Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Haegl Rune-a Rune of Transformation and Positive Change

Following on from a discussion with the Folk Warder recently about the action of the Haegl Rune I would like to spend some time exploring this enigmatic Rune and my experience with it over the years.

Haegl occupies the 9th position in the Anglo-Saxon/Northumbrian Futhorc and in the Elder Futhark where it is known as Hagalaz, its Proto-Germanic name. In the Younger Futhark it is known as Hagall and occupies the 7th position. In the Armanen Futhork it is called Hagal and likewise it is the 7th Rune.

Its original position as the 9th Rune is significant for this number is closely associated with Woden who hung Himself upon the World Tree for 9 nights in order to receive the wisdom of the Runes. His ring Draupnir has the ability to multiply itself and every 9th night it produces 8 more rings like itself. There are of course 9 worlds in the cosmology of the Germanic peoples.

According to Adam of Bremen every 9th year at the temple at Uppsala the people gathered for feasting and sacrifice. At Ragnarok Thunor retreats 9 steps and dies after killing the Midgard Wyrm. Freyja has to wait 9 nights before His union with Gerd. Hama had 9 mothers. Hermod's ride to Hel to rescue Baeldag took 9 nights. The Valknut has 9 points and 9 named Gods survive Ragnarok: Baeldag, Hoenir, Hod, Widar, Wali, Magni, Modi, Njord and the daughter of Sol. The square root of 9 is 3 (3 x 3), which in itself is another highly significant number in Germanic mythology.

As 9 is so closely related to Woden and our religious lore we should not be surprised about the significance of the Haegl Rune. It is the Rune that brings destruction, being likened to the action of hail stones:

"(Haegl/Hail) is the whitest of grains, it comes from high in heaven. A shower of wind hurls it, then it turns to water." (Old English Rune Poem, translated by Edred Thorsson)

"(Hagall/Hail) is a cold grain and a shower of sleet and the sickness of snakes." (Old Icelandic Rune Poem, Thorsson)

"(Hagall/Hail) is the coldest of grains; Christ shaped the world in ancient times." (Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme, Thorsson)

The Old Norwegian Rhyme is obviously like the Old English Rune Poem heavily xtianised. Edred Thorsson in his Nine Doors of Midgard presents A New Rune Poem, a clever synthesis and cleansing of the historic poems from xtian influence. Rather than view this as an act of reckless revisionism I would ask my readers to consider that the Rune Poems which have survived have in themselves been largely tampered with by xtian scribes so in effect Thorsson's work is one of restoration. This is the stanza for the Haegl Rune:

"(Hail) is the coldest grain and the whitest stone of heaven; it was hard on wheat, and yet worse for worms- but from the stone did Sig-Father shape the world."

Clearly the reference to "Christ" who "shaped the world" is a revision by a xtian scribe where Christ was substituted for Woden.

Ann Groa Sheffield in her Long Branches. Runes of the Younger Futhark points out that Haegl as well as being cold is referred to as a "grain" and thus has within itself the potential for growth as it contains a seed within. So Haegl initially brings destruction but in its wake there is potential for new and necessary growth. It basically sweeps away the old dross and makes way for something new and better.

Back in the late 90s Haegl had a signicant influence in my personal and spiritual life. It swept away the old for something new and better. Whilst attending a craft fair I approached the stall of a Rune Mistress and saw that there were a selection of crafted Rune Stone pendants made of slate. I asked to purchase a Tiw Rune pendant as I have always been drawn to this Rune and the Rune Mistress said no, the Rune had to choose me! I closed my eyes and my hand was drawn to the Haegl Rune. I immediately understood the significance of this. There was a 1 in 24 chance (less than 5%) of me drawing this Rune. The Rune was symbolic of the chaos that was ensuing in my life at the time. This Rune enabled me to see that what was happening was part of the Wyrd set in motion by the Norns and had to be worked through but there would be a positive change at the end of the day.

At the time my first name began with the letter 'H', which is obviously the letter associated with Haegl. Also at this time I was reading a book by Nigel Pennick, titled Runic Astrology. Pennick posited the theory that the Elder Futhark Runes governed the 12 months of the year, a Rune for each half-month. Haegl he positioned as governing the half-month from 28th October to the 12th November. Significantly my birthday falls upon the 28th October, the very beginning of this half-month. Jung would call this synchronicity or a meaningful coincidence.

In addition to drastic personal changes I finally began to abandon the xtianity which I had embraced in the 1980s. The Call of the Blood which I began to hear from 1989 onwards became stronger. A few years later in the early 2000s I received an unsolicited communication from Woden's Folk, a mail shot. From that moment on I embraced Wodenism. I had already spent a number of years by then researching the Runes and reading about Germanic mythology-anything I could get hold of but I had no means of expressing or practicing this new-old religion. Woden's Folk gave me that structure and consolidated my Weltanschauung. This was all part of the enfolding of my personal Wyrd. For the first time I had encountered a belief system and world outlook that reflected the one that had been slowly but surely forming in me.  This is why I have no doubt that Woden is working in Wulf Ingessunu and this is why the Haegl Rune has been so significant for me. Another aspect to Haegl is hael as in whole. Haegl brings healing and wholeness but its operation may be drastic at the time. It brings healing and wholeness to the whole folk community. According to Guido von List (The Secret of the Runes) it is the 'All-hedge'. Do not fear Haegl-respect it!

"Harbour the All in yourself, and you will control the All!" (von List)

The Scandinavian and Armanen version of Haegl takes the form of a crystal and when enclosed encapsulates every Rune stave. It is the All-Hag, the Krist-All! I am of course referring to the Nordic and Solar Krist, not the Jewish Christ, which is a perversion of the Aryan concept.

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