Guest blogger: David Shane Shelton

Website: Thorsdaeink

Royal reader since: 2012

I am a princess when I listen to others, and when I am present to other’s suffering.

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Welcome to a Pagan Princesses side-bar. I have been invited to provide my perspective into the ancient mystics. A little bit about me…I have just completed my Master’s of Philosophy and have continued on into a Ph.D., Philosophy. During my studies, I have researched mythologies and symbols from most every ancient culture in order to better understand our current place in history. What has emerged from my master’s program is a series of upcoming books. One, in particular, is primed to hit the market soon (hopefully next year). It is a contemporary look at ancient Nordic Runes, an attempt to unpack the metaphysics contained therein and conceived of by ancient mystics.

These mystics of the ancient Nordic, Skandinavia, various Germanic, and Frisian (to my limited knowledge) cultures would express their view of the interactive cosmos, including matter and spirit, as the way of “wyrd”. Wyrd could be imagined as a spider web (Indra’s Net, for example) cast throughout the universe; each of us exists where strands intersect.  Wyrd is similar enough to Indra’s Net, of Hindu traditions, that it is worth mentioning, I think, to further define wyrd.

This culture was as immersed within the wyrd as we are with our technologies. In fact, synchronicities between culture and wyrd were routinely perceived and interpreted, then inscribed with runes into rocks, bones, and other materials available (stones being the longest lasting medium). The coming of the Dark Age was prophesied in this way, which may simply be understood as a collapse of a spirit connection with wyrd to rely solely on sensory level inputs (approximately mid-first century c.e. according to Edred Thorsson in his book titled:  ALU, An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology).

When the ancient mystics were suppressed, the teachings were left to fade in the memories of their people. No longer were synchronicities acknowledged; in fact, they were dismissed as superstition. The relationship that emerged between the people and the “magic” of the runes became that of a sensory level interpretation (the people were taught, then, that if you can’t see, touch, taste, or smell it, it does not exist). The understanding of the runes was reduced to anthropomorphized “gods” and “goddesses” rather than about a spirit-web of community.

The culture was exposed to and modified symbols of communication from the Greeks, Romans and Etruscans (their alphabets) to conform to the needs of their own language. While the culture began to write communications to each other for accounting and for grave markers and mythic stories, the mystics imbued the “runes” (literally secrets) with esoteric knowledge.

Specifically, here, and in my book, I want to focus on the runes as place-markers illuminating 3 aspects:  its phonetic value, its relationship with objects in nature to which the symbol alludes, and a quantum level aspect hidden now for millennia.

As a phonetic place-holder, each rune can be linked together to decrypt the language to relay messages such as this blog. As an individual stimulus, a rune can behave the same as when we see a “stop” sign, the ancient people of this culture, and some of the present culture, immediately understand what the symbol represents. A much more discrete and esoteric meaning remains within each rune as ancient mystics wove into the runes their knowledge of wyrd.

A basic understanding of the “magic” within the runes was understood through secondary symbols, such as a cow or a tree, in an effort to point our minds and hearts towards the quantum levels of wyrd and the divine within us and beyond. It begins with a trigger object seen routinely and often found in nature (i.e., trees were a major source of connecting with the divine). Once we make it to the trigger object, we are left to interpret the divine’s message as it reverberates uniquely to each individual through the synchronicities of wyrd.

And, most recently, within the last few decades really, these subtle meanings are being coaxed out by contemporary authors such as Edred Thorsson, Nigel Pennick, and Brian Bates, and many others, I am sure, and to them I offer much gratitude.

This concludes today’s meanderings on runes.  On Friday, a second part will put on display the first rune of the hoard, fehu, as an example of how it relates back towards the original object in nature and how that object holds quantum information.

+ Featured image,Prästgatan rune stone photographed by Mats Halldin in 2007.