burst the new shoots from this rich loam.

Ingwaz
All men go to grave to rest a while,
Even Gods must face the eastern dark.
Oft the barrow beckons like a bed.
It is wise to say “Enough!” and cease.
The sleeper dreams, his arms and legs thrash,
The mind of man is never stillness;
Though all movement he has yet done nought,
He must plant his dreams in solid earth
To reap a crop, else the seed sleeps on.

Dagaz
Behold! A furious dusk or dawn.
This moment of my death spread endless
In a wave of changing, changeless glow,
Where opposites yet collapse and fuse,
Where light reveals dark as his brother
I danced twixt horns of all dilemmas.
Stepped out, yet dissolved within the whole,
Twined round all as though it were my love,
Mind everywhere was I, then gone.

Othala
At the homestead’s edge there stands a howe.
There my father’s bones lie and moulder,
His father’s, too, and down through ages.
This mound marks full well what we call ours,
His flesh and blood wed to this good earth.
Where the rest of him be, no man knows,
Though I glimpse his eyes in my children’s
As they stare forth bold into Utgard
And challenge all who deny their place.

Rûna Magazine back issues

Some back issues of Rûna Magazine are still available. These mags have stories, poems, interviews, philosophy and essays about Germanic esotericism form all sorts of angles. When they’re gone, they’re gone!

£3.00 each.

Postage

UK: up to 4 Issues = £ 2.00. 4 + = £4.00

Europe: 1 Issue = £4.00. Add £1.00 each for further issues.

Rest of World: 1 Issue = £6.00. Add £1.00 each for further issues.

Payable via Paypal to ianfread@gmail.com. Please include name, address and which issues you want.

Contents

Issue 11

  • Peter Béliath – Envoys of the Æsir
  • Exchange Listing
  • Tansy – Nine Herbs Charm
  • Didrik Søderlind – The Allure of the Lur
  • Valgard – The Valknutr Working
  • Edred Thorsson Speaks
  • Collin Cleary – The Missing Man in Norse Cosmology
  • Valgard – The Duodecimal System
  • Reviews

Issue 15

  • Thierry Jolif – The Cernunnos Mystery
  • Joshua Buckley – Nigel Pennick Interview
  • Reviews
  • Paul Fosterjohn – Völsungadrekkr II
  • Exchange Listing
  • Michael Moynihan – A Germanic Magic Lantern Cycle
  • Edred Thorsson Speaks
  • Simon Collins – Light My Fire

Issue 16

  • Joshua Buckley – Nigel Pennick Interview II
  • Local Wyrm – The Lyminster Knucker
  • David J. Jones – Waxing in Water
  • Reviews
  • Exchange Listing
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Michael Sangster – A Peculiar Quality IV
  • Dave Lee – Rig’s Tale

Issue 17

  • Sarah Crofts – The Fowler’s Troop Jack in the Green
  • Dave Lee – The Sky Under the Earth
  • Reviews
  • Roger Digby – English Country Music – A Personal View
  • Exchange Listing
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Ingrid Wultsch – Grettir the Strong – A Doomed Hero
  • John Kirkpatrick – What English Folk Music?
  • P.D. Brown – Rune-Poem

Issue 18

  • P.D. Brown – On Poetry
  • Jonathan Jones – Creation Myth
  • Dr Stephen Edred Flowers – Vedic India
  • Paul Fosterjohn – Tungltal
  • Valgard – The Valknut as a Devotional Item?
  • Jim Chisholm – Learning and Teaching Old Norse
  • A.C. Haymes – The Wail of Wóden
  • Alice Karlsdóttir – Idun
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Exchange Listing
  • Reviews

Issue 19

  • Ristandi – Turning the Elf-Mill
  • David Jones – Evil?
  • Tapio Kotkavuori – Rites of Passage
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Exchange Listing
  • Ensio Kataja – The Runes of the Holy
  • Elizabeth Griffin – The Griffin
  • Paul Fosterjohn – Tungltal
  • Reviews

Issue 20

  • Jennifer Culver – Echoes of Dragon Slaying
  • Exchange Listing
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • P.D. Brown – Skyland
  • David Griffiths – Tolkien – A Radical Traditionalist?
  • Michael Kelly – Carpe Diem
  • P.D. Brown – The Ninth Wave
  • Paul Fosterjohn – Tungltal
  • Reviews
  • Jonathan Jones – Horsemeat

Issue 21

  • John Cooper – The Man Who Met Odin
  • Collin Cleary – Philosophical Notes on the Runes
  • Alice Karlsdóttir – Steps Along the Way
  • David Jones – Mauschwitz
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Michael Cunningham – A History of Song
  • Jonathan Jones – Performance
  • Carlos B. Hagen-Lautrup III – A proliferation of Heathen Names in Iceland
  • Jim Chisholm – The Common Law is Pagan, Not Christian
  • Exchange Listing
  • Reviews

Issue 22

  • Michael Cunningham – In the Shadow of the Tree
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Exchange Listing
  • Collin Cleary – Philosophical Notes on the Runes II
  • David Griffiths – Symbolic Resonance Between the Brythonic and Germanic Traditions
  • Reviews
  • David J Wingfield – Canis Canem Edit

Issue 23

  • Jason Moffatt – The White Horse and the Alcis
  • Michael Cunningham – Flesh and Stone: Dualism and the Drúedain
  • Mark Deavin – Hidden Symbolism in Hávamál 138?
  • Exchange Listing
  • David J Wingfield – Canis Canem Edit
  • P.D. Brown – Calling to Heimdall
  • Michael Cunningham – The Bidding of the War-Shaft
  • P.D. Brown – October 14th
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Reviews

Issue 24

  • Ingrid O. Fischer – Luck, Fate and Heroes
  • Thomas Karlsson – Dark Initiatory Witchcraft
  • Exchange Listing
  • A Conversation with Stephen Edred Flowers
  • Jonathan Jones – Albion Song
  • Reviews
  • Tyla at Ajna Bound
  • Interviews Thomas Karlsson
  • Jon Sharp – Little Wolf and the Art of Concealment
  • Michael Kelly – Dragon Runes
  • Robert N. Taylor – Pathways to the Gods
  • Annabel Lee – Grail Medicine

Issue #7, Lithe-Moon

Welcome to the Lithe-Moon issue of the Rûna-Eormensyl blog. New Moon is tomorrow, so you are getting this a little early, for various reasons. We are continuing with Ingrid Fischer’s ‘Introduction to Germanic Soul-Lore’; this is episode 4. In this piece, Fischer writes about the traditional view of identity, which is rather different from what most people assume about themselves.

DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY

To quote C G Jung, ‘Personality is a seed that can only develop by slow stages throughout life. There is no personality without definiteness, wholeness and ripeness. These three qualities cannot and should not be expected of the child, as they would rob it of childhood.’

Our Germanic ancestors waited until the ninth day after a child was born, before they named it. These were harsh times and a child was considered to have a soul only once it had proven that it was strong enough to survive these first critical days. In general, on the ninth day the father would look at his child and something in the child’s appearance would remind him of an ancestor, whose name the child was then given. According to the saga literature, the child was picked up by the father, put on his knee and then sprinkled with water (ON vatni ausa) whilst being given his name. By naming the child, ‘it’ became a ‘he’, a fully accepted member of the tribe with all its rights and responsibilities. And of course another, very important thing happened when the child was named. By receiving the name of an ancestor, the child received the traits and reputation of this ancestor and all expectations that came with it. Now there is a start to the development of one’s personality!

Every man born carries in him seeds (or you may call them genes, inheritance of the forefathers, fate) for what he may or may not develop; they are hard or impossible to discern, and only his deeds will reveal who he really is. This progress will span a whole lifetime and it is the essence of nature to move only when causal necessity forces her to. Human nature follows the same rules and human personality will only ever develop itself by force, be that an inner or outer one. Even in young children we can observe this rule. When they go through one of the typical childhood diseases like measles or mumps, they seem to have matured afterwards. All critical stages in life, be they pleasant or painful, will bring about changes in a man’s psyche and are a ‘kick in the behind’ reminder from nature that it is high time to get on with developing one’s personality.

Remember the Old Norse soul complex from last week, the core of this is the triad hugr, minni and óðr and it is here that the work has to start.

Hugr (hugh) is the conscious will and the cognitive faculty; minni (myne) is in simple terms memory and the reflective faculty; óðr (wode) is the principle of inspiration or enthusiasm. Surrounding these is the hamingja-fylgja complex. The fylgja or fetch is a complex entity and is partly independent from the individual. This is the faculty where a man’s deeds are stored and that makes a man grow; transpersonal powers and responsibilities are transmitted to man from here. Hamingja or luck is closely related to the fetch and is also partly independent from man.

Work on hugr will mean studying and increasing one’s knowledge; with it memory (minni) will increase and also one’s ability to reflect on the learned. As a consequence, this newly acquired knowledge and its assimilation into one’s storage of understanding and view of the world, will trigger connections with facts previously known and may contribute to a new and more mature world view. Following on from here, óðr may be activated and new creativity and inspiration will enhance your life even further. When óðr, hugr and minni grow and push their boundaries outwards, this will cause the fylgja to grow also and consequentially, the hamingja. Also, successful development involves balance. No good would come of it if only one part of our core triad were to enhance. The hamingja will grow because your actions and deeds will be informed by greater wisdom, creativity and maturity; you will be more ‘lucky’, you will have more influence and power, and if you pass some of this on to others, the whole complex will gain again.

To illustrate how our forefathers saw this development I insert a quote from the Hávamál, which is part of the Poetic or Elder Edda:

Þá nam ek frœvaz         ok fróðr vera

            Ok vaxa ok vel havaz

Orð mér af orði              orz leitaði 

Verk mér af verki         verks leitaði

 

‘Then I began to thrive,

And grew well in wisdom.

One word led me to another –

One Deed led me to further deeds.’

– Hávamál, stanza 141.

 

Practical work:

Start again by standing up straight, inhale and intone, three times:

uruz   ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

uruz   ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

uruz   ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

Now visualise again the core triad covering your whole body in a three-dimensional triangle: óðr is located at the crown of your head, hugr to your right and minni to your left. Continue where you left off last week, but this time try and find out any imbalances and obstacles to a free flow of energy between the three parts of your soul. Is any one the strongest; is one too weak etc.

Again, record all your findings and keep concentrating on imbalances and what you intend doing about them.

Issue #6, Threemilk-Moon

Welcome to the Threemilk-Moon Issue of the blog. This month we have something different again – a piece by Matthew Hern, on the gods of the path of initiation.

The Dagazian Dawn: Part I: Of Odin, Shiva and No-Thing

There is no god and this is exactly our God.

– Ian Read

There are mysteries in this world and there are laws of the universe. When it comes to religion, magic and illumination it’s better to have a Zen mind = beginner’s mind, even if we already have a huge amount of knowledge. But to be initiated we need to empty ourselves of ourselves. A cup that is full is not capable of receiving new, fresh water of insight. Because the answers we find are never the final destination, but rather shores and islands, at which we rest for a while before we set out for the great ocean again, on this mysterious journey we call “life”. The answers we find can lead to great ecstasy, but then the mantle of newness wears off and we realize that “our answer” turns into another comfort zone, another mental construct, another habit. All concepts are tools, another rung on the ladder, another step on the staircase, another door, which we must exit to continue on the Path of Mystery. Thus the nature of our Quest is eternal in a mythical sense: Every single image is a reflection in the mirror, ultimately we are the mirror reflecting, but not the reflected images: all our illuminations are finger pointing, at the eternal sky, in the sudden moment of awakening, like the snap of your finger, in the moment you relax in total presence, suddenly we see: Yes, everything is the manifestation of innate wisdom light. And then another yes: Like a mirror isn’t changed by any thing that is reflected in it, so is our nature. And yes again: Like a crystal that is pure whatever light flows through it, so is our nature. It was always here, the great mudra, the perplexing pattern, the self-originating mandala, the infinite Self, the vastness of space, the great ocean upon which the endless waves crash down, the eternal Yes. All our practice is only for this, this one perfect moment out of time, like an 8 lying on its back, like a serpent’s perfect movement, like Dagaz dawning…

So let me begin with the proposition that religion exists because the Divine exists, and a human being is a homo religiosus. More than that: man is an ecstatic being, who will never fulfil his/her complete potential until s/he experiences states of Higher Consciousness. Transformation and ecstasy, illumination and inspiration, creativity and Self-exploration, meditation and world(s)-expeditions, these are at the core of human consciousness, which – according to the myths of our forefathers and foremothers – is a Gift of the God who Himself represents these qualities: Óðinn, Woden, or Wotan.

This is also true of another major deity of the wider, older Indo-European tradition: Shiva. Shiva is considered in Tantric Shaivism as the embodiment of (enlightened) ‘pure Consciousness’ (Frawley 2015). And the greatest living German poet, Rolf Schilling, said in his poetic genius and divine intuition that Odin is Shiva’s “divine brother.” In Kashmir Shaivism the Divine – represented by the deity Shiva – is present to everything. It is nothing but pure Consciousness, the fullness of absolute I-Consciousness or purnahanta (Bäumer 2005). However, with regard to Ian Read’s statement quoted above there is a mystical paradox present here: this divine I-Consciousness is now here and yet nowhere to be found. This divine state is a Void, a Nothingness, a state of in-betweenness, which cannot be fully grasped:

In Kashmir Shaivism this void is precisely found in all the in-between states – the most important and yet not easy to catch being the void between breathing in and breathing out. And in this in-between is found the pure consciousness, the thought-free state: nirvikalpa… (Bäumer 2005: p. 3)

Matthew Hern

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Image: Geoff Sumner with Ian Read in Geoff’s vé, a sacred landscape structure.