Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Esoteric Praxis of Bind-Runes

One topic that for a long time has been debated among students of the Runes is the subject of Bind-Runes. Most of us have seen them, we can identify that they are bind-runes by their appearances, and they can be arranged in a number of different ways even when using the same runes. So what are these symbols at their core, and how do they lead the Runenmeister to a higher ability and augmentation of will and manifestory power?

Here, let's explore the deeper esoteric and meta-cultural ethics behind a powerful bind-rune technique, and why it is so easy to get it wrong these days. The Runes are a very powerful language and code, indeed the base-code of the energies of creation. When constructing Bind-Runes, it is a big like making compound words, hence the component parts have to make sense together and cannot be simply random jumblings of interesting-looking symbols. There was a holy syntax here, known to all the great Rune-Masters of Yore, but all too often modern Runers forget to ask, what was it?



There is going to be a lot of background and non-linear extrapolation here, so I want you to be aware: nothing you are about to see should be taken as "dogma". It can simply be observed as cognizantly true by those who are psycho-spiritually ready to perceive it. If there is a reaction of disbelief or discomfort, keep in mind that there is no belief being pushed on you. All that follows is the fruit of experience in runic fields. There is nothing contrived or bowdlerized. Were it to appear to you any other way, it may be that the runes themselves are blocking an unprepared inquisitor, and limiting "beliefs" and conditioning still linger that need to be overcome. I, of course, cannot do this for you - every sane person is their own best judge. But understanding the complex of higher energies behind the runic symbols, the total Runengeist so to speak, and its unique relationship to the very roots of Indo-European magocosmology, is vital to constructing effective bind-runes which can actually do something other than self-deactivate, placebo-ize reality, or worse yet, backfire on the practitioner.

We're going to go deep here, so don't read this if all you want is quick facts or light entertainment.



The Purposes and Ethics of Bind-Runes

If the basic letter runes of the four major Futhark rows are the building blocks of Germanic magick, the operative formulas of it are bind-runes. The term comes from the Norse binding, meaning weaving or stitching (not all that different from the English form of the word, except that it cannot be used to also mean "binding" a person or thing in shackles against their will). Essentially they are the combination of basic latter-runes into more complex and overlapping structures, to combine and fuse the meanings and energies of these component runes.

Typically in modern times when one wants to learn about the basics of operative rune-magick, you are bombarded from all sorts of directions with speculative theories on divination. Piles of books, usually not worth the paper they are written on, are crowding the market, loaded with notions of Vikings casting runes for every little decision in life, "to see the future" as one would do with Tarot card spreads in Renaissance Mediterranean magick. However the reality is that runic divination was not very often attested in Old Norse texts, nor was it a passive "reveal your doom" practice along the lines of crystal-gazing. You would not cast the runes to "divine" the future in a long-term, abstract sense; you would go to a Volva and ask her to channel the Vaettir or perform Seidhr to see the course of great future events.

You would only cast runes in order to see the flow of your own wyrd at the current time, its past movements, and its likely results if no changes are made. In essence, while there are some variations of runic divination that may have legitimacy, the basic "3 Norns" method is the only modern one with any sort of even tenuous support in the vague surviving historical accounts. However, when accompanied with other established runic practices like Galdr and Bind-runes, it becomes evident that even rune-casting for this limited "divinatory" purpose was NOT a feeble peek into some fate written in stone, but rather an active rending-open of one's own metaphysical soul-engine, in order to adjust and redirect it into more productive and up-evolutionary directions. The Three Norns, Urdhr, Verdhandi and Skuld, would weave the cloth of your wyrd based on your actions, hence casting runes was essentially a way to know Urdhr and Verdhandi, and hint at Skuld, but would would only have positive effects if their warnings were followed and current habits were changed to alter the Skuld (future) result to something more favorable.



In other words, casting the runes was not a complete runic-divinatory cycle. It was accompanied by changes in action, and often by the use of runes themselves to affect a change in one's own metaphysical makeup, so that the character, comportment, speech and actions one produced were themselves altered towards a more effective nature to the goal at hand - in essence, to change one's Skuld destiny according to what the runes indicated was required. Bind-runes and their recitation or Galdr were critical to this functioning of completing the divinatory cycle.

Bind-runes are possibly the most active (apart from Galdr, with which they may be combined) discipline of rune-magick. Not only are you carving or painting runes, you are combining them in a way to carve your own destiny and bend it to your will. Carving into a hard, strong wood such as ash or oak would have a powerful short-term effect. For more permanent ripples into the spacetime of wyrd, such as multi-generational Hails or Curses, bind-runes were carved into stone.

The important thing to understand here is that all phases of ancient Runic practice - from initial casting to casting-informed decision-taking, to the final completion phase of Galdr and runic or Bind-runic carving or risting, were a continuum and not simply to be toyed with in isolation, if one were to expect any sort of substantive result from all the effort. Ancient rune-masters were not throwing rune-staves around just for fun, or drawing them out of a bag just for amusement or mental masturbation like modern horoscope-addicts. There was a very real and deliberate intent to change one's very nature if need be, to surpass the "limits" imposed by stagnating convention and make the improbable inevitable. This is indeed why rune-masters were respected and feared by run-of-the-mill society. Not every person in a runic society was a Runenmeister. Those who were, were truly forces to be reckoned with.

NO, NOT THAT KIND!
A further vital point to take away from this before getting into the nuts and bolts of Bind-runes themselves, is that always the goal was mastery through the Will. In other words the synergies of runic forces embodied by Bind-runes are intended to act upon the Deep Mind in ways that improve the very functioning of subconscious thought and facilitate in the very fibers of the soul complex, the evolution of the Will toward clearer states of being, which results in clearer achievement of the stated (and internalized) aims of said Bind-runes. The very structures of these runes and their Galdr are designed to act upon the mind in transformative ways, which in turn causes an altered flow of actions outside the body.  We are talking about a very different magus archetype here from the one used by tarot, wicca, kabbalah, and 99% of new-age mysticism. Indeed, the Praxis of Bind-rune magick, and of all authentic rune-magick, is so different that I feel a primal Indo-European yearning in my very blood that in our present age one would not even have to use it in the same paragraph.

The praxis archetype here is solar. Not lunar, but solar. Think about that for a minute. What does solar mean, mystically?



It means that the nature of Nordic magick, indeed of all primal Indo-European magick, is self-active rather than passive or coercive. It is connecting with the nature of the Sun, the focus of orbits, rather than the moon, the orbiter of an orbiter, whose tidal powers are minuscule by comparison with the Sun's vast furnace of raw power. Unlike the lunar-archetype magick of herder societies (i.e. Kabbalah, Hermetica, Eleusia, Stregheria, and by extension, Moon-Goddess Wicca) the magick of Runes and all other Aryan systems is fundamentally active rather than passive or reactive. However, additionally, it is also self-transformative (farmer archetype) rather than being other-manipulative like the magickal systems of lunar cultures, which seek power through enslavement of beasts, spirits and demons - and ultimately humans (herder archetype). The idea is this - we get far better, healthier, and more lasting results through using magick to transform ourselves rather than to yoke others to do our bidding.

We are far better served by becoming like the Sun, fusing and refining our own spiritual elements, than by becoming like the moon, dislodging what Elder Suns have forged by manipulating and tugging at the waves to erode it out of its earthly matrix. Although the lunar path is far easier, it is also far less noble and far less permanent, as it only focuses on manipulating circumstances rather than improving the person. It is chaining and encircling, greed and fear, pentacle and manacle.

Arise, refine, and blaze!

Encircle, tug, and erode

See you now the difference? Magick of the lunar form can only influence those lesser than itself, and even then only through metaphysical coercion or deception, to compel either man or spirit to do what is unnatural for them. Magick of the solar form - including all primal Indo-European magick - has no limit to its influence - yet it is only open and practicable to those who have renounced all coercive thought states and obliterated all forms of holder-slave constructs from their subconscious. Fear and greed both must be banished. The true rune-master (whom you are unlikely to find peddling blingy glass beads painted with faux-gold futhark, or pop-psychic books in youtube videos) is a being that has fought and broken the Lokian tendency of hunger for mischief and coercion that arises out of self-doubt. The true Rune-Lords, the Armanen (not the 'erulians' of new-age pseudo-scholarship) can dominate all around them because they have lost any need to force the all to unnatural ends. They have mastered the Will, which attracts to it all that it manifests.

As Guido von List said, embody the All in yourself, and you shall control the All.

And, if you want to shine like the Sun,
you must first burn like it.

Thus Bind-runes are runes woven together to compound their meanings synergistically towards this "solar" purpose of developing and strengthening the Will - not a device for "binding" other entities or subjugating their wills artificially as in degenerative "lunar" magick. Thus creating bind-runes out of two runes with radically different meanings and energies will often not produce an even mix or synergy, but radically lean the construct towards one or another. This is particularly evident in the "compact" overlapping-stave method advocated by Armanen, which results in a Bind-rune using the fewest number of lines or strokes.

Methods of Bind-Rune Construction

Now on to actual methods of creating Bind-runes.

There are a few different basic methods one can use to construct a Bind-rune out of the few basic runes one chooses to focus on, and these methods may even create different natures to the metaphysical resonances of the rune-forms themselves. There has, up to this point in any case, not been any comprehensive text listing out the relative benefits/detriments of these various alternative methods of Bind-rune construction. However it is likely that, as the same mugwort or hyssop plant growing in different regions and environments will develop in different sizes, shapes, and even leaf-morphs, the same Bind-rune rearranged in different modes will cause different spiritual and psychosomatic results to unfurl. One must also keep in mind that the Indo-European roots of runic praxis are also rooted in psychological effects; the Germanic term rune or raun, the Welsh rhin, the Slavic ryuna, and especially the Persian ravan, all have have the dual meaning of a psychic or psychosomatic state, in addition to their more cryptic meaning of a "secret" or "mystery". Thus it is not too soon to say that the configurations of bind-runes using the same runic elements can also cause differences in the perception and processing of these energies by the mind of the practitioner.

In general, simplicity is to be valued in Bind-runes. The less complexity, the less room for multiple (and conflicting) manifestations of the synergy. Indeed, some Bind-runes one sees today are so poorly constructed and so over-complicated that even the meaning becomes muddled. Similar-shaped runes overlapped over one another can result in one or more of the runes intended to be worked into a bindrune to become obscured or lost. For example overlapping the Younger Futhark runes Fa and Kaun (or their Armanen equivalents) along their vertical stave line will result in Kaun being obscured, as it adds nothing new to Fa in terms of visual features, but is actually the subtraction of one branch from it. The same goes for overlapping Kaun with Madhr.

Now you see me...

An alternative to this problem should be used, in which the runes are offset or overlapped in such a way as their unique elements are not obscured by those of more complex runes - unless, that is, the bindrune is risted or carved in such a sequence as to lay down the simpler runes before carving the more complex ones over top of them, to hide the presence of the simpler runes, perhaps to conceal a curse or a hidden message in a carved rune-spell. It is indeed possible to conceal a reversed or merkstave rune in a bind-rune. This was unlikely if one wanted a curse to be open and blatant, as in a sort of protective hex on a runestone or a burial ground. However it was far more likely if it was intended to do its damage unnoticed by the receiver, who unwittingly would think they were receiving a purely positive bind-rune-marked item as a present. Subconsciously, the order and depth of the bind-rune carving encapsulating a hidden, overlapping merkstave rune (either upside-down or horizontally tilted depending on the rune form) could affect the soul complex in ways unforseen, trapping the ethereal fylgia in a forlorn realm and leaving the corporeal lich cut off from cognizance - shortly leading to the person's clouded judgment and subsequent destruction by overlooked hazards even in Midgard, the physical earth. Indeed, the Hávamál verse attributed by List to the Ka or Kaun rune, is descriptive of a means to protect against precisely such a catastrophic practice.

A sixth I know: when some thane would harm me
in runes on a moist tree's root,
on his head alone shall light the ills
of the curse that he called upon mine. (Hávamál, verse 150).

Evidently then, this rune was useful as (among other things) a protective measure against risted curses that may be obscure or unnoticeable to the receiver of moist roots and other suspicious gifts. If one did not know the specific curse directed against them, or it was obscure or hidden, it was very difficult to enact a counter-galdr to nullify it or protect against it before the damage was done. Hence Ka is used as a preventative rune against all such curses and psychic attacks (including, perhaps, psy-ops and disinformation campaigns used to turn thinking humans into unthinking sheep - we cannot assume that there were not people exploring and using such malign techniques in ancient times too).

Also, both the exoteric and esoteric meanings of runes must be taken into consideration in the construction of bind-runes. If the combinations of esoteric meanings result in an unintended and unwanted effect, a different combination of runes should be used. Preferably, change tack before you cause any permanent damage!

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Bind-rune Configurations

There are essentially three types of bind-rune styles: Linear, Radial, and Multi-Axial.

1. Linear, or single-stave bind-runes. These are made from several runes with a vertical element, with all the vertical lines merged into one long stave. This type of bind-rune is most common on weapons, tools, and commemorative runestones, implying that they were usually meant as spells of protection or remembrance of a great warrior. They tend to be runes of a strongly directed singular purpose, usually of attacking either a foe or a problem, or to honor a victory.

2. Radial, or Galdr-stave bind-runes. These are often temporary rune-spells, intended for a specific time and place, and often carved or painted onto temporary substances. Most notable are modified Galdrastafir like the Ægishjálmur and Vegvísir, but there are are others known only from Icelandic medieval grimoires or oral folk traditions, many of which were meant to be carved on food and then eaten, or painted in blood on soil, and in some cases were carved on an object which was then burned to send forth the spell. The radial arrangement is primarily for defense, as to symbolically deflect energies from various directions.

Radial bind-runes involve the rune-staves being spokes emanating from a centerpoint, as in many Galdrastafir such as the Ægishjálmur or the Vegvísir. These are often the least ambiguous in meaning due to the lack of heavy overlap of the primary staves, but are also not very compact, and have potential for unintended "merkstave" meanings depending on angle and orientation - not to mention their wheel-like shape having no clear starting-point for the sequence of intended effects. That said, radial bind-runes composed of one or two repeating runic elements can be extremely powerful, as is the case with the fylfot or the sonnenrad being technically radial bind-runes of repeating Sowilo/Sig or Eihwaz runes.

An alternate variant of the radial bind-rune is one using an actual rune as the centerpoint, and placing the other runes on its arms as stave-bindings - such as having the main vertical stem of one rune overlap with one of the branches of the centerpoint rune. The center rune shold be chosen based on being the most important in the bind-rune, as that will be the device's central focus of energy. The multi-armed "hedge-runes" of the Armanen system (and most of their equivalents in the other three runic systems) are ideal for such a construction.


3. Multi-axial bind-runes. This is the most seemingly random arrangement, with possibilities for arranging runes with multiple vertical axes, with runes all upright or with some of them being rotated and bound onto diagonal lines of other runes. This type of Bind-rune technically falls on a spectrum between two extremes of design aesthetics: Minimal and Expanded.

(3a) Minimal multi-axial bind-runes tend to overlap as many of their elements as possible, resulting in the fewest lines and the simplest design. While these Bind-runes are often very easy to draw or carve, their true meanings (as there is so much overlap between the component runes) can be hard to fathom by anyone except the carver – unless perhaps there are only two or three component runes. One very basic example is the "G-A" or "Gibu Auja" (give luck) bindrune, common in Migration Age (Elder Futhark) artifacts, which consists of a Gebo rune with the upper right arm being merged with a smaller rotated Ansuz rune. However it is possible to make this Bind-rune even more compact and simple, with one of the branches of a regular-sized Ansuz rune overlapping with the lower-right arm of the Gebo rune.

(3b) Expanded multi-axial bind-runes may have multiple overlapped vertical and diagonal elements. They may overlap just some of their lines, with some runes not being overlapped or fit into others at all, but simply superimposed on top despite not sharing many or any lines in common when in normal vertical position. Generally bind-runes, like simple letter-runes, do NOT have horizontal lines (though a few rare exceptions are found in late medieval offshoots of the Younger Futhark). The component runes in the most extreme Expanded Bind-runes don't overlap or share lines at all, but only intersect at corners or cross each other at a few points.

Generally whenever possible, it is recommended in rune-magick to make Bind-runes somewhere between these two extremes - what are known as "Traditional" Bind-runes, even if they are not multi-axial. They should be just expanded enough to give a sense of their component runes, but not so expanded as to share no main stave-lines in common. This is normally how the ancient Rune-Masters would carve them, with a simplicity of design, while at the same time balancing that with ease of legibility to fellow runers. For example, if a bind-rune contains four component runes, but one of them would never get noticed because its lines are completely overlapped by those of the other three, it is probably time to either make a less ambiguous (slightly more expanded) arrangement, or to stop adding component runes! However, insanely expanded bind-runes which have no shared lines and over-complicate the image with a huge cobweb of intersecting lines, are even worse and should be avoided completely, lest you end up with something that looks like a Hermetic or kabbalistic sigil, whose purpose is actually to "bind" (i.e. trap and enslave) demonic energies in a coercive form of magick, rather than the Runic definition of binding in the sense of weaving already active energies into one's life.

The different ways of creating bind-runes, with two common Elder Futhark rune-spells as examples.
Keep in mind, however, that "Traditional" Bind-runes were NOT traditional simply for tradition's own sake, but rather because of Immanence - the reality that specific energies flow in a specific direction regardless of the Age one lives in. Hence, the accepted practice of the ancient Rune-Masters followed this middle-way of "tradition" not because "tradition" was an end in itself, but because this form of arranging Bind-Runes best reflected the cultural values Immanent in the Folk-Soul, and in the Runes themselves. Simply put, this tradition is one that evolved functionally, and the reason the ancient Runers used it so widely is that it was the method that worked best - the one that was most in-line with the essentially noble and ascending energies at the heart of the runes.

***

This is in stark contrast with non-Aryan cultures, which either (a) blindly stick to (and embellish to the point of pedantic obsession) a tradition, bloating it up into a crushing slave-system which silences tongues and creates a double-standard in ethics, or (b) otherwise discard both tradition and immanence out the window and blindly go for whatever spits in the face of the last generation, regardless of whether it is qualitatively better or not. The former is embodied in things like Brahminism and orthodox Judaism, the latter in communism, dadaism and cultural marxism. Sadly, some individuals are pushing such agendas disguised beneath Asatru, Runes, and Bind-Runes.

"Believe me, Aesir are the same as the Elohim, Heathenry is about redistribution of wealth and 613 genders,
I swear I'm not a controlled zionist bankster puppet, I'm a real Nordic Heathen, please believe me!!!"

Beware of anyone attempting to force-fit the Runes into any of these false constructs. They would not desire your well-being or spiritual improvement in the slightest. Question their every word, and see them squeal in despair and call you names when they are not "simply believed" at their word.

Remember, true Runic tradition is not merely tradition; it is Immanence. this holds as true for Bind-Rune carving as for anything else in Aryan mysticism: It is only a tradition because generations of Rune-Masters discovered it to be the noblest and most effective way of manifesting Rune-power in perfect resonance with the noble Solar principle and the Runes themselves - not because of "tradition for its own sake". It isn't something made up to control people or keep them blindly busy like herder traditions, nor is there any point in casually discarding it as if it were.

***

While painting or carving over an already carved rune with elements of another which would cover it completely (i.e. Rit or Bar on top of Laf, or Bar on top of Rit for that matter) may technically be a valid way of building Bind-runes, it still results in only one of the two component runes being visible, the other being completely hidden by it. In these cases you would be better off rearranging them into a "Traditional" (or rather, fully Immanent) bind-rune, either vertically stacked, or with one of the runes (the one read first in the sequence) flipped to face left, with the second one in normal right-facing posture, since runes are read from left to right as in most European scripts. This arrangement is not considered “Murk-stave” because the first rune is flipped over “3-dimensionally” like a page in a book, NOT rotated 2-dimensionally to where it's upside-down or sideways as in a genuine Spiesberger Murk-stave. This is a far better alternative to fully expanded Bind-runes, never mind the type that intersect randomly without any shared axes!

Armanen runes are based on the radii of a hexagonal crystal, representing the six spatial directions - thus when overlapped minimalistically, they can often obscure one another. As with Elder Futhark, the Armanen Futharkh are best made into Bind-runes using the "middle of the road" Traditional designs, where runes share at least one major line in common, but not all of them.

One can also see this runic aesthetic of balanced simplicity in traditional Nordic architecture and furniture, although it was a common heritage of all Aryan-influenced cultures throughout history. For example in Greater Iran there is a marked contrast between the simple and elegant artifacts of Aryan kingdoms like Bactria and Achamenid Persia, and the often over-complicated, chimeric and unbalanced design of non-Aryan cultures like the oldest stratigraphic levels of the Jiroft culture (the younger levels have pottery designs and skeletons almost identical to Aryan ones). Much the same way, in Bind-runes, form is intertwined with function. Excessive ornateness is generally best avoided.

Simplicity, centrality, the Solar Ethic as Aryan superstrate. Arkaim, Russia.

In Scandinavian artifacts another telling clue is the fact that the most ornate and complicated decorations on buildings, runestones, and ships tend to come from the later periods, further disconnected from the influence of the early Aryan founders of these cultures. Where there was an Aryan spark to an Indo-European culture, on top of a more primitive non-Aryan hunter-gatherer substrate (in this case a Cro-Magnon one), the aesthetic values of both often ended up competing as some of the wisdom and Lore of the relatively few Aryan organizers and teachers was lost; inevitably, when the art of such a once near-divine culture took on an increasingly crowded, random and gnarled appearance, this often coincided with that culture's decline. 

The Urnes and Mammen artifacts of the Viking Age are a prime example of this, as are the heavily knotted (but asymmetric) decorations of Anglo-Saxon gold objects just before the fall of the Anglo-Saxon lands to Roman Christianity. While undoubtedly impressive and even occasionally enchanting in appearance, these objects of ever more complex intertwined serpents, dragons and other creatures in often asymmetric and random arrangements were signs of a reversion back to hunter-gatherer mentality, of producing the most overwrought art that the technology and resources of the day would allow, and a view of people purely as either prey or bigger predators, in the organization of society if not in actual practice. This does not mean that such complex knotted designs are in any way bad or evil in and of themselves, but rather that they are a sign of a shifting focus, producing excess complexity and difficult art in a society that was actually declining and could ill afford to focus on it.

Aryan building
non-Aryan building

Thus in the late Viking age, the Norse did not all cease the Aryan lifestyle of farming - but increasingly more of them viewed hunting and raiding, the pursuit of extravagance without labor, at the expense of others, as a more "cool" lifestyle for lack of a better word. The old solar farmer-warrior ethos of this culture became twisted into one more akin to a nomadic hunter lifestyle, as Karls and Jarls became mere traveling mercenaries for hire. When loot became more important than Heimat, it is not surprising that the mediocre, weak-willed and corrupt end up running the Heimat, and often betraying it under the noses of the now-distracted strong, to an outright herder culture like orthodox Christianity, that "light unto the gentiles" whose ideal of man is a meek sheep, a yet more pitiful state than he can fall to in any hunter creeds. Indeed, when the brave abandoned nobility, the cowardly and meek truly did come to inherit the earth - to the utter ruin of all.

By this point the basic Armanic method to Bind-rune construction should be more clear: the goal is to make the Bind-rune as simple as possible without completely obscuring any of its components. If some components are totally or mostly obscured, their energies may also be blocked or canceled out.

There is one exception to this, which is if a Bind-rune is to contain a curse or a Murk-rotated rune within a larger, more benign-looking arrangement, that so-called “fouling rune” may indeed be obscured and hidden completely by other overlapping runes, in the same way that Odin, when he needed to defeat the Jotnar who have a natural skill for trickery, often had to deceive them through very convincing shape-shifting into whatever was normal to them. This does not in any way violate Odinic or Runic ethics, since most Jotnar (and those humans who imitate their ways) essentially have no appreciation for noble truth, as their souls, through persecuting sincere spiritual exploration as “heresy”, have already forfeited any right to it.


That said, I am not going to teach any concealed curses here, since anyone may be reading this page.



Bind-Runes for the Augmentation of the Self

One of the most important uses of bind-runes is not to enact spells on other beings or on environments, but towards oneself to lead to a gain or improvement in spiritual essence and even subtly in other areas such as health and strength, and even the attraction of results towards oneself. Before all the people craving wealth and power through runes lose their heads though, I must make it clear that the goal here is permanent improvement of the self, not simple quick gratification of the self that has no net ethical improvement or change in psychology or spirit.


You will find plenty of cheesy videos and tutorials about using runes (usually mixing the "Elder" Futhark with some extremely dumbed-down "new age" meanings) to become rich overnight, or to gain immense charisma, or to make people fall in love with you.

Actually, the real power of the runes so far as improving your life, lies in their ability to change you qualitatively, not in flooding you with unearned circumstances and thus making you dependent on circumstances for your emotional health. Rather, they are for improving your very nature, if you are receptive to improvement of have the aptitude for Runes in the first place. Put another way, a pig showered in gold coins and rare gems (or, more to its taste, piles of expensive high-carb food requiring no foraging) is still a pig. Changing such material circumstances for said pig will not make it into anything else. Such is not the purpose of the runes.

Odin in the Hávamál reveals that his words, including his description of the 18 runes, are "for the weal of mankind and the woe of Jotuns". 'Weal' in this case needs to be properly understood in the modern language of our times to make as much sense to us as the poem did to the ancient Norse.

It turns out that 'weal', meaning benefit, is from the Olive Bray translation alone. It is indeed a good translation - probably the most smooth-flowing of the concise translations which are thankfully sparing with annotation. However it also uses a number of alterations in sentence structure and line order which, while sounding more profound in English, depart from the exact meaning in Old Norse. The original text of that final verse is as follows:

Nú era Háva mál 
kveðin Háva höllu í
allþörf ýta sonum
óþörf jötna sonum
heill sá er kvað
heill sá er kann
njóti sá er nam
heilir þeirs hlýddu

Which is more accurately grammatically translated as:

Now are the High-one's words
Sounded in the High-one's hall,
All-helpful to man's sons
Unhelpful to Jotuns' sons
Hail to he that spoke [them]
Hail to he that understands [them]
Benefit will he that has [learned them]
Hails to those who have listened

Thus "weal of mankind" (allþörf ýta sonum) really refers to what is all-helpful or all-needful to mankind - not necessarily what man may want to satisfy his immediate desires. What is most helpful or needful is generally long-term improvement in ethical quality as well as physical and spiritual attributes. Of course money and wealth in some measure is also needful to mankind, but if this were the only purpose of rune-magick then rune-magick would simply be superfluous to material business skills, time-management and maths, which do not require any sort of magick or spiritual abilities.

Thus augmentation is not improved circumstances but improved nature of the self. However as a by-product, improved nature of self does tend to turn opportunities into improved conditions, and produce the sort of confidence and character that attracts admiration and respect from sane, aware, and thinking people. The other kind are not worth wasting one's time on.



We saw in the article on the Vegvísir (which has now sadly had to be taken down) that one possible interpretation of the pitchfork-like ends on some of the stave endings is that of the Madhr or Man-rune, and that the triple-cross lines on the stave are likely devices implying augmentation or increase, which also fits with the Norwegian and Icelandic rune poems speaking of Madhr itself as "augmentation of man" or man as augmentation of the soil. Similarly, much of practical rune-magick itself is directed towards the augmentation of the person using it. Bind-runes are no exception, and often signify the sort of energies and ideals one wishes to manifest or align with in life.

There are a large variety of different bind-runes that can be thus constructed. One can literally use the same sort of radial format as Galdrastafir, with the triple cross-bars reinforcing an augmentation energy - but the Man-rune itself also represents "augmentation" in the sense of man being the augmentation of soil. So in the sense of non-radial "conventional" bind-runes with parallel vertical staves (whether minimal or extended), the Man-rune itself can be used to symbolize increase, augmentation, strengthening, vitality, etc. This is just as true using the Armanen system as with the "Younger" - in both, the Man-rune has pretty much the same exoteric meaning, and the exact same shape (and hence identical energy flow).



Indeed, the Man-rune is the basis for many such bind-runes, though there is no requirement to use it in constructing one. Another very powerful rune to use as a major element is Sig, or victory. This rune is for success/victory in all forms, not just in war or military matters. Since I primarily work with Armanen/Odinic runes, and since the Younger Futhark used in most Viking Bind-runes are similar, the following basic formulas are very widely applicable for many modern Runers.

Armanen Bind-runes using Sig. The center symbol "Sigrid" is a female name with Valkyrie-connotations, in addition to being a rune-spell for the augmentation and perseverance of one's best physical form. Sig-Tyr literally means Victory-God, the name by which Einherjar and some other warriors called Odin. 

There is also the use of Bind-runes in operative Armanen rune-magick for the purpose of evoking powerful Rune-mantras or Galdr, to energize oneself to take on a challenge or struggle. These mantras often involve more runes than basic spells. Typically three or four runes, symbolizing an equal number of words in the mantra, are linked in such Galdrbinden, as they are called.

There are many such mantras, but following the basic Armanen ethic of balancing simplicity with visibility, some common ones follow essentially an echelon or chevron formation:

Three mantras of extremely deep power and importance to Armanen, visualized as Bind-runes. The last one is generally near the apogee of Armanen Bind-rune complexity, as coherent rune-spells usually should not exceed three elements, exempting repeated staves. Larger, more complex spells are separated out into multiple bind-runes for their component parts, like operations in advanced maths being calculated separately before the resulting variables can be combined for the solution.

The amount of dissonant intersection in these Bind-runes is at a minimum: runes that do not share stave-lines in common, only intersect at endpoints or corners. There is no random intersecting along midlines or other awkward places.Thus the energy flow is not blocked or impeded by oblique overlays. This "neo-Traditional" arrangement, neither too overlapping or too separated-out, is the aim in Armanen Bind-rune magick. It should be as simple as possible without obscuring the meaning, and just complex enough to indicate the meaning. No more.

These Bind runes so far focus on improvement of the self, or of a small group of people engaged in a common Runic activity. Next however, there are Bind-runes for generating effects on the surrounding environment, society, or other people not involved in the Rune-risting ritual.



Bind-runes for Effects on the Surroundings

In addition to runic operations to increase the efficacy of one's own abilities, bind-runes can also be constructed to have effects on the surrounding environment. Bind-runes have been carved or painted on homes, wells, trees, posts, and border-stones marking the edge of one's property, in order to have a specific effect on the land or space adjoining these objects, as well as the people, animals and objects within it. Certain regions (at least in Scandinavian runecraft) were considered cursed or off-limits to trespassers, and ancient burial grounds of powerful families were sometimes marked with either runic formulas or actual bind-runes cursing all who were not of the family line and still dared enter the grave site.

Further south, in Germany and the Low Countries, it was common to mark homes, grave mounds, and sacred spaces with the all-important Hagal rune, whose six outer points and (seventh) central point were said to protect from seven disasters, from fire to hail. Interestingly, Hagal is the seventh rune in the Armanen and "Younger" rune systems, thus can be seen as a guard against the negative aspects of both itself (hail) and the general negative aspects of the previous six runes (wildfire, disease, injury, mistrust, lawlessness and incapability, respectively). In Germany and the Low Countries the Hagal symbol was later modified in Medieval times into the more curvaceous "Dutch Hex sign" on the eaves of roofs, partially concealing the rune behind a more floral motif to keep one step ahead of church authorities. This was actually not a "Hex" in the modern (mostly American, apparently) notion of Hex meaning "curse" (in modern German it simply means "magick" or even "stage magic" as in Hexerei). Rather the "Hex" in Old High German is actually a blessing on the house to protect it from all seven aforementioned disasters. Yet eventually even that home becomes old and rotten, and must be razed by either hail or fire so that it can be rebuilt - better that this be done in a managed way by the owner, than by the elements after too prolonged a decay.

Hag-All is also symbolic of re-growth after a necessary destruction.

These are, of course, merely a couple uses of runes for effects on an area - and the latter doesn't even begin to cross over into the real of bind-runes. Thus the realm of bind-runes for affecting one's surroundings, whether a homestead, a harbor, a field or a forest, is a truly vast one that can never be fully cataloged. However if you limit yourself to the designs that are truly "runic", that is futharkic, then the same basic stylistic elements apply as in using any of the three bind-rune styles for any other purpose. It may be more useful here to utilize the radial-style of bind-runes, since it is not merely a person or an object but a larger area that is to be affected - hence a radial bind-rune pointing out multiple directions and meridians can indeed be a powerful way to affect a magickal energy upon a surrounding region. The Hagal rune itself is a radial rune, which is probably why it was used as a protection for homes and halls, both in its runic form and as the "Dutch Hex" sign; and though it is not technically a bind-rune, it can still be separated like a bind-rune into overlapped pairings of simpler runes (such as Man and Yr), hence its status as the "Mother Rune"  or "All-rune" from which all others can be derived.

(As an aside, this unique cultural significance of the Hagal rune as the protective Mother-stave on the Continent, even up through medieval times, is central to its presence in the Armanen rune row, and is one of the strongest cultural/contextual reasons for the Armanen system being a highly valid one).

Now, onto actual bind-runes for "area effect":

Most of these are of the radial variety, meant so spread changes across a larger area. Note how many of them use the Hagal rune as the central focus, as it literally means "to hedge the All" or to encompass all things in a wider realm.

By the way, if your Bind-runes are more complicated than Odin's Nine Twigs (upper right corner),
you are probably doing something very wrong. That symbol is about as ornate as a Bind-rune can get before you start crossing over into the realm of Jotunn-magick, which exacts a far higher karmic toll than Odin found acceptable.

These Bind-runes may be ones you've never seen of heard of before. However, a few of their names, such as the ALU spell, are well-known in historical records. The Armanen simply had a more elegant way of arranging it. Also notice that even though it is very easy to arrange three-rune spells in a linear or minimal layout, they are incredibly potent accelerators of Od-force when arranged radially as a "Triskelion", which is, some believe, the basis of Odin's secret symbol (which Guido Von List mentions, in The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk, was never revealed by the Armanen to the public, even in a concealed form).

This may also be inferred from the fact that nearly all extra-runic Odinic symbols, be they the Valknut, the Three Horns of Odin, or the Nine Twigs, are essentially three-part symbols in triangular arrangements. There is something extremely potent about the number three, and its multiples such as 6, 9, and 18, that make it especially relevant to the Odinic mysteries. For three is the number of phases in the Aryan understanding of life: Arising, Being, and Passing away towards new Arising. It is also the number of classes in proto-Aryan society (Farmers, Warriors, Priests). It is also the number of roots that Yggdrasil is said to have, which in a modern meta-scientific sense can also be said to refer to the three physical dimensions, with the understanding the Yggdrasil is the very web of the universe with all its colossal intergalactic filaments and voids, tributary Irminsuls, and multiple worlds orbiting multiple galactic Black Suns. Or perhaps it may be that just one of the roots encompasses the three physical dimensions, that of "Being", and the other two deal with realms beyond our comprehension, thus making nine dimensions in total. Quantum theory predicts as many as 12, 15, or possibly even the mystical 18 dimensions anticipated by both the Periodic Table and Armanist rune-magick itself. In each case, however, note that the number is a multiple of three.

The Nine Twigs of Odin's Glory in its concealed Skaldic form,
symbolizing the Nine Worlds and also the Nine Nights that Odin spent on the World Tree.

The bind-rune known as the Nine Twigs is further significant because all of the 18 runes can be directly derived from it. Indeed, if one shines a light on a perfect hexagonal quartz crystal, free from impurities or occulsions, the radii the light creates within the crystal become the Hagal rune at the center of the Nine Twigs, and the radii of light falling on the table's surface outside the crystal manifest as the outer parts of the Nine Twigs. Tellingly, this cluster of light beams also creates a total of seven Hagal runes, and Hagal itself is the 7th rune of the Armanen Futhark - something that seems unusual considering it is the Mother Rune and yet 7 is not a multiple of 3 like most significant things in Indo-European Lore. However the fact that it is repeated seven times in the Nine Twigs, which is the cumulative total of all 18 runes manifested, is indeed telling of the special cross-dimensional resonances between 3's and 7's across time and space. It is indeed the final and greatest form of "Manifesting the All" as Meister von List says of the Hagal rune.

The expanded Nine Twigs align with the 18 runes while taking the shape of the Mother Rune Hagal itself.
The Nine Twigs is easily the most potent rune-spell for mass-awakening of those with innate Nobility or Arya across a wide area towards the Odinic mysteries. However, it is also very difficult to execute over large distances due to the large number of focal points in its metaphysical web. It is ideally carved and incanted in a group setting, with either three, seven, or nine Runers reciting all the Armanen runes in tune with each other, as the component parts are carved. Again, it requires experienced practitioners to have any effect, so it can be seen as the final test of any Armanen kindred's potency. For the soul of the Arhat - all nine parts of it - this was the most beautiful and holy of songs.

Two other Armanen Bind-runes. The one on the right, "Fa-Ha-Bar" was used not only in funerals, but also rites of initiation into adulthood (Arising) and elderhood (Being) among the Armanen (the former marking one as "twice born", and the latter as "twice-matured"). This ancient Germanic initiation spell was also recited a third time at one's funeral to mark "Passing away towards New Arising", and was copied in a bastardized form (with very rough Hebrew homophones) by the Kabbalists and Freemasons as the password to their Third Degree.

Other Bind-runes in this category pertain to the healing arts, or to empowerment of a folk in battle. A few, such as Flu, were geared towards fertility rituals and sacred sexuality as a means to Asha-consciousness, as alluded to in the Volsunga Saga. A number of secret Bind-runes involving Yr and Gibor also served this purpose for the Armanen over durations of nine days and nights on the equinoxes and solstices, and there may be many more such spells that were lost due to later persecution by a puritanical church. Most, however, are geared towards the protection and improvement of a large group of people and the movement of society away from addictions and delusions and towards greater folk loyalty and greater shared understanding and practice of Asha and Arya - the improvement of man towards God-nature, and the disposal of all that is troll-nature. Hence it is not wrong to call some of these radial "area of effect" Bind-Runes as "Volk-Runes" because their purpose is to aid in the formation or at least conception of an ideal Volk, or its growth and development, in various subtle ways.


Beyond the Bind-runes:

For now we shall leave the specifics of certain Bind-runes aside, and meditate on the deeper ethic behind them; for while the minutiae of their construction are indeed a necessary basic grounding for every true aspiring Rune-Master, further care must be paid to the ancient pre-Neolithic roots of the Aryan culture which ultimately gave rise to the "Runen-Magi" and all their derived orders, the Armanen being the foremost of these.

The Folk-soul and cultural ethic of these people informed what was "runic" in practice, based on Wili-We-Wotan or Vayu-Vata's poetic wisdom at the height of the Frozen Ages and the dawn of human awakening. Gradually much of this wisdom was lost even to the wider Aryan arc going across Eurasia, however its secrets were retained by those Armanen, Vitkar, Hvushmand, and others deep in forests and mountains untouched by the perpetual revolt of hunter and herder mankind against Original Nobility. This deeper understanding of the Ur-folk wisdom, we shall explore in greater detail soon. For now, Reyn til Runa, and ponder...





Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bind-Rune Basics


Bind-Runes are a subject that's been covered in a few rune-books, but most have not covered it well. It seems that somewhere in the process of creating interesting activities for people to replicate, most rune authors seem to lose the aim and intent of bind-runes somewhere along the wooded path.

A bind-rune is simply a combination of runes that are stuck together or overlapped in some way - the term binding referring actually to weaving, as in the old Nordic term Nalbinding, or needle-knitting.

A bind-rune, itself bound onto a woven wool hat, woven in Norse Nalbinding method.
Now how's that for a double (or triple) bind!

The use of bind-runes, however, was probably more common in carving the runes rather than literally binding, or weaving them. The purpose of carving bind-runes could in theory be almost anything, but in historical examples is nearly always for some form of enhancement of one's luck (hamingja) or for protection (ward). The runes would be chosen based on the sort of energies one wished to invoke onto the carved or painted object. However their arrangement was entirely up to the practitioner, and could take many forms even when using the same few runes.

There are primarily three types of bind-rune structures.

1. Linear bind-runes
2. Radial bind-runes
3. Multi-axial bind-runes

These can be understood as different ways of arranging the same message, however it is important to know what they do differently.


1. Linear, or single-stave bind-runes. These are made from several runes with a vertical element, with all the vertical lines merged into one long stave. This type of bind-rune is most common on weapons, tools, and commemorative runestones, implying that they were usually meant as spells of protection or remembrance of a great warrior. They tend to be runes of a strongly directed singular purpose, usually of attacking either a foe or a problem, or to honor a victory.

A linear bind-rune turned on its side. When turned vertical, it reads downward "Runar" or Runes. The "R" is represented as a small hash mark above the Ur-rune, as is common in Norwegian Younger Futhark inscriptions.

2. Radial, or Galdr-stave bind-runes. These are often temporary rune-spells, intended for a specific time and place, and often carved or painted onto temporary substances. Most notable are modified Galdrastafir like the Ægishjálmur and Vegvísir, but there are are others known only from Icelandic medieval grimoires or oral folk traditions, many of which were meant to be carved on food and then eaten, or painted in blood on soil, and in some cases were carved on an object which was then burned to send forth the spell.  The radial arrangement is primarily for defense, as to symbolically deflect energies from various directions.



Although they do not appear to be for long-term use in ancient contexts, it is possible that some far more powerful symbols were concealed as bind-runes. The Sonnenrad, the Fylfot (swastika) and the Thor's Cross can all be interpreted as radial bind-runes, and in those rare-cases where they were made into objects, it was always in a permanent material like stone or metal (such as in rune-stones, medallions, or ceremonial armor and weapons). These are symbols of eternal power, far more sacred than a simple spell for protection of cattle. As a result, it was unusual for those who were not warriors, magicians, or leaders to have such objects made. One can construct custom radial bind-runes with their ends connecting in the center, or crossing over each other at the center. Typically radial bind-runes have four, six or eight spokes, though other arrangements are possible. In Armanen rune-work, it is also common to create a bind-rune using one of the main Hedge-Runes as the central point itself, so that the center is not without its own power (Hagal being the most obvious such rune).


3. Multi-axial bind-runes. This is the most seemingly random arrangement, with possibilities for arranging runes with multiple vertical axes, with runes all upright or with some of them being rotated and bound onto diagonal lines of other runes. One very basic type is the "G-A" or "Gibu Auja" (give luck) bindrune, common in Migration Age (Elder Futhark) artifacts, which consists of a Gebo rune with the upper right arm being merged with a smaller Ansuz rune. More complex bind-runes may have multiple overlapped vertical and diagonal elements. Generally bind-runes, like simple letter-runes, do NOT have horizontal lines (though a few rare exceptions are found in late medieval offshoots of the Younger Futhark).

Probably the simplest multi-axial bind-rune: Gibu Auja. 

The ordering of the runes in the visual structure of these bind-runes generally follows their sequence in the spell, but it may also depend on the central syllable or concept in the rune working. Multi-axial bind-runes generally are not for attack or defense, but for subtle influence of surroundings and manifesting a desire into reality. There are all sorts of these bind-runes, from bind-runes for love spells to peaceful sleep spells to bind-runes for the removal of a specific hex or illness, and even to mitigate the intoxicating effects of ale and make it function as a medicine. This is where the complexity can start to get out of hand, as blending the rune meanings for some of these purposes may require more than just a couple of runes.

Elder Futhark bind-rune for sleep by Bjorke Heska.
Note the various rotations and axes, and the unusual arrangement with the square rune Ingwaz at the center.
With Armanen runes this would be far simpler, as there are short runic formulas known for sleep, some quite ancient.
As it stands though, apart from some well-established formulas found in old texts and some of the better-quality rune stones and metal artifacts, there are many possible ways to construct a bind-rune that has no preserved precedent. Also there is the possibility that some of the bind-rune inscriptions on ancient stones, bone combs, and everyday objects, were not necessarily carved by skilled masters, so there may be some mistakes (as in, what the carver intended is not what he ended up carving). So while looking at historical rune-decorated objects is a good place to start, not necessarily everything that survives is equally reliable. Egil's saga recounts that there were bad rune-risters as well as good ones, and perhaps the bad ones were all too common.


METHODS TO THE MADNESS:

As for how to arrange and construct your bind-runes, there are different theories on the subject, but the one I generally go with is simplicity. And at the end of the day this comes down to the concept of the "perfect" being the enemy of the good. Endless detail and "perfection" of making each element stick out is often counterproductive, especially when a far simpler bind-rune was used in ancient times for the exact same effect. Since there are many ways that elements of runes can be merged or overlapped, sometimes there may be some ambiguity in what a bind-rune really means. While overly academic types may complain that this makes interpretation difficult or even meaningless, the reality is that now as in ancient times, there is always an element of mystery to all but the most standard bind-runes, with their ultimate purpose being known only to the practitioner, the Gods (if the rune-spell invokes any) and the universe they send them out into.

As with carving or painting of regular runes, intoning or chanting the runes used in a bind-rune is common if not more or less required during the carving or painting process. As with rune-inlaid swords, where the swordsmith would often invoke Tyr while creating the Tyr-rune twice (usually stacked) on the hilt, as the Volsunga Saga recommends to do. 

In the 6th verse of the Sigrdrífumál, which tells the same story as the Volsunga Saga, the Valkyrie Sigdrifa (Brynhild) instructs the warrior Sigurd:

Winning-runes shall you learn,
if you wish to have victory,
And rist [runes] upon hilt of sword;
Some on the grip,
and some on the guard,
And twice name Tyr. 

Galdr is a big part of bind-rune work. This all involves practice, so too often a beginner will get frustrated their first attempts aren't producing results, and will give up. Often results will come once the basic bind-runes have been tried many times in the right situations. So do not give up. Nobody is a master all at once. Each time, meditate upon the runes you choose, with less distraction. Eradicating all distraction at once is not the goal, but to slowly make it moot.

First– Determine your intent

The first step you should take it sit down and think, really think, about what it is you want to accomplish. Think of it not just in terms of end results, but how you get there, and what you need to do, or need help with to accomplish. To carve and invoke runic energies in a bind-rune, your intent must be clear. You cannot make the effect of a bind-rune any clearer than its intent, but it is possible to do things that will muddy the effect far beneath what you intended! Take your time in choosing your intent. This will help you not only in focusing your energy, but also in picking your runes. Then, visualize and feel the energy of taking that action, of getting there. You want to not just be a thinking runer, but a feeling one as well - feel the energy that success will bring you, and you will find the energy that will bring you success.  If you need to, think a thousand times before taking a decision, but the intent you reach should be so clear that after taking that decision, you never turn back even if you run into a thousand difficulties. 

Second– Choose your rune set and your runes

Decide which rune system you prefer to work with - Elder, Younger, Anglo-Saxon, or Armanen. In terms of actual literature about their meanings, the Armanen and Younger rune rows are the strongest choice, but it's important to be familiar with all four systems and their somewhat different cultural contexts. Once you have a preferred rune system, examine each rune in it, and its meanings, both esoteric and exoteric, and think about whether that rune fits with your goals. Some runes will be obvious "yes" or "no" choices. However there are often ambiguities in the pertinence of other runes, and it helps to meditate on each relevant rune individually, and explore the possibilities.

Third– Decide on your arrangement

After you’ve gone through your runes, look at what you’ve got. Do you have too many? (generally more than 4-5 is too many for a clear goal), or too few? If you have too many, your thoughts and follow-through may be unfocused. If you have too few, its possible you aren’t considering all the possibilities in terms of achieving your goal. Then, combine them in the arrangement that best fits your goal (linear for attacking a problem, radial for protection, or a multi-axial or overlapping bind-rune for manifesting a reality). At this point you also have to choose your material (wood, metal, stone, paper?), your tools (knife, gouge, brush?) and your method of invocation after Galdr and risting (i.e. staining carved wood or stone bind-runes with ochre, or burning wood or paper ones as an offering).

Finally - DO IT. Carve, chant, paint, and send. If the sending is not by burning, it can be by placing the bind-rune object in a sacred place - be it a forest, a river, a Ve (enclosed grove), a Horgr (outdoor stone altar) or a home altar. Call on the runes for power and guidance. If the runes you use include the name or attribute of a God, that is one more possible invocation you can add, though it's usually not required in rune magick. Then conclude the ritual with a closing line, to declare that it is done. There are various ones you can use (denn so ist gemacht in German), (og svo er thadh in Icelandic) though my preferred one is the Armanen closing "Iey Sar, Iey Sey, Iey Fyor, Peyrow Kvan Ike Iser" (I see, I say, I know, for Now It Is) - which references ancient pan-Aryan root words of both the east and west branches, and is far better than the sappy "so mote it be" used by... well... unwitting new-age sheep blindly imitating certain people.


GENERAL TIPS:

Usually with bind-runes it is considered best to follow the templates used by ancient runers. Like it or not, they had reached these particular formulas over thousands of years, and as Karl Spiesberger says, it's best to use what works. Some bind-runes (such as Gibu-Auja if you're using Elder Futhark) are repeated so often in artifacts or Lore from multiple periods in Heathen history, that the inevitable answer is that they worked, for people to be using them so often over so many centuries. So it's a good idea to find pictures of such artifacts and look for common patterns in bind-runes.

That said, we know that the runic path is not a dogma, and is very possible for the practitioner to test out new bind-runes and find new ways of manifesting runic power - but one must be experienced in the old established rune formulas, in whatever system, to do this safely - as both Egil and Kummer warn us, it's best to avoid using runes or rune combinations you do not understand:

"Runes none should carve, who knows not how to read them,
for it befalls many a man, to stumble [into disaster] upon a murk-stave"

- The Saga of Egil Skallagrimsson, chapter 75

"[these are] rune-formulas passed down from ancient times, but I advise every Runer who may perhaps utilize them to approach such work most carefully; everyone is personally responsible for his own actions. The conscious and noble Runer will never reject laws or utilize powers whose effect he docs not understand and has not sufficiently tested. Let no one misuse unknown magical formulas on his blood-brothers and sisters—he could not escape the avenging might of the Runes. Whosoever carves Runes, let him carve them in wood; whoever writes them, let him write them on paper, so they can be burned at any time. Spiritual meditation is always important for the carving and writing of Runes."

 -Siegfried Adolf Kummer, Runen-Magie




When constructing basic bind-runes (those with three or fewer runic elements), the simplest combination using the fewest lines is usually the best. With more complex rune-work there is no one fixed roadmap, however you can get inspiration from some of the Sagas including Egil's saga, which mentions several times this famous rune-master used bind-rune magick to survive murder attempts, heal the sick, and defeat his enemies. Again here it is best to consult what has worked before, as Egil warns that carving and invoking runes without understanding them well can lead to disaster. However you do it, the meanings and powers of each rune should be understood, which in my view requires knowledge of all four major systems, especially the Armanen system for esoteric work.

The best bind-runes, in my view, are the most concise, even if this apparently causes ambiguity in terms of how many runes (and which) are in a bind-rune. Generally they should have the minimum amount of detail needed to tell the presence of the different runes used. For example, the simple monogram for Harald Bluetooth, which is also the modern symbol of "bluetooth" wireless technology in cellphones and other devices. It is simply "HB" or Hagal and Bjarkan from the Younger Futhark, overlapped along their vertical lines. Hagal's diagonals overlap with the two central diagonals of Bjarkan perfectly. Yet you can still tell this is Hagal and Bjarkan without having to turn them into a vertical linear bind-rune with Hagal completely above Bjarkan with all the diagonals exposed. 



Even though the overlapped bind-rune could also theoretically contain the runes Rit/Rad, Laf/Logr, and Not/Nodh, it doesn't, and there's no point in worrying over it. If it did, they could be arranged so as to be more visible, at least halfway visible rather than totally merged and overlapped with Hagal and Bjarkan - perhaps merged onto a side diagonal rather than the main vertical axis. Thus, simple without being confusing. Alternately, they could be stacked as linear bind-rune (for focus) or as spokes on a radial bind-rune (for defense) or linear stacks inside of radial spokes.That said, if you are trying to make a bind-rune out of more than three runes, the choice of runes and the intent of combining their energies must be clear, and not just done "because they look good". Arguably one of the esoteric reasons why Icelandic rune-magick declined from a powerful and often deadly rite of warrior-skalds in the days of Egil, to a quaint system of charms to keep the cows calm or to keep mice away from the grain barn in latter years, is that it became far too crowded and complicated, used non-runic elements like curved lines, circles and various Hermetic symbols, and thus diluted the potency of Rune magick by taking it outside its context. 

It's true that Christianity also played a role in the suppression and eventual weakening of transmission of Runic practices and methods, but this on its own does not explain the extreme change in bind-runes from things like this...

Bind-rune by Graham Butcher, Stav master

...to things like this:

The Veldismagn, a late Medieval Icelandic Galdr-stave


And yes, before anyone starts nitpicking, Galdrstafir are bind-runes, at least they originally started out that way. Runes were arranged radially for defense in various situations in early Galdrastafir, and the Ægishjálmur is essentially a runic shield for protection in battle, composed of eight Algiz runes, which are a Migration-Age rune of protection. But by the Medieval era, Icelandic bind-runes were using so many curved lines, right angles, horizontals and circles that many of the more complex ones had ceased to be recognizably runic. And most oddly of all, they had become maddeningly complicated, with so many elements merged that the overall meaning became indecipherable, and so one had to say "well, this is for protection" (very generic), or "this is for happiness" (again, very generic and undirected). They had become far too much like hermetic or kabbalistic symbols, which were also suppressed by the Church, though they had evolved for centuries among court mystics, astrologers, and royal "wizards" as well as common village mystics, with its tacit approval. 

Bizarre as it may sound today, in the early Middle ages the Roman Church had actually only considered believing in "witches" or "sorcery" as real to be a heresy, as opposed to the practice of magick itself being heresy - thereby leaving occult groups and folk magicians more or less free to carry on their rituals in private, and discouraging all potential informers and spies from reporting them - in fact, even as late as 1258 CE, Pope Alexander IV declared that church officials should ignore diviners, soothsayers, witches and the like as nothing more than madmen or petty charlatans, and instead focus their time and efforts on "manifest" heretics who openly criticized Catholic doctrine, as well as the possibly wavering loyalties of the Papal chivalric orders amid the ever-present threat of invasion by the Mongols. This strangely secular "look the other way" attitude persisted in Rome for centuries, at least up until Pope John XXII made a dramatic about-face in 1320, declaring all forms of magick to be not only real, but also a potent threat to the Church, and ordered the Inquisition to specifically persecute "witchcraft and sorcery" in 1320 CE, though repeat famines and plague outbreaks delayed the order's implementation by local bishops and secular authorities. In Germanic lands, it was not until 1484, when Pope Innocent VIII commissioned the Malleus Malificarum ("Hammer against Curse-workers") and hired the first professional witch-hunters, that this effort to sweep away "sorcery" actually got off the ground (pardon the pun). The Malleus, a manual for witch-hunters, reversed the Church's old position and claimed (with Pope Innocent's blessing) that not believing witches and sorcery to be real was now heresy.

His crime was theological dissent, not sorcery.

In all that time, all over Europe, the proliferation of newly available Hermetic, Arabic, and quasi-Judaic occult systems spread to every corner, from Spain to Iceland. And in Iceland, there seemed to be a marked transition from the height of Runic mastery, to a sort of "witches' brew" of various Mediterranean systems whose spread into the North was made possible by the Church's conquest of Europe and its general apathy to all forms of occult practices until 1484. Indeed, the Church did not compile the Index of Prohibited books until 1559, by which time a plethora of Hermetic, Kabbalistic and proto-Rosicrucian books had spread all over the continent, most of which made use of symbols involving curved lines, astrological circles and "daemonic" dot markers. One may wonder why bind-runes seemingly melded with these hermetic sigils in Iceland, or why simplicity was abandoned for complexity and excess. The fact is simply that these traditions were part of the "dark underbelly" of a cosmopolitan Christian society. Though the Church condemned all "pagan" traditions as bad, there was a sense that those which drew on some sort of Greco-Roman or Levantine background were "less bad" because they were a known quantity to the upper echelons of Christian society, and quasi-Judaic systems were even less persecuted than that due to their alleged Solomonic/biblical connection. It may, in the end, be a question of will - was the will of Iceland's intellectuals to be part of this new Europe greater than their will to preserve their culture intact? Or were they simply preserving what they could of their ancient magick system by disguising it in a more "acceptable" Mediterranean garb, hoping to avoid its near-total loss as in mainland Scandinavia?

The irony is that, from a magickal standpoint, too many runes (not to mention other, extraneous symbols) stuck into a bind-rune can cause energetic ambiguity even when they are distinct enough as to all be clearly visible. This isn't kabbalism where huge complex nets of inexplicable lines and dots are required to reach some effect. And it also is not a parliament or senate legislative process, where various pet projects and earmark bills for special lobbies are simply tacked onto totally unrelated laws as a condition for majority approval by an assembly composed of far too many professional litigators, and far too little common sense. Simplicity is the key to bind-rune magick, not excess noise. Too much complexity chokes a bind-rune, often with too many elements and energies canceling each other out. I shall elaborate more on this simplicity ethic in a later article.