Armanen runes (or
Armanen Futharkh) are a series of 18 runes,
closely based on the historical Younger Futhark, introduced by
Austrian mysticist and Germanic revivalist
Guido von List
Guido von List in his Das
Geheimnis der Runen (English: "The Secret of the Runes"), published as
a periodical article in 1906, and as a standalone publication in 1908.
Armanen runes associates the runes with the postulated
Armanen, whom von List saw as ancient Aryan priest-kings.
Armanen runes continue in use today in esotericism and in currents
of Germanic neopaganism.
2 List of runes
3 Connection to völkisch ideology
4 Use in contemporary esotericism
5 See also
7 External links
Von List claimed they were "revealed" to him while in an 11-month
state of temporary blindness after a cataract operation on both eyes
in 1902. This vision in 1902 allegedly opened what List referred to as
his "inner eye", via which the "Secret of the Runes" was revealed to
him. List stated that his
Armanen Futharkh were encrypted in the
Rúnatal of the
Poetic Edda (stanzas 138 to 165 of the Hávamál),
with stanzas 147 through 165, where Odin enumerates eighteen wisdoms
(with 164 being an interpolation), interpreted as being the "song of
the 18 runes". List and many of his followers believed his runes to
represent the "primal runes" upon which all historical rune rows were
The book was dedicated to his good friend
Friedrich Wannieck and in
the introduction before his discussion of the runes there is a copy of
a correspondence between Wannieck and List.
Das Geheimnis der Runen
Das Geheimnis der Runen was published in
Vienna in 1908 by
Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft (Gross-Lichterfelde). It was also
known as GLB 1 of the Guido-List-Bücherei (GLB) series.
The book was also published as a periodical article as 'Das Geheimnis
der Runen' , 'Neue Metaphysische Rundschau'  13 (1906), 23-4,
An English language translation of the book was published in 1988 by
Stephen E. Flowers.
List of runes
Circular arrangement of the
List's row is based on the Younger Futhark, with the names and sound
values mostly close to the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. The two final runes,
Eh and Gibor, added to the
Younger Futhark inventory, are taken from
Anglo-Saxon Eoh and Gyfu. Apart from the two additional runes, and a
displacement of the Man rune from 13th to 15th place, the sequence is
identical to that of the Younger Futhark.
List noted in his book, The Secret of the Runes, that the "runic
futharkh (= runic ABC) consisted of sixteen symbols in ancient
times." He also referred to the
Armanen runes as the 'Armanen
Futharkh' of which
Stephen E. Flowers notes in his 1988 English
translation of Lists 1907/08 'Das Geheimnis der Runen', that "The
designation “futharkh” is based on the first seven runes, namely F
U T A R K H (or H) it is for this reason that the proper name is not
futhark - as it is generally and incorrectly written – but rather
“futharkh”, with the “h” at the end.
The first sixteen of von List's runes correspond to the sixteen
Younger Futhark runes, with slight modifications in names (and partly
mirrored shapes). The two additional runes are loosely inspired by the
Fa (an inverted Fe) - F
Ur - U
Thurs (as Anglo-Saxon Thorn) (also known as 'Dorn') - Th
Os (a mirrored
Younger Futhark As/Oss) - A(O). In Armanic writings,
the Othala rune is generally seen as a variation / extension of Os.
Rit (as Reidh) - R
Ka (as in Younger Futhark) - K
Younger Futhark Hagall) - H
Younger Futhark Naud) - N
Is (as in Younger Futhark) - I
Ar (similar to short-twig Younger Futhark) - A
Sig/Sol (as Anglo-Saxon Sigel) - S
Tyr - T
Younger Futhark Bjarkan) - B
Younger Futhark Logr) - L
Younger Futhark Madr); - M
Yr (as in Younger Futhark, but with a sound value [i]) - Y
Eh (the name is from Anglo-Saxon Futhork, the shape like Younger
Futhark Ar) - E
Gibor/Ge/Gi (the name similar to Anglo-Saxon Futhork Gyfu) - G
There is no historical Gibor rune (the name may be based on the
Gyfu rune). Its shape is similar to that of the Wolfsangel
List associated his Gibor rune with the final stanza of the Rúnatal
(stanza 165 of the Hávamál, trans. H. A. Bellows):
An eighteenth I know, / that ne'er will I tell
To maiden or wife of man, [lacuna]
The best is what none / but one's self doth know
Connection to völkisch ideology
Further information: Runic insignia of the Schutzstaffel
List's book is seminal to later currents of Germanic mysticism and
Nazi occultism. The
Armanen runes were employed for magical purposes
in works by authors such as
Friedrich Bernhard Marby and Siegfried
Adolf Kummer, and after
World War II
World War II in a reformed "pansophical"
system by Karl Spiesberger. More recently, Stephen Flowers, Adolf
Schleipfer, Larry E. Camp and others also build on List's system. The
book also remains popular in German Neo-Nazism, with a reprint
Adolf Schleipfer of the "Armanen-Orden".
During the 19th century, interest in the runic alphabets (such as the
academic discipline of runology) was revived in Germany by the
völkisch movement, which promoted interest in Germanic folklore and
language in a reaction against the rapid modernisation of the German
Empire under Kaiser Wilhelm I. The collapse of Wilhelmine Germany at
the end of the
First World War
First World War led to an upsurge of interest in
völkisch ideology, which rejected liberalism, democracy, socialism
and industrial capitalism – all traits reflected in the
political system of Weimar Germany – as "un-German" and
inspired by subversive Jewish influences.
By the end of the war (1918) there were about seventy-five völkisch
groups in Germany, promoting a variety of pseudo-historical, mystical,
racial and anti-semitic views. This had a major influence on the
embryonic Nazi Party; Hitler wrote in his 1925 book
Mein Kampf that
"the basic ideas of the National Socialist movement are völkisch and
the völkisch ideas are National Socialist."
List's work led to the adoption of his "
Armanen runes" by the
völkisch movement, which had already adopted the swastika as a symbol
of Germanic antiquity, and from there List's runes became an integral
part of German and Austrian nationalistic socialist symbology.
Heinrich Himmler, who led the SS from 1929 to 1945, was one of many
leading Nazi figures associated with the
Thule Society völkisch
group, and his interest in Germanic mysticism led him to adopt a
variety of List's runes for the SS. Some had already been adopted by
members of the SS and its predecessor organisations but Himmler
systematised their use throughout the SS. By 1945 the SS used twelve
Listian runes, in addition to the swastika and the sonnenrad. Until
1939, members of the
Allgemeine SS were given training in runic
symbolism on joining the organisation.
Runic signs were used from the 1920s to 1945 on SS flags, uniforms and
other items as symbols of various aspects of Nazi ideology and
Germanic mysticism. They also represented virtues seen as desirable in
SS members, and were based on The Runes order designed by Karl Maria
Wiligut which he loosely based on the historical runic alphabets.
Use in contemporary esotericism
Cover of the new German reprint published by Adolf Schleipfer
After World War II, Karl Spiesberger reformed the system, removing
the racist aspects of the Listian, Marbyan and Kummerian rune work and
placing the whole system in a "pansophical", or eclectic, context.
In recent times Karl Hans Welz, Stephen E. Flowers, Adolf
Schleipfer, Larry E. Camp and Victor Ordell L. Kasen[citation
needed] have all furthered the effort to remove any racist
connotations previously espoused by pre-war
Armanen rune masters.
In German-speaking countries, the
Armanen Runes have been influential
among rune-occultists. According to
Stephen E. Flowers they are better
known even than the historical Elder Futhark:
"The personal force of List and that of his extensive and influential
Armanen Orden was able to shape the runic theories of German
magicians...from that time to the present day. [...] the Armanen
system of runes...by 1955 had become almost 'traditional' in German
Armanen runes also have a significant impact in English language
Rudolf John Gorsleben
Siegfried Adolf Kummer
Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels
Karl Maria Wiligut
Esotericism in Germany and Austria
^ English translation of 'Das Geheimnis der Runen' by Stephen E.
^ The Occult Roots of
Nazism by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke
^ Flowers, Stephen (aka Edred Thorsson) (1988). The Secret of the
Runes. Destiny Books. ISBN 0-89281-207-9.
^ In his English translation of the work,
Stephen Flowers insists that
the final h is not a misspelling, but indicates the seventh rune,
Hagal; the historical
Younger Futhark likewise have h in seventh
position, while the first aett of the
Elder Futhark was fuþarkgw, so
that the historical name fuþark spells the initial sequence common to
both the Elder and the Younger variant.
^ For more about the basis of this, see GvLB no. 6, Die Ursprache der
Ario-Germanen und ihre Mysteriensprache".
^ Gorsleben, Rudolf John; ‘Hoch-Zeit der Menschheit’ (1930).
Kummer, Siegfried Adolf ; ‘Heilige Runenmacht’ (1932),
‘Runen-Magie’ (1933). Spiesberger, Karl; ‘Runenmagie Handbuch
der Runenkunde’ (1968). Welz, Karl Hans. Flowers, Stephen; ‘Rune
Might: Secret Practices of the German
Rune Magicians’ (1989)
^ Levy, Richard S. (2005). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of
Prejudice and Persecution. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 743.
^ Benz, Wolfgang; Dunlap, Thomas (2006). A Concise History of the
Third Reich. University of California Press. p. ix.
^ Mees, Bernard Thomas (2008). The Science of the Swastika. Central
European University Press. pp. 60–2.
^ Lumsden, Robin (1993). The Allgemeine-SS. Osprey Publishing.
p. 17. ISBN 978-1-85532-358-2.
^ Spiesberger, Karl Runenmagie, Runenexerzitien fur Jedermann, Reveal
the Power of the Pendulum.
^ Flowers 1984: 16.
^ magitec.com Archived 9 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine.;
^ Knights of Runes
^ Handbook of
Armanen Runes by Larry E. Camp (aka Deitrich)  (Head
of the Knights of Runes and Europa Ltd.).
^ Flowers 1984: 15-16.
^ Pennick (1992); The
Armanen Runes ; The
Rune Set ; The
Karl Spiesberger Runenmagie; Karl Hans Welz "Archived
copy". Archived from the original on 9 December 2006. Retrieved
2006-12-02. ; Knights of Runes; Handbook of
Armanen Runes by
Larry E. Camp ; Flowers (1992)
Flowers, Stephen E. 1992.
Rune Might: Secret Practices of the German
Rune Magicians. ISBN 0-87542-778-2
——— (as Edred Thorsson). 1984. Futhark: A Handbook of Rune
Magic. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc. ISBN 0-87728-548-9
——— (as Edred Thorsson). Runecaster's Handbook, Northern Magic,
Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas. 1993. The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret
Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology.
———. 2003. Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the
Politics of Identity. ISBN 0-8147-3155-4
von List, Guido. 1902. Das Geheimnis der Runen. Vienna. (Translated
into English by Stephen E. Flowers, 1988, Destiny Books.
Mercer, A. D. 2015. Runen - Wisdom of the Runes" Amsterdam, Aeon
Pennick, Nigel. 1992. Secrets of the Runes: Discover the Magic of the
Ancient Runic Alphabet. ISBN 0-7225-3784-0
von Schnurbein, Stefanie. 1992. Religion als Kulturkritik.
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