Saturday, July 13, 2013

Runic Yoga

Runic Yoga

The Runes are angular letters that were cut into wood, stone and metal, and later written on parchment and paper.  They are an ancient Germanic alphabet, used for writing, divination and magic.  Runes were used throughout northern Europe, Scandinavia and Iceland from about 100 BC to 1600 AD.  Runic inscriptions have even been found in North America, supporting stories that the Vikings arrived in the Americas long before Columbus. (See Runes in January)

Exercise the body is one of the Thirteen Goals of a Witch.  Stadhagaldr (Runengymnastik or Runic Yoga) is an active meditation that encompasses various postures and gestures.  Gestures and postures form some part of almost every metaphysical or magical school. They can be seen from the simple folding of hands in prayer to the extremely complex system of asanas in the Indian yoga school.  The number and intricacy of the postures are varied enough to be expressive of the wide variety of forces present, but none require extensive training or straining of the body.

The overall aims of the stadhagaldr are:

               ~ Control of the body through posture
               ~ Control of thought through song or chant
               ~ Control of breath
               ~ Control of emotion
               ~ Becoming aware of the rune realms of the self and the world(s)
               ~ Control and direction of the will

Stadhagaldr is used as a mode of psychological integration and personal change of form while also employing all other types of magical operations.  The early 20th century German rune masters developed runic yoga as a means of harnessing the streams of power present in the Earth.
In parallel with the development of Runengymnastik and Stadhagaldr, evolved a holistic tradition in Norway, called Stav, which incorporated “Rune Stances” into its daily practice.  The intent of these exercises is to allow identification with the Futhark runes that will reawaken the ancestral blood memory and improve the physical fitness and overall health of people.

Stav is a Mind, Body Spirit system, comparable to Tai Chi and Yoga, but originating through the traditions and mythology of Northern Europe, rather than the Orient.  The system helps people improve and develop themselves by dealing with them holistically. That is, Stav works on the whole person: their physical body, their mind and their spirituality.

All of the Stadhagaldr postures have spiritual importance, such as the Ur u rune that closely resembles downward-facing dog that provides a healing and calming effect on the individual.  Perhaps the most fulfilling posture is the Algiz z rune pose that should be practiced in an outdoor environment, with your body facing towards the sun and allowing the radiating solar energy to renew and purify your spirit. Before attempting any of the runic yoga postures, you are encouraged to learn more (see a physician). 
Find a quiet place and wear comfortable clothing, maybe play music in the background or listen to the birds outside.  You could place your mat facing North, home of the ancestors, or find a shady place in the grass under a tree.  During a particular runic posture, you should visualize and actually feel yourself becoming embodied and completely united with the runes.  While holding the posture, you can chant the rune name.  Try practicing these different postures until you become proficient with the basics and attempt to hold them for as long as possible.


"May the power of the Runes
Lead me to a greater understanding
Of the universe and myself" 


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