Talk:Runic magic

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Modern Usage[edit]

The statement that modern use of Runes for divination started with Blum's book in 1982 is patently false. There are plenty of cultural references to the fact that they could be so used well before 1982. It may not be scholarly but there is even a reference in a 1971 episode of Doctor Who! (The Dæmons). --Justificatus (talk) 09:25, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


Does anyone have a better image than one using Blum's "runes?" Septegram 21:07, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

What's wrong with it? They're real runes, being seen upside-down. 惑乱 分からん 23:15, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Blum's "rune cookies" are a mishmash of runes from several different eras, and the interpretations he ascribes to them are not supported by any of the extant records. Furthermore, he includes the completely ahistoric "blank rune." I'd be happier with a shot of an Asatruar or someone from the Rune-Gild doing a runecasting based on the (admittedly paltry) historical information we have.
Septegram 13:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm... I figured they were based on the Elder Futhark. Anyway, it seems hard to reconstruct just about anything from the sources that's available... For now, I think I'd prefer a description of Blum's methods, along with criticism. 惑乱 分からん 13:38, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I believe they draw from the Elder, Younger, and Anglo-Saxon Futharks, although I confess it's been years since I looked at them (I much prefer the ones I made myself, and Edred Thorsson's books on the subject). But the "blank rune" is definitely his invention. For myself, I'd be happier if the image was more historically accurate, since there's no record the ancients used anything but slips of wood for divination.
Anyhow, it's not a big deal. I just wondered if there was a better picture. If not, this one is at least using three from the same Futhark.
Septegram 14:03, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Merge with Runecasting[edit]

I'm for it. 惑乱 分からん 23:17, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I have gone ahead and merged this with Runecasting and redirected Germanic runic astrology here. There really wasn't an article per se, just a list of links, many of them unverifiable. If anyone wants to put forth the effort to make a subheading for Runic Astrology in this article, that would probably be more appropriate. (The links and scant material from Germanic runic astrology are still obtainable from the history of the entry.) - WeniWidiWiki 00:49, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I would like to note that this page looks far better than it did before with this merge. :bloodofox: 05:03, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


User Dab removed three categories from this page:

  • [[Category:Divination]]
  • [[Category:Esotericism]]
  • [[Category:Germanic mysticism]]

I'm going to re-add "Divination" because this unquestionably falls under that category, and invite discussion on the subject of the other two.
Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 14:41, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I do not dispute that the categories apply, to the contrary: I've made them super-cats of Category:Runes in Germanic mysticism, and as they are now super-cats, they do not need be repeated. But it may make sense to keep the "Divination" one, that's not a problem. dab (𒁳) 15:16, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Flowers vs. Blum[edit]

Both systems are modern fabrications. So Flowers has a PhD in Germanic philology. That doesn't stop him from publishing batshit Magickal fantasy cruft. Blum's may be pulled out of thin air even more, but this article should just treat the two for what they are and not attempt to tout the one as "superior" (in whatever respect) to the other. From my point of view, both are idle nonsense, of course, and to be able to compare their value, you'd need to agree that they have any value at all in the first place. dab (𒁳) 13:26, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I guess the difference again comes down to whether "experts", no matter how editors or admins feel about their positions, should have more weight attributed to their works than any warm body who can get published. Having read the material in question, both authors are published primarily by new-age print-houses who cater to the lowest common denominator. I'd have to state that Flowers seriously thinks that he is reconstructing an "ancient runic system" and (effectively) defended his doctoral thesis partially on this presumption while Blum doesn't have any education to speak of in any of the myriad subjects he writes about. I am no esotericist or occultist - I'll freely admit that. I am interested in the development of new religions. However I've tried to be impartial to the material in question and at least given Flowers, et al, the benefit of the doubt that this, at least in theory, is something that *he* believes was a historical practice based on empirical evidence. I personally do not think it was a historical practice, however unless someone cites serious detractors of his theory in academia, it is original research. (I'm sure such critics probably exist.) WeniWidiWiki 15:52, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
well, I may have been underestimating Flowers' stuff. His thesis we will be forced to treat as an academic publication I suppose. Which is his thesis? The 1987 "Runes and Magic"? We can then treat that book as an academic proposal fr a reconstruction of Runic magic. But certainly not the dozen or so later treatises. Amazon reader comments say this book is the "foundation" for his later work, but we may also assume that it represents his last grasp on reality before he completely lost it. As such, I'd be prepared to allow "Runes and Magic" into the "reconstruction" section, but the opus of Stephen Flowers as a whole clearly stands in the occultist corner. dab (𒁳) 16:00, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
I'll retract the "completely lost it": he seems to be well able to keep academia and esotericism apart. It appears that, as a rule, "Edred Thorsson" writes far out occultist pamphlets, while "Stephen Flowers" publishes reasonably academic material, partly on Germanic mysticists. A little bit schizophrenic if you ask me, but for our purposes, if it is peer reviewed it is fair game, so that at least the 1987 thesis qualifies as "RS". dab (𒁳) 16:07, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I think you've got it right. His thesis was Runes and Magic: Magical Formulaic Elements in the Elder Tradition(1984). This is why the now removed bits under the now titled innovations seemed relevant. Also, I guess we should determine the scope of this entry... I've mentioned the "runic astrology" but there is also "rune radionics" and "orgone generators"[1] which are *really* out there. After looking at some sites on the subjects, all of these groups seem to be constrained solely to use of the Armanen system. Looking through the "runic astrology" links, they primarily seem to be based on the Armanen system as well. Should this be under "Armanen" or should we just deal with it on a case by case basis? WeniWidiWiki 17:09, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

we could create Runic BS to include "runic massage" and what not :) but your proposal makes sense, stash the Armanen nonsense into the Armanen article unless divination is involved. I'm not sure what "runic astrology" is even supposed to be, but since "astrology" typically amounts to divination, it may well be treated here under a separate subheading. dab (𒁳) 17:29, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
I know I'm entering in here a little later than everyone else here, but I'd say we could redirect Runic BS to this very same article. Runic divination is pure BS as far as this Asatru man is concerned. There have been far too many voices trying to homogenize pre-Christian Germanic traditions with all the New Age garbage out there. I say these traditions, what we know of them, can stand fine on their own.AsatruThorsman (talk) 07:48, 13 August 2008 (UTC)


I agree about a merger with Runic divination, although I'm willing to discuss it. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * (talk) 10:54, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

What would the merged article be called? Valtyr (talk) 16:46, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, I think divination in itself is a rather inexact term. Also, the article Runic magic is very vague about how and where "Runic magic" is actually performed, and what would be its potential advantages, but it appears to be some sort of shamanism. I'm awaiting further discussion on the merge and notability of "Runic magic". 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * (talk) 00:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

There is a difference between magic and divination. I will try to explain. Divination is a part of magic. Because rune or letters may or may not have magical power. They can be used to look in the future. But the divination part is only very limited part of it. There is a lot of history part into it. At the moment only the shaman could read and write he has power, let call it magic. To pass this power on she must use letters or runs to pass it on. So the runes became powerfull, magical. Another example is card magic and card divination or as it call cartomancy. And as far as I know two articles that discribes two different worlds. I guess I should add some more words into rune magic article. Carsrac (talk) 14:38, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH! When will people stop saying that runes are meant to be used for divination?!? There's NO - I repeat - NO evidence that they were ever used that way. The only possible "evidence" of it is a vague passage from Tacitus about symbols being carved into wooden strips cut from a nut-bearing tree. This is far more likely to be lot-casting, since at the time of Tacitus the runes were still being privately used by the Heruli, a mobile band of Germanic warriors who were bound to Odin by cult. Stop with the fantasy-land rubbish.AsatruThorsman (talk) 19:28, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
That seems to be mentioned in the lead, or at least it could be if it's sourced. I think there's some writing of Odin in connection with magic runes in one of the Eddas, though, although that might be of a later date. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:40, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I guess I was thinking about Rúnatal, although that seems to tell runes might have magical properties in connection with singing. Sigrdrífumál, which dab mentions below also seems to be a good source. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Since divination is a branch of magic, the target article should be at Runic magic. It should focus on historical evidence of "period" runic magic (such as the sigrúnar in Sigrdrífumál and corresponding archaeological evidence), and discuss latter-day esotericism in a separate section. --dab (𒁳) 11:58, 27 September 2008 (UTC)


it uses rune magic -- (talk) 16:12, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Article Structure[edit]

[Davemon] please stop messing up the toc. Also, it is a bit ironical to complain about "removing cited content" when this is exactly what your edit did in the first place. If you want to add cited content, try to do that in an edit that doesn't at the same time mess up the toc and remove other content. As for "better titles", try to appreciate the article structure. It is divided in two parts, "historical" and "modern". In principle the two could also be standalone articles each. Your division of the historical part into "written attestation" vs. "archaeological record" is misguided. What you mean to say is "literary references" vs. "epigraphy". --dab (𒁳) 08:39, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

I have not removed any cited content, nor intended to do so - if this is the case - please correct the error, or at least show where the content was removed in diffs so we can discuss its removal. I agree that "literary references" and "epigraphy" are better phrasing - and the distinctions should be made as literary and archaeological evidence hardly cross over at all - as far as I know we have no literary evidence for ALU - the commonest rune-word read to be magical by archeologists, and no archaeological evidence for the specific use of the Sigrdrífumál instructions for Victory runes on a blade. Lumping together as 'historical evidence' makes the whole thing read too much like an essay - 'evidence' for what exactly? It's like it's saying "Here's the historical evidence and here's the modern reconstruction of rune magic based on this evidence" Is that your intention? Because this is pure POV argument. So I do know what I'm doing, just seems that you don't agree with this essay-like structure being changed. I'm going to be adding a chunk of material from R.I. Page in the near(?) future about how the archaeological record is interpreted by runeologists, it simply doesn't flow into the current article structure.
Further, the content regarding Johannes Bureus seems to have been removed twice now. Not sure if this is just clumsy editing or if you feel that the content doesn't belong in the article for some reason?
Finally I've renamed the section on the talk-page. Whatever differences of opinion we may have let's focus the article content. Davémon (talk) 19:08, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
While I'm not excusing Dab's very typical behavior here, take a look at Tiwaz_rune#Multiple_Tiwaz_runes and, along with numerous other examples, you will find examples of usage of *Tiwaz runes very akin to Sigrdrífa's advice in Sigrdrífumál (Regarding *Tiwaz, scholar Stephen Pollington comments that "The rune may well have been used as a victory charm, and it is found on various weapons, funerary urns and amulets with obvious apotropaic intent." (Pollington, Stephen (2008). Rudiments of Runelore, page 23. Anglo-Saxon Books.)) If you intend to do some heavy work based off of Page's Runes, you would do well to use the above mentioned Pollington work alongside it. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:40, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Well I think I understand Dabs concerns on the structure (I just think they're misplaced!). What would your thoughts on splitting the 'historical evidence' into literary / archaeology be? I can imagine the use of *Tiwaz bind-runes being interpreted in light of Sigrdrífumál, and no doubt it's just a matter of time before a source is found that directly supports the connection, but still it would be clearer to organise these fields separately. I don't have Pollington to hand, so I'll have to leave adding that to others. Also, I just noticed there's no mention in the article of Egils saga in which the hero cuts and bloods unspecified runes to detect poison and destroy the drinking horn carrying it, probably just an oversight. Davémon (talk) 19:35, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Bloodofox is trolling, he is on one of his feuds against myself.

Davémon, it is perfectly possible to divide the "historical" section into a part on epigraphy and one on historiography. Perhaps there would be less confusion if we first split the historical and the modern stuff into two separate articles, as the two topics have very little to do with one another. --dab (𒁳) 20:09, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Trolling? That's funny, I've long since considered you to be the closest thing to a troll I've encountered here (I mean, exactly what else is one to make of edit summaries like this?).
Anyway, Davémon, I do think the two should be separate. Further, I can think of no better source for this article than this book and I highly recommend making use of it. :bloodofox: (talk) 23:22, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Well I'm sure we could all have a raging wikidrama with each other, but let's not bother eh? Dab - I agree with splitting the contemporary / historical articles and the rationale for such, but I'd rather just structure and flesh out the parts I'm interested in (the historical) and trim out the obvoius cruft that the modern had accumulated (booklists etc.) . Of course, if you feel that splitting the article is imperative, then go ahead, although where do we put Bureus, who is neither contemporary (although no doubt influential on some level) nor a primary source? While we're all here, if bloodofox has an opinion on splitting the contemporary / historical articles then that might be insightful. bloodofox, yes this book looks like a good source, it certainly looks representative of one camp in Runeology (see the review thread at amazon [[2]]). Davémon (talk) 14:23, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
I know of no better scholarly source for this material, and I wouldn't take an Amazon review too seriously. :bloodofox: (talk) 14:50, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, no it's a very good source - thanks for pointing it out. I'm just concerned that the article recognises there are multiple camps in the field. The source itself corroborates the view of the subject R.I. Page puts forward, unfortunately for encyclopaedic purposes neither are more explicit in helping to source the other camps. Davémon (talk) 19:21, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Charms vs. divination[edit]

In explanation of this edit: The historical section establishes beyond any doubt that there were pre-Christian Germanic practices of:

  1. divination by casting lots
  2. spells or charms by means of runes

What we fail to establish is that the two things have anything to do with one another. Each instance where runes are mentioned explicitly are unrelated to divination, but instead used for apotropaic magic, or for good luck or success. It appears that the function of the runes inherited in its entirety by the Icelandic magical staves, which are used for all these things, but not for divination.

I am not making any positive claim here, such as "runes were not used for divination". I just want to propose some caution in this area. We know there was divination, and we know there was runic magic, but so far we have not excluded the possibility that these were two entirely distinct practices. --dab (𒁳) 13:41, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Blum and the Blank "Odin's Rune"[edit]

Let's be serious, they're all Odin's runes, because it was He who hung on the Tree and retrieved them for us.

That aside, I added the "Citation needed" to the assertion that Blum called his "blank rune" "Odin's rune" deliberately. I heard that the manufacturer said it was easier to make the ceramic rectangles in a 5X5 layout than otherwise, so he retconned a "blank rune" as something intentional and nifty, rather than just cheaper (would have had more integrity and utility, and less controversy, if he'd just said "and here's a spare in case you lose one"). Can anyone document either way? I've found this[3], but that doesn't qualify as a Reliable Source.

*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 03:43, 8 May 2012 (UTC)