Review: “Nightside of the Runes,” Thomas Karlsson

As I do with most of my reviews, I will cover the material in order of its encounter in the source material. Nightside of the Runes is a book written by Swede, Thomas Karlsson. It is of potential interest to Hermeticists generally, to Gothicists or Swedish Nationalists. As a bonus, and I am only partially ashamed to admit this, the book should be of interest to fans of the band, Therion, being a band extolling the broad values of the Occidental Occultic scene. Thomas Karlsson is said to have written something to the tune of half Therion’s lyrics, including their double album Gothic Kabbalah which forms the subject of much of Karlsson’s interest here.

As a preface, make note, I hate to be a critic. I would much rather be to books what Homer Simpson was to food critics, if you’ve ever watched the Simpsons, but much of the material through no fault of Karlsson’s own I found tangentially frustrating and inapplicable to my own practise. The syncretism required to synthesise the information in any meaningful, integrative way, is a high toll I was not willing to pay. The journey of the Adulrunes to here begins in the 1400s and utilises a worldview so thoroughly Christianised as to leave a poor taste in the mouth of those who like myself, have ceased to view syncretism as anything other than a tool of political convenience to draw disparate elements together in a fascistic context around a mutually consenting principle. Like the 14 Words. To that end, this book would be quite inspirational to those who wish to balance the interests of Christian Nationalists levied against Tribalistic intentions.


CH. 1 The Secret Wisdom of the North:

Time can be divided categorically into Profane and Mythic time. Profane is what we consider “history,” and follows a consequentialist bias. Mythic time is archetypal, and is an esoteric exercise. For example, the Prose and Poetic Edda do not tell literalist history, but enact a kind of multivariate drama whose lessons operate simultaneously on many levels and can speak to the soul on many levels.

The Renaissance of the Runes

There are 2 sources of Rune Magick today. Revivalists, being researchers of old material – academic types. Preservers, being Traditionalists with inherited methods often found in countryside.

The Preservers often blended with Christendom as a survival reflex.

There are 3 Revivalist Eras. Swedish, German and English (das rite.)

Bureus, who forms a major subject of the book, operated during the Swedish Age which takes historical precedence over the latter and more focused German and English ages. G.V. List spearheaded the German age, as you might expect. [The editor would add that G.V. List is the tip of a broadback iceberg.]

The Nordic Worldview

Cannot be viewed in the dichotomy of linear v/ cyclical time, Nordic is more organic.

All life is checked and defined by polarities: Muspellheim is convex and covers heat & expansive energy and is positive. Nifelheim is concave and covers cold, reductive energy and is negative. Ginungagap is neutral, covers balance and “no-thing-ness” and therefore represents potential energy.

Giants are the possessors of ancient and primitive wisdom.

The claim is made that Odin learns the Runes from Bolthorn. [Citation needed.]

Accordingly, Loki or Locke (the spider) invents the net, inspired by the web of the Norns. Culture is said here to be built unconsciously around Loki’s web.

The Valknut a be seen as a Trinitarian formula, being comprised of Occult laws. The first triangle can represent Voden, Villi and Ve as “Arising” and/or “Becoming.” The second triangle can stand for Urd, Verdandi and Skuld as Being. The last can point to Fenrir, Jormungand and Hel as the law of Undoing.

Womb and tomb are synonymous, life and death are revolving doors.

Ships are symbols of journeys, whether astral or incarnational – they may be the same.


CH. 2 The Uthark and The Runes

The author opines that a strictly Græco-Roman origin is unlikely, as there is no native codex of Runes to follow anything approximating an ABC order as you have in Greece or Rome.

The Elder Row has 24 stafir with 3 ættir.

The Younger Row has 16 stafir and 2 aettir over 2-3 versions, being Swedish/Norwegian and Danish or “common.”

Anglo-Saxon Row has 24+9 over 4 aettir.

Runologist Sigurd Agrell posits the Uthark Theory, which holds the Fehu be moved to the end of the row. The support for this hypothesis is occult and not archaeological, but can be considered magically potent if not historically attestable.

*Chart below

The Uthark:

Ur (u): Primeval state of nature, Auðumbla, potentiality pre-manifest; primal womb.

Thurs (th): Giants & Thurses, 2 realms of Muspell & Nifel heimar – extremes outside of nature. Other, antithesis, opposite. Witchcraft & dark magick. An Elder Race of Gods opposed by the Æsir.

As (A): Æsir. Odin. Lifeforce – önd = spirit. Synthesis of Ur & Thurs. Creation.

Reid (r): Order. Thor. Swastika. Sun Cross. Right, rta (Sanskrit) “cosmic order.” Cycles of nature, Hammer=signal, rhythm. Heartbeat.

Ken (k/c): Fire. Torch. Know – ken, künna (Swedish), related to konst and kunst “art.” Loki/Loge “flame.” Promethean.

Gifu (g): Gift/Sacrifice. Gift Cycle goes back to life gift of Odin. Odin= self-sacrifice.

Wynja (w/v): Happiness. Perfection. 7th Rune, 7 colours in rainbow. Bliss. Frey, prince of peace.

Hagal (h): Hail. Promethean counterpart to Ken. Hagal may have once meant crystal. Hel. Mother Rune. Piece of original salt-stone from Auðumbla.

Naud (n): Necessity. Magick= influence of destiny. Nornir. Skuld. Connected to 9 as sacred number.

Is (i): Ice. Materialisation. Self-Concentration. Focused thoughts v/ feelings (fire). Death.

Jera (j/y): Year. (Harvest.) Fertility.

Pertra (p): Rock (Gr. Petra). Birth. Rock = Mother Earth. Womb. Bowl. Casting lots. Perchta.

Eihwaz (ei): Yew. Life. Afterlife. Bow. Phallic Symbol. Couples with Pertra.

Algiz (z/r): Elk. Animal Kingdom. Horned God. Protection. Sacred Place. Alcis = Divine Twins.

Sol (s): Sun. Balder. Will. Afterlife. Surtr.

Tyr (t): Struggle. Victory. Phallic Symbol. Self-Sacrifice.

Bjarka (b): Pregnancy. Fertility. Female Fertility. Soul in birth after death. Witchcraft. Frigg/Freyja.

Eh (e): Horse. Relationships. Spirit Travel. Death. Karma. Wild Hunt. Heldrasil= Underworld.

Mannaz (m): Man (+woman?) Communication.

Lagu (l): Water. Fluid. Law. Waters of Nifelheim or Life. Water + Moon. Menstruation. Ägir+Ran; Njord+Nerþus.

Ing (-ng): Male fertility. Sperm/Seed. Spring.

Odal (o): Prosperity/Inheritance. Nobility. Odalman- power to claim life and death. Family, Nation. Ancestral Cult.

Dagaz (d): Day. Light. Protection (against witchcraft.) Was carved on doors and windows. Culmination.

Feh (f): Cattle. Wealth. Domestication, antithesis of state of nature.

Uthark v/ Futhark… the strength of the Uthark lies with its correspondence to Nordic Myth. The idea of sandwiching the row between two cattle related Runes, for example, with an expansion and contraction between them symbolising the creative cycle.

The Futhark can be seen as exoteric, with the Uthark as esoteric, as in one is practical and the other is for a deepened initiate.


CH. 3 Runosophy

9 Worlds are realms of existence as well as consciousness. They are spread out over “shamanistic” upper, lower and middle worlds.

• Muspelheim: heat/fire. South. Surt. Represents expansion of convex universe.

• Asgaard: Æsir+Vanir. War, cosmos. Centre of önd and consciousness.

• Vanaheim: Vanir. Fertility. Water. Magick. Witchcraft. Sexuality. Fylgja. Disir.

• Ljusalfheim: Light-Elves. Gift to Frey. Greater cult than revealed in myth. Nature spirits. Hugr. Fertility. Intellect.

• Midgard: Mankind. Lik/Lich. Uncreated, but informed by Gods.

• Svartalfheim: Dark-Elves. Dwarves. Nature Spirits. Hamr. Intuition.

• Jotunheim: Giants. Outside cosmic order. Wise. Minni/magickal memory. Mimir’s Well = Akashic Records.

• Helheim: “Nothingness.” Secrets Revealed. Completion of knowledge.

• Nifelheim: Under Hel. Water of Life comes from here but is frozen until Ragnarok. Heaviness. Black Holes.

Cabala Tree of Life = 10 worlds & 22 paths linked in trump cards of tarot & heeb alphabet.

The dualism here is Heldrasil, the Tree of Death being made from the shadow of Yggdrasil, but they are not antagonisms. [Also implies life is stronger than death.]

Runes are aspects of the Web of Urd/Wyrd, connecting the Universe.

Nordic Cabala has 3 ættir…

• Ur: flow of force from fire & ice = foundation of world.

• Naud: time & wheel of destiny, these allow the cosmos to unfold & cannot be tamed by man.

 Bjarka: human world, life; initiation & rebirth. Connection of lik, vaard, önd, fylgja, hugr, & minni. [these are some components of the northern soul complex.]

 The Ur Ætt:

 Ur. Nifel-Hel. Vergelmir. River birthing (Elivagar.) Kosmos.

 Thurs. Nifel-Jotunn. Rimthurses made and claim Jotunheim.

 As. Muspel-As. Gods created from heat.

 Reid. Nifel-Svartalf. 4 Cardinal Dwarves hold up world.

 Ken. Muspel-Ljusalf. Spark of Muspel becomes light in Ljusalfheim, the Sun of Alvglans.

 Gifu. As-Mid. Gods give man life and soul as gifts. Man gives sacrifices inn return.

 Wynja. Muspel-Vana. Light, energy, joy, fertility.

 Hagal. Mid-Hel. Death & hidden things. Man’s initiation into Secrets of the Runes.

 The Naud Ætt:

 Naud. Hel-Jotunn. Urd-Mimir. Memory. Giant secrets.

 Is. Jotun-Svartalf. Ice in path to Hel.

 Jera. As-Van. Odin/Freyja. As & Van.

 Pertra. Jotun-Ljusalf. Unity, memory & thought.

 Eihwaz. Svartalf-Vana. Phallic balance, instincts to fertility.

 Algiz. Ljusalf-As. Nature – Sanctuary. Fairy Homes in trees.

 Sol. Ljusalf-Vana. Frey. Sun God, Alvglans. Vanaheim + Ljusalfheim.

 Tyr. Hel-Svartalf. Hell-Wolf in Gleipnir.

 The Bjarka Ætt

 Bjarka. Mid-Vana. Rebirth. Fertile power. Vanir.

 Eh. As-Jotunn. Cooperation. Sleipnir. Journey to Utgard.

 Mannaz. Mid-Svartalf. Shape of man.

 Lagu. Hel-Ljusalf. Water of Underworld.

 Ing. Vana-Hel. Seed fertilising underworld.

• Odal. ] Mid-Jotunn. Midgard cut out and shielded.

 Dagaz. Mid-Ljusalf. Intellect. Clarity.

 Feh. As-Svartalf. God treasures, taken from Underworld.

 The Multidimensional Uthark

 One can consider the Runes as being 24 in 12 circles within one-another, Ur – Fe, Pertra – Eihwaz, i.e. pair Runes with their antagonists. As the Fe appears opposite the Ur, and Eihwaz opposite Pertra in position. They then become polaric compliments.

 Ur-Fe 1/24 primal ox/domestic cow OR nature/culture

 Thurs-Dagaz 2/23 night/day

 As-Odal 3/22 Aasgaard/ Midgaard

 Reid-Ing 4/21 Thor/Frey OR structure/nature

 Ken-Lagu 5/20 fire/water

 Gifu-Mannaz 6/19 Giver/Taker

 Wynja-Eh 7/18 harmony/cooperation

 Hagal-Bjarka 8/17 Hel/Frigg OR death/life

 Naud-Tyr 9/16 Odin/Tyr OR descent/resurrection

 Is-Sol 10/15 winter/summer

 Jara-Algiz 11/14 field/forest

 Pertra-Eihwaz 12/13 vagina/penis

One can also mate patterns of triplicated branches into Bind-Rune shapes such as the core of the Aegishjalmur.

Inverting Runes can expand your understanding of them.

9 Runes are uninvertible. Gifu, Hagal, Is, Naud, Jera, Eihwaz, Sol, Ing and Dag, and can be seen corresponding to the 9 worlds…

Sol = Muspelheim, Gifu = Asgaard, Ing = Vanaheim, Dag = Ljusalfheim, Jera = Midgaard, Eihwaz = Svartalfheim, Naud = Jotunheim, Hagal = Hel, I = Nifelheim.

The Nordic Colour Scale

Snorri has rainbow with 3 colours. Others say 7, but the Nordic Scale here has 9.

 Midgaard – brown; earth, nourishment & stability

 Vanaheim – green; fertility

 Ljusalfheim – yellow; intellect, communication

 Svartalfheim – red; power, feeling, instinct, magick, smithery

 Jotunheim – blue; Mimir, water, memories

 Asgaard – gold; önd, divinity, glory, sun

 Helheim – silver; moon, witchcraft, death, dreams, illusion

 Nifelheim – black; absolute force, black hole, utter cold, life & hidden light – absolute potential

 Muspelheim – white; pure energy, unlimited force, perpetual expansion


 CH. 4 Man & His Souls

 Man has 9 soul forms which do not say where flesh begins or ends, each aspect ties to 1-7 of the 9 worlds but NOT to Muspel or Nifelheimar.

 Man is not “made” but shaped by the Gods from the primal sea. Æsir take man & give him divine gifts.

1. Lik: body, flesh (ON) & corpse (SW)

2. Önd: spirit, breath, 3 ways of önd; Earth, Heaven & Underworld

3. Hugr: wit, waking mind

4. Minni: memory, connects to Well of Urd through folksoul (Akashic records) Huginn goes to future, Munin to past

5. Fylgja: guardian spirit. 3 forms; beast, opposite sex [anima/animus] & abstract. People, clans, tribes & nations have them.

6. Hamr: “figure” or “garment.” =appearance, connected to Svartalfheim because of the connotations of shaping. Shapeshifting; modern witches on brooms is an archetype of Freyja – broom/besom used to do trances.

7. Vard: The “double” body or apparition, ghost & phantom


8. Od: ecstasy, inspiration // grail holds Od, not Jeebus. Od enables shapeshifting.

9. Hamingja: “luck.” Tied to Fylgja & Hamr, fed by other soul parts.

 + Megin: “power” or “magick” like “matter.”

 + Ek: Self, name


 CH. 5: Northern Sorcery & Practical Rune Magick

 Megin (magickal power) pervading & is also Nature.

 Some felt that as man came from trees that Hamr & önd would pass into a/the tree/s after death. [Ergo guardian trees.]

 Magick is immanent.

 Religion is constructed for communal, social purposes.

 9 types of (magickal) art:

1. Rune Magick

2. Utaseta, sitting out

3. Sigils

4. Galdr/Incantation

5. Rituals

6. Natural Magick

7. Sacred Places

8. Sejd

9. Odrörir

 Havamal lists 8 things needed to be wise to the Runes: Knowest thou how…

 To carve

 To read

 To stain

 To test

 To ask

 To offer

 To send

 To give…

• Rista ~ Carve make your sets, some use Ristir. Learn the shapes & meanings. The having of Runes is said to imprint the Web of Urd.

Reda ~ Read understand. How they are, related & balance. Runes tell stories of interacting Natures.

• Fӓrga ~ Colour activate force. Red is colour of megin. Changed through blood and/or sperm/egg.

Fusta ~ Test Runes change through use, but must be asked of to work & cast. The ask is a challenge.

Bedja ~ Asak in asking, show respect & submission. Honesty, integrity. Should use words related to the Rune & Patron God.

Blota ~ Offer dedicate. Area or object. Proportionality; “better not to ask than offer too much.”

Sӓnda ~ Send sacrifice & put out of mind.

Hopa ~ Sacrifice nothing half-hearted. End it with intention.

Sitting out & Meditation

Not stuck in over-rationalisation.

Back against a tree, in Nature. Dark/fall, dead or in light/spring, alive.

Point is to calm the mind.

Akin to a pilgrimage; to a spot of meaning.


Bracteates = magick inscribed medals

Taufr – Talismans, Tainn – wood, Hlutr – object

Sigils include but are not limited to Valknutr, Swastikas, Aegishjalmur, and so forth. Bind-Runes may count as sigils.

Dragons were allied totemic animals until Xtianity, the same as the Serpent.

Galders and Formulae

Galdr= power song, like what Odin sang on his ordeal. Relative to the joik.


No known ritual prescription. Possibly one at Uppsala.

5 elements are a staple of magick. N. Ice, W. Water, E. Air, S. Fire, & Midgard = Earth…

Earth: stability & unity

Air: clarity, intellect

Water: fertility, sexuality

Fire: dynamism, energy

Ice: stagnation, potential.

Altar is symbolic of Midgaard, is in the North. A Thul is a Rune master or poet, from Thule – farthest North. A Hagal & Sigil are appropriate to place to the North, to the S. a candle or incense.

Ritual items – Hagal crystal, incense bowl, feather, wand, spear/sword/hammer, cape, belt, knife/sickle, ristir, & amulet.

Runic Ceremony

Incense, fire smells

Invocation of the 4 Ways & totem animals

Natural Magick

Sacred places were enclosed, in the centre a tree or pillar – pole garden or stavgarden

Irminsul/Yggdrasil = great staves, blessed trees symbolise these. Follows are the author’s list of holy trees in Norse magick…

Elm/Embla: first woman, womb, birth/death

Ash/Askr: tool handles, lightning conductor, draws megin & önd.

Birch: most important to feminine magick, first to return after ice age in North, used in magick objects.

Beech: used in sigils

Oak: foremost in Nordic Cult, houses

Elder: (DE) Holunder = Hel/Holle, must not be burned, juice is potent magick

Fir: midvinter, yule tree

Hazel: wand-making

Yew: death & everlasting life

Linden: love magick, feminine, justice, law

Rowan: megin, protection

Apple: tree of life, Idunn

Sacred Places & Natural Power

Earth’s core comparable to a dragon. Pagan sites built on high magnetic ground – called dragon lines.

Hinges, stone circles & labrynths all act as sacred spaces.

Labrynths represent consciousness, finding centre is like entering Hel or primal womb – entry=death, centre=reincarnation, exit=rebirth.


Grail mythology influenced by Norse myths. Odrörir is a cauldron/grail, has mead of ecstasy, & is filled w/blood of a dead God. Lit: Od – rörir, stirrer of sacred energy.

During peace brokered between Æsir & Vanir, oaths spat in jar, fermented and becomes Kvasir. Slain by dwarves & blood made to mead. Stolen by Suttung, guarded by Gunnlöd, liberated by Odin.

• Oðinn= first grail knight, tale of mead’s taking an initiation tale.

• Odrörir like soma, induces trance & vision.

Midle Age German tale has grail being an emerald from Luciver’s crown, which givens holders the powers of the Eye of God.

Rune Yoga

From German mystics.

No evidence of use amongst Old Norse.

Can be useful to modern Runenmagee, Dragon Rouge (author’s cult) has her own system.

It is suggested one Galdr as they do each pose to absorb the spirit of each Rune.

Runic Divination

Runes are shades of the Web of Wyrd, time “was,” “is,” & “should.”

Runes scry (possible) futures by scanning variables.

Methods of divination involve Celtic cross & Yggdrasil layouts.

Runosophy & Cabbala

Runes are at once both Maalrunor (writing) & Trollrunor (magick.)

Runes had dimensions, last of which was Adulruna, a noble Rune.

The Uthark & the Nightside of the Runes

Helwegr/ Hel~ dark opposite of Odin, name means “hidden” one / represents life & death completed, life & renewal.

Hermod on Helvegr = 9d/n, same as Odin & Runes on Yggdrasil, both on horseback w/ Sleipnir.

Slepinir = 8 legs, like an aett.

Thus it could be that Hermod’s journey is an initiation into Runes & his seeing Hel is a kind of Seiðr or Galdr.

The Journey:

Ur – descent, Rune of beginnings.

Thurs – Gate to darkness, asks for allowance into Helheim.

As – The adept, breathwork.

Reid – Journey, rhythm.

Ken – Light of Will, inner light.

Gifu – Initiation, gift = sacrifice.

Wynja – Joy, peace, harmony: Will to wishes, Gjallar Bridge.

Hagal – Seed to all Runes, from here actualities are made.

Naud – Approach to the depths of Helheim. Final day of initiate on World Tree. Magician sees Norns, can petition destiny.

Is – Deepest parts of Hel, unfathomable cold.

Jara – 11th Rune, Hvergelmir, 11 streams bringing forth seed of creation.

Pertra – Centre of Underworld, Hel womb, birth of Runes, grave of seeker, reborn as self-created. Dark Goddess riding Pertra to Odin, alter ego of Hel.

Eihwaz – Winter, Night, Trance. Wild Hunt.

Algiz – rebirth. Towards sun. night passed. Daybreak. Return to life.

Sol – reborn, higher self.

Tyr – Spinal force, kundalini, gathering.

Bjarka – witchcraft, making world green.

Eh – Horses, journeys.

Mannaz – Unity of hidden forces in human shell. Gifts of 3 Gods unlocked.

Lagu – Opposite Ken. Symbolic of Odrörir.

Ing – Sex, orgasm, awakens 3rd eye, becomes lord or lady.

Odal – Manipulation of Will, temple of mages, coven, symbolic reaching of Valhalla.

Dagaz – Opposite Thurs. Enlightenment.

Fehu – Tamed wild forces, death & darkness serves magus, completion & reward for self-sacrifice.

– One ought not overemphasise physical appearance, shapes, etc, when dealing in Runes. The esoteric levels are key.

– Rune knowledge is cyclical.

– Hel regulates reptilian forces w/in, must be willing to flirt w/ darkness to gain wisdom.

So ends the first half of the book, which contains the author’s own insights and expressions. Follows is the insight from translating and anthologising works relative to Swede Johannes Bureus (Johan Bure) and the Gothicist Movement. Edred Thorssen appears to give the intro.

Johannes Bureus: a man of the Northern Renaissance

Helped close the gap x objective science & subjective magick.

Xtianiy roots itself after torching Gamla Uppsala. .

Bureus had in Gustavus Adolphus a patron, who went on to liberate Sweden from the papacy.

History of Ideas

Paracelsus, father of magick & modern medicine, inspires John Dee, and led to a Germanic renaissance. This leads to Rosicrucianism.

Bureus did Paracelsian Secular Humanism, one of few men to sign for Rosicrucianism by name and not keep anonymous.

Gothicism, for Bureus was esoteric.

Farmers used Runes in 1500s.

Bureus had unofficial rivalry with Dane Ole Worm.

Bureus never graduated past Rosicrucianism, Odin & Christ remained one for him.

Intro to Part 2

Bureus was also a grammarian, and helped pioneer modern Swedish.

He engaged with early Gothicism, which was at once Nationalistic and Atlantis driven.

Goths (Swedes) believed they were spearheads to a truth soon to be revealed.

Gothicism preceded by Esotericism. A long tradition stretching at least to the 200s, maybe earlier.

The Prophets of Gothicism

A principle facet of Gothicism is the absorption of Hyperborean mythos. The idea being that it was Goths who pioneered civilisation, darkly.

Gothicism in Sweden hearkens to Nicolaus Rogvaldi but was known in England & Spain who also saw themselves as Children of the Goths.

The Brothers Magnus: taught Runestones outdate Rome & were dragged to Sweden by giants, and also established Runic indices.

Johannes Bureus – Taught Goth myth as a double entendre, including personal salvation, first known print work on Runes.

– A father of Swedish Grammar

– Cabala Upsalica, secret dimensions, Adulrunor, Adulruna Redeviva – resurrected Runes.

Olaf Rudbeck – Atlantica, 1600s, also called Atland Eller Manhem. Atlantis really Sweden, extremely nationalistic, Sweden is primarch all Germania, Runes older than Bible – etc…

The Gothic League & Late Gothicism

1700s saw a decline in Gothicism.

Danish Nationalists reinvigorated it with their Romantic Movement.

Archetypism begins w/Skaldar-Mal, 1811.

Gothic League formed to stimulate interest, had levels & initiations.

Phases of Gothicism:

1. Eddas, Snorri to Laufa = 1230-1600

2. Baroque Scandinavia = 1600-1750

3. N. Renaissance, Pre-Romantic = 1750-1800

4. National Romanticism = 1800-1870

5. Decline of the Above = 1870+

Second phase typifies Gothicism.

Third phase, focus on sublime, inspiring AWE.

Fourth phase, Nationalism.

Gothicism also flourished in DK, Spain & Old England.

In England Goths were seen as symbols of freedom.

In Spain, aristocracy.

Goths also seen as manifestations of doom, decline in culture. Gothic Style began as insult implying menace, later a grandeur.

Wild Nature, ghastly, ghostly – especially in England where the connection to darkness remains.

English Gothicism = Romantic, sublime, horror brings enlightenment.

Contemporary Gothicism = Asatru.

Etymology of “Got-“ origin of name ‘Goth.’ PIE – Gheu – “God” or “geyser.” Becomes related to gushing. Becomes Geut/Gaut/Gut= spring forth, gush, pour out “ejaculation” suggested.

Gotland = esoterically, The Land of Springs.

After Bureus and Adolphus, Gothicism became anti-Catholic, and Sweden a world power. The grandiosity waxes.

Bureus taught Zoaraster & others knew Adulrunes.

Prophecy of the Lion= 3 Treasures precede a Lion from the North who shatters the Eagle [of Rome.] (Depicted as Sweden crushing Austria.)

Danes were not the Lion, were defeated by Catholic League.

Some felt Lion was Jeebus, others sure it was Swedish King.

Insert Adulrunes Chart:

Many parts – 1) recumbent, 2) falling stone, 3-5) esoteric, 6) mystical origin.

15 Adulrunes

Last in row removed to make aettir even.

Futhorc becomes Futhor, or Father.

Bureus rendered his row based on aesthetics, mirroring Runes as often as he could.

Insert Adulrune Legend:

Hidden levels of the Runes

God’s Gifts: Reason & Rationality, mediated by language & writing.

Language is most sublime gift.

Outer layer of Rune = can learn to read, mastering this one reaches hidden, expanded level. There are 3 dimensions.

1. Evident, 2. Adulrunes, 3. Alrunes

Falling Stone:

Scripture/Logos/Jeebus are one. This is the evident layer on the recumbent stone, the introductory layer.

Falling stone is mediator.

Contains Nordic Trinity; TOF; Thor, Odhen & Frey.

Bureus feels a Ninja named Odin usurped Odhen & crushed the trilogy.

This Trinity is shown in the 3 Swedish Crowns in their CoA.

The Byrghal Rune are the breasts of the Virgin, Mary. Just thought you should know.

Broadly, the Runes are by Bureus used to reinforce and supplicate esoteric Xtianity.

The Innermost Vault, where the secret name of God is shown.

Gothic Language reflects sublime reality & is a conduit for esotericism.

Esoteric Gothicism After Bureus

Stresses a manly courage, inspired by German gymnastics leagues. Sought to achieve innocence of being, had an initiation of likening to 9 nights in Hel to rebirth.

Manhem League begins as Neopagan, ends in Christianity. Symbolic of history.

9 Degrees of initiation:

1. Dark Grove, Hel – death

2. Baldur’s Grove, out of darkness

3. Hlidskjalf, initiated, put on Gungnir

4. Thrudvogner, Heathen strength & independence

5. Fensal, love of Fatherland/Mother Earth

6. Hope, universalism

7. Garden, Courtly Love – Chivalry

8. Temple, Unity to “God,” adherence to Xtianity.

9. Heart, returned to society.

The object is good citizenship.

That’s about it.

All that you have read were transcribed directly from my notebook. I made no attempts to polish it. The aim of this review is more or less an appetite stimulant, if you’re hungry for more, go read the book. I’ve moved on to Odin’s Wife, by William Reaves – a much better fit for me.

Post Hoc:

My personal take aways were; a sense of satisfaction following the sections on Grail Mythology which confirmed my own longstanding association of Wōden and the Calk Rune (not discussed) to the tale of securing the Mead of Inspiration, future Odrörir. The historical backdrop of the Swedish revival anticipating the English and German revivals is important. The spherical numerology I found quite fitting and intend to adapt it to the Anglo-Saxon Fuþorc later. I feel like I was harsh on the book, and part of this is because I went in with preconceived expectations which were not met, I am also married to my ancestral Fuþorc which has a different esoteric inner life than the Swedish. I do recommend the book, but also recommend it to one who goes without ulterior motives nor less entrenched in a particular Runic practise. Otherwise your biases may impede enjoyment.


7 thoughts on “Review: “Nightside of the Runes,” Thomas Karlsson

  1. Wow! This is the kind of writing that I miss. And to compile a dictionary of the runes like this is a sign you really are a child of Odin! I must share this with a friend in Australia who prefers runes over tarot. I used to adore my runes my mom gifted me decades ago that came with Ralph Blum’s channeled Book of Runes (c. 1982). Alas, they no longer seem to speak to me.
    I tried ogham staves which also do not say much but they are so cool to handle.
    I was going to do a photo shoot of my collection of divination tools, but the weather has not cooperated at all so I guess I must wait until the Spring.
    In the meantime I definitely try to read as much of your blog as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m swamped with trying to get my own blog out to the world but I will definitely follow you. Like I wrote, it’s rare and I mean RARE to find a writer and a mind as adroit as yours. I have to dumb down my writing because I have an international following and I used to teach English as a Second Language. The last thing I want to do is use vocabulary and turns of phrases which cannot easily be translated by foreign readers. And most of my friends stop me in mid sentence to define words. Worse yet is when they have NO clue what I’m ranting on about because they have no background on the topic and I have to back up and ask if they even know the occult reference I just made. Sigh. My late husband, fiend from hell though he was, the only human on the planet I truly could talk to because we had read all the same material.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You shouldn’t have to hide your wits. I’ve a few ESL followers, despite the irony of their motto being “don’t be evil,” google is good for some things.

        I’m sorry to hear your husband has left the mortal coil. It must be an awful trial to live through, and one I admittedly fear. Still, good you had that connection. It would be a rare one in this world, where folk are disinclined from turning over hard stones to find their gems.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think I used palo santo on the runes before trying them again. There’s a story behind why I had stopped using them. I wrote about it on Facebook, but not on my blog. Are you on Facebook? My friend in Australia will love your blog.


      4. No Facebook for me, I’m afraid. This is my only open social media. Well, cheers to your friend. Fair warning, I don’t do the censorship, or political correctness, or pull punches- so one has to come with an open mind. I try to keep open to new thoughts and seek middle ground, but don’t shy from controversy.


    1. It dawned on me I missed some things. I have Blum’s book, but have never read it. If Runology is an interest I would be glad to check my occult shelf and proffer some suggestions.

      As to their no longer speaking, have you recharged them? I like to think of totemic or ritual items as having a bit of their own souls, and feed off intention. However, most would say it is best to cut and stain your own Runestaves.

      I’d love to learn Ogham, but it’s not in my blood and doesn’t belong to me as the Fuþorc does. I could learn it, but I don’t feel anything truly resonant in it. Although I cherish and admire Celtic mysticism.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s