Understanding Our Study of the Runes

We have tried to introduce the reader to different factors that have played a part in the development of Runic Exercises. We have briefly looked at the Mythological aspect, and then the Historical Background and Context that contributed to the popularization of the Runes. However, our real goal is to study and understand the Gnostic Esoteric aspect of these practices.

Our goal has been to prepare the reader for the teachings of Arnoldo Krumm-Heller (Huiracocha) and Samael Aun Weor. Why? Because he stated:

This statement implies that the Runic Exercises can be used to assist us with the Awakening of the consciousness.

It becomes clear, when studying Samael Aun Weor’s writings on the Runes, that he studied Huiracocha. When we study Huiracocha, it becomes clear that he studied the German Esoteric and Occult authors of his time, including: Peryt Shou, S.A. Kummer and R.J. Gorsleben. And If we read these German authors, then we can see that they read Guido Von List. So we include them all in an effort to show the possible sources or, at least, similarities between authors.

We mentioned that the term “Aryan” was used differently by Blavatsky than it was by Volkish authors, and the Gnostic Movement uses it similarly to how Blavatsky used it (referring to the 5th Root Race, that is all the peoples populating our planet in these present time). Therefore, we can look at the German author’s use of the term Aryan in its Gnostic sense rather than its Volkish sense. That being said, we need to remember the definite impact that Volkish ideas had on the previous centuries, and continue to have on people searching for an understanding of identity.

Often, we think of “Volkish” as referring to only those of European ancestry, but the idea of the “Folk” (that is a ‘special’ group) is often what is used as a catalyst to unite a people, regardless of their ancestry. We see it in religious extremism, nationalism, and even gang culture. Many times people want to define themselves by what group or groups they belong to (or by which ones they don’t belong to), but, in terms of Gnostic Psychology, this does not really allow us to know ourselves.

To know ourselves, to know what we are internally, depends on our ability to direct our attention to our interior and then what we do with the data we receive. If we define ourselves based on exterior things (“race”, ethnicity, nation, politics, socio-economic situation, local affiliation, etc.), then we are more trying to fit a predefined mold of what that exterior thing is ‘should’ be, than we are trying to study ourselves. So if our goal is to know ourselves, then let us recognize the drawbacks of group affiliations and, instead, let us attentively study ourselves.

In any case, in our study of the Runes, we must note the influences that have affected Modern Runology, so that we can understand what needs to be discarded and what needs to be emphasized. Modern Runology emerged from a Volkish culture, and we can study this while, at the same time, extracting the essential concepts from it in order to “salvage” some wisdom from these authors. Let us not forget that after the WWII, the United States took many German scientists who had been working in missile & rocket technology and used them to put a man on the moon (see Operation Paperclip). So let us also take advantage of this esoteric information, but without becoming fanatical, because there are some themes here that can help us advance quickly in these studies.


Bureus, List and the “Armanen” Runes

When studying Guido Von List, we encounter the term “Ariosophic” or “Ariosophy” (meaning ‘wisdom concerning the aryans’). However, the term was not used by List himself, but popularised by other Volkish authors and came after List had published his final book, it has since become the standard way of referring to certain types of Volkish studies. List referred to Wotanism [Wuotanstum] or Armanism [Armanenschaft] when he was gave a name to the “pre-christian” spiritual system he described (which he said was the Germanic or ‘Aryan’ religion in ancient times).

For List, the ancient Germanic society had been led by a hierarchical system of initiates, which he called the “Armanenschaft”. This fraternity was said to contain the priests, judges and teachers of the society; and was described as having three degrees (each with their associated signs, words and grips). List explained the similarities with Freemasonry, by saying that after the Christianisation of Northern Europe, the Armanist teachings were passed down in secret, resulting in their transmission through later esoteric traditions such as the Templars, Rosicrucians and Freemasons.

So the term Ariosophic was not List’s but may come up when studying these topics and has even been used to refer to List’s Rune Row of 18 Runes. However, List’s 18 Runes are very similar to Bureus’ 15 Runes:

Bureus used a modified version of the Younger Futhark runic alphabets (combining variants together) and List added 3 more runes to this same alphabet.

Other similarities or notes from List’s “Armanen” runes include:

• List keeps Bureus’ ordering of the    ‘M’ rune, which was modified from the 11th position in the Younger Futhark to the 15th position.
• Of the 3 runes that List adds (   Yr #16,    Eh/Ehe #17 and    Gibor #18), Bureus considered    Yr or ‘Y’ rune (#16) to be the same as the    ‘R’ rune (#5) and used them interchangeably. Meaning that List really only has 2 different or ‘new’ runes when compared with Bureus’ runes.
• List adds the    Eh or Ehe rune (#17), which is a similar shape to some of the Younger Futhark’s ‘A’ rune (#10) variant.
• The last rune of List’s “Armanen” runes is what he calls    Gibor or Gibor (#18). The initial symbols List gave for this rune were [1] something similar to an X, [2] something like a Z with a horizontal line through the middle, called a Wolfsangel or Wulffsangel in German (which was a Forest Services symbol that had also been used in heraldry and as a boundary marker). However, he also associated this rune with [3] the now famous swastika or fylfot cross.

All this to say that List’s 18 “Armanen” runes are very similar to Bureus’ 15 “Adul” runes (which was a reduction of the Younger Futhark). But List claimed that these were the original runes, the Ur-Runes, so to speak. He claimed that he deciphered this original runic alphabet and its secret meanings from from particular runic poems which appear in the Old Norse Havamal.


List and the Rúnatal or “Odin’s Rune Song” the Havamal

List explained that these 18 “original” runes or “Ur-Runes” came from his analysis of a section of the epic poem Havamal called the Rúnatal, which has 18 stanzas (of about 2-7 verses each) referring to the different runes. Although the text itself does not say which runes are directly associated with which stanzas, List makes those associations and others authors of the times echoed those associations.

The Rúnatal describes what happened after Wotan/Odin came down off of the “World Tree” and received the Runes:

List’s Associated Rune
  138   I know that I hung,
on a windy tree
for all of nine nights,
wounded by a spear,
and given to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree
of which nobody knows
from what root it arises.
  139   They dealt me no bread,
nor drinking horn.
I looked beneath,
I took up the runes,
yelling I took them up,
and fell back from there.
  140   Nine great songs
I got from the famous Son
of Bolthor, the father of Bestla.
and I had a drink of the dear mead
that was drawn from Othroerir.
{“mead” or ‘beer’ refers to an intoxicating substance, similar to how the term ‘wine’ is used in Christian symbolism}  
  141   Then I prospered
and was wise
and waxed & gained;
my words from words
obtained words,
my works from works
obtained works.
  142   You can find runes,
meaningful staves,
very strong staves,
very powerful staves,
which the Great-Thule [Fimbulthulr] stained,
and that the great rulers made,
that Hropt of the rulers carved.
  143   Odin among the Aesir,
but Dainn for the elves,
Dvalinn for the dwarves,
and Asvith for the ettins.
I carved some myself.
  144   Do you know how you must carve them?
Do you know how you must read them?
Do you know how you must stain them?
Do you know how you must wield them?
Do you know how you must ask them?
Do you know how you must sacrifice them?
Do you know how you must send them?
Do you know how you must immolate them?
  145   It is better not to ask,
than to over-sacrifice.
A yeild always looks for a gift.
It is better unsent,
than over-immolated.
So Thund carved
before the history of the tribes,
when he rose up
and came back after that.
  146   I know those magical songs,
not known to a king’s wife,
nor to any human.
  One is called Help
and it will help you
with disagreements & sorrows
and all afflictions.

FA (1)
  147   I know a second:
that is needed by the sons of men,
those who would live as healers.

UR (2)
  148   I know a third:
if there comes a great need for me
to bind against the opposition.
I dull the edges/blades
of my opposition
so that their weapons and trickery
do not bite.
{“bind” or ‘binding’ as well as ‘to bond’ (to tie or fasten something tightly) is an older way of describing magical effects}

  149   I know a fourth:
if warriors bear
bonds on my limbs.
Thus I chant
so that I may go [free and]
the bonds spring from my feet,
and the bonds [spring] from my hands.

OS and OTHIL (4)
  150   I know a fifth:
if I see a speedy shot,
[like] a spear flying into the folk;
it does not fly so boldy
that I cannot stop it,
if I catch sight of it.

RIT or RITA (5)
  151   I know a sixth:
if some thane attacks me,
with the roots of a wild tree,
he who says he hates me
will get hurt,
but I will be unharmed.
{a “thane” is a man who held land granted by the king, ruler or chief}

KA or KAUN (6)
  152   I know a seventh:
if I see a fire high
on the hall around my seated companions,
it does not burn so bright
that I cannot protect it
when I know the chant to sing.

  153   I know an eighth:
it is useful
for all who know it,
whenever hatred grows
among warriors’ sons,
I am able to quickly remedy it.

NAUTH or NOT (8)
  154   I know a ninth:
if need arises during storms,
to protect my ship on the sea,
I can still the winds,
and calm the waves,
and put the entire sea to sleep.

IS (9)
  155   I know a tenth:
if I see hags [or witches]
playing in the sky,
I can work it
that the they fare away,
so their shapes shall fare home,
so their spirits fare home.

AR (10)
  156   I know an eleventh:
if to battle I must go,
leading long-time friends,
I sing under the shield
and they fare into battle powerfully
and they fare from battle wholely,
they are whole wherever they go.

SIG (11)
  157   I know a twelfth:
if up in a tree I see
a hanged man swinging high,
so I can carve
and stain runes,
so that the man comes [down]
and speaks with me.

TIR or TYR (12)
  158   I know a thirteenth:
if I sprinkle a young thane
with water,
[then] he cannot fall,
though he goes to battle,
he will not be cut down by swords.

BAR (13)
  159   I know a fourteenth:
if I must [with] an army and the folk,
tell them of the gods,
of the Aesir and elves,
[then] I know [these things] clearly,
[while] few of the unwise know so.

LAF (14)
  160   I know a fifteenth,
which was chanted by Thiodrorir
the dwarf before Delling’s door;
He sang power for the Aesir,
advancement for the elves,
and understanding/intelligence for Hroftatyr.

MAN (15)
  161   I know a sixteenth:
if I want the heart and pleasure
of a wise maiden,
I turn the mind
of the white-armed woman,
and switch all her reasoning.

YR or IR (16)
  162   I know a seventeenth:
[I sing it]
so that the youthful maiden
will not slowly forgo me.

EH or EHE (17)
  These songs
you will, Loddfafnir,
be lacking for a long while;
but will be good for you, once you learn [them],
they will be useful, once you understand them,
and needful once you accept [them].
  163   I know an eighteenth:
that I let none know,
neither maiden, nor man’s wife;
[yet] it is always better
when one knows about it;
it follows the last of the songs,
unless [it is known] to her alone
who lies in my arms,
or is my sister.

  164   Now are Har’s sayings
spoken in Har’s hall,
all-needful for the sons of men
un-needed by ettins’ sons.
  Hail the one who speaks [them],
hail the one who knows [them]
useful to the one who gets them
hallowed are those who heed [them].


List and Huiracocha

Huiracocha’s runes continued the development of Volkisch runology (building off of List’s ordering to include more runes) and added 4 more runes for a total of 22, while also apparently giving their correspondences with the Hebrew letters. The runes Huiracocha added are:

• The ‘J’ rune called Ger or Jera from the Anglo-Saxon Futhark which is also used to indicate the number 19 in runic calendars
• A Cross or plus ‘+’ rune, which seems to have been an attempt to give this symbol esoteric significance beyond its typical Christian association
• An X or “Multiplication cross”, which is a variation of the Elder Futhark or Anglo-Saxon Futhark’s ‘G’ rune (also known as the Gebo or Gyfu rune)
• The ‘O’ of Odal/Odil rune from the Elder Futhark and Anglo-Saxon Futhark.



Ordering of the Runes

In S.A. Kummer’s 1931 book Holy Runic-Power [Heilige Runenmacht] (1932), (the first comprehensive book on Runic Exercises), a basic system for practicing individual Runes in a certain order was given. According to this curriculum, the regimen will result in profound runic initiatory experiences and consists of a total of 13 runes, performed in the following order: