Ariosophy and the Runes
In stanza 139, Odin continues:
The Anglo-Saxon rune poem explains the meaning of the rune tir using the imagery of a star that had the same name (probably the North Star):
S Sig Rune
It is a series of sig runes that make up the circular, swirling symbol of the Schwarze Sonne or Sonnenrad to be found at the Wewelsburg.
The meaning of the word iar is obscure. It is usually interpreted as ‘eel’ or ‘newt’. Note that the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc also has the rune hægl, ‘hail’ corresponding to the Elder Futhark *hagall and used for the same sound, but unlike the Younger Futhark and Armanen runes it does not have the star form.
It was also the emblem of the Waffen-SS division “Prinz Eugen”, recruited from the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) community in Croatia. It was also used by Reichsbauernschaft and Hitlerjugend.
It denoted the common Germanic sound *z, which corresponds to ON *-R in final position. In the Younger Futhark the same sign designated the sound m and was called maðr, ‘man’:
Toten Rune (Death Rune)
In the Younger Futhark this rune had the name ýr, ‘yew’:
and brittle iron
and giant of the arrow.
It showed the date of death in documents and on grave markers.
The Eif rune was the early emblem of the SS adjutants assigned personally to Hitler.
Origin unclear. Possibly a variation of the Elder Futhark *eihwaz rune.
Used by Stahlhelm war veterans’ association, as well as a badge commemorating the Nazis who perished during the 1923 Munich Putsch. Origin unclear. Possibly a variation of the Elder Futhark *eihwaz rune.
The symbol representing it was believed to have the magical power to ward off werewolves.
The Wolfsangel sign does not belong to any runic tradition.
In the 15th century it was adopted as an emblem of the German peasants’ revolt. Ever since it was regarded as symbolic of liberty and independence.
In Nazi Germany it was an early emblem of NSDAP and later the emblem of the Waffen-SS division “Das Reich”.
A squat version of the Wolfsangel was used as a badge of the Weer Afdeelingen, Dutch equivalent of the German SA.
see also ‘The Lord of the Harvest‘
List’s first full-length novel, published in two volumes in 1888.
After its success, it was followed by two more books set in tribal Germany; Jung Diether’s Heimkehr (Young Diether’s Homecoming, 1894) and Pipara (1895).
These books led to List being celebrated by the pan-German movement. Around the turn of the century, he continued with several plays. Between 1903 and 1907 he began using the noble title von on occasion, before finally settling on it permanently in 1907. As this was only permitted for members of the aristocracy, he was put before an official enquiry. Here he produced spurious evidence supporting his tenuous claim, which was accepted by the officials heading the inquiry, however, there is no extant evidence demonstrating independently verifiable proof of direct lineal descent from a noble family for the Lists.
During the final stages of World War I the naval blockade of the Central Powers created food shortages in Vienna.
This caused poor health in the now seventy year old von List.
In the spring of 1919 he set off to recuperate in Brandenburg, Germany, but his health deteriorated quickly and he died of pneumonia in Berlin on May 17th within a few months after the end of WW1 whilst on a visit to his followers in Berlin.
He was cremated in Leipzig and his urn then buried in Vienna Central Cemetery, Zentralfriedhof, on the 8th of October 1919 in the gravesite KNLH 413 – Vienna’s largest and most famous cemetery (including the graves of Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Strauss.) in Vienna’s 11th district of Simmering.
Philipp Stauff wrote an obituary which appeared in the Münchener Beobachter.
In ‘Das Geheimnis der Runen’ Guido List explains the role of the runes in uncovering early Germanic belief.
An important substructure underlying von List’s conceptions is his baptism into Roman Catholicism, which he believes serves as a cover for more ancient pagan beliefs which have been subsumed by Christianity.
List shows the importance of the runes and the unique meaning of each of the runic elements. Subsequently he shows how the runes were incorporated into such systems as heraldry, freemasonry, folk tradition and belief, and even into baked goods and pastries, as well as holidays. List notes that early Germanic (Aryan) society consisted of individuals who served as farmers with three principal classes (castes), that of the peasantry, the military, and the nobility/intellegentsia (Armanen).
List defines an occult doctrine in which he outlines the “biune-bifidic-dyad”, the “triune-trifidic-triad”, and the “multifidic multiune-multiplicity”.
List shows how each of these relates to God and the need for man to conform his will (his ego) to that of God.
List also presents a system of reincarnation in which Aryan individuals fallen in battle are taken up into Walhalla.
In fact, List himself was to write another important novel named ‘Carnuntum’ dealing with the Germans under the Roman empire as well as encounter an individual named Tarnhari who was a supposed reincarnation of an Aryan chieftain.
List incorporated racial notions of Aryan supremacy into his writings and of course was politically aligned with Pan German nationalists who wanted to see Austria united with the other Germanies. List’s ideas were used to found a Masonic society, which later was to embrace National Socialism. Subsequently, many indidividuals associated with National Socialism and the NSDAP were to examine List’s ideas and writings and find them interesting in furthering their own political agendas.
Guido’s Armanen Futharkh
Guido’s self created row of 18 so-called “Armanen Runes” then became what we know today as the “Armanen Futharkh”.
His followers claim that a secret vision came to List during an 11 month state of temporary blindness after a cataract operation on both eyes in 1902.
This miraculous vision in 1902 allegedly opened what List referred to as his “inner eye”, via which he claimed the “Secret of the Runes” was revealed to him.
List claimed that his Armanen Futharkh were encrypted in the Hávamál Poetic Edda, specifically in stanzas 147 through 165 reported as being the ‘song’ of the 18 runes.
As a follow-up to the classic and seminal work ‘Das Geheimnis der Runen’ Guido von List published: ‘Die Religion der Ario-Germenen in ihrer Esoterik und Exoterik’, first published in 1910.
This text, next to that of ‘The Secret of the Runes’ provides an in-depth look at the ideological world of the turn of the century Viennese master.
Perhaps no other text so precisely sums up List’s religious world-view.
In these pages he describes an esoteric, theosophical, cosmology in terms of Germanic mythology and addresses questions of astrology and the purpose and destiny of the human soul.
Guido von List elaborated a racial religion premised on the concept of renouncing the imposed foreign creed of Christianity and returning to the pagan religions of the ancient Indo-Europeans (List preferred the equivalent term Ario-Germanen, or ‘Aryo-Germans’).
List recognised the theoretical distinction between the Indo-European (‘Aryan’) protolanguage and the derivative Germanic protolanguage but frequently obscured it by his tendency to treat them as a single long-lived entity.
In this, he became strongly influenced by the Theosophical thought of Madame Blavatsky, which he blended however with his own highly original beliefs, founded upon Germanic paganism.
Before he turned to occultism, Guido List had written articles for German nationalist newspapers in Austria, as well as four historical novels and three plays, some of which were “set in tribal Germany” before the advent of Christianity.
He also had written an anti-semitic essay in 1895.
List called his doctrine Armanism after the Armanen, supposedly a body of priest-kings in the ancient Ario-Germanic nation.
List believed that the transition from Wotanism to Christianity had proceeded smoothly under the direction of the skalds, so that native customs, festivals and names were preserved under a Christian veneer and only needed to be ‘decoded’ back into their heathen forms.
This peaceful merging of the two religions had been disrupted by the forcible conversions under “bloody Charlemagne — the Slaughterer of the Saxons”.
List claimed that the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church in Austria-Hungary constituted a continuing occupation of the Germanic tribes by the Roman empire, albeit now in a religious form, and a continuing persecution of the ancient religion of the Germanic peoples and Celts.
He also believed in the magical powers of the old runes.
From 1891 onwards he claimed that heraldry was based on a system of encoded runes, so that heraldic devices conveyed a secret heritage in cryptic form.
see ‘The Art of Heraldry‘
In April 1903, he submitted an article concerning the alleged Aryan proto-language to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Its highlight was a mystical and occult interpretation of the runic alphabet, which became the cornerstone of his ideology. Although the article was rejected by the academy, it would later be expanded by List and grew into his final masterpiece, a comprehensive treatment of his linguistic and historical theories published in 1914 as ‘Die Ursprache der Ario-Germanen und ihre Mysteriensprache’ – (The Proto-Language of the Aryo-Germans and their Mystery Language).
List’s doctrine has been described as gnostic, pantheist and deist.
At its core is the mystical union of God, man and nature.
Wotanism teaches that God dwells within the individual human spirit as an inner source of magical power, but is also immanent within nature through the primal laws which govern the cycles of growth, decay and renewal.
List explicitly rejects a dualism of spirit versus matter or of God over against nature.
Humanity is therefore one with the universe, which entails an obligation to live in accordance with nature. But the individual human ego does not seek to merge with the cosmos.
“Man is a separate agent, necessary to the completion or perfection of ‘God’s work’”.
Being immortal, the ego passes through successive reincarnations until it overcomes all obstacles to its purpose.
List foresaw the eventual consequences of this in a future utopia on earth, which he identified with the promised Valhalla, a world of victorious heroes:
‘Thus in the course of uncounted generations all men will become Einherjar, and that state — willed and preordained by the godhead — of general liberty, equality, and fraternity will be reached. This is that state which sociologists long for and which socialists want to bring about by false means, for they are not able to comprehend the esoteric concept that lies hidden in the triad: liberty, equality, fraternity, a concept which must first ripen and mature in order that someday it can be picked like a fruit from the World Tree.’
Irminenschaft (or, Irminism, Irminenreligion) is a current of Ariosophy based on a hypothetical Germanic deity Irmin (a backformation from Irminsul “great pillar” and informed by Tacitus’ Hermiones; The Old Saxon adjective irmin “great, strong” may also have been an epithet of Ziu (Týr) or Wodan (Odin)).
Stronger scientific evidence stems from the occurrence of the word “Irmingot”, as found in the Old High German “Hildebrandslied”.
Notably the Nazi occultist Karl Maria Wiligut claimed a historical Irminism, established in 12,500 BC, later ousted by Wotanism.
Karl Maria Wiligut was baptised as a Roman Catholic in Vienna.
At the age of 14, he joined the Kadettenschule there.
Aged 17, he was conscripted to the k.u.k. infantry regiment of Milan I king of Serbia.
On 17 December 1883 he was appointed as an infantry man, four days later he became a gefreiter.
In 1888, he was promoted to lieutenant.
In 1906 he married Malwine Leuts von Teuringen of Bozen, with whom he had two daughters, Gertrud and Lotte.
A twin brother of one of the girls died as an infant, a devastating tragedy for Wiligut, who was desperate for a male heir to which he could pass on his “secret knowledge”, which estranged him from his wife.
In 1889, he joined the quasi-masonic “Schlaraffia-Loge”.
He published his first book, ‘Seyfrieds Runen’, in 1903, under the pseudonym of “Lobesam”. 1908 followed the Neun Gebote Gots, where Wiligut first claimed to be heir to an ancient tradition of Irminism. Both List and Wiligut were influenced by Friedrich Fischbach’s 1900 Die Buchstaben Gutenbergs.
During World War I, Wiligut served at the southern and eastern fronts. On 1 August 1917, he was promoted to colonel. In May 1918, he was retired from the front and commanded a convalescents’ camp near Lviv.
After almost forty years in military service, he retired on 1 January 1919 with an impeccable record, and moved to Morzg near Salzburg and dedicated his time to occult studies.
He renewed his acquaintance with Theodor Czepl of the Ordo Novi Templi, who in winter 1920/21 spent seven weeks in Wiligut’s house.
Czepl compiled a report for the archive of the O.N.T., where he describes Wiligut as “a man martial in aspect, who revealed himself as bearer of a secret line of German kingship”.
Wiligut founded the postwar newspaper ‘Der Eiserne Besen’, where he disseminated anti-Judaistic, anti-Masonic and anti-Christian pamphlets, expressing his conviction of a worldwide conspiracy of these “dark forces”.
Shortly after being introduced to Reichsführer-SS Himmler in September 1933 at a conference of the Nordische Gesellschaft, Wiligut was inducted into the SS (under the pseudonym “Karl Maria Weisthor”) to head a Department for Pre- and Early History which was created for him within the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA).
In April 1934 he was promoted to the rank of Standartenführer (colonel), and then made head of Section VIII (Archives) for RuSHA in October 1934. In November 1934 a promotion followed to the rank of Oberführer (lieutenant-brigadier), and then in Spring 1935 Wiligut was transferred to Berlin to serve on Himmler’s personal staff.
He was promoted to the rank of Brigadeführer in September 1936.
In Berlin, where he worked in the office of Karl Wolff, chief adjutant of the SS, Wiligut developed his plans for the rebuilding of the Wewelsburg into an allegorical “center of the world”.
Most significantly the Great Hall of the Wewelsburg had a marble inlaid floor representing the most secret and occult occult symbol of the Thule Gesellschaft – the ‘Schwartze Sonne‘ (the Black Sun – see left & right).
Wiligut’s friend Manfred von Knobelsdorff attempted to practise Wiligut’s Irminism by performing various rituals on the Wewelsburg.
These included a baptismal ceremony for Karl Wolff’s eldest son on 4 January 1937, attended by SS dignitaries Reinhard Heydrich and Karl Diebitsch.
In summer 1936, Gunther Kirchhoff and Wiligut, on behalf of the Ahnenerbe, undertook a 22 day expedition to the Murg Valley in the Black Forest where there was a settlement described as consisting of old half-timbered houses, architectural ornament, crosses, inscriptions, and natural and man-made rock formations in the forest, which, they claimed, showed it to be an ancient Krist settlement.
Wiligut identified Schloss Eberstein as a center of Irminism.
In Saxony, he discovered another “Irminist complex”, identifying Einum as “spirit point”, Bodenburg as “will point”, Gandersheim as “central awareness point”, Engelade as “force hand point”, Calefeld as “heart point” of the crucified Balder, Brunstein as “generative point”, Naensen as “material hand point” and Ebergötzen as “skould point”.
Wiligut identified Irminism as the true German ancestral religion, claiming that Guido von List’s Wotanism and Armanen runic row was a schismatic false religion.
Himmler, on Wiligut’s recommendation, had many of List’s followers and non-official Nazi occultists imprisoned in concentration camps.
Wiligut contributed significantly to the development of Wewelsburg as the order-castle and ceremonial center of SS pseudo-religious practice.
He designed the Totenkopfring, which Himmler personally awarded to prestigious SS officers.
Herman Wirth, first president of the Ahnenerbe, was less than impressed with Wiligut, and in a letter to Rudolf J. Mund describes him as a senile alcoholic plagiarizing Guido List. But Wirth himself was dropped by Himmler after his forgery of a “Fossum calendar disk” he had alleged to have found in a 1937 Ahnenerbe expedition to Sweden was uncovered.
Karl Maria Wiligut died on 3 January 1946.His gravestone is inscribed with “UNSER LEBEN GEHT DAHIN WIE EIN GESCHWÄTZ” (“Our Life Passes Away Like Idle Chatter”).
The Externsteine is a distinctive rock formation is situated in the Teutoburger Wald, not far from Detmold.
This series of tall, narrow rock columns rise from the wooded hills and appear to be the only such stone formations in the entire area, though on the hills on either side of the formation, the Knickenhagen and Bärenstein, similar rocks are hidden, only visible as perpendicular ribs along their northern flanks. But it’s what is visible that counts, and hence, the Externsteine are a unique series of four sandstone columns up to forty meters tall, forming a wall several hundreds of meters long.
The Ahnernebe, following the theories of Wilhelm Teudt, found ancient Germanic “star temples” where sightlines supposedly radiated out towards important positions of sun, moon, and stars.
Wilhelm Teudt (7 December 1860, Bergkirchen – 5 January 1942) was a völkisch lay archaeologist searching for an ancient Germanic civilization.
His 1929 work Germanische Heiligtümer continues to have currency in esoteric and neopagan communities to this day.
He trusted in his paranormal faculty of picking up the “vibrations” of his ancestors helping him visualize ancient sceneries of the sites he was researching.
Teudt was particularly interested in the Externsteine.
According to Teudt this was where the sacred pillar of the Saxons, Irminsul, stood until toppled by Charlemagne and a carving of a “weeping Irminsul” is supposed to be on one of the pillars of rock.
The Externsteine was at the centre of alignments and was supposed to have been a sacred centre before Stonehenge.
In 1933 Teudt joined the Nazi Party and proposed to turn the Externsteine into a “sacred grove” for the commemoration of the ancestors.
Hence, it should be he, not Wiligut, who was responsible for making the Externsteine part of the Nazi doctrine.
Heinrich Himmler was open to the idea, and in 1933 initiated and then presided over the “Externstein Foundation”, though it was actively run by SS-Standartenführer Wolfram Sievers.
He led the German excavations at the site until 1940 when it was turned over to the Ahnenerbe’s control.
for more information see