On Carving

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I originally wrote this article for publication in Rune Kevels, the official organ of the Rune Gild when still a member of that organization, and then updated it for publication within the official organ of the Wolfbund while still a member of that organization. The presense of **** indicates where the names of these respective organizations once fit into the article. I continue to retain the copyright on this article. -Hildolf Von Eisenwald
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      The carving of Taufar is an intrinsic part of the Great Tradition as illustrated throughout the many spokes of evidence at our disposal, from archaeological finds to documentation found in the Eddas and Sagas. At a practical level, it is the process of creating a physical (objective) form into which the Runer loads Runic forces towards a Willed end. The process of carving the shape of the Taufr itself has many subtle lessons to teach the Runer, as well as being a concrete expression of many of the teachings of the ****; I will go so far as to say that these are some of the “Runes” of carving.

      After climbing the tree (the symbolism here also speaks) and claiming the desired branch from which the Taufr will be shaped, the Runer is confronted with the raw substance of the wood which must be consciously shaped with the Sax into the final form that he/she has determined for the Tine (this is easier said than done at times.) We can see this concept reflected in the myth of Odhinn slaying Ymir and shaping the Nine Worlds from the body of the etin, as well as the myth of Odhinn shaping Askr and Embla from trees. In the process of shaping the raw wood into the desired form of the Taufr, we are reenacting the godly processes spoken of above at a personal level.

      For the beginner, carving Taufr has much to offer as far as putting many of the essential basic skills into action that are necessary in the long run for successful Bünde-Work, as well as being a tangible example of taking basic knowledge, placing it into action, and gaining understanding in Runework. In the process of determining the shape of the Taufr, the Runer must place their imagination into action and visualize how their Taufr is going to look; the more developed the imagination and powers of visualization, the more aesthetically pleasing the Taufr will be (beauty is important here…the Taufr is a creation of the Runer’s Will, and should reflect the beauty of that Will.) The Runer then must take up the Sax and actually carve; as I’ve already said, this is easier said than done: I could tell you all of the tricks that I’ve learned for carving, but until you take that Knowledge and place it into Action, you really aren’t going to Understand it beyond a purely intellectual level . Understanding is the child of Experience.

      In carving, the Runer is forced to discipline their mind and body and keep themselves concentrated in the matter at hand: lapses in focus are rewarded with bleeding hands and ill-carved tines; maintenance of focus is rewarded with the desired tine shape. The Sax is a harsh but fair schoolmaster. Wood can be a tricky substance to work with at times: depending on what kind of wood you’re working with, it could be very soft, very hard, or riddled with knots here and there; dealing with these and other factors can be very frustrating at first, but through perseverance and ingenuity, the Runer will eventually develop the skills necessary to shape beautiful and intricate tines ( the more you put into the Taufr, the more you’re going to get out of it.) One final matter: if you’re just learning to carve, it’s more likely than not that you’re going to make some mistakes; This is where you can learn the benefits of self forgiveness…you can’t walk the Road while you’re standing in one place kicking yourself in the rear end. There are mighty Staves hidden in the wood; take up thy Sax and carve.

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For Magicians: Thoughts on Magical Combat & Personal Stability

Those who’ve discussed my beginnings in magic with me are well aware that my first acts of magic were of a very aggressive nature, launched with full intent, and never with one regret to follow. The rest of you reading this now know as well. The reason that I mention this fact up front is to illustrate the fact that not only am I no stranger to that kind of magic, I’ve also used it with success, much to my satisfaction at the time(s). That being said, I would like to say that I approach such magic in the same way that I view any other form of martial arts skills that I have gained a level of proficiency in: I won’t curse someone over a personal slight such as being called a name or having a nasty argument with them anymore than I would shoot somebody or break their neck for slapping me across the face or spitting on me; notice that I don’t say that I “can’t,” I say that I won’t. I don’t even bother pranking people who I don’t like with Fart Runes these days, because really, that’s a waste of time & resources better spent elsewhere (besides, with my nasty verbal skills, I can leave a lasting impression on a jerk without investing too much in them…a good magician knows the wisdom of investing only the necessary amount of energy into any goal, and the follies that come with overspending.)

Before I left the Rune-Gild in 2003, I risted a Gandr (Wand) specifically for battle-magic, just in case I experienced any attacks from my former teachers & compatriots in the Gild: I was never forced to use it. I was never forced to use it when I seceded my House from the Wolfbund in 2005. To this day, I have not used the Gandr to engage in battle; I guess that when it really comes down to it, you could say that magicians who’ve gotten to a certain level in their development view non-productive magical combat as wasteful if the target is not a genuine & serious threat to them somehow. Mind you, simply because I don’t have a hair-trigger on my temper doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a good fight once it’s clearly inevidable. If I have to, I’ll engage, with a big smile on my face, and mirth in my heart, just as if somebody had forced me into a physical confrontation: there is a certain kind of ecstasy that comes from victory in battle that those of faint hearts will never partake of, although battle is not a thing to be entered into lightly.

The initial motivation behind writing all of this is really unfortunate: an old acquaintance of mine (via the internet only) began exhibiting odd “behavior” online, posting comments to his Facebook page that ranted of hidden enemies and conspiracies reaching back decades; he turned his attention to several people listed as friends on his account, verbally berating them, and accusing at least one of being involved in one of these “conspiracies.” He eventually turned his attention on me, interpreting my attempts at lightening his mood as veiled threats against him. He ended our 12 year association in a two-line Facebook instant message. Let me stop here and say that I don’t hate this guy: he obviously has some deep-seated issues of some kind that I am far from qualified to diagnose. I have no resentment towards this guy, and actually respect him for his many talents. The problem with people who have such issues is that they actually believe that they are surrounded by enemies, and sometimes develop a “First Strike” mentality towards them. It is bad enough if the person has access to anything that could be used as a weapon, or is a trained martial artist; it is even worse if that person is a trained magician of some skill. In roughly the span of a week, I repelled more magical attacks than I have in the past decade. I haven’t retaliated, but it really annoyed me.

This brings me to the next subject in this discussion: you really need to be a reasonably stable human being if you intend to practice magic. I’m not kidding. Personal stability takes at least two forms:

1. Mental fitness is a necessity in magic. If you’re just starting out in magic, or thinking about starting out in magic, take an honest & personal inventory of yourself: do you have any emotional issues that have gotten in the way of you living your life? If so, you had best start taking steps to put your issues in order before going further. Even if you’ve been practicing a while and have neglected putting some of your issues at order, those unresolved matters in the basement are going to coninually interfere in your ability to view yourself & the Multiverse with anything but an emotionally warped perspective, which could manifest in all sorts of twisted ways. Some schools of magic say that when you start practicing magic, that you have “energized your karmic seeds” or something similar. I say that when you start practicing magic, you awaken certain things in yourself, and if you aren’t stable, you could get chewed up rather nicely somehow, including losing your mind, which is something that I have actually seen in at least a few cases. The thing is, you’re not the only one who gets to suffer: every single person who is close to you is going to suffer as well: they get to watch you degenerate, or they even might become your victim. For that matter, you might become someone else’s victim if they perceive you as a mad dog who needs to be put down for everyone’s sake.

2. Ethical fitness is a necessity of magic. Yeah, I know that you’ve heard the whole bit of being “beyond good & evil”…I’m talking about something else here. I’m talking about survival, and the quality of that survival as well. How do ethics help to secure survival? I could go into some of the more esoteric examples, some that you may or may not buy into depending upon your perspective on things “spiritual,” but it’s most pragmatic to focus on how it applies to your “everyday” life, and I’m not writing this to sell anyone on a particular paradigm. Your behaviors, be they deeds or words, determine to a great extent how you’re perceived by the world at large, and are the predominating factor in determining how others will respond to you and ultimately treat you. In short, ethics help keep you from unnecessary bullshit that you might bring upon yourself: People with reputations for dishonesty, unpredictability, criminality or other undesirable behavior not only become targets of abuse or legal action in time, but also cut themselves off from potential sources of income, information, or inspiration (a simple background check these days can close a lot of doors that may never open again.) Beyond this, having a reputation as a piece of garbage cuts you off from the kinds of people who would truly contribute to the quality of your life. A magician cannot truly depend upon the loyalities of people of quality unless he or she has developed the character that would warrant the presence of such people in their lives; truly worthwhile companions, be they friends, lovers or allies aren’t going to put up with some piece of shit who blows up in their face simply “because they felt like it.”

Still not convinced that personal stablity is a Necessity for Magicians? Fine. There’s actually one more thing for you to consider: magicians who stir up enough shit through mentally unstable or unethical behavior eventually draw the attention of the last people in the world that they want to piss off: other magicians. Ever hear the saying “There’s always someone a little better out there that can kick your ass”? This is where that saying easily applies. Where an unstable magician’s concerned, the chances are high that they’re going to eventually try to throw their weight around among other magicians somehow. Most magicians will probably ignore it, and let the guy off with a salvo of verbal abuse, if anything at all. Then there’s that one magician who for whatever reason decides to teach the punk a lesson, or is just having a bad week: I once spoke to a magician many years my junior in the “trade” who conveyed to me that he’d shot his mouth off to a Master-level initiate within the organization to which he belonged; the Master apparently responded by placing a form of Constraint which had the effect of overwhelming pain upon the junior whenever he would become infuriated, the very state of mind he was in when he finally went too far with the Master. The result? The junior was given ample time and plenty of context to consider not only the Necessity of mental stability, but also the fact that it’s a good idea to speak to other initiates with a more civil tone…he is an intelligent person, and I respect the fact that he had enough humility to recognize this, and enough pride in himself to want to change for the better (Note: since the original writing of this, the junior in question has lost his mind, intoxicated on delusions of greatness, paranoia that he’s being constantly magically attacked (as in the instance of claiming that some Master constrained him), and a fantasy that he is the new Yrmin-Drighten of the Rune-Gild…I guess that some people just shouldn’t play with magic.)

Therefore, strive with all of your faculties and resources to develop or reinforce your personal stability. If you determine that you have some emotional or psychological issue, get to work on it somehow. Do some research, get some tools for yourself to work with. Find somebody who you can trust, talk to them, and get some feedback. Magic will not eliminate these issues if you ignore them, magic will magnify them and bring them back to your door as monsters. Magic tends to make us more of who we really are, including the nasty parts, and so you have to learn to work around them (or with them) if you aren’t able to rip them out by the roots, or cut their heads off so to speak. Strive to establish ethics in your life. Examine the moral codes of your ancestors or warrior fraternities and ask yourself why these things were important to them in a practical way. Don’t simply adopt a code. Understand how it serves your happiness, prosperity & survival. If a magician hopes to walk a long and productive path, a stable set of legs are needed, else they hobble down the crooked path on twisted legs that are further broken by the road. It’s your choice.

The Swastika: A Brief History & Overview

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I authored this article when still a member of the Wolfbund, and it was published within official Wolfbund publications. While they may in fact continue to utilize this article as a tool of instruction, I retain sole authorship and ownership of said article, and it may not be reproduced without my consent or without crediting me as the rightful author. -Hildolf Von Eisenwald
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Disclaimer:
This article is meant to convey information regarding a venerable symbol with a long and diverse history that may be relevant to some at a level of spiritual & cultural heritage. It is not the intent of the author to endorse any political or racial ideology covertly or overtly through the presentation of this article.
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When it was initially requested that I research & compose an article on the Swastika for the internal publication of the Wolfbund, I despaired of finding much beyond what I would term “the usual” information on this symbol; I was pleasantly surprised to find more than a few unexpected facts that you’ll find presented alongside “the usual” here.Although this paper is decidedly “abbreviated” on this subject for the sake of space, clarity, and the occasional gaps fact wise that I wasn’t able to fill in, I would like to encourage others to seek out information on this subject beyond what is presented here (rest assured there is still plenty of it out there) so that deeper and ever more profound understanding regarding this venerable holy sign may be gleaned with each new exploration. Although I present some information here that falls outside the Indo-European family tree, one should bear in mind that history, lore, and practices found within the IE “tree” are most relevant to understanding and applying the Swastika in the cultural matrix that we are mutually focused upon within the Pan-Germanic Heathen Renaissance.

The Swastika has loomed large in the psyche of man from its first appearance in prehistoric cultures, to its current use by various religions and organizations that hold diverse interpretations where this ancient symbol is concerned; despite its “fall from grace” in the western world, this symbol still wields immense influence here, eliciting a broad spectrum of emotions ranging from pride, awe, fear, and hate; this fact in and of itself is a testimony to the latent and enduring power of this symbol, regardless of any value shifts.

English Iron Age Swastika Stone Carving

English Iron Age Swastika Stone Carving

Some of the earliest known swastikas date from 2500 or 3000 B.C. in India and Central Asia, although there has been at least one swastika found in Mezin (near Kiev) that was painted on a Paleolithic cave under the wings of an image of a flying bird between 10,000-12,000 years ago. The presence of the bird seems to imply a sky/celestial association; the associations of the Swastika with the celestial realms and the sky is by no means restricted to a specific time period or region…the Swastika is often linked to comets, movement of the stars, or to the sun in various locations around the globe. Considering the geographical location of the cave (in the Ukraine), I speculate that the Mezin Swastika could have been painted by an ancient Indo-European.
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The word Swastika itself comes from the Sanskrit “Svastika”, which is a compound of “su” meaning “well” and “asti” meaning “Being”, literally resulting in a meaning of “Well Being,” and had connotations of good fortune; the ending “ka” was added to distinguish the word from a similarly sounding one. the Swastika is known under various names around the world; among these are: tetraskelion (Greek for “four-leg”) hakenkreuz (German for “hook-cross”) and fylfot ( an archaic English word for “fill-foot” or “four foot”)

While recent history has placed the Swastika clearly in the Germanic “camp” (Scandinavia, Germany, England, etc), this symbol has historically shown up in Turkey among the Hittites, in Greece, India, China, Japan, Western & Eastern Europe, the United States and other places throughout the entire world within various cultures and religions.
In Jainism, the four arms of the Swastika are a reminder that during the cycles of birth and death, a person can be born into one of four destinies: animal beings, heavenly beings, hellish beings, or human beings; the Swastika also serves as a reminder of the fourfold Jain Sangh.

The god Ganesha

The god Ganesha

Within Hinduism, the Swastika is associated with the god Ganesha, and is seen as symbolizing the interconnecting point between the mundane and the numinous; the Swastika is also said to represent the yoni (vulva), and the root chakra at the base of the spine which houses the Kundalini (female serpent energy.) Sir George Birdwood writing in Report on the Old Records of the India Office, 1891], says: “The right-handed Swastika is, with the Hindus, the emblem of the god Ganesh; it represents the male principle; it typifies the sun in its daily course from east to west; lastly, it symbolizes light, life and glory. The left-handed Swastika or Sauwastika, on the contrary, is the emblem of the Goddess Kali; it represents the female principle, typifies the course of the Sun in the subterranean world from west to east, and symbolizes darkness, death and destruction.” The Swastika is traced prior to any pious religious activity within Hinduism; there are sixteen specific rituals within the life of a Hindu, each of which begins with the Swastika.

Theorized Design of the “Swastika Fort”

Theorized Design of the “Swastika Fort”

There is at least one theory presented
by a Hindu source that posits that the
Swastika may have originated as the
blueprint for a fortress, the configuration
of which would preserve three fourths of
the integrity of the fortification against
attack. Etymology possibly corroborates
this theory, through examination
& combination of the Sanskrit
words “su” (meaning “good”)
and “vastu” (meaning “habitation”)
yielding the idea of a “good habitation’.

Within pre-Christian Russia, the Rus, heathens that they were, had a full compliment of divinities; among these was Swarog, the sun, whose symbol was the “Eternal Fire”; this symbol was represented by the Swastika, which underwent a value shift to a meaning of “God’s Greatness” after the introduction of Christianity.

The Dahmsdorf Spearhead

The Dahmsdorf Spearhead

Among pre-Christian Northern Europeans, the Swastika was associated with the god Thorr and his hammer Mjöllnir, as well as having solar associations and connections with the “horizontal plane” via its four-fold nature. The Swastika was carved alongside Runic formulas, into free-standing Rune stones, jewelry, and weapons in order to imbue them with the numinous might of the symbol, possibly with the intent of calling upon the dynamic power of Thorr, the sun, or the of the horizontal plane of manifestation.

Throughout Europe, the swastika was a common charge on familial, regional, and national heraldry (coats of arms); it continued to be used in heraldry until the end of World War II, when stigma surrounding the symbol prompted its removal. Within Medieval England, the Fylfot was used to fill in the space at the bottom of stained glass windows (hence the term “fill-foot”, one of the translations for “fylfot”.) A variant of the swastika (an eight-armed double swastika) represented German Vehmic Courts (from Vehme, “punishment”) which began in the Middle Ages as civil tribunals.

Between the years of 1871 & 1875, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated the site of Homer’s Troy (Hissarlik) on the shores of the Dardanelles. During this excavation, Schliemann found artifacts with swastikas, which he associated with ones that he had seen near the Oder River in Germany (Schliemann identified those as being directly linked to his own Teutonic heritage.)

Promotional Coca-Cola “Watch Fob” Swastika

Well into the 1920’s, the Swastika was used quite frequently
in the western world, adorning blankets, clothing, appearing
on greeting cards, and even being used in marketing campaigns
by soft drink companies; interestingly enough, the Swastika still
carried with it connotations of good luck well into the beginning of the 20th century.

Boy Scouts Badge of Fellowship or “Thanks Badge”

Boy Scouts Badge of Fellowship or “Thanks Badge”

In 1921 , Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, identified the Swastika as “The Thanks Badge” in his book , What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns, stating “whatever its origin was, the Swastika now stands for the Badge of Fellowship among Scouts all over the world, and when anyone has done a kindness to a Scout it is their privilege to present him—or her—with this token of their gratitude, which makes him a sort of member of the Brotherhood, and entitles him to the help of any other Scout at any time and at any place.” The “Thanks Badge” design that included the Swastika in its design was used by the Boy Scouts from 1911 to 1923

NSDAP Party Flag

NSDAP Party Flag

In 1920, the Swastika was adopted as the official insignia
of the German Nazi Party (NSDAP) at the Salzburg Congress.
Adolf Hitler provided a description of the party’s new flag in his
book Mein Kampf: “In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic.” This flag would be seen flying prominently over territories occupied by German forces during World War II until the defeat & surrender of their forces in May of 1945.

Currently, the Swastika is still being used by a variety of groups with varying interpretations surrounding it.
The Swastika is still actively being used among Hindus worldwide, ideologically free of the current stigma placed upon it by the events and aftermath of the Second World War…this could be due, in great part, to their separation from the western world and its current saturation of negative associations with the Swastika via mass media and sectarian propaganda.
White Power and White Separatist groups worldwide currently use the Swastika and other symbols of European heritage to promote their particular and varied agendas (few of them agree on much) with very little focus on the long-term history and lore that surround these symbols, preferring instead to focus on the imagery associated with only 25 years of the Swastika’s history, the same 25 years of history that resulted in its relegation to a place of infamy in the modern mind.
Various organizations and individuals focused on the rebirth/reestablishment of pre-Christian European ancestral religious traditions have gingerly begun the process of reintegrating the Swastika back into the symbol systems of their beliefs & practices, some attempting to educate others of like mind as well as the general public about the more culturally traditional associations with this symbol. Only time will tell what fruits this effort will yield.

From its earliest appearance on a cave wall to its most current use among various cultures and organizations, there has been one common fact where the Swastika is concerned: that factor is power. Some might ask “Why bother reclaiming a symbol so maligned within the society we live in? Is it really worth the trouble?” My answer would be two-fold. First, we are the Sons and Daughters of Odhinn, and we need not feel obligated to be restricted by the shallow sensibilities of those thinking inside the little boxes that most live within….we are the most capable among our folk to use this symbol properly & responsibly, as we are more aware of its true nature and potential in the context of our deeper heritage. The second part of my answer is this: we should reclaim it because it belongs to us…it is our Birthright.

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