Armanen futharkh

The Armanen runes, or Armanen "Futharkh" as Guido von List referred to them, are a row of 18 runes that are closely based in shape (though not necessarily name, let alone interpretation) on the Younger Futhark. They were "revealed to" the Austrian occult mysticist and Germanic revivalist Guido von List in 1902, and subsequently published by him.[1]

History and Runic revivalism

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 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.[2] By the end of the war 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."[3]

A crucial development in the connection between runes and Nazi ideology came in 1906–1908 with the publication of Das Geheimnis der Runen ('The Secret of the Runes'), a work by the Viennese mystic Guido von List that established the foundations of his racially based ideological system of "Armanism". List's work led to the adoption of his "Armanen runes" 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.[4] 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.[5]

The row of 18 "Armanen runes", also known as the "Armanen futharkh" came to List 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", through 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 based.

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."[6]

List of runes

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 Anglo-Saxon Futhorc.

  1. Fa (an inverted Fe)
  2. Ur
  3. Thurs (as Anglo-Saxon Thorn) (also known as 'Dorn')
  4. Os (a mirrored Younger Futhark Os)
  5. Rit (as Reidh)
  6. Ka (as in Younger Futhark)
  7. Hagal (as Younger Futhark Hagall)
  8. Nauth (as Younger Futhark Naud) (also known as Not)
  9. Is (as in Younger Futhark)
  10. Ar (similar to short-twig Younger Futhark)
  11. Sig (as Anglo-Saxon Sigel)
  12. Tyr
  13. Bar (as Younger Futhark Bjarkan)
  14. Laf (as Younger Futhark Logr)
  15. Man (as Younger Futhark Madr);
  16. Yr (as in Younger Futhark, but with a sound value [i])
  17. Eh (the name is from Anglo-Saxon Futhork, the shape like Younger Futhark Ar)
  18. Gibor (the name similar to Anglo-Saxon Futhork Gyfu)

There is no historical Gibor rune (the name may be based on the Anglo-Saxon Gyfu rune). Its shape is similar to that of the Wolfsangel symbol.

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

Nazi use

Main article: Runic insignia of the Schutzstaffel

Runic signs were used from the 1920s to 1945 on Schutzstaffel 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 German mystic Guido von List's Armanen runes, which he loosely based on the historical runic alphabets.

Contemporary use

The Armanen runes are still used today in occultist and national socialist currents of Germanic neopaganism.

After World War II, Karl Spiesberger[7] 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.[8] In recent times Karl Hans Welz,[9][10] Stephen E. Flowers, Adolf Schleipfer, Larry E. Camp[11] and Victor Ordell L. Kasen 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 1955 had become almost 'traditional' in German circles"[12]

The Armanen runes are also having a significant impact in English language occultist literature.[13]


See also


External links

  • Armanen runes by S. Hawkins
  • Armanen runes truetype fontsv:Runor#Armanenrunorna och ariosofin
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.