In Rune Magic there are five aspects that must be mastered in order that the magical and spiritual practices that we engage in are effective. These are:
.Rune stadha (body stance)/Rune Mudra (hand signs).
.Rune galdra (incantation of the Rune name or mantra).
.Visualisation of the Rune stave.
.Concentration. This is the active focus of the mind on the exoteric and esoteric meaning of the Rune. This is aided both by the study of trusted Rune researchers such as Edred Thorsson, Nigel Pennick, Ann Groa Sheffield and of course the more esoteric works of the Armanen Rune Masters themselves. In addition to this we gain over time our own individual understanding of the Runes. This is something which by necessity grows gradually but first we always start with what is actually already known. The Rune Poems are the basis of this.
In this article I wish to explore the practice of magical visualisation and concentration. This is possibly the most difficult aspect of our work as it requires a great deal of discipline. Concentration is closely linked to the practise of visualisation as whilst we visualise the Rune stave at the same time we should be concentrating on what it means to us. The Rune is more than a shape or stave; it is more than a name or sound; it is a concept. When engaging in Rune Yoga I focus first on regularising my breathing. This is a skill in itself. The system which works best for me and which I am accustomed to is the following:
Inhale-count 5 seconds or beats of the heart. Then hold the breath for 3 beats. Then exhale for 7 beats and finally hold the breath for 3 beats, so 5-3-7-3. Find whatever rhythm works best for you. I always inhale via the nose and exhale via the mouth. Once I have adopted the Rune stance I begin the process of galdra. The works of Edred Thorsson, especially Futhark and the more advanced Nine Doors of Midgard are very useful books to guide us in the practise. Intone the Rune galdra on the exhalation of the breath. I do this 9 times for each Rune. In fact I try to factor in the number 9 whenever I can in my Rune and spiritual work because of this sacred number's close association with Woden, the Rune Lord Himself. I always close my eyes as this aids my ability to visualise and concentrate. Whilst visualising the shape of the Rune in a flaming red colour I then meditate on its meaning; both the generally accepted meaning and what it symbolises to me. The regular practise of Rune Yoga helps us to internalise the Runes which is the way that we should approach them because by doing this we make them a part, a sacred part of our inner selves. This helps to deepen our walk with Woden.
There are generally 3 methods that we can use in Rune galdra. There is the traditional form of Rune Yoga. There is the lesser known practise of Rune Mudras (which are outlined in Nine Doors of Midgard) and Signing and Sending the Runes which is part of casting a magical Runic circle. By the use of a Rune wand or staff we can project the visualisation of the Rune from the area of our solar plexus where we imagine (imagination is a magical practise) its birth, into the circle that we are forming. This is a very powerful form of protection particularly if we add to this the the Hagala Wih Hailagaz mantra. Again I will discuss this in a future article.
As a starting point I would recommend that those who are new to Rune magic practise the visualisation of the Rune row in which they are working. One way of aiding this is to draw the Rune stave in red on a white piece of paper, say at a height of about 6 or 7 inches. Hold this at arms' length and spend a good five minutes staring at it and then close your eyes, say initially for 5 minutes at a time and then gradually increasing the time. Practise each Rune visualisation for 3 consequitive days until you have worked through the entire Rune row. This is the beginning of the practise of internalisation of the Runes.
Visualisation and concentration are useful tools in other magical practises. In order that we may influence others, either near at hand or at a distance we can use the techniques of breathing, visualisation and concentration. This may be done in a fully awakened state or as we start to induce sleep. An excellent short and concise guide to this practise is found in Jose M. Herrou Aragon's The Forbidden Parapsychology which I fully recommend. We will be exploring this separately in my next article.