The Germanic Path

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Freya Kä
OBOD Bard
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Postby Freya Kä » 16 Dec 2005, 18:42

Thanks for your answer DaRC, very nice way to work daily with a deity. :grin: I don't work in IT business but I make webpages so I have a pretty good ideay of what you mean and experiment with the "capriciousness of Loki". :o

Your essay on concepts of the Northern soul seems very interesting, I wish you to pursued your goal.

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Eilthireach
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Joined: 12 Feb 2003, 13:58
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Postby Eilthireach » 19 Dec 2005, 11:42

Hello all!

Dave has written:
I think my view of the syncretism between the Celtic and Germanic history is well known / a point of view I expound at every opportunity and if this facilitates that view then all the better.

I find it almost ironic that around 100 years ago attitudes were almost the opposite with regards to Germanic vs Celtic. The Celts and their language, culture and history were regarded as the barbarian whilst the Germanic had a nobility. I suspect that there are a lot of reasons behind this but prefer to view things from a positive commonality rather than angrily raking over the past. Probably because I feel that I am a product of a Northern European heritage.
I also try to view the heritage of my country more as "common" than as composed of "opposite" or "contradictory" elements. In fact I am the heir of all these elements and they are integrated in my self. Why should I throw some part of my self out, or ignore it?
A similar view is also expressed by Nigel Pennick in his book "Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition". It is not a must-read, but I was positively surprised by the degree of synthesis of Celtic and Germanic elements that he has achieved in his own spiritual practice. He is from East Anglia, I think.

As for the attitudes, I think these things undergo changes, almost like in fashion: the red socks, the green belt? The Celtic or Germanic heritage? :grin:

Yes, Yule is coming up quickly. I have found an invocation of Sunna that is speaking to me. I post it here as a kind of introduction into the blessed nights (geweihte Nächte), as they are called in Bavaria.
The Descent to Darkness:

Sunna sinks down / into the dark sea,
Wolf and wind howl / outside the walls
Now winter shakes out / her snowy bed
Now are life-fires / hid in yew-night
Odin's grey steed / leads ghosts on the wind
Trolls fare from cliff-halls / the etins are risen
Well are we warded / who watch this night
By Fire and Water / by Thor's great strength.
As this proceeds, the lights in the hall are extinguished, until only the Fire and Heimdall's candle are lit. (The Priest/ess may add other trnace induction if desired, in each stage of this work.) The Praise Offerings are given in the darkness, then this verse is read as the final Praise Offering:

Now Sunna stands / in her lowest stead
Lost is all light / sleeping all life
The frost-cold wights / hold icy rule
We hail the might / That howls now from the north
Odin, from Yew-Dales / at Yuletide haring
Shield-God, ward us / with thy strong bow
Skadi the Giantess / skis from the north
Huntress, give us / your holy rede
Freya's might hold us / here in our hall
Golden Frey's might / hold us in frith
All of ye Gods / and Goddesses high
From darkness we hail you / from dragon-deep root
Lead us through darkness / through all dire dooms.
(...)
Light's Return
The priest/ess takes fire from the Fire with a taper and begins to relight the Yule-log.

By Aesir and Alfar / And Dises mighty
By Thunar's strong striking / And Freya's Hearth-fire
We seek the shining / Of Yule-morning's magic
Sunna we call you / Come forth from the night
Bear to us blessing / Of spring and then summer
Shine on our land / In our homes, in our hearts
Increase and bounty / Be ours and our kindred's
Rising light, welcome / we hail your returning.
All sing a chant for the returning sun as all the candles in the hall are lit in turn.

Source: http://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/yule/nyule.html
I wish you all a blessed, inspired and lightful season of Yule and Alban Arthuan! I will raise a horn of mead on the well-being of all of you. :hiya:

Eilthireach /|\.

I wish to learn the things that are
and understand their nature
and to know God.
(Corpus Hermeticum I,3)

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Eilthireach
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The Wessobrunn Prayer

Postby Eilthireach » 24 Jan 2006, 15:27

The Wessobrunn Prayer (Wessobrunner Gebet) – A Document from the Turn of the Tides


About 60 km (40 miles) south of Munich towards the Bavarian Alps lies the monastery of Wessobrunn.

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Wessobrunn is tucked away, almost hidden in the countryside and not visited by many people. It is the place that gave its name to one of the most famous documents of early German (Bavarian) language, the Wessobrunn Prayer, discovered in the library of Wessobrunn monastery.  

The Wessobrunn Prayer, also named the Wessobrunnn Creation Poem (Wessobrunner Schöpfungsgedicht), belongs to the oldest surviving texts in German (Old High German) language. It is today in the Bavarian State Library in Munich.
It consists of two parts, a praise of creation in nine lines in stave rhyme and a following prayer in free prose.  
The text was written around 814 CE, probably in another monastery in the same region. The author is unknown.

The most striking specialty of this text is the use of the Rune Hagalaz (*) as a symbol for the syllable „ga“. This is known to us only in one other text, also a Bavarian manuscript from the 9th century CE (London, British Library, Arundel MS. 393). The other unusual sign in this text, looking like a wrong-sided Laguz Rune is in fact a Latin abbreviation or symbol for „enti“ meaning „and“.  

Here a picture from the text, you can clearly see the Hagall Rune:

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Old High German

Dat gafregin ih mit firahim firiuuizzo meista,
dat ero ni uuas noh ûfhimil,
noh paum ... noh pereg ni uuas, ni ... nohheinîig
noh sunna ni scein,
no mâno ni liuhta,
noh der mâreo sêo.
Dô dâr niuuiht ni uuas enteo ni uuenteo,
enti dô uuas der eino almahtîco cot, manno miltisto,
enti dâr uuârun auh manake mit inan cootlîhhe geistâ.
enti cot heilac ...
Cot almahtico,
du himil enti erda gaworachtos,
enti du mannun so manac coot
forgapi,
forgip mir in dino ganada
rehta galaupa
enti cotan willeon,
wistom enti spachida enti craft,
tiuflun za widarstantanne,
enti arc za piwisanne
enti dinan willeon za gauurchanne.

Modern German

Das erfuhr ich unter den Menschen als der Wunder größtes,
daß Erde nicht war, noch oben der Himmel,
nicht Baum ..., noch Berg nicht war,
noch ... irgend etwas,
noch die Sonne nicht schien,
noch der Mond nicht leuchtete,
noch das herrliche Meer.
Als da nicht war an Enden und Wenden,
da war der eine allmächtige Gott, der Wesen gnädigstes,
und da waren mit ihm auch viele herrliche Geister.
Und Gott der heilige ...
Gott allmächtiger, der du Himmel und Erde wirktest
und der du den Menschen so mannigfach
Gutes gegeben,
gib mir in deiner Gnade
rechten Glauben
und guten Willen,
Weisheit und Klugheit und Kraft,
den Teufeln zu widerstehen,
und das Böse (Arge) zurückzuweisen
und deinen Willen zu tun (wirken).

English translation by Eilthireach (all errors with the translator)

This I was told among men as the greatest of wonders,
that the earth was not, nor the sky above,
neither tree not mountain was
nor anything else
nor the sun was shining
nor the moon was alight
nor was there the splendid sea.
As there was nothing far and wide
there was the the one almighty god, the most generous being,
and there were many splendid spirits with him
and god is holy

God almighty, who has made heaven and earth
and who has given many good things to men
grant me in your grace
right faith
and good will
wisdom and prudence and strength
to withstand the devils
and to refrain from evil
and to do your will.

The beginning of the Wessobrunn Prayer reminds us of the third stanza of the Völuspa, the Song of the Seeress, where she recounts the creation of the world, describing the state of non-existence called Ginnungagap:

Of old was the age when Ymir lived;
Sea nor cool waves nor sand there were;
Earth had not been, nor heaven above,
But a yawning gap, and grass nowhere
(Völuspa 3, Hávamál, Bellows transl.)  

This is especially interesting since many authors claim that the Elder Edda was written down much too late (1200) and in the wrong place (Iceland) and by the wrong people (clerics) to contain much of the beliefs and myths of the continental European Germanic people. There is usually admitted that „some“ older core must be preserved in the Edda, but nobody knows what this could be. Me neither!
But it remains at least interesting that one of the oldest texts in German language contains images that are strikingly reminiscent of a text that has been brought to parchment 400 years later in Iceland. I think there might have been something like a common Germanic core or nucleus of beliefs and myths that was further elaborated as fas seen fit for the specific age, area and life situation of the people.
I’ve always felt that the Elder Edda contains much wisdom, but it could well be that it is indeed our ancestral wisdom, handed down to us as heirs of a common European Germanic heritage.

The Wessobrunn Prayer is a document from the turn of the tides. It stands between Germanic and Christian religion. It stands between the use of Runes and Latin letters for writing. It stands between the use of the Latin language (at that time the only language for writing longer texts) and the earliest form of German.    

This manuscript reflects many of the significant changes that the population of the early Middle Ages was subject to. Many of us have changed their spiritual path at least once, but it was a decision of free will. How must it feel when your ancestral religion slowly ceases to exist? When your whole worldview is slowly but step by step replaced?

Sometimes I would like to talk to documents. I am certain that the Wessobrunn Prayer would have a lot to tell. Much more than it is telling us anyway. :grin:  

I thank you reading so far!      

With greetings from beneath the Bavarian Alps,

Eilthireach /|\.
Last edited by Eilthireach on 08 Jan 2007, 15:30, edited 1 time in total.

I wish to learn the things that are
and understand their nature
and to know God.
(Corpus Hermeticum I,3)

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Eilthireach
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The Shapes of the Runes

Postby Eilthireach » 16 Feb 2006, 09:44

The Shapes of the Runes
Les Formes des Runes
Die Formen der Runen  

The following is a discussion of the shapes of the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark. If we assume that the runes are symbols, their shapes can tell us something about their meaning.

This text is the result of a cooperation between Freya Kä and Eilthireach. We have looked at the runes, meditated on their forms and deeply discussed possible interpretations between us. We hope that our cooperation will show that the runes are universal and can be meaningful for us no matter where we live and what our background is.
With us being located on different continents, it may also be considered as an expression of the OBOD being indeed „An cairdeas mor shaoghal nan Druid“ – a worldwide fellowship of Druids.    

The following interpretations reflect our personal viewpoints. We expect that other runesters will come up with different interpretations that are meaningful to them and based on their experience.  
„I say to each man and woman, "You are unique and sovereign, the centre of an universe. However right I may be in thinking as I do, you may be equally right in thinking otherwise.“ (The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, chapter 83)
 
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Fehu :Wheat/Cattle

The shape of Fehu reminds us of a stalk of wheat with two ears pointing to the right.
It could also be a symbol for cattle, with two horns pointing right. The name Fehu reminds us of the German word „Vieh“, meaning „cattle“.
In agricultural societies both interpretations amounted to the same meaning: the riches of the land which enable  survival, freedom and maybe even a life in relative wealth and happiness. Both grain and animals served as bartering goods and were therefore as good as money, which is why the meaning of Fehu is generally given as „wealth“.

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Uruz : Hump/Horns

Uruz reminds us either of the long horns of an aurochs, or of the pronounced hump that this animal has, similar to that of the North American bison. The aurochs has its head lower than its shoulder area. Likewise, Uruz is lower in the front (=right) than in the back (=left).
Zoologists have carried out re-breeding programs for the aurochs, claiming that their animals come very close to their extinct ancestors. This is why we can tell what an aurochs looks like.

The aurochs gives this rune its meaning: pure, raw force and the will of survival.  

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Thurisaz : Hammer/Thorn

The form of Thurisaz looks like a hammer. Early war hammers had a rather thorn-like appearance for hacking into armour. Since Thurisaz is associated with Thor, the rune is also widely accepted to symbolize Thor’s hammer Mjöllnir.    
The shape of this rune could also be interpreted as a thorn, especially as the thorn of a rose sitting on the stem.

Both interpretations symbolize protection: Thor uses Mjöllnir to protect Midgard from the giants, the rose protects itself with its thorns.

Both interpretations also contain several aspects of duality. The rose is a very tender and yet strongly protected flower. It is beautiful, but if we get our hands too close, we get hurt. Thor is usually very kind, but can throw himself into a battle rage when he goes to war against the giants. And if he does, we have order, protection and strength on one side and chaos and uncontrolled forces on the other. Mjöllnir is very strong to a point that it can kill the strongest of giants and then it can shrink to be attached to the neck of Asatruars wearing it for protection and as a symbol of their path.
This duality is also expressed in the shape of the rune, because it has two symmetrical sides.

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Ansuz : Odin

Ansuz represents Odin, who among many other things is the god of air, storm, magic, wisdom, initiation, poetry and  ecstasy. While Thor battles the giants who represent chaos, Odin personificates the knowledge of the order of the world, the way how the worlds are organized and working.  
The form of Ansuz reminds us of Odin with his hair (upper stave) and cloak (lower stave) floating in the wind.  

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Raido : Wheel

In French, „wheel“ means „roue“, reminding of Raido. The German word „Rad“ points into the same direction.
The invention of the wheel is directly linked to the evolution of mankind. Raido represents travel, progress, adaption, control, and the freedom to go where we want.

The shape of Raido reminds us of a wheel (= the upper half of the rune) and the two „legs“ standing out are the traction bars to which tow animals (horses, oxen, etc.) are attached. The wheel is not round because there are no round forms with the runes to facilitate their carving into hard materials.

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Kenaz : Torch

The form of Kenaz reminds us of a blazing torch or fire.

Kenaz shines in the darkness, it symbolizes the torch of the leader, the first of a group to step into the darkness of a tunnel, the torch of a priest who is lighting a ritual fire (a leader on the spiritual planes), the working flame/fire of a craftsman who is inventing a new tool. Kenaz represents the fires of humanity on its quest to improve its knowledge of this world and the others.  

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Gebo : Exchange/Gift

The shape of Gebo symbolizes perfect balance to each side, with a meeting point in the middle to enable exchange.

In Germanic cultures, gifts were often means to maintain peace: I give a gift and you give a gift back. We are even. There is balance in the way we are treating each other, and this brings peace between us.
The same „system“ works in relation with the gods. We give worship, reference, sacrifice (of study time, for example), the gods give their blessing, insight, protection and guidance. This is why two arms of Gebo point upwards, to the gods, to Asgard, while the other two arms point downwards to Midgard. It is a two-way road, up and down and here and there.
We need to achieve balance in the ways we are dealing with the gods. We cannot always ask for favours, we need to return something in order to keep the balance. Gebo reminds us that we cannot receive without giving.
 
Gebo can be used to symbolize the four quarters in a ritual. A bindrune of Gebo together with Fehu or Ansuz („Gibu Auja“) works for good luck and prosperity.

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Wunjo : A person climbing on a tree

The shape of this rune reminds us of a person climbing on a tree to see what lies further ahead. Wunjo tells us not to take anything for granted. What we hold to be reality today, can quickly become an illusion tomorrow.    

Wunjo is a symbol for joy and happiness, it promises a good ending and the realisation of one’s wishes. At the same time, it does not mean happiness forever, but reminds us to be aware of the tasks that lie ahead of us. It also teaches us to be realistic in defining our goals and not to run after foolish dreams.  

Another explanation for the shape of Raido is a person lying on his/her back with the legs bent at the knees, ready to receive a lover, defining joy in a rather „physical“ way.

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Hagalaz : Ladder  

Hagalaz is shaped like a ladder, a bridge or a rail track. Since Hagalaz is connected to Hel, this brings us to a port or pathway between the worlds of Midgard (our world) and Helheim (world of the dead), underlined by the middle stave pointing downwards.  
Hagalaz consists of two vertical and one diagonal lines, it can also express the attempt to create a balance between
two aspects. Since Hagalaz is also the rune of the past, it can further be seen as symbol for the passage from past to present and of problems from the past which we haven’t been able to get rid of.      
In a wider sense, Hagalaz could stand for a road that brings us from one state of mind to another, from a wordly consciousness to a deeper understanding.  

There is another form of Hagalaz formed like a star (*) or a grain of hail, reminding us that the traditional meaning of Hagalaz is „hail“

Hagalaz is the ninth rune in the Elder Futhark. Considering the sacredness of the number nine in all Germanic traditions, this position is especially meaningful. The authors of this text have different opinions on the argumentation of some authors who therefore put Hagalaz in the place of a „mother rune“.

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Nauthiz : Fire Making Tool

The word Nauthiz resembles the old German „Noth“ meaning „need“. One variant of  Nauthiz is „Nyd“, which is close to the English „need“.  
The form of Nauthiz reminds us of two wooden sticks being rubbed against each other so that the friction will create a spark to light a fire, an ancient fire making tool. For the Northern peoples, fire was a life necessity and an important tool for survival.  
After Hagalaz representing the past, Nauthiz symbolizes the future. The future is not yet determined, but will be shaped by our decisions that we take under the influence of Nauthiz, of need.
Nauthiz invites us to ask ourselves if we really need something. Are our wishes legitimate or just follies?

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Isa : Ice

In Northern countries we sometimes experience a weather phenomenon that is called „ice rain“, when rain falls on a very cold environment and immediately freezes to clear, solid ice. The branches of trees are then coated with ice and this is the image that Isa wants to give us: solid ice.
Ice has a double effect, it preserves and prevents from decay, but it also makes new development and growth impossible. Ice presents a formidable obstacle, whoever has tried to cross a street under ice rain knows that!
In building plans, walls are sometimes drawn as lines and this is another interpretation of Isa: a wall, preventing movement and keeping things in confined spaces.  Isa is stagnant, fixed and unchangeable. Isa is the present.

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Jera : Wheel of the Year  

Jera consists of two Kenaz facing each other and connecting to a wheel. The symbol is very dynamic, making it  obvious that the wheel is moving.

The name Jera shows similarities to the English „year“ and the German „Jahr“, therefore the wheel of the year is the main interpretation of Jera. It is a turning wheel where one element pushes another and thus keeps the whole wheel moving. All things in nature are interconnected and work together and the result of this work is permanent change and evolvement, just as one season follows another and the end of the old year brings the beginning of the new. Jera also represents the agricultural cycle and the constant change of our environment and ourselves.

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Eihwaz : Yew/SpinalColumn

The name of Eihwaz resembles the German „Eibe“ meaning „yew“ and referring to the Germanic world tree Yggdrasil which is nowadays thought to be a yew tree.
The shape of Eihwaz could symbolize the trunk of a tree with stylized branches (above) and roots (below).

We could also think of Eihwaz representing the human spine. It is no coincidence that Yggdrasil is sometimes referred to as the „cosmic spine“. Just as the world tree allows us to travel between the nine worlds along its trunk, our body uses the nerves along our spine to enable communication between different regions. Therefore, Eihwaz is a rune of spiritual travel and connection.  

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Pertho : Cauldron

Pertho is often considered a „rune of secrets“, but we were able to make out a very clear symbolism.
If we turn the rune 90° to the left, we have a cauldron standing upright.  

Pertho is a symbol for the cauldron of creation, which is the womb of the Earth Mother, from which all things are created and to which all things return. It can also be seen as a symbol of the Well of Mimir, linking the cauldron to the Norns and the weaving of the Web of Wyrd.
The image of the cauldron, along the lines that the famous Gundestrup cauldron seems to suggest, symbolizes the eternal cylce of life, death and rebirth, touching one of the central mysteries of the Old Ways, whatever pagan tradition we may follow. Pertho is another symbol of the Web of Life. In their explorations, both authors found this rune to be especially meaningful.  
In the Druidic tradition the cauldron is known as the Cauldron of Annwn.

Another interpretation says that Pertho is a pouch that contains all other Runes, making it a kind of „mother rune“.

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Algiz : Tree/Prayer  

The shape of this rune instantly reminds us of a tree or a hand, both ancient symbols for protection, which is the traditional meaning of Algiz. One of the older variants of this rune signified „sanctuary“ and reminds us of the myth of how a human couple hides among the roots of Yggdrasil to survive Ragnarök, thus ensuring the survival of the human race.      

Another idea would be that of a person praying with both arms raised to the sky. The left and right staves are the arms, the middle one is the head. Some authors refer to Algiz as the „priest rune“. The result of this prayer could be protection. In this case this would also be a two-way rune. The prayer is going up, the blessing coming down. It is all going out from and coming back to the person who is praying.  This rune has a concentrating and focussing effect that can be seen from its shape. This rune is collecting, binding, bringing together.

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Sowulo : Sun

The traditional meaning of Sowulo is sun. In French,  „Soleil“ means sun. Considering this, the form of the rune seems to hint at an effect that you sometimes see out in nature. When a branch or other part of a growing plant hits an obstacle like a wall or such, it will try to grow around. It makes a detour until it is able to grow in the original direction again. The direction in which a plant grows is always towards the sun.
In a wider sense it could also mean: No matter if the sky is grey one day, the sun will always return.

The sun inspires and warms us, she is a source of life. She reminds us that we are meant to rest at night, when she is not visible: we need to be aware of our limits.    

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Teiwaz : Lance/Arrow

Teiwaz is shaped like a lance or an arrow. It is the rune of Tyr, the god of honour, justice and war.

The form of Teiwaz is totally upright, symbolizing the honourable stance of a person who is committed to fulfill a promise or a treaty, just like Tyr who placed his hand in the mouth of the Fenriswolf to stand to his promise.  
Its symmetry is equally balanced towards both sides, symbolizing justice and the missing of prejudice.
Teiwaz speaks to us of honour, justice and bravery. It is also a symbol of masculinity.

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Berkana : Breasts

Berkana is associated with the birch, a tree of fertility (German „Birke“), and with Berchta, goddess of the fruitful earth and  mother of the land. The meaning also encompasses gestation, creation, growth and birth, including the birth of children.
Considering the meaning of Berkana, the interpretation of the shape of this rune is clear. After Teiwaz as a symbol of men, Berkana symbolizes women.

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Ehwaz : Sleipnir/Horse

The shape of Ehwaz reminds us of a horse, or of Sleipnir, the eight legged horse of Odin. Horses were sacred animals in the Germanic tradition.
From another viewpoint, if cut in half in the middle, Ehwaz consists of two Laguz facing each other, thus standing for the connection between two people, like in a professional partnership or in marriage. Ehwaz is able to attract one’s soul mate.
Analogue to this opinion, one could also see in Ehwaz the combination of two wills (man and horse) towards one common good (to get from A to B together).    

Ehwaz is the rune of instinct and intuition and symbolizes the ability to deal with diverse situations.

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Mannaz : Man

Mannaz is Ehwaz developed, the animal that acquires consciousness of the self and becomes man. Mannaz is not an individual rune, but a rune of group, of society. Its form suggests a couple holding themselves at the waist, advancing in the same rhythm, with the same values, towards the same goal. Mannaz teaches us how to integrate into a group and how to choose well the people whom we trust.  

Another interpretation of the shape of Mannaz is based on the stadha of this rune. Mannaz is enacted by crossing both arms in front of you so that your fingers touch your shoulders. This is a very natural and very ancient form of greeting the gods, going back to Egypt. For some authors, Mannaz therefore symbolizes the quest for knowledge or „perfected man“.

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Laguz :Rain/Water

Laguz is often associated with the keywords love and life. Its form reminds us of rain falling down, or of a waterfall, water being the source providing both life and love. Laguz stands for our emotions influencing our behaviour.
Another interpretation says that Laguz symbolizes the prow of the famous Viking dragonboat, standing for a journey across the agitated ocean of our emotions, trying to keep the balance.

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Ingwaz : DNA/Nucleus

The name of this rune reminds us of Ing (Freyr Ingwi), god of fertility and the land.  

Ingwaz is a rune of fertility and genetics, its form resembles one element in a DNA chain. This rune represents all that is stored in our genes, all that we have inherited from our ancestors and are passing on to our descendants. Ingwaz stands for fertility and creativity in a wider sense, including the realms of spirituality and art, for example.

Another interpretation of the shape of Ingwaz says that it looks like a nucleus, a grain, a seed, in which all the information necessary for later growth is already present and stored for a long time, if necessary. There is a saying „in a seed of grain there is the wisdom of the whole universe“, reminding us that the wonder of creation is visible even in the most confined space.

Ingwaz teaches us that sometimes we have to wait until we are able to bring our talents and efforts to fruition.

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Dagaz : Loop

Dagaz looks like the number 8 lying on the side, the symbol for „infinite“. Similar to Gebo, Dagaz has a balanced shape with more prominently formed counterweights which meet in the middle.      

Dagaz represents beginning and end of all things. One can compare Dagaz to sunrise and sunset, when day and night are in transition and yet in balance. In this sense, Dagaz represents also the union of opposites (day and night) to a whole (life) and thus a very particular kind of equilibrium, an eternal balance of extremes that complement each other.

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Othila : Heritage
 
There is a type of farm building in Denmark with a triangular roof reaching down to the ground that reminds us of the shape of Othila. Othila speaks to us about heritage.  After Ingwaz referring to our genetic inheritance, Othila symbolizes our ancestral lands and possessions.
The oriental concept of karma has its equivalent in the Germanic Wyrd, with the difference that Wyrd is influenced also by one’s family and tribe. If the Futhark is an expression of Wyrd, Ingwaz and Othila symbolize how our present and future acts are influenced by acts of the past.

Another opinion is based on a close examination of the shape of  Othila: in the upper half, we reckognize Ingwaz, the nucleus. In Othila, this means the treasure of our cultural and spiritual heritage, preserved like in a seed or kernel. This aspect of Othila means preservation, hoard, nemeton, fortress, that which gathers and preserves.
In the lower half of Othila we meet again Gebo, the rune of exchange between people, in a wider sense between different cultures and between gods and mankind.
If we take both concepts together, Ingwaz and Gebo, this could mean that we should strive for a middle path between preservation of the ancient knowledge of our culture and exchange with other cultures and further development of our ways.          
According to this interpretation, Othala speaks also of nobility and honour, of the nobility one achieves if one is rooted, at home and sheltered in one’s tradition and the honour that it brings when one is acting accordingly.

The end!

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We thank you, our readers, for the gift of your attention and wish you all the best for your own exploration of the secrets of the runes!  

Eilthireach would like to say a special "Thank you!" to Freya Kä for coming up with the original idea for this project and for providing the rune gifs.    
„Runes shalt thou find, and fateful signs,
That the king of singers coloured,
And the mighty gods have made;“

(Hávamál 145, Bellows transl.)
February 16, 2006

Freya Kä & Eilthireach

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DaRC
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Postby DaRC » 16 Feb 2006, 12:05

Hi Eilthireach and Freya Ka,
                                        simply fabulous.   Thanks for all your hard work.
There was an excellent essay by Michael Kouvatsos on the Runes with pictures explaining the shapes - very similar to what you have done here.
I would have to spend time seaching google archives for the pictures (sadly I'm far too busy) BUT two pictures have stuck in my mind...

the first was Gebo - it was a picture of two people shaking hands, which explained the relationship between gift giving and receiving very well,
the second was Berkana - it was the side view of a heavily pregnant woman.

With Hagalaz, Nauthiz and Isa I have meditated upon them and their relationship in the past.  
They remind me of an old aeroplanes propeller:
Isa is the propeller still, frozen and inactive.  
Nauthiz is the propeller being started - being forced to sputter into life.
Hagalaz is the propeller at full speed - spinning round and blowing.

Once again thanks for this.   Cheers, Dave.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Postby Mike » 16 Feb 2006, 19:49

Thank you for the Runes post - I am currently trying to learn some Runic lore and this will be very helpful to me. You would not (actually you probably would!) believe some of the c**p that I have come across regarding this subject!

BTW - does anyone have any thoughts on a group called the "Odinic Rite" - a heathen friend recommended them to me but to me honest, their  website seems a little "extreme" (to be polite) to me - anyone have any experience with them? Am I being over-sensative or are they one to be wary of?

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Postby Eilthireach » 17 Feb 2006, 07:37

Hello Dave, Mike!

Thank you for your kind words.

The runes are truly universal and many things can be done with them (in a positive sense) and many things are done with them (in a negative sense).
Dave's example with the propeller shows how "unusual" views can be applied to the runes and result in meaningful images to work with.

On the negative side we certainly have the lots of so called divination sets which are in many instants made without love of the subject and reduce the runes to a divination tool. Divination can be done with the runes, but in my opinion this is not their most important usage. Unfortunately many people never seem to leave the divination stage and go deeper.

Mike,

I don't have personal experience with the Odinic Rite, but I have read some of their articles from the North American, British and German websites. I think they are a knowledgeable bunch of devoted people who take their spirituality very serious. I know of no reason why one should be wary of the OR.
At the same time I must say that Odinism, as the OR calls its specific path, seems to be a very particular interpretation of the Germanic path, incorporating some ideas that I find "unusual" and of which I am not sure if they are really Germanic.
For example, the highest goal of an Odinist seems to be to reach "Odin consciousness" which from its description sounds a lot like Nirvana, Having reached that state, reincarnation will end, with the exception that one can decide to be reincarnated again with the aim of helping one's fellows. This reminds me of the Buddhist Boddhisatva concept and I am quite surprised to find this in a Germanic context.  

I would say that there is no reason to avoid the OR for political or spiritual reasons, but when studying their teachings it must be kept in mind that their way is quite unique and has probably little common ground with the other Germanic traditions like Asatru, Heathenism and such.      

Just my two cents....

Have a nice weekend!

Eilthireach /|\.

I wish to learn the things that are
and understand their nature
and to know God.
(Corpus Hermeticum I,3)

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Postby Mike » 17 Feb 2006, 13:44


Mike,

I don't have personal experience with the Odinic Rite, but I have read some of their articles from the North American, British and German websites. I think they are a knowledgeable bunch of devoted people who take their spirituality very serious. I know of no reason why one should be wary of the OR.
I would say that there is no reason to avoid the OR for political or spiritual reasons, but when studying their teachings it must be kept in mind that their way is quite unique and has probably little common ground with the other Germanic traditions like Asatru, Heathenism and such.
Thank you Eilthireach, isn't it interesting how we all percieve things slightly differently ;)  

I just had another look at their website and, whilst it is most certainly true that they appear devoted and genuinely "religious" there is still, for me anyway, an underlying/nagging feeling that there is something sinister afoot. For example We are in danger of being over-run with the Asian hordes is the type of sentance that makes one question the OR's true motives. (Just my two cents :D )

Ok so why am I looking anyway? Well, I have been on a Pagan path for a few years now and never really felt any connection to any particular culture but recently (and I have no idea why) the Nordic (if I may call it that) view has been calling out to me.

This puts me in a bit of a quandry as I am one of those terrible snobs who always says You cannot mix cultures and, as I do not see Druidry to be in any shape or form a Scandanavian concept, this is almost ammounting to a crises of faith :???:

I certainly have no intention (or desire) to abandon my Druidic ways and studies but I do feel this pull from the "North" which I feel deserves to be investigated. I am still very dubious about the idea of mixing the two together so any advice or suggestions would be greatly received.

Also, to go back to the OR (and I will accept Eilthireach's assesment of them)  is there anyone to steer clear of?  I am coming across some very dubious looking characters out there on the web. :devil:

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Postby Eilthireach » 17 Feb 2006, 14:42

Hello Mike!

I only know one or two German OR members personally, I'm afraid I can't give you any advice here... As for the "Asian hordes", the OR seems to prefer drastic words sometimes, but I don't take this as "racism". I know that many pagans, including myself, are afraid of a "globalisation of culture" with the effect that our own cultural and spiritual heritage is pushed aside. If you enter a German bookstore today, you will find much  on the Tibetan Book of the Dead or Native African Shamanism, but next to nothing on our Celtic and Germanic heritage. I don't think that this is balanced. I am interested in other cultures myself, but I don't sacrifice my own culture for it.
If you are really sceptic about the OR though, you always have the option to look at another organisation, for example the US based The Troth. We have collected lots of links further down this thread.
This puts me in a bit of a quandry as I am one of those terrible snobs who always says You cannot mix cultures and, as I do not see Druidry to be in any shape or form a Scandanavian concept, this is almost ammounting to a crises of faith  


I have been at the same point at the time I started this Germanic thread.  :wink:

In my opinion, our cultures are already mixed. Most of the lands we see today as Celtic have also a Germanic heritage. Dublin was founded by the Vikings, there are Viking settlements in Scotland and Northern England (e.g. York).  Bavaria has been 800 years Celtic and is now part of Germany. Southern England has been Celtic as well.
In saying "I'm Celtic" I would throw my Germanic heritage over board, and vice versa. I am the heir to ALL of my culture, and not just parts of it. So I try to explore both ways.

Druidry in the OBOD tradition is considering itself not as a religion, but a philosophy, a world view. It can be married to any religion. We have Wiccans, Asatruars, Taoists, Atheists and many others in our ranks. The "tools" that you receive in your Druidic training will help you to enhance your spiritual life, so the two will complement each other rather than stand in each other's way.    

I wish you a pleasant weekend!

Eilthireach /|\.

I wish to learn the things that are
and understand their nature
and to know God.
(Corpus Hermeticum I,3)

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Postby DaRC » 17 Feb 2006, 19:07

Hi Mike,
           I must admit iI have always had similar concerns to most Asatru religious groupings.  Have a look at Dirk Bruere's site (if you go to google groups alt.religion.asatru you will find a links list there - last time I was there he posted regularly).  

The conflict between my Germanic path religious leaning but Celtic Druid philosophy took me several years to synchronise.  I think the best way to look at it (for me) was to look at the reality of my personal situation.  My mother has researched the family tree back several hundred years conclusively and then, with two links that aren't certain, back to the Norman conquest.  So from a genetic path my ancient roots probably include Norman blood - that would be Viking/Gallic/Frankish.  So a Celtic - Germanic mix even back then.  My father's side is an old, most probably ancient Dorset family.  Recent genetic research over the border at Cheddar gorge has proven that the invading Anglo-Saxon's certainly intermarried with the indiginous Romano-British.  Once again a Celtic - Germanic mix.  So by blood there's definitely a Celtic-Germanic mix.  Even more recently my great-grandmothers include Scots, Spanish & German people.

Culturally I was brought up in Sussex - fairly and squarely English, so that would be Germanic.   Except my grandparents lived in Cornwall and my grandfather, though born a Yorskhireman, was a Cornish Bard.  So culturally it's a Celtic-Germanic mix.

So in reality I'm a European mongrel.  More importantly our whole culture is.  Within the <flip can' remember t'name Yellow book of Lecan? or is i Ballymote> Irish Ogham tracts they note both Ogham and Runes.   English contains a surprising amount of Celtic words as the Celtic languages contain English words.  

I'm begin to waffle on but I think you get the gist :)

As an OBOD Bard I follow the 8 fold year.  During ritual I Blot to the gods.   I find this syncretism works for me.  I'm sure there's a path through for you.

Cheers, Dave.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Postby Mike » 17 Feb 2006, 20:25

Hi guys and thank you so much for your advice -

Eilthireach,

With regard to the OR I think that you may well be correct and that I am perhaps just being "Over PC" in my view of them. I have just (online) watched an interview with one of their "heirachy" (for want of a better word) and I found myself in almost total agreement with his words and found absolutely nothing in his remarks that could be construed as "dodgy".

Whilst he did indeed touch on "ethnicity" as an issue, his take on it seemed - not unlike the one that you express above - and the one that I too would tend to lean towards - ie "I will take an interest in you and yours, and I am happy for you to do as you wish, but I aint going to water down my heritage just to fit in with your take on things" - I cannot find anything wrong with that concept - oh and BTW, you are absolutley correct, esoteric stores are absolutely full of stuff on Native Americans/Budhists/Thai/Maori etc spirituality, but where is the Celtic/Nordic stuff? A definate imbalance IMO and so much mixing and matching that, to me (and hence my earlier remarks) does nothing but dilute the wisdom in all spiritual paths.

DaRC

Thank you for your input also. I guess I am now at the crossroads that you (as described above) once found yourself at. Like you my "blood" is well mixed - Irish (Celtic) on Mum's side, English (Saxon) on Dad's so, as with most Brits, the mix is already there. My problem is not so much with race and ethnicity (could not care less actually) but with the mixing of "religious" ideals. For me Druidry is a religious path and I am sure that the Asatru among us would say the same about the Northern Traditon. My problem is that I feel drawn to both but have no wish (as described above) to water down an understaning of either by mixing and matching.

I guess I am going to have to Grok on this and see what develops! In the mean time, two things stand out -

1) I love Druid Ritual and Celtic Myth.
2) I adore the Runes and Norse myth.

- somehow I am going to have to work out a path that allows both without detriment to either! In other words, do that which I scorn the most - mix 'em up, brew them in the cauldron and see what pops out!

Thanks to both of you for your words and I will let you know how it all develops.

Mike
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Postby Freya Kä » 17 Feb 2006, 21:50

Hello Mike,

I'm not sure if my viewpoint can be useful at all, but here it is anyway.

But first, concerning this :
oh and BTW, you are absolutley correct, esoteric stores are absolutely full of stuff on Native Americans/Budhists/Thai/Maori etc spirituality, but where is the Celtic/Nordic stuff?
Well, you'll maybe surprised to learn that in Montreal, there is often more stuff on Celticism/Druidism than on Native American (from Quebec) spirituality!


Regarding the blend of two cultures, I think I can understand your position, being also in a similar context. I also have mixed blood, my mother being Irish and my father being Swiss, which means that I am also half Celt and half Germanic. Plus, I live on American soil and I can't deny its effect on me. I consider myself as 100% heathen and druidry is a great complement, if I can say so - but I don't mean that I think less of Druidry.

I find Celtic and Norse paganism to be very similar. Similar to you, Heathenism is my religious path and before joining the OBOD, I had weeks of deep thinking on how this would/could influence my spirituality (I do not wish to "toss" Heathenism for Druidry). I have the chance to celebrate from to time with a grove and I have never felt out of place. Since I do not know other heathens (or haven't contact those in Montreal), I practice my blots/sumbels and all Norse related practices alone. This is a way for me to clearly draw a line between Heathenism and Druidry. But also, it is also possible to mix both, without watering anything down. This is similar to what DaRC said when he mentionned that while doing an OBOD ritual, he blots the Gods.

Also, I think that if you are honest and "loyal" to yourself about being sincere to both path, everything will go fine. When I joined the OBOD and began reading the gwersi, I came to an even deeper understanding of heathenism. I see this as a "2 for 1", meaning that whatever reading I'm doing on either Heathenism or Druidry, it always helps me to understand myself and my surroundings in a better way, to understand "my place" in this world and my relationship with it. In other words, it doesn't matter what string of the Wyrd you pinch, everything is connected.  :oops:

Also, there are so many similarities between heathenism and Druidry. Just think of the three OBOD grades that can be applied to three similar functions in heathenism: the Skald, the Volva and the Gothi. I find these associations a great "bridge" to walk on for someone who is starting to be involved in both.

Freya Kä

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Postby Eilthireach » 20 Feb 2006, 10:44

Hello Freya Kä!
Well, you'll maybe surprised to learn that in Montreal, there is often more stuff on Celticism/Druidism than on Native American (from Quebec) spirituality!
I am surprised!
In the course of this thread I have expressed more often than once my gratitude to our North American friends for their contribution towards Celtic and especially Germanic paganism. In the latter, much of the first flowering that we witness today in Germany would not have been possible without North Americans writing books, exploring new paths and teaching through their example.
I really hope that I (or we from Old Europe) can give something back one day and make our own contributions towards what I understand as a common cause. Some efforts by bright individuals (Freya Aswynn, the Wodening brothers and others) have already been made, but there need to be more.

With greetings from beneath the Bavarian Alps,

Eilthireach /|\.

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Postby DJ Droood » 20 Feb 2006, 12:53

Hello Freya Kä!
Well, you'll maybe surprised to learn that in Montreal, there is often more stuff on Celticism/Druidism than on Native American (from Quebec) spirituality!
I am surprised!
In the course of this thread I have expressed more often than once my gratitude to our North American friends for their contribution towards Celtic and especially Germanic paganism.
Sometimes speaking with Europeans (and New Zealanders, for that matter) I get the impression that they think North Americans in general sort of sprang up from the primordial ooze, as fully formed creatures. Don't forget that, our Aboriginal hosts aside, most of us actually came from Germanic, British, Celtic nations only one, two or a few generations ago. In many cases, our parents or grandparents still speak the old languages. And sometimes the immigrant, being wistful and romantic, can be more "British than the British" or "German than the Germans".
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Postby Lady Nimue » 20 Feb 2006, 13:29

Interesting thought, ambariius....
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Postby Eilthireach » 20 Feb 2006, 14:01

Ambariius,

I wanted to be entirely positive and create a vision where North Americans and Europeans cooperate towards the preservation of a cultural and spiritual heritage that I see as "common".

I am a bit confused that you seem to read something completely different out of my lines??  

Eilthireach /|\.

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Postby Lady Nimue » 20 Feb 2006, 14:42

Eilthireach, if I may interject...I have watched this brilliant thread, and have found beauty and postive thought emerge....admittedly, I dont know much about the subject, so this thread is a great tool for myself and others who wish to learn more. I thank you for bringing such a positive subject to light.
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Postby DJ Droood » 20 Feb 2006, 16:03

No, I think I understand what you are saying,  Eilthireach, and I appreciate your words...I am just commenting on your surprise, and trying to explain interest in such things as the Germanic path in North America. Most North Americans *are* Germanic in heritage...more so than English or French or Irish or what ave you. So I guess it doesn'tcome as surprise to someone who lives here that there is such interest. I think it is a good thing that there is cooperation and an interest in spiritual heritage. Onward and upward, friend!
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Postby Eilthireach » 22 Feb 2006, 10:45

Greetings!

Ambariius,

with paganism still standing very much at the beginning in Germany, it might surprise you that the publication market in German language in this sector is a catastrophy. Every questing pagan in this country is forced to turn to English books sooner or later. This is where help from North America (through websites, books, groups etc.) comes in handy.   :wink:

Lady Nimue,
 
Fire he needs who with frozen knees
Has come from the cold without;
Food and clothes must the farer have,
The man from the mountains come.

Hávamál 4, Bellows transl.  
I am always exceptionally grateful for your hospitality.    :D

I think there has to be a smiley doing a courtly bow!

Eilthireach /|\.

I wish to learn the things that are
and understand their nature
and to know God.
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Postby Lady Nimue » 22 Feb 2006, 13:52

M'Lord....you are always such a pleasure, as is this thread...both in the true spirit of Druidry and learning. It truely is MY honour.

(insert smiley doing a courtly bow, here) :)
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