ancient science

In yesterday’s post, the video about Derek King discussed his Christian beliefs which are at the heart of his purpose and healing. Derek’s beliefs are his, not mine. The Christ story has never resonated with me as an explanation of all that is. But the important thing is that it makes sense to Derek, that he finds deep meaning in it, and I support it.

My own son Henry has found his way to Christianity, too. I suppose that there are some people who might be offended by their children not following the parent’s beliefs, but I feel it is most important for a free individual to find the match between one’s innermost voice and a particular external doctrine that is useful to them. It is like two people speaking to one another in the same language or a radio being tuned in to a particular station. Every individual must seek that which speaks to his soul alone.

I am attracted to a cosmology, a predictive science, a general theory of How Things Work, that sees the Universe of consisting of 24 “frequencies” of energy, each represented by a rune. This belief speaks to me on many levels of meaning.

Runic CompassIf presented in their proper order, the twenty-four runes of the Elder Futhark (the Northern Alphabet) describe a complete cycle, a perfect circle/spiral, whose characteristics at each point (or rune) of the cycle flow from one to another in a coherent process of transformation. The Chinese see this same transformation process as consisting of five “seasons”: wind/water, wood, fire, earth, and metal, but our European ancestors divided it into twenty-four which they lumped together into three groups of eight. Three, five, eight, or twenty-four, it is all an attempt to describe the same thing. No one way is superior to any other. It all comes down to what works for us.

There are numerous runic alphabets that were developed and in use through history. The Elder (150-800 AD), Anglo-Saxon (400-1100 AD), and Younger (800-1100 AD) Futharks are the most well-known. (The name “futhark” is derived from the first six letters in the runic sequence: Feoh, Ur, Thorn, As, Rad, Ken.)


The Futhark, it is said, is a “magical alphabet.” That is, a symbolic system which represents the infinite within the finite. I see the Futhark as a beautiful thing, a design so perfect that its origins cannot be anything but divine. It integrates time and space, and helps one perceive order where others might see chaos.

Odin discovering the RunesThe mythology of the Northern spiritual tradition holds that the runes were discovered and drawn from the earth by Odin as he hung upside down on Yggdrasil, the world-tree, in a shamanic ritual of self-torture. The reality is probably that they summarize generations of human experience, observation and wisdom going back as far as the  Etruscans, Phoenicians, and even before. No one knows. The origin of the runes is lost in time.

What we know about the runes is based on a surprisingly small number of surviving runic inscriptions—about 6,400 total. About half of these are Viking-age Younger Futhark inscriptions in Sweden. Another large number are medieval runes, usually found on small objects like wooden sticks. Only 350 inscriptions are Elder Futhark.

You will note that the runes consist of only straight lines, never curved, which means they were meant to be carved. The act of carving the runes was, in fact, a form of prayer and meditation. The oldest examples of runes are found in bone and stone.

The runes were used by the peoples of Northern Europe until well into the Middle Ages and, in some of the more remote places, even as late as the 1600s. Like our own alphabet, the runes were used to express many languages (including Gothic, German, Frisian, English, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Russian, etc.) in writing and in speech. Each rune has its own spoken sound.

What we do know of the runes is based on such fragmentary evidence, they must be considered a reconstruction of the ancient wisdom that was nearly obliterated by the medieval Christian Church. It seems to me this is an advantage, because the runes can be restored today without all the superstitious clap-trap that usually accompanies human spiritual belief. We can see the runes today for what they were in their essence so long ago: ancient science.

As such, they can coexist with whatever you believe as a Christian, Jew, Islamist, Hindu, etc. They are authentic wisdom that is truly universal.


Groove of the Day

Listen to the Rundfunk-Jugendchor Wernigerode performing “Der Baum im Odenwald” (The Tree in Odin’s Forest)


1 Response to “ancient science”

  1. May 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    We must all be allowed to believe in whatever we want. But we must also remember that acting upon beliefs causes all the misery and suffering in the world.

    There are no prerequisites to being a good person. You don’t need to believe in either the runes or Christ or anything else. We can all be good and do good out of our own free will and in our own name. It’s a matter of choice, not beliefs.

    P.S. Of course, just what I believe in. 🙂

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