Stephen Flowers

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Stephen Edred Flowers
Stephen Edred Flowers

(1953-05-05) 5 May 1953 (age 68)
Other namesEdred Thorsson, Darban-i-Den
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin
EmployerAustin Community College
Known forRunology, Runosophy, Germanic Neopaganism, Odianism, Mazdaism
Spouse(s)Crystal Dawn Flowers (b. October 29, 1960)

Stephen Edred Flowers (born May 5, 1953), commonly known as Stephen E. Flowers, and also by the pen-names Edred Thorsson, and Darban-i-Den, is a former American professor and runologist,[citation needed] and proponent of occultism, Odianism, Germanic mysticism, Asatru, and Mazdaism. He helped establish the Germanic Neopagan movement in North America and has also been active in Left-Hand Path occult organizations. He has over three dozen published books and hundreds of published papers and translations on a disparate range of subjects. Flowers advocates "Esoteric Runology", "runosophy" and "Odianism" (occultist aspects of Germanic Neopaganism).[1]


The Bonham, Texas-born scholar was the only son of Betty Jane Eden, daughter of Edred Cosgrove Eden (1888-1945). In 1960 his family moved to Dallas.

In September 1971 Flowers left for Germany, where he spent his first two months there studying at the Goethe Institut in Prien am Chiemsee and traveling around central Europe. At the Institut he became involved in the Sadean world[clarification needed] of the Chateau Society (Burggesellschaft) and in the Order of the Trapezoid (Triskelenorden), and was sworn to secrecy regarding these matters for 18 years.

Returning to Dallas, Flowers attended the Bryan Adams High School (class of 1971 (September 1972-May 1973)). He joined the Church of Satan in 1972 though he reportedly never became involved with the organization beyond receiving their newsletter, The Cloven Hoof.

In the summer of 1974 Flowers moved to Austin and did his graduate work in Germanic and Celtic philology under professor and scholar Edgar Polomé at the University of Texas at Austin from 1973-1984.

In June 1974, while riding in the backseat of a car from Houston to Austin, Flowers says that he heard the sound roonah. This experience was the first milestone in his journey.[2]

In 1978 Flowers joined the Asatru Free Assembly (old AFA) where he was one of the earliest members, with membership number 072. In May 1979 he received an M.A. degree with a thesis entitled “Rebirth and Rites of Transformation in the Saga of Sigurðr Sigmundarson”, (This was later released on a limited basis within the Rune-Gild under the title Sigurðr, Rebirth and Initiation, and republished as “Sigurðr: Rebirth and the Rites of Transformation” in 2015), and also founded the Austin "skeppslag" (later kindred) of the AFA. In 1980 he was initiated as a goði by Stephen A. McNallen.

Logo of the Rune-Gild with Elder Futhark and Triskelion

In Yule-Tide 1979/80 Flowers founded the Rune-Gild, an initiatory order focused on "the revival of the elder Runic" tradition, advocating runic magic. Flowers currently is the executive officer, or Yrmin-Drighten, of the Rune-Gild.

In 1981-1982 he studied academic runology at the University of Göttingen, Germany under Klaus Düwel.

Sometime during late 1981 and 1983 he became associated with the Armanen Orden, attending their gatherings at an ancient castle in central Germany, but was never formally or ritually initiated in any of their rites. Contact was again made with the Burggesellschaft.

On November 11, 1983 he founded a small group to explore what he saw as the dark, futuristic undercurrent of Odinism called The Order of Shining Trapezohedron or "O.S.T." (Order of the Shining Trapezoid) which closed on January 13, 1984.

Flowers received his Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Medieval Studies in 1984 with a dissertation entitled Runes and Magic: Magical Formulaic Elements in the Elder Tradition, and began his career as a university lecturer. From 1984-1989 he was a lecturer in the departments of English and Germanic Languages at the University of Texas.

In February 1984 he became a member of the Temple of Set, being recognized to the Second Degree of Adept and to the Priesthood (III°) on October 7, 1984. On November 14, 1986 he was recognized as a Magister Templi (IV°). In November 1987 the AFA (old AFA) collapsed, and on December 20, Thorsson founded the Ring of Troth.

The leadership[3] fell to James Allen Chisholm, with Thorsson remaining as a spiritual advisor. In 1989 Meek and others began a campaign again Thorsson, “exposing” him of practicing dark arts and being a member of the Temple of Set, although this was well known within the Asatru community and was never a secret. In the Summer of 1990 he was recognized to the Fifth Degree of the Temple of Set. The O.S.T. served as a segue into his involvement with the Temple of Set, an organization in which he currently holds the degree of Ipsissimus VI°. Within the Temple of Set he served as Grand Master of the Order of the Trapezoid from January 1987 until June 1996. In 1990 he met his wife, Crystal Dawn. It was also during this time that the 18-year ban on manifestation of the Order of the Triskelion (Triskelenorden) was lifted - an organization for the practice of operant Sadeanism and Carnal Alchemy, founded in early 1991 by Thorsson and Dawn.

In March 1992 the administrative power of the Ring of Troth was handed over to Prudence Priest and a full contingency of Rede members by Chisholm, which gave Thorsson the ability to spend most of his time to matters pertaining to the Rune-Gild. In 1993 Thorsson and Dawn bought 30 acres of wilderness east of Austin and adjacent to Buescher State Park, named Woodharrow, on which the future history of the Gild and of the many of Thorsson's many other undertakings would be written. At the end of 1993 they moved to Woodharrow and over the next two years built up the physical facilities on the land where a meeting hall was erected and completed in 1996.

In 1993 the publishing company Rûna-Raven Press formerly began and continued to develop over the years. In the Spring of 1995, due to inner turmoil, Thorsson withdrew from any involvement with the Ring of Troth. In August 1995 he and Dawn traveled to Iceland and England to strengthen the work of the Rune-Gild. In April 1996 Thorsson retired from his position as Grand Master of the Order of the Trapezoid in order to focus more intently on Rune-Gild matters.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

After issues surrounding and damage done to Rûna-Raven Press in 2011, Flowers was sued by friend and business partner Waldo Thompson, which resulted in closing operations on September 20, 2012,[5][13][14][15] Flowers later established Lodestar, "a project growing to ever expanding levels of communication for the ideas and practices of the Indo-European, Germanic, Mazdan and Left Hand Path traditions" and being the "legitimate inheritors of the mission of Runa-Raven Press."[16] registering the website on May 31, 2014 by registrant, Edward Flowers.

As reported in February 2015, the Woodharrow Institute is still in operation, but as a “subsidiary of the Occidental Temple of the Wise Lord and has expanded its mission to the study of all Indo-European traditions, with an emphasis on the Germanic, Celtic, and Iranian.”[5]

February 2015 also saw the announcement that prisoners will no longer be able to actively participate in the Rune-Gild, due to the institutions reformation in that the system “is based on personal, face-to-face interaction and communication, as well as the establishment of local Halls.” To fill the need of incarcerated Runers, Thorsson generated a new organization called the Runic Brotherhood.[17]

Flowers was last known to be teaching classes in the Humanities at Austin Community College.

Flowers is currently director of the Woodharrow Institute of Germanic Studies and former owner and operator of Rûna-Raven Press, which he states, "The mission of Rûna-Raven goes beyond mere “book-selling”— the purpose of Rûna-Raven is transformative. Transformation occurs when knowledge is put into action. But for the changes to be strong and true, the knowledge must be accurate. Therefore, we constantly attempt to bring increasing amounts of the highest quality scholarship — exoteric and esoteric — to you. Rûna-Raven to provide a knowledgeable reading public with the best material and most reliable service in a variety of “cutting edge” fields— with a concentration in the areas of Germanic lore and magic as well as left-hand path studies. Rûna-Raven's mission is to publish deeper level works in the Germanic tradition that larger and more commercial houses will not print."


In 1989, Flowers was expelled from the Odinic Rite (OR)[18] following his Open Letter to the Leadership of the Asatru/Odinist/Troth Movement[19] wherein he detailed his involvement with the Temple of Set. Thorsson later responded in full to this condemnation by the OR.[20][21][22][19][23]

Sweyn Plowright, a former member of the Rune Gild who resigned from the organization in 2000,[24][25] has referred to the philosophy of Flowers as being "neo-Satanic" and antinomian.[26] As with others, he has propagated the belief that Flowers writings on Runes and Germanic Native Faith (Asatru/Odinism) is polluted with Setian/Satanic philosophy and ideals. Flowers has responded to these accusations,[20][27][21][22][19][23] as have others.[4] Flowers has also stated that he is "... not a Satanist but may be characterized as a practitioner of the left-hand path based on purely indigenous Indo-European models."[28]

He has also been criticized by Freya Aswynn.[29]

As of September 20, 2012, Flowers' publishing house, Rûna-Raven Press, ceased operations due to "damage done to the business in 2011."[13][14][15] Flowers was sued by friend and business partner, Waldo Thompson.

On March 20, 2013, both Flowers and Stephen McNallen announced that the rights to the Edred Thorsson books formerly published by Rûna-Raven Press were obtained by Asatru Folk Assembly, a white supremacist heathen organization founded by McNallen.[30]


  1. ^ Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology (1987), p. 172.
  2. ^ "The drive home to Austin was a silent one. I sat in the back seat, dozing. Then, audibly, in my ear I Heard the sound (roonah), which is the Word, RÛNA. At once I knew what the word referred to: the Germanic writing system of pre-Christian times...[I] went to the library of the University of Texas at Austin...I checked out a wide variety of books on the subject of runes...This volatile mixture of books, most of which had not been opened or read for years, was the first milestone of my journey. The way was opened when the Word signifying the ultimate Mystery was whispered in my ear, as it resonated over the eternal cycle of Ages." Stephen Edred Flowers, RÛNARMÂL I: The Runa-Talks: Summer 1991ev, Lodestar, 2017, p. 13.
  3. ^ “Mother Night refers to the first twelve nights of the Yule celebration...The ceremony itself was a simple one. Only Thorsson and Chisholm were present at the ceremonial site, a stone altar behind Thorsson’s house in Austin. Thorsson ‘invested’ Chisholm with the steersmanship of the RoT by transferring to him with “appropriate words” several symbols of the foundation of the religion: a Thor’s hammer which Thorsson had worn to the first Ásatrú Free Assembly Althing in 1979, a stone from the Assembly Rock in Iceland, and a twig from an ash tree taken from the site of the last functioning temple of the Old religion at Uppsala, Sweden. This ended with “the declaration that the Ring of Troth was hereby founded with the aim of reestablishing the ancestral faith of the Germanic peoples” (interview with Thorsson, 15 April 1993). James R. Lewis, Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, Syracuse University Press, 1996. p.231, n. 41.
  4. ^ a b Chisholm, James Allen; Appendix A, The Awakening of a Runemaster: The Life of Edred Thorsson, from Thorsson, Edred; Green Rûna - The Runemaster's Notebook: Shorter Works of Edred Thorsson Volume I (1978-1985)", 1993, second improved and expanded edition 1996.
  5. ^ a b c Lodestar IV (February 2015) – Newsletter of the emerging enterprise, Lodestar[permanent dead link].
  6. ^ Flowers, Stephen Edred; Freemasonry and the Germanic Tradition, Rûna-Raven Press, 2008, p. 11
  7. ^ Flowers, Stephen (1995). Black Rûna: Being the Shorter Works of Stephen Edred Flowers Produced for the Order of the Trapezoid of the Temple of Set (1985-1989). p. 11.
  8. ^ "Runes: The Journal of the Order of the Trapezoid" Vol XIV Number 2
  9. ^ Kaplan, Jeffrey; Radical Religion in America: Millenarian Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah, Syracuse University Press, 1997. pp. 21-29, 159-160.
  10. ^ Gardell, Mattias; Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, Duke University Press, 2003. pp. 19, 162-164, 284, 286, 321-323.
  11. ^ Lewis, James R.; Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, State University of New York Press, 1996. pp. 197, 210, 213-224.
  12. ^ Betty A. Dobratz, Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile; “White Power, White Price!” The White Separatist Movement in the United States, Twayne Publishers, 1997. pp. 138, 142.
  13. ^ a b[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 December 2003. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ a b "On Rûna-Raven Press Going Out of Business". 17 August 2012.
  16. ^
  17. ^ “The Runic Brotherhood is an initiatory school of Runic Knowledge based on the Viking Age lore of the Younger Futhark. It stems from the same esoteric stream as the Rune-Gild, but is distinct and separate from it. It is open to prisoners and is tailored to their needs. The Brotherhood will begin operations on April 30, 2015. To enter into the Brotherhood send a letter of petition stating your background and interests along with your first year’s dues of $30.00. Dues will be payable every new year. You will first get a Lore-Book to study which contains unique runelore based on the Viking system. After you have reported on this, you will receive the Work-Book which contains a curriculum of initiatory study. Upon completion of the course, you will be named a vitki of the Brotherhood and receive a certificate. To register as a member, send your first year’s dues to: LODESTAR at P.O. Box 16, Bastrop, Texas 78602.“ - Lodestar IV (February 2015) – Newsletter of the emerging enterprise, Lodestar[permanent dead link].
  18. ^ Odinic Rite Briefing No.86, 14 July 1989. See Thorsson, Edred; “Appendix 15: - ORBriefing: Condemnation of Thorsson” (part 1, 2) from History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007.
  19. ^ a b c Appendix 13: First Response to Attack (part 1, 2, 3). Scans taken from History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007.
  20. ^ a b Thorsson, Edred; “Appendix 16 – Response to OR’s Condemnation” (part 1, 2.) from History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007. See also related "Charitable Status for OR" article that the response refers to.
  21. ^ a b Thorsson, Edred; “The Dark Side” from History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007. pp. 79-98
  22. ^ a b Thorsson, Edred; "Contra Templum", from Red Rûna: Shorter Works Vol. IV (1987-2001)", Rûna-Raven Press, 2001. pp. 33-45.
  23. ^ a b “Appendix 8: Polarian Statement” (part 1, 2.) Scans taken from History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007
  24. ^ According to Sweyn's profile here
  25. ^ Plowright, Sweyn (2006). The Rune Primer. LuLu. p. 103. ISBN 1-84728-246-6.
  26. ^ Plowright, Sweyn (2006). The Rune Primer. LuLu. pp. 98–103. ISBN 1-84728-246-6.
  27. ^ Flowers, Stephen Edred; Rúnarmál II: Essays Out of Time, Lodestar, September 20, 2014. Chapter IX: Antinomianism?, pp. 53-58.
  28. ^ Flowers, Stephen E.; Introduction, from Lords of the Left-Hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent, Rûna-Raven Press, 1997. Republished as Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices & Spiritual Heresies - From the Cult of Set to the Church of Satan, Inner Traditions, 2012. p. 2.
  29. ^ “Appendix 17: Response to Freya Aswynn” (part 1, 2.) Scans taken from History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007.
  30. ^ Stephen McNallen: Asatru Folk Assembly Obtains Rights to Edred Thorsson Collection!. Asatru Folk Assembly Blog, March 20th, 2013. Archived on the Wayback Machine.

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