The Armanen futhark, which, contrary to popular belief, is not the current popular runic set, was devised by Guido Von List (1848 - 1919) extensive in the existing futhark but reduced the number of runes to 18, which he identified with the eighteen wishes that Odin formulates in the Hávámal. All this, according to his own testimony, was revealed to List during a vision he had while recovering from a cataract operation, in 1902, as well as an entire esoteric reality that linked the Germans with their roots.
Some of his followers claimed that these runes were the primitive models from which all other variants arose, something demonstrably false. List's idea was not so much that they were original as that they had survived over time, just as many other pagan issues had done, such as traditional or popular festivities. This would have happened thanks to the work of the skalds (skalds), who would have varnished the original traditions with Christian elements to prevent their complete disappearance. However, he questioned the primordial value of many runes, since in the Teutonic language there would be unpronounceable phonemes, and he also studied many other symbols of Celtic and Germanic origin, which he gave a new identity, such as swastikas, crosses, triskeles, trefoils. , wheels, along with other heraldic symbols, which he brought together under the name of kala (as the original rune, an empty and falsely decrypted symbol), and which he later attributed to the linked runes themselves, later "separated". All this ended up leading to the thought of a life, or at least an elite, of a military nature, oriented like Viking warrior thought. In fact, the name "armanen" corresponds to what List interprets as a hierarchy of priest-kings that existed among the ancient Germanic peoples.
The Secret of the Runes (1908) is, above all, a very personal esoteric work, although with a cosmogony vision. According to List, the original futhark would have 16 runes, like the young futhark (Scandinavian runic alphabet with only 16 runic characters instead of 24), on which it is based, and not twenty-four. But in the Hávamál 18 appear. Thus, the futhark armanen contains 18 runes, a mixture of the young futhark and others modified or newly created by List himself, such as Gibor. List considers that this Edda is from the 8th century BC, although scholars do not agree on this assessment. He considers the runes as a hieroglyphic system, as to their origin, not as letters or writing, but as symbols or sacred signs, with a substantive value in themselves.He divided the different runic groups into two different groups, the Buchstaben-Runen, the runes derived from a writing system and, on the other, the Heilszeichen-Runen, the sacred, divine, oracular, magical runes: namely, esoteric. The Armanen runes become mystical archetypes of mutability and union in a mystical Whole. For this reason, it is maintained that the readings and symbols can only be understood within the same vision or objective, as well as taking into account the shape of the whole, as will be seen later. We also find in his work a dualistic vision of the universe. Coincidentally, and as could be seen in the article on ancient runic magic, he also developed a type of magic consisting of the vibratory repetition of runic phonemes.
He also claimed that the runic symbols came from the postures of certain ancient sages who knew the poses and body parts that were the best for receiving and channeling universal energies and knowledge, which came to be represented on stone or wood to prevent their loss - despite that this conflicts, obviously, with the analysis of the writing system. However, it is related to other descriptive occult experiences, as in the case of sigils (link). Siegfried Adolf Kummer (1899-¿?) and Friedrich Marby (1886-1966), both runologists, subsequently developed this idea of runic gymnastics, linking it to dance and music, systems that Stephen Flowers would use later (1984)
In his work he presents each rune accompanied by the stanza of the Rúnatal, the final part of the Hávamal where Odin talks about obtaining the runes through his sacrifice, and the Ljóðatal, where he talks about his enchantments (verses 146 - 165). List interprets such texts as incantations or at least magical sentences. The meanings that he gives to each rune are really words that he derives from linguistic roots, as it will be seen, and they are not always verifiable or acceptable. To this, he adds a brief reflection on his vision, clearly Germanic supremacist, and their meaning, which, summarized and commented on, are set out below. The accompanying text of each rune, including the associated stanzas, may vary according to the editions, which have undergone multiple revisions, academic or not.
Fa is the rune of fire. It is the power, the creative and also destructive energy. It symbolizes the property and the act of carrying out something, so it is a helper rune in all the tasks to be carried out. It is a rune that recalls the constant transformation to which the ego is subjected, as well as the one that prepares for the future. Its associated stanza is as follows:
145: Those songs I know, which nor sons of men/
nor queen in a king's court knows;/ the first is Help which will bring thee help/
Ur is the primordial fire, birth and death, but also resurrection. It is the beginning of everything, therefore in consultations it points out the causes or reasons for the problem to be solved. Likewise, since it identifies the principles of everything, it is an indicator of good and bad, and enhances luck for those who recognize the power of the triggering cause. Knowing oneself is the beginning to know everything else. Its associated stanza is as follows:
146: A second I know, which the son of men/ must sing, who would heal the sick.
Thurs is the lightning, the celestial fire, the sword against enemies. It also symbolizes life, like a phallus, and rebirth, perseverance, defending oneself in life, and accepting that death is not the end. Its associated stanza is as follows:
147: A third I know: if sore need should come/ of a spell to stay my foes; / when I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,/ nor their weapons nor staves can wound.
Os is the gods, the mouth, the word and the ashes. The power of the word is spiritual but also suggestive, it is a power superior to weapons and physical force. It is moral and spiritual development. It is a vindication of free thought. Its associated stanza is as follows:
148: A fourth I know: if men make fast/ in chains the joints of my limbs,/ when I sing that song which shall set me free,/
spring the fetters from hands and feet.
Rit is the solar wheel, again a primordial fire. It is the universe reflected in the inner energy, a memory of the microcosm, without eliminating one's own identity. It is living for a reason and with a reason, the insistence on what is right. The personal right to make decisions is also the right thing, and the right thing always achieves the justice and victory deserved. It is a reminder of the eternal cycle and at the same time of the pagan rites that must be maintained as part of our own ancestry. Its associated stanza is as follows:
149: A fifth I know: when I see, by foes shot,/ speeding a shaft through the host,/ flies it never so strongly I still can stay it,/ if I get but a glimpse of its flight.
Ka is "nothing" and also continuity. It is identified with the Yggdrasil tree, almost as a totemic image of the Germanic peoples. Here, a purist vision of the people, of the race, which must be preserved from external elements in order to achieve greatness, is revealed (The german supremacist thinking). The one who knows the higher cannot be harmed. The tree evokes the feminine as creation, sexuality, the survival of traditions and genetics as superior importance. Its associated stanza is as follows:
150: A sixth I know: when some thane would harm me/ in runes on a moist tree's root,/ on his head alone shall light the ills / of the curse that he called upon mine.
Hagal is the inner awareness and reminder that there is an inner magical potency that must be released through personal identity. The confirmation of this fact, the liberation, produces powerful people, since it concentrates and understands the universal whole in itself. It is also a destructive power if you do not learn to master it. Its associated stanza is as follows:
151: A seventh I know: if I see a hall/ high o'er the bench-mates blazing,/ flame it ne'er so fiercely I still can save it,/
I know how to sing that song.
Not is necessity in a cosmic sense, in the fulfillment of Destiny. If you accept destiny and move with it, then you will have no trouble achieving what you find you are destined for. It is, of course, the acceptance of the consequences of acts. The associated stanza is as follows:
152: An eighth I know: which all can sing/ for their weal if they learn it well;/ where hate shall wax 'mid the warrior sons,/
I can calm it soon with that song.
Is is ice but also steel. Therefore, the hardness, what remains. The ice is capable of stopping the bravery of the sea, there are relentless and necessary stops. This goes for both physical and spiritual matters. Accepting superior powers is also being superior to them when required. The associated stanza is as follows:
153: A ninth I know: when need befalls me/ to save my vessel afloat,/ I hush the wind on the stormy wave,/
and soothe all the sea to rest.
Ar is identified with the sun, the primordial fire, the nobility. It is a certain light that dispels all darkness, all evil, physical or spiritual. He relates it to the figure of the eagle as a symbol of heaven and power, a figure that leads to the phoenix through a very unconvincing linguistic evolution, and therefore to the cycle of rebirth. The associated stanza is as follows:
154: A tenth I know: when at night the witches/ ride and sport in the air,/ such spells I weave that they wander home/ out of skins and wits bewildered.
Sun is again a light, in this case a guide, as it relates to victory, salvation, a central pillar and careful education. Anyone aware of the `power can reproduce it. It is, for List, a warrior cry that brings together the necessary strength, the drive to carry out great deeds. The associated stanza is as follows:
155. An eleventh I know: if haply I lead/ my old comrades out to war,/ I sing 'neath the shields, and they fare forth mightily/ safe into battle, safe out of battle,/ and safe return from the strife.
Týr is identified with lightning first, then with a divine weapon. It is a generating, creative, restorative force, if we think of the life-death-life cycle. It commemorates the sacrifice of Wotan/Odin and symbolizes life, the return of the sun after night, light in the darkness. The weapon, mostly identified as a sword, is the symbol of this victory over adversity. The associated stanza is the following.
156. A twelfth I know: if I see in a tree/ a corpse from a halter hanging,/ such spells I write, and paint in runes,/that the being descends and speaks.
Bar is the birth, but also the popular or ethnic song, and therefore, the national or Germanic identity. It is life, but spiritual life, forming part of a greater Whole. There is a predestination, but the right path choice can always be made, following this one. Water is also a source of life, but above all of sacredness, when used in rituals such as baptism. The associated stanza is as follows.
157. A thirteenth I know: if the new-born son/ of a warrior I sprinkle with water,/ that youth will not fail when he fares to war,/never slain shall he bow before sword.
Laf is the sea, life, water, but also the primordial law. It is intuitive knowledge, which unites the esoteric and the exoteric, recognizing the flows of energy and life, as well as the changes that occur along the way. It encourages contemplation and learning of the visible before the invisible. The associated stanza is the following.
158. A fourteenth I know: if I needs must number/ the Powers to the people of men,/ I know all the nature of gods and of elves/which none can know untaught.
Man is the moon, the mother, death, the void. It is a typically feminine rune that is opposed to all those that only present power and light. However, it is not negative. It is the reminder that we must be completed in all the nuances of knowledge, that we are part of a generation, of humanity, of a family... It roots humanity with its land and its culture. The associated stanza is as follows:
159. A fifteenth I know, which Folk-stirrer sang, /the dwarf, at the gates of Dawn;/he sang strength to the gods, and skill to the elves,/and wisdom to Odin who utters.
Yr is Man inverted, and is related to reverence, to the phases of the moon, to mutability. Because of its resemblance to Man, it is considered the rune of error, it induces reflection and warns of deception and illusions. It is also the oppressive force that compels to act outside of desires or logic, such as anger or rage. The associated stanza is as follows:
160: A sixteenth I know: when all sweetness and love/ I would win from some artful wench,/ her heart I turn, and the whole mind change/of that fair-armed lady I love.
Eh is the rune of marriage, but also of court. In short, of coexistence, ties and the good evolution of things. It is the opposite of Yr when it comes to sincerity and truthfulness. List wanted to see two mirrored laf runes, as if the flows found their common point and therefore everything was balanced. As for marriage, it is the basis of the family, the family of the generations, and these, once again, the past, present and future of the Teutons and Aryans. The associated stanza is as follows:
161: A seventeenth I know: so that e'en the shy maiden/ is slow to shun my love.Gibor (or Ge) is the gift, the Norse god, the earth and death.
Basically, it is conclusive insofar as it closes the futhark armanen. He considers it an altar, which he identifies with the area of Gibraltar. The gift is both the offering and devotion to the gods and the runes for men, as a writing instrument and above all esoteric, spiritual. He embodies all the spirits of the world, and therefore the knowledge transmitted by Wotan. For this reason, it includes more verses than usual, intended for the honor and message about them.
162: These songs, Stray-Singer, which man's son knows not,/ long shalt thou lack in life,/ though thy weal if thou win'st them, thy/boon if thou obey'st them/ thy good if haply thou gain'st them.
163: An eighteenth I know: which I ne'er shall tell/ to maiden or wife of man/ save alone to my sister, or haply to her/ who folds me fast in her arms;/ most safe are secrets known to but one-/the songs are sung to an end.
164: Now the sayings of the High One are uttered in the hall/ for the weal of men, for the woe of Jötuns,/ Hail, thou who hast spoken! Hail, thou that knowest!/ Hail, ye that have hearkened! Use, thou who hast learned!
Unfortunately, as it has been seen in this brief overview, List shaped his Aryan supremacist ideas, and at the time, his work The Secret of the Runes (1908) was also an element that helped to awaken the Germanic consciousness; his work and the runes were identified by radical groups as an exclusive part of their cultural identity, which helped the development of National-Socialist occultism. This book also exposes a philosophy consisting of the trinity: Born - Develop - Die to be reborn into something higher. The runes themselves would be the messengers of this immanent change in nature and ruled by the immutable Destiny. Hence, according to the author, they can offer clairvoyance and power to those who know them, which is why the idea of a Germanic renaissance at all levels seemed to fit even with this idea of a cycle, although he focused more on a spiritual and eternal totality. Likewise, there was a complex fusion between the spiritual, the energy, and the material, which was distinguished but formed a homogeneous whole. This destined, or rather, predisposed man to self-realization.
List's works generated a a big rumpus and it gained a large following. Guido von List had created in 1911 the Hoher Armanen Order (Order of the High Armanen, or HAO), an esoteric order that deepened its work and that complied, like any lodge, with a series of magical teachings and rituals. There were even pilgrimages to the harmonic places, considered sacred or full of mystical force. According to Stephen Flowers, the HAO was much more assertive and corporeal after death than it was while alive, and he believes that they probably developed a corpus of magical practices of their own.
However, far from what it might seem, indeed, despite the fact that he was one of the first to awaken the Germanic consciousness and the elevation of the Germans as an Aryan race, List's occult movements were not so well received. Much of this is due to Karl Maria Willigut, (1886-1946) an SS brigadier and Himmler's personal occultist, who eventually abandoned this system for what he considered more convincing Ariosophical esotericism, considering List's Wotanism to be in truth a falsified ancestral religion, and opting for Irminism, an Ariosophic thought of which Willigut considered himself the last standard, which would have fought against the followers of Wotan and would have ended with the crucifixion of the Irminist prophet - which clearly demonstrates a pagan-Christian syncretism .Flowers says of him that he even established an "official runology" - The Armanen futhark was only one of the runic systems that existed even among German occult circles... Willigut, for example, developed a futhark, according to him, more based on in the young futhark -, and almost a State occultism, which would justify that many occult groups were persecuted and closed under Willigut's opinion. On the other hand, it was precisely he who discredited Siegfried Adolf Kummer (1899-?) and Friedrich Marby (1886-1966) before Himmler, since both runologists developed new futharks, partly based on the armanen, modifying it, and means of use of the runes that in his eyes were not worthy or real, such as the aforementioned gymnastics. Branded as anti-Nazis, their fates were not exactly pleasant.
Although here we have spoken of ariosophy, the first time the term is applied is by the mouth of Jörg Lanz de Liebenfels (1874-1954), author of a very murky theozoology on the degeneration of the human race. His Aryan-Christian order was also the first to use the swastika as a symbol of racial supremacy. Many German occult groups of the time focused on their ethnicity for membership, taking List as the figure who started it all and awakened Germanic consciousness, which has earned him the application and blame (to some extent evident) of everything that came after, although it was Lanz who paved the way for Nazism and racial purge.
After the World Wars the Armanen runes received a purge of all their racist or classist connotations. The philosophical part, given its underlying ariosophy,( in the degrees of existence and in the supremacy of those who Wotan/Odin, as a cosmic entity or even an abstract idea of victory and power, chose), was dismissed in the rest of the evolutions of occult runic magic.
Karl Spiesberger (1955) was one of the many occultists who tried to eliminate the racist facet of the Armanen system and return an open esoteric value to the runes. The positive and negative positions of the runes in consultations must have been associated with him in the armonic runic divination. However, for the most part, the runes of current esotericism, except in certain circles, are not those of List, but those of Ralph Blum.
The Armanen Order was resurrected, as was the Guido von List Society, at the end of the 20th century. Currently, the Armanen Order is a neo-pagan religious order that revives the esoteric teachings of List, clean of any racial stain, together with other principles such as the incarnation of the Anglo-Saxon world, both in personality and in cults and spirituality, as well as in respect and veneration of nature and the continuity of the traditional festivities of specific seasonal times and in places full of symbolism. According to themselves they hope to communicate, since there are also secret and private matters, they are normally organized into nine levels of learning or ranks, and imitate, as far as possible, the sacrifices and rituals of the ancient Germanic peoples, as well as study the power of the runes. These elements are common to most odinist or asatru communities, but the Armanen issue is not always known or preferred, which makes many of these communities prefer to use older futhark or even different futhark depending on the purpose they pursue.
Pietro Viktor Carracedo Ahumada - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Flowers, S. (Ed.) The secret of the runes by Guido Von List, 1989
-Gazin-Schwart, A., Holtorf. C (Ed.) Archeology and Folklore, Routledge,
-Rugdley, R. The return of Odín: the Modern Renaissance of Pagan
Imagination, Inner Traditions, Rochester, 2006