Helrunar: A Manual Of Rune Magick by Jan Fries
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For me this book could be the end all. Yet I would recommend some simpler books for beginners just working with the runes. After you have read some others you will find that this one is one of the best.Jan Fries breaks through the dogma and forced patterns that bind most magicians and stifle their creativity. He tells you to find your own way whick is just as valid as any of the traditional ways. Gods bless the freethinkers like him who liberate our minds. Jan Fries is one magician who believes that the deities are reflections of the deep mind or our subconscious. Our magic must reflect this.
Jan Fries knows his stuff. HE has done the research and yet he is both humble enough and knowledgeable enough to know that what he has printed is subject to change. New research comes about that disproves the old. Many old research techniques are flawed. Science is based on as much faith as religion is with just about as much accuracy. The tastiest part of this book is the man's overview of history. He gives it straight no dogma or ideological constraints.
The book covers a broad history of Europe and then goes into several exercises to enhance our magical and spiritual abilities. At the end there is a sort of glossary describing the runes. The description gives us the runes, their meaning, the rune poem statement and the body posture associated with it. Jan Fries is a believer in ecstatic dancing to reach gnosis and his approach is very Chaos Magick.
Early man survived some pretty tough vicissitudes in ice age Europe. They were nomadic and forced to hunt large animals. They lived in small family units. Homo Habilis was a lot more advanced then they were given credit for. They hunted in packs, had tools and were well organized. After the Ice Age many of the power animals went further north. There were some people who followed them and others who stayed behind. Those who stayed behind became more sedentary agriculturalists. Neanderthals came about or were existing along side them for several hundred to maybe thousands of years. The Neanderthals had burial rights and were aware of or had the concept of the soul. Caves seem to have been used for religious purposes. Several drawings indicate Shamanistic behavior. Later on came the Cro-Magnon who is said to have wiped out the Neanderthal. Of course new research is showing that they lived side by side and maybe even interbred with each other. The Cromagnon had a lot to learn about survival from the Neanderthal.
Religion went through many changes. The Early men believed in power animals an totems. later on they would believe in Gods. The Norse gods went through changes. For example Odin the all father to the Vikings started out as Wotan a storm god. He would later evolve into a god of ecstatic trance. Tyr the one handed God who subdued Fenris started out as a bisexual or dual sexual god named Tuisto who bore Mannus. Later he would evolve into a male. Odin's original wife was Freya as the myths evolved. His wife would change to Hela and then finally to Frigga. Hela was an underworld Goddess who was charged with running the world of the dead.
History is not so clear cut as to who were the Celts and who were the Germanic tribes. There was no real unified religion among the groups and many customs were similar between the Celts and Germans. It is speculated that they came from Indo-European tribes that originated in Central Europe. For the invading Romans it was hard to tell the two apart. More Germans tended to be concentrated in then north and the further north you went the more isolated and independent they became.
The techniques covered in the books go over divination, using runes for magic , chanting and body postures. There is a lot of interdisciplinary input to this as the author pulls from Ceremonial Magic techniques, Chaos magick techniques and far eastern mediation techniques. For the intermediate to advanced practitioner you will find this book a worthy addition to your library. The end got a little bit slow but other then that this book is an awesome read.
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