Category Archives: time

Runes, Time, Planets, Stars pt 2

In exploring the connection between runes and the planets, it seems that it was included as an after thought. Most of his writing about this area again focuses on cycles, mainly cycles of the Sun and Moon, also know the Great Cycle, when the two great lights re-align and repeat their patterns every 19 years. His inclusion of the outer planets, all the way out to “planet x” and he talks about another equally puzzling numerical series that somehow he relates to the runes, and days of the calendar. I think he actually spends al of 10 pages talking about the planets, before he turns back to this endless discussion of numerical sequences, and his odd alignments with runes. His treatment of the planets are of the most interest here though.

As I imagine, most of my readers are aware, the 7 classical planets are preserved in most cultures days of the week. Monday is the day of the Moon, Tuesday is the day of Mars, Wednesday is the day of Mercury, etc… In Germanic languages, many of the days are named after Germanic gods who were paralled with Greco-roman gods. Tuesday means the day of Tyr or Tiw, Wednesday is the day of Wodan/Odhinn, Thursday is the day of Thor, and Friday is the day of Freya/Frigga, with this pattern continuing with Sunday and Monday, as the words for the Sun and Moon are taken from Germanic languages, not latin. Sunna and Mani are the gods of the Sun and Moon, Sunna being the Goddess of the Sun (in contrast to the Greco-roman Helios and Apollo, who were male) and Mani, who is a God of the Moon (in contrast to Selene, Artemis and other Goddesses from southern Europe). Their name survive in Sunday (the day of Sunna) and Monday (the day of Mani. Saturday is a direct adapation of the Day of Saturn, as it seems there was no equivalent to in the Germanic gods for such a being. This is where things get odd, as the book states that Sunday is named for the Goddess Sol, whose sister is Mani, and Saturday is for Saeter, a by name of Loki. Yet, there is no evidence of this. One of the alternate names for Saturday that appears in Germanic languages is Laugardag, which means “washing day” as this was the day that people would bath, and clean. He presents this name as also a by name of Loki. This naming is different then most southern European cultures who either named it for Saturn, or adapted from the jewish practice of calling it Shabbat (which is where names like Samedi, Sabado, and the current german name Samstag, although other Germanic countries preserve the Greco-roman name in Zaterdag, which is Dutch).

The outright invention of making an equivalent like that, and presenting it in a factual manner just really bothers me. Through all of this, there is no connection made between the runes and the planets at all, which I find to be the most curious thing, as in traditional astrology, it was the planets that were of major interest and influence, and to ignore a relationship between the planets and the runes, seem to neglect a significant aspect of what a Runic astrology would be about.
The most difficult thing again is in the creation of a runic horoscope, where the runes are aligned again with the houses, signs, and directions. Nigel Pennick’s alignment of the runes onto the 12 house dividsion seems to again create problems, as the attributions and values just don’t seem to line up correctly between the runes, the seasons, and houses. His alignment breaks from the traditional lay out of the astrological chart, placing the vernal equinox at the midheaven, and moving Aries to that location as well, so that Berkana can align with Aries, and the solstices now fall on the ascendant and descendant with Dagaz and Jera. It really seems to defy the logic of the Elder Futhark and it’s meanings, and the layout of the house chart, where aries is located in the east, with the ascendant, and the first hour, which places it with the equinox, at least in the tropical zodiac. His alignment again, is also off centered, with 3 runes occuping the space over each sign, with only one sign in full, with the two others only taking up half of the degrees of the beginning and ending of other signs. Why he does just assign two runes to each zodiac, I am not really entirely sure, as the combination of such, while maybe imperfect, would not create this inelegant attribution where things don’t line up. In most Astrology as I know it, that seems to be determining factor, is the creation of an elegant system that describes spiritual verities and helps to communicate them to earth, through stars, planets, and equal numerical division. It seems that the Runic Astrology proposed so far, is anything but those qualities.

Runes, TImes, Planets, Stars

Recently I have acquired two older books dealing with Runes, seeming classics (in a sense) written by Nigel Pennick, Practical Magic of the Northern Tradition and Runic Astrology. The main focus of Runic Astrology, and one of the major chapters of Practical Magic, is Time, Planets, and Stars and how they related to the Runes, particularly the Elder Futhark. By time, I mean, hours of the day, parts of day and night (morning, evening etc…) months, seasons, lunar movement, and the solar year. By planets, I mean the seven classic planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon) and the stars are the Zodiac, but also other stars and constellations.

To be perfectly honest, my hope and expectations for the book Runic Astrology, were much higher then it delivered. The reason why I acquired this book, was mainly because of a great interest I have had in Astrology, and it’s processes, purposes and methods. This led me to read “The Three Books of Occult Philosophy” by Cornelius Agrippa, one of the foundational books of Western Occultism. It has also made me a major fan of the website “Renaissance Astrology” and Christopher Warnock, who is focused on the methods of Astrology before 1700, when Astrology essentially ruled the World (so to speak) and was a valued science by every scholar and philosopher of the time. The depth of knowledge that I have gained just from reading and studying his website, and following his blog has been wonderful, and some of the information that I have applied in understanding my own natal chart has shown great veracity, far more then any contemporary astrology practices have. With this foundation, I dove into Runic Astrology, hoping to find a way to connect the runes to astrology, the planets, the zodiac and tools and methods of astrological prediction and magic. I have to say, I was rather disappointed.

One of the main things that were talked about at length was the connection of Runes to parts and hours of the day, directions and seasons, solstices and equinoxes. This was all connected to a circular image, where those connections were laid down, with the elder futhark drawing the connection between them. It seemed the key to the diagram was the location of the rune dagaz, giving it to noon (or midday), which also connected it to the south, and the summer solstice. While it does seem correct in that placement (dagaz meaning day, and is thus a rune of light) that puts, in opposition to it, jera, the rune of harvest, the summer, the year, and of plenty, located at midnight, north, winter solstice, which seems a very odd location to put a rune that is also filled with powerful benevolent imagery.

Other things were also equally inexplicable, for example, in giving runic hours (24 runes = 24 hours makes sense, right) governed by an equal division, based on the half hour of the clock. So, feoh is in operation from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. This seems odd to me, as it stands distinctly from the planetary hours, which are divided by time of daylight, and are not an even 60 minutes long, but have varying lengths depending upon the duration of day and night during the year. Why an equal division is necessary seems curious to me, and then placing it on the half hour, it seems to just make things unnecessary difficult.

One of the other functions of time that he looked at, is what was called the lunar seles. The seles would otherwise be known as the mansions of the moon. In contrast to Western practice, the book only gives 28 mansions (which is following Vedic astrology), while Agrippa (from Arabic methods) gives 29 mansions of the moon. In giving those 28 mansions, he assigns them runes from the elder futhark and the anglo-saxon runes, leaving out one rune, because there are normally 29 of them. But when the western tradition uses 29 mansions, one could use all of those runes, in placement with all of the mansions. The question is then to how to place the runes in the lunar mansions. While Pennick ignores the existing traditions of the lunar mansions, his allocation gives the first rune (feoh) to the first mansion (ie the first day following the dark moon) and going forward until the last rune (ear) given to the dark moon. While the last rune may fit well, the allocation of other runes doesn’t seem quite so correct, as the full moon would correspond with peorth, which does not seem quite so perfect an alignment. At least, if the traditions of the lunar mansions were applied, the full moon would fall in different runes all the time, as would the dark moon, and give different aspects and purposes to different times, instead of always assigning the same values to the phases of the moon.

The final oddity of his time values is the runic half month. Because there are 24 runes, the regular year gets divided into approximately 2 periods of 15 days each, where one rune governs that time period. They aren’t necessarily aligned with anything, not the zodiac, not the months, or anything, but just this cycle, following along with dagaz governing the 15 day period where the summer solstice occurs and jera happening when the winter solstice occurs. It doesn’t really seem to fit into any type of time keeping, but is something established all on its own, which also doesn’t have any historical basis, or alignment with symbolism of anything else.

Part 2 will focus on Planets.