Symbolism

Tarot

Tarot is a subject that has only interested me mildly. I enjoy the symbolism of the cards, but that is about it. At some point I bought myself a ‘Crowley tarot’, mostly because the cards that are drawn by Frieda Harris (1877-1962). See the card on the right above. Some time ago I was reading something and the author kept referring to symbols on the Rider/Waite tarot (second from the right above) but without images. The images for this deck are drawn by Pamele Colman Smith (1878-1951) and designed by the (in)famous Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942). Rider was the company that first published the deck. I do not have the deck myself, so I grabbed my Crowley tarot and I remembered just how great these cards look. They were not all that helpful for the text that I was reading though. So I figured I should read up a bit… Read More »Tarot

Squaring the circle

“Squaring the circle” is an expression that I run into frequently, whether in a Hermetic/esoteric or a Masonic connection. Often the first image that pops into people’s minds is this image supposedly of Hermes Trismegistus. Recently I was reading the book Quadrivrium and ‘squaring the circle’ is mentioned four times, but quite different from the above. According to the authors, a ‘circled square’ (or ‘squared circle’) are a circle and a square with the same area. So the square would certainly be smaller than in the image above, more like this: Or like in Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” You can read all about the mathematical approach on Wikipedia. Later I was rereading a book by René Guénon (Symbols Of Sacred Science). He also mentions ‘squaring the circle’ a couple of times and with Guénon you can expect a different approach. Let us see. In this connection we should note… Read More »Squaring the circle

Fabio Venzi (1961-) esoteric Freemasonry

Recently (late 2019) the new book of Fabio Venzi was published by Lewis Masonic. It is called The Last Heresy and is about the relation between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry. It is an historical book and nothing like the previous two books that were published by the same publisher. It did make me go back to these two titles and since I was noting quotes, I figured I could just turn that into some sort of article that may give you an idea of the ideas of this Traditionalistic Italian Freemason who has been the Grandmaster of the Regulier Grand Lodge of Italy since 2001. Traditionalism In the two books, Studies On Traditional Freemasonry (2013) and Freemasonry, The Esoteric Tradition (2016), Venzi refers to René Guénon, but also to his more controversial fellow countryman Julius Evola. Guénon was initially of the opinion that Freemasonry is a genuine Western initiatic… Read More »Fabio Venzi (1961-) esoteric Freemasonry

Pictish symbols

the Golspie stoneIs it because the next holiday will be Scotland or some other reason, but I recently find myself fascinated by the so-called “Pictish stones”. The first time I saw the strange Pictisch symbols was about a decade ago in the fascinating book “Noord-Europese Mysterieën En Hun Sporen Tot Heden” (‘North-European mysteries and their traces to the precent’) (1970) by the Dutch author Frans Eduard Farwerck (1889-1969). He displays several stones, but the Golspie stone is the most fascinating. It not only contains (virtually) every Pictish symbol that we know, but also supports Farwerck’s theory about the symbolism. A theory that I have not found on the world wide web yet, so I figured my scribblings might add something to the information about the Pictish stones that is already available on the web, which is not little to begin with.

A little bit of history
When the meanings of the symbols are disputed, even the history of the Picts is! It looks like the Picts were the original inhabitants of Scotland. They must have been around in the first or at least second century CE, because when the Romans invaded the British isle in the third century, the Picts were already a force to take into account. They were not such a large society, but this came later. From about 600 to 800 some people speak about a “Pictish nation”. After that the Picts were troubled by the Viking invasions and overrun (or perhaps they just merged with) the neighbouring Gaelic tribes. After 800 there seem to have been no more Picts.Read More »Pictish symbols

Thor and Loki in Utgarda Loki, an interpretation

A few months ago I had a little talk about the story of Thor and Loki who travel to Utgarda Loki for a selected group. This little talk took a couple of months in preparation and I have yet to start working on the reworked version of the in depth analysis, but I thought it might be nice for you to show a few aspects of the story here. The story The story in short goes that Thor and Loki (for an unknown reason), decide to travel to Utgarda Loki, which is both the name of a kingdom, as the name of its ruler. In the beginning of the story, Thor and Loki need a place to sleep and they find a farm with a family that is willing to let them spend the night. For dinner, Thor slays his two goats and tells the farmer to throw the bones… Read More »Thor and Loki in Utgarda Loki, an interpretation

Externsteine

On my article about Irminsuls I get comments which are mostly questions about the Externsteine. Since it would be silly to put the information and images in the comments under that article, I decided to make a separate piece about the Externsteine. Nothing in depth, but with a few images that you might not have seen yet. Most images are from a book that I also reviewed, so I probably make copyright violations. Risking that, here some images and short information. I have visited the Externsteine several years ago, probably before I had a digital camera, so nothing here is mine. In the article that I mentioned I wrote a few things about the Externsteine. Please go there for the starting information. The Externsteine are strange natural rockformations which were obviously regarded sacred by the ancient inhabitents of the area. There are several very interesting elements to them. “Felsenschiff” or… Read More »Externsteine

Thor’s eyes

All can understand how frightened the bonde became when he saw that Thórr let his brows sink down over his eyes. When he saw his eyes he thought he must fall down at the sight of them alone. Prose Edda verse 45 Did you ever wonder why it is that many Thor’s Hammer symbols have eyes on the upper part? As you can read in the quote that opens this short article, there is something about those eyes of Thor. The sight of them alone makes the farmer whose son Thialfi broke one of the bones of one of Thor’s goats, think that he will faint. The only description that you get here is that Thor’s brows “sink down over his eyes”. Here we have a point that did not pass entirely unnoticed. Let me quote Georges Dumézil at length as he describes and compares similar events in different sources… Read More »Thor’s eyes

Bindrunes, galder and housemarks

A while ago I was paging through some book (that I cannot find anymore…) and my eye fell on the famous “Rökstenen”, the runestone named after the place where it stands: Rök. On top of the background and on the top of this stone are some very interesting bindrunes. I have seen similar symbols on a variety of places. Would this be coincidental or is there some kind of connection between the different findings? Or whatever their connection, could they possibly tell something about eachother? Rökstenen Since the Röke runestone is rather famous, there is quite some information about it on the internet, most of which is in Scandinavian languages. The English Wikipedia has a nice text about the stone. It has the texts, transliterations, a possible translation and interpretations. This Wikipedia article concentrates on the parts that come closest to ‘normal texts’ though. More specific information can be found… Read More »Bindrunes, galder and housemarks

TyrOdhinn

Some time ago, a friend after reading my article about Odhinn, had a nice suggestion. What if the missing arm is supposed to be missing and what if there is a big significance in the fact that Odin misses his left arm, and Tyr his right hand? I was already aware of the ‘pair’ Tyr/Odin, but hadn’t given this idea a thought. The suggestion soon proved to be just a suggestion. Another image clearly shows breaking-traces on the arm and hip, so it is clear that this particular image of Odin originally has two arms. The start was there, though, because for some time I had the idea to write something about Tyr and Odin. Tyr or Odin? Before my interest shifted towards the prechristian religion of Northern Europe, I was much interested in Hermetism, Renaissance esotericism, etc. and always had some kind of ‘attraction’ to Thoth/ Hermes/ Mercury; the… Read More »TyrOdhinn

The nine worlds in nordic mythology

I remember yet the giants of yore Who gave me bread; in the days gone by Nine worlds I knew, the nine in the Tree With mighty roots beneath the mold. (Völuspa 2, translated by Ari Óðinssen) This is the second verse from the Poetic Edda. “Nine worlds I knew, nine in the Tree”. The nine worlds come back in Northern mythology more often, such as in Alvíssmál 9 in which the dwarf Alvis says: “All the nine worlds I have travelled over” and also Vafthrudnir has travelled to nine worlds (VafÞrúðnismál 43). Because the concept is rather vague, it has been open to speculation what exactly these nine worlds are. Óðinssen writes in a note to the quoted verse: “Nine worlds are Asgarth, home of the Aesir, Ljossalfheimr, home of the ljossalfar, or ‘light’ elves, Mithgarth, ‘middle-ground’ home of mankind, Vanaheimr, home of the Vanir, in this manuscript referred… Read More »The nine worlds in nordic mythology