Empty Days

Friday, October 01, 2004



On divination.

Having tried both I-Ching and Tarot, I think I much prefer Runes in the end - I like the rude take Futhark gives on life (I also like the sound of the word "Futhark" which I associate with "fucked life" or french "foutre" of the same meaning - interestingly enough all these semantics come down to "Fate" or "Fortune") . Instead of some nebulous "some dark-haired person fucks you from a distance" or "fishes ate your pigs" kind of stuff, Runes are kind of direct in a good nasty way: they tell of a simple hard life where it's important to have guts and listen to stuff happening around and inside you instead of running around looking as to who might be responsible for your shit besides yourself.

Yes, I think there is somewhat more to life than just what one prefers to imagine of it, but the view is limited by skepticism and I can't deny that I am a skeptic and can't really respond to anything beyond my own paltry ideations of the world.

Perhaps there are gods and forces out there - but since I am not directly aware of any of those, I'd rather not speculate :-0

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For one thing, the Runic myths really appeal to my sense of how much unpleasantness it takes in life to get at anything worthwhile. The founding myth of Furthark is this:

I know I hung on that windswept tree,
Swung there for nine long nights,
Wounded by my own blade,
Bloodied for Odin,
Myself an offering to myself:
Bound to the tree,
That no man knows
Whither the roots of it run.

(from Poetic Edda)

This is an initiation ritual - perhaps invented for the first time by this original guy Odin who thought it worthwhile to bleed all week long just to get some larger view of the mysteries of life. We don't understand this kind of determination today - we seriously think we can get at it all just by taking those 101 courses at college. What a lame idea, folks.

Another introduction:
Welcome to the runes, a fascinating divinatory system that has its roots in ancient Norse history and mythology. It is an alphabet, a series of divinatory marks, and a magickal method. If you have Germanic/Norse ancestry, you will probably discover that you have a natural affinity and/or affection for the runes as opposed to other divinatory methods. But that doesn't mean that you can't learn to use and enjoy the runes if you are not Germanic. They are equal-opportunity stones.

Legend says that Odin, one of the old Norse gods, hung for nine nights on Yggdrasil, the Tree of the World, and grabbed the runes just before he fell from the tree (take a look at the Hanged Man card in the Tarot deck, and you will see Odin there). This sacrifice was what brought the runes to humankind.

Runes lost favor after World War II, when the Nazi party adopted several runes, most notably the swastika. It has taken many years for the Nazi taint to wear off.

Runic alphabets are called futharks, so named because the first six letters of any version spell out the very word. There are three main futharks: Elder, Younger, and Anglo-Saxon. Chances are that the set of runes you have bought (or made) is an Elder Futhark. Regardless, the pages that follow assume that you are working with Elder Futhark.
Well then, I must have some germanic ancestry just from liking those Runes so much - I don't know how this squares with my jewish ancestry, but maybe some of my distant great-great-grand-mothers was accidentally raped by a german peasant? You never know, right.

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I haven't bought or made any Rune sets - I use the internet. It's plenty enough given the randomness of nature and my inability to distinguish between perfect mathematical randomness and the randomness of things happening around me. It's all the same to me as soon as I don't know where it all comes from. In any case the basis is still interpretation - and that's the tricky part in any case.





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