“The book of runes – Western divinatory art” by Zoltàn Szabó (1985)

More information on Zoltàn Szabó: here

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Zoltàn Szabó was a Hungarian of Mongolian origins. His take on runes is therefore quite original. He died in Vannes (Brittany) in 1984 before the publication of this book in 1985.

Cons :

_The book normally came with runes. We weren’t so lucky.

_Zoltàn Szabó did not know deeply the Keltic (Celtic) culture. Which is understandable. But this explains certain misunderstandings. See false items as on page 104.

_Our editorial staff objects to certain comments:

*Those on page 80 which would concern the author’s view on fidelity.

*Those on page 226 which would concern the author’s view on ethnic principles.

However, we did not want to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and still decided to present to you this book which is not lacking in interest.

_When Zoltàn Szabó declares “The German soul is not sufficiently prepared for the synthesis of wisdom and strength”… this is his opinion.

_One reference is unnecessary.

Pros :

Here is a compilation of passages from the book:

_“The word rune means secret”. The author believes that it is a masculine word. Today it is considered a feminine word. We will use the feminine in this text, even if the author explains that there are masculine and feminine runes.

_Zoltàn Szabó talks about Atlantis very early in the book.

_We will appreciate the fact that the goddesses and gods are presented as both warriors and magicians (what could we call paladins?).

_Runes can be useful for exorcism. And to ward off a curse. In particular, they can be engraved on objects.

_Reminder of the curative and purifying powers of garlic “which means life”

_Zoltàn Szabó explains that there is no antagonism, in Nordic spirituality, between destiny and freedom. According to this spirituality, the two concepts form the same unity.

_The P rune (WUNJO) is not present in the initial Nordic runes. But it is in common Germanic runes. This rune is linked to virility. On the other hand, initially, there is the DORN rune (the symbol resembles that of the “play” symbol) which represents, in particular, strength.

_For the ODAL rune the author prefers the word ODIL. Knowing that this rune would be linked to the Grail and the sacred feminine, this argues that there is a link with the first name Odile (main character of the humorous film “The City of Fear” moreover).

_“Only art can remedy the inadequacies of science”.

_We find the principle, dating from prehistory, of separating everything between the feminine and the masculine.

_“Garlic is one of the oldest Germanic cult plants, as are mistletoe and yew […] Some researchers even claim that originally the yew and not the oak was the universal tree” the author will talk about the Yggdrasil ash tree next.

_We find the principle of the god of virility. Not as explicit as Priapus but a little since the “phallic God […] eternal mission is procreation and the permanent reproduction of life”. The god Freyr, one of the gods of virility, is called “the king of the deer”. At one point, the author calls his companion “the goddess of the birch” (but many other interpretations will follow).

_“He has not yet become Odinn (he still needs to learn before seizing power)”.

_The VANES and the ASES form the two main tribes of the Nordic gods. The VANES seem closer to the principles of the Keltic deities. The war then peace between VANES and ASES seems to be an allegory of the wars between Kelts and Nords.

_The two runes AR and KAN give the word AR-KAN or Arcane which also means “secret”.

_“Odinn, the god of runes, is also the god of language” which makes us think of the god Ogma among the Kelts (inventor of oghams).

_Reminder that the apple is a sacred food “[the] apples of Idun confer eternal youth to the gods”.

_The fact that runes are sometimes “discarded”. And this towards the east.

_“From the ice-fire polarity, life on earth was born.” The ice-fire concept gave its name to a first series of books by George R.R. Martin “A song of ice and fire”, which then gave rise to “Game of thrones”. We notice that the principle of water is replaced by that of ice. That is to say that in addition to an opposition of water-fire matter we have an opposition of temperature. Nordic spirituality has integrated the notion of “ice”. This is a considerable advantage which has repercussions in its culture and in the characters which result from it. It is also surprising that they speak of fire, when “magma” would have been more adequate in its opposition to ice. Especially since they knew about volcanoes.

_ “The VANES […] are above all the gods of water”.

_ “Above is Asgard, in the air, where we find clouds and lightning. In the middle is Midgard, the planet Earth, where we find water and fire. Below is Utgard, in the earth, where springs and volcanoes are found.

_ “Women are more “old” than men, the Great Mother older than the Heavenly Father.”

_ “Freyr (the rune FA) is secret, because it remains in the depths of the earth”.

_ “The left corresponds to the left half (the feminine) of the body, the right to the right half (the masculine)”.

_Zoltàn Szabó proposes an organization of the body in 5 points on a vertical axis: head, neck, heart, navel and sex.

_“We know the natural empires formed by stones, plants, animals and men”.

_The author indicates that runes appear in the life of each individual. And you have to know how to recognize them and communicate with them. Zoltàn Szabó explains that each rune is an individual in itself.

_The author recalls the possibility that the universe is “a spider’s web” crossed by “cosmic electricity”.

_Here is one of the methods recommended by Zoltàn Szabó for carrying out a runic drawing: “You can place the stones in a pocket. When questioning, put your hand in this pocket and search for a rune until your fingers have found the “right” one.

_The author cites a passage from Tacitus in his work “La Germania”:

“[…] we still demand the assurances of auspices, because we know, even there, how to question the cries and flights of birds.

A particularity of this people is to take advantage of the omens and warnings that horses also give […] (they) observe their neighing and snorting […] (and) consider these animals to be their confidants (of the gods).” The sacred importance of the horse is also recalled in the “Hannibal” series.

The author then discusses the 18 Nordic runes:

1_Regarding FA

_Considered as the “father” rune. Which would have given “father” or “must” or “beast” in German. The “noble deer” being for them the best possible fathers.

_Zoltàn Szabó likens Freyr to Cernunnos (also called “Herne the Hunter”).

_“Freyja had a team of cats”.

_“The Germanic goddesses (14 asynes) are difficult to distinguish from each other. The two eminent figures are Frigg and Freyja […] They evoke two aspects of women. Frigg is the mother goddess who brings together in herself all aspects of femininity; in Freyja, the lover (she is not married), the sensual and liberated side appears more accentuated. The reader familiar with astrology will make a useful comparison with the two feminine planets: the Moon and Venus.

_“Freyr is Fro the “master” and Freyja “the sovereign”.

2_Regarding UR

_Considered in particular as being “the primordial source” and/or “the primordial well […] original source of knowledge”.

_Near this source, “three women sit who throw wands at (him) […] their names are Urd, Verdandi and Skuld – the three norns” who represent the past, the present and the future. “The norns are midwives, they are still called Disas. All women […] are servants of the Great Mother.”

_“Odinn talks with the head of Mimir” like in the Conan the Adventurer series where the sorcerer talks with a skull that comes out of a cauldron.

_The author talks about “doubt” which is often a problem with regard to faith.

_ “In the kingdom of the blind (…) the one-eyed man is king” the author uses this proverb to talk about Odin who gave his eye in order to access knowledge. But the author indicates “It is in reality his “third eye” that Odinn pawned, he was a unicorn”.

_The work then presents an engraving of a deer and a unicorn. The stag representing Freyr and the unicorn Odin. We find the unicorn in the coat of arms of Great Britain.

_ “Mimir, thanks to Odinn’s third eye, was given the capacity for synthesis. Doubt no longer tortured him, nor despair. […] Knowledge free from doubt leads to the wisdom of sober living.”

3_Regarding DORN

_“Thor presides over the passing of hours” is it linked to the god Cronos?

_“It is preferable to put one’s strengths at the service of constructive purposes.”

_“DORN potentially possesses, at the same time, the free strength of the father and the eternal calm of the mother”. This idea of “eternal calm” brings to mind calm female characters like Morticia Addams.

_“The brutal extermination of the religion of the Germans by the Church soon appeared necessary.”

_“A hedge of thorns surrounds the sleeping princess. […] As with Sigurd and the Valkyrie, the story ends with a marriage.”

_“However, the thorn is a positive symbol among the Germans: to consecrate the wife, the hammer is placed against her breast – the thorn turns pink, Sleeping Beauty wakes up.” Further it is said:

“Bring the hammer

To consecrate the bride.”

4_Regarding AS

_“The AS rune designates the possibility of liberation”.

_“Now what was previously obscure is becoming clearer and new solutions are emerging from nothing as if by a miracle.”

_“Healing hands”.

_“Don’t stop at the nitpicky remarks of your intellect.”

_“This advance of the Germans towards the west and south encountered resistance from the Celts (Keltes) (also bearers of the runic tradition). After endless fighting, the Germans and the Celts (Keltes) concluded a fraternal peace, which finds its mythological expression in the war between the Aesir and the Vanir.

_“Looking for consciousness in the head is the most obvious mistake.”

_“Rudolf Steiner sees in Odinn an archangel of language, breath and runes, in Thorr, an angel (whose hammer would be the human pulse) who awakens and stimulates the consciousness of the self”.

5_Regarding RIT

_The author believes that this is the rune of the “knight” or warrior. He indicates that “the only principle that you must observe is that of irreproachable behavior with regard to your own conscience”.

_The author talks about the “red knight”. Which could correspond to the Keltic god Rudiobos. But also to one of the representations of Dracula in Coppola’s 1992 film.

_“We are better educated today about the way of life of a samurai than that of a Germanic knight; yet both are at the service of the same idea. Their mission is to ensure their country’s offspring, peace and order, to rule the law and judge. The necessary virtues are bravery, strength, loyalty and Staete: constancy”.

_“The color of the courts is red; we have, with the red knight, a powerful judicial symbol.”

_“The star of Fem, its symbol is a pentagram which highlights the fifth rune […] On the shield of the red knight appears the word “sentence”, the knight has appropriated this expression”.

_“The knight, through force of will, moves towards victory […] He represents a high ideal, an ideology that must be followed.”

6_Regarding KAN

_The KAN rune tells you that when faced with a difficult situation “you have the necessary strength and power. You can ! » (“you can” in English).

_KAN gave the word KING.

_ “But Kon the young

Known the runes,

The saving runes

And the runes of long life;

And besides he knew

Promote childbirth,

Blunt the edges,

Calming the sea.”

_ “This allows us to understand that the phallic power of the sword is rooted, not in the base of the body, but in the heart.”

_ »The KAN rune reminds us of the antlers of the deer, but it simultaneously commands the sublimation of sexual energy. »

_“KAN presents an eminently – but not exclusively – sexual character”.

  7_Regarding HAGAL

_According to the author, we can estimate that this rune is the “ice crystal”.

_Zoltàn Szabó indicates that in Russian the word “Odin” means “One”.

_“Embla probably means “elm” perhaps also “vine”.

_“The Vanes are very close to the mother, they preserve the primary unity with her.”

_“Odinn, who had more than fifty names, had as many areas of influence”.

_“The Celtic druid (Keltic) has the dragon as his sacred animal”.

_“The absence of feminine character in the person of the Christian God found its compensation in the adoration of the Virgin Mary.”

8_Regarding NOT

_NOT recommends “seeking advice from these dead. Because, in case of necessity, death is often a good advisor.”

_“This remains the case today of many extraordinary men who die of hunger during their lives before being (perhaps a hundred years later) considered geniuses and venerated.”

_According to Zoltàn Szabó the image of the heart pierced by an arrow represents “Love in distress”. That’s his opinion.

_“The NOT rune, reversed, traces the water baptism of the Grail seeker; he must take the greatest care of his conscience, because the danger that awaits him in the kingdom of the Vanes is madness.”

9_Regarding IS

_“The IS rune symbolizes an iron will”.

_“We must engrave the runes of fire

If you want to save at sea […]”.

_“Current Christianity no longer has anything to do with the apostolate of Jesus Christ […] Unlike the Church, popular belief recognizes in the God of Christians the God of fertility (and in the Virgin Mary, the goddess of fertility).

_“It is the same in the Germanic representation: the north, the head, represents the cold and the glacial world while the south (the lower part of the body) represents the kingdom of fire. The expression “cold hands, warm heart” is thus justified.”

_ »The vertical position is undoubtedly masculine while the horizontality symbolizes the earth’s surface, Mother Earth and all that is feminine. »

_“[…] Woman was inviolable, sacred and mysterious.”

_“Another meaning of the IS rune is “ice”.

10_Regarding AR

_“Question your heart since the AR rune is the rune of the heart”.

_AR would have given many words such as: harp, aryen, jarl, earl and aristocrat.

_“Feminine culture suffered the yoke of oppression, its traces were destroyed. In northern Europe, developments took place much more peacefully. The impetuous Aryans came up against the powerful magicians of the Mother, one of whom, Gullveig, is mentioned in the Edda.

_“In case of necessity, the nobleman had to give everything and be ready to sacrifice property, body and life.”

11_Regarding GIS

_Zoltàn Szabó, in 1985, had the courage to rehabilitate the SIG rune in the eyes of public opinion.

_“SOL is the Sun personified, a woman, while MANI the Moon, is a man”. It is rare to hear of the Sun as a feminine entity. Likewise for the Moon.

We can also note that in the 2001 film “The Pact of the Wolves”, Mark Dacascos plays a character named Mani.

_“SIG and SAL together (Sieg and Heil) are an ancient form of Germanic greeting. (Which would have given) Sal, Salve, Salem.”

_“The sacred animal of the Druids is the dragon”. The author considers that the SIG rune represents the serpent and/or the dragon.

_“The true victory is won over oneself and over overly ambitious representations of one’s Self. To achieve happiness, you need to know your own gray areas.”

_“Odinn is also the god of ravens. Two talking crows, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory) perch on his shoulder and whisper in his ear.

12_Regarding TYR

_Regarding the TYR rune, Zoltàn Szabó indicates “You can feel it […] in a Gothic cathedral”.

_“Tyr, the god himself, will transform into a spear”.

_“The Germanic religion ignores Tyre, and we know almost nothing about him. His fate is similar to that of the Greek god Chronos (Saturn), who, after Zeus (Jupiter) took power, was banished. Tyr (like Saturn) appears as an occult, esoteric god, whose existence must be deciphered. The runes can only help us.”

_“Tyr is first and foremost the yew […] Sleipnir, Odinn’s eight-legged horse, seems to symbolize the eight directions of the compass rose.”

_“We see on the blade the rune SIG and TYR (T-shaped cross)”. The T-shaped cross is reminiscent of the hammer symbol.

_“The very name of Germain means “man with the spear”.

_“The Grail has four insignia: the stone, the sword, the spear and the vase”. This brings to mind the 4 card symbols: diamonds, spades, clubs and hearts. Or denarius, sword, staff and chalice. Denier can also be represented by the pentacle.

_“The game of chess, for example, contains a perfect system of occult philosophy.”

_“We find this rune in every (suitable) house […] the middle pivot of the house or tent also served as an altar.”

_“Perhaps it is the work of these Aryan Goths with pagan beliefs? « .

_ »The big door is visible, it must be opened with Thorr’s hammer. »

13_Regarding BAR

_“The child receives infinite and unique maternal love, from which he no longer benefits as an adult.”

_“A birth takes time […] Accept the difficulties and moods of pregnancy, wait, hope, The time of pregnancy is irreplaceable […] When the time of birth has come, do not have any anxiety. Trust the Mother and let things happen by themselves.”

_“You must know the runes of deliverance

If you want to help a woman in labor

And deliver it from the living being it carries;

On the palms they must be engraved,

The joints tighten,

And ask for assistance from the Gods.”

_“We too easily forget that an advanced civilization is always in decline.”

_“Dagda had a magic cauldron that never emptied […] her cauldron with inexhaustible contents is itself fertilized Mother Earth.”

_“BAR is the fountain from which the water of life springs and where pagan baptism takes place (Christian baptism as well), a ritual practice specific to the BAR rune, in order to ensure the protection of the newborn by the attribution of a name – the anonymous is in danger. This is why we should be concerned, before the birth of the child, about the name we will give him.” We can even say that it is a step to be taken even before conception.

_Zoltàn Szabó recalls the damage of bottle feeding on newborns.

14_Regarding LAF

_“An important meaning of the word LAF is “water”.

_“We must now reverse the LAF rune and read its name backwards. We get FAL, the anonymous phallus. All over the world we find these FAL stones; in Europe, menhirs are examples.”

_“An ancient meaning of LAF is “garlic” […] “according to the Edda, garlic has curative and purifying properties: “you must make the sign on the cup, thus preventing it from harming you, throw some garlic into the liquid.”

Concerning mistletoe “anthroposophists use it in homeopathy against cancer”.

15_Regarding MAN

_“Try to remain objective and avoid emotional obstacles.”

_“The feminine principle existed first” […] “Menstruation is a secret of the mother MA, from which the man is excluded” […] “the feminine principle always ends up winning”.

_Zoltàn Szabó recalls that Christ on the cross represents, with his body, the rune MAN.

_The author indicates that women and men saw “in the Aesir, strong protectors who were interested in their existence”.

_“Man, child of Mother Earth, can become Father of Heaven, if he follows the ways of the spirit. Those who are unwilling and unable to embark on this path will be relegated, like giants or dinosaurs, to the confines of existence where they will consume themselves.

16_Regarding YR

_“The fact remains that matter decomposes when the spirit leaves it and that the latter perhaps continues to exist without it.”

_YR would have given “the words: error, erroneous, earthly and earth”.

_“The labyrinth is exactly the image that suits the YR rune. It symbolizes subterranean life and its inextricable mazes and detours” […] “Discarded from the luminous center, man finds himself in the labyrinth of existence, inexorably relegated to the lower realm, to the heart of matter.”

_“Only awareness of one’s fallibility allows a responsible attitude.”

_Zoltàn Szabó mentions the links between Gandalf (from “Lord of the Rings”) and Odin. It also speaks about our inner child.

17_Regarding EH

_“You will not be able to avoid thinking about the meaning of marriage (it does not matter whether it is a legal marriage or a free union)” […] “Only a true understanding of the laws of marriage generally makes one capable to this one.”

_“Concretely you must admit that inanimate matter is in fact moved by the laws of the mind” […] “Your intellectual faculties are not sufficient”.

_ »The institution of marriage is one of the concrete aspects of the rune EH, which represents what the legal union (I-EH-gale) of man and woman should be: a sacred and indissoluble bond » .

  18_Regarding ODIL

_Zoltàn Szabó indicates that ODIL or ODAL represents the Grail.

_“The Grail is therefore condemned to wander and wait for experience and enthusiasm to intersect at some point on the earth” […] “The Grail’s journey takes place from west to east”.

_“The Grail looks like a stone with a thousand facets”.

_“The meaning of the rune ODIL, in the common Germanic alphabet, is that of homeland, real estate, inheritance. The rune ODIL, eighteenth in the Viking alphabet, closes the chain whose first link was the rune FA (herds, movable goods).” […] But it is also an abundant and inexhaustible reserve (compare Grail and cauldron), which provides the occupants of the house with a cozy shelter and offers them security. The (feminine here) Grail is the homeland. Home and homeland constitute a retreat because they protect and shelter. They are, in the noble sense of the term, vessels and, when the amphora is full, vessels overflowing with food. The Grail is therefore a cup. Which brings to mind card XX of the Marseille tarot “The World”.

_“The ODIL rune is made up of two SIG runes, from which we can build a Grail […] two vipers for example”.

_“We can think that the ritual of the Christian mass would be the sublimation or spiritualization of ancient cannibalistic customs.”

_“Paradise has a different face for each of us”.

_ »Freyja’s breast is as hot as a volcano, Odinn’s head as frozen as the ice of the North Sea. »

Other elements about the last part of the work:

_“The best example of this is the migration […] of the Goths from the East to Spain”.

_“It is therefore impossible to offer an initiation to the practice of oraculars” […] “I therefore invite you to address the runes in particular”.

_“It is possible that a fault (karma) or a misdirection or more simply a superior force pre-exists”.

_“The psychologically balanced man (according to the opinion of psychologists, this individual does not exist) carries within him the animal with which he is regularly confronted”.

_“Don’t give up.”

_“The human being must maintain within himself the balance between the animal and the angel […] Reject everything that is not dazzling, luminous, transparent.”

_IS speaking to ODIL: “Who are you and what do you want, Grail? « .

ODIL replies “I’m here and I’m waiting for you to find me”.

This work by Zoltàn Szabó was dedicated to a woman: Ingrid. Love is stronger than anything…

Conclusion :

A good book to start communicating with the deities that are the runes.

Alpha Centauri