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Hagal, is the fist rune of it’s eponymous Aett, or eight. Hagal is the subject of greater speculation than any other rune in the entire futhark, having even been popularized as an unattested goddess. The archetypical significance of Hagal’s hex shaped stave as lent itself out to many unique occult philosophies. unfortunately these philosophies have come to define the popular conception of Hagalaz, as only the most rudimentry kernal of what we know about hagalz is attested.
- — Though not a goddess there is a heroic mythological king named Hagal, to whom indirect reference is made in the preceding icelandic rune poem for Nauth. This poem says “Need is the grief of a bondmaid”, which while often interpreted as rape, due to some very pertinent etymology, is more likely related to the nauthuz’s position after hagalaz. For one King Hagal is the first of two young heroes to betake the mantle of a bondmaid.
“But she said this because as soon as she saw that they were turning back she had put Hagal into a bondwoman’s dress, and set him to grind and turn the hand-mill. While the maid was turning the mill they were all about, but she kept looking fiercely at the king’s men. Then they went away without having found anything; and when they were come on their way, Blind said that the old woman must have wished to beglamour their sight, and he thought it very likely that Hagal might have been there turning the mill in woman’s clothes.”
(Hromund Gripsson’s Saga)
—— Hagal avenges himself on the king after a series of prophetic dreams are related by Blind, the thane of the anonymous king. He is said to have killed the king, hanged Blind, and married the valkyrie daughter of King Olaf.
—- The most well known attestation of Hagal, is that of how he fostered Helgi, the son of Sigurd Voslung, and hid him from his enemies in a way that he knew all too well.
“King Hunding sent men to Hagal’s to seek Helgi, and Helgi had no other way to escape than to take a bondmaid’s clothes and betake himself to the mill…. Helgi got away, and went aboard a war-ship.” After which he destroyed king hunding and earned the name Helgi Hundingbane. Helgi goes on to marry the Valkyrie Sigrune, who commands flying war maidens to hail down spears upon his enemies. It seems somewhat apparent that the stories of Hagal and Helgi may be descriptive narratives of hagal’s aett. The Aett begins with Hagal, or helgi, then proceeds to the bondmaid incident, before ending with the Sig rune, the name of Helgi’s wife.
—— In the Icelandic rune poem hagalaz is called “the sickness of serpents,” and while it is impossible to know how much icelanders actually knew about serpents, this imagery is quite appropriate. For one the sickness of serpents, that is the chronic condition that plagues them all, is the shedding of skin, equatable with the shedding of young Hagal’s identity, and again of the shedding of his bond maids clothes. The shedding and adopting of skin was a key practice in Scandinavian shamanism, where by shapeshifting was accomplished.
——- In the tale of Hagal it would seem that his disguise was aided by magick, which corresponds to the traditional association of hagalaz with magick. In Havamal, the tenth rune spell is ascribed to hagalaz, which states
“That tenth I know, if night-hags sporting
I scan aloft in the sky:
I scare them with spells. So that they scatter abroad,
Heedless of their hides,
Heedless of their haunts.”
—— It can be plainly seen that this rune also sheds these “night hags” of their disguises, which ,if we are to infer are animal fetchs, must certainly be owls.
——This night hag is a somewhat illusive character as no high myth survives to tell of it. There are charms against night hags and owls in anglo-saxon written records, bringing this witchlike character into close relation with the akkadian Lilitu, or Lilith. Sigrdrifumal further associates the night hag with Owls in the line “on the owls beak.”
——One of the earliest attestations of Lilitu is also the first discription of Yggdrasil, though known by a different name in mesopotamia. The Huluppu tree was the prized tree of Inanna’s, until three creatures came and infested it. At its roots it was infested by a snake, and at its crown a massive eagle, or Anzu bird, while in the heart of the trunk the Lilitu made her nest. The snake and eagle are reminiscent of yggdrasil’s own inhabitants, though the lilitu does not come to us in Scandinavian accounts. The common conception of Hagal representing the middle intersection of Yggdrasil corresponds abundantly with the details of the Lilith myth.
—- The throbbing layers of the sacred mountain, where in Odin liberated the mead of inspiration, is too a vision of yggdrasil, though perhaps related to the human vessel. At the roots of the mountain is Odin in serpent form, while at the crown are Thjasti, and Odin, in eagle form. In the middle, like in the huluppu myth, there is a female figure, for above all else the lilitu is a de-humanized female figure, or torso.
—— This conception of the universe is wide spread, as even the gnostics believed in a universe crowned by an eagle, rooster, or bird, and with serpents underneath. The gnostic cosmological deity Abrasax is none other than a representation of the beasts of yggdrasil, or the huluppu tree, in anthropomorphic form. His head is that of a rooster or eagle, its feet are snakes, and it’s torso is human, covered in centurion’s armor, though believed to be female underneath.
—— Cornelius Agrippa, in his Second Book of Occult Philosophy relates the third non zodiacal image of cancer which functions just as we have read in havamal, “the significance of this is the contention of men, the pursuing of those who fly, the hunting and possessing of things by arms and brawling.” Later occult mysteries of astrology and Tarot link the mysteries of Cancer to the Chariot Trump. Like king Hagal, Helgi Hundingsbane, and Abrasax, the charioteer of the the tarot is disguised by cross dressing. While often interpreted as a male, occult lore states that beneath the armor the charioteer is a woman.
—- The first image of cancer, as related by Agrippa depicts the common unverified gnosis of hagalaz as a goddess, ” In the first face of cancer ascendeth the form of a young virgin, adorned with fine clothes, and having a crown on her head; it giveth acuteness of senses, subtlety of wit, and a love of men.”
—— Though mostly a personal observation, pictographically the younger, hex-shapped, hagalaz rune insinuates a connection to the sign of cancer too. In hex -hagalaz is contained two particular runes, explicitly gebo and nauthuz, which respectively represent the zodiac signs Gemini and Leo. The sign that falls between Gemini and leo is Cancer. Naturally a great variety of inferences can be made from the various hagalaz staves, so the above may prove no less than a curiosity.
—— In conclusion It is the belief of this author that the story of Hagal is a mystical allegory for heroic attainment, and that this formula was cultivated from the order of Hagal’s aett, where in this formula was ever a part of heathen mystical practice. More to come on the formulas of mystical attainment. In the meantime feel free to request a writeup on any rune you want, i’ll begin posting again after Walpurgisnacht.

Yggdrasil Illustration by


Sarmatian Gold Diadem with Garnet, Glass, Almandine, Pearls, and Turquoise; From the Khokhlach Burial Mound (1st century AD, Hermitage Museum).

The Sarmatians were an early Scythian tribe that later became the Allen’s, or Alani, who inevitably became the Arani, when half of them settled modern Iran. They are the only tribe of indo-aryans to call themselves aryan. Their features were celtic, having blonde and red hair, and they had a matriarchal society. All of their women served as warriors until killing their first enemy. They are the historical basis behind the amazons, as Saramations women were known to cauterize one breast from birth, and exercise one arm for battle.
The Saramations are usually claimed by the Iranians as ancestors, however a great deal of them made the western migration, and became a part of the pre-gothic Gaete, from whom they suffered great military defeat. From the goths their culture became disseminated into magna Germania, living on in the traditions of shield maidens, and tales of the valkyrie. It is possible that descendants of the Saramations joined many of the germanic and celtic tribes.


Galdrakver (‘Little Book Of Magic’)

The ‘Little Book Of Magic’ is a seventeenth-century Icelandic manuscript, written on animal skin and containing magical staves, sigils, prayers, charms and related texts.

It is known to have once been owned by Icelandic Bishop Hannes Finnson who was alive from 1739 until 1796 and known for having a vast library containing many volumes of magic related texts and manuscripts.

Full manuscript here.


Anonymous asked:

is it acceptable to refer to Loki as Loptr? just curious :)



Loptr is used to name Loki in two Eddic poems: Völuspá inn skamma  (which is part of Hyndluljóð) where Loki and Loptr are used interchangeably, and Lokasenna, where Loki names himself in this way. It may also appear via association in Völuspá stanza 25, though the meaning here is hotly contested.*

Loptr also appears in the section on Loki during the enumeration of the Gods in Gylfaginning (33) and in two poems excerpted in Skáldskaparmál: Haustlöng and Þórsdrápa. Þórsdrápa even uses an air kenning to reference Loki (Gammleið), playing off the meaning of this name.

The etymology of Loptr is extremely straightforward (Proto-Germanic *luftuz, meaning air or sky, seen in Old English lyft, Old High German luft, and related to modern English words like loft, aloft, lofty, and lift), particularly when compared to the intense debate surrounding the etymology of Loki.

Some scholars argue that Loptr is actually an older name for Loki (because it appears in Haustlöng, Þórsdrápa, and other heathen age kennings) but I am not sure we have enough evidence to draw this conclusion. It has proven to be an appealing argument for some in that it suggests a primary “natural” function for Loki^ as well as, perhaps, explains the lack of evidence of Loki outside of the Eddic texts. However, again, I do not think we have enough evidence to draw this conclusion, whether or not it is appealing.

We do know, however, that both Loki and Loptr are used in various places and seemed to have been known by poets and compilers for several different texts. Although Loki/Loke is by far the most common word for him in modern usage and thus his primary name for the overwhelming majority of his devotees, both are equally valid correct and valid.


* The line translates: “Who has all the air blended with deceit” dealing with the negotiation process in rebuilding Ásgarðr’s wall. Several of the words here are ones that often surface in Eddic verses and kennings dealing with Loki: lævi (deceit), blandinn (blended, etc., Zoe Borovsky has a great article about this term called “‘En hon er blandin mjök:’ Women and Insults in Old Norse Literature”), and, of course, lopt (air). It seems that Snorri, at least, read this as a reference to Loki, as he blames Loki for the terms of the agreement in Gylfaginning 42. Nevertheless, the validity of this interpretation and the episode as Snorri interprets it have been contested.

^ In contrast to the most widely accepted (albeit still contested) etymology for Loki in modern scholarship: the past participle of lúka, which has to do with closing, locking/being locked, or ending. I know, I know, these things are natural, too, and have a constructive place in the world, but trying telling some scholars (and Nokeans) this.

As many of my followers may know, I frequently reference the Eddas to substantiate my runic lore, which is considered dubious and unconventional by many of my peers. This is only made possible by a simple formula which reveals the “rune Ale” in Sigrdrífumál to be a rearrangement of the three Aetts. Because we know that certain kennings invariably refer to specific runes, several such references in Sigrdrífumál become apparent to anyone sufficiently familiar with the various runepoems. Such obvious references include the line “on the midwifes hand,” which refers to Berkano, and “On the Norn-Nail eke,” which refers to Nauthuz.
The runic references in sigrdrifumal occur within three verses, excluding the preceding rune spells, each verse containing eight kennings, making 24 kennings in all. This indicates that the author of the text is either familiar with, or is transmitting, lore concerning the Elder Futhark (a noteworthy detail, as no elder lore is thought to exist).
The reference to Berkano occurs on the second verse, Sigrdrifumal verse 16 (17 in my on hand translation), and is the seventh kenning of that verse, out of eight. This information may appear useless, mainly because berkano isn’t the seventh rune of any aett, nor is it the 15th rune of any futhark. But if you flip the order of the verse (or re-Verse it) you see that Berkano is the second rune of the reversed Poem, which corresponds with berkano’s place as the second rune of tyr’s Aett.
So upon discovery of this I decided to flip all of the verses backwards. Nauthuz, whose kenning was in the 17th (in my copy 18th) verse, and whose forward position was 7th in row, 23rd overall, became the second rune of that row. This corresponds with Nauthuz’s position as the second rune of Hagal’s Aett.
Now it became apparent that the runes were in reversed order, and that the last two Aett’s, Tyr’s and Hagal’s, were out of order. This meant that the runes of the first verse must be Freyr’s Aett.
After plugging in the runes and contemplating the correspondences the runes began to make uncanny sense, though the kennings were far removed from what we have in the rune poems. Some of the kennings remain obscure, such as Lagaz’s “on the eagle’s beak”, while others were humorous. The Kenning for Dagaz was “on Bragi’s Tongue”, a riddle for daylight, because naturally Bragi is a talker.
I looked elsewhere in the edda for runic references to see if this order of runes was applied anywhere else.
Sure enough this order was applied partially to Havamal’s Ljóðatal, but unlike in Sigrdrifumal there was no adhearance to the Aett system. Thus the poem begins with Berkano, proceeding backwards (in sigrdrifumal order) to the rune Hagalaz, then resuming from the other side of Berkano, in the regular order of Hagal’s Aett. After Sowillo the poem then skips to the end of Freyr’s Aett, Moving backwards over Wunjo and Gebo, and ommitting the runes FUÞARK.
While the order may seem confused it was arrived at much the same way as the above, there being many kennings associated with certain runes which indicate a relation between each other, informing us of their identity. What was valuable was the confirmation that certain obscure kennings had precedents elsewhere in the Edda’s while others furnish loose associations that triangulate potentially deeper understandings of the runes.

The obstacle to the elucidation of the runes is partially academic. Investigation into this interpretation of Sigrdrífumál is retarded by popular values of runology which emphasize phonetics, and alliteration, in this case at the expense of Kenning. Sadly the Poetic Edda may never be recognized for it’s record of original Lore concerning the Elder Futhark, as academics often question the value of a the Elder Edda as a primary mystical/religious source.

Stay tuned for future essays on highly contestable Edda Runes; featuring Tiwaz, Laguz, and many another by request.

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