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Thread: Is Rune-Casting a 'Low Art'?

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychonaut View Post
    Interesting question. Perhaps it's because I have a background in Ceremonial Magic, I've always seen the Runes as being somewhat analogous to the squares provided in the third (or fourth depending on your translation) of The Book of Abramelin. In both cases, we have system of glyph bases magic that was allegedly obtained at the peak of an initiatory experience. In both cases the glyphs themselves are depicted in historical sources as being used for rather mundane magical operations. In the case of the Runes (as per the Hávamál verses 146-164) they are apparently to be used to "blunt the edges of enemy swords," "cause the corpse to speak," etc. The Abramelin squares are designed for similarly mundane works like being able "to walk under water for as long as you want." Now, this is not to say that the Runes cannot be used for 'high magic,' (as is currently done by the Runegild and the group I belong to, the Wolfbund) rather in their mythology they appear as the result of high magic, not as high magic in and of themselves.
    Not both, like the ouroboros? The expanded state of consciousness produced by the hanging meditation creating the runes, creating the expanded state?:-)

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pythia View Post
    Not both, like the ouroboros? The altered state of consciousness produced by the hanging meditation creating the runes, creating the altered state?
    That seems to be a much more modern conception. However, we don't really know much at all about Germanic initiation rites. This does seem to be the approach used by most of the contemporary Runic schools, using the Runes to assist in emulating the peak experience described in the Hávamál.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    What evidence is there that runes were used for lot casting and divination?

    The runes as referred to in ancient texts are symbolic as a whole to spiritual realization which leads to metaphysical knowledge not magic and divination and other phenomena which exist in the subtle realm (formal manifestation). Metaphysics belongs to the universal order (as I explained in another thread: What is Metaphysics?) in which there are no forms and therefore no visions or divinations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    What evidence is there that runes were used for lot casting and divination?
    The runes as referred to in ancient texts are symbolic as a whole to spiritual realization which leads to metaphysical knowledge not magic and divination and other phenomena which exist in the subtle realm (formal manifestation). Metaphysics belongs to the universal order (as I explained in another thread: What is Metaphysics?) in which there are no forms and therefore no visions or divinations.
    Tacitus said of the Heathen Germans of the first century Common Era that they were "addicted beyond all other nations to the use of lots and augeries".

    The philosophy of Wyrd and the Norns would make this recourse to divination explicable.

    Indeed, the use of divination would have overshadowed any 'metaphysics', in my view.

    Tacitus, Germania 10.

    "To the use of lots and auguries, they are addicted beyond all other nations. Their method of divining by lots is exceedingly simple. From a tree which bears fruit they cut a twig, and divide it into two small pieces. These they distinguish by so many several marks, and throw them at random and without order upon a white garment. Then the Priest of the community, if for the public the lots are consulted, or the father of a family about a private concern, after he has solemnly invoked the Gods, with eyes lifted up to heaven, takes up every piece thrice, and having done thus forms a judgment according to the marks before made. If the chances have proved forbidding, they are no more consulted upon the same affair during the same day: even when they are inviting, yet, for confirmation, the faith of auguries too is tried. Yea, here also is the known practice of divining events from the voices and flight of birds. But to this nation it is peculiar, to learn presages and admonitions divine from horses also. These are nourished by the State in the same sacred woods and groves, all milk-white and employed in no earthly labour. These yoked in the holy chariot, are accompanied by the Priest and the King, or the Chief of the Community, who both carefully observed his actions and neighing. Nor in any sort of augury is more faith and assurance reposed, not by the populace only, but even by the nobles, even by the Priests. These account themselves the ministers of the Gods, and the horses privy to his will. They have likewise another method of divination, whence to learn the issue of great and mighty wars. From the nation with whom they are at war they contrive, it avails not how, to gain a captive: him they engage in combat with one selected from amongst themselves, each armed after the manner of his country, and according as the victory falls to this or to the other, gather a presage of the whole."
    http://www.northvegr.org/lore/tacitus/index.php

    Alternate translation:

    "Auguries and Method of Divination. Augury and divination by lot no people practise more diligently. The use of the lots is simple. A little bough is lopped off a fruit-bearing tree, and cut into small pieces; these are distinguished by certain marks, and thrown carelessly and at random over a white garment. In public questions the priest of the particular state, in private the father of the family, invokes the gods, and, with his eyes toward heaven, takes up each piece three times, and finds in them a meaning according to the mark previously impressed on them. If they prove unfavourable, there is no further consultation that day about the matter; if they sanction it, the confirmation of augury is still required. For they are also familiar with the practice of consulting the notes and flight of birds. It is peculiar to this people to seek omens and monitions from horses. Kept at the public expense, in these same woods and groves, are white horses, pure from the taint of earthly labour; these are yoked to a sacred car, and accompanied by the priest and the king, or chief of the tribe, who note their neighings and snortings. No species of augury is more trusted, not only by the people and by the nobility, but also by the priests, who regard themselves as the ministers of the gods, and the horses as acquainted with their will. They have also another method of observing auspices, by which they seek to learn the result of an important war. Having taken, by whatever means, a prisoner from the tribe with whom they are at war, they pit him against a picked man of their own tribe, each combatant using the weapons of their country. The victory of the one or the other is accepted as an indication of the issue."
    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/tacitus1.html


    Tacitus' Latin original:
    X. Auspicia sortesque, ut qui maxime, observant. Sortium consuetudo
    simplex: virgam, frugiferae arbori decisam, in surculos amputant, eosque,
    notis quibusdam discretos, super candidam vestem temere ac fortuito
    spargunt: mox, si publice consuletur, sacerdos civitatis, sin privatim,
    ipse paterfamiliae, precatus deos coelumque suspiciens, ter singulos
    tollit, sublatos secundum impressam ante notam interpretatur. Si
    prohibuerunt, nulla de eadem re in eundem diem consultatio; sin
    permissum, auspiciorum adhuc fides exigitur. Et illud quidem etiam hic
    notum, avium voces volatusque interrogare: proprium gentis, equorum
    quoque praesagia ac monitus experiri; publice aluntur iisdem nemoribus ac
    lucis candidi et nullo mortali opere contacti: quos pressos sacro curru
    sacerdos ac rex vel princeps civitatis comitantur, hinnitusque ac
    fremitus observant. Nec ulli auspicio major fides non solum apud plebem,
    sed apud proceres, apud sacerdotes; se enim ministros deorum, illos
    conscios putant. Est et alia observatio auspiciorum, qua gravium bellorum
    eventus explorant; ejus gentis, cum qua bellum est, captivum, quoquo modo
    interceptum, cum electo popularium suorum, patriis quemque armis,
    committunt: victoria hujus vel illius pro praejudicio accipitur.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Exactly, there's nothing in there about runes. How you can get the term rune out of twig that is marked is beyond me. Similarly, it says about the runes "know how to read them" by which I take as "know their meaning" (for they are symbols). Nowhere did it say "know how to divine with them!" Besides, it says elsewhere, "never trust a witch" (this isn't just a Christian insertion). Finally, "know how to send them" should not be interpreted as "curse" but as "to transmit tradition." Heathens are relying too much on Tacitus and occultist charlatans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    Exactly, there's nothing in there about runes. How you can get the term rune out of twig that is marked is beyond me. Similarly, it says about the runes "know how to read them" by which I take as "know their meaning" (for they are symbols). Nowhere did it say "know how to divine with them!" Besides, it says elsewhere, never trust a witch. Finally, "know how to send them" should not be translated as "curse" but as "to transmit tradition." Heathens are relying too much on Tacitus and occultist charlatans.
    Whether or not you think that Tacitus is referring to the runes [and most authorities believe that he is], you cannot deny that he is talking about the use of divination [which you denied] rather than the "metaphysics" that you asserted.
    So let's say then - for argument's sake - that Tacitus is not talking about the runes but about other marks:

    "From a tree which bears fruit they cut a twig, and divide it into two small pieces. These they distinguish by so many several marks, and throw them at random and without order upon a white garment."

    Marks upon which the priest "forms a judgment according to the marks before made" - what else is this but divination?

    Now let me ask you - what is the evidence for Germanic Heathen metaphysics?
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    The fact that he speaks of divination I do not dispute, but to get rune out of marked twig is a complete distortion and no intellectual authority would say otherwise (unless of course he was pseudo-intellectual). Metaphysics is found in all traditions, in Plato's intelligible world, for instance, and preserved by Christianity in the angelic realm. Metaphysics is universal beyond all forms and is the very basis of the secondary forms as expressed through myth, gods, and the world tree. There is no racial metaphysics as I've said, since it is universal and applies only to the universal order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    The fact that he speaks of divination I do not dispute, but to get rune out of marked twig is a complete distortion and no intellectual authority would say otherwise. Metaphysics is found in all traditions, in Plato's intelligible world, for instance, and preserved by Christianity in the angelic realm. Metaphysics is universal beyond all forms and the very basis of the secondary forms as expressed through myth and gods.
    I think that "a marked twig" would be an obvious way that a foreigner would refer to rune casting if he was merely observing it without knowing the Germanic languages [we can agree to disagree here if you wish].

    You are right that Metaphysics is found in Plato, and Platonism [such as Plotinus] influenced the Christian theologians. However, I asked for the evidence of a comparable Germanic Heathen metaphysics.
    I have shown that the Germanic Heathens used divination - where is the Germanic Heathen version of a Plato or a Plotinus?
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Metaphysicians prefer anonymity (hence oral tradition) because metaphysics is not individual philosophy; even Plato's work was not his, only his wild imagination in which he cased his words could be considered individual. The Germanic metaphysics is evident in the ancient scriptures themselves. A symbol must in fact refer to something that exists in the higher formless realm, otherwise it is not a symbol at all.

    Regarding ancient historians, one doesn't know the circumstances in which they were speaking, nor even if what they wrote was meant in the purely literal sense. One clue here is from "a tree which bears fruit" a branch is cut; this could be more symbolic (though somewhat of an abuse of symbolism) for the fruit or shell rather than the kernel is that which was "forbidden" hence phenomenal, and the branch is toward the periphery away from the center. In fact, augury was always performed by lower (or I should say lowest order of) priests or magicians and not the regular and chief priests or kings for this very reason; it is psychic rather than spiritual. And if runes were ever used for some divinatory purpose which if they were it would most likely be outside of the norm then this still would not signify their primary purpose. It only proves a degeneration, of which history is replete with examples where when much of the upper castes practiced divination the civilization already degenerated and shortly disappeared. Egypt is a good example of this, and so is European heathenism.

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    I use the runes as symbols of magical power, but I don't misuse them. I made my own set of runes from a tree that I cut down in my back yard in order to ascend closer to the gods, not to use them as a witchcraft tool.

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