Von List’s Theories of Runology (Part 1)

 

Guido Von List’s “Mystery Language”, the Kala and Vocalization

In the last work published during his lifetime, The Primordial Language of the Aryo-Germanic People and their Mystery Language [Die Ursprache der Ario-Gennanen und ihre Mysteriensprache] (1914), List gave his esoteric theories on the hidden meanings of sound.

His system depends upon the phonetic values (instead of the numeric, such as in Kabbalah) in order to unlock the secret meanings of language.

He says that the Primordial Language or “original Aryan language” (which he calls the “Kala “) is founded upon sixteen vocalizations, of which:

• five count for the Vowels or “self-sounding” sounds: A, E, I, O, U;
• one for the Hauchlaut (literally “Breath-Sound”), the Aspirate or Aspiration sound (also called the voiceless glottal fricative): H (which is to pronounce the letter “h” at the beginning of a word);
• and the ten remaining are attributed to the Consonants: F/V, R, K/G, Th/D, N, S/Z, T, B/P, L, M.

List says “The law of becoming and development (Progression) is subdivided into ten levels” which correspond to the Vowel sounds in an interesting way:

Table 1 – Vowels

  1  
  
  A  
Ursache oder Kraft
Cause or Power
  2  
  
  A  
Wille zur Kraftäußerung
Will to Express Power
  3  
  
  A  
Können (Kunst) als Kraftäußerungsfolge
Capacity (Art) as a Consequence of
the Expression of Power
  4  
  
  A  
Verwirklichung des Zweckes in der Tat
Realization of the Objective as a Fact
  5  
  
  E  
das Gesetz, nach dem die Kraft wirkt
(Verhältnis zwischen Kraft und Tat,
die Macht oder Magie)
the Law by which the Power works
(Relationship between Power and Fact,
the Force/Might or Magic)
  6  
  
  E  
die Ordnung, in der die zur Tat gewordene
Kraft natururgesetzmäßig wirkt
the Order, in which the Fact which has
become Power works in accordance with
the fundamental-law-of-nature
  7  
  
  I  
im geistigen Innern (psychische Ordnung)
in the spiritual Interior (psychic Order)
  8  
  
  O  
im körperlichen Äußern (physische Ordnung)
in the physical Utterance (physical Order)
  9  
  
  O  
die Eigenschaften bildend
the forming of Characteristics
  10  
  
  U  
in der Vollendung des Planes der Ursache
(1.) oder der vorgefaßten Idee.
in the Completion of the Plan from the Cause
(1.) or the preconceived Idea

 
These ten vocalizations of the Consonants have the corresponding attributes:

Table 2 – Consonants

  I  
  
  (F/V)  
das Urfyr, als Ursache oder Kraft
Primordial Fire, as Cause or Power
  II  
  
  (R)  
das Urluft, als der Wille
Primordial Air, as the Will
  III  
  
  (K/G)  
das Urerde, als das Können
Primordial Earth, as the Capacity
  IV  
  
  (Th/D)  
das Urether, als die Tat
Primordial Ether, as the Fact
  V  
  
  (N)  
das Urwasser, als das Gesetz
Primordial Water, as the Law
  VI  
  
  (S/Z)  
die Sonne und der Blitz,
als Himmelsfeuer, als die Ordnung
The Sun and the Lightening,
as Heavenly-Fire, as the Order
  VII  
  
  (T)  
die Sonne und der Blitz,
als Himmelsfeuer, im geistigen Innern
The Sun and the Lightening,
as Heavenly-Fire, as the spiritual Interior
  VIII  
  
  (B/P)  
Die Erde (Mittgart),
im körperlichen Äußern
The Earth (Consonant),
in the physical Utterance
  IX  
  
  (L)  
das Alleben,
die Eigenschaften bildend
Universal-Life,
the forming of Characteristics
  X  
  
  (M)  
der Mond, die Vollendung
The Moon, the Completion

 
The Aspiration sound (corresponding to the Hagal rune    ) does not seem to have been given a value.

 
These Vowel and Consonant sounds are combined together to make syllables or sound formulas which, according to List, have an esoteric significance. The ordering of the sounds does not matter (it can be vowel-consonant or consonant-vowel), because the power and meaning is in the combination of sound qualities, and not in their ordering:

Table 3 – Combinations of Vowels and Consonants

 
  1-4  
  5-6  
  7  
  8-9  
  10  
  1-4  
  5-6  
  7  
  8-9  
  10  
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
  A  
  E  
  I  
  O  
  U  
  A  
  E  
  I  
  O  
  U  
  I  
  
  (F/V)  
  FA/VA  
  FE/VE  
  FI/VI  
  FO/VO  
  FU/VU  
  AF/AV  
  EF/EV  
  IF/IV  
  OF/OV  
  UF/UV  
  II  
  
  (R)  
  RA  
  RE  
  RI  
  RO  
  RU  
  AR  
  ER  
  IR  
  OR  
  UR  
  III  
  
  (K/G)  
  KA/GA  
  KE/GE  
  KI/GI  
  KO/GO  
  KU/GU  
  AK/AG  
  EK/EG  
  IK/IG  
  OK/OG  
  UK/UG  
  IV  
  
(Th/D)
ThA/DA
ThE/DE
ThI/DI
ThO/DO
ThU/DU
ATh/AD
ETh/ED
ITh/ID
OTh/OD
UTh/UD
  V  
  
  (N)  
  NA  
  NE  
  NI  
  NO  
  NU  
  AN  
  EN  
  IN  
  ON  
  UN  
  VI  
  
  (S/Z)  
  SA/ZA  
  SE/ZE  
  SI/ZI  
  SO/ZO  
  SU/ZU  
  AS/AZ  
  ES/EZ  
  IS/IZ  
  OS/OZ  
  US/UZ  
  VII  
  
  (T)  
  TA  
  TE  
  TI  
  TO  
  TU  
  AT  
  ET  
  IT  
  OT  
  UT  
  VIII  
  
  (B/P)  
  BA/PA  
  BE/PE  
  BI/PI  
  BO/PO  
  BU/PU  
  AB/AP  
  EB/EP  
  IB/IP  
  OB/OP  
  UB/UP  
  IX  
  
  (L)  
  LA  
  LE  
  LI  
  LO  
  LU  
  AL  
  EL  
  IL  
  OL  
  UL  
  X  
  
  (M)  
  MA  
  ME  
  MI  
  MO  
  MU  
  AM  
  EM  
  IM  
  OM  
  UM  

These so-called ‘bud-words’ or ‘kernel-words’ can then be combined to form “Ur-words”, or Primordial words (the word Ur in German is related to Primordial, Original, Before, etc). A third kind of word is the root-word and can be the same as an Ur-word or even a kernel-word. The rune names themselves are all considered root-words.

 

Summary

When we put all of this together, List explains that we can derive the esoteric meaning behind words. These are some of the examples he gives:

FA = I + 1-4,
BAR = VIII + 1-4 + II,
NOTh = V + 8-9 + IV,
UOTAN (Wotan) = 10 + 8-9 + VII + 1-4 + V, etc.

List seems to have understood the Runes not only as letters, but also as phonetic values, which he said was related to an ancient language (the Kala ) and that by breaking words down into their syllables (or ‘bud/kernel-words’), one is able to extract their esoteric meaning.

The use of this consonant & vowel combinations with a particular rune is something that many other runologists have continued to use, effectively becoming the associated Vocalization or Mantram for each rune. This is probably one of the reasons why List has been described as the pioneer of völkisch rune occultism.

 

Other Authors Who Have Influneced Modern Runology (Part 2)

Modern Germanic Runology

Over the next 20+ years (from the 1910s to the 1930s) many other authors come forth and discuss their perspective regarding the Runes. In the 1920s and 1930s, we see the public teaching of Runic body postures (imitating the shape of the Runes) which are given the name of “Runic Yoga” or “Runic Gymnastics”.

Guido Von List’s combination of Consonant & Vowels (his ‘bud/kernel-words’) are now united with the Runic postures in order to create a mantra or series of mantras that are sung or chanted while holding the corresponding posture. The idea being that by singing, chanting or vocalizing the associated mantra(s) from List’s Kala , this actived the associated esoteric qualities and principles (see Tables 1 and 2 above).

Although List was extremely influential, lets take a look at a few of the other influential authors we’ll be reading from during this course:

 

Peryt Shou

The first modern author to publish Runic Exercises was Albert Christian Georg Schultz (also known as Albert Schultz and Jörg Schultz). He published his books under the name Peryt Shou (or Schou) and in 1910 came out with his first book or booklet (70 pages), called Sexual Mysteries in Religion [Sexual-Mysterien in der Religion]. It seems that Arnoldo Krumm-Heller was one of many Occultists who were influenced by his writings and Krumm-Heller apparently even helped publish some of Shou’s works a few years later, immediately following WWI.

In 1920, Shou published The ‘Edda’ as Key to the Coming Age! [Die “Edda” als Schlussel des kommenden Weltalters! ] and this was the first text to give specific exercises associated with the Runes. The book also has a particular flavor of Volkisch Esotericism (see some quotes are below).

In this book, Shou tries to highlight some similarities between Christianity and Germanic Mythology (although he seems to look down upon Christianity), explaining that the Germanic approach is basically ‘better’. Quoting from the section ‘The New God-Experience’:

“Christ, and Christianity, have led the World to Destruction, to Death. Wuotan, the Awakening-One, on the Cross (of the World-Tree) will lead it back to Resurrection. Certainly the World had to die, like him, but it also has to reawaken — as he did, in a higher Transformation [Verwandlung].

The germanic Spirit (Edda “Hávamál”) predicted this long before there was a historical Christianity. Christianity led humanity to death. This is what has happened. And with him, Christianity killed itself too, succumbing to “the Lord of this World”! The christian Nations had to experience what is happening to them today, Death and Decay on the Cross. But in their second Mission, the Edda sees the Nations descend from the World-Tree (Cross), called to new Life, rejuvenated!

Here the Blood, the vibrating Crystal Within, takes on a certain Role! But it should be mentioned that what is “Germanic” in the rebirth is different from what is Germanic in decay and defeat —a drunken self-aggrandizement to some kind of blood-related privileged “caste” among humanity. Even the Botocuds [an indigenous South American tribe] think of themselves as Racially superior to all others. Through the divine drop of Blood in our veins we are a Flock of God. But woe unto those who would make this divine drop of blood bestial, who would blind the visionary Crystal, the eye of God, in our veins!

The new World will only shine for the “Visionaries”, not for the “Blind”, even if they will rule equally for a while! They will die and disappear. The Visionaries, however, will remain, for they shall return. The Runic-Magic of Wuotan, which allows for his Resurrection, is a Blood-Mystery…

Every great Cultural-Nation has its Vocation/Calling in Blood and Spirit, which in all cases Exemplifies the Modification of the single great World-Secret, and through this modification it establishes its most holy Traditions. But we do not know how far each of them has fallen away from, and has ruined, the divine Crystal of the Blood to the point where it is impossible to recognize [Unkenntlichkeit ].”


In the section of his book called ‘The Tabernacle of the new Will’, he explains a concept that he calls the neue Wille or “new Will”, associating it with some of Nietzsche’s and Schopenhauer’s writings, saying:
“In a secret Prototypical-Language, in its “Runes”, this Cosmic-Will [Welt-Wille] speaks in an ascending way … and it is stronger than anything else for the one who knows these Characters [Zeichen], and who stands there in the Tabernacle of the new Will.”
In another section of his book (‘Essence of the Edda’s God-Idea’), he implies that we are an Antenna which can receive messages from the Cosmos and that we, unfortunately, do not ‘hear’ these messages:
“Everything God-like is something that is [also] telepathically Spiritual. Within us there is an unfolded Antenna -[a] stretched-out Cross, [like] the Cross [of Christ], where we hang [as if] dead, because we do not answer [the call of] the one universal Spiritual-Wavelength.

But whenever we awaken on this Cross, then we come to understand the language of the one spirit! Dead, the Person hangs on this Cross like Christ and Wuotan, but the Ninth Night draws near, in which he shall awaken.

This is the Technique itself which (approaching Divine-Knowledge) conveys the Secret, the Spirit submerged in Nature, which becomes free and breathes upward toward the Universal-Spirit. Lucifer’s Deliverance!

Nature is divine! …Paradise is here and now if we know the Harp of the Power-of-Nature…”

 

Dr. Friedrich Teltscher

Dr. Teltscher was a doctor of engineering who taught at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. He published a monthly magazine on Runic subjects, named Hag-All=All-Hag. Although we cannot find any specific Runic practices that he gave, his ideas and concepts of the Runes certainly influenced many other Runic Occultists.

In his magazine, he wrote “…let’s state a preliminary working hypothesis of a third basic energy besides light and weight/mass (gravity), which are streams of subtle energy… A possibility to explain the Runes could perhaps be in their characteristic as symbols for compounds of streams of subtle energies, not unlike chemical compounds.”

 

Friedrich Bernhard Marby

In 1931, F.B. Marby (a Dutchman who immigrated to Germany) published Runic-Writing, Runic-Words, Runic-Gymnastics [Runenschrift, Runenwort, Runengymnastik ]. This was a large book discussing many interesting ideas about how to work with the Runes.

According to information provided in his own records, Marby began to use the Runes in an esoteric fashion in 1907 (right about the same time Guido von List published his famous The Mystery/Secret of the Runes).

Marby is often cited as the first to develop and use Runic Body Postures or “Rune-Gymnastics” [Runengymnastik] as a means of channeling Runic energy. However, this does not appear to be the case since Peryt Shou did publish a single Runic Body Posture about 10 years earlier and also gave similar theories about receiving cosmic messages or energy.

In his writings, Marby emphasized the health benefits gained from meditating on the Runes. He says that the first effect of practicing “Runic-gymnastics” should be the transformation and healing of the individual. If a group of people (or folk) are engaged in the practice of the Runes as a body, then that whole body will be gradually purified and strengthened.

He regarded the human being as a sensitive receiver and transmitter of cosmic waves & rays that animate the entire universe. His theories for how to practice “Rune-Gymnastics” were based on gathering runic energy from what he called Die Loge der Welt-Räume “The Lodge of World Space” (or the “The Lodge of Cosmos/Universe Space”) which he divided into 5 zones:

 Zone     Original German   Literal Translation Explanation
 1  
Uber-Welten-Raum ‘Ultra/Beyond’ – ‘Worlds/Universe/Cosmos’ Space Cosmic Space
 2  
Welten-Raum (Sternenraum) ‘Worlds/Universe/Cosmos’ Space (Starry Space) Planetary & Starry Space
 3  
Wellen-Raum ‘Wave’ Space Atmosphere
 4  
Erdstoff-Raum ‘Material-Earth’ Space Earth itself
 5  
Erd-Innen-Raum ‘Within/Inner’ Earth Space Inner-Earth

Zone 5 is considered a zone of tranquil space that radiates energy.
Zone 4 is charged with radiations from zone 5 and is influenced by the physical bodies (stars, planets, etc.) that occupy it.
Zone 3 includes everything above the surface of the earth and that our physical bodies inhabit. It receives energy patterns from the zones above and below, and they are most freely exchanged in this zone.
Zone 2 is the physical planet, which is supposedly filled with ancient forms of energy in various patterns.
Zone 1 is also a zone of tranquil space that radiates energy (like zone 5).

For Marby, the exchange of forces within the various energy zones constitutes the phenomena of the universe. He claimed that the methodology for the internalization of these cosmic forces was something that was practiced throughout Germany, Scandinavia, and the British Isles in ancient times. He noted that, in Scandinavia, it is still a folk custom to teach the alphabet to school children by having them strike poses similar to the shapes of letters, while making the sound each letter represents. In this way they quickly internalize the shapes and sounds.

Thus, Marby saw the runes not just as letters or phonetic values, but as representations of postures & movements that could be performed in order to improve one’s reception, absorption, and projection of certain cosmic influences. By imitating the forms of the runes one is able to enjoy the particular influences associated with them, and this is augmented through the repetition of the associated sound or mantra. Meaning that by practicing the runes, one makes oneself capable of receiving and sending patterns of energy like an antenna.

He considered nine basic factors (or “Nine Mothers” as he called them) to be the keys to using the runes:

1) posture or shape
2) environmental space
3) place or location
4) direction or orientation
5) stream of breath
6) vowel sound
7) consonant sound
8) will or concentration
9) motion or movement (such as when postures or shapes are made dynamically in dance, etc).

His theories for how to gather Runic energies (from “The Lodge of World Space”) seem to have influenced several others and especially practitioners of similar Runic Body Postures.

 

Siegfried Adolf Kummer

Kummer was another völkisch Runologist who also worked to advance similar developments in what he referred to as “Rune-Yoga” [Runenyoga ]. He founded a runic school called “Runa” in 1927 where runic exercises, along with runic dancing and runic songs were taught. Runa concentrated on the practice of ritual magic, including the drawing of magic circles containing the names of the Germanic gods and the use of traditional magical tools such as a candelabra and censers. During these rituals, the names of runes were called out and rune shapes were traced in the air as an aid to the magical process.

In his book Holy Runic-Power [Heilige Runenmacht ] (1932), Kummer taught a basic system for practicing individual rune postures (his “Rune-Yoga”) in a certain order. According to Kummer’s curriculum, this regimen will result in profound runic initiatory experiences. The practitioner should be able to do each exercise for about ten minutes, but is urged to practice as often as possible. Then, in 1933, Kummer published another book Rune Magic [Runen-Magie], where he gave Runic Hand Postures (or Mudras) which could be used just like the body postures.

Kummer (like Shou and Marby) felt that we can “regulate the influx of invisible ethereal cosmic waves” through runic exercises and dances. But Kummer claimed that this was only possible for Germanic folk, saying “Those who dismiss this as impossible will never be able to detect thought waves, because they are in disharmony with the Cosmic All, and are impeded by racially foreign blood”.

Despite his racist views, he was still criticized (along with Marby) in a report given to Heinrich Himmler (by Himmler’s chief esoteric runologist Karl M. Wiligut) for “bringing the holy Aryan heritage into disrepute and ridicule”. Both he and Marby were imprisoned by the Nazi regime for being unauthorized occultists.

 

Rudolf John Gorsleben

R.J. Gorsleben created a synthesis of many Rune Occultists, Esotericists, and Theosophists of the time (including Von List). His over 700 page book The Peak-Time of Humanity [Die Hoch-Zeit der Menschheit ] was published the year of his death (1930) and was apparently something he had been working on for over 20 years.

Although he does not give many rune-gymnastics or rune-yoga practices, he does hint at them in his book, where he also says: “The Runes have their own lives, they are true magical signs, from which we can draw the Spirit to Advise and the Courage to Action”.

According to Gorsleben’s vision, the peak of the Aryan race’s power was to be remanifested through a combination of eugenics (improving the genetic quality of a human population) and the systematic reawakening of occult powers and abilities (and he saw the runes as the key to this reawakening).

The runes were seen by Gorsleben the same way others saw them: as tools for the reception and transmission of subtle forces in the universe. It is through them that the “people of the runes” and the ultimate powers in the universe may be joined together.

“The Aryan pictographic script [the runes] and the methods of its use are ‘Kahla’ [Kala] and they are purposefully applied in order to protect against misuse and trespassers, a practice that was strictly observed in all mystery schools…”

 

 

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