Tag Archives: Thomas Karlsson

Nightside Of The Runes – Thomas Karlsson (2019)


Karlsson’s books have the habit of going out of print and becoming very expensive. His first book from 2002 Uthark, Nightside Of The Runes is one such work. The German translation Uthark, Schattenreich der Runen from 2004 is more affordable, but it appears that the author wanted to make the English text available again. This makes the first part of this book.

The second part is Karlsson’s book about Johannes Bureus which has been published in Swedish (2005), German (2007) and Italian (2007). Now finally, this book has been made available for people who do not master these languages. That also means that this is the most extensive information available about Bureus in English.

“Uthark” refers to the theories of Sigurd Agrell (1881-1937) who theorized that there was an exoteric and an esoteric rune row. The first stats with the F-rune, in the second, this F-rune is placed at the end. To this he connected numerological and esoteric explanations that Karlsson finds convincing enough to create a magical handbook based on the system. This has a bit too much of a ‘Flowers-feeling’ to me. read more

Amongst Mystics and Magicians in Stockholm * Thomas Karlsson (2015)

On the philosohical outlet of Michael Idehall, Belzebez, I read about this book of Thomas Karlsson. Belzebez has a bit of a ‘Dragon Rouge air’ so it is not strange to find Karlsson’s biographical notes on the early days of the order that he founded. I am not too interested in “Ordo Draconis et Atri Adamantis“, but it is always nice to read about somebody’s path.

“Amonst Mystics and Magicians” turns out to be a very personal account of Karlsson’s early years. It reads like a diary (in the I-form), but very much in a narrative style so that it also reads like a boy’s adventure, an exploration into the occult. Karsson describes how from an early age he read everything about the occult that he could lay his hands on. At the age of 14 he started to run into like-minded people in the occult bookshops of Stockholm that he frequented. He also started to experiment with different visionary techniques. With his new found friends the experiments became two persons or even group events. Where Karlsson was the ‘scholar’ of the group, a person he names “Varg” was even more into the magical experimentations. Also Varg has an American teacher (Thorsson perhaps?). Other friends are more down-to-earth, but interested nonetheless.

Karlsson travels, meets more people, gets in contact with many more people, also people that help him in certain directions. The book describes how he, and other people, conduct ceremonies, have visions and encounter beings from the other side, “the Left side”. Karlsson proves to be openminded in his musical interests (that go from black metal to New Beat, techno and classical music) and philosophical interests. His ‘system’ goes from Crowley to “Vodou”, from Kabbalah to Tantra, Babylonian to Northern mythology; basically anything that could be (partly) interesting.

The author reasons that the Left (Hand) Path is the path for people who think for themselves, contrary to the Right (Hand) Path which is for followers. A similar reasoning he has for his “dark magic”. Where “white magic” is for the purpose of good, “black magic” for the purpose of evil”, “dark magic” is for the curious with no good or bad intentions. Curiosity seems to be the basis for Karlsson’s magical endeavors. The book describes experiments with halucinating techniques, lucid dreams, the raising of ghosts and encounters with Thor and Lucifer. It remains unclear what is the purpose of it all. Knowledge and wisdom are mentioned here and there, but does one get wiser from meeting deceased people from a remote cemetary? In a chapter towards the end, a man named Richard calls up Karlsson to inquire about the Dragon Rouge, Karlsson says:

We don’t stand for anything. It is not a religion or a political party. We do things We are a magical order. There you don’t stand for things. There you do things. And then it’s up to you to interpret what has happened when you’ve done something.

This also the reason anyone can join, where atheist, Christian or Satanist.
But again, why summon spirits if it is only to interpret the events?

A bit furtheron Richard asks about the left hand path, according to Karlsson:

It’s dangerous. The left hand path leads to the farthest, and most foreign regions of existence. Going too fast, or too carelessly, can destroy anyone. It is total darkness and Chaos.
[Richard] Why would you go there?
[Karlsson] You wouldn’t necessarily. it might be better not to. But if you are driven by curiosity, it is like taking a look behind the veils of existence, and seeing what’s there.

This may be an interesting endeavor, but personally I miss the point. Still it was nice to read how Karlsson had a similar start to myself, but took a completely different road. Also when thinking about the fact that Karlsson nowadays teaches at Stockholm University (religious studies), this book is very open and personal. Which makes me wonder. Is this book for Dragon Rouge members so they have a bit of history; but why is this not an internal publication? Is this book for potential Dragon Rouge members? But why then does Karlsson keep referring to his (youthfull?) New Agey interests? Or did the author want to do away with a possible master status and show his students that he got where he got by simply trying things so they have to too?

In any case, the 140 pages are bound nicely and the books looks wonderfull. The book is quite expensive, but makes a nice read. Do not expect profound knowledge, worked out rituals or a detailed description of the order of the red dragon, rather the founder looking back at the early days.

2015 Midian Books, limited to 200 copies.

Adulruna Und Die Gotische Kabbala * Thomas Karlsson (2007)

It has been quite a while since I investigated the interesting Swede Johannes Bureus. There seems to be quite an interest in the man, since my articles and book reviews are relatively popular and I even got two comments in a few days time on an article speaking about Bureus. One of these comments notified me about this book. I guess I missed it, otherwise I would have bought it earlier, but if I remember correctly this is the dissertation of Karlsson and was only available in Swedish in the time I wrote my articles. Karlsson is one of the founders of the Dragon Rouge order and this German translation is published by the Edition Roter Drache. It is good that this little book has been translated to a language that is mastered by more people. First of all Karlsson is more extensive and in-depth than Stephen Flowers, but mostly, Karlsson has visited all the libraries that have writings of Bureus, so the information about for example Adalruna is not based on one version, but on all seven. Then, of course, there is quite a lot of material about Bureus and his system available in Swedish and Karlsson used all these sources too, so now we have more insight in what has been investigated already than when a non-Swedish author picks up the subject. Having written this book on college, Karlsson dived into the current scholarly field of the investigation of Western esotericism, of course including our Amsterdam chair and the Sarbonne in France.
Karlsson wanted to put Bureus in a larger perspective and therefor he starts with information about Western esotericism and the scholars in this field and he continues with a rather long chapter about gothicism and what is meant and what it means. There is little information about the life of Bureus himself, but all the more about his Kabbalistic use of his runes and his shady figures such as the cubic stone and the rune cross. What I mostly enjoy about the larger perspective is that Karlsson says a thing or two about Bureus’ predecessors and how and why his system had such little influence on later generations. Indeed, Karlsson’s book definately adds something to the subject and I would suggest an English edition to expand the readership a bit more.
2007 Edition Roter Drache, isbn 9783939459040
See here for my Bureus articles.