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A new, updated edition of the essential guide to the practice of the runes as a magical tool for spiritual development. In Futhark , rune master Edred Thorsson reinitiates us into our heritage, explaining the mysteries of a profound system of thought and practice that underlies our developing Western culture. Futhark covers both the spiritual heritage of ancient runic lore and the practical steps we can take to draw on rune power.
This complete book of rune instruction includes rune history and lore, its basis in metaphysical thought and mysticism, complete definitions of the twenty-four runes of the Elder Futhark, and the etymology, phonetic value, and interpretation of each rune.
The reader will learn how to perform chants and rituals using runic energy, how to sign and send runes, and how to practice runic meditation. However, this book was the first in the English language to delve into the practical magical uses of the ancient Germanic runes and the system they embody, and in which they are in turn contained. It was the avowed intention of this work to rectify the great lack of practical material on the runes in English, to deal with the operative side of the half-forgotten, much neglected runic system of magic and mysticism.
This is still one of the most powerful forms of metaphysical thought available to the Westerner and one that he developed. The roots of runic tradition have been hidden from our view for several hundred years, but now the long-awaited age has arrived, in which the power of the runic mysteries will again become manifest.
Among English-speaking magicians, rune knowledge had been steadily on the decline since the days of King Cnute died c. This work is intended to invoke the runic force in the minds of all men and women, so that their lore and mysterious power may again be born to rise to the level of their former splendor in the English-speaking world.
The runes embody the greatest and the smallest secrets of nature, and they are the keys to those secrets—for they are indeed the secrets themselves. Too long have these magnificent tools of magic been allowed to atrophy in dusty tomes. Now their ways are again made known to those who would be wise. Rune lore represents an important part of the oldest tradition of initiatory wisdom-magic known to the Germanic world.
The ancient Goths, Scandinavians, Germans, and English all knew the power of the runes, and they were bound together by a mighty guild of runemasters, who taught their craft throughout all the tribes of Northern Europe. It would seem wise for the descendants of these forebears to turn to the runic power to regain the depths of their hoary wisdom. For if we are to believe their lore, these ancestors never died but rather were reborn, generation after generation, always keeping their secrets with them—until now, they are us.
Through the runic keys we may again unlock these secret recesses of the soul and thus unleash wisdom and magical power for our own use today. The runes and the runic system, as an eternal expression of world laws, may be constantly put to new uses without in any way violating their timeless and archaic characteristics. Therefore, they are now used in systems of psychological integration and cosmological investigation—both of which are actually firmly based on precepts found in the Eddas.
One of the most potent aspects of the runic system of magic and philosophy is its openness and lack of dogmatism. Information given in this book is intended to be a guide for the talented and inventive vitki magician , who should use it as a stepping stone toward becoming a true philosopher in his or her own right.
Again, the traditions of the Eddas and sagas are the best indicators of the spiritual directions the vitki should take in order to get the best results. In ancient times every free man was his own priest—so it should be today. As far as a plan of development and initiation is concerned, it is suggested that the aspiring vitki should read through the entire book, developing a personal version from the complete system given in the following pages.
However, today there does exist a Rune-Gild that provides a more systematic initiation for the dedicated vitkar.
The present book is divided into three main sections, containing the knowledge, theory, and practice of runecraft. This, coupled with other viable books on magic, forms the basis for a fairly advanced level of initiation. It is impossible to express the vastness of a system as all-encompassing as the Kabbalah or Vedic literature in a book of this or any other length. Putting even this basic system of mainly practical rune magic in one volume has been quite difficult.
It is hoped that further interest in the runes will be kindled, so that future books dealing with divination, cosmology, wisdom-lore, and so forth, may be produced. There have been several books and articles written in the last few years that connected the National Socialist movement in Germany with the runic cult and rune magic.
Indeed, the Nazis made use of the runic forms in their most external aspects, akin to what we might call branding today. The beginning rune vitki of today may take some strange comfort from the fact that the runes did continue to show themselves to be such potent symbols in the twentieth century! But it must be strongly emphasized that the runes and indeed the Germanic spirit itself was not at the heart of this bureaucratic blasphemy, but rather it was a sort of pseudo-Christian messianic Manicheanism that owned the soul of the Nazi Party.
Much of the historical background of the runic aspects of the Nazi movement will be discussed in the first chapter of this book, for only through a thorough understanding of its misdirection of our most sacred treasures may we truly put its unwelcome specter to rest once and for all!
An endeavor has been made throughout this book to remain as close as possible to the traditional form and spirit of rune lore and to present a system as free as possible from any Judeo-Christian influence.
Too long has the Westerner suffered bearing the cross of alien fruits. They have had their chance and have failed time and again in their impotent effort to satisfy the depths of the IndoEuropean soul.
Their aeon has come to an end; the time is ripe for a reemergence of the wisdom of the Eriloz the vitki.
The breakthrough of holy power must take place within the soul of each individual—and it is in this hope that this work has been wrought.
For information on the Rune-Gild, of which the author was the founder, readers are invited to make contact at: www. The first step in understanding rune lore is the understanding of the concept rune.
A rune is not merely a letter in an old Germanic alphabet, but rather it bears the primary definition of secret or mysterium. This basic meaning may be easily compared to the use of the term arcana in connection with the Tarot. Therefore, a rune is primarily a secret, holy concept or idea that must be expressed or dealt within concealment.
Throughout this work rune should be understood first in the sense of a secret and holy concept. The word rune is indigenous to the Germanic group of languages, and it is found in all the ancient Germanic dialects. See Table 1. The modern German cognate is raunen , to whisper.
It is probable that the Celts borrowed the semantic quality of this word from the Germanic languages. Later this meaning was applied to each hieroglyphic figure that represented a rune—a unit of secret lore. It is this form that is inscribed as a symbol for a formless and timeless idea.
Still later this symbol was incorporated into a system of writing that imparted a phonetic value to each symbol form. Now the rune has become mistakenly synonymous with the concept letter as expressed in other languages. Only a certain number of the various forms of the rune hoard were ever used as phonetic representations which we will call letter runes , while a large number remained more or less within the purely ideographic realm.
This latter group may be referred to as glyph runes. This work primarily deals with the letter runes and the magical system in which they developed, although the glyph runes are an integral part of this system as well. It must be kept in mind that both groups are equally runic.
The letter runes were standardized in the futhark system by the magical guilds of the time, according to particular numerological and conceptual criteria. According to most scholars, the runes were ancient symbols used in writing, mainly on stone or metal. These symbols bore religious or magical significance for the people who inscribed them—this cannot be denied by the most dreary of scholars.
For the rune vitki, however, the signs take on a much richer and more expanded meaning that reveals their true nature and power as well as their historical and cosmic significance. The vitki sees hieroglyphs of a highly complex nature in the forms of the runes. Investigation and research into intellectual and magical realms have revealed the runes as ideographs expressing a process and flow of force and energy.
Each rune has a threefold nature, which is also the threefold essence of the secret slumbering within it. The points are:. Runes describe energy flows and states as related to the self, to the planet, and ultimately to the multiverse. The runes summarize and graphically express separate world concepts that can be used as focal points for magical and mystical operations, both singly and in combination. Here we speak more of the origin of the runic shapes than of the origins of the mysteries they represent.
The actual mysteries are timeless and were created—or more properly came into being —with the emergence of the Nine Worlds out of Ginnungagap the magically charged void. In fact, the runes are important agents in this process of creation or shaping and precede the arising of animate beings in the Worlds. The runic forms may be spoken of in a somewhat more historical context. These shapes are ultimately born from the holy signs conceived in the minds of the Bronze Age priests and magicians and probably much earlier as abstract graphic expressions of the innermost content of their religious and magical teachings.
See Figure 1. Rudolf John Gorsleben describes the primal man sitting atop a mountain receiving conceptual flashes of inspiration, which he then emotionally expresses in markings that come to be those concepts. Figure 1. Some Bronze Age ideographic rock-carving configurations that were to evolve into runic shapes.
In the earliest period these so-called pre-runic signs remained totally ideographic, or hieroglyphic. However, when contact was made with the Mediterranean cultures, the notion of phonetically representing language by symbols was slowly introduced into the Germanic territories. Many scholars believe that this introduction began in the second century BCE, when the Cimbri and Teutones invaded the Italian peninsula and came into contact with the North Etruscan and Latin alphabets; while others believe that the runes were ultimately formulated by the Goths in the first and second centuries CE, while that tribe was still on the Baltic coast.
These theories are all very interesting and hold many truths, but this is not our main interest. It is important to notice that when the Germanic peoples chose a rune cultic sign to represent a sound in their language, they would usually but not always choose a shape that in some way resembled the corresponding Etruscan, Latin, or Greek character.
This undoubtedly plays a large role in the formulation of galdrar number formulas and their associations with certain runic forms. The internal structure, ordering, naming, and symbolic content of these glyphs are totally unaffected by the Mediterranean cultures.
There is a magical deep-structure that governs these factors. This deep-structure was well known by the priests and magicians of the Germanic cult, and they carefully formulated the runic ideology and transmitted it across tribal boundaries through preexisting cultic channels. Through this ancient guild of runemasters the runic system was able to maintain a high level of internal integrity despite crossing countless tribal lines over several centuries.
As early as the first century CE, Tacitus describes the runes which he calls notae in Latin being used in fully developed divinatory rites. Stanzas and of this song read:. This describes an initiatory process, which seems to some similar to a shamanistic type, in which the initiate passes through the Nine Worlds of the World-Tree to the realm of Hel Death and momentarily enters her sphere.
At that moment the initiate receives the entire body of rune wisdom, and it is etched into his being. In the next instant, the initiate returns to Midhgardhr with the rune wisdom permanently encoded and ready for use and communication.
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Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, New Edition
Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic
Futhark : A Handbook of Rune Magic
Runes are the ancient Norse alphabet used for communication, divination, and magical work. In Futhark , American runologist Edred Thorsson introduces readers to the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark, their definitions, and mystic properties. The runic system of magic and mysticism is one of the most powerful forms of metaphysical thought available to the Western world. This bestselling classic book on Runes continues to be required reading for those who seek true knowledge of the mystery of the Runes. Thorsson's presentation of this powerful system is lucid and profound and provides a valuable tool for spiritual transformation and self-development. For the runecaster who wants a really in-depth beginner book.