Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Guido von List and the Armanen Runes

The voelkisch[folkish] movement of the early 20th century owes a great debt to the ideas and research of the Aryan mystic and runologist, Guido von List[1848-1919].
Von List wrote many articles and books on the runes and Germanic pre-Christian religion, most notably `Das Geheimnis der Runen`[The Secret of the Runes], published in 1908.
Das Geheimnis der Runen is generally regarded as his most important work as it is concerned with the introduction of a `new` runic futhorc and the interpretation of the runes which von List received in visions during a period of temporary blindness in 1902.
Von List`s `Armanen Futhorc` has its origins in these visions in which von List is said to have communicated with the Teutonic Volksgeist[folk soul] and received esoteric knowledge from the dead priests of the Germanic peoples, the `Armanen`.
Although the futhorc that von List introduced in his book was previously unknown to runic scholars he claimed that it represented the original futhorc and is indeed based upon Odin`s Rune Poem.Odin/Wotan/Woden/Wuotan/Wodanaz gained the knowledge of the runes via a shamanic self-sacrifice and communicated this knowledge to those of the Aryo-Germanic race.
Whilst there are various different versions of the runic futharc or futhorc von List claimed that his Armanen futhorc represented the original 18 runes that All-Father Odin received during his shamanic visions when he hung nine days and nine nights upside down on the world tree.

"I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.

No bread did they give me nor drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there."

[Havamal 138-139]

The poem goes on to explain how the runes may be used to achieve various goals via rune magic.
There are obvious echoes of the Christian crucifixion within the Havamal.However there are clear differences also. Whilst the Christ supposedly died as a sacrifice of a vengeful `god` for the `sins` of mankind Odin sacrificed `himself to himself` and did so to achieve knowledge, in particular the knowledge of the runes. Odin continually goes in search for new knowledge and there are many tales of him walking amongst men, disguised as the `Wanderer` in search of new knowledge, always ready to test his knowledge against men and dwarves alike.
Odin`s search for knowledge can be likened to the Promethean and Faustian quest of Aryan man.
Like the All-Father Himself, we too as spiritually awakened Aryans seek new knowledge and new enlightenment. It is this very sense of restlessness that spurs us on to new goals, new achievements and a thirst for new knowledge and experiences.
Guido von List, like Odin experienced the runes in a visionary state whilst in communion with the racial Collective Unconscious, what Jung called the `land of the dead`.
We will explore these Armanen runes and the significance of the Armanen in a future article.

Tacitus, Germania and the Armanenschaft

Tacitus` Germania 2.2 "In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Istvaeones."

It has generally been understood that the three original divisions of the Germanic peoples represented divisions based purely on ancestry and geography. However Guido von List makes it clear in his Die Armanenschaft der Ario-Germanen that the three divisions of the Germanic peoples also represent three seperate functions or classes, almost like a caste system.
It is common knowledge that ancient Aryan societies operated variations of a tripartite caste system, normally categorised as producers, warriors and priests.
According to von List the Ingvaeones were the producers or cultivators, the Naehrstand.
The Istvaeones were the warrior caste, the Wehrstand and the Herminones were the Armanenschaft who embodied within themselves the functions of Priest, Teacher and Judge in the same way as the Celtic druidic orders was the Lehrstand.

`In meinem Buche: "Die Namen der Voelkerstaemme Germaniens und deren Deutung" gebe Ich ausfuehrliche Mitteilungen ueber das Entstehen, das Alter und die Ausbreitung der arischen Urrasse, worauf Ich hiermit verweisse, und bringe den Nachweis, das die von Tacitus in der "Germania", Kap. II angefue angeblichen drei Hauptstaemme der Germanen, naemlich die Ingaevonen, die Hermionen und die Istvaeonen, nicht Staemme, sondern Staende bedeuten, dass selbe richtig: "Ing-fonen", "Armanen" und "Ist-fo-onen" zu nennen find, und nichts anderes als "Naehrstand", "Lehrstand" und "Wehrstand" bezeichnen.*`

*Besser gesagt: Entstehungsstand, Waltungsstand und Vergehungsstand zum Neuerstehen.

The role of the Armanen is brought out in this passage, `Die Armanen waren als Pfleger und Wahrer der Rita daher, wie scon eingangs erwaehnt wurde, Lehrer, Priester und Richter in einer Person, wie ja auch die "Rita" Wissenschaft, Religion und Gesetz in einem Begriffe war, ja sie ein allumfassendes Lehrgebaeude hoechster philosophischer Erkenntnis, entsprungen dem intuitivsten Empfinden der Volksseele, bedeute..........`

Is the secret Armanen priesthood , the Armanenschaft to be located in the central German living space? What significance has this for the development of German history?
Could the 1st century CE Prince of the Cheruski, Hermann or Arminius have been an Armanen adept? Could he in fact be part of an illustrious Armanen blood line that continues down to this very day? Indeed was he the originator of the Armanenschaft itself?