Revival of the Runes: The Modern Rediscovery and Reinvention of the Germanic Runes - Stephen E. Flowers Ph.D. 2021
The Age of The Internet and The Revival of The Armanen Runes
The Rise of Contemporary Scientific Runology and the Re-Emergence of the Rune-Gild
With regard to the Armanen tradition and the work of Guido von List, it had been my original plan (dating back to the early 1980s) to contribute a few works to the legacy of this chapter of the runic revival from the early part of the twentieth century connected to and derived from the ideas of Guido von List. My efforts were aimed at satisfying the curiosity of those who were interested in this historical phase of the movement. Thus, over the years I have translated List’s Das Geheimnis der Runen (The Secret of the Runes), Der Unbesiegbare (The Invincible), Die Religion der Ario-Germanen (The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk), and Der Übergang vom Wuotanismus zum Christentum (The Transition from Wuotanism to Christianity). I devoted a whole book to the study of some of the history and practices of the early twentieth- century German rune-magicians in the form of the book Rune Might, first published by Llewellyn in 1989, and subsequently reissued by Inner Traditions in a revised and expanded edition in 2018. This effort to inform people about an interesting past phase of the movement actually ended up stimulating a wider and deeper interest in this alternative runic tradition.
In the age of the internet, the Armanen tradition enjoyed a renewed level of enthusiasm, especially in the English-speaking world. This interest is largely unexpected because the vast German-language literature from within that tradition has never been published in English translation. Some of this renewed interest seems to have been fueled by polarized political feelings. The Armanen ideology of Guido von List has wrongly been condemned as somehow identical with that of National Socialism. Those drawn to the Armanen tradition today seem to find it attractive that it is so taboo and “politically incorrect.” This world, like so much of our society today, is driven by the unseen laws of value-polarization: sides are drawn, identities are reinforced or exaggerated through verbal and symbolic echo chambers, and as one side goes on the attack, the opposite side that feels hostility is only further entrenched in ever more radical versions of its own ideology. In this way, individuals and groups allow themselves to be defined by their opponents. The whole process is largely driven by perceptions gained through the media and compounded by experiences on social media. An honest appraisal of events tends to show that traditionalists and those proposing authentic and autochthonous values are first attacked by the forces of political correctness and targeted as “racists.” This then baits the conservative wing into overreacting, pushing both sides into ever more extreme corners.
But beyond any merely “political” dimension, the Listian tradition—with the contributions of men such as Marby, Kummer, and Spiesberger—also expresses ideas and developed practices that are highly accessible to the contemporary Western mind. This stream of thought remains compelling for some. For this reason, in 2018 I re-released my long-forgotten text written in 1975 as The Runic Magic of the Armanen.
In reality some of the best minds in the reawakening movement, such as Stefn Thorsman and especially Aelfric Avery, have devoted themselves to this Armanic branch of the revival. Avery published a translation of Kummer’s major runic text, Heilige Runenmacht (Holy Rune Might) in 2019 as well as a three-volume study, Armanen Runes and the Black Sun in 2018.