Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Vegvísir, or "Runic Compass"


Wikipedia version of the symbol. What does it mean? Apparently Blogger doesn't want you to know for sure!


What happened to the Vegvísir post?  Censorship in the name of “copyright”.

If you are looking for information on the Vegvísir or "runic compass", I must inform you that for the second time the information I has compiled was deleted, and I am not going to attempt to put it up a third time. I will only give the clue that it indeed contains some runic symbolism, but that this was heavily modified with curved lines and such to appear to the medieval Church as a harmless drawing rather than a runic magickal stave. I believe that the claims of "copyright infringement" against both my original and rewritten posts on this symbol are frivolous as I did my own research into the symbol and credited all the images of the symbol that I used (and even gave their makers some free publicity). However Blogger still saw fit so censor the entire thing AGAIN without specifying which part they had a problem with. 

Last summer, I had to completely delete and rewrite everything in this post, offline and from scratch, due to repeated harassment and frivolous “copyright” claims. Since the claims made no specific references, I changed much of the post numerous times inasmuch as I could without losing its substance, hoping whatever the harasser perceived as “infringement” would be gone. Rather than agreeing to such an amicable solution, they filed a DCMA complaint aimed at silencing the now heavily altered post. Then blogger support desk sent me this email (abridged here for brevity):


Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

[...]


If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. DMCA notices concerning content on your blog may also result in action taken against any associated AdSense accounts. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.

So essentially the deal was, if you remove the “offending content” then re-posting the rest is okay. I wrote to Blogger Support asking them to show which material constituted infringement... and getting no response for several days, I slowly began to realize that this complaint was not some well-meaning cautious attempt to comply with copyright law, or even a matter of a misguided vigilante who somehow imagined I may have copied their material, but rather a game of “who blinks first”. Support Desk did not respond to my emails at all, so it appears they have no interest in explaining themselves, and are simply waiting for me to take the bait. Hence why I deleted and rewrote the entire post instead.

UPDATE as of January 23, 2017, Blogger once AGAIN took down the post, even though it was completely rewritten from scratch. They send the exact same email again and claim there is another DMCA complaint. However on a quick search of the "Lumen database" where these things are recorded, I only found the same two old complaints from summer of last year. There is no new complaint regarding the rewritten version of the post at all. Blogger unilaterally took down the new post without any actual complaint being filed. They still did not respond to my initial inquiry so I don't see much point in asking them the same questions again.

Remember, this was a completely redone-from-scratch post that they took down. It contained NONE of the content of the previous post which was taken down, and there have been NO new complaints against it since the rewrite. 

Now that particular post probably wasn't all that significant. But freedom of speech has been violated, ironically in the name of “legality” itself, so the threat is real. In earlier times, people with independent beliefs or who honored the old ways would simply be burned. Today it seems, they are digitally censored on a rumor and threatened with bankruptcy. Take it down and you're fine. But the community of runers, Odinists and Ásatrúars is ultimately poorer for it.

What's more disturbing here is that this sort of action fits into a pattern of behavior by various groups and individuals I have noticed attempting to control the expression of alternative beliefs, symbols, and cultures that do not fit into the “mainstream” consumer mindset being pushed by the media, politicians and other “good shepherds”. Essentially using the law to bully those who refuse to bleat with the sheep. After reading Richard's excellent post on HonorTheRoots regarding social media censorship of the Black Sun, another Germanic symbol worthy of exploration, I realized that his experience and mine are not very different. Particularly telling is his following insight: 

While it is clear that the church has lost its power over society, somewhere we have enemies who want to control the revival of our ancient religion. What I learned from posting the Black Sun was that the people in charge consider it a dangerous symbol. But the story is much deeper than that. It was a realization I came to slowly, but whole heartedly. The people in charge want to control the revival of our ancient religion.

This is ultimately what this sort of harassment comes down to: censorship. There are some people who want to control the revival of primal Indo-European spiritual paths. Not to destroy or squash it, no – they are more subtle than that – but rather to mold the revival into ignoble or feeble-minded directions, into an artificial “orthodoxy” of blind repetition without knowledge, much as has happened to other religions or philosophies that began by ruffling too many feathers. And to do that, they have to censor independent voices and promote only groups and speakers who will toe their line and not think too much.

Do I absolutely know for sure that this second takedown was due to censorship? Can I prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Blogger purely intended to prevent me from posting anything about the Vegvísir at all, when other people have done so without incident? Can I prove that there is someone particularly malicious at Blogger Support who takes down blog posts without there even existing a new DMCA notice in the past couple of months or at least pertinent to the latest version of the post?

No, unfortunately I cannot. But you see, this is what makes the situation so perverse. They don't respond to my questions and don't leave any paper trail; There is no way to "prove" it in court, and to contest their takedown at all would take an agreement to arbitration by a court, with far more legal and financial resources than your average blogger has. I think it is stupid that DMCA entails procedures that require you to give out your personal information and retain an attorney merely to overturn one frivolous takedown notice and get a single blog post unlocked - this is a non-commercial blog, I don't make a dime from it. They take down a post written from scratch, cite the same old outdated and now-irrelevant complaints that they used on the old post, and once again threaten to delete my blog. Do I know why they chose to target the Vegvísir instead of some other symbol? Your guess is as good as mine. But I do know that they removed a totally rewritten post with no offending material (and indeed it is doubtful if there was any in the old post either).

Therefore, I regret to inform my viewers that I may be posting less often than I previously did. This is not a given, but it is looking more and more likely as Blogger seems determined to censor certain topics with these frivolous copyright claims. One day I may write another, far more concise explanation of the Vegvísir but for now this is apparently a symbol that Blogger believes I am not allowed to touch or explain the esoteric meanings of. Perhaps in a hidden way, this may be for the best. I do not want to reveal all I know of runelore publicly, only that which I believe cannot be used for harmful purposes - for a fuller understanding of it, one really must learn face-to-face from a teacher as in the old days. That said, I am not planning to take down this blog, I believe there is still much useful information to be explored and recorded. However I am seriously considering moving this blog to another platform that is less draconian in its actions. We all know that Blogger is now the property of Google, whose owners don't exactly have the greatest track record of respecting the religious freedom of Indo-European traditions. Be mindful, and if you see this post disappear too, know that it is for reasons that have nothing to do with “infringement”.

May the wisdom of Odin, light of Freyr, strength of Thor, and justice of Tyr be with you.



*As a side note, when I tried looking at the offender's own website to see what the heck they claimed I had “infringed” from them, it turned out the site contains malware, it set off my antivirus on a “red alert” so it blocked their URL and my browser won't touch it - which means I could not even view their material, let alone “infringe” on it, except at great and foolish risk to my own computer and data.

So the person who accused me of copyright infringement is themselves apparently running a hacking/malware site... why am I not surprised?

28 comments:

  1. Lovely Blog... Very informative. Thankyou for sharing all this:)
    I would like to learn more...

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    1. Thanks! Keep visiting, the new and upcoming posts are even more informative than these early ones.

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  2. The origin of this type of witchcraft is difficult to ascertain: to some extent it derives from medieval mysticism and renaissance occultism, compass tattoo

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    1. That may indeed be possible, though in my view it's more likely that it derived from the ancient runes and perhaps ended up giving rise to medieval occultism, in combination with Hermetic/mediterranean symbols. Also another possibility is that the classic western compass tattoo symbol, which you pointed out, may derive from the ancient Macedonian sunburst symbol used by Alexander's empire.

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  3. Been searching for this kind of explanation. thank you

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  4. Is there a right place on the body to get this tatoo? Can we get it on the back?

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    1. The back should not be a problem (upper back anyway), it is not an offensive area for this symbol, though it may seem a little odd that anyone would have a compass (meant to prevent getting lost) on their back where they can't even see it.... but before you tattoo any sort of runic or magickal symbol it is advisable to understand and meditate on its meanings, decide if you really feel a connection to what it represents before you make it a permanent part of yourself.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Although the design is not intended to be a compass, if you consider it as such for the purpose of my question, can you explain why the North stave is the same as the South-west stave? I notice that on the Huld manuscript version the SW stave has an extra half circle, which would make it differ slightly. Which is correct? I have this as a tattoo on my arm and wish it to be as accurate as possible.

    Thanks.

    Richard

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    1. Hi Richard,

      I would go with the Huld version as it is the oldest and most detailed of them. Unfortunately it's not even very old (I find myself laughing when some people dismiss the Armanen Futharkh for not being "ancient enough" - despite the fact that all its runes are present in some form in historical rune rows - and yet they sport a 1940 version Vegvisir and insist that it's thousands of years old!), but you really can't do better than Huld since the other versions all came later and seem to be merely simplifications/watered-down versions of it. And you're right, the SW stave should be different from the north stave, if we truly want to keep in line with the idea that this symbol protects from eight different types of calamities, storms, or confusions. Yet another reason to go with the Huld form.

      The good thing about this is that if your tattooed version is simpler than the Huld version, you can just have the tattoo artist add in the missing elements.

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  7. In getting this as a tattoo, would it be offensive or in bad taste to have a smear/splatter of red behind it or encircling it to represent how it was originally drawn on in blood?

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    1. I don't think it would be offensive to most Heathens per se, it would just look odd. The Vegvisir, unlike the Aegishjalmur, is a stave charm for spiritual navigation and preventing loss of direction - NOT a stave for battle, brute force, or protection from physical foes. Hence it would look odd to associate it with blood. I'm not saying it was never drawn in blood - I wasn't there personally centuries ago - but from what the sources indicate I think it's far more likely this symbol was carved in wood and in some cases may not have even been stained with blood. Whereas the Aegishjalmur was indeed drawn in blood (usually a small animal's blood) on the forehead of a warrior to protect him in battle.

      So I would avoid tattooing blood effects on a Vegvisir, as they simply aren't relevant to its purpose - but the Aegishjalmur is likely fair game. However I would avoid getting any tattoo unless I fully understand its meaning and also avoid getting Aegishjalmur, Valknut, or other warrior symbols tattooed unless am prepared to essentially take a warrior's oath to either Odin, Freyja or Tyr, and accept the possibility that by making this warrior symbol part of me, I am marking myself for life with a visual oath to the Gods, and I MIGHT die violently if they see fit to test that oath, to prove if I am worthy of their halls and of the warrior symbols. If you're not prepared to accept that, you may want to stick with the Vegvisir or another non-warrior or non-blood related symbol.

      Of course being incredibly hairy myself, I personally won't be getting any sort of tattoos anytime soon. But that's just my two cents based on my experience of how various Heathen tattoos are typically understood by Asatruars.

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    2. Thank you - I appreciate that very much, it's very helpful. Glad I asked first!!

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  8. Well Can you help me?
    The Vegvisir
    It can be tattooed anywhere on the body?

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    1. The precise location for Vegvisir or most other runic symbols is not all that important, as long as it is somewhere that you can easily look at it yourself and it is not somewhere "below the belt" that would imply disrespect to the symbol. Generally this should not be an issue given most people's physical patterns of pain tolerance.

      Generally most people who have Norse ancestry (or who at least practice Asatru), and tattoo any Norse symbols, tend to do it somewhere on the upper body - so that is probably the best way to go.

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  9. Can I 'design' one myself? Respectimg the ancient paterns and meaning behing the symbolism of the staves.
    Customise it so to speak so it may suit me better.

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  10. You can, but it's probably a good idea to check out the website Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft first. Chances are whatever meaning you want to put into a stave, has already been done by the ancient Vitkar of Iceland centuries ago and proven effective in the experience of their culture. They were not the sole invention of one person but were a product of the culture over many centuries, and the esoteric symbolism of other Germanic cultures (aside from the runes) would have likely been different as well.

    Also it is a good idea to read my post on the Armanen Runes because it contains lore-based reconstructed esoteric meanings, which can transpose pretty well to the other rune systems (and give clues to a lot of questions about their own cryptic rune poems) given they have a lot of runes in common. This is important because most galdrastafir are basically heavily modified bind-runes or arrays of bind-runes. Some of them were altered a bit in medieval times, possibly due to Christian rule... the symbols may have had to be altered to as not to look too overtly runic or Heathen, and be too cryptic to attract unwanted attention from the church. So it is essential to have a good working knowledge of esoteric runes before constructing new galdrastafir, and it can reveal a lot by looking at ancient galdrastafir already in use.

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  11. I was wondering if there's a significant difference between the round and the square version?

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    1. Not really. So long as you follow the most extensive version (Huld) in terms of the symbols, without omissions, making it round doesn't really make a difference. According to Fen Alraun, "Little change is made to the power of the charm by making the staves all the same length. This effectively fits the charm inside a circle. There is no change to the charm because the symbols themselves have not changed". The only problem with most of the round versions you find on rings and pendants today is that they actually omit some of the details found in the square Huld version, but it's definitely possible to make it round without omitting these details or any of its potency.

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  12. Hello, I have a doubt and thought maybe you can help me out. In the huld manuscript there is another galdlastafur just below the vegvisir that's marked with number XXIX and as long as I know is considered a part of the vegvisir spell. Well my first question is if you know something about it and why people tend to use only the squared (or rounded) spell of the vegvisir and not the below gadlastafur. The second question is about the "A" that's at the bottom of the spell (still the one marked as XXIX in huld manuscript) is that part of the spell or it's the name of the author? I had a discussion about it with a friend that does litographys and he suggested it my be the initial of the drawer's name, but I'm not convinced about it. Thanks in advance for the reply and for the interesting blog!

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    1. It's a separate stave. They should not be combined. It's important to remember that the writers of these manuscripts compiled Galdrastafir not necessarily in a particular order, and each one meant something different.

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  13. Well.. In one way this lead be to your blog... So err.. I don't want to say Thankyou for your harasser but there we go.

    My friend posted an odd "what's you pagan name" and I was amused at the choice of symbol as Vegvisir seemed a random choice. But I couldn't remember the name, went to Google and the bottom mentioned a link had been removed... Which in this topic I found perplexing which had this link.
    I do hope you manage to get the original article up one day in some iteration has it sounds very intertest.

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    1. It will have to be in a different site or on a different platform. Because the article is basically blacklisted on Blogger now.

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  14. I've read your post a few years ago, and it was so detailed and fascinating. But when I tried to find it again, unfortunately I saw what happened to it.
    Is there a way you can send it to me privately on e-mail?

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  15. Well, for that to happen you have to give me your email address first...

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    1. Sure - jakovljevicsale@gmail.com
      Thank you.

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    2. Drake61947@gmail.com as well

      Thank you

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  16. Hello Cyrus. I'm really sorry for all of this. It's ridiculous what they have done. I never read your post and I'm really really interested. May I have it for Email like the other? If you can send to stefano.scalfari@gmail.com
    Thanks man!

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