Nordic / Germanic Mysticism



Nordic / Germanic Mysticism has two components to it, the Runes and the Yggdrasil Tree.  There are a couple different Futharks of the Runes, the most popular being the Elder.  To start there are different interpretations of the Runes, from the popular new age varieties to the Left-Hand Path version by the Rune Gild.  I personally believe each individual carries his own personality and educational background in the system he or she creates, but some degree of reconstruction is necessary for a system that was halted by Christian forces.

The Yggdrasil Tree

Asgard - Realm of the Aesir
Vanaheim - The Realm of the Vanir
Ljossalfheim - The Realm of the Light Elves
Midgard - Middle Realm
Muspellsheim - Realm of the Fire
Svartalfheim - Realm of the Black Elves (Dwarves)
Jotunheim - Realm of the Giants
Helheim - Abode of the Dead
Nifelheim - Realm of Ice

The Runes

There are 24 runes of the Elder Futhark and 16 in the Younger Futhark.  The mythology for the runes is in the Havamal verses 138 - 139. I find it interesting that Odin suffers for knowledge, which expands and opens the unknown, while Jesus's sacrifice is an accusing of creation, a negation of the search into the unknown. It is also interesting to note that the gift of Odin, Vili, and Ve was the ability to understand, which is eqivalent to the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was forbidden by the Judeo-Christian God. Now onto the verse.

I wot that I hung on the wind-tossed tree all of nights nine, wounded by a spear, bespoken to Othin, bespoken myself to myself, upon that tree of which none telleth from roots it doth rise.  Neither horn they upheld nor handed me bread; I looked below me, aloud I cried, caught up the runes, caught them up wailing, thence to the ground fell again.
The Poetic Edda by Lee M Hollander

Now as to my personal interpretation of the Runes, I found the literature of Edred Thorsson fascinating, his system seems to blend in with the reading of Nietzsche that I have been doing.

Their could be crossovers from other philosophical based systems, first of all, many gods are considered hypostases of Odin, I am not sure if the ancient Nordics had this concept, but this shows a knowledge into other areas, in this respect Neoplatonism. Also this theory is a strong component of an emanationist cosmology, which has downward causation as it's basis. Now when I read the Nordic creation myth it seems as if their is a basis for upward causation, this can be an interesting point of contention, but now onto the Runes. It seems that the three aetts each have a specific focus. The first seems to concentrate on a progression of energy and forces, the second on the individual, the third on the critique of the cosmos. I will now go into a personal explanation of the first aett, by using the human body as an example.

The human body is entirely reactive, everything, the metabolic processes, the hunger we feel, the tiredness we feel, the way we build muscle, burn fat etc.. Think of this complex system as Fehu it is dynamic and complex but reactive. What happens when we exercise, take supplements to lose weight or build muscle, essentially an active force is developing out body. This active force is Uruz. Now we have a continuum, at one end, developed reactive force(the will to laziness, overeating, etc.) that stops the development, stops the active forces, but at the other end, the affirmative will that is the precursor to development, symbolized very greatly in Thor's Hammer. This will to power is Thurisaz, both the negative, represented in the Thurses, and the affirmative in Thor's Hammer. Next comes perception and understanding,which is Ansuz, the Odinnic consciousness, if I keep the body reference, this would be the perception and understanding of one's body, how it works, what routines, and supplements would help. Now I have to follow a correct method to implement my will, this method Raidho, I have read that this is referred to as Thor's Chariot, I like the fact that affirmative will and proper method have a common linkage, I could sit in my room, and I say that I will to lose fat or build muscle, but I have to engage in the weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise to acheive the desired effect. How do I create change, by a culmination of the last two runes, the combination of an understanding of the situation with an implementation of the proper method acheives the desired change, Kennoz. Now if I skip Gebo, and go to Wunjo which is joy, we see the Nietzschean statement that my will is my creator and joy, because Wunjo is the joy one feels by the implementation of the personal will to acheive the desired effect. Gebo is stated as a gift, if I keep the body reference, the caffeine / ephedra stack makes weight loss much more effective, I am receiving outside help to acheive change, I am receiving a gift. This "gift", helps me acheive my goal easier.

I know there will be individuals who will not like my analogy because I have used a material concept, the body. I have also met a specific individual who was actually very insultive to me, because I used a philosophical approach to understanding this system. His opinion is that I would of been more successful in understanding these concepts, if I sang a song, and visualized nice little lights, and stood in various positions. I guess everybody has their own method.

Looking back, I really see a lot in this, because there is a strong philosophy, it is not a bunch of overly mystical, transcendental concepts that must be feeled. It is also strongly life affirming, and individualistic, alot of other mysticisms make me feel as if I am entering a Borg Cube. I see in the runes as a method for understanding the forces and concepts of the universe, sort of like how the Egyptian neteru were viewed by the sacerdotal caste. If you have any comments or would like to have a discussion in a civilized, respectful manner, feel free to send an email, I enjoy an intelligent discussion. I especially would like comments from ritual oriented people, but please have an intelligent basis on how the ritual works, for example, it tunes your mind to one thought to such a degree that it creates a form in the psychic world that emananates to the material, if you happen to believe in an emanationist cosmology. Give a description, rather than it some abstract phrase. I hoped you enjoyed my essay, thanks for reading.


Web links Links Web links

Here are also some great links to sites with Nordic Mythology


Kheper home page

Topics index page

images not loading? | error messages? | broken links? | suggestions? | criticism?

contact me

page history
page uploaded 17 May 2000
modified 2, 5 and 8, and 19 August