Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Icelandic Foss Hammer-an Original Second Copy?

In this article I am revisiting once more the issue of the famous Icelandic Foss Hammer as it would appear that my original article on the subject has gained some traction on the Internet and is provoking discussion. I refer my readers to the earlier articles The Icelandic Wolf's  Hammer  and  Further Reflections on the Icelandic Wolf's Hammer

It has been pointed out to me that one possible explanation for the Wolf's Hammer is the apparent resemblance to the symbol known as the St Peter's Cross. After further reflection I must reject this hypothesis. I would point out that if the intended symbolism of the Foss Hammer was Christian then the artist responsible has failed miserably for it is clearly a heathen amulet. The head of the Hammer is that of either a wolf or a dragon. Both the wolf and the dragon are most definitely heathen creatures and feature prominently in Norse mythology. I gravitate towards the idea that it is a wolf, not a dragon that is being represented. The chain that would have threaded through the aperture is symbolic of the wolf Fenrir gripping or being held by the magical chain Gleipnir forged by the dwarves from 6 magical items:-the sound of a cat's footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish and the spittle of a bird.

Whether the head of the Hammer be that of a wolf or a dragon it is totally out of place on a supposedly Christian pendant. St Peter's Crosses were not particularly prevalent in northern Europe and in any case they would not or should not have contained heathen symbolism. The cross feature which appears in the intersection of the arms is equilateral in nature and not representative of the cross of Christ. My readers will be aware that an equilateral cross is an ancient Germanic symbol which predates Christianity by thousands of years. The arms of the Hammer are not just rounded but clublike in nature and indeed the whole shape is reminiscent of the Eyrarland Thor statue which was also discovered in Akureyri, Iceland at Eyrarland Farm in either 1815 or 1816 and dates back to about 1000 CE. The Hammer which is being gripped by Thor has three clublike terminals as does the Foss Hammer. The resemblance is unmistakeable and cannot be denied by any impartial observer. The Foss Hammer dates shortly before this time and it is clear that this form is how the Icelanders depicted the Mjolnir and appears to be unique to that island. No one would claim that the statue of Thor is clutching a Christian cross so likewise there should be no assumption that the Foss Hammer is a Christian cross either. One cannot have it both ways.

It has been argued that the Foss Hammer was deliberately designed as a hybrid in order that a follower of the old Gods may escape persecution by the church but this argument is erroneous as we know that the Foss Hammer dates back to the 9th century when the old religion was still predominant so to suggest that anyone at this time would have been subject to persecution by the church is nonsensical and thus must be rejected. It is surprising though how this error has been mindlessly repeated all over the Internet, usually by commercial websites which sell reproductions of it. One still sees this argument though being uttered by so-called academics too. If the Hammer was designed to be worn on occasions as a cross then it requires an explanation as to why there is no aperture on the bottom of the Hammer to thread a chain through?

I have often questioned whether the Icelandic Hammer was a one off or if any other copies were made at the time. Recently I discovered that another amulet, resembling the Foss one was offered for sale on an auction website: https://www.timelineauctions.com/lot/wolf-cross-pendant/79886/
The wording of the auction suggests that this is an original historical model and this is reflected in the high price. Whether it is authentic I am not in a position to say but if it is then this is an extremely exciting discovery and I am puzzled as to why there is a dearth of publicity regarding this find! No information is given regarding the place of origin of this second Hammer so if anyone has any further information about this I would like to hear from you.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Die Bauge-an Esoteric Trollskors?




Since writing the previous article http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-trollskors-possible-origin.html I found reference to a strikingly similar symbol in Walther Blachetta's Das Buch der Deutschen Sinnzeichen which Blachetta refers to as Die Bauge:

"Die Bauge is the symbol for the- desire for a quick return- . It is a variation of the symbol of  Die Brille, only that both spheres of life are still open here. Closely related to it is the  Blitzbündel and the double spiral. - Baugen were laid by the Teutons in the grave of good friends and loyal followers." (pages 38-39)
        
(WOTANS KRIEGER's translation-please note that I have retained the German 'Die Brille', which means 'spectacles' for stylistic reasons. 'Die Bauge' has no English equivalent and thus remains untranslated but there may be an etymological link with 'Der Bogen' which means 'bow' , 'arc' and 'arch' and it certainly resembles the arch in form.)

Die Bauge very closely resembles the trollkors and this may very well be an esoteric interpretation of this enigmatic symbol. Unfortunately Blachetta does not mention a source for his entry and does not clarify what material Die Bauge as an amulet was constructed from but my guess would be that it may have been iron which was a relatively cheap metal and had special protective properties.:



Die Bauge was a symbol for the Wiederkehr, the return to life of the dead friend or follower. The two spiral ends of the symbol represent the 'spheres' of life. Blachetta compares this symbol with Die Brille:

"Die Brille is the symbol-of the return and of the resurrection-. It is an amendment of the dumbbell. There (WOTANS KRIEGER's note-'there' referring back to the dumbbell-Die Hantel) only opposition, here the continuation of life, and indeed out of death through the Origin (WOTANS KRIEGER's note-Armanen term translated from Das Ur) to a new existence. - Die Brille is a much beloved symbol in folk art and frequently found on farmhouse door arches in Westphalia. Related to it is the symbol with the rams horn, the cradle and the Jar rune." (pages 36-37) 

Die Brille resembles a pair of round spectacles, joined together by an arch or a bow. Again as with Die Bauge we have the concept of resurrection or returning to life. This is also reflected in the Listian concept of Arising-Becoming-Passing Away-New Arising. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed and the life force is of course a form of energy.

My readers will note Blachetta's comparison with the Blitzbündel and more information on this symbol may be found on http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/an-esoteric-interpretation-of-das.html and http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-trisula-and-its-associations-with.html . As I commented in the earliest of the aforementioned articles the Blitzbündel  is a symbol of both birth and rebirth. The astute observer will notice that the symbol appears to be composed of 2 Perthro runes. It is beyond doubt that one interpretation of this rune is the 'womb'. So again we have this recurring theme of rebirth, a concept that well known to our pre-xtian Germanic and Celtic ancestors.

 Blachetta refers to Die Doppelspirale or the double spirals as being a comparable symbol:

"The double spirals is the image-of the eternal dying and becoming-. The Ringhorn rolling itself up changes here immediately into a unrolling spiral. This symbol was very widely diffused in early cultures, especially in the Germanic Bronze Age. The often heard meaning, the double spirals portray the two courses of the sun before and after the winter solstice, is naturally only one in the great circle of events of dying and becoming." (page 62)

Just as our ancestors realised that the sun 'dies' and then is 'reborn' so it is the case with the Ich-heit (the 'self') which transcends the individual bodily incarnations which we continually experience.



   

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Trollskors-a Possible Origin







A symbol which I have given a lot of thought to over recent months is the trollkors or Trolls Cross which started to appear as an item of heathen jewellery in the 1990s. Not a great deal of information is available in the English language about this intriguing symbol so I have had to do a bit of digging, relying in part on my very rudimentary knowledge of Swedish.

The received wisdom is that whilst this symbol 'dates back to ancient times' it was created or rather reintroduced by a Swedish blacksmith in 1993, Kari Erlands from western Dalarna in Sweden who copied the symbol from a protective rune like inscription found in her parents' farmhouse. Either she created it or it is an ancient symbol: it cannot be both! Now I have no reason at all to doubt that she did indeed start making Troll Crosses based on the aforesaid inscription and if this is the case then it cannot be said that she invented the symbol for it was thus already in existence but rather introduced or reintroduced it as a piece of jewellery.

Many people have noticed that the Troll Cross appears to be loosely based upon the Othala rune. Some have commented that it cannot be based upon this rune as it was not known in pre-xtian Scandinavia and does not feature in the Younger Futhark but they neglect to point out that this Futhark was not introduced until the 9th century and was in fact based upon the Elder Futhark which DID contain this rune! So if the Troll Cross does have any real antiquity I would have thought that it would have predated the Younger Futhark and may indeed be based upon the Elder Futhark.

As an item of heathen contemporary jeweller it is quite ubiquitous, usually forged from iron or steel although I have noticed that it is now also being mass produced in Asia out of 'zinc alloy' and thus it is anyone's guess what metals have been alloyed to produce this! Mass production of an allegedly sacred symbol goes against one of the reasons for its existence. It is allegedly a protective symbol, worn as an amulet to ward off evil and negative forces, personified as 'trolls'.

Iron was recognised by our ancestors as having a sacred quality. It has a strong association with the Thunder God. Thor's second hammer was made from iron, possibly meteorite iron whilst His first one was constructed from stone which is of course the mother of iron. Meteorites had a divine origin according to our ancestors.  Iron axes or axe amulets, horseshoes, nails and knives were frequently used as a means of supernatural protection. Meteorite iron in particular was used for the formation of sacred tools in many cultures and iron Thors Hammers were very common as amulets.

Whether the Trolls Cross is ancient or not if it is smithed from iron or steel then it does have protective abilities and the rune like shape will also confer additional virtue to the amulet. It is vital though that it is constructed from iron or steel which is of course an alloy primarily of iron and carbon. It is pointless to purchase or make a Trolls Cross from any other metal whether it be silver, copper, brass, bronze or 'zinc alloy'. It is also vital that the amulet is hand forged and not machine produced otherwise it is little more than a curious piece of bodily adornment.

What is not well known outside of the academic world, particularly outside of Scandinavia is that the trollskors design HAS been present in antiquity in Scandinavia and whilst it may have become popularised during the 1990s it IS an authentic symbol. At some point, more than 10 years ago a couple of iron 'rattles' were unearthed, called ranglestav which bear an uncanny resemblance to the trollskors and this is perhaps how the amulet came into being.

In addition to the use of iron our ancestors believed that by making a loud noise they could drive away evil spirits and malignant forces and it is likely that ranglestav were used to cleanse an area prior to the carrying out of a sacred blot. The use of iron rattles for these purposes can be found in other cultures apart from the Germanic and is particularly associated with shamanic cultures and of course this may be found in the far north of Europe and Asia.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Mystical Emblem: the Secrets of the Hammer and Sickle





This article has been copied from the http://www.thefraternity.info/mystical-emblem-the-secrets-of-the-hammer-and-sickle/ website and is reproduced here with the kind permission of its owner.


The hammer and sickle on the coat of arms of the USSR is one of the most recognized symbols of Soviet power. The history of its origin is full of secrets and mysteries. Freemasony, Hinduism, and ancient Aryan and Slavic mythology are all found in the two crossed implements on the Soviet emblem.

The hammer and sickle stands for worker-peasant alliance: the hammer is a traditional symbol of proletariat and the sickle is a traditional symbol for the peasantry. Source: Lori / Legion Media
The hammer and sickle that decorated the coat of arms of the USSR is probably the most recognizable symbol both of Soviet power and of the ideology of the state it represented, as well as the entire history of the country.

The origin of the Soviet coat of arms is ambiguous. Several variants were initially worked out: a hammer and sickle, a hammer and rakes, a hammer and pitchforks, and a hammer and plow. The hammer was chosen for its traditional association with workers in European countries.
Together with an agricultural tool, it was supposed to illustrate Lenin’s famous slogan about the unity of the proletariat and peasants.

In April 1918 the final version of the emblem was approved – a design by the Moscow artist Yevgeny Kamzolkin. In summer 1918 the Fifth Session of Soviets officially adopted the symbol.
It is interesting to note that Kamzolkin was not even a communist and, furthermore, he was a deeply religious man from a wealthy family. The artist was a member of the mystical artistic Society of Leonardo da Vinci for more than 10 years and perfectly understood the meaning of the symbols.

First of all, the hammer and sickle are associated with the  Masonic symbol of the hammer and chisel. These items signified a clearly defined goal (chisel) and its firm manifestation (hammer). In European religious symbology, the hammer is associated with aggressive male force, physical (the hammer of the blacksmith Hephaestus in Greece) as well as deadly.

The thunder gods Svarog (Slavic) and Thor (Norse) wielded it in their hands. In China and India it is the symbol of the destructive triumph of the forces of evil. It is now difficult to say what meanings Kamzolkin insinuated into his drawing. Was he solely carrying out the order to create an image for the alliance of peasants and workers, or did he infuse into this symbol his attitude towards revolutionary power, choosing symbols for death, war, and the triumph of evil?

The Russian philosopher Alexei Losev gave the following assessment of the crest: “It is a symbol that propels the masses and is not merely a symbol but is a constructive-technical principle for human actions and volitions … Here we see the symbol of the unity of the workers and peasants, the symbol of the Soviet state.”

The historian and academician Yury Gauthier wrote in 1921 in his diary: “A sharpness has pervaded Moscow for several days: How will it end? The answer will be in the words “hammer, sickle” read in reverse!” The fact is that it sounds like “with a throne” [put together and inversed, the words for hammer (molot) and sickle (serp) create the word prestolom, meaning literally “with a throne”] – this is how Muscovites hinted at the dictatorial methods of the Bolsheviks.

In various religions, the sickle is interpreted as a symbol of death. In Christianity, the sheaves and the harvest are equated with the human souls that the Harvester, i.e. the Lord, will gather after the end of the world. It is interesting to note that during the Middle Ages death was depicted not with a scythe but specifically with a sickle. The pagan pantheons of various Indo-European and Slavic peoples feature a goddess called Mara or Morana, who traditionally held a sickle in her left hand. In Hinduism the goddess of death Kali, sister of Shiva, holds a sickle in her left hand.

Curiously, the eagle on the coat of arms of revolutionary Austria also holds a sickle in its left claw and the sickle is likewise placed on that side on the Soviet crest. The name “Hammer and Sickle” has been given to numerous settlements, villages, and railway platforms on the territory of modern Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan .

One of the largest steelmaking and metallurgical factories in Moscow, which had belonged to the French merchant Jules Goujon prior to the revolution, was renamed the Hammer and Sickle plant.
There even used to be a special golden medal called the Hammer and Sickle, which was developed by Stalin’s personal architect and designer, Miron Merzhanov. The medal was awarded to heroes of socialist labor and knights of the Order of Lenin and was considered the highest medal in the USSR. It was awarded to a total of 19,000 people.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Vehme-Star, an Ario-Germanic Symbol



This article should be considered a supplement to my earlier one on the subject of Der Drudenfuss:
http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-drudenfu-ancient-germanic-symbol.html

There is considerable physical evidence for the use of this symbol, which Walther Blachetta considers to be a German and Germanic symbol (see Das Buch der Deutschen Sinnzeichen), in the architecture of mediaeval Germany. Blachetta gives an example of one on page 107 of his book as a Hofmarke of Jacob Schumacher (shoe maker/cobbler) of Aue in Oldenburg, dating back to 1604. Many of these Hofmarken date back to the time of the Armanen and much of this symbolism was preserved by Initiates in architecture whether the buildings had a sacred or secular use. As stated in my earlier article the symbol was recognised as a protective device but like all parts of our ancient lore this symbol was demonised by the Christian church and transformed into a symbol of 'evil', the 'devil', Satan etc. This distortion has been accepted almost without question and even to the extent that modern day 'Satanists' have adopted this as their symbol but in its revered aspect, thus adding to its supposed diabolic nature and intensifying it. Likewise the Wiccans (who cannot pronounce the word Wicca (witcha) have also adopted it as a symbol of their 'craft' but in its upright version.

The Germanic heathen community has also distorted the true understanding and meaning of this symbol by following the accepted propaganda that it is associated entirely with 'Wicca' and has nothing to do with the Germanic world. Folkish heathens in particular are guilty of propagating this error by ascribing it to a Jewish origin. This is all faulty thinking and it is without any doubt that pre-modern Germans considered it to be an ancient and beneficial symbol and this was especially the case with the Armanen. For those that doubt this fact I quote the relevant passage from Guido von List's Die Religion der Ario-Germanen in ihrer Esoterik and Exoterik:

"The pentads: The holy Fem (five), the five known elements (fire, water, air, earth, ether or aether), the five recognised senses (for, in fact, there are seven), the pentagram, the five brothers, the five maidens, the five men, the five nights, the five sons, the five winters, etc." (Translated by Stephen E. Flowers, PhD as The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk)
In the German original Guido von List refers to the five fingers of the hand and that these five senses are represented by the Albenkreuz (elf cross), the Thrutenfuss or Femstern (Vehme Star)

It should be noted that this translation appears to be a much edited one as there are phrases and sentences in the German original which have not been translated. By comparison the translation numbers 55 pages whilst the German original has 97 pages! This emphasises my advice to would be Armanen to learn to read German and study the original source material for themselves! I once received a request from a person who wanted me to translate a whole book for just him from German to English! When I advised him to learn to read German and then obtain and study the original materials he lost interest! Wisdom and knowledge, particularly that of an esoteric nature must be EARNED and worked for. Those who expect to receive this for nothing are unworthy to become Initiates. I do recommend that my readers buy a copy of Dr Flower's translation if they can find one. Many of his works and translations are still out of print.

Guido von List in his masterwork, Das Geheimnis der Runen refers again to the pentagram but using different terminology:

"The five-angled star, the Vehme-Star, the Truthenfuss (truh = turn, fuss = foot) is the hieroglyph of 'revolving or turning generation', of 'rebirth'- one of the most important articles of faith in the Aryan religion. In its exoteric interpretation this sign simply says: 'return', and was therefore a favorite sign used at hostels and inns, in order to convey the meaning: 'whoever is a guest here should come again." (pages 86-87, The Secret of the Runes, translated by Stephen E. Flowers, PhD.)

The underlining is mine for emphasis: "one of the most important articles of faith in the Aryan religion." Interestingly this symbol still survives in the Amish culture and the Pennsylvanian 'Dutch' Hex signs. I doubt that the Amish though appreciate the true significance of the five pointed star. When the Armanen were driven underground by the enforcers of the Christian religion sometimes their symbols and lore were covertly incorporated in the exoteric trappings of the said religion in order for them to survive.

After the forced conversion of the Germanic peoples the pentagram or Vehme Star survived as the symbol of the Vehme Gericht (secret court) who were very effective at maintaining law and order, working outside of the official judicial system. Much information about the Vehme can be found in Guido von List's Die Rita der Ario-Germanen, recently translated and published as The Rita of the Ario-Germanen by the 55 Club. Nigel Pennick also briefly discusses this subject in Chapter 1 of his Hitler's Secret Sciences which is sadly out of print. There could be a link between the Vehme Star and the tin star worn by lawmen in the Wild West and which is still in use today.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Teutonic Concept of Time and The Threefold and Ninefold Rune Layouts



The ancient Teutons did not think in terms of linear time. This mindset was imposed upon them by the Christian church with its concept of a Beginning (Genesis) and an End (Revelation). Ultimately this thinking was encapsulated in the concept of the Christ (the Alpha and Omega). This alien and faulty thinking has had a negative effect on the psyche of the Teutonic peoples, inculcating a fear of death and divine judgement. Returning to our ancient Gods and embracing the knowledge of the Runes modern Teutonic man can escape this negativity and embrace a life of courageous action and purpose.

The Teutonic concept of time appears on the surface to be similar to the Christian one but as I have said, 'on the surface'. How did the ancient Teutons view Past, Present and Future? The concept of time as posited by the Master Guido von List can be formulated as : Arising-Becoming-Passing Away to New Arising and so time rather than being linear as in the Semitic world view, is in fact circular as in the movement of waves upon the sea. This analogy is the best way of looking at it. According to the Master Edred Thorsson this can be expressed in mythic terms: Urdhr (That which has become)-Verdhandi (That which is becoming)-Skuld ( That which ought to become). Thus the 'future' is not something which is fixed and unalterable but can be shaped by the Initiate if he or she has sufficient knowledge and will.

Most modern Rune Casters tend to favour the 3 Rune Reading and indeed this tends to be the one which I naturally gravitate to as within this simple reading we can engage meaningfully with the Nornir, those mysterious  divine ladies who give counsel even to the Gods. Who are we then to spurn their counsel?  So very simply the drawing of the first Rune represents the counsel of Urdhr, the second, Verdhandi and the third, Skuld. As Edred points out in Northern Magic. Rune Mysteries and Shamanism, the "dynamic opposition" between Urdhr ("significant [real] past action") and Verdhandi ("ever-present point of [real] existence") produces a "synthesis of which will result in predictable channels." This analysis of the first and second Runes by the Rune Caster enables informed choices to be made. The third Rune does not in itself predict what must come to be because the future is not predetermined but it is an indicator of the probable results of the interplay of the first 2 Runes. The Initiate who makes use of this knowledge can work within his or her own Wyrd to shape the future.

There is some historical evidence in support of the threefold reading of the Runes and this can be found in Tacitus' Germania:

"For omens and the casting of lots they have the highest regard. Their procedure in casting lots is always the same. They cut off a branch of a nut-bearing tree and slice it into strips; these they mark with different signs and throw them completely at random onto a white cloth. Then the priest of the state, if the consultation is a public one, or the father of the family if it is private, offers a prayer to the gods, and looking up at the sky picks up three strips, one at a time, and reads their meaning from the signs previously scored on them. If the lots forbid an enterprise, there is no deliberation that day on the matter in question; if they allow it, confirmation by the taking of auspices is required."(Germania 10,  Mattingley translation, revised by Handford)

"They attend to auspices and lots like no one else. Their practice with lots is straightforward. Cutting a branch from a fruit tree, they chop it into slips and, after marking these out with certain signs, cast them completely at random over a white cloth. Then a civic priest, if the consultation is official, or the head of the family, if private, prays to the gods and, gazing up at the heavens, draws three separate slips: these he interprets by the previously inscribed mark. If the lots are opposed, consultation on that matter is over for that day; but if they allow, the confirmation of the auspices is still required." (Germania 10.1, Rives translation) 

As an aside observation the reader should note that contrary to the assertion of Caesar (De Bello Gallico, 6th Book, paragraph 21) "They have no druids to preside over religious matters, nor do they concern themselves with sacrifices.", the Teutons did have an organised priesthood. There clearly was a Germanic priestly caste: what they were called it is irrelevant. Indeed the actual terminology in Germania; 'priest of the state/civic priest' is suggestive of this. Also the hotly debated issue of what these 'signs' were does not really matter. What is important is the method.

The simple 3 Rune layout can be developed if needs be into a more complex model. Edred in his aforementioned book discusses a 9 Rune layout where each aspect; Urdhr, Verdhandi and Skuld have 3 Runes a piece. This enables the Rune Caster to gain a more detailed interpretation from having more information at his or her disposal and the number 9 has clear mystical associations, being sacred to the Rune Lord Himself, Woden. The layout of these 9 Runes should form a Valknut. Not surprisingly he calls it the The Valknutr: A Ninefold Method. This makes the layout more Teutonic than the better known Celtic Cross method.

 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Rune Yoga and the Younger Futhark



For many years I have been practising Rune Yoga or Rune Gymnastics, the term used by the early 20th century German Rune Magicians. I have mainly focused on the Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc and the Armanen Futhork. However in recent weeks I have been experimenting with the Younger Futhark, combining sometimes with my Tai Chi routines. By practising the shapes and sounds of the Runes it helps to crystallise their form, name, meaning, sound and qualities in our minds. It also helps us to more easily remember their sequence. Also the Younger Futhark is relevant to me at the moment because I am studying Old Norse.

In my case I am finding the Younger Futhark very useful as it is the shortest of the Rune rows and thus one can progress through the whole row much more quickly than say using the Anglo-Saxon, or to give it is proper name, the Northumbrian Futhork. I started  on day 1 practising the Fe Rune, day 2 the Fe and Ur Runes, day 3 the Fe, Ur and Thurs Runes, etc. By day 16 one has worked through all 16 Runes, adding a new one each day, always in their correct sequence as they appear in the Futhark. It is important to that you do not rush these activities.

It is important that one establishes a proper method of breath control. The method that I have used for years now is to inhale to the mental count of five, then I hold my breath to the count of three, exhale to the count of seven and whilst doing this I intone the name of the Rune on the out breath, concluding with the holding of my breath for the count of three. It is important that you choose a system which suits you and then stick to it. Applying my 5-3-7-3 system should take approximately 43 minutes to complete the full 16 Rune Futhark. By contrast the Northumbrian Futhorc would take approximately 89 minutes, the Elder Futhark 65 minutes and the Armanen Futhork 49 minutes. It is important that you devote sufficient time to this activity and not rush it. The skill of Rune Yoga involves not allowing oneself to be distracted by external or internal stimuli and to focus on the task at hand, keeping track of your breathing cycle and how many cycles of the Rune that you have gone through. It is very easy to lose your concentration. The wearing of ear plugs may help.

Rune Yoga has as I have said before, has five elements:

. Regular breathing, inhaling through the nose, exhaling on the outbreath whilst chanting the Rune name or associated mantra.

. Forming the shape of the Rune stave with your body.

. Chanting the Rune name or mantra.

. Visualisation of the Rune stave. This is best achieved with one's eyes closed or in the darkness.

. Concentrating on the meaning or the essence of the Rune.

Once these individual techniques have been mastered, both as single elements and together then the practitioner will have mastered the basics of Rune magic. The benefits to the Rune magician are manifold. One will achieve a greater degree of physical fitness as some of the Rune stave shapes are quite demanding, most especially Ur, Sol, Bjarkan, Madhr and Yr. In addition to physical fitness the practitioner's health should gradually improve through both the exercise and the harnessing of the cosmic and telluric powers. The German Rune magicians knew that the human body can operate effectively as an antennae to attract and manipulate the forces present in the cosmos and in the earth. If anyone should doubt that these forces exist one should take up dowsing with a pendulum and see for yourself the reality of what I say.

I have found that the practice of Rune Yoga is more effective in the early morning. It helps to revitalise you after a night's sleep. Of course this is not always possible for many people who work. However in my case because I am retired I now have the time at the beginning of the day to do this. Rune magic itself, apart from Rune Yoga is better performed in my opinion, during the night time. When performing these exercises it is advisable that you do not consume any food or drink as this will hamper your ability to successfully breath and chant the Rune name or mantra. After completing the routine one should rest and have a cup of tea or coffee. But any kind of stimulants must be avoided prior to the exercise.

An alternative is to practise just one Rune a day, perhaps by blindly selecting a Rune stave from a bag, setting it aside and allowing the Nornir to select the Rune for the day for you: their judgement is always best. One could spend the rest of the day dedicating one's thoughts to the Rune shape and meaning etc. In this way one can work through the entire Futhark in 16 days but it is not as time consuming as the routine I am following.

It is my considered opinion that the forms of the Runes used in both the Younger Futhark and the Armanen Futhork are more conducive to Rune Yoga, having much simpler forms. Books which are appropriate to the Younger Futhark are Northern Magic. Rune Mysteries and Shamanism by Edred Thorsson, Stav. The Fighting System of Northern Europe by G.D. Butcher, Daily Stav by David Stone and Long Branches. Runes of the Younger Futhark by Ann Groa Sheffield, the latter book and Edred's are two of the very finest I have read on this Rune row and I unhesitatingly recommend them to all of my readers.

The usual explanation for the shortening of the Futhark from 24 to 16 Runes is linguistic but if anything it made the use of the Runes as an alphabetical writing system even more difficult as Edred Thorsson points out in his Northern Magic:

"This system shows the overridingly magical nature of the runes in that, from a purely linguistic standpoint, it made the system more obscure."
It is clear to me that List certainly based his 18 Rune row on these Runes, adding a further two, Eh and Gibor, the latter being a modern construction.

Younger Futhark Rune staves are harder to buy than the Elder Futhark but one can find cheaply priced wooden sets on Etsy and Ebay. Etsy is a very useful site if you are looking for anything unusual and handmade. Of course those with the necessary skills and time can make their own Rune sets. It is often better this way as the Rune magician can infuse his or her own Megin into the staves at the very beginning when creating them. They then become THE creation and vehicle of power to the magician.