May 20th, 2008
One and all to runesforall
I hope we will have many discussions about runes and their impact on the world(s) here.
For me Jera is a very important rune. Now I am not sure how important a rune it is for many other people but it is dominant in a lot of what I do. I have come to see it as representative of Idunna for the fact that she controls the aging processes of the Gods which shows a link to youth, middle age, later age. I have come to see it as also connected with Freyr as as secondary expression of his function in that he is a deity not only of life but of death, he is god of the mound and of the alfar who are our male ancestors. Thus it has a very practical application to him. And I have come to see it as attached to Eir in that it shows the stages of healing. I also see it as indicative of the different stages I have in my relationship(s) to those deities whom I am oathed to. At varied points I work very heavily with each of them, and then I move on to the next stage, moving on so to speak in an almost cyclical pattern. There are very different aspects of each of the deities with which I work as well. Trying to pigeon hole them and say that "Freyja is thus and such, or Frigga is such, or especially that Odin can be reduced to this," could be very misleading. Each of them is extremely flexible and has different stages of development and application for the individual from what I have found. Jera, more than any other rune is almost the 'universal rune' that acts as a gateway for understanding to the individual if they will but allow themselves to step within that level of consciousness. I also think, at a very intrinsic level that it can have a balancing, almost polarizing effect upon those who are bi-polar, allowing them to learn new ways of finding their consciousness. But it must be done in a deliberate manner or it could actually further destabilize the individual. I hope that this little bit of insight has helped any who have read it. These are thoughts which have popped into my brain as of late and I am almost, 'taking notes' as it were.
We use the time in each rune study group to review the rune covered in the last study group, it tends to be a brief review though sometimes depending on what people have retained it can be extended. Then we progress on to the Rune of the Day. After we have concentrated on this, we have a session of Galdr. We try to galdr both runes but if we do not have time to do so will concentrate upon the rune of the day. We try to incorporate any projects folks have done, as far as discussion or if they have brought them, presentation. I hope this helps those who wish to become part of the working study group.
I tried very hard to like this book as I had heard how wonderful Leaves of Yggdrassil is, and that this is essentially the same book with the name changed. In fact this is my second read through of the book because I thought I was missing something. Apparently there were some radical changes to the book as I was told last night by a friend who owns both books. Thank you to ironknot
, whom I spent some time on the phone with.( yes it's long and not very nice but it's honest continue if you will... )
Honestly I would like to be able to recommend this book, but I cannot. I think the author tries very hard, but, he doesn't get a lot of the mythology correct. And he has for some reason,maybe randomly (he never goes into why) decided that the second aett is the aett of Heimdall as opposed to the aett of Hel or Hagal as it normally is seen to be. Yeah, that got my hackles up. He writes like someone who has a lot of ideas running around in his head but doesn't know how to express them well, and he probably should be writing fiction as opposed to writing about runes. He just doesn't make any of his reasons for why he feels that he should radically change the definitions of the runes around known, and he comes off as not being well schooled because of it.I actually had to put this book down for a significant(read over a week) period of time because I couldn't take it anymore. I ended up feeling like he was a nitwit, even though at times some of what he said made sense, more of it didn't. On a scale of 1-10 I'd rate this guy a 3. He needs to go hide in the Outback
I have to say that I was sorely disappointed in this book. Mr. Pennick had his mythology off.. And I know you are probably going to get tired of hearing me state this as a reason to dislike a writer, but it sticks in my craw, if an author cannot get their mythology right, then what else are they getting wrong? You don't have to be a Heathen to understand the myths that the runes are based on. Really. Mr. Pennick had a lot of interesting information about the runes as pertained to the British Isles. I would like to think that all of it is valid, but I'm not totally sure in this case.At any rate, it was neat. One thing that was a turn off, was that he referenced Ralph Blum an awful lot, and I have no respect whatsoever for Mr. Blum, nor does any long term runester that I know of. So this again made me feel.. Iffy toward him. He did have some interesting things which he attempted to do in this book however.. For example, rather than just putting up pictures of the varied futharks, with the names of the letters beside them, Mr. Pennick briefly covered each futhark in turn, in the book. I was somewhat impressed by his attempt to do this. But, I think that he probably was trying a bit too hard at times. For example, he tried also to give 'female slants/definitions' to each of the runes. While that is nice, the definitions he gave were in my opinion stretching it on several of the runes if not 'out there' ... Also, he defines the runes as a whole as being a product of a male dominated society that had little regard for women as it concentrated mainly on plunder and so forth. I see this as a very neo-pagan attitude, and I don't see him as having a very sympathetic attitude toward Norse Culture, if this is so why is he writing a book on runes? He also states that runes should only be used as a force for 'good' and all that stuff which sounds extremely neo-paganistic. I would not deign to tell someone how to use the runes, I would only explain to them about taking personal responsibility for their actions, and give them some backing as to what might occur a result to their action. The Norse weren't worried about 'forces for good' to my knowledge. If so, why did they have Nidhing Poles? The other thing he goes into that I was interested in was Rune Yoga. There are only a few brief pages on it though, and I would have liked to have seen more. He does have some useful spreads in the back of the book. Some of them are very elegant in their simplicity. Others I think trip themselves up and frankly aren't worth the trouble.I do like the fact that he shows varied media being used for rune casting. He shows sticks being cast, he shows stones being used, and he shows rune-cards. Rather nice there. All in all? I'm not a fan of this book, if you want to buy it for the layouts, go for it. The pictures are very nice, but the content? I would grade it at about a C to a C-.
So, the question I'm going to throw out to the community is this, Runes and Witchcraft, how do you see the two? Let's get some discussion going folks!
Futhark is a well written book on many levels. It's not a large book by any means and if you apply yourself to it, it shouldn't take long to get through. In this book Thorsson takes the time to go indepth on the subject of the creation of taufir for magical purposes and not just the creation of runes for divination. In fact he goes indepth on the subject of Runic Numerology( a bit more time spent on it than I cared for) and also Stadhgaldr/Rune Yoga. Personally I found that I was most drawn to the concepts behind the making of Magical Talismans/Taufir and Stadhgaldr. This is not surprising as I suck with numbers. But, he gives mostly equal time to all of them I would admit. Though I think he may spend a bit more on the Numerology than on Stadhgaldr. I think that comes from personal bent more than anything if you will excuse the pun. He does go into the fact that Stadhgaldr is more than just getting into a position and holding it, it's about channeling energies through your body, and that those energies may change from point to point even on the same rune from session to session. I have to say I really enjoyed that. On the point of Talismanic Creation he discusses the entire 'birthing' of the talisman, so that it is not just an item but a being with it's own wyrd/orlog. I was impressed. He makes it so that not only an experienced Vitki can do this but someone who has never gone that route before. There are not a huge amount of charts in this book that can be translated to the computer. Most of his tables and such are drawings. I had already translated one chart when creating the community, I will look for one that can be brought forth but I'm not optimistic. Overall I think this book is very good for what it is.
I wouldn't call this a 'chart' per se. But this to me was of immense interest and I think that to most runesters it will be as well.
This is how Thorsson puts it...
"To some extent the runic tables of interpretation reveal a good deal of lore concerning the meanings of number and numerical relationships among the runes. However, as a detailed reading of the oldest texts of Germanic lore shows there are specific powers of characteristics of numbers that the aspiring runester should know. These characteristics are quite often different from those of a Mediterranean numerology."
One(1)is the number of beginnings of root causes and solitary force. It is rare in operative runecraft and in mythological references.
Two(2)is the number of cooperation of the redoubled working of tandem forces. In operative work it is sometimes used to strengthen, especially physically. In mythological lore it shows the power of teamwork between complementary pairs: Huginn/Muinn,Geri/Freki (Odhinn's wolves), `Arvakr/Alvidhr(team of horses that pulls the sun's wain), or the divine tandem `Odhinn/Loki.
Three(3)is a "holy number" that is vastly represented in lore. It indicates a complete functioning process process, and is the root force of dynamism. In runecraft, three is used to complete and quicken things--to move things to action. In the mythic lore three's abound; for example, Urdhr-Verdhandi-Skuld, `Odhinn-Vili-Ve`,the three "roots" of Yggdrasill,and the three containers of the poetic mead, `Odhroerir-S`on-Bodhn.
Four(4)is a number of stasis, of solidity and waiting. It contains power, and this is one of it's chief operative uses. In myth we learn of the four harts that chew the leaves the leaves of Yggdrasill and of four dwarves Nordhri-Austri-Sudhri-Vestri at the four cardinal directions.
Five(5)is the number of ordered time and space. The ancient Germanic week was five nights long--called in Old Norse a fimmt--which was also the interval of time one had to respond to a legal summons. It is rarely found in mythological lore,but for operative purposes it is a powerful invocatory formula.
Six(6)is the number of vibrant life and strength.This can be used to create or destroy. It is rarely found in mythic contexts.
Seven(7)is the number of death and passive contact with the "other worlds". A seven-night interval(ON sjaund,)is traditional between death and the performance of funeral rites. Not often seen in mythology. Some mythic occurrences seem to have been influenced by astrological lore.
Eight(8)is the number of complete manifestation of wholeness and perfect symmetry. It's chief significance can be found in the eightfold division of the heavens(see chapter 6). It is the number of spatial ordering. Eight is abundant in mytho-magical lore, mainly as a way to list things, for example the eight woes and their remedies.(Havamal, 137)and the eight "best things"("Grimnismal," 45).All of these these texts are to be found in the Poetic Edda.
Nine(9)is the "holiest of numbers" and the root of psycho-cosmic powers. It lends it's force to any purpose. It is the number of life eternal and death unending. Nine transforms what it touches, yet it remains eternal within itself. Its use abounds in myth and magic. Just to name a few of the many examples of the use of nine; nine are the worlds of Yggdrasill, nine are the nights `Odhinn hung upon it and is thereafter taught nine mighty songs, nine is the number in which the valkyrjur often appear to the Erulian.
Well I finished Runelore and I must say that it's an interesting book.. At different points I had differing opinions on it.. It is very well researched I want to say that.. Thorsson is nothing if not thorough in this book. He appears at times to repeat information, but then it shows that he is approaching things from a different angle. I had to set the book down a lot in order to get through it. This was in part so that I could digest the information in bits and pieces. If you are not up for some seriously scholarly works, Thorsson is probably not your choice. Luckily I am very happy to have access to such. He does however tout the Rune Gild a bit much for my taste. I suppose that since it is his book and his society it's his right.. But still sometimes less is more. It was a turn off to me. Also, there were a few things that I didn't agree with in his book.. For example his use of the term bisexual in describing Ymir, this, according to him is why he was able to produce progeny of his own without a mate. I hate to tell you this Mr. Thorsson, but bisexuality has nothing to do with being able to reproduce without a mate. Yes, it's a small thing, but it stuck out. There were a few other details that stuck out as well, but that was the biggest one. I disagreed with him on his description of Odhinn as amoral due to the manner in which he recovers the mead. Rather I think he is anti-ethical but that's just me. Yes, I really got into this book. It had a lot of very good points to it as well and I honestly couldn't tell you all the wonders in it. He is incredibly big on charts in this book. And, one of my favorite things, at the end of the book, he gives all the varied futharks, from the elder, to the anglo-saxon, younger and armanen. I am really looking forward to trying to master the armanen eventually. I'm in the process of trying to figure out which chart I think will translate best for this community which is going to be a chore as I like so many of them.. *sighs* But it's a work worth doing. I think overall this book is definitely worth the read. Just be prepared to take it as what it is, the work of a man who is dogged and yet, at the same time inspired.. He's capable of making mistakes and you need to keep that in mind.
Asgardhr: Higher influences. Nature of relationship with the divinities. The veiled branches of the question. Matters of honor, positive(active)influences from the past states of existence("incarnations")--Orlog.
Ljossalfheimr: Mental influences. Family matters. Messages of Huginn--directions in which you should plan. What will help you. Paths to help you realize influences from Asgardhr.
Midhgardhr: The way people come together to manifest themselves in life. The outcome in life. Ego consciousness.
Svartalfheimr: Creative emotional influences. Money matters. Messages from Muninn--things you should reflect on. Paths to realize influences from Hel.
Hel: Hidden or suppressed instinctual desires. Nature of automatic functions or behaviors. The hidden root of the question. Negative(passive, restrictive)influences from past states of existence--Orlog.
Muspellsheimr: State of vital energies, that which vitalizes you. Active influences from the outside. Things tending toward activity.
Vanaheimr: Promotes growth. Erotic relationships. Persons of the opposite sex. Balancing influences. Forces of continuity, structure and well-being.
Jotunheimr: That which confuses you. That which may be left to chance. Things that might test you. Forces pressing for change. Realm of crisis.
Essentially I think these are well thought out and I like the interpretations Thorsson has. If you, however find that something else rings true for you so be it, in rune work innovation and intuition are part and parcel of the game. Thorsson has a great many tables in each of his books that are of use. I will probably put forth at least one table per book. I think any more than that would be pushing it.
Well, it has been suggested time and again that Perthro is either(or both) a well as in the Well of Wyrd/Mimir or a womb as in the womb of Frigga. The concepts that go with this are actually rather complementary to one another if you look at them in a certain light. For a womb is a place in which all our experiences from the past, whether that is the past as we have it coded into our DNA or, if you would have it, past lives gestates to become the individual that we are as we are expelled into this world. Thus our Wyrd is woven there. Knowledge which we can access if we find the right trigger is also given to us in the form a collective unconscious, and as we float in that sea of amniotic fluid we have nothing else to do but to collate the experiences that will make us up.. We are in the moment(s) of purest wisdom, though we may not be able to communicate this with any other, thus a bond with Frigga at it's highest form is made here. And with Mimir too, as we float in the well not needing to see, thus blind, we see further than we will ever do in the every day world once we are told what is and what is not. As we are given birth to, the gamble that will be our daily lot is enacted and chance becomes a greater and greater portion of our life, allowing the Norns, both greater and lesser to play roles in our world, determining things which we might be completely unaware of. So.. Freyja, often was called upon in the throes of childbearing as well, helping to bring about an easier pathway, a widening of the way as it were for both mother and child. The prosperity that is looked for in life is often considered to be a Vanic function, and when the particular act of gambling with dice and cup is enacted, though there is a high call to the Norns there is also a call to the Vanes as well. Which is how this rune has often and often come to be associated, in my opinion, with Freyja. This is a rune that gives more than it takes, though when it does take the price tends to be spectacular and the individual employed in the process had best pay up willingly. One who does not pay their debts willingly is found to be unworthy of association on many levels. They are found to be negligent of their associates and of their duties to themselves. It is as though they are setting themselves against the warp that is needed to weave the cloth. And these, have been just a few of my thoughts on Perthro. Yes, a womb it is, but far more as well.
Laguz represents the primal soup from which we, as the human race, evolved. Thus it is the well of race consciousness that ties us together in times of need,making us stronger and it is the source of each individuals' strength on a physical level as well. It is not for naught that we are primarily made up of water after all. If we learn our own internal tides and how to read them we become a greater force to contend with than simply being ruled by them. Though learning when to 'go with the flow' as it were, is also an important lesson of Laguz. When you combine these ways of being in the world effectively, you have much of the rules of statecraft which is why this rune is a rune, not only of travel, learning and prosperity, but of leadership. Laguz brings us to many places both physically and emotionally within ourselves and when we understand this we prosper by it.
This little contemplation of Laguz occurred, btw, while waiting on the nurse at the doctor's office.. I was reading At The Well Of Wyrd and was suddenly hit with a big light-bulb over my head that said, 'write this down now or forget it'.. So I got the receptionist to give me paper and pencil and I wrote it all down. I'm just now getting around to putting it on the computer.. As I go on to the next book in the series. I figured I'd keep all inspired thought in it's proper place and all that.
In reading At The Well Of Wyrd I am rediscovering some of the things about Edred Thorsson that I like very much. His attention to detail, his willingness to talk in-depth about the results that you will find through using the varied methods and so forth.
The things I am not real fond of, are the fact that I think in a lot of ways he's anal retentive. He holds on to details that are superfluous. But then again, I'm sure the same can be said for any runester or magical practitioner. He seems to rely a great deal on the phrase 'to a great extent intuition must guide the runester in these matters' or something close, on more than one occasion. And though this may be true at times, especially as you go along, many starting rune students are often frightened as to relying on their intuition and they need some kind of backup or reassurance that their intuition is not going to lead them down the garden path.
I find myself being given to a lot of internal note taking, and find that spontaneous inspiration on varied things occurs as I continue to read through his writing, which is a very nice thing. I haven't had this occur with many of the previous writers I've had to review here. I take that as a sign that Thorsson has hold of some kind of gestalt essence, or whatever even though as an individual I may not agree with a lot of what he does, he has done his homework and I have to give him his credits on this.I'm going to be translating a lot of his tables and what have you that I am able to onto the rune study group for the edification of those who are interested. I think that overall this book is pretty interesting.
I'm not totally sold on Mirkstaves as he presents them. I think he makes them more complex than they have to be frankly. And yes, I think that ultimately it is up to the runester to use their intuition where this particular subject is concerned, if one does not feel that Mirkstaves are valid than don't use them, if one finds them to enhance their reading style and give them more depth than do so. I have found the technique to give me more opportunity to delve into the subject matter I am reading on with an eye to possibilities I might have overlooked otherwise. I do agree with him that it is more than just whether a rune is upside down, there is always the point of how the runes relate to one another in total. So yes, has this book been a journey for me? You bet. Am I done with it at this point? Nope. Am I looking forward to upcoming two books in the set? Well, of course I am. Do I argue with my books as I read them? What do you think?
As you can see I have posted a fair number of book reviews and some basic information about the rune study group I run. I would like to see some interplay between myself and whoever joins this asylum. I want to know what other people are doing, what they are reading, what futharks they work with, projects they are experimenting with and so on.. So... Let the interaction commence! Yup.
I would like to see what other folk have read, are reading, would like to recommend to everyone one else.. Either to read, or to stay away from. Discussion, of experiences in how they interacted with the books you read, and how this spurred you on practical experimentation.. What things you have tried due to your studies. Just reading a book is nice, but it's only going to get you so far. You have to bring your studies into the every day. That kind of thing. I know that we've got people of varying levels of experience here.. From the well experienced, to the newbies. So folks, speak up. What would you like to get out of runes? How do you envision your runic experience? Where would you like it to take you? What have you done with runes? How has it affected your life? How do you see runes continuing to affect your life further down the road? Will you stay oriented solely on the runes? Or will seek out other systems as well? Do you think that you want to study more into the culture and the language aspect? Or would you rather focus on the magical and divinatory aspect of runes? Speak up people!!
Gold = Light of the sun and spiritual light shining from Asgardhr, the force of ond in the universe and a symbol of honor,reputation, and power in all realms.
Red = Magical might and main, protective power, spiritual life and vigor, aggressive force. The principal color of the runes;also a sign of death. Often related to gold.
Blue = The all-encompassing, all-penetrating,and omnipresent mystical force of the numen, a sign of restless motion,the color of Odhinn's cloak. In it's darkest hues it becomes one with black.
Green = Organic life, the manifested force of fertility in the earth and in the sea, a sign of the earth and nature,passage between the worlds.
Yellow = Earthly power, a sign of desire and lust in a will toward manifestation. Related to both green and gold.
White = The total expression of light as the sum of all colors-- totality,purity, perfection,nobility,the disk of the sun.
Silver = The disk of the moon, change, transmutation, striving fore higher knowledge. A metallic version of white.
Black = New beginning(as night and winter herald the birth of day and summer),all potential, the root force of all things,knowledge of hidden things, concealment, the container of light.