Another reason that I pursue the likelihood of Parzival learning about his lineage and responsibilities through Ecstatic Trance Postures (click here) is because there is an ancient esoteric use of body posture associated with the Runes whose principles are still in active practice. Edred Thorsson’s book “Futhark” is admirable in its melding of history and practice and is one of the most accessible resources in English. What he says about Rune Stances or stadhagaldr is:
- In comparison to what yoga became in later centuries
- stadhagaldr is an active system of magic
- that consists of the assumption of runic postures or gestures for magical effect
- both within the vitki
- and in his or her environment
- Both systems are probably derived from common Indo-European root tradition of magical and symbolic gestures.
I am troubled as to the authenticity of the details however. I found one of his Rune Stances particularly irksome. The root words for the name of the Rune Kenaz are variously rendered into English as:
- Sore or boil
- internal fire
The esoteric associations of the words include:
- flame of the torch
- creative fire
Thorsson himself writes:
- The mystery of the creation of a third from the combination of two is also an aspect of Kenaz.
- The K-rune is the rune of passion, lust, and sexual love as positive attributes
So far so good. I was following along happily enough until I took a look at the actual rune stance. Thorsson’s recommended Rune Stance looks like this:
I can’t help doubting that swelling burning torches of sexual desire are commonly found in peoples’ armpits. All the more so as my first contact with the Runes (click here) included the information that the two fundamental distortions in the practice of Runes were the suppression of sexual energy and the assumption that one could gain personal power through ritual killing. They explained that this combination inherently leads to atrocities, and sure enough when I looked into the sources of Thorsson’s Rune Stances, it turns out that the men who were writing about the Runes in the early 1900’s were indeed members of what would become the Nationalist Social Party of the Nazi’s.
Finding a way to openly acknowledge, respect, and integrate sexual energy into Rune practice is essential if they are to be told as a story of creation instead of destruction as they requested. Do that without getting myself burnt up in the flames of controversy led me straight back to Felicitas Goodman’s work with Ecstatic Trance Postures. I wondered if :
- there were images of what she described as
- ”unusual body postures”
- to be found
- associated with the Runes and/or
- any of the not-so-very Christian orders of Medieval Europe?
About this time in my musings, I walked into a small church in a small town in northern Germany and saw rows of carven knightly figures of those noble souls buried in the floor. I was startled and intrigued to see that most of the full figures were shown lying with one leg straight and the other bent kneed, looking remarkably much like the Hanged Man in the Tarot.
I can’t find my source on the mysteries of the Knights Templar , but I had read that those who reached a certain degree of initiation were buried in this position. That author named it the “zed” or the last letter of the English Alphabet. Like the Hanged Man himself and the Greek letter Omega, it represented both death and resurrection. To me, it looked like a ritual instruction, a puzzle to be solved, and a door to be opened into the Templar tradition. It also looked an awful lot like the rune Thurisaz:
The root words for the name Thurisaz are defined in English as:
- The good one
- the strong one
- the giant
- the enemy of unfriendly forces
- and the thorn
That sounded very much in the Templar tradition and even more so as Thorsson continues:
- The Th-Rune is the container of the life-death polarity.
- It is the ultimate power to assimilate potential energy of two extremes of kinetic energy into action.
- The thorn is the thorn of awakening that dispels the power of the sleep thorn
- This is the cosmic phallic power
So I decided to do a little experiment as see what kinds of experiences would be reported by a group of people taking this position during a visionary shamanic journey. And sure enough, there were consistent and vivid experiences. As it turns out, most of the Rune shapes have parallels in ritual body postures found around the world. Since Ecstatic Trance Postures usually have roots extending back thousands if not tens of thousands of years, I figured I had escaped the Nazi controversy and could stand in a universal human context.
Then I came across Baphomet:
To me, even this 19th century rendering of Baphomet is reminiscent of the Rune Ingwaz. And the experiences participants had in this position were not only reminiscent of the alchemical Solve et Coagula (dissolve and coagulate) written on the figure’s arms, but also the spiraling caduceus in the crotch. Much like ayahuasca visionary experiences of ones own spiraling DNA and chromosomal activity, winding and unwinding dragon-like helical spirals are often experienced.
Given its basis in an illiterate populace, as was most of Medieval Europe, the image itself carries archeo-astronomical notations as well:
- The Ram’s head is representative of the astrological sign Ares
- The Wings of the Bird-Lady guide and guard those traveling along the soul-path of the Milky Way
- The Pentagram on the forehead marks the pattern of the 5 standstills Venus makes every 8 years
- The Crescent Moon and Venus meet in the heavens both mornings and evenings.
- The path of the Sun through the year inscribes a double spiral
- around the staff of the Pole Star
My interpretation is that the Templar’s were not worshiping Baphomet so much as planning when to experience the dissolution and creation of their world through this body posture. I was quite excited to be connecting with the ritual instructions of my indigenous ancestors and finding a way to share the Runic story of creation , the visionary experience of the creation of the Nine Worlds of the One Tree. And it is a very touching experience indeed to lead a group of Northern Europe’s alienated descendents through the creation of their own Tree through my visionary version of the Rune Stances.
Then I looked out at the greater cultural context only to realize that I had leapt straight from Nazi controversies to Satanic ones. Apparently this image of Baphomet, perhaps because of the heretical charges against the Templars, is used by contemporary groups of people labeling themselves as Satanic practitioners resulting in extreme prejudice among less tolerant Christian sects.
In closing, as always,
While my intent is to inform and educate and
I welcome those who share links to my work and new readers,
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