A Plagiarist’s Guide to the Runes

Sources Of Sirona Knight’s The Little Giant Encyclopedia Of Runes

(Published in 2000 by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, New York)

Compiled and edited by Tyrsdrighten, 2/20/2002

Sirona Knight is a well known American new age author and a contributing editor of Magical Blend magazine, one of the leading US Pagan journals. Her recent books include The Pocket Guide to Celtic Spirituality (1998, Crossing Press), The Pocket Guide to Crystals and Gemstones (1998, Crossing Press) Love, Sex and Magic (1999, Citadel Press), Dream Magic: Night Spells and Rituals for Love, Prosperity and Personal Power (2000, Harper) The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Runes (2000, Sterling Publishing) Celtic Traditions (2000, Citadel Press) Exploring Celtic Druidism (2001, New Page Books); The Witch and Wizard Training guide (2001, Citadel Press).

Lets see, that’s eight books in four years! How on earth does she manage to be so prolific? A possible answer, I suggest, may be provided by a close examination of just one of these works—The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Runes. Curiously, dozens of passages to be found within this chubby little volume bear a remarkable similarity to passages appearing within in a number of works by various well-known authors on the Runes, in particular:

Edred Thorsson: Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magick (1984, Weiser)

Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology (1987, Weisser)

Freya Aswynn: Northern Mysteries and Magic (1998) formerly published as

Leaves of Yggdrassil (1990, Llewellyn; 1988, Limited edition published by ASWYNN)

Nigel Pennick: Runic Astrology (1990, Aquarian Press)

Rune Magick (1992, Aquarian Press)

For each rune, Thorsson gives in Futhark a "Galdr Song". For example in the case of the first rune, Fehu, his Galdr song is: fehu, fehu, fehu – ffffffffff - fu fa fi fe fo - of ef if af uf – ffffffffff. He also lists a number of "key words", e.g. (for Fehu), Mobile force, Energy, Fertility, Creation/Destruction (becoming), and a set of "Magical Workings".

Knight reproduces every one of Thorsson’s Galdr songs, verbatim—but does not bother to cite Thorsson as a source. In fact, she does not acknowledge any of her sources, and The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Runes does not even contain a bibliography. For each rune, she copies or paraphrases Thorsson’s "key words", but in some cases, makes up her own. As we shall see, many of the "Magical Workings" (which she calls "Magical Qualities), are either paraphrased or copied verbatim.

In Runic Astrology, Nigel Pennick suggests that our ancestors may have related the 24 runes to the 24 hours of the day—and may also have used a calenderical system of Runic half-months—roughly, two per calendar month. He sets out a system of hourly and half-monthly attributions, according to which, for example, the rune Fehu is associated with the time 12.30pm – 1.30 pm and the half-month June 29 – July 14. In Rune Magick, Pennick also associates each rune with one or more herbs, and one or more trees. For Fehu, for example, the herb is listed as nettle and the tree as elder.

For each rune, Knight painstakingly lists Pennick’s hourly attributions and runic half-months, without acknowledgement of her source. With minor variations, she also copies all of Pennick’s herb and tree attributions.

Of all of these authors, Freya Aswynn’s words and ideas appears most often within Knight’s manuscript. Shamelessly, page after page, Knight passes off many of Aswynn’s most profound and original spiritual insights as her own. For those of use who have never written a deeply personal, spiritually inspired book, it is surely very difficult to imagine how painful it must be, to be confronted with the spectacle of a cynical, profiteering author, casually making off with the creative product of one’s innermost soul.

I believe that this sort of abuse should not be tolerated within the pagan community. I therefore set out, below, for the first aett (i.e., the first eight runes of the Elder Futhark) a selection of the most blatant examples of Knight’s systematic plagiarism…. If any readers know of other authors whom Knight has ripped off, either in her book on Runes or in any other works, please post the details on one of the Pagan lists, for all to see…

Tyrsdrighten, 2/20/2002

FEHU

Thorsson This Rune rules the basic forces of fertility. The F-rune contains the mystery of both creation and destruction and the harmonious function of these two extremes, which leads to dynamic evolutionary force.

Knight The F-rune rules the basic force of fertility, containing the mystery of both creation and destruction. It denotes the harmonious function of these two extremes, leading to a dynamic evolutionary power within Oneness.

Pennick Literally, Feoh means cattle, the same meaning as the first characters of the Hebrew, Greek and Gothic alphabets.

Knight The first letter of the Hebrew, Greek and Gothic alphabets also means cattle.

Aswynn Frey and Freya are fertility deities directly connected with livestock and especially with the newly born cattle in spring.

Knight : Frey and Freyja were fertility deities, associated with livestock, especially newborn calves in the spring.

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Strengthens psychic powers

Strengthens intuitive abilities

Channel for power transference or projection; the sending rune

Channel for transferring, projecting and sending runic energies

Drawing the projected power of the sun, moon and stars into the personal sphere

Draws the celestial energies of the sun, moon and stars into your personal energy field

Increase in personal monetary wealth

Increases your wealth of knowledge

Promotion of personal and social evolution

Increases the fertility of your life goals and plans

URUZ

Aswynn The auroch was a ferocious native species of wild ox which is now extinct.

Knight Now extinct, the auroch was a wild ox whose main attributes were strength and ferocity

Thorsson The U rune is the mother of manifestation…. Uruz is the patterning and formulating power of the multiverse.

Knight Uruz, as the the mother of manifestation, represents form, structure, pattern and order.

 

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Healing and maintenance of good mental and physical health

Healing both physical and mental ailments

Bringer of fortunate circumstances

Increases business opportunities

Induction of magnetic earth streams

Accesses the lays of power or steams of energy within the Earth

Knowledge and understanding of the self

Knowledge and understanding of the self

THURISAZ

Aswynn Thurisaz is either active energy directed outwards or, or passive Thurisaz energy contained or directed inwards. Primarily, this rune is a carrier and can be combined with various other runes to ensure effectiveness in a working

Knight Thurisaz is either active energy directed outward or passive Thurisaz energy contained and directed inward. It acts mostly as a carrier, and combines well with various other runes to ensure success when you're doing works of magic.

Thorsson Thurisaz is the directed cosmic force of destruction and defense.

Knight Thurisaz is a power of defense and destruction…

Aswynn The first two runes of the futhark, Fehu and Uruz, express a more or less unconscious dynamic force. With regard to human consciousness, the third rune Thurisaz is virtually on the borderline of consciousness: neither totally unconscious, nor totally conscious as is the next rune, Ansuz which governs consciousness. For this purpose, where Thurisaz is concerned, the term "subconsciousness" is appropriate

Knight The first two runes of the first aett Fehu and Uruz, embody an unconscious or unmanifested dynamic force. As Thurisaz enters the aett this runic force moves to the edge of consciousness. Its energy is neither totally unconscious, as with the first two runes, nor totally conscious, as with the following rune, Ansuz, which governs consciousness. In this sense,

Aswynn The Thurisaz rune is submerged on levels of the subconscious mind which are easily accessible. In its most negative form, Thurisaz represents the shadow in the unconscious, the repressed and unacknowledged …….

Knight Thurisaz remains on the edge, between the unmanifested and the manifested. Slightly submerged, this rune resides in the levels of the unconscious mind that are easily accessible. A negative side of this rune appears in the shadows of the unconscious mind. It represents the repressed, shadow aspects of your being, which when not dealt with can fester and become potentially dangerous.

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Defense (active)

Actively protects from enemies and from harm

Awakening the will to action

Awakens your will, and helps you take action

Love magic

Love magic

Knowledge of the division and unity of all things

Awareness of the separation and commonality of all things

ANSUZ

Pennick: This is… the divine source within the human being, a powerful controller of the consciousness and all intellectual activities.

Knight: Ansuz also symbolises the divine source within human beings, an energetic force in the conscious mind that influences all intellectual activities.

Thorsson: [Ansuz] describes two of the several gifts given to Askr and Embla (the primal man and woman) by the gods Odhinn, Hoenir and Lodhurr (a threefold aspects of the god Odhinn) These gifts were ond or anda (breath, spirit, animating life principle) and odhr (inspired mental activity, inspiration)

Knight: Ansuz embodies two of the several gifts given to Askr and Embla (the primal man and woman) by the gods Odhinn, Villi and Ve (the threefold aspects of the god Odin). These gifts were ond or anda (breath, spirit, life force) and odhr (inspired mental activity, inspiration, genius)

Pennick: This rune symbolises the Ash Tree (Fraxinus Excelsior), one of the most sacred trees of the Northern Tradition. The universal world tree, Yggdrasil, the cosmic axis linking the worlds, is an ash.

Knight: Ansuz derives its name from the Ash tree, one of the most sacred trees in the Northern Tradition. The world tree, called Yggdrasil, is an ash tree.

Aswynn On a practical working level, Ansuz is the counterbalance to Thurisaz. As Thurisaz is used to fetter, Ansuz can be used to unfetter. It is said in the fourth spell in the Havamal… So the Ansuz rune can be used for releasing fetters. This rule is also true for psychological fetters, such as anxieties or phobias

Knight On a practical level, Ansuz is the counterbalance to Thurisaz. The divine order that stays firm no matter how difficult conditions may become stands as a counterbalance to the chaos inherent in the universe. Just as Thurisaz is used to fetter and protect, Ansuz is used to unfetter and release. As stated in the fourth spell in the ancient Norse poem "Havamal," the Ansuz nine can be used for releasing the chains that bind us. This is also true for psychological fetters, such as anxieties, fears, and phobias.

Thorsson: The poetic mead of inspiration and the vessel in which it is contained are both known by the name Othroerir (the exciter of inspiration).

Knight: The poetic mead of inspiration, and the vessel that contained it, are both known by the name Othroerir (the exciter of inspiration).

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Increase of both active and passive magical powers and clairvoyant abilities etc.

Increases magical powers and intuitive abilities

RAIDO

Thorsson: Raido is the cosmic law of right and archetypal order in the multiverse. This is expressed by such natural phenomena as the daily path of the sun and the cycles of nature and humanity.

Knight: Raido is the cosmic law of right and archetypal order in Oneness. This flow is represented by such natural phenomena as the daily and yearly path of the sun as well as the cycles of nature that emanate from the solar pattern

Thorsson: This rune represents the right order of the initiate’s journey through the paths of the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasill.

Knight: This rune represents the path of the initiate’s journey through the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasill.

Thorsson: The concept of rhythm and dance also are important to the R-rune.

Knight: The concepts of rhythm and dance also are important to Raido.

Aswynn Rad, the Anglo-Saxon name of the rune, is cognated with the German Rat and Dutch raad, meaning "counsel" or "advice," which is one of the meanings of Raido. In Dutch and German the words for knight are ridder and Ritter respectively, which are again related to Raido.

Knight Another meaning arising from the Dutch, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic words for Raidho-"Rad" and "Reda"~is the concept of counsel and advice. Also, the words in Dutch and German for knight are ridder and ritter; respectively, implying shining conduct and chivalrous behavior

Aswynn Another Dutch word related to Kenaz is kunst which can be translated as art or craft.

Knight a related Dutch word kunst literally means "art" or "craft"

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Strengthens ritual abilities and experience

Use in ritual, particular with the Great Days and full moons

Access to inner advice

Expands your conscious thought processes

KENAZ

Thorsson: This is the "human rune", the rune of humankind.

Knight: Kenaz in particular refers to human fire, and because of this it is called the "human rune", or rune of human kind.

Thorsson: The K-rune is the rune of human passion, lust and sexual love as positive attributes.

Knight: Kenaz is the rune of human passion, lust and sexual love as positive attributes.

Thorsson: Kenaz also is important to the concept kin, and especially to that part of clannic tradition that professes a unity of the living and dead members of the clan.

Knight: Also the rune is important in relationship to kin, especially with respect to clan tradition a bonding of the living and dead members of the kinship group.

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Strengthening of abilities in all realms

Strengthens your abilities in all realms

Creative inspiration

Creative inspiration

Higher polarisation as a tool of operation

Manifests through polarities

Operation of regeneration, healing

Regenerates and heals

Love (especially sexual love)

Useful in love and sexual relationships

GEBO

Aswynn The implication is that a gift was given on the understanding that a gift was to be received in turn.

Knight The gift is given with the understanding that a gift is to be given in return.

Pennick It is… the linking rune that symbolizes connections between people or the gods… It is personified by the Norse goddess Gefn, whose title is The Bountiful Giver.

Knight Personified by the Norse Goddess Gefn, "the bountiful giver", Gebo links the human world with the divine.

Aswynn The central theme is the preservation of balance, which applied equally to a ‘negative’ gift.

Knight The preservation of balance is the important idea here. It applies equally to positive and "negative" gifts.

Aswynn The gebo rune also inplies the gifts that man give to the gods in return, (this principle is stated beauifully in the Gnostic mass written by Aileister Crowley)" there is no part of me that is not of the gods"

Knight Gebo also embodies the gifts that humans give to the gods in return for the gift of life. There is no part of us that is not divine

Aswynn On the highest level, transcends both the giver and receiver.

Knight On the highest level, the gift transcends both giver and receiver

Thorsson: Gebo is the rune of "god", that is, the eminent unconscious magical force present in the Ginnungagap (magically charged void) before the formation of the Worlds.

Knight: Gebo is the rune of deity—that magical power present in the Ginnungagap (energetically charged void) before the formation of the Worlds.

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Sex magic

Love magic

Sex magical initiation

Magical initiation

Mystical union

Mystical union of the god and goddess

Harmony between brothers and sisters and lovers

Increases harmony in relationships

Acquisition of wisdom

Accesses divine wisdom

WUNJO

Pennick This rune signifies joy, the elusive state of harmony within a chaotic world. Magically, joy is obtained by being in harmony with things, just like the windvane, which moves in harmony with the prevailing air-currents.

Knight Wunjo means joy, that elusive state of harmony that sometimes exists in the chaotic world. With Wunjo, joy can be found by coming into balance. An example is the weather vane, which moves in harmony with the prevailing currents of air.

Pennick Wyn is the mid-point between opposites. It removes alienation and anxiety. It is a rune of fellowship, shared aims, and general well-being.

Knight Wunjo is the mid-point between opposites, where alienation and anxiety disappear. It is the rune of fellowship, comradery (sic), shared aims and generall well-being.

Thorsson The W-rune is the root force of attraction that sympathetic beings (wights) have for one another.

Knight This rune deals with the wights, the spirits of all things.

Aswynn One of Odin’s bynames is Oski, which means, "fulfiller of wishes".

Knight One of Odin’s 200 names was Oski, "fulfiller of wishes". Contained in this title was the name Wuldor, who is Uller, stepson of Thor.

Aswynn Glory twigs in Anglo-Saxon are named Wuldortanas. In this word we find the name Wuldor, and this is none other than Uller, the stepson of Thor…. Glory twigs, at any rate are connected with acts of magic and acts of will.

Knight Also from Wunjo comes the concept of Glory twigs, symbols connected with acts of magic and the realization of true will. Glory twigs in Anglo-Saxon are named Wuldortanas.

THORSSON: Magical Workings

Knight: Magical Qualities

Strengthens links and bonds

Strengthens social links and bonds

Happiness and well-being

Increases your sense of job and happiness

Binding runes towards specific purposes

Binds runes towards specific purposes

 

THE COSMOLOGY OF THE FIRST AETT—Plagiarised entirely from Freya Aswynn

Aswynn Fehu represents the primordial fire of Muspelheim, and Uruz represents the eternal ice of Nifelheim.

Knight Fehu represents the Primordial fire (heat) and raging flames of Muspelheim, while Uruz represents the eternal ice (cold), frost and mist of Nifelheim.

Aswynn From the conflict between fire and frost originated all that exists.

Knight The interaction between fire and water (ice), and hot and cold, plays out in everything that exists,

Aswynn The two opposing forces met in the Ginnungagap, the abyss. The first being to be created was a cosmic cow, Audhumla, which is the first feminine creative principle in Nature and therefore the first incarnation of the Mother Goddess.

Knight The polarities of fire (creativity) and ice (structure) first meet in the abyss of the Ginnungagap. From this meeting came the first being, the cosmic cow called Audhumla. She symbolizes the first feminine creative principle in nature and the first incarnation of the Mother Goddess.

Aswynn This principle is accurately covered by the meaning of the first two runes when viewed as a pair of complementary opposites, Fehu and Uruz, which both relate to bovine creatures.

Knight Both Fehu (cattle) and Uruz (oxen) were bovine creatures, and can be viewed as complementary opposites in this context,

Aswynn From the same matter the giant Ymir was subsequently formed. While Ymir slept, a son and a daughter were born from the sweat under his armpit. From these descended all the giants, who are evoked by the Thurisaz rune

Knight The giant troll Ymir emerged from the same matter as the cosmic cow. From him came a son and a daughter, and from them all the giants. These beings are embodied in the third rune of the first aett, Thurisaz.

Aswynn Audhumla then licked the ice and from this produced the first of the Aesir, Buri, the ancestor of Odin¾as is illustrated by the fourth rune, Ansuz, which means "Ase" or "god."

Knight The cosmic cow then licked away the ice from the frost-covered stones until Buri appeared. He was the first of the Aesir Gods, and Odin's grandfather The fourth rune, Ansuz, symbolizes this event.

Aswynn The Aesir then started to take control of the creative process; their first act was to kill Ymir and to create the Earth from his corpse. The Aesir also set the Sun and Moon in place and created the cycle of night and day. This principle is represented by the Raido rune

Knight The Aesir then began to consolidate their power, taking control of the creative process by killing Ymir They created the Earth from his corpse, and set the paths of the sun and moon in motion along with the cycles of night and day. Raidho, the fifth rune, represents this cyclic principle.

Aswynn We can imagine the Sun and the Moon as heavenly torches. This is linked with the Kenaz rune, for Kenaz means "torch."

Knight The sun and moon were also celestial torches, and are linked to the sixth rune, Kenaz.

Aswynn In addition, there is a reference here to the knowledge gained by the Aesir from their participation in the creation.

Knight This rune also represents the knowledge gained by the Aesir through creation.

Aswynn It may well have been at this stage that the Vanir began to play their part in the scheme of things; in particular Freya, who taught Odin the secrets of magic, enters the stage of events. Freya also corresponds to Kenaz.

Knight: The nature deities called the Vanir enter into the picture at this point, in particular the goddess Freyja, who later teaches Odin the art and craft of love magic.

Aswynn So far we have seen the subsequent movement of creation in the form of the elements, the giants and the Aesir. Once the Aesir had created Midgard and Asgard, everything was set for the next development in this cosmic drama.

Knight So far, the progression of the first aett has moved from the elements to the giants, and then finally to the Aesir. Once the Aesir created Midgard (Earth) and Asgard (home of the gods and goddesses), they set the stage for the next course of events.

Aswynn Gebo is the next rune and it informs us about the gift of life which the three Aesir, Odin, Hoenir and Lodur, gave to two trees shaped in human form, who were called Ask and Embla. Ask and Embla became the first human couple. Mankind multiplied, took possession of Midgard, and all was well.

Knight These events came in the form of the seventh rune, Gebo, embodying the gift of life. This gift was bestowed by Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve, who gave it to the two human-shaped trees, as mentioned before: Ask (the man) and Embla (the woman)5 the first human couple. From this couple came humankind, who eventually took control of Midgard.

Aswynn Wunjo, the last rune of this aett, indicates that the first stage of creation was completed in perfection, for perfection is the hidden meaning of Wunjo. This is known in our mythology as the "Golden Age." Humanity lived in innocent bliss and joy, and the Aesir were content to make beautiful objects of gold as playthings. No evil had yet come to pass.

Knight Wunjo, the eighth and last 'line of the first aett symbolizes the completion of the first stage of Creation. In Northern Mythology, this period, known as the "Golden Age," was a "Garden of Eden" type time of bliss before the advent of evil in the world.