Friday, September 10, 2010

Building The Temple - exercise as a devotional activity

One thing I have noticed in the alternative faith community is a tendency to view the physical as inferior to the spiritual. The concerns of this world, such as economics, politics, security, and physical health and fitness are frequently seen as mundane, lower consciousness, or secular.

Yes, we are spiritual beings, temporarily incarnate in this world. I do not think there is a single faith on this planet that will disagree with that. My question, however, is whether this is a punishment or a reward. By viewing our flesh as inferior to our spirit, we fall into a form of dualism that says if one thing is good, then it's opposite must be bad.

What do devotional activities in the community look like from my perspective? I will approach this idea from the classical four element system most of you out there are at least familiar with, even if you do not have it as part of your world view.

AIR - Air devotionals are the most basic form we find, both within and without our community. Examples of this are prayers, bardic circles, songs, chants, etc. We use our voices and the air exiting our lungs as a form of praise and worship to the gods. Any devotional activity based on sound can be seen as an air devotion.

FIRE - Again, very common. Incense, bonfires, torches and candles are commonly used in our devotions. Also a significant number of activities are directed toward 'raising energy' which is also an aspect of fire.

WATER - A less seen, but present element of devotion and liturgy. Usually there will be some kind of liquid sacrificed, or at least present on the altar. Also the whole psychic/ intuitive focus of so much of our activity is a water thing, in my opinion.

EARTH - This is where a lot of us fall down. In general, the cakes portion of cakes and ale is as much as we do. Oh and 'grounding', using the earth as a dumping ground for our emotional toxins.

Why is this? Is it a carry over from the Abrahamic tradtions many of us arrived from? Or is it a rejected peer thing, because so many of us were 'nerds' rather than 'jocks'? Do we hate our bodies for being temporary, rather than eternal? I think there are as many reasons as there are people to have them. I do, however, see this as a great imbalance, potentially a dangerous one.

Our bodies are glorious, beautiful, unique reflections of, and gifts from, the Gods. Whether they are mighty and muscular like Thor and Skadi, lean and sinewy like Hoenir or Idun, aged and wrinkled like Bragi and Hela, or even maimed or crippled like Volund, Tyr, and Hoder. We can feel the smooth velvet of moss on a tree, we taste the sweetnes of apples and grapes, we feel the joy of hugging a freind, or the naked intimacy of our lovers.

So how would we do an 'earth' devotional? What can we do to thank the Gods for our bodies and the oh too transient experience of being incarnate? We can begin by seeing the Gods reflected in our bodies. Do we have the might and mass of Thor? The sensuality of Freyja? The challenges and difficulties of Hoder? All of these are a part of us. It is what makes us, us. Would I be who I am, here and now, without the poor vision that has plagued me throughout my life? No. I would be someone else. This has been one of my challenges to confront on the earth level. Another is economic status. By growing up poor, I learned lessons about community, resourcefulness, and determination that I would not have had otherwise.

We should look on our bodie as the 'Ehwaz", the horse that carries our consciousness through life. In a lot of ways, this is all any of us truly have and own. Once the body goes away, we are not incarnate beings any longer. That dynamic of flesh and spirit that makes us who and what we are has passed.

How do I use exercise as a devotional activity? These techniques may work for you or they may not, but hopefully they will act as a springboard to your own activity.

I begin my day with a 2 mile walk. On the first part of the walk I recite my own version of the 'Sigrdrifa's prayer'.

"Hail to thee day,
Hail day's sons,
Hail night and daughters of night.

With blithe eyes look upon me this day,
Send to me prosperity.

Hail ye Gods and Goddesses,
Hail Earth,
the mother of us all.

Goodly spells and speech I request from thee,
And understanding while I live."

As I am walking I recite this with intent, paying attention to what I am saying as well as the process of walking. Also as I walk, I make an effort to enjoy the sensual delights around me. The smells of plants and flowers, The feeling of moving muscles. The sounds of birds, crickets, frogs, even the white noise of passing traffic. I look for new wildflowers, or trees, butterflies, lizards, rocks, etc. I enjoy the sunrise or the patterns of stars overhead. All of these I do with a consciousness of my nature as an incarnate being, and a sense of gratitude for that incarnation. If I see something that reminds me of a parrticular deity, I acknowlege it with a 'Hail (deity), and a feeling of gratitude for their gifts.

On my way back, I recite my rune poem 3 times as a sort of marching cadence or chant.

Fehu's wealth streaming forth,
Uruz strength is my source,
Thurisaz challenge and defend,
Ansuz is my truest freind,
Raidho marks my journeys path,
Kennaz kindles burning wrath,
Gebo's gifts upon my soul,
Wunjo is my final goal.

Hagalaz gathers strength to smite,
Nauthiz shivers in cold night,
Issa transforms stream to glass,
Jera comes and all things pass,
Eihwaz the spine of nine worlds,
Perthro gathers mystery furled,
Algiz wards holy space,
Sowilo shows suns bright face.

Tiwaz brings law to all,
Berkano seeds and leaves both fall,
Ehwaz ancient friend to man,
Mannaz holds strength of clan,
Laguz knows secret heart,
Ingwaz rides in sacred cart,
Dagaz begins each day anew,
Othila eldest gifts run true."

Once I am home, I then begin my other portion of the work out. Pushups, crunches, etc. All of this is still with the idea of building my body into a worthy temple for the Gods. I finish the workout wth a large glass of water and go to sip my coffee on my porch, feeling joy and satisfaction that another day of incarnation has begun. Thanking the Gods once more for the gift of a body to carry and contain my consciousnees, I approach my day happily, ready for whatever challenges may come my way.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On Unemployment

On Unemployment

I have heard a lot of discussion in the media about unemployment, the extension thereof and persons receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. Many of those speaking seem to have made certain fundamental errors in their description of the program. I, of course, have chosen to go 'Ad Fontes', or 'To The Sources' to obtain the information to refute these misstatements.

First, let us look at what the benefits are. They are Unemployment Insurance. Like medical insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, social security insurance, renters insurance, or business insurance. That means a premium is paid, and the beneficiary HAS EARNED these payments. It is not charity. It is not welfare. It is not a dole. It is a benefit the individual worker has earned by working. They are for the purpose of assisting an individual beneficiary to recover from a casualty that was no fault of their own.

From the Florida state unemployment benefit rights handbook available here.

The Unemployment Compensation Program –
What it is. What it is not.
The Unemployment Compensation Program:
• Provides temporary, partial wage replacement benefits to qualified
workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own;
• Supports economic stability for employers who depend on consumer
• Is funded solely by employers who pay federal and state unemployment compensation taxes; and
• Is provided at no cost to the workers who receive the benefits.

The Unemployment Compensation Program is not:
• Social Security;
• An automatic entitlement;
• A loan;
• Based on need;
• Intended to fully replace your previous income; or
• Funded by any deductions from wages you have earned.

Income Taxes
Unemployment compensation benefits are fully taxable, if you are required to file a tax return.
Contact the Internal Revenue Service toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 if you have questions on your tax
You have two options concerning income taxes. You may request that income tax:
Option 1: NOT be withheld, or
Option 2: be withheld.
If you choose to withhold income tax, we will withhold 10 percent of your Weekly Benefit Amount.

I will now address these statements in detail.

The Unemployment Compensation Program

Compensation is the key word here. Compensation is only given to make up for a perceived wrong. While an employer may be (in terms of business ethics - an oxymoron) right in terminating an individual due to a reduction in profit, it is a wrong in terms of social and spiritual ethics. You have impoverished this person. This person is no longer capable of supporting themselves in our society. They now earn no money. As an aside, an employee at my former employer at the time the lay offs were made sent a message to our CEO that rather than performing a 15% layoff of personell at the bottom, he (our CEO) cut everyones pay from the top down by 10% and cut the hours of hourly employees by an additional 10% until the economic crisis ended. Our CEO's response was 'I don't want to do that'. Not 'I can't', not 'that won't work', but 'I won't'. So to ensure that he and the other individuals at the top would continue to receive their six figure salaries, we at the bottom were discarded like so many used condoms.

• Provides temporary, partial wage replacement benefits to qualified workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own

Temporary means the support is not for the lifetime of the individual, unlike for example a Senatorial or Congressional pension. Check the office of congressional budget and finance webpage for more details on this. Partial means that the individual (in Florida) receives 1/2 of their average weekly gross pay up to $275.00, an amount equal to $6.88 an hour for a 40 hour week. Wage replacement means that individuals receiving these benefits were working prior to their job loss. Unemployed through no fault of their own means they were not fired due to being late, uncooperative, lazy, or any other legitimate reason for termination.

• Supports economic stability for employers who depend on consumer spending

Contrary to statements made by many conservative pundits, Unemployment Insurance benefits are not a drain on the economy, they allow economic activity to continue without the massive disruptions that were the result of the Great Depression.

• Is funded solely by employers who pay federal and state unemployment compensation taxes

Look at that word in italics up there (the italics are mine). Solely. This means, in my case, that my employers for the last 29 years have been paying these premiums. The employers of the 83- 90% of Americans who are still working are continuing to pay these taxes. If 9 out of 10 Americans are still working, WHERE THE HELL IS THE GODS DAMNED MONEY !?.

• Is provided at no cost to the workers who receive the benefits.

At no cost to the worker means we were not required to pay into this. We are already considered to be paying into this by generating profit for our employers.

The Unemployment Compensation Program is not:

• Social Security

Which is another form of insurance for workers who have grown too old to continue their former employment.

• An automatic entitlement

Once again, it is something that is earned, and is only paid when the worker is not at fault in their loss of employment.

• A loan

It does not require repayment, because it has been earned.

• Based on need

Thus, as it is not need based, it is not welfare, unlike the BILLIONS of dollars passed out by our congress to the major financial institutions that got us in this mess to begin with.

• Intended to fully replace your previous income;

And it does not. Not even close. $6.88 an hour, remember?

• Funded by any deductions from wages you have earned.

Such as, oh I don't know, taxes?

Income Taxes

Unemployment compensation benefits are fully taxable, if you are required to file a tax return.

This refers to the fact that the federal government, in its infinite mercy, has decided that those making less than $850 a year with less than $300 of that coming from invstments are exempt from federal withholding. This, for a forty hour work week amounts to $.41 per hour. Personally, I cannot think of anyone in this country making forty-one cents an hour, unless it is an illegal alien.

Contact the Internal Revenue Service toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 if you have questions on your tax liability.
You have two options concerning income taxes. You may request that income tax:
Option 1: NOT be withheld, or
Option 2: be withheld.
If you choose to withhold income tax, we will withhold 10 percent of your Weekly Benefit Amount.

Here is another good point. Another typical pundit quote is 'The American taxpayer is tired of paying for Unemployment Benefits'. The only 'American taxpayer' who should be paying for unemployment benefits is Corporate America. Remember? The guys who got us into this mess by bad investments, massive outsourcing, layoffs, plant closures, lying to investors, corporate raiding, hiring of illegal aliens, union busting, golden parachutes, and the purchase of products from countries using child labor, slave labor, and having pay rates of a few dollars (if that) a day.

Also, this means that the people receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits are taxpayers.

I will freely discuss any issues or percieved inaccuracies in this statement, however anonymous comments will be ignored.


aka Joseph F. Wilke

Sunday, July 4, 2010

On Faith

What is faith? When we speak of religion or spirituality in any form we frequently refer to our concepts associated with them as 'our faith'. Most people, if given time, would define faith as 'things we think are accurate reflections of reality, in the absence of empirical proof'. The word 'faith' comes from the Latin fides, to trust. This meaning has been carried forward to the modern era, in that our faith describes the group of tenets and principles we have trust in. On a very basic level faith describes those things that we believe to be so basic to the nature of our world view that we feel no need to verify them by experiment. An example of this is 'I have faith that, if I were to place my hand on my workbench and use my other hand to smack it with my 3 pound sledgehammer, I would be in a great deal of pain". How do I know this without having done it? I know this through the experience of others, observed and related to me, from similar experience of my own, and through the rational process of combining these experiences into a general principle 'It hurts when heavy things hit the body'. By logical extension, I can include large rocks, wooden beams, elephants and automobile engines in the category of ' heavy things' without requiring any or all of the above to fall upon or be thrown at me.

'But', you may say, 'you have empiric evidence of the result of the above experiment, as a result of related experience. You may not have done it with that hammer on that workbench, but you had similar experience with other related objects'. I will grant the truth of this statement. However, let us consider an individual who either through mastery of biofeedback techniques, use of chemichal or natural anesthetics, nerve degeneration or disability has no sensation in their hand. Let us further assume that this individual has been in this state every time they encounter the events described above. This individual would have to accept, on faith, that their body would, under normal circumstances, experience the sensation called 'pain' by others when these events occured. This may seem to be a rather absurd chain of reasoning but, when brought into other realms of experience, it can be seen to be a valid example.

Consider the individual born with red/green color blindness. They do not see trees, roses, grass, etc., in the same fashion as those of us who have what is called normal vision. They have to accept, on faith, that these colors exist as described to them by others. This phenomenon is more common than you might believe. There exist individuals in the population who have a greater or lesser than average ability to perceive color, sound, taste, touch, and scent. I myself, in spite of being a smoker, can often tell when I am close to water or when a rainstorm is approaching by the smell. There are many people who will tell you that water has no taste or smell, so how do I do this? I cannot extend my perceptions directly to others, so as a result I must describe to them, in language, the sensations accompanying my perception. They, as a result of past experience with my veracity, will then grab their umbrellas or head out to the pool depending on how truthful they believe me to be.

There is a phenomenon in medical research called the 'placebo effect'. This occurs during double-blind testing of drugs and treatments when an individual receiving said object believes that their condition will improve and it does, even when they have received an inert substitute for the treatment. They got better without any chemichal or medical intervention beyond 'this will make you better. This occurs in daily life more often than people realize, when an individual performs some major or minor feat of strength or skill, and when asked they respond 'I did not think about whether I could do it or not, I just went in and did it'.

Even the most hardened empirical sceintists will have to admit some level of faith. Science, as a body of knowlege about the principles and functioning of the universe, is based on several fundamental tenets. These are (in no particular order):
1) The universe is knowable.
2) The universe is subject to rules.
3) These rules can be discovered through a process of observation, reason, and experiment.
I would like to look at each of these tenets in a little more detail beginning with tenet #1.

The Universe is Knowable

Science assumes as a first fundamental tenet that the human mind is capable of learning how the universe works. That we, as humans, are reasonable beings in a reasonable universe that we percieve in an accurate fashion. This is why paeleontoligists and geologists disagree with the creation stories of various religions, because if they are true , then the various bones, fossils, and layers of rock must have been created ex nihilo (from nothing), in situ (where they are), as a part of the single greatest act of forgery ever commited on humankind.

The Universe is Subject to Rules

What is meant by this is that there are a limited number of ways in which a particular event can occur. New species do not appear out of nowhere, gold does not suddenly turn into peanut butter, and rocks fall when dropped. Every event is the direct result of a series of other events, some known some unknown, and events can be linked in a consistent series that, given a sufficeint number of observed events, the results of which can be predicted before they occur. Scientists are no less prone to dogma than any other group. Einstien's basic argument against quantum physics was that the behavior of particles appeared to be random, 'God does not play at dice with the universe'. We now have a better model of particle behavior than was available at that time, due to advances in our tools and mathematics. Probability does still seem to play a large part in particle behavior, however.

These Rules Can Be Discovered Through a Process of Observation, Reason, and Experiment

This tenet assumes that our observations are an accurate reflection of what we observe. When we see a tree, it is not a dog, rock, ham sandwich, or any thing other than a tree. It assumes that our reason is neutral and unbiased, in good working order, and capable of comprehending what we observe. It also assumes that our tools are capable of accurately measuring the extent of or accurately enhancing our perception of a praticular event. One of the arguments against Galileos observation of the moons of Jupiter was that what appeared to be moons were actually just flaws in his lens. Another example of this is a mirage, of which I have seen a few in florida on a hot summer day.

Many scientific theories that are commonly accepted today were quite controversial in their time. Continental drift, for example, was only accepted in the last century. The royal society in Britain argued in the 1700s that meteorites did not exist. The examples are myriad and diverse.

So let us get back to faith. Specifically faith in the existence of divinity. I will not argue whether this existence is singular (monotheist), paired (dualist), multiple (polytheist), or universal (pantheist). I will however look at a few arguments against the existence of any or all of these.

One argument is that if this (these) being(s) exist(s), we would have empiric evidence of such existence. My agument against this statement is that the planets Uranus and Neptune, and the ice dwarfs Pluto, Charon, etc (at least 8 at this point and it is highly probable there are many more) did not appear out of nowhere as soon as we had the tools to perceive their existence. They were always there, we just did not have the tools to percieve them. (for always read 'a really fecking long time'). There are other examples of this including atoms, electrons, viruses, germs, and the site of the historical Troy. Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Or, to put it another way, it is the bear you don't see that gets you. We have huge amounts of personal testimony from individuals who vary in veracity from untrustworty (Rev Jim Bakker) to extremely trustworthy (Gandi). Some of these individuals have no reason to deceive the public. Does a hermit living in the mountains of Greece, India. or Colorado really care what the public thinks?

Other arguments are based on the nature of proof. Eyewitness testimony is sufficeint to convict an individual of murder in most (if not all) countries. However these same eyewitnesses will be told they are delusional if they attempt to testify as to the existence of divinity. The opinion of a licensced professional is sufficient for people to risk millions of dollars on an investment, but not for them to spend a few hours a week pursuing things of the spirit. I personally know an avowed atheist who rejects the idea of any divinity, but spends his free time photographing and filming ghosts. He has even stated that the reason he believes the way he does is that his wife channeled the spirit of his dead mother, and she said there is no god. First of all, what mysterious transformation occurs in the process of dying that makes an individual less likely to lie? Secondly, if a spirit is not bound by time and space, how difficult would it be for this spirit to observe any time or space and get information with which to deceive people as to its identity?

My reasons for belief are simple. First, I have directly experienced the numinous. I have felt the touch of the divine, both waking and sleeping. Secondly, I am of the opinion that it is the height of arrogance for us as a species to say we know everything there is to know about our species, the universe, and the relationship of the two. There is something there. What it is, how it functions, and what view it may (or may not- thank you Vroomfondel) have of humanity as a whole, or any particular individual or group in that whole is an argument I leave to the theologians (demarcation, mate). I have seen proof enough to convince me, and that is all any reasonable individual can expect.


Monday, March 29, 2010

My Rune poem

I am going to post this before I get into what others have written about the runes. This was made to work with a nine bead runic rosary that was made by my sweetheart.

Fehu's wealth streaming forth
Uruz strength is my source
Thurisaz challenge and defend
Ansuz is my truest freind
Raidho is my journeys path
Kennaz kindles burning wrath
Gebo's gifts upon my soul
Wunjo is my final goal

Hagalaz gathers strength to smite
Nauthiz shivers in cold night
Issa transforms stream to glass
Jera comes and all things pass
Eiwaz the spine of nine worlds
Perthro gathers mystery furled
Algiz guards sacred space
Sowilo shows sun's bright face

Tiwaz sends justice to all
Berkano seeds and leaves both fall
Ehwaz ancient freind to man
Mannaz knows strength of clan
Laguz holds secret heart
Ingwaz rides in holy cart
Dagaz begins each day anew
Othila ancient gifts run true

These lines are more mnemonic in nature than anything else, but I thought I would share them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Runes 1- Fehu

Fehu is the first rune in the first Aett of the Elder Futhark, according to the commonly accepted ordering of the runes.


Indo-European root is *Peku ((when looking at Indo-European roots, the star designates a reconstructed word, rather than one which has physical evidence)

Gothic: Fahu, faihu
Old High German: Fehu, fahu
Old Icelandic (Old Norse): Fe, feu, fehu
Old English: Feoh

Keywords (by author)

Aswynn - cattle, money, wealth, food, hamingja (personal store of magical energy, mana or ki/chi), greed, envy, creative energy
Blum -possessions, nourishment, cattle, profit
Cooper - cattle, wealth, livestock, social responsibility, charity,hope, plenty
Conway - cattle, fee, money, gold, fulfillment, goals reached
Farrell - wealth, material fulfillment, ownership, prosperity
Fries - cattle, warfare, migration
Grimnisson - cattle, hamingja, prosperity, generation of money
Gundarsson - cattle, hamingja, vanir (Freyr, Freyja)
Hulse - cattle, possessions
Karlsson - wealth, reward, taming the wild
Kaser - fortune, poverty, land, rent
King - wealth, charity, cats, butterfly
Meadows - culmination, exchange and distribution, generated wealth
Mountfort - abundance, wealth, luck, greed, materialism
Paxson- productivity, passion, prosperity, liquid wealth, stewardship
Pennick - cattle, Audhumbla (primal cow), payment
Peschel - earned income, material gain, loss of wealth
Peterson - cattle, money, mobile property
Plowright - money, sharing wealth
Ravenwolf - money, wealth, sexual passion, fire of creation and destruction
Smith - cattle, wealth, business, ego, debt
Svensson - work, wealth that is earned, expansion, gain, loss
Thorsson - cattle, wealth, dynamic power, creation, destruction, greed, primal fire (Muspellheim), social success, atrophy

Verse: OERP is the Old English Rune Poem, OIRP is the Old Icelandic, ONRP is the Old Norse. The old Icelandic also has a Latin equivalent keyword, and a word for leader beginning with the rune.

OERP (F2a)
Feoh byth frofur, fira gehwylcum;
sceal deah manna gehwylc, miclun hyt daelan;
gif he wile for drihtne, domes hleotan.

Paxson (P5a) substitutes 'gehwyle' for 'gehwylc'

Feoh is a comfort to all men,
yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honor, in the sight of the lord.

Wealth be by all very much welcomed,
each man shall deal it out freely
if he will from the lord get approval

(G1a, S1a)
Wealth is a comfort to every man
yet shall every man dole it out greatly,
if he wishes before the lord to gain glory

Wealth is a comfort to everyone,
yet each must give freely
if he will glory in heaven

Money is a comfort to humans all,
but each one should deal it out abundantly,
if he wants before the lord to chance judgement.

Wealth provides comfort,
but you must share it who hope to cast lots,
for judgement before the gods.

Wealth is a comfort to all men,
yet everyone must give it away freely,
if he wants to gain glory in the lord's sight

(T1a, T1b, G2a)
Money is a comfort to everybody
although every man ought to deal it out freely
if he wants to get approval from the lord.

Wealth is a comfort to every man
although every man ought to deal it out freely
if he wants before the lord his lot of judgement


Fe vaeldr fraenda roge
fodesk ulfr i skoge

Fe veldr fraenda rogi
foedisk ulfr i skogi

Fe is a source of discord among kinsmen
the wolf lives in the forest

Wealth is trouble among relatives
the wolf is raised in the forest

Cattle causes strife amongst kinsmen
and feeds the wolf in the woods

Money causes kinsmen's quarrel
the wolf is reared in the forest

(M2a, T1a, T1b, T1e, T1f, G2a)
Money causes strife among kin
the wolf grows up in the woods

Thorsson, in Rune-song (T1e) substitutes 'forest' for 'woods', in Northern Magic (T1f) uses 'gold' for 'money' and 'kinsmen' for 'kin', and in Runelore (T1b) and At the Well of Wyrd (T1a) has 'kinsmen' for 'kin'. Gundarsson, in Teutonic Magic, also does the Gold/Money and Kin/Kinsmen substitution.

Wealth causes strife among kinsmen
the wolf lurks in the forest

Money causes strife among kinsmen
the wolf is raised in the woods


Fe er fraenda rog
ok flaedar viti
ok grafseids gata

aurum fylkir

fe = source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent


Wealth is trouble among relatives
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent

Wealth is kinsmen's strife
and flood-tide's sign
and grave-sorcery's way

Wealth = source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent

Money is kinsmen's quarrel
and flood-tides token
and necromancy's road


(M2a,T1a, T1b, T1e, T1f, G2a)
Money causes strife among kin
and the fire of the flood tide
and the path of the serpent
Thorsson adds, in Rune-song, the translation of 'fylkir' as 'Leader of the war-band'

Money is strife among kinsmen
the fire of the sea
and the path of the serpent

gold Leader of the retinue

Whew! Lots of translations there. You may ask, why so many? Although the majority of the translations are similar, there are also some significant differences between them. By showing all that I currently have available, I hope to encourage debate and discussion, or even some new perspectives on the source material.

Out of the 24 runes of the common Germanic Futhark, only 16 appear in the Icelandic and Norwegian rune poems. These three poems are the only sources we have (other than the Abdecarium Nordmanicum which i will cover in a later post) for the meanings of the runes. The Old English rune poem gives meanings for all 24 of the elder Futhark, but it splits the fourth rune, ansuz, into a fourth and a twenty-sixth rune, os (fourth) and as (26th). Everything beyond these poems, written by anyone, about the runes is speculation.

I do not deny the value of personal insight, mystic revelation, shamanic journeys, or any other inspiration dealing with the runes. What I emphasize is that all the rest of my posts and the writings are unavoidably speculative. As you see above, there is not even complete agreement about the translation of the poems themselves.

However, people seem to get results using the runes in the fashions the various authors recommend. They can be uncannily accurate for divination, and appear to function well for magic. It is possible that the entire world of religion, spirituality, magic, and the occult is no more than a MUSH (Multi-User Shared Hallucination). I prefer to believe it is not.

Now that we have looked at the thoughts of others on the rune Fehu, let us take a look at my thoughts. As you can see, the majority of authors agree that at the most basic level, Fehu represents wealth, especially liquid wealth. This is shown by the meanings of cattle, gold, money, etc. A point to remember, however, is that, depending on the rune row, there are 16, 18, 24,28, or33 runes to represent the totality of existence and experience. As a result of this, an individual rune covers more territory than a Tarot card (78), or a Chinese/ Japanese/ Egyptian ideogram (several thousand in each system, although it can be argued that most in each are made up of combinations of simpler ideograms. But I digress.)

So, for each rune there should be a common thread that ties its myriad of meanings together. In my opinion that common thread is energy (or power) under conscious control. The domesticated cattle represent food energy, raw materials (leather, bone, horn, sinew), and disposable influence. This also extends to the Hamingja (mentioned earlier in this post), which is your personal store of magical power, psychic energy, or luck.

Through husbanding and increasing these energies (physical, economic, spiritual) we increase our ability to effect change in the surrounding world. A point to remember is the 'no free lunch' concept. In order to gain we must sacrifice.Time, money, effort,all can be(and frequently are) sacrifices made to gain an increase in our energy. We sacrifice a portion of our lives to our jobs, businesses, or investments. In return we receive compensation in the form of pay or profit.We also sacrifice time (and money) to perform and host rites. This returns to us in the form of blessings from the gods.

An important point to remember. Modern astrophysics states that the aggregate amount of energy in the universe is unchanged from the moment of the big bang. This energy can niether be created or destroyed, simply transformed from one state to another. But the net amount of energy in the universe remains constant.

The Singular Vision Bibliography

This is my list of sources and authors for my posts. Some I will qoute from, some I summarize, and some I may even mock. But remember, truth can hide in odd places, and even a broken clock is right twice a day. This post will be updated as I add sources and posts.

My sources will be listed by Author, then Title, ISBN (if available), and lastly with a simple alphanumeric code for easy reference. The first author I list for the letter 'A', for example, will be (A1), the second (A2), etc. If I refer to a specific work, it will be designated by a lower case letter, again in the order they are listed in my bibliography, So the second work by the first author listed for 'A' would be (A1b).

The inclusion of an author or work in, or exclusion of an author or work from, this list is not intended to imply approval or disapproval of that author or work. All it means is I personally posess a copy of said work and have attempted to read it. In a few cases, said work has served better for leveling tables or killing bugs than as a spiritual guide, but as someone once said "This is a book which should not be put down lightly. It should be thrown, with great force, across the room".


Aswynn, Freya. A1
a) Principles of Runes. 0-7725-3883-9.
b) Northern Mysteries and Magic. 1-56718-047-7.

Blum, Ralph B1
a) The Rune Cards. 0-312-16882-2.
b) The book of runes. 0-312-09758-1

Conway, D. J. C1
Falcon Feather and Valkyrie Sword. 1-56718-163-5.

Cooper, D. Jason C2
Esoteric Rune Magic. 1-56718-174-0.

Chisholm, James Allen C3
The Eddas. No ISBN, Available through

Farnell, Kim
Simply Runes. 1-4027-2693-7.F1

Fries, Jan F2
Helrunar. 1869928-385.

Grimnisson, Ruarik G1
Rune Rede. 186163126-X.

Gundarsson, Kveldulf G2
Teutonic Magic. 978-1-870450-22-5.

Hulse, David Allen H1
The Key of It All, Book Two: The Western Mysteries. 0-87542-379-5.

Karlsson, Thomas K1
Uthark, Nightside of the Runes. 91-974102-1-7.

Kaser, R.T. K2
Runes in 10 Minutes. 0-380-77605-7.

King, Bernard K3
The Elements of the Runes. 1-86204-037-0.

Meadows, Kenneth M1
Rune Power. 1-85230-706-4.

Mountfort, Paul Rhys M2
Nordic Runes. 089281093-9.

Plowright, Sweyn P1
The Rune Primer. 0-9580435-1-5

Peschel,Lisa P2
A Practical Guide to the Runes. 0-87542-593-3.

Pennick, Nigel P3
Rune Magic. 1-85538-105-2.

Peterson, Dr. James M. P4
The Enchanted Alphabet. 0-85030-765-1.

Paxson, Diana L. P5
Taking Up the Runes. 1-57863-325-7.

Ravenwolf, Silver and Jackson, Nigel R1
Rune Mysteries. 1-56718-553-3.

Smith, Jennifer S1
Raido, the Runic Journey. No ISBN- Tara Hill Designs.

Svensson, Horik S2
The Runes. 1-56619-964-6.

Thorsson, Edred/ Edred/ Dr. Stephen E. Flowers / S.E. Flowers T1
a) At the Well of Wyrd. 0-87728-678-7.
b) Runelore. 0-87728-667-1.
c) Futhark. 0-87728-548-9.
d) Rune Might. 0-87542-778-2.
e) Rune-song. 1-885972-01-6
f) Northern Magic. 1-56718-709-9

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The Kylver stone

The Negau helmet

Runes. A controversial topic within reconstructionist circles, but also one of the more obvious aspects of the Norse/Germanic cultural heritage. We have a few known facts that are verified by archaeology and the historical record.

  • There are three basic known systems that exist; the Norse (or Viking) Futhark consisting of 16 runes, the common Germanic Futhark of 24 runes, and the Anglo/Northumbrian Futhorc of 28-33 runes.

  • The earliest runic inscription we have is (potentially) the Meldorf brooch (dated 50 C.E.), although some scholars argue that it is a north italic rather than germanic inscription. An earlier artifact, the Negau helmet, uses definite North Italic characters which are strong candidates for ancestors of the runes.

  • The earliest ordered Futhark (runes in f-o order) is the Kylver stone (dated to 400 C.E.) This stone was placed in a grave in such a fashion that the inscription faced inward.

  • The Runes were used as a system of writing and magic by the early Germans and Scandinavians.

  • Each rune had a vocal sound and a concept associated with it.

  • Runes continued in use as a form of magic in Iceland up to at least up to the late 1500s (the Galdrabok, composed around 1580)

  • Runes continued to be used for communication until at least the 1630s (Gustav Adolf used them for coded communications during the Thirty years war in Germany).

  • Symbols similar to runes have been found as petroglyphs from Neolithic Spain to Neolithic Scandinavia.

  • Cornelius Tacitus, in Germania, refers to a Germanic practice of divination by marking symbols on slips of wood and casting them on a cloth.

  • The Old English Rune Poem (Cottonian Ms Otho Bx) is dated to around 1000 C.E.

  • The Old Norse Rune Poem is from Olaus Wormius' Danica Literatura Antiquissima and is dated to around 1200 C.E.

  • The Old Icelandic Rune Poem is from four manuscripts in the Arnamagnean library in Copenhagen, dated to around 1400 C.E.

  • Runes were carved in wood, bone, stone, scratched on leather, and written on bark strips.

  • These are undisputed facts, verifiable by anyone with a scholarly bent and a willingness to perform minimal research. Now we move into the territory of speculation and the arguable.

    I believe the Runes to be a complete system of spiritual technology usable for meditation, prayer, magic and personal enlightenment. I see them as the direct gift of the god Odin to mankind, usable by any who have the will and tenacity to learn them.

    The word rune (Old Norse Runar, Old High German Rune, Finnish Runo) has meanings in most Northern European languages of secret, mystery, or whisper. Other meanings are song, incantation, spell, and riddle. So what then is a mystery in an esoteric sense?

    Examples of spiritual or religous mysteries abound in world cultures. The Roman Catholics have the Mysteries of the Rosary. The Greeks had the mystery cults of Orpheus and Demeter. The Romans and Persians had their Mithraic mysteries. All of these mysteries share a common thread, that of Gnosis, or direct experience of divinity as a result of meditation, prayer, or ritual. One of the functions I attribute to the Runes is as foci for meditation on particular topics, not unlike a Buddhist mantra, a Zen koan, a Hindu mandala, or a Byzantine icon.

    Here is my meditation technique for this. My sources are varied, and some I honestly do not remember, but, as Newton said, if I seem to see farther than others, it is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    I begin with a rune. Any rune will suffice, but for this example I will use Fehu, the first. The OERP says 'Feoh is a comfort to all men, yet must every man bestow it freely, if he wish to gain honor, in the sight of the lord'. The OIRP says 'Fe (money) is strife among kinsmen, the fire of the sea, and the path of the serpent'. The ONRP says 'Fe (money) causes strife among kinsmen, the wolf is raised in the woods'.

    A few notes. The OE word for lord, 'Dryhten' refers to high nobility (kings or earls) and the christian ggod. In the pre-conversion period it was most likely a heiti (byname) for the deity Freyr, in my opinion. In Anglo-Saxon feoh refers to cattle, where in Old Norse fe is money. So, on the surface , we are referring to mobile, or transferrable, wealth. (Wealth, btw, is an unchanged A-S word in our language with the original meaning of 'that which brings good' (weal).) Also we have implications of the strife that can be triggered by unshared wealth.

    Then I visualise the rune. It's shape, color, etc. then I say 'Feoh, fe, fehu, wealth is strife among kinsmen, the fire of the sea, and the path of the serpent. Feoh, fe fehu, wealth causes strife among kinsmen, the wolf is raised in the woods. Feoh, fe, fehu, wealth is a comfort to all men, but every man should bestow it freely if he wishes to gain honor in the sight of freyr'.

    I repeat this as long as seems appropriate, remembering any insights gained as I do so. By internalizing these mysteries, I begin to see them around me, so that my spiritual practice becomes not only immanent (internal), but also emanent (radiating outward to me from the universe, and outward from me to the universe).