From our Tumblr feed, a conversation with @thorraborinn about tracing the missing links between known ethnic-nationalist rune users in 1920s Germany and Austria and the rune revival starting in 1980. (Update: this was followed by a series of tumblr posts by @obligate-rebel, @thorraborinn, and myself… when I get a chance I’ll add those links to this blog as well.)
TL:DR, fleshed out with the help of Open Library and Nigel Pennick’s bibliography in his The Complete Illustrated Guide to Runes (1999), the timeline from 1900 onward currently looks something like this:
Viennese mystic Guido “von” List (1902) plagiarizes/adapts the Younger Futhark and popularizes it as the supposedly-primordial-and-channelled-to-him Armanen Runes. Das Geheimnis der Runen is published in 1908, and his ideas are spread by members of the Armanen Orden.
German gnostic Ernst Tristan Kurtzahn publishes Die Runen als Heilszeichen und Schicksalslose in 1924.
The Armanen Orden’s half-baked half-faked runelore is used as Nazi propaganda and imagery by the Third Reich, then is banned following World War II. This may include rune books from the period by Rudolf John Gorsleben (1930), Siegfried Adolf Kummer (1932), Hermann Wirth (1931-36), Wolfgang Krause (1935), Oskar von Zaborsky (1936), Walther Blachetta (1941), Edmund Weber (1941), Helmut Arntz (1935, 1944), and Friedrich Bernhard Marby (1931, 1933, 1955, 1957) — although some of these authors would have been academics of the period forced to work with the regime.
Kurt Spiesburger (Runenmagie, 1955) attempts to remove Nazi racism from Armanen runes. Also during this post-war period, rune books are also published by Anders Baeksted (in Danish, 1952), Franz Altheìm (a German historian, 1948), Sven Birger Fredrik Jansson (in Swedish, 1940 & 1966), and Jorgen Glahder (in Danish, 1952).
1960s-70s scholarly works by runologists and historians in English include Ralph W. V. Eliot Runes: An Introduction (1959), Sven B.F. Janssen The Runes of Sweden (1962, translated by Peter G. Foote), R.I. Page An Introduction to English Runes (1973), and J.M. Kemble Anglo-Saxon Runes (1976). Non-English-language books are released by scholars Klaus Duwel (1968) and Wolfgang Krause (1970) .
1960s or 1970s Californian rune tiles (per Pennick, p159 of Complete Illustrated Book of Runes) and (presumably) magazine articles by Athene Williams eventually lead first to a chapter on runes by Williams in a 1975 mass-market book titled The Fortune Tellers, followed by celebrity clairvoyant Kim Tracey’s mass-market 25-rune divination set (including a blank!), published 1979 and sold in the UK & Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, somewhat-more-scholarly esoteric rune books are published by The Caudron magazine editor Michael Howard (The Runes and other Magical Alphabets, 1978), Nigel Pennick (Ogham and Runic Magical Writing of Old Britain and Northern Europe, 1978), and tarot author Carlyle A. Pushong (Rune Magic, 1978, compares Elder Futhark and Armanen runes and plagiarizes Spiesburger per a Goodreads reviewer). Otto Zeller’s German-language divination book of 1977 may have inspired this group of authors. 9Nov2021 edit: both Pennick and Howard spill much ink discussing the swastika’s history, and Pennick appears to be uncritically reading and citing pre-WW2 German mystics for their “practical esoteric knowledge” during this period. Y i k e s.
Ralph Blum’s first rune book with tiles is published 1980 in US, widely considered the watershed point that leads to more books by Howard and Pennick, Flowers-Thorsson and many other popular rune authors. The Rune Guild is founded in 1980 in Austin TX by Stephen Flowers, aka Edred Thorsson, whose first book (1980) is focussed on Armanen runes. Rune cards first appear in the 1980s as well, Tricia Bramwell’s The Phoenix Runes (1983) being the earliest I’ve found a reference to.
[reposted from our Kickstarter update of 22 Sept 2021]
Hi everyone! My apologies for not sending updates since late June. Let me catch you up!
1. At this point, all of you who asked for only decks of cards, or agreed to a swap from resin to opalite rune dice, should have had your rewards delivered. As our update title says, that’s all but 8 of you. To the eight still waiting: thank you so much for your patience, I hope to be able to reward it with backer rewards of the highest possible quality and craftsmanship.
2. I took July off of this project so I could travel to visit my family and help my widowed mother-in-law. Fully-vaccinated long-overdue hugs from moms and dad: highly recommended.
3. We (me & the teens at Ravishing Raven Handmade) are *still* having trouble with the resin dice made using sprue molds, and the two-part molds leave us with giant bubbles to fill. I’m far from confident that they’d give a random result upon rolling. We’re also having trouble making the last altar-tile/coaster, possibly something about the gemstones chosen affecting the way the resin cures. It keeps doming! We’re now trying hand-pouring it in much thinner layers to overcome this issue. Hopefully that will work and we can ship that to you soon; the other three are done and are shipping as the divination cloths are done (see no.6).
4. So, as I suggested in June, for as many of you as were interested in the swap, we engraved opalite cubes to act as rune dice, and wrote up a set of instructions for them. The hold-up here ended up being the sourcing of enough opalite that was close enough to a perfect sugar-cube shape to work properly as a die… most tumbled opalite ‘cubes’ actually aren’t. And the worldwide pandemic’s knock-on effects on supply chain management meant that took a few weeks, and three of the Canadian crystal shops on Etsy really came through by sending me the most cube-y cubes they had in stock. (I also have a huge pile of ‘seconds’ now to find another use for.) I also needed to replace my dremel – turns out a faulty motor was responsible for the vibration that was severely limiting how long I could engrave at a time. But we’re really pleased with the results, which should be in your hands by now:
5. For the handful of you who really wanted one-aett-per-D8 dice, we’ve come up with an alternative to resin: fluorite octahedrons. Again, finding ones that are close enough to a perfect octahedron to work, that are also close enough to our price point that we don’t take a bath *and* available from suppliers we trust to have ethical sourcing, is tricky. Here’s how the first set looks after hand-engraving and painting the Elder Futhark:
They also feel lovely in the hand. I hope to source enough truly-octagonal fluorite octagons to make these in place of resin for everyone who still wanted the D8 shape.
6. That leaves the batik divination cloths! Making these is very, very time-intensive, and some cloths in the first two batches made were ruined at a late stage of the process, but I’ve learned a lot and I’m partway into making the final few so I can fulfill the remaining backer rewards that included these.
7. The rune card booklet is available for free download on our website (here) and the lesson plans and rune dice instructions will follow soon.
8. Those of you who have gotten your rewards: please let me know how the cards and dice work for you! Your constructive criticism will help us improve the cards, the dice, and the instructions. We’d also LOVE to see them in use. Tag us @mannazandwyrd or use the hashtags #UrdsSnowflake #RuneCards on Instagram/twitter/tumblr.
For those who celebrate the equinox: happy Haustblot or blessed Mabon! (I *think* we’re all in the Northern Hemisphere?)
Yesterday was the first harvest festival of the year, celebrated as Kvasi Fest (see Forn Sidr of America’s post) by Norse pagans, Lughnasadh by our Celtic pagan cousins, and Lammas in the Wiccan-created wheel of the year. Over on Diviners Anonymous we did another set of group divinations. (You can find some of the spreads used below in our free rune booklet (PDF).
(Edited 6Dec2021) Version 1.2 of Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards’ Booklet is now available to download for free!
(Edited 9Nov2021) Version 1.1 of Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards’ Booklet is now available to download for free!
This 13 page booklet was written as part of the Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards project, which grew out of a need to vet information about runes and remove misinformation, white supremacy, and cultural appropriation while re-grounding rune divination practice in current academic research on the primary and secondary sources by linguists, historians, and archaeologists.
In version 1.1 all edits from the first edition are in blue italics or crossouts for transparency. These were necessitated by a mass-market popular-history-and-occult source being found to be untrustworthy due to his early books’ completely uncritical handling of material from pre-WW2 German mystics; please see Eira’s full apology here.
In version 1.2 all additional edits are in red text. These are minor typo corrections, modern divination meanings to use with caution (possibly Armanen, gendered, or unsupported by the rune names & poems), and suggested additional divination meanings.
[The limited 1st edition of the card deck, which includes Elder Futhark, Younger Futhark, Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and selected bind-runes (now removed due to our sourcing mistake), was available through Etsy. We have not yet decided if we will make the remaining decks available with the questionable cards removed.]
In the booklet, which can be used without the cards by any rune user, we discuss both the history of the rune rows, and the more recent history of rune divination, and have attempted to pare away ideas that came from von List’s gang of ethnic nationalists, the I Ching, Hermeticism, and Tarot (to the extent that’s possible in a card format). Our suggested divination keywords are drawn wherever possible from current translations of the various rune poems, and do not include reversals. We are currently working to ensure no suspect information slipped through in the divination keywords; however, we are finding the dawn of modern rune divination in the 1970s and early 1980s was awash in appropriation from other practices and sneaky references to the Armanen runes, so it’ll take awhile to complete that process. In a future update, we’ll also share a separate list of spurious divination meanings and why they’re unlikely.
We’ve also done our level best to flag any runes that were stolen by the Third Reich or are currently being misused by white supremacists, and to vet the suggested readings. We’ve provided our (updated!) recommended reading and sources list, and a list of mass-market rune authors to avoid.
card 7 (bottom left) = potential obstacles and hidden influences = Stan, obstruction (by multinational corporations or right-wing politicians) or (ecological) collapse
The “stop it!” card really jumped out at me, and I viewed the runes pulled as advising that we’re risking our inheritance from our ancestors and ecological collapse if our countries don’t begin to treat climate change as an emergency.
Yay! The customs paperwork took a bit longer to do than I anticipated, but, CA$600ish later, our 1st Epic Mail Day is done. The photo above represents all the backers who were getting only decks of cards. If that’s you, you can expect a message here on Kickstarter with your tracking number in the next day or so.
The cards are now also in-stock locally at Where Fairies Live. (Backers got the cards at wholesale price.)
I’ve also realized I never got around to posting the unboxing video for y’all! It’s coming, promise, and I’ll also post it on our Instagram (@mannazandwyrd), twitter (@mannazandwyrd), and Discord server (I inherited the nigh-dead Diviners Anonymous from the prior owners, please join! The server’s purpose is to provide a space where people with divination as part of their spiritual, magical, or self-knowledge practices can socialize, share resources, learn from each other, and ogle pics of each others’ decks. We have channels for discussing runes and many other divination methods, and we’re beginning to organize group readings, book club, study groups, & watch parties. Permanent invite link: https://discord.gg/BMMX4Fg9Fj ).
Unfortunately, the dice molds are still giving us (me and my son who’s a member of Ravishing Raven) technical issues – there are bubbles in the resin that make the dice unevenly weighted, and the sultry summer temperatures we’ve been having are encouraging the resin to cure unevenly. So, in the interest of timely fulfillment, I propose that those of you who backed at a level that included sets of three 8-sided rune dice get a slight materials upgrade from epoxy resin to sets of 4 6-sided rune dice made of opalite, a glassy man-made crystal, hand-engraved by me – as shown in the photo above of my prototypes. They’ll still get treated with madder-and-dragonsblood tiver and highlighted with gold leafing pen. If you’re a backer getting dice, expect a note from me asking if this is acceptable to you.
Fortunately, making the coaster / altar tiles is more forgiving, especially if we use the soft UV resin which takes longer to cure.
(republished from our 8 June 2021 Kickstarter update)
Look what arrived from the printer yesterday! This means I can begin fulfilling your backer rewards — so if you have moved since the campaign ended, please let me know in the next, say, 72 hours so I don’t mail your goodies to an outdated address.
During that wait I’ll be prepping and addressing everyone’s padded mailer envelopes, making sure the correct backer rewards head to the correct people, and dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s (more on that below).
This was actually our second try at ordering the finalized cards; first time, we goofed and ordered 1 full deck and 60 packs of replacement cards for the ones that had been changed, instead of the other way around. So, last week we offered some of those extra cards as swaps to the Alleyman’s Tarot card swappers, which we’ll treat as a promotional expense; each of you will get a spare card of a bind-rune representing our wish of good health for you and yours; and we’ll be offering the cards individually or as a pack of 15 in our Etsy shop. You can turn them into art cards or bookmarks, use them in your craft, or add to your mismatched tarot deck project.
With the arrival of the prior shipment of test decks, Eira was able to complete the readings for those of you who requested them (If you missed yours, please check your spam box for an email from mannazandwyrd-at-gmail-dotcom.).
We also finalized the first edition of the booklet PDF, which you’ll all get a photocopy in your package. The PDF itself will be available as a free download shortly, through our website. I hope you’ll be impressed by the amount of information it brings together in a dozen pages.
We also have news on the syllabus front, which has been our primary writing focus since our last update. First, we realized that ‘syllabus’ is the wrong term to use, so it’ll be titled Urd’s Snowflake Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans instead. Second, we got some really helpful feedback from experienced educators, and we’re in the process of incorporating that feedback. Third, we bit off more than we can chew and tried to cover too much material! So, we’ll be finishing what we can to the best of our ability, with July 1st as our planned completion deadline. The completed lessons will be PDF’d with “coming soon’ placeholders for the incomplete lesson plans, and that will be available as a free download on our website. The final draft on GDocs (including the incomplete lesson plans as well as the complete ones) will be available to anyone who wishes to test-drive it and give us feedback to help us improve it. Finally, we will include the hiring of an educator to improve and expand the entire set of lessons in our crowdfunding budget for the 2nd edition.
For those of you with resin dice or coasters from Ravishing Raven Handmade among your rewards, the third pandemic lockdown here in the ideologue-governed laissez-faire Province of Alberta is still ongoing while the variant coronavirus runs wild. This unfortunately means the RRH teen team have been unable to gather to finish making your rewards. BUT, they have at last done a porch-drop of all the remaining supplies and equipment to me and my RRH-member teen, so as soon as I hit send on this update I’ll be strapping on my fume-blocking respirator and finishing prep on those items. So, the 17 of you getting dice and 4 of you getting coasters shouldn’t have to wait much longer for your packages than those backers who only requested a deck of rune cards or a divination cloth.
Expect an update telling you how much stuff has shipped and showing off photos of the finished dice, coasters, and remaining divination cloths by the end of next weekend!
(republished from our 2 June 2021 Kickstarter update)