Sunday, November 16, 2014

Armanen Runes in New York!

A quick break from the seriousness of Rune-lore and magick now, for a look at a downright hilarious story involving runes. The runes themselves are not the hilarious part, but rather, a local community's laughable reactions to them.

This isn't really a new story but it hasn't been that widely reported outside of New York and certain news outlets near there. I just noticed it come up in the Google search while looking for some obscure runic texts a few days ago.

In the area known as Greenpoint, in Brooklyn, somebody had put up graffiti of Armanen runes in 2009. This was a local headline, it didn't get much press attention outside New York.

The reactions were pretty typical - typically ignorant. From "wow there must be a gang-war going on between dorky WoW gamers and Tolkien nerds" to "crap, get out of town, the nazis are here!!!" The misguided politically-correct vigilante-ism is so off the mark with this story, it's downright hilarious.

But of course few people who saw this stuff have any clue what it really is. I will discuss the substantial differences between Armanism and National Socialism (let alone its asinine modern bastardizations) in detail elsewhere, but suffice it to say, those who spew accusations of the two being the same thing are themselves highly prejudiced people, with no real knowledge of the Armanen runes or their history, and to those of us who actually research runes and know the history, such ignorant people and their accusations are idiotic at best. Anyway, on to the pictures!

Here at 103 Norman Avenue, somebody tried to write "Das Geheimnis Der Runen" (The Secret of the Runes, the title of Guido von List's seminal work) and did a pretty bad job of it - in English letters that look vaguely Armanen-ized. Note the Hagal rune at the end.

At 117 Nassau Avenue, a slightly more runic-looking "SAL UND SIG" inscription ("Salvation and Victory"), a common old High German saying often used by Guido von List and other German heathen revivalists in reference to the Sol/Sig rune. Note that this graffiti, just like the last one, isn't purely runic since the "G" looks like an angular Latin "G" instead of the X-like Gibor rune. The "N" rune looks like a combination of "Not" and a Wolfsangel (or upright-tilted Gibor). The "A" and "D" don't look runic at all.

One rather comical reader of the local news/pop-culture blog "New York Shitty" who saw the rune graffiti claimed:

"i think we’re about to be thrust in the middle of some kind of ancient battle of monsters and magic folk… or just an itchy case of dork-rash. some uh- person- is tagging in what looks like elvish. i found the first set on leonard and norman and the second on eckford and nassau. i would have translated these myself with the power of the internet but im a 31 year old man."

Of course that's the reason! Anyone who writes runes must be silly fantasy RPG nerds and LARPers pretending they're elves... wait a minute, aren't runes actually used more often by the Dwarves in Tolkien's books and most of the more recent derived fantasy novels and video games? Looks like you got the wrong race of beings there, genius! Same goes for the braindead author of the New York Shitty blog, who labeled the subject post "Greenpoint Orcs" of all things!

Of course the runes Tolkien used for writing Dwarvish aren't Armanen, they are modified Anglo-Saxon runes. Hence the hilarity of this insular comment by another 'Shitty reader:

Guess he never heard of Guido von List or the Armanen Futharkh. Come on, zlehmann... Lehmann, that's a German name. Learn your own history. Learn about the traditions of your own volk. Unless, of course, your real full name is Zalman Zvi Lehmann, then it's clearly not your volk. My bad.

Then of course we have this bit of gamer-nerd silliness:

Why of course little gamer, that must be the only reason Armanen runes exist or anyone uses them, LOL....
(Little-known "fact" for all of you gaming nerds out there, all master rune mages automatically have +7 resistance to Jews, as well as the ability to absorb 2x damage from all mudslinging attacks, misogynist Hasidic spitballs and Godwin's law bombs... and convert it to 3x honor and +50% hit points!)

Eat at Maria's Deli, favorite dive and watering hole of all good New York vikings! Notice the Armanen Futharkh is written in its entirety, the the Gibor rune at the end is covered up with an object, perhaps by the owner, out of misunderstanding and fear of its swastika-like appearance. Classic New York "latte-intellectual" ignorance masquerading as tolerance.

The black spray-painted tags just seemed strange to a business owner who painted one over soon after it appeared Sunday on her shop.

I don’t know what to think about it. I don’t know what kind of writing it is,” said the owner of Maria’s Deli on Meserole Street, who asked her last name not be used.

She may claim she doesn't know, but she's still judgmental enough to duct tape a little box over Gibor, the God-rune of generosity, divine mysteries and enlightenment, as if it's some sort of skinhead gang sign!

Business loading garage with Armanen Futharkh painted on. Laf rune is misspelled like the Man rune, and semi-corrected. Hagal, the mother rune, is once again repeated at the end. At least this graffiti looks much more dignified than the garbage bubble-letter gang graffiti to the right of the image. Apparently people are willing to "tolerate" that illegible degenerate drivel, but not the 18 Sacred Futharkh of Odin.

The neighborhood of course started freaking out that some of these runes were the same ones used in several of the Waffen-SS divisional insignia in World War II (Sig rune, Tyr rune, Hagal rune and the like), not to mention the iconic double-Sig rune logo used by all branches of the greater SS organization.

Actually, freaking out is an understatement. Apparently nobody told this "scared yid" character and his friends that the SS only used runes because its "resident psychic" Karl Maria Wiligut simply bastardized a few of the Armanen runes, claimed he invented them, created false "racial" meanings for them, and through his influence on Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, killed off most of their original practitioners as well as the majority of heathens in Germany. The Armanen runes themselves are not political and they are nothing to be "frightened" of. You don't need Moshiach, you need common sense!

Of course despite this largely Jewish community's paranoia that "neo-Nazis cults are taking over", even the largest zionist "political correctness" lobby in America has serious doubts that this graffiti has any connection to racists, hate-crimes or "neo-Nazi" groups:

Even ardent neo-Nazis would have a hard time figuring out the bizarre graffiti cops are investigating in Greenpoint, Brooklyn....

...Greenpoint has a few neo-Nazi skinheads—but the graffiti’s reference to the “rather obscure” [Guido von] List probably goes over their heads, said Todd Gutnick, a spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League.

Well there you have it. There's probably a thriving heathen community there, not a surge in "neo-Nazis". There's only a handful of them in Greenpoint, most of whom are probably posers. Indeed, not only are the typical skinhead punks ignorant of the meanings of the Armanen runes (or any other runes), they are also ignorant of the fact that rune-masters and the Reich had a very complex history. Far from being mere tools of the NSDAP, Armanen rune societies and other mystical associations were banned by Hitler at least as early as 1941, and most of the Armanen rune masters and heathen authors of the day actually ended up being tortured or killed on Heinrich Himmler's orders. And modern "neo-Nazis" are nothing more than a puke-faced caricature of the men of the SS, who at least to their credit wore clean pressed clothes and listened to Wagner instead of garbage "hate-thrash metal".

Those of us "in the know" are well aware that the Armanen runes are NOT racist symbols and don't have any hateful meanings (indeed, the question of whether the greater Reich beyond Himmler's SS even ascribed such meanings to them is rather murky, given that official NS party policy - not withstanding the inane habits of the traitor Himmler - was not racist in any recognizable modern sense, as it looked towards pan-Aryan racial idealism rather than being shackled to superficial reactionary notions of  quasi-zionist "white"racial identity like modern "neo-Nazis"). In any case the runes, whatever you think of them, are certainly not modern political constructs - they are ancient heathen Germanic magickal symbols dating back thousands of years to time immemorial, which the Gods gave to mankind as a gift of wisdom and empowerment. We humans didn't "earn" this gift, Odin sacrificed himself with great pain to obtain it - upon the great Tree of Worlds, whose roots stretch further than any mortal knows, beyond all human understanding of space and time - and then gave this wisdom to us freely, as a loving father provides selflessly for his children. The least we can do is honor his generosity by understanding the runes and respecting their true inner meanings, which are purely beneficial for mankind, without any "pre-conditions" of race or tribal category.

Now the sayings of the High One are sounded in the Hall 
for the weal of mankind, for the woe of Jötuns, 
Hail, thou who hast spoken! Hail, thou that knowest! 
Hail, ye that have hearkened! 
Use, thou who hast learned! (Hávamál, verse 164) 

The weal of mankind, plain and simple - thus we see what sort of intent the authors of the rune graffiti most likely had in mind - and it has nothing in common with the paranoid delusions of some of the Greenpoint residents. Whoever wrote the rune graffiti is simply referencing the Futharkh itself and the title of List's book. There isn't a single hateful bone in any of the "secret" messages. To me this looks like the work of an overenthusiastic heathen, expressing his or her passion for the runes and their empowering effects for (at least the spiritually awake portion of) humanity - not a malevolent skinhead gang out to intimidate its victims. The rune graffiti doesn't even fall on any of the typical targets of "neo-Nazi" hate crimes. No windows were smashed, no synagogues tagged, no nooses hung in front of federal buildings, no brown people beat up... just some rather cleanly painted runes (for the most part) on a few random store fronts with no clear ethnic or religious affiliations, Jewish or otherwise. If I saw that, I'd go inside and consider buying from that store, not boycotting it! I'd think that if it hasn't been painted over, perhaps a fellow runer is the owner, why not ask?

These days it is far too easy to jump to ignorant conclusions, to self-censor, and to have a paranoia over anything that might be misread as controversial or "politically incorrect". It is time for us to take a step back and realize what runes and other Indo-European symbols actually mean, instead of swallowing some sheepish mind-numbing media outlet's word for it. Most importantly, we need to stop demonizing anything Runic as "evil", and actually pay attention to context and original meaning (Ur-bedeutung) in its ancient culture. Most Runers take the ancient meanings of runes to be the true ones - not the fake dog-whistle interpretations invented last century by overzealous PC lobbyists.

Of course I don't encourage any sort of tagging or defacing of someone else's property - however if there's going to be graffiti in big cities no matter what, I'd rather it be these noble letters of the Aesir (despite the spelling mistakes in these samples), instead of the ugly illegible punk/ghetto trash that usually litters railroads and street signs in big cities.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Casting the Armanen Runes - why the diversity of positions?

Now we come to the fundamental nuts-and-bolts of modern Armanen rune-casting. As mentioned before, the interpretation of the positions of these runes may vary depending on the rune in question. Those which are asymmetric and can be reversed also have a horizontal-negative and a horizontal-positive position, though which is a left (counterclockwise) rotation and which is a right (clockwise) rotation will differ depending on the individual rune.

This is of course the so-called Spiesberger method, which is used by all modern Armanen rune masters (and apparently even others who use systems besides Armanen - we must remember, modern rune-casting techniques as a whole were all but invented by the Armanists in the early 20th century).

Karl Spiesberger is credited with publishing the comprehensive positive and negative Armanen rune positions in his book Runenmagie ('Rune Magick'), published in 1955. However it is believed by many rune practitioners that these positions were already in use by Gorsleben and even Guido von List, far earlier in the 20th century. Since a few of the "merkstave" or negative-horizontal positions published by Spiesberger are not possible with a rune symbol carved on an opaque material like wood, I have had to adjust them from Spiesberger's diagrams, for use with traditional wood casting tiles (or stones). Nevertheless, the esoteric meaning and symbolism of the negative positions is unchanged.

NOTE: all images and interpretations on this post are my own work. ASK before using.

So look below:

You will notice that some of the runes are negative if you turn them 90 degrees left, but others are positive in that same orientation. And the same discrepancy or diversity of meaning happens when you look at how the runes are to be interpreted when turned 90 degrees right. For example, if you look at Fa and Os, they are negative when turned left. But to make Thorn negative, you have to turn it right!

Why is this?

Looking at the structure and shape of the runes provides a critical clue. I found there is a pattern here.

You will notice that the open "cup" runes that have two parallel branches (Fa, Ur, Os) are negative if rotated left. (Fa and Os are 180-degree reversals of each other, and hence each only have one positive and one negative position - rotate them right and they become the negative form of the other rune).

However, enclosing "spike" runes which contain closed triangles (Thorn, Rit, Bar) and "fork" runes with triangle-corners or incomplete triangle-forms and no parallel branches (Ka, Ar, Tyr, Laf, Man, Yr) are negative when rotated right. (Ka and Ar are 180-degree reversals of each other, and hence each only have one positive and one negative position - rotate them left and they become the negative form of the other rune).

And finally, "hedge" runes with radial or diagonal symmetry, which are "non-reversible" - i.e. they look no different if reversed (Hagal, Not, Is, Sig, Eh, Gibor) - are always positive when vertical and always negative when horizontal, no matter which direction you rotate them.

But why these patterns? Why this apparently strange system of the horizontal readings, differing based on the shape of the runes, on cups, forks, triangular spikes and symmetric hedges?

To understand the reasons behind that, we have to look at the runes in a decidedly un-modern way. Although List, Spiesberger and other Armanen rune masters did have to invent a great deal of modern rune-reading practice (as no historical accounts of rune-casting among Germanic peoples - other than than the extremely vague story of Tacitus - survive today), they nevertheless tried to base as much of their method on ancient wisdom and old Norse understandings of the runes as possible. In fact, despite the depredations of organized Christianity against occult and native folk wisdom in the Nordic and Teutonic nations, a great deal of information on runic mysticism did survive in the form of Icelandic grimoires such as the Galdrabók, which cover the uses of many different galdrastafir, para-runic charms and talismans. Other documents such as the Huld Manuscript (which details the symbolic meanings of the various parts of the Vegvísir or 'runic compass') give further clues. While none of these manuscripts date back to the time of the pre-Viking Norse, it is universally agreed that they are copies and compilations of far older works - they draw on far older oral and possibly written traditions of rune-carving and casting handed down by the masters for centuries and even millennia. Some of the Viking sagas, such as Egil's Saga, appear to support the most primitive (and angular) parts of the Icelandic magick-stave tradition.

Based on the knowledge preserved in the Icelandic magickal texts, it becomes clear why some runes are negative when rotated left and others are positive.

The runes (and this can be applied to other systems as well as Armanen) need to be understood, among other ways, as visual representations of catchers and deflectors of the primal energies - both positive/orderly and negative/chaotic - of the universe. (If you are unclear on the reasoning of why a rune is a catcher or a deflector, read the Hávamál verses associated with each of the 18 Armanen runes.) This is exactly the same way the Icelanders and their Norwegian ancestors saw runes and galdrstafir - as devices for gathering, deflecting, converting or storing spiritual energy.

Out of the various galdrastafir stave-modifiers, only the oldest two types (which avoid all curved lines) are primitive enough to be authentically runic in an Odinic sense, rather than later medieval interpolations:

Hence, the runes can also be understood in this way.

The "cup" runes are receivers of energy for the practitioner, i.e. in simplified terms, Fa receives wealth, Ur receives health, Os receives esteem, status and social confidence. Traditionally in Indo-European culture and cosmology, the fortunate one receives with the right hand, the unfortunate with the left, hence when turned left these receiver-runes are negative.

The enclosing "spike" runes and the "fork" runes are deflectors of energy for the practitioner. Thorn, Rit and Bar cancel out the energy of enemies, errors and calamities respectively, while Ka, Ar, Tyr, Laf, Man, and Yr essentially convert negative energies into positive ones and/or redirect them back at their source in some way. Traditionally the warrior deflects attacks with the left hand (the shield hand) hence if turned right these deflectors or shield-runes are vulnerable or negative.

The radial and diagonal symmetric "hedge-runes" (Hagal, Not, Is, Sig, Eh, Gibor) essentially are double-sided clusters of fork-branches. The fact that they are double-sided acts as a substitute for parallel branches, hence these runes can be though of as a combination of the tendencies of both "cup" and "fork" runes, and thus can be either receivers or deflectors of energy, as their Hávamál meanings indicate. These are the only "simultaneous dual-use" runes. Thus, in positive position, Not both attracts cooperation with karma and deflects one's futile discord and resistance to it, as Sig attracts victory and banishes weakness simultaneously. When upright (even if turned upside-down 180 degrees, they remain upright due to their symmetry) the hedge-runes are receivers and refiners of positive energy (as plants receive light and water and perform photosynthesis) - and they also deflect the negative like sharp thorny hedges. But when horizontal (either tilted left or right, again it makes no difference, due to symmetry) they are impotent to catch positive energy or deflect the negative with their shape, and may actually lose or repel good energies and attract bad ones - much as a bush or hedge stunted sideways must fight the wind or fall uprooted, gets less sunlight, is more vulnerable to diseases and parasites, and loses flowers and thus forfeits reproductive potential as a result - no matter if it leans left or right. The symbolism of Hagal, as the Hag-all, the All-Hedge, the all-symmetric defensive hedge-rune and Mother Rune, is particularly telling in this regard. Like the boughs of an overarching hedge, if it is knocked down either left or right, there is no protection from hail or fire.

Also you may notice that there are only three purely "peaceful" runes in the entire sequence. Such is also true of the "Elder" and "Younger" futharks. By contrast there are three times as many "warrior" runes (the deflectors) and twice as many "protection" runes (the symmetrical hedge types). That should make the message loud and clear - runes and Northern paths are not for cowards or weaklings. I am sure this would send a chill up the spine of so many hippie-like "new-age" and "wiccatru" folks who casually use "rune stones" for divination without really knowing their deeper meanings.

So for those of you who want to delve beyond the "what" of the historical reasons for the Spiesberger method being as "odd" as it is, and into the "why" of it all, hopefully this goes a long way towards answering your questions.