I love books. I am an avid bibliophile with a serious literary habit. As such, I just love the tradition in Iceland called the Jolabokaflod (Yule Book Flood) where people buy books for themselves, and as gifts.
The tradition originated during World War II when foreign imports were restricted, but paper was cheap. Iceland’s population was not large enough to support a year-round publishing industry. In Iceland one of 10 Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime, and one of the hallmark signs that the yule season is approaching is when the Icelandic Bokatidindi (a catalogue of all the new books) is delivered for free to each Icelandic residence. So the frenzy begins!
You can shop the range of my books from new releasing titles or past titles by popping over here to amazon: http://amzn.to/2zscWsf 💖
Check ✔️ this deal out. 👀
I’m sharing this promotional deal for those of you interested in acquiring your own copy of Living Runes, but who have not yet picked up their own copy.
To make things easier on you, here’s the direct link to the product page: http://redwheelweiser.com/detail.html?id=9781578636662
For anyone interested in an autograph copy of Living Runes: Theory and Practice of Norse Divination, I have a very limited quantity available (only ten remaining) for purchase at the shop. So better act fast before they are all gone!
This is the ONLY place to get autographed copies short of a face-to-face interaction with me.
This giveaway is designed for FACEBOOK, so that means entries must happen on facebook. Here’s the direct link to the appropriate post: ( http://bit.ly/2WMLxNs ) . Deadline is end of the month, I wanted to give people a chance to get their copies in.
In case anyone is having problems viewing the image with the giveaway information above, I’m also including it below as text.
To celebrate the release of Living Runes: Theory and Practice. I’ve decided to run a giveaway. The prize consists of a set of 20 prayer cards featuring Frigga and her retinue (Saga, Eir, Gefion, Fulla, Sjofn, Lofn, Hlin, Syn, Snotra, Gna, Var, and Vor), as well as Odin and his sons (Thor, Baldr, Vidar, Bragi, Hermod, and Vali). I will select one US winner, and one International winner randomly from all valid entries. Each winner not only receives all those cards, but actually receives a duplicate set of those cards that they can gift to one very lucky friend or divvy up the awarded prayer cards to share among as many friends as they like. So, this is actually one giveaway that entering with your friends can increase your chances of coming away with something.
Here’s how to enter:
Take a picture to share of Living Runes: Theory and Practice. This can be you reading it, or for those that don’t like to post pictures of themselves you can show it on your bookshelf, in your reading nook, posed with your cat, beside a cup of coffee, with your runes–you get the idea. For those of you with ebook copies, just show the cover on your chosen electronic device. I’ll even accept pictures in bookstores, or in libraries (for bookstore and library pic entries please be sure to list the name of the establishment and the city/state/country you found it in). Once your pic is ready:
Like and Comment on this giveaway post on the Galina Krasskova – Wyrd Ways FB Page: http://bit.ly/2WMLxNs
- include your Living Runes: Theory & Practice picture
- tag at least one friend
- include the name of the country in which you currently live
Share this post on FB (toggle the “include original post” option)
Deadline: June 30, 11:59pm EST
Living Runes: Theory and Practice of Norse Divination releases today! 🥳🥳🥳
So…Sweden is considering a ban on the runes and other Heathen symbols. Wildhunt to date doesn’t seem to have covered this– no surprise there. What Heathen groups I have seen touching on it have been excusing it. I haven’t seen medievalists up in arms about it either. Are you people out of your fucking minds?
What is next? Banning Heathenry? That is the logical conclusion to a globalist program that considers any expression of indigenous religious culture a hate crime.
The reasons this is being considered are, of course, supposedly to prevent white supremacist groups from using these symbols. I don’t, however, see any proposed ban of the cross or the crescent. In the end, it doesn’t matter WHY this is being considered. If you give an inch to a tyrant, they will take a mile. We should be up in arms about this. In fact, every devout community, Pagan, Polytheist, Heathen, or otherwise should be up in arms over this religious discrimination. Where will it be focused next?
Let’s look at exactly what Sweden is proposing to ban. It’s quite interesting.
Tyr rune- warriorship, justice, truth, honor
Othala rune: ancestral consciousness, inheritance, protection, homeland, wealth
Valknot – a symbol of Odin/Woden.
Vegisvir: a rune sigil for safe travel, finding one’s way
And….the Thor’s hammer, a symbol of protection, sanctity, and Heathen identity.
Their choices do not seem accidental.
by Ryan M.
Bloody staves and candlelight,
the questioner being questioned.
A divine and cosmic discourse.
A path weaved through the Wyrd.
Answers appear through the smoke, some beget more questions.
Comprehension is the problem of the inquirer,
Truth cares not if it is understood.
The Wise One takes another sip of mead,
knowledge of all is seldom a comfort.
He mastered this game long ago,
and I wonder if He misses the mystery of it.
Either way we drink together,
for the Truth is seldom easy to swallow without assistance.
I saw someone on Facebook today opining that the tattoo they’d gotten so proudly to honor their Gods was now being taken over by a neo-Nazi group. No. Many things can be corrupted and coopted but it doesn’t change the inherent nature of those things. It may alter our perceptions, yes, but othala remains othala, a conduit to a rune spirit of tremendous power, one that has nothing to do with our contemporary politics. It is only lost to hate groups if we allow it to be.
This rune is the rune of lineage and tribe, of tradition, of connection to our forebears, of right order. By that latter, I mean sacred covenants (with Gods, ancestors, land) in place and active. It is a rune of protection, of nurturing and nourishing the family, community, and all tribal bonds. It is that which keeps a community healthy, hale, and whole. Those are all good things. We should be working to keep our families, our communities, our tribes if we had them anymore, safe and secure, healthy, we should be maintaining healthy boundaries and working for overall abundance and well-being. Othala is the transmission of knowledge and in a sacred context mysteries from one generation to another. It is one’s active connection to one’s ancestors and lineage, complete with all the obligations that entails made manifest. I think this is perhaps why it is a favored rune for white supremacist groups. It speaks to tribe and culture, tradition and lineage but what they miss when they co-opt it, is that it speaks to that for each group of people. It doesn’t just speak to that for those with white skin. It speaks to the goodness and necessity of connection to one’s forebears, and protection of one’s family for every tribe and people. That is contained in its nature, encoded in its DNA so to speak. This is what it holds, what it is. How do you make a people strong? How do you ensure that the next generation will be healthy and hale? How do you ensure clean transmission of tradition from generation to generation and what does it mean to do so? All of this is contained within this rune.
Generally, when I work Othala, I find that it connects very strongly first to the ancestors and then to Odin. For the former, it is very much about the active relationship with one’s honored dead, the give and take now as it immediately impacts one’s daily life. It’s about healthy transmission of knowledge, and daily maintenance of those sacred covenants. When it is more Odinic in its manifestation, it speaks to the obligations of sacred hierarchy, of kingship, of sovereignty, and the give and take between king and vassal, or in modern parlance, the necessary work to keep those covenants healthy and functioning properly. It speaks to the need for good boundaries, for self-knowledge, and for being able to look ahead – like Odin on Hlidskjalf— beyond the morass of daily emotions and Sturm and Drang of living to the problems that may face a family or community or tribe down the road, it speaks to the necessity of preparation, and of conscious piety being part of the best prep.
Most importantly of all, Othala is our connection to our folk. I hate that term ‘folk’ because of how it’s so often used, but it is our connection to those ancestors who were functioning polytheists. It is the bridge between what we have now as we work to restore, and what once was and as such it is a reminder of our obligations to be vigilant and strong in our work toward restoration. It reminds us that our ancestors hold the wisdom we need and with their help we can bridge the gap between what was, what is, and what we very much wish to create. Othala is the citadel, under protection of the Gods and dead that has never fallen and will never fall so long as we continue fostering right relationship with the Powers, including our own communities.
I too grow angry when I see hate groups mis-using our sacred symbols, all the more so when it is people who clearly have no devotion to or veneration of the Gods and spirits in question. It angers me greatly. It is not theirs by right. It is not theirs to corrupt. It is not theirs to smear their pollution upon. (I feel the same way when I see Wiccans or Pagans handling the runes without any thought to the Mysteries behind them. I feel the same way when I see Marvel misusing the Valknot or other symbols. It’s appropriation. It’s disgusting. I do understand very much the anger and disgust such misappropriation can evoke). But that they do this does not change the inherent nature of the rune or the rune spirit itself and I think it’s important to not let people’s mis use cause us to abandon these things that are in fact the right of all those steeped in the Northern Ways, or bound to its Gods, or called by its spirits. To abandon that which is ours by right is as great an error as to claim that which is not. We simply have to be louder in proclaiming our traditions, in showing the rune in the proper context, in working as we have each been called to work for the restoration of our traditions. In the end, if the Gods will and our work is successful, those traditions will stand and their ignorant usurpers will be nothing more than a pathetic blip in the march of history. Othala is about preserving and building, not tearing down and not hate.
(Most of this is drawn from a conversation I’m having with several other spirit-workers and NT shamans. We’ve been discussing and exploring our cosmology, specifically the Norse creation story. I write a bit about that here and this delves a bit deeper into some of the ideas expressed in that piece. This is speculative, posted mostly to give myself a record of my thoughts).
|I don’t think it’s possible to over-emphasize the importance of our cosmogony. I think any understanding of the way Heathenry and the Northern Tradition works must start with an exploration and understanding of our cosmogony, because that is the lens through which we are expected to engage with the world, relationships, and everything in between. I’ve occasionally seen the primal Gap (Ginnungagap) described as a ‘womb’ but I really do not like the image of a ‘womb’ for the Gap. It’s too much a gendered term. The Gap is a crucible and for many reasons that I’ll be discussing here, precedes any idea of gender.
Likewise with the runes: one often ascribes gender to them (and they can in fact present as gendered) but I think it’s perhaps a mistake to assume that any gendered presentation represents the actual nature of the rune itself, and for many of the same reasons as with the Gap.
I’ll start with the runes because in many ways, they’re easier to touch on than our cosmogony. From my experience, some specific rune spirits might take on a gender, but as a whole, they’re not what we would term masculine and feminine in their essence. I think this is important…I don’t think that like the Odu, (with whom I have seem the runes often compared) they’re building blocks of creation. Instead, I think they in some way expand and expound from the Gap, almost like agents provocateur, instruments that carry that synergy wherever it needs to go, especially at the points where wyrd begins. This is all speculative theology but the runes are not of this world. They were never of the human world (at least not the elder. I have suspicions about the younger. I suspect that the younger were born of the elder, and born to be a more direct bridge to this world, are more inherently connected to this plane of existence). They take on gender, or can take it on, when they enter our world/state of being but within their own natural realm, the Gap, it is an alien idea.
I think we really have to be careful of co-opting gendered language for these things. That’s immediately a category and a limitation and for those things that are beyond temporality and even materiality, it’s important to resist that urge. All the more so as those terms carry so much weight in our culture. We reduce the power of these Forces (the Gap, the worlds within the Gap before creation, even the runes) when we make them feminine or masculine. We reduce their nature, blocking it off and culling it down, parceling it out when we ascribe to it those categories that limit with respect to substance and manifestation. Sometimes it’s inevitable. We need a means to discuss these things after all, but I think with the runes, we can deal with them as they are, and the Gap as well without projecting our own gendered language onto them. (I do think that within the rune families, rune spirits will choose to appear in a variety of genders but I think it’s an assumed guise for our sake. Half of learning how to work with the runes is a matter of us learning how to communicate with them, and them learning our interior symbol system, i.e. how to communicate with us. Taking on gendered forms may improve communication). When we begin exploring our cosmogony, we’re challenged to move beyond ideas of gender as these somehow inherently meta categories of universal structure.
The first actively gendered force that we have is Audhumla, the sacred cow and that is crucial. Once materiality is yoked to temporality, once it’s out of the Gap and into Being, once there is substance, it’s filtered through Audhumla, that feminine force that brings Ymir into being and starts the process of embodied creation
I remember thinking about the creation story and thinking, “where the fuck did the cow come from?” but it’s an IE motif: the active principle of embodied creation, once things have moved into materiality, is a cow: a feminine, or rather female force. Cows were wealth, abundance – we see this in the runes too with fehu, domestic cattle and wealth (versus Uruz, initiation and the challenge of the wild aurochs). It’s potentiality for abundance, the power of manifestation (I believe even Audhumla’s name means ‘wealth.’). That’s a different level from the moments preceding creation and again from creation itself, at once removed from the Otherness of the Gap. For most of us, I think that when the runes present as gendered, that’s here, in our world/state of being, not in the Gap, not their origin point and that difference is significant. It may be that there is how the runes are there, and how they can choose to be here, or how they are filtered through here.
I think we need to step back and examine how often we contextualize based on gender. The moment you ascribe that category, you’ve put a limit on something. You’ve also humanized it. Now sometimes that happens. Our Gods taken on gender for instance…note I said ‘take on.’ I don’t’ want to limit Them by assuming They are bound in any way to it. They take it on. When we start talking about cosmogony, we’re pre-human, pre substance, pre material and categories (like gender) no longer apply. They don’t exist yet. So for this, we have to move away from how humans experience the world, and our assumed position of necessity to its order, and look instead at how things are without filtering it through humanity as a necessary lens – because these things we’re discussing here existed/came into being, well before we did.
To further complicate things, Old Norse, like many IE languages is a gendered language. This means that nouns have grammatical gender (they can be masculine, feminine, or neuter. It doesn’t have anything to do with what that noun might be usually, but instead is a way of categorizing based on morphological terminations). In some respects, looking at grammatical gender can be enlightening. It’s one more level of analysis but certain concepts and ideas, certain types of being are beyond gender, beyond any human category. When we’re talking about something similar in so many ways to the Platonic Agathos, Nous, and Psykhe, we’re not dealing with something yoked by gender. Gender is a material limitation. I do with the runes, think of them as gender fluid to some degree, but largely because I ‘m not sure gender has any relevance in THEIR realm…whereas it’s part of ours, and like a costume they can put it on or take it off at will to communicate specific things in their interactions with us.
Once we start looking at cosmogonic principles, however, up until the point of material creation, the point where suddenly there is materiality and temporality, and *substance*, gender has no meaning. Once we get to substantive realms/states of being, then gender becomes a thing, because then, by virtue of being substantive, there is already limitation.
Insofar as we have substantive concepts, I think bringing gendered language into it can be interesting (both grammatically for analysis and ideologically). As noted above, it’s another level of analysis when we’re doing theological exegesis. The cosmogony, however, before the moment when materiality comes into being as a result of friction between worlds (opposing forces) doesn’t exist as we might comprehend it.
(a few initial working thoughts on runes and sacred utterance that I’ll most likely be playing with and developing over the next few months).
I spent most of my morning watching music videos by Victoria Hanna, like this one. After reading a few interviews and articles about her, I’m firmly of the conclusion that this woman knows things, like Kabbalistic things and the significance of en-fueled utterance.(1) Listening to her Alef-Bet song, I started thinking about the runes, their spirits, the shapes and cadence of their letter-forms and why that’s all so important in both the practice of galdr and Heathen theology.
It’s all about utterance and what happens at that moment that uncreation becomes conscious creation. To speak with intent is to bring that which has no corporeality, temporality, or material existence of any kind into being. It brings alive that which exists uncreated, unformed, unordered only in the ether of our own minds, only in the ether from which the Gods plucked and spoke and fought and formed creation.
Many traditions have the story of all creation coming into being by virtue of divine utterance. We do not, at least not that has survived for us in any readable form. Our creation story goes back specifically to the primordial, PREprimordial impulse: the spark, the push, the shove, the attention and tenuation of opposites that precedes the action of forming the will to utterance (the theological consequences of having a creation story that begins not ex nihilo but with opposing elemental forces already in existence within holy Void will be discussed in later articles and posts). Our story goes back to the mechanical processes that lead up to expression, that lead up to a point where expression can be rooted in temporality and materiality. But then, well after materiality has happened, after it has been forced to happen, we have a creator God plucking matter from the Void that now is (rather than the one that could be) plucking up and forming from inanimate, unsouled,(?) unmoving matter humanity and breathing into them not life but consciousness. With consciousness comes the spark of will.
Then that same God tortured Himself to tear open the fabric of all that had been created, that had been carefully formed into matter and materiality, yoked to temporality and substance. By tearing a gash in creation He brought forth the runes. He did not create them. He summoned them by will and blood and screaming: by utterance and sacrifice. He unyoked creation to bring forth potentiality bound by the power of utterance. Then He appeased them, creating (negotiating?) forms by which they could engage and act upon this place without reducing it again to the raw impulses of the Gap.(2) And those spirits brought forth more of their own here.
Taking all of this together, it points to utterance being something more than simple creation. It is directly connected to conscious being, a working ontology that has the potential capability to shape and work and guide the unfolding of creation. Given the physiological process of actually uttering a sound, that makes us as human beings conduits for creation, not just the simple βíoς of fucking and breeding (necessary and pleasurable – at least the first lol) but a potential for engaging in the process of unfolding creation that places us securely in the hierarchies of power, of recognition and it’s this that allows us to claim kinship to the Gods (our theology also speaks to Gods helping to father, mother, and further humankind). This is the point where the esoteric and the theological intersect in what might be likened to a very sticky Venn diagram.
What does the rune master want? More. To see more of everything unfolding. To stand in it, touch it, sing it into being, sing it into becoming, sing it apart, feel the building blocks of Beingness flowing through one’s hands and the fiery pathways of one’s synapses. To see, to know, to will. To effect carefully calculable results. It is a particularly Odinic type of ecstasy. It is to know oneself inhabited and comprised of the same particles which one seeks to transform, that we by virtue of our own materiality are built from the stuff from which the runes arose, and therefore hold their secrets in our very knitted togetherness. (3)
In one of her presentations, Hanna discusses the physicality of language, specifically where do letters hit on the throat, palate, teeth, lips, and tongue.(4) This is something that I’ve often found deeply significant on galdr. Part of the process for the more esoteric types of galdr involves playing with just this physicality to work unseen patterns of sound with each rune. These corporeal points become gateways for the rune spirits themselves, and the galdr worker a gateway for what they then loose. It is all centered around the very physical process of shaping and intoning the rune names. The letter shapes themselves become entry points, ciphers, shells for the spirits, coded sigils by which the runes may then be known, engaged with, and conceptualized on this world. Physicality has certain limitations after all both good and bad for which such a ciphered context would be necessary, or at least far, far more helpful even though that which the runes connect to(?) flow from, partake of is fully embodied in the building blocks of our very bodies and the world in which we move. Perhaps part of good esoteric work is learning to call that forth, bring it to the surface, and then engaging directly with it in ourselves and that which we seek to impact. I also cannot help but wonder, thinking of Hanna’s videos, if the fact that the letter-spirits she works with (Hebrew) are encoded as a sacred language as well as a spoken language helps to keep this more consciously encoded and easily accessed? (5)
The runes were used to write several Northern languages and some scholars like R.I. Page would tell you that is all they were ever used for. Obviously I disagree. Language was and is remarkable technology and I would never dispute that, but it’s also remarkable esoteric technology. If the ancient Germanic tribes didn’t have some sense of awe around the process of writing and speaking back what is written that would make them quite a rarity indeed. Now, Norse, Old English, other Scandinavian languages were not, insofar as we know, engaged with as ‘sacred’ tongues. They were the languages people spoke without ever being reified in quite the same way as Hebrew was and has been.(6) All of which leads me to wonder if there was a rune language, something used by galdr workers in much the same way modern Enochian is used by certain types of esoteric orders today? Certainly there are rhythms. One sees this in havamal 144 and 145. There is a rhythm that languages like Old Norse are specifically capable of that can (and I would posit was) used for esoteric purposes. Literacy came to the Northlands by way first of Rome and then of Christianity. What might we have had it been allowed to spread naturally, without foreign influence or spiritual colonization? Might we have found our spiritual dialects comparable to the sacral positioning of biblical Hebrew now? This is speculation of course, but the runes ride rhythms (and alliteration). Is this the shape of the language mirroring the ipseity and inherent nature (sound, rhythm, flow, pattern) of the runes? What creates the best environment for their conscious calling forth?
I’ve often said that learning how to work the runes well is rather a matter of translation and interpretation. There is always a time, and sometimes a long one, where the rune worker is learning how to communicate with the runes and both sides of that equation are developing a common lexicon. This becomes the basis for future and hopefully effective partnership. What might it be like if that lexicon were already an encoded part of one’s culture, language, and religious experience and had been for generations? I don’t know, but I do know there’s a hell of a lot we can only imagine.
What all of this goes back to for me is the power of language: as a tool of creation, a loosing of that which can never be recalled, only transformed, as a sacred tool, an esoteric tool, a doorway. It goes back to language and the naming of things, and then to the ensouled, focused cry, the utterance infused with Being and Becoming, loosed forcefully upon the threads and rivers of Wyrd. I’m going to conclude this here. These are ideas that I plan to explore and develop over time but I wanted to loose them here now because we seem to have issues as a community, an intersecting network of communities with the naming of things and the idea that words have meaning– immutable, layered, textured, complex. They have their own being and when dealing with them it’s important to be precise.
- See here and here for starters.
- In thinking about Havamal 145, I’m struck by the word ‘sóa’. This author notes that while this word means “waste” (which is strange and not particularly workable in context) there are other cognates that refer to something more along the lines of “appease”, which completely changes one’s potential interpretation of this passage. This is something to explore further.
- For instance, our circulatory systems contain the essence of raido, the pathways that run throughout every part of the body. Thurisaz governs our nervous systems….which as anyone with chronic pain can tell you can be a hazardous minefield of torment at times, or a delight of sensual pleasures. Othila is that which is encoded in our DNA….R. Kaldera has explored this with the Younger and Northumbrian Futharks here. Perhaps because this is specifically for healing purposes, it doesn’t discuss the more esoteric aspects of embodied runology. For instance, Fehu has strong associations with blood and othila and ancestral luck. Still, this is the beginning of restoring traditions that have been lost to us, traditions rooted in Yggdrasil, Wyrd, and the unfolding cosmology of our Gods. …which begs a further question: no wonder mysticism and experiential traditions so bother a certain section of Heathens: to say that our Gods are alive and real and actively engaging with us, means that the cosmology and sacred stories are not set in stone. It means lore is unfolding and changing too and that turns all that we are used to in religions on its head. Ours is not a tradition that was once revealed and written down. It is an ever revealing tradition and that changes everything. It encodes eternal unending change into our tradition itself.
- This is a bit long, but worth watching here.
- The other thing that I noted as I was writing this (and obsessively watching Hanna’s Alef-Bet song) is the inherent intertwining between the esoteric parts of the language and piety, the praise of her God. One flows from and into the other in an endless loop.
- Except perhaps by certain denominations of modern Heathens who attempt to position various of these languages as uniquely sacral. I’m not knocking this. I think there can be benefit for encoding one’s language in this way—speaking it in ritual then helps to move one’s consciousness into receptive ritual headspace. It’s not historically accurate though.