This piece and others like it, ranging from essays on runic ideas, running a gang of men, and leadership, can be found in the newest book from Operation Werewolf, “The Inner Circle,” available now both on this website, and from Amazon.
I’ve discussed in the past the concept of looking at the runes as a pathway to mastery, to rulership, both of the self and the world around you.
In the first eight runes of the Elder Futhark, we can see some of the root principles needed to walk the heroic road- information needful to those individuals who would set themselves apart from the rank and file and become men of power.
In the second eight, cosmic foundations are laid- eternal truths of how the world works, and how consciousness interacts within it. Massive ideas of cosmology and cosmogony, necessary to understand by those looking to shatter the myopic worldview of linear time and other man-made limitations.
By the third, we are looking at runes of mastery. Rulership, kingdom- that which is attained by seeking the solar crown.
TIWAZ is often referred to as the rune of sacrifice and law, and while this is so, there are other, more esoteric meanings that can be derived from it. Tiwaz is also a man’s chosen destiny- the pathway and blueprint he has laid out for himself, created from his own past actions and words, and set himself on a course for.
The self-made king is better than one who simply waited for a crown. Tiwaz is the heavy weight that comes along with that crown, the knowledge that the only underlying truth in the cosmos is the one we have decreed for ourselves, a pathway that leads straight as an arrow to our highest goal. Discovering that pathway to our True North is the first part of the great work of our existence, and walking it to its end is the second. True kings of this world will walk that path without deviation or distraction.
BERKANO refers both to grasping the primordial ideas of being and becoming, but another direction is that of an individuals “forest of power.” A ruler, or a man of power, extends a great forest around himself that is made of both deed and fame, charisma, network, and area of effect.
His sphere of influence can tell a great deal about him, and those who would claim authority and rulership in this world are never seen without it, whether large or small. At the beginning of his road, a man’s forest is only a few saplings, devoid of canopy and unable of providing much.
The developed ruler has spread those woods far and wide, and other men exist within its edges, dwelling there on what resources are created by it. This contains within itself the idea of patronage, and the assistance and backing a ruler can provide for those who are in his territory. Generosity, open-handedness, and all the concepts of lordly wealth are here also.
EHWAZ, the horse. Here we see the importance of partnership, the ability to work together for mutual benefit, symbiosis, and the ability to choose the correct “pony to bet on.” It is a man’s ability to be a good judge of “horseflesh,” or his uncanny knack at seeing human behaviors and predicting outcomes.
If Berkano is influence, Ehwaz can be seen to compliment it as “reputation.” The strongest thing a man can ride into battle is a warhorse built from reputation and his word. Ehwaz encompasses agreements, business dealings and so on, and can be seen as a form of “horse trading,” where cattle will suffice for a more common man.
MANNAZ is a crucial bedrock for the ruler to understand that without his men, he is no ruler. It is also his ability to bring out the best in people, to “create men” himself, which is the mark of only the absolute best of leaders.
Mannaz is about being able to make men want to follow you, rather than simply commanding them to do so through artificial means or buying their loyalty. It encompasses interpersonal communication and close relationships, as well as maximizing potential, ownership, and tying men together into teams.
Being a ruler can be something of a lonely lifestyle as well, and this rune symbolizes that separation between a ruler and the rest of humanity- not many are called to rule, and as such, it places them in a position without the same comradery as others enjoy.
All power comes at a price.
LAGUZ is flow, fluidity, energy, the ability to “be like water.” It is also a critically important ability to see all energy as the same thing, and to see currencies of all kinds as one sort of electrical current through which a ruler is able to influence and affect the world.
Everything is a circuit board, and all those circuits are tripped and charged by current. There are many different kinds of currency: money, obviously, but also fear, respect, love, favors, debt, and so on. All of these can be seen as a ruler’s outward “flow,” and methods he can use to light up his playing board in the game of kings.
As each new area is “lit up” with a flow of some kind of current, it shows new pathways and greater areas that can be “fed.” In much the same way as his actions and influence build the “forest” around him as we mentioned in BERKANO, LAGUZ is a similar kind of concept that relies on currencies, both literal and figurative.
All kingship and rulership comes from these various kinds of currency, and a ruler without currency is no ruler at all.
INGWAZ is the enclosure around all the king has built. His castle walls are made up of shrewdness and silence, and the knowledge that there is always an inner circle, outside of which is the rest of the world. Ingwaz is both the council he holds close, and the company he keeps- a man is judged by his friends.
It is also the knowledge of when to hold and when to spend, when to plant, and when to reap. Timing is everything in the great game, and the ruler who cannot see when his cards should be played will be played himself.
INGWAZ is also the internal energy source upon which a king must draw, and feed, and draw from again. Without being able to feed himself an energy source of his own, he will lose heart, his strength will ebb, and he will “burn out” or “fade away.” The best rulers are those who do not suffer from flagging or exhaustion because they have discovered a way to keep their energy contained, not sending it out needlessly in all directions.
OTHALA is the empire a ruler has built. This can be a country or corporation, a tribe, gang, body of work, or otherwise- but it is what will survive him after he is gone, or what he will bestow on his successor.
OTHALA is what the entire game is played for, the sum total of all the various parts the king has worked on- his forest of power, his sphere of influence, his creations, his followers, all his various currencies, coming together into a coherent whole that is his kingdom.
Strong rulers leave behind a legacy. Weak ones leave behind a carcass for the crows to pick at.
DAGAZ is time, the changing of eras, the hourglass against which we are all competing to accomplish what we can with the time we have. The normal human gives little thought to time beyond a vague dread of death and dissolution, but only because he has a basic fear of no longer being.
The man of power sees time and death as his ultimate competitor, and is motivated by them, spurred onward to play as many rounds of this game as he can before the timer runs out and he must pass his turn on to another.
This need to accomplish is almost unexplainable to those who do not feel its electrifying touch at the base of their spine- every morning, every moment.
DAGAZ is drive. The eternal moving force to succeed, the will to power that every ruler is born with.
The hard truth is that most leaders are born AND made.
Some were born to serve, and others to rule- those born without the light of DAGAZ coursing through them will be content to live lives of quiet satisfaction or desperation down in the fields.
Those who were birthed under its mark know that it is a crown that shines like the sun, but evades most hands that reach for it.
It is, like all the runes, many things at once, and as such, it is also a Doorway.
It is a doorway that leads those intrepid enough to enter through it to legend.
To glory, and to lasting fame- the only kinds of immortality that exist.