Lately I’ve been incorporating Stadhagaldr – or Rune Yoga – into my weekly outdoor runs. I’ve gotten into the habit of performing the 24 stances of the Elder Futhark at the park around which I run. Taking a few minutes to pause and stand near one of the older large trees, I establish myself in the area by taking a few breaths and commence with the positions.
For a few years now Rune Yoga has been a staple of my practice, but mainly an indoor one. Performing this practice outside has allowed me to to garner a new insight from this practice. Articulating that new insight is difficult, but it has to do with understanding that the Runes at once are both representative of the Mysteries of Self and Soul and also of the Mysteries that concretely expose the practitioner to the wonder of Nature and Universe.
Post Modern/Modern Stadhagaldr
The practice of Rune Yoga has a rich history. In the early years of the Germanic Runic and Occult revival magicians such as F.B Marby and S.A. Kummer were exploring the practice of stadhagaldr. Others have proposed that Rune Yoga may have been practiced by the paleopagan Rune magicians as well…this hypothesis is one I’m not ready to agree with, but historical practice is not always the best way to legitimize a modern practice anyway. There is some evidence that the modern habit of teaching Scandinavian children the alphabet by encouraging them to assume letter postures stems from the ancient practice of stadhagaldr…another factoid I’m not willing to give 100% credence too but interesting nonetheless.
A modern martial arts form has also been established that includes the use of Runes as its basis for technique and form. This practice is called Stav.
“Ivar Hafskjold learned the essentials of Stav as a young man in the post war period. He later spent 14 years in Japan where he went to advance his martial skills to the highest possible level. When he returned to Europe and settled in the UK in the early 1990s he realised that if Stav were not taught outside of the family it would be lost altogether. In order to ensure the contiuity of the tradition Ivar taught a small number of students who have developed the tradition according to their own needs and talents.”
Now the importance of all these modern Rune techniques is not found in their historical truth or in an implied heritage or tradition. The importance for me is the realization that Runes are not a stagnant wisdom/mystery and that the establishment of an individual (unique) practice is vital to the Rune magician, seeker, or practitioner. Remember that Odin, the primary Rune Magician did not invent the Runes, he “Won” them. The sincere Runester therefore, in a manner that incorporates a process of intuitive practice via the Self, should consider ways to emulate the effort of Odin’s winning toward his or her own Runic winning and WONder.
Jan Fries in Seidways contemplates the nature of Seid – that form of Teutonic magic linked with shamanic activity and the womanly sphere of wisdom. He postulates that Seid, translated to seeth, literally is a kind of self-induced shaking. In chapter 12 of Seidways he lists several effects of Seething or Shaking: To Release Strain and Tension – To Change Perception – To Get Some Rest – For Controlled Muscle Activity – To Stay Warm – To Enjoy Long Trances – To See Eidetic Visions – To Imagine and Visualize – To change the State of the Mind – To Simulate Crisis or Disillusionment; some of these are mundane in their application and others can lead to trance states and visionary experiences. Fries also talks of friends who use light body tremors in order attune to and to properly see an environments energy or as a way to determine a places sacredness.
The reason why I bring up Fries’ book is because it conforms to my understanding that embodying Runes via stadhagladr can be a powerful component in the manipulation of the physical body allowing for the union of mind, thought, understanding, memory, soul, and deep ancestral wisdom. There is nothing inherently magic(K)al about this process, it is only a form of thoughtful physical meditation. But as Fries discusses in his book certain postures may also force the body to tremble, and may therefore effect some kind of change in consciousness. I have experimented with this hypothesis by using the Runes as Seething instigators but have yet to develop a series of movements or stationary forms that force a lapse in waking consciousness.
The 3 components of successful Stadhagaldr practice are Vocalization – Concentration – Movement
Vocalization of the Rune – This should be done either out loud or internally when assuming the Rune position
Concentration upon the Rune – Fixation upon the Runes meaning and its esoteric and/or exoteric meaning when assuming the Rune form.
Movement – This is obviously the assumption of the Rune forms.
I would encourage any Runester to begin a rigorous practice of exploration with stadhagaldr. Only through implementation and practice does one begin to understand how to propel oneself into the mytho-psychological paradigm associated with the mystery of the Runes.
At times I liken Stadhagaldr to the Yoga of the east, at other times I associate it with a Martial Art form, and quite often I use it in a way comparable to Qi-Gong. I sing the runes, just hum them, or internally vocalize them; I concentrate on their physical appearance, or in an attempt to fully embody them I visualize them within me as I form them, and I send them out into the environment to empower, bless, or manipulate an area.
This is a rich subject, one that cannot be fully addressed within a simple blog posting. To bring this post back to it’s genesis I would say that my effort to bring stadhagaldr into an outdoor and public setting has allowed a much richer and more powerful synthesis between myself and the wider reality. A Communion with the earth and sky and that which is between seems to make stadhagaldr even that much more focused and intentional.