Monday, May 11, 2015

Galdr: Just How Was it Done?

The practice of Galdr, or sacred singing, was essentially the core of rune-magick in ancient times. Without exception, to be skilled in the Runes, one had to be a master of Galdr. It is generally considered that Galdr was a "masculine" art, whereas Seidhr was "feminine" although these were not defined as gender roles per se and there was plenty of overlap with Seidhr-men and Galdr-women.

Galdr can most easily be described as chanting or singing a rune, its associated sounds and concepts, and even the associated lore (i.e. rune-poems). Since only the rune-poems of the Hávamál are true esoteric descriptors of the Runic powers (the later Norwegian, Icelandic, and Anglo-Saxon poems being mainly secondhand mnemonic devices), it is the verses of the Hávamál that should be used if one is going to attempt Galdr with any of the rune-poems in the first place. The words of Odin himself are a far more direct route to the esoteric mysteries of Runelore than any of the watered-down colloquial rune-poems copied down by monks in the post-Conversion era.

As a result, although this is certainly not the only way to do Galdr, one may want to do it using the appropriate Hávamál  verse for each of the 18 Armanen runes, as delineated by Guido von List. The complete set is HERE, with corresponding Hávamál verses and meanings. Traditionally it would be sung in either the original Old Norse, or a German translation as List was citing in The Secret of the Runes. However, in simplified form, Galdr is simply the essence of the very sounds and vibrations of the runes, and does not necessarily require recitation of any poems at all - and thus can be formulated for any and all of the 4 runic systems. Galdr is typically done when carving runes, though it can also be employed for meditative purposes and to strengthen the will and tap into the primal Runic energies. When chanting the Galdr, it is advisable to be in a secluded place, meditate on the rune selected, and envision the rune and its associated properties. An even better action would be to mentally anchor the state of feeling the rune and its raw elemental energy, as one chants it out loud in various forms, and then be able to habitually activate that mental anchor with the visualizing and reciting of that rune. Later on as the student grows more skillful, more advanced Galdr can be learned, including for carving bind-runes and spells of power. There are of course Galdr-curses as well, which should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, as Egil's advice about not carving runes without knowing their full effects is very pertinent here.

What follows below is a modified form of the standard Galdr formulas for the Armanen Futharkh. You can also use the first 16 of these for the Younger Futhark runes (or course) and even expand on them for the "Elder" and Anglo-Saxon systems following similar intonation patterns. This is a framework, not the be-all and-all of Galdr. In fact the subject is actually far too deep and extensive for one post, there are many types and uses of Galdr, and I will have to elaborate later on more complete Galdr practices, but here are the basic formulas:


f f f f f f f f f
fa fe fi fo fu
ffffffa ffffffe ffffffi ffffffo ffffffu
Faaaaaa feeeeee fiiiiii foooooo fuuuuuu
fa far fiu feo fehu feu


u u u u u u u u u u u
u u u u u r r r r r
ur uruz urus uros uras


t t t t t t t t t t t t
ta te ti to tu
d d d d d d d d d d d d
dha de di do dhu
thor thorr thorn thurs thuris thurisaz thyth


o o o o o o o o o
Os Aus Ouss Oss Aass
os ol odh
As ask ast ans ansuz asa asha


r r r r r r r r r
Ra re ri ro ru
Rad reid rit rod raidho ruoth rita rota orta arta


k k k k k k k
ka ke ki ko ku
kien kun kaun kona kuna kena


ha ha ha ha
ha he hi ho hu
All-Hag (All-Hedge)
hag haal halga heil haug


n n n n n n n n n
na ne ni no nu
not nit nyd naut norn nurnen
[aepandi nam]


i i i i i i i i i
i i i i i i s s s s s s s
i i i i s s s s s i i i i s s s s
is iis isa ich


A a r
a a a a a a a a a
a e, a i, a o, a u
e a, i a, o a, u a
ar jar re jera asa erja arya


S i i i i g
s s s s s s s s s s s
sa se si so su
asss esss isss osss usss
sal sel sil sol sul sowilu
sigil si-gi-il
sal und sig


t t t t t t t t t
ta te ti to tu tiu tau
tat tet tit tot tut
tar tur tor
tri tre ter-zer
Tyr Ti Tiu Tu
Tyr-Tyr    Ti-ur Ti-ur Ti-ur Tiuvar
Sig-ta Sig-te Sig-ta Sig-to Sig-tu (Sing quietly and hum)


b b b b b b b b b
ba be bi bo bu
b a r
bar bor bir birk biörk björk bjarkan
beork berche brikal berkane


l l l l l l l l l
la le li lo lu
al el il ol ul
Laf; L-a-f
lagu laguz laukr lögr lagor laas
log lög laug


m m m m m m m m m
Ma me mi mo mu
ammm emmm immm ommm ummm
mam m m m (..... mem, mim, mom, mum)
man mon men
Ma mad madhr mathr
Manna mannaz
Mimir Mamre


y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y
y r
yr irr eir yb
W-ybe Eibe Eihu


e e e e e e e e e
e h e
eh ehe ehu eoh eys ehwaz


ga ge gi go gu
ag eg ig og ug
gibor gibur; gefa gifa gefu; gea geo gebo
gigur geuua
Gibu Auja
Gibur Arahari


  1. I'm pretty sure that Elder Heathens used a rune set made out in 19th century in their magic.
    "Real" galdr hahaha

    1. "Elder" Heathens covers many different eras (Migration age? Vendel? Viking?) and different regions, so there were probably many different forms of Galdr.

      Like I said above, these formulas are not the be-all and-all of Galdr. This is one way to do it, not the "only way". No reason to get too offended that the rune set I used isn't your favorite. You can use the same format with whatever rune row you prefer.

      Also the Armanen rune set isn't "made out in the 19th century". Its first 16 runes are variants of the Younger Futhark of the Viking Age, and the last two have equivalents in the "Elder" and Anglo-Saxon systems. Guido von List simply reverse-engineered the order and esoteric meanings of the 18 Odinic runes mentioned in Havamal (which would have predated even the "elder" futhark) using the existing Lore (i.e. Havamal, rune poems, Teutonic clan traditions like those of Lauterer, Peryt Shou, etc.) The runes themselves were not invented by List, they are thousands of years old and have gone through a few re-shufflings, that's all. You can find all of them in at least one of the other 3 major rune systems, as well as a few medieval rune rows. Read my posts on the Armanen runes and their meanings, you may learn something.