Saturday, February 17, 2018

Armanen Rune-Yoga Lesson 4: OS-Rune

By popular request, I am posting my basic Rune-Yoga lessons on here for educational use!

Rune-Yoga, or Stadhagaldr, is a unique part of the Armanen tradition, per S.A. Kummer, going back to ancient Rune-Masters as a physical and spiritual meditation exercise for both warriors and mystics, and has some parallels in other Indo-European exercise traditions. It is heavily based in Od-energy work. Rune-Yoga postures are practiced standing up, forming the shape of the Rune to manifest its energy flow. The text in this basic course is my own, though heavily inspired by the work of Guido von List, S.A. Kummer, and Karl Spiesberger. Some of what you see here will look very familiar to you if you have read their books, and some things will be new, based on my own insights and experience in the practice.

Rune-Yoga has its own terminology, mostly in Old Norse and Old High German. Postures or Asanas are called Stodhr. Rune Mantras are called Galdr. The Mudras or hand positions are called Handstodhr. The Handstodhr can be practiced in a sitting pose, either silently or while singing the same rune's Galdr, anywhere that practicing full Stadhagaldr is not possible. There are also some more advanced Handstodhr combinations used in a live Rune-Yoga session.
Rune #4: OS

Meanings: Speech, discussion, charisma, charm, success as a speaker, Odinic energies, Aesir, God-speech, breath which evolves, idea of that which is given, of that which is evolving. Suggestion, persuasion, freedom, mouth, uterus.

OS is the subtle counterpart to THORN. Where THORN is brute force, OS is the soft power of suggestion, the silver tongue rather than the iron fist. Use the OS-Rune to manifest confidence and ease of speech, boost memory, and remove social anxieties. It is also the rune most often associated with Odin, thus it is a rune of inspiration and leadership.

OS-Rune Asana or Stadha: Stand upright, facing reverse direction. Hands together, arms pointing down roughly 30 degrees. Left leg raised straight to align with arms. Balance well with this Rune-Stadha.

OS-Rune Mantra or Galdr: o o o o o o / Os Os Os / Os Oes Ois Oss Aus / os ol odh / As ask ast ans ansuz asa asha

OS-Rune Mudra or Handstadha: Thumb and index finger touch in a pointed oval; other fingers can either be curled up or aligned with index finger. This forms a mouth, representing the Divine Speech of "Os".


  1. What’s the evidence, exactly, for there being an Ancient Rune gymnastics practice? I’ve read about Stav, and I find it hard to believe that there was an unbroken lineage of such (I’ll refer you to this website, as reasons why:

    As for other Indo-European exercise traditions, I have heard of ‘Persian Yoga’, that has happened to be used by the warriors of Iran. Other than that (and the Yoga from India), are there any other exercise systems?

    1. The lineage of Rune Gymnastik has been an esoteric one for the past thousand years so it's not like there's a lot of public documentation of it. However one can certainly say that some of the Germanic martial arts of later times like 'Glima' and the continental 'Ringen' are in part derived from the limb movements that Armanen Rune-yoga prepares you for.

      That article on Stav tells part of the story, but not the whole story. Stav as an ancestral tradition in Ivar's family is not all that controversial... the part that Ivar innovated was the uses of a Zweihander and a "throwing hammer" because the students liked these weapons. The rest of Stav - the rune postures and the basic staff exercises - are his family heritage. I know some people like to either make fun of Stav or claim that it's "fake"... but the reality is, Ivar had to make some changes to Stav for marketing purposes when he started teaching because of modern tastes.

      That article also makes a strange charge: "When one has experienced the authority the Japanese enjoy over their arts, it may appear attractive to have your own. In this regard, Stav does raise some concern, as it seems to share some characteristics with certain weird martial arts "cults". The curious might join to learn to kick ass like the Vikings, but soon they may be involved with runes, Norse gods, the web of Wyrd, and claims of healing powers involving energy flows. Again, some Stav students have informed me that Ivar is not that kind of "Master""

      My question to such people would be, what's wrong with runes, Norse gods, Wyrd, energy flows, etc.? How is this a "cult" in the negative modern "mind control" sense? These are basic elements of Rune-magick to begin with, so if you're learning a Runic martial art, then yes you will also learn some Germanic/Norse cosmology and of course Runes. OF COURSE. Not sure how any of that is a bad thing. If you learn Shaolin Kung-Fu, you will also learn some Buddhist concepts. Doesn't mean you have to become a devout Buddhist. If you learn Systema today, with the pre-Soviet traditions restored, you will learn about some Russian Orthodox ideals. But you certainly don't have to be an Orthodox Christian to train in Systema. With Stadhagaldr, nobody is forcing you to believe anything about the Aesir or the Runes or about Wyrd or Od-energy. That's just the cultural context that comes with it.

      I have spoken with some Armanists in Germany who maintained that Stadhagaldr was passed down through their families until Clan Lauterer (one of the main Armanen families in neighboring Austria) initiated Guido von List into it, sometime after the publication of The Secret of the Runes. List did not publish on the art during his lifetime, but the next generation of modern Armanists who learned from him, did.

      As for other Indo-European traditions, yes the 'Persian Yoga' (Pahlavani or Zurkhaneh) is a big one. It evolved from actual military exercises with shields, swords, maces and weighted bows. Another major one that is often forgotten, is the Russian grappling tradition, which in modern times was reformulated by the Soviets into Roku-Pashni-Boj, Sambo, and Systema (technically Sambo is more of a mixed martial art, but Systema is largely copied from the old "close fight" traditions of Slavic warriors). Russian traditional boxing is also pretty old, and developed some unique group-attack rituals, apparently also including training methods like standing on each other's shoulders, with arm posture similar to the Man-rune.

    2. Also, the claim by that website that Stav was invented to give Europeans their "own" martial art like the Japanese have, is simply misleading. Europe has had many martial arts schools, mostly involving swords, but also some unarmed ones. Many of them were even written into rather expensive books in late Medieval and Renaissance times. We don't hear a lot about them in the media (obviously) but Europe certainly was not lacking for a diverse range of martial arts (most of them German, though the sword schools had plenty of Italian and French forms too).

      If Ivar Hafskjold really was as shady as his detractors allege (make a public name for yourself in any Indo-European spiritual or martial practice long enough, and you will get these accusations, doesn't matter who you are) then he would have simply ripped off these European martial traditions. It's strange that his detractors try to make parallels between Stav and unarmed Japanese fighting styles, rather than armed Germanic ones, given that modern Stav uses weapons, including ones far more ancient than a two-handed great-sword. Stav is not Japanese in any case. Of course, it's not too surprising there are some parallels between a few moves of certain (not all) Japanese martial arts and Stav - just like there's nothing really profound in the fact that the angular shapes of Younger Futhark runes bear some resemblance to the simplified Japanese characters known as "katakana". It's obvious that neither one "copied" the other, they evolved independently.

      Likewise, any sort of martial arts system focusing on hard strikes and economy of motion, will share some things with other systems using the same general attack philosophy, even if they arrived there from totally different starting points. So the fact that some of the Stav moves superficially resemble some aspects of the more hard-strike Japanese systems is not all that strange. By contrast, softer flowing movements with more complex motions, like in Qigong and some Kung-fu schools, bear more of a resemblance to the curving motions in Systema. But that certainly doesn't make them the same as Systema. Ivar's only "sin" (from a purist perspective) is that he decided to add a few new things to Stav to make it more exciting to a modern audience. But he *never* claimed that even the "purer" Stav his father taught him, was identical to its Viking-age incarnation. Martial arts, like Runic practices, gradually do evolve, even within a lineage. And claiming he made the whole thing up, or simply copied Japanese martial arts, is a huge stretch of the imagination.

      Of course none of this "proves" that Ivar Hafskjold is the heir of a centuries-old family tradition. Just like, aside from a few ancient rock carvings, the Stadhagaldr tradition is not "well-documented" in public monuments or artifacts (which were often expensive to produce). But then again, few ancient Heathen practices are - what survives in artifacts is simply what wasn't destroyed in the following centuries of chaos and dogma. And when esoteric knowledge was forced underground by the Church for so long, it often stayed hidden long after the persecution ended. And not everyone who survived it was as willing to print and mass-produce books of their hidden knowledge as the (semi-tolerated in Christendom) alchemists and Hermetists of the Renaissance. So a lot of the truth about the ancient roots of esoteric societies and traditions can't be readily documented, and to a large extent we have to evaluate such cases on whether the criticisms are flawed, and whether the circumstances of the narrative make sense. Overall, with Stav it seems they do make sense. With Stadhagaldr I know they do, but again I can't force agreement out of anyone. I trust the people I learned from, trust which is not easily earned.

  2. The article never denied that there were European martial systems: “There was never much need for secret martial family traditions in any part of Europe, since we have been almost permanently at war since the times of Pericles or thereabouts.” He did say here, however, that there was never any need for secrecy - unlike that of Eastern Martial Arts. Yes, EMA has been largely ignored, due to the supremacy of AMA - that is a shame (though not a surprise, in today’s anti-Europe world). If it really was true that Stav was a secret and was real, then I believe there would’ve been at least a couple of documents discovered that could confirm its existence - like the Icelandic Grimoires, the Nag Hammadi, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. That there’s only one man involved that ‘carried’ this tradition through definitely does merit suspicion - especially if he himself did learn the Jo staff and Aiki-jujitsu, studying Japan.

    There are many martial frauds out there, using grandiose stories to give an air of mystery. They’ll use words like ‘ninja’, ‘chi power’, ‘no-contact power’, ‘death touch’ - all in order to cheat credulous people out of money. Look at Ashida Kim, George Dillman, Juan Hombre, Frank Deux, etc. as examples of such. Folk tales of Shaolin, Wudang, are also largely made of legends. The monks in Shaolin didn’t practice martial arts, but had warriors there to protect the property - much like all properties in China at that time. I’ll refer you to a serious article on this, by Michael Schaefer:

    As for Clan Lauter, I searched that term, and came across a man named Ernst Lauter, who also claimed to be part of an ‘unbroken’ line of Rune masters. That there’s only one man as evidence is very much the same, bad enough as Ivar’s claim to an ancient martial art. Did Guido von List ever mention about such an Ernst Lauter? If List was initiated into Lauter’s Rune Yoga regimen, it would make sense for him to mention such practice - right? Otherwise, the only real origin for Rune Yoga would be from Marby, and adopted by Kummer - and all such other theories be mere hearsay.

  3. By the way, are there any pictures of ancient rock carvings depicting poses similar to Rune Yoga?

  4. I'm not sure of what Ivar did in Japan, or if the claim about Jo and Aiki-Jitsu is reliable or not. Again, this is a website I've never come across before, written by someone I don't know and thus I don't know if the claims against him on that site are truly credible or not. No former students of his are quoted by name, other than Graham Butcher himself who wrote that book the webmaster is reviewing. If they prefer not to talk, that's up to them, but it would be interesting to know why nobody went "on the record" to "expose" Stav if it's really everything the webmaster claims it is.

    Ernst Lauterer (not Lauter) was actually very close to Guido von List, after List published The Secret of the Runes, he became well-known in Vienna's esoteric circles and this encouraged Ernst Lauterer (Master Tarnhari to his followers) to basically come out of hiding as a hereditary Armanen Rune-master and herald List as the reviver of Armanenschaft in the modern age. Ernst Lauterer spoke of an ancient prophecy in his family, that the one to herald the emergence of the Armanen into the public knowledge would be a man who reveals the meanings of the Runes independently of the Lauterers and other unbroken Armanen traditions, by means of an Odinic vision into the ancestral memories of his own (long-broken, that is, List's) ancestral Runic tradition. This man would reveal the Runes as the Armanen knew them, but without ever having previously met the hereditary clans... he would be be the new Herald of Wotan, guided by Allfather to the hidden nature of Runes and the entire magickal culture of the ancient "Gar-manen" or Germanen, of whom the Armanen were the mystics and seers. Once The Secret of the Runes was published, Lauterer was certain that List was this man, and he wrote him a letter and later met him in person, and was instrumental in helping start the List society and the HAO (High Armanen Order) which was its core leadership.

    Clan Lauterer is one of a number of such Armanen families in Germany and Austria. Clan Fischbach is another. They became heavily involved in the Guido von List society and its ritual work. Several founding members of his societies came from such long-obscured lineages (Clan Wachler, Clan Rohmeder, Clan von Pickl, etc.), it was not only Tarnhari. There is not a lot of written material in English about these groups and lineages, but they clearly considered Guido von List to be an inheritor of their traditions through a spiritual Palingenesis. After the publication of his first Rune-book, they confirmed his visions of Runes and kernel-words and taught him much of the ways of their traditions. Most of this knowledge was gradually condensed into ten volumes of Armanen cultural writings by List, collectively known as the Guido von List "Library".

    And yes, there are some pictures of the rock carvings with those poses. They are mostly Nordic Bronze Age, a number of these red-ochre human figures show postures similar to Ka, Sig, Tiwo (Bronze-age variant of Tyr), Man, Eh (as well as "Elder" Ehwaz).

  5. As a side note, I find the comparison misleading where that site says “There was never much need for secret martial family traditions in any part of Europe, since we have been almost permanently at war since the times of Pericles or thereabouts.” If the idea is that Eastern martial arts were more secretive because their society was more peaceful, I would beg to differ. China was at war with itself for at least 4,000 years. Japan has had multiple civil war periods(the Sengoku jidai was only the last and best-documented). The Samurai date back a further 500 years. And before them there were other classes of "bushi" fighting in the Yamato and Heian periods to consolidate Imperial supremacy over the country. One particularly bad ancient war saw the agricultural southern kingdom of Wa get annihilated by the (then more nomadic) Yamato. Asian cultures, like European ones, were at war for much of their existence. The reason for the secrecy of SOME of their martial traditions, is that they focused on far more than just swinging swords, and often involved extensive study of both deep meditation and the human anatomy, something that was largely forgotten in Europe between Imperial Rome and the age of Vesalius. Like it or not, they developed ways of conditioning warriors that they deemed valuable enough to keep secret from enemies. The proliferation of scam "kung fu societies" in modern times only speaks to the yearning of people to learn such secrets in a "fast track" without making the necessary sacrifices.

    To my knowledge, Ivar Hafskjold's claim about Stav is that it's both a martial and spiritual practice - he isn't going around saying it will cure cancer or solve world hunger, but he does make it clear there is a spiritual side to the practice - whereas in the time of Church dominance, most European fighting systems were purely martial, and had little or no spiritual content, as the medieval Church essentially considered the human body to be separate from and inferior to Spirit - the body is impure, fallen, corrupt, flesh must be mortified periodically, its mysteries are not for exploration, dissections and autopsies were banned by Canon Law and so on. They also were not too amenable to the sorts of mystical meditation and trance-states that are common in Asian martial arts, though a pagan outlook on the world would easily accommodate for such meditations. Some orthodox Muslim states have historically had many of the same sorts of problems with Sufis (and some of the seemingly superhuman trance states and pain resistance they achieve) for similar reasons.

    There's such a reason for secrecy in some martial/spiritual traditions, as they are seen often as both a spiritual and a potential military threat, should they ever organize and train large numbers of angry peasants against the state, and condition them to resist ten times the pain a normal man can handle. And I suspect that this was just as much the case in Europe as anywhere else. But such people obviously would not have been the famous church-sanctioned swordmasters and dueling-manual authors that we read about. A Runic tradition, for obvious reasons, would have tried to leave as few written records as possible during medieval times. Is Stav a legitimate art? I do not claim to know absolutely. I do not know Ivar personally, though even if he;s the real deal, it's unlikely that Stav's martial aspect is an exact clone to its ancient antecedents. However, I will give you this; Stadhagaldr as it currently exists is not a "martial" art in the sense of using fighting postures, arm locks, or weapons. However it does produce real results of focus and energy control in both body and mind, which are just as important for both the warrior and mystic. I can vouch for its effects. And chances are, if you had asked me about it a decade ago, my answer (far less informed or experienced) would have been far more skeptical.

    1. I’ll put the effort into searching those clans in the future, if I could (or if possible, at this time). In the mean time, I’ll leave you alone - allow you to focus on your work.