Orlog: The Procession of the Ages of the World

A Suggested Schema for Understanding the Becoming, Perishing, and Re-Becoming of the Nine World System
Based on Voluspa and Gylfaginning

A Heathen Perspective on the History of the World and the Cosmos by Robin Artisson
Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved

The Perennial Wisdom of the World-Cycle

One of the most crucial functions of mythology, cosmology, and mytho-poetic history is to give a people a grasp on their place within the cosmos. It can situate people within a framework that can be understood in terms of both time and space, but also in terms of deeper meaning, as the various impelling, preserving, and destroying forces that are given names in any mythology can be realized and approached on more than one level.

Pre-Christian Indo-European cosmologies all agreed on a very crucial point, which goes to the heart of the genuine Heathen worldview and epistemology: that the current arrangement of forces that we perceive and experience as the “ordered cosmos” or the cosmic order was a temporary arrangement.

The World- or, if one approaches this from the Germanic/Eddaic perspective, the Nine Worlds- were together an ordered system that was shaped by the power and creativity of the Gods out of the primordial forces and realities that pre-existed the worlds.

This sacred order was placed and shaped fully in line with Rit-a (Sanskrit Rta) meaning the cosmic “Right Order” of things as revealed by the unfolding of Fate. This concept of the arising of a “right order” is captured in the essence of the RAIDHO Rune, the Rune that refers to the wagons that carried the sun and the moon on their cyclical rides across the sky, in line with the ordering of day and night, darkness and light, and thus some of the Ur-realities of the world order as humans perceive it: alternation of day and night, season and change, and the passing of time.

The ur-powers, or the primordial chaotic forces that the Gods interacted with and either defeated or sublimated, were used under the power of Godly creativity to shape the worlds, bringing forth an order where a discernible order did not exist before. Thus, the entire cosmos, as we presently experience it, can be considered quite literally a work of art- a work of creativity of unimaginable scale.

Such a bold project is not an eternal project- it was born from chaotic powers and materials, and those deep pylons, though held together and in more-or-less stable form for countless gulfs of time, are inherently unstable; the world-order required Godly imagination and power to create, and it requires just as monumental a struggle to maintain it. This struggle between the giantish or the chaotic powers and the power of the Gods, representing conscious creativity and order, is the aeonic struggle of the Gods of Heathenry, just as it was the struggle of the Gods in many other Indo-European mythologies.

It is this noble struggle of the Gods- shared on another level by humans, who must create and maintain through sacrifice and struggle the order of their own families and societies- which leads modern Heathens to render worship to the Gods. The struggles of the Gods maintain the world-order upon which we humans rely, in common with all conscious life, for the harmony of our existence. The entire historical and modern edifice of sacrifice- of bonding consciously with the power of the Gods and one another through a shared meal- is based on aligning human beings with the Godly powers both without and within, so that personal order and harmony can be maintained, as well as the order of the human world.

One day, this struggle- an equilibrating struggle between order and chaos- must end, with a total yet temporary victory for chaos. All must be resolved back to the primordial elements from which they came. This “fall of the world” was captured in Heathen lore as the Ragnarok- the world-twilight which is followed by a new “world-night” in which the cosmos rests in an unformed an chaotic state. Naturally, and in line with Indo-European thinking, a new cosmic era must dawn after the “world-night” and a new system of worlds will arise from the ashes of the old, (the regeneration or “re-becoming”) and the cosmogonic process will repeat endlessly. The life, death, and re-becoming of any living being can be conceptualized in a like manner.

It is the nature of that life, death, and rebirth cycle for the entire cosmos that I wish to discuss in detail with this present work. What will the new cosmos-order look like, once this one is gone? I believe that it will be strikingly similar in every way, for I do not believe that there is (as they say) “anything new under the sun”- the sun being the supreme symbol from many ages past of the order of the cosmos. The Runic powers that underlie the arising, persistence, and passing away of the worlds are the same powers in any age- thus, as the Rune MANNAZ is expressed in this cosmos-time as the emergence of men and women in Midgard or this middle world, I believe that men and women will exist again, in the regenerated cosmic order to come. The same can be said for every form with which our eyes or souls are familiar in this world, presently.

This idea goes again the modern materialist notion that a random and haphazard “evolution” process has created all living beings and shaped other realities around us. In the modern view, the fact that human beings have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot and the fact that we walk upright and have all of our familiar features is no expression of anything except evolutionary chance.

If, for the sake of argument, one were to allow for the idea of a “new universe” to arise after the death of this one, and if one were to agree that “evolution” would be a law operating in that new universe, one might (pursuant to our materialistic understandings of evolution) to imagine that humans may not evolve at all in the universe to come, or if hominid-like life forms did happen to evolve, maybe they’d have three fingers on each hand, or some other radically different forms.

I reject this logic as being out of step with the elder wisdom. Humans, along with every other living creature from the eagle in the vault of the sky to the amoeba at the bottom of ocean-trenches, arise as a natural and necessary product of Orlog- of Fate itself, and of Rita, the right order of things. It is right and cosmically necessary- in this middle-world or in any other middle-world (including the Midgards that have gone in the countless cycles before this one) that eagles should fly through the skies and that humans should tread the earth; that feline and canine creatures should hunt forests and plains, and that horses and deer should trod the earth on hooves.

It is right and necessary that the cosmos itself express scaly, slimy fish in rivers and seas and trees that grow up from the ground to spread branches. These realities are expressions of necessity; they will always exist within the seasons of cosmic expression, even when memory of previous cosmic orders and worlds is long obscured.

This is not to suggest that I do not believe in an evolutionary process for things; on the contrary, it is key to my entire thinking about the world and the destiny of the world. I believe that what we call “evolution” is a modern understanding of a vast and timeless evolutionary process that was understood by the ancestors in terms of Orlog and Wyrd- the underlying “primordial layers” of causality (Orlog or “Ur-Law”) which then unfold, in accordance with Rita, as the massive web of ceaseless interactions of power and event (Wyrd, fate, or the “turning” or “becoming”).

Evolution as we perceive it now is not random; things rise and fall and change in accordance with a deeper law. Evolutionary changes can very easily seem random- but this is only because the suprasystem of life-interactions that we call “Wyrd” are so complex and ancient as to be inexorable to our minds and senses in their ordinary condition.

Guido Von List, in his work “The Secret of the Runes”, sums up the non-random nature of fateful interactions in a footnote to his discussion on the Beork Rune. He says:

“Chance!- actually, there is no such thing as chance, for all events without exception are in the great web of fate- as warp and woof- all well-ordered; but what concerns woof (the cross-weave) is even for clairvoyants only visible with difficulty. The recognizable straight warp of the effects of earlier causes, effects that are always in turn other causes that trigger coming effects (which again form causes that trigger effects, in an unending genetic series) is visible and calculable to seers and initiates; however, it is difficult to tell ahead of time the effects of the woof of the fate of other egos or whole groups of them, and to tell when they will touch, cross, or otherwise influence our woof of fate. These work on our woof of fate- which is comparable to the woof in a fabric, like the woof or cross-weave in such a fabric, and because the incalculable influences often suddenly and unexpectedly disturb our own woof of fate, these are called "chance,"...however, "chance occurrences" are not something irregular or lawless (they cannot be!) but perhaps something incalculable. The oldest Aryan mystics already recognized this, and therefore portrayed the Rulers of Fate, the Three Norns, as Weavers of Fate, who out of the “warp” and the “woof” weave the “raiment of time,” i.e. “fate.” (Flowers translation).

There is a universal evolutionary process; it was known in all primal Indo-European societies and enshrined in those aspects of their culture that we today call “religious” or “spiritual” as “fate” or the Fate-Weavers. Fate was, at times, seen as both a process and the beings involved in the process. What arises in common agreement in all Indo-European Pagan societies is the notion that even the Gods are part of the warp and woof of Fate, and at times limited or compelled by it.

The Gods, like human beings, are brought forth by “earlier” phases of the cosmic evolutionary process, and are therefore just as natural to the cosmos as human beings are, or any other thing. Their pre-existence of human beings, and their role in the shaping of the fate of humans (including their role in the shaping of the human form, by which human fate can be known and experienced) makes them “Elder Kin”- beings of great age and vast power, when compared to human beings.

But it was known, again in most historical Pagan societies, that human beings could aspire to heroism- could become legendary in their own manner by showing a category of creativity or bravery that even the Gods respected and honored. Humans, who all bear the spirit of the Gods within them by virtue of their relationship to the Gods who shaped them, are participants in the power of the Gods on their own human level and can access creativity, bravery, and passion to (sometimes) godlike depths.

The term “godlike” could be applied to the greatest heroes, as it was to Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, and as we still apply it today to people who demonstrate great prowess or high levels of skill. But no matter how great humans can become, they are mortal and bound by fate to die within a much shorter span of perceptual time than the Gods, whose great life spans were for the length of the cosmos-order, and for some, perhaps beyond it. What was not bound to true “death” was the spirit of the Gods in human beings, nor the great honor and reputation achieved by the glorious dead, which would live on in the memory of both people and the cosmos as part of Orlog forever.

As the world-order arises, it is established in a primordial stage of harmony, before the “turning of fate” finally catches up with it and the processes of degeneration and destruction begin to mount and rise. As the ages of the world-system pass, those processes become more intense; the trapped and bound chaotic powers strain harder at their prisons, before the final “break out” of strife-causing powers and the consummation of the worlds.

This consummation is a reduction of the contrived order of things back to the constituent Ur-elements from which it was all originally composed: the strong, untamed impelling energy and heat (symbolized in the Eddas by fire) and the contracted, inert powers (symbolized by ice). Greek philosophers report to us that the Indo-European Celtic peoples believed (as taught to them by their Druids) that the world would be overwhelmed by “fire and water” one day- a truly interesting and direct parallel.

Before the consummation of the worlds, during the “lifespan” of the cosmic order, our world (the world in which humans, plants, and animals are expressed, the middle-world or Midgard) possibly like all worlds, must go through many ages. The names and features of some of those ages are captured in the Eddaic literature upon which modern Heathens rely so much. Two are most well known: the Golden Age and the Wolf Age.

In Heathen terms, the “Golden Age” refers to the mythical age of harmony in which there was no greed over gold or wealth to inspire beings to violence or conflict. When I say “mythical age”, please do not think that I am stating a belief that this age never actually existed- for it is my belief that the ages of the world proceed in tandem with timeless cosmic events that have become described today as “mythical”. Categories like “actual” and “mythical” cannot be so easily or wisely divided; the “actuality” that we now experience- and which we construe that people living ages before us must have experienced their world in terms of- is simply how we have been conditioned to understand, in a broken-up and incomplete way, the wholeness of the reality that we now call “mythical”.

Our experience today of “actuality” or “the physical world of the senses” or “the world as understood through the lens of the rational” is a broken and incomplete experience, which necessitates us inventing categories like “mythical” or “real and unreal”. The events that the myths describe to us are not “things that never really happened”- they are things that truly happened and which influenced the shape of all things. It is we who have come to experience the world in a dim, shattered manner, and as I shall point out later, it is a fateful and necessary fact of our current world-age that such a state of affairs should exist.

For as the world ages go on, as the Orlog-bound ages arise and pass away, the state of human perception changes- it is conditioned, gradually, from a state of more wholeness and harmony to a state of less wholeness and insight. As the chaotic powers arise to shake the world-order apart, to subvert the harmony created and maintained by the Gods, consciousness and perception suffer as well, for human consciousness and perception relies upon the world fully.

Where the ancestors “walked with the Gods” once, today we stare at an empty-seeming world and at the artifacts of the past, and fall with despair on the degenerate and materialistic notions that earlier human beings simply “made up” things to explain our world- without ever considering that no inventions were necessary to the ancients; they knew things differently, experienced things differently, and intimately experienced the Godly powers long before dualistic categories like “spiritual” and “physical” ever arose.

The Wolf Age is described by historical Heathen lore as the final age of the world- and thus, the present age in which we all exist and experience. It is the same as the Kali Yuga of the Hindu mythical complex- the final age in which the human connection with the Gods and divine consciousness is at the most dim level, and in which war and conflict between human beings reaches its highest point. The bonds of kindred- of family and society- are also heavily obscured in this age; they are easy to break and hard to maintain. This is not to suggest that previous ages of the world didn’t have conflict or broken families- chaotic powers have always existed and always strained the order of things. But the Wolf Age is characterized by the highest extent and commonality of such destructive realities.

Ideas like this are universal, and not just to the Indo-European peoples. Within the Indo European world, Hesiod the Greek gave us a vision of the traditional beliefs of his time in his Works and Days, beliefs in a harmonious Golden Age, and a procession of ages that followed it, ages in which the greatness of the Golden Age degenerated slowly, into ages of Silver, Bronze, and Iron, before the final end of all ages. Indigenous peoples from Asia and North America (epitomized in my opinion best by Black Elk, as recorded by Joseph Epes Brown) have been recorded discussing the nature of the world’s long march from a perfect or harmonious original condition, down to a time when it must be destroyed or fall back into the primordial unformed state.

The Nine Ages of the World

Bolstered by the understanding outlined before, I would like to lay out a ninefold vision of the “procession of ages” for this world which I believe reflects the wisdom of the Eddas- specifically Voluspa and Gylfaginning. I undertake this project to provide myself, my family and my kindred with a system for understanding the vision of the arising and passing away of this world as communicated to us by our precious ancestral lore.

It is no accident that I chose to synthesize our lore and mythology into a procession of nine ages- the number nine is the supreme sacred number of all Heathen historical lore and metaphysical understanding. It is the number of worlds that exist within Yggdrasil, the great structure of reality, and it is the number of nights that Allfather hung himself from Yggdrasil to undergo his quest for insight and knowledge into the mysteries that underlie reality. It is the number of months that a human being develops in the womb before coming out into the daytide of expression. It is a complete number, always returning to itself no matter how many times it is multiplied- and the ninth rune, HAGALAZ, is the Rune-mother, the matrix from which all other forms arise into expression.

This ninefold vision is based upon the pattern laid out before: that the world arises and passes through many ages (in this case, nine) before passing away. That this world- or any of the nine worlds- should do so is a matter of Orlog, of the “Ur-Law”, the primal and fixed layers of causality that were laid down at the very “beginning” of the cosmic cycle- though it truly has no first “beginning”; it is a circular process, a cycle whose “end” is precursor to a new “beginning”. These ages have come and gone many times; we exist in one currently, and one day even our age will end, and with it, our world, for we exist in the Wolf Age, the final and longest age of this present world-configuration.

Questions have been posed to me regarding the inequality of length for the various ages- why do the earliest ages appear to last (in linear measurement) millions or more years, but other ages seem to last only as long as a few thousand years, or to be judged in length by late human cultural achievements? Why such long ages at the beginning and the end, with a series of shorter ages between? Clearly, it looks like the entire schema is weighted heavily to human endeavors and achievements, perhaps in an unbalanced manner, considering how humans are not the only forces operating in the cosmos as a whole.

These questions can be answered best by pointing out that this schema is told from a human perspective, and is a "thing of Man"- doubtless other sentient orders of life have their own story, told from their own perspective; the Ancestral lore even describes how Gods, Alfs, Dwarves, and Giants have their own poetic names or characteristic ways of describing natural phenomenon apart from how humans do. This question of an "anthropocentric" angle on cosmology is not vexing if one realizes that we have no choice but to see things as the human beings we are- and this is not a dishonor or a mistake.

Mankind is a perfect and holy manifestation of the MANNAZ Rune or mystery, and while human beings emerged later in the great cosmic patterning of Orlog, we are no less "creators" and "shapers" in essence than our elder kin the Gods. We were bound by Orlog to be the mankind we are; we are perfectly "in place" in the right order of things. People disparage things they call "anthropocentric explanations" as ridiculous, but in reality, there is nothing ridiculous about our particular human form- for we received it from Gods- and there is nothing absurd about understanding cosmology from a human perspective. It was all meant, and is very appropriate.

Our human deeds do in fact have a nearly Godly impact on Middle-Earth's history and shape, a fact of perilous responsibility that we are now beginning to truly understand again. An "age", from the human perspective, is not just a quantitative measurement, in keeping with some non-human cosmic standard of measurement, but also a qualitative category of spiritual and mental experience. This must be kept in mind when grappling with these perspectives.

Before we can begin, it is important to understand that the layers of Orlog, and indeed, the working out of Fate’s inexorable cycles, is tied in our ancient lore to water. The primal materials that would express themselves in the evolutionary arising of life were once frozen water- the world-ice of Niflheim- and it was the impelling force of the fire of Muspelheim that melted that ice and gave us the thick, yeasty and super-charged primal slime that all life arose from. Water, and the flowing turning of fate, have a poetic connection, but more than this, the changing of the ages of the world is always heralded or accompanied by the presence of a body of water, or some “watery” event such as a deluge, or the shedding and spilling of a liquid such as blood.

Even the life of a human being is introduced to this world through water- both the fluids in the womb, and the sacred water sprinkled on the infant at the Vatni Ausa ritual in which it is named and inducted into the family- and the funeral boat or ship burial in which the dead cross the primeval waters to the next world. More than one ancient culture- Indo European or otherwise- saw death as a crossing of some watery boundary into a new order of existence. The Rune LAGUZ, representing the “sea” or the “lake” or the “water” is the mystery that stands behind this fact of the cosmos- that Orlog, and the changing of world-ages and even the journey of a human life, is tied up with water or liquids.

The Rune most associated with Wyrd or the causal mysteries of Fate- PERTHRO- is shaped like a cup; it is the lot-cup or the dice-cup from which the incalculable and random-seeming judgments of fate constantly “roll out” and express themselves, but Stephen Pollington, in his book “Rudiments of Runelore” has his own interesting take on this enigmatic Rune. He sees in its shape the possibility of a well, and thus, the container of water, of the force of Laguz and the layers of Orlog represented by the watery depths. He writes:

“An interesting speculation is that the shape (of Perth) represents the primeval well of past time which periodically overflows when an age of the world passes, at which time the world-tree shakes and cataclysmic events take place on earth- the ragnarokr or passing of the mighty ones, as movingly described in the Icelandic poem Voluspa.”

In my way of seeing, the Rune PERTHRO does represent a well or a cauldron, as well as a dice-cup or a lot-casting device. And it does represent the omnipresent “container” of the organic and primal watery layers of Laguz- the inside of that lot-cup is nothing other than the “space” in which all things exist and within which all combinations of form and force arise and pass away.

Each “age of the world” arises and passes away on its own; while the larger cosmos-cycle certainly has a perceptual “beginning” and “ending”, each of the nine smaller ages of our world has its own inauguration and its own cataclysmic event that ends it, and begins the next age.

One might say that there is a minor “ragnarok” that ends each age, and causes the ruling powers and prevalent factors and tendencies of that age to pass away, and the new age that follows is a regenerated age, in which the same root-powers exist, though in a new form, a new necessary arrangement of fate. The end of the final world-age, the Wolf Age, is the “time” of the “greater Ragnarok” that the lore speaks of so powerfully. As we shall see, each age begins in the movement of the mystery of fluidity, in water or drizzle, in sea-water or blood. Each age and its new order is initiated through fluidity, the revealing of Orlog. Each such established order ends in a like way- through some watery or fluid manifestation of Orlog.

Now I shall discuss the Nine Ages individually, as well as their attributes and qualities, as well as their relationship to the cosmological unfolding revealed in the Elder Rune Row.

The Ginnung Age:
The Age of Fire and Ice
The World-Night, the Time of the Ginnung Powers

“Erst was the age when nothing was:
Nor sand nor sea, nor chilling stream-waves;
Earth was not found, nor Wide Heaven,-
A Yawning Gap, but grass was none."


The first age of the world, in common with the second age, isn’t truly an “age of earth”, for the earth did not yet exist as it does now. “World” in this usage refers to the cosmos as a whole, which was there, though its materials and forces were not in any ordered form. For all things begin in the world-night, the “night of time” or the “night of the Gods”, the night of cosmos. The lore of Gylfaginning tells us that nothing existed at this time save for three things: the primordial fire or energetic, impelling forces, the primordial ice or the static, inert forces and roots of material, and a great yawning gap- a great space or void called “Ginnungagap”.

Ginnungagap means “Chasm of the Ginnungs” or the “Gap of the Ginnungs”. John Lindow, in his “Norse Mythology” writes:

“What ginnungs are is not wholly clear, but the first syllable gin- in mythological contexts was used to intensify what followed, as in gin-holy, “extremely holy”, gods or “ginnregin”, “great powers”, that is, the gods. At the same time, as a noun, (in poetry) gin meant “falsehood, deception,” and there was a common verb ginna “deceive”. A gap of ginnungs, then, was probably a proto-space filled with magic powers.”

And it is precisely these magical forces, unexpressed in the primal void, which are the unmanifest root-powers of the universe, the Runic powers in their unmanifest state. It is my further personal belief that the roots of sentience- and perhaps all “beings” previous to their arising as gods, giants, humans, or any other sentient being in the Nine Worlds- exist somehow in this strange uncharacterized state which is quite beyond the limits of the “characterized” human mind to fully grasp.

There is no telling how “long” the world-night lasts; “time” really has no meaning at this stage, for the means by which humans track and measure time- the courses of the sun and moon- have not yet been invented by the Gods. Time is simply irrelevant at this point in the unfolding of things. The grinding ice and bright fire that exists on the “borders” of ginnungagap- “borders” here being a rather poetic statement- are the embers and frozen, ashed-over remains of the former world-cycle that ended some inestimable “time” before. These embers and ashes contain within them all of the charged seeds of potentiality that will eventually, through the interaction of the fire and ice, lead to a new cosmogonic process and the dawn of a new world-cycle.

This stage of the world is resonant with the FEHU Rune, the rune of the impelling fire or energy embodied in wealth, gold, and cattle, and which was present here as the positive force of the world-fire. As we shall see, the association of Fehu with cattle refers also to the primal cow-being who will emerge in the next age of the world and act as a further impelling force to the emergence of the first Gods. Also resonant with this time is the rune URUZ, the Auroch-Ox (another bovine connection) and the power of life-force and strength, embedded in the ice and slag, but full of force ready to burst forth in line with the order of manifestation.

When the process of fire interacting with ice begins to happen, the end of the Ginnung Age is near: fire and sparks from the world-fire in Muspelheim does heat the world-ice in Niflheim, and slimy, yeasty rivers of rime and water flow “into the gap” between the two extreme worlds- a flood of melted ice and murk which contains the charged potentials of primordial life. That flood, from which rises the primal and spontaneously generated body of the hermaphroditic giant Ymir (the first and greatest giant) marks the end of this age and the beginning of a new age.

The Jotun Age:
The Age of Salt and Venom
The Continuing World-Night, the Time of the Primal, Chaotic Powers or Giants

“Gangleri asked: "How were things wrought, ere the races were and the tribes of men increased?" Then said Hárr: "The streams called Ice-waves, those which were so long come from the fountain-heads that the yeasty venom upon them had hardened like the slag that runs out of the fire,--these then became ice; and when the ice halted and ceased to run, then it froze over above. But the drizzling rain that rose from the venom congealed to rime, and the rime increased, frost over frost, each over the other, even into Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void."


The melting world-ice caused layers of runoff and long streams to fill the Ginnung-gap. Layer upon layer of potent life-charged watery slime, rime, yeasty fluid, venom, and other such pleasantries- all of them symbolic of the layers of Orlog- piled on top of one another, and upon that, a steady drizzle of the world-water. This event marks the end of the Age of the Ginnungs and the beginning of the Age of the Jotuns or Giants- for from this potent stew arose the mighty world-spanning body of Ymir, the first giant and the mother/father of all the giant race.

At Ymir’s arising, and after he generates his offspring giant-children from his own body, the void of the Ginnungs is truly no longer alone and quiescent; it is now a stage of manifestation for the masses of primordial material and the dim, savage, and horridly warped spawn of Ymir, as well as mighty Ymir itself.

But from the world-spanning waters that have collected about, another being arises; Audhumla, the great cow, who fulfills two important roles: the warm milk from her udders nourishes Ymir, and through him, all his race; and she licks at the salt-block and salt-deposits which were floating on the face of the chaotic depths. It is her warm, impelling presence that sustains the primal world materials as well as the first dimly conscious life-forms: the giants. She also brings about a new class of sentient life- from the “salt block” (the tangible crystalline manifestation of the mother Rune) she licks free the first God, a bright and beautiful being compared to his giantish contemporaries- Buri.

The Prose Edda recounts:

“She (Audhumla) licked the ice-blocks, which were salty; and the first day that she licked the blocks, there came forth from the blocks in the evening a man's hair; the second day, a man's head; the third day the whole man was there. He is named Búri: he was fair of feature, great and mighty. He begat a son called Borr…”

And Audhumla shows herself to be a great agent of Fateful circumstance, for Buri mated with the daughters of giant-kind to beget a son, Borr, who was the father of Odhinn and his brothers, the first and greatest of the Aesir-Gods who would rebel against the Giant-kind and slaughter Ymir, drowning most of the Giants in the great blood flood that would come from his body.

That blood, the blood deluge of the first violently killed being in the cosmos, would signal the end of the Jotun Age and the beginning of the Aesir Age, the age of the Gods, as well as act as the origin of all of the waters that would be found in the ordered worlds that the Gods would create next. This theme is ancient and nearly universal- that a great flood should end an age of degeneracy and wickedness and inaugurate a new age is a common idea even to Christian westerners who know nothing of the historical Heathen religions.

This Age is resonant with the Rune THURISAZ, the Rune of the Giantish powers in the Elder Rune row.

The Aesir Age:
The Age of Sun and Moon
The World-Morning, the Time of the Gods and the Cosmos-Shaping

“Then Borr's sons lifted the level land,
Midgard the mighty there they made;
The sun from the south warmed the stones of earth,
And green was the ground with growing leeks.

The sun, the sister of the moon, from the south
Her right hand cast over heaven's rim;
No knowledge she had where her home should be,
The moon knew not what might was his,
The stars knew not where their stations were.

Then sought the gods their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, and council held;
Names then gave they to noon and twilight,
Morning they named, and the waning moon,
Night and evening, the years to number.”


“Then said Gangleri: "What was done then by Borr's sons, if thou believe that they be gods?" Hárr replied: "In this matter there is no little to be said. They took Ymir and bore him into the middle of the Yawning Void, and made of him the earth: of his blood the sea and the waters; the land was made of his flesh, and the crags of his bones; gravel and stones they fashioned from his teeth and his grinders and from those bones that were broken."

And Jafnhárr said: "Of the blood, which ran and welled forth freely out of his wounds, they made the sea, when they had formed and made firm the earth together, and laid the sea in a ring round. about her; and it may well seem a hard thing to most men to cross over it." Then said Thridi: "They took his skull also, and made of it the heaven, and set it up over the earth with four corners; and under each corner they set a dwarf: the names of these are East, West, North, and South. Then they took the glowing embers and sparks that burst forth and had been cast out of Múspellheim, and set them in the midst of the Yawning Void, in the heaven, both above and below, to illumine heaven and earth. They assigned places to all fires: to some in heaven, some wandered free under the heavens; nevertheless, to these also they gave a place, and shaped them courses.”


After the deluge of Ymir’s blood, the giants are mostly wiped out, with the survivors being forced to the outer edges of the cosmos-order to come, and established in the “giant homes” that are forever distant from the central core of order that is created by the Gods for conscious life to proliferate within. The Gods, led by the Allfather, set about creating the worlds from the parts of Ymir’s great body- his blood, of course, becomes the waters of the oceans and seas and lakes and rivers; his flesh the land, his hair the plants and trees, and the like. From the “maggots” in his flesh, and other seeds of life, other races of beings were called to shape- the dwarves being chief among them.

The Gods go on to establish not just the “middle enclosure” or the world that we all experience now, but their own Godly enclosure, or the high world of Asgard, the God’s home. The other worlds arise as a consequence of their shaping; the order of things comes together and the Gods hold council on Idavoll plain, the shining plain where they celebrate their community and demonstrate their creativity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship.

The establishment of the sun and moon in the sky of Midgard, and the setting of the courses of the heavenly bodies, including the stars (all in accordance with Rita) is the hallmark of the glory of this age- the Gods, apparently, have been measuring time much longer than humans have, for humanity did not yet exist when sun and moon were given their names and courses. For countless millions of what humans might call "years", the primordial world in this age boiled along, seeing the rise and fall of the time of the great saurians and other of earth's first inhabitants, slowly evolved out of the churning blood-waters of Ymir now covering the world as the first oceans. The same fate that brings forth these first creatures sees their own unsung ages end through cataclysms that took place long before the emergence of mankind.

The Runes of the elder Rune-row that are resonant with this age are ANSUZ, the rune of the Gods, RAIDHO, the Rune that shows their establishing of the right order of things, KENAZ, the rune of controlled fire, inspiration, and creativity demonstrated by the Gods in all their works, but most especially in their lifting of their perfected society in Asgard and on Idavoll Plain. The last Rune that resonates with this luminous age is GEBO- the “gift” or “giving” Rune which speaks of the creation of the first men and women and the gifting of the Godly spirit from Allfather onto them.

It is said that Allfather and his brothers- at some point near the end of this age- discovered two trees on the shore of the primordial ocean of Midgard- an Ash and an Elm. Once again- though in a more peaceful manner- we see the bright age of the world’s first morning come to a beautiful end on the shores of a salty sea. For once the raw genetic material of the two trees is given shape, life, and spirit by the Gods, humanity is born and the age of the Gods is ended.

The Joy Age:
The Age of Ash and Elm
The Continuing World-Morning, also called the Golden Age, and by me the Younger Age or the Age of the Two Trees.
The Time of the First Generations of Man and Primordial Harmony

“Then from the throng did three come forth,
From the home of the gods, the mighty and gracious;
Two without fate on the land they found,
Ask and Embla, empty of might.

Soul they had not, sense they had not,
Heat nor motion, nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin, sense gave Honir,
Heat gave Lothur and goodly hue.”


“Then said Gangleri: "Much indeed they had accomplished then, methinks, when earth and heaven were made, and the sun and the constellations of heaven were fixed, and division was made of days; now whence come the men that people the world?" And Hárr answered: 'When the sons of Borr were walking along the sea-strand, they found two trees, and took up the trees and shaped men of them: the first gave them spirit and life; the second, wit and feeling; the third, form, speech, hearing, and sight. They gave them clothing and names: the male was called Askr, and the female Embla, and of them was mankind begotten, which received a dwelling-place under Midgard.”


The entry of the Ur-humans or the first men and women, the children of Ask and Embla, begins this age. It is the primordial ocean and original earth that gave birth to the two trees that were the origin of the human form, crafted by the creativity of the Allfather and his brothers. This origin story gives all humanity a dual nature- partly giantish (for the earth herself is a giant) and part Godly, as the spirit of the Allfather was breathed into the first humans, making humans kin to the Gods.

It was on the coast of a primordial ocean that the two trees were found, and that briny, life-filled water gives the “age shifting” signpost of Orlog that I seek when looking for a new era’s beginning. The gift of Godly consciousness first emerged in the Aesir Age, and in this age, it has been bestowed upon other beings, leading to a proliferation of consciousness and the Godly spirit. That this should be so is part of Rita- part of the right order of things. Just as Sun and Moon needed to be set on their heavenly courses, so did the essence of the MANNAZ Rune need to be brought forth into manifestation, as the tribes and nations of men and women.

Guido Von List has some very deep insights regarding the event of the emergence of primordial humanity. In “The Secret of the Runes”, he writes that the World Tree, the World-Ash or Yggdrasil is very much the “tree of humanity”, by virtue of the fact that it was an ash tree from which Ask, the first male ancestor, was created. He also makes mention of the hidden meaning in the term “mankind” and what it has to say about the origins and endings of mankind through the ages. He writes:

“For this reason the designation “World Ash” is also meaningful, for “ash” is “Ask”- the first man, the primal-father of humanity who bore the same name (the primal mother was called Embla, i.e., “Alder”) and “man-ask”, “men-isk” (Mensch) = man (human)- has its origins here. However, as “man” signifies the generative, shaping one in the first stage, and in the second stage humanity is indicated as living and existing, so in the third stage, the ruined individual- no longer worthy of being called human: “the slut” (das Mensch) is scornfully named. “Ask” in and of itself indicates 1. The beginning of humanity, figuratively the primal father, 2. the ash, and 3. the ashes and from that: asc-eticism (Askese), destruction of reproduction. Manask or monask is therefore the monk, a word that we also have in Aryan as well as in Latin (monachus) for surely even Latin is derived from Aryan.”

Asceticism is therefore a final degenerate product of mankind- the ashes of the living, vibrant greatness that humans were once heirs to, and which sustained them throughout the ages of the world. It is only in the last age- the Wolf Age- that humanity will have degenerated to the point that sexuality will be seen as a curse, an evil or a temptation, and in which people will willingly give up or scorn the generative blessings bestowed on them by the Gods. In the Joy Age, however, mankind appears in its first stage, the stage of great force of sacred generation.

The Runic force most resonant with this golden age is that of WUNJO, happiness, joy, and harmony. This Age of the world is the first that includes the presence of a newly evolved creature called “man”, though this creature is a far distance from cultural awakening- if one were to look for a “time” on a “timeline” to situate this Age, it would be the pre-historic and pre-cultural eras of mankind, before the use of technology or the invention of language. Ur-humanity at this point is the wild and naked creature of the plains and forests, like the other animals save for their great destiny and the great extent to which the spirit of the Gods now slumbers in them, like an ember waiting to burst into a self-conscious fire.

The “harmony” of this age is based on the fact that, lacking language and the complications of overpopulation, conflict, and culture, mankind lives in perfect absorption with his environment, totally held in organic equilibrium like every other creature. It is questionable to what extent Ur-humans were even able to separate themselves from their environment, in mental abstraction; they did not know the Gods nor any other thing beyond the instincts and unnamed urges that drove them to generation and survival. Humans at this point did not keep track of time nor even have a concept of it.

This age is called “Golden” because gold- though crafted in large quantities by the Gods for their own halls, was not an object of greed; humans who may have encountered the mineral gold would have seen it as nothing of value to them. It had no power to warp people’s minds to violence.

This age spanned millions of years, but like any other age, it is brought to an end by the twisting and turning of Wyrd- and it is the actions of other powerful sentient beings within the realms of reality that cause the shift that will affect mankind so profoundly. To the halls of the Gods we must now turn to understand how the last truly harmonious age of the world met its end.

It was the first war in the world, the first deadly competition between fully conscious beings, which was the downfall of the primordial harmony. This war was a war between Godly families- the war of the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir discovered that they were not alone within the world-order that they had worked so hard to shape; the giantess Earth and other giants within the boundaries of Midgard, chiefly the giantish deity of the ocean, Njord, had brought forth Godly offspring of their own, who were the Vanir family of Gods.

Forever associated with the fertility of the world and the savage, strange, and pleasurable sides of organic life, the Vanir Gods- along with either benevolent or indifferent giantish powers present within Midgard- may have been the first Gods contacted and worshipped by primordial humanity before human consciousness had evolved to the point in which the higher, solar reaches of mind could be engaged and the sovereign, creative Aesiric family of Gods be fully comprehended for their role in the weave of things.

It was a member of the Vanir family who went into Asgard and brought about a cultural exchange that the Aesir Gods found unwholesome: Gullveig, whose name means “Gold Might” or “Gold Drink” visited Asgard and her influence was unbearable to the ruling powers. Gullveig was also called “Heidr”, meaning “The bright one”. She was a witch or sorceress who brought the practice of Seidr- the shamanic sorcery of trance states which was a native form of powerful sorcery among the Vanir-Gods, and performed Seidr among the Aesir. This outraged the Aesir for unknown reasons, but speculations can be made. It was certainly a form of sorcery that was never fully accepted by the Gods, even though Odhinn, Allfather and ruler of the Gods learned it himself and practiced it often despite the scorn of others.

Perhaps Gullveig’s association with gold is a sign that her presence caused a thirst or greed for mineral wealth to awaken, or threatened to awaken such a thing- which would make the Gods righteous in their disgust for her; they of all beings must understand the dangerous seeds of destruction that are released when greed gains power in the heart of any being. But this is very much speculation. It is likely more of a matter that the “Bright One” was part of a very alien Godly family to the Aesir and she was alluring, seductive and disruptive to the Aesiric peace.

In human societies, where Seidr was learned later and done by men and women (mostly women), it was likewise held in fear, scorn, or distaste. Seidr probably relied upon alien cultural themes and practices that the Aesir found offensive to their own way of seeing, and this led them to break the sacred bonds of hospitality, which they themselves would one day teach to humankind. In Odhinn’s hall, they attacked Gullveig with spears and killed her, and burned her body. But they were unsuccessful in their assassination attempt: three times they had to stab her and burn her, for each time she rose from her apparent death and continued on.

Their treatment of Gullveig led the Vanir Gods to declare war on the Aesir, and so the first war began. It is questionable what, precisely, was the greater violation of Rita- the breaking of hospitality by attacking a guest in their halls, or the actual murder (or attempted murder, as this case may be). Whichever it was, Gullveig’s spilled blood is the sign and manifestation of the Orlog-woven ending of this age.

It is interesting how the actions of the Gods, defenders of order and rightness though they may be, are often the actions that bring about “falls from harmony” for both themselves and the world- their mistakes often set into motion the disastrous chains of consequence that must one day lead to the Ragnarok. There is a powerful lesson here- even the Gods cannot resist Fate; they themselves are not “perfect” (and indeed, what is “perfect”?) and despite their best wishes and efforts, they must suffer the consequences of their actions, and pay the debt (skuld) of their actions. As much as these facts bind the Gods, so too can we see how they bind mankind.

There is no “perfection” to be found in the Nine Worlds, with the exception of the simple fact that whatever is, is perfect to how Necessity has woven it. In modern Western societies, strange notions of “perfection” have arisen, notions tied to Judeo-Christian speculation about their “God” and tied to their fond wishing for a standard of heavenly perfection that can never be found in this world. Northern lores give us a far more realistic ideal of perfection, and far more approachable Gods, in the sense that the Gods suffer like us from what some might call their “failures” to live up to their highest ideals.

It is the Gods’ heroic efforts and right-mindedness that make them noble, not the consequences of the turning of the world nor the disastrous chains of circumstance that they find themselves caught in. They are defined as noble and exceptional by their right and high-mindedness, not by their occasional failures. They still know and stand for what is right, sometimes in spite of what is occurring. This is the only standard of goodness and nobility which humans can or should be judged by, and it is a standard that is within reach- unlike the hopelessly useless and abstract notion of “perfection” that has been foisted upon westerners and placed forever out of their reach, off in heaven.

The violence done to Gullveig and the War between the Vanir and the Aesir is an event that most people today would call “mythological”, and yet, it ends an age of this world, of this earth, and leads to consequences for all of humankind who were not involved in the violence or the war. How is this so?

Simply put, and as I have said before, the event of the attack on Gullveig and the Godly War is not something that “didn’t happen in actuality”- it actually did happen, in the wholeness of reality, and in the inter-woven web of Wyrd, what occurs in one place affects the entire web. The human world, and all worlds, felt a shift because of these fateful events, and things changed for the darker- the primal harmony was lost forever. It was fated to happen because the world-order and the system of worlds cannot last forever in some static state of harmony.

Voluspa describes Gullveig’s entry into the society of the Aesir and ends with an interesting suggestion about what the Aesir’s more essential fear was in their contact with strange other races of Gods. The stanzas go:

“The war I remember, the first in the world,
When the gods with spears had smitten Gullveig,
And in the hall of Har had burned her,
Three times burned and three times born,
Oft and again, yet ever she lives.

Heith they named her who sought their home,
The wide-seeing witch, in seidr-magic wise;
Minds she bewitched that were moved by her seidr,
To evil women a joy she was.

Over the host his spear did Othin hurl,
Then in the world did war first come;
The wall that girdled the gods was broken,
And the field by the warlike Wanes was trodden.

Then sought the gods their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, and council held,
Whether the gods should tribute give,
Or to all alike should worship belong.”

It appears to me that the Aesir were concerned about whether or not they should accept the Vanir Gods as their equals; and it was not until they decided to work for peace with the Vanir, and accept the Vanir into their families and society by trading hostages and making new friends, that the war was ended.

Whatever the case, the Aesir met the Vanir on the field of battle, and Odhinn hurled his spear over the Vanir-host- a ritual of war that was done by historical Germanic peoples. Thus, the next age of the world- the age in which conflict between peoples begins to show its gradual appearance is called by me the Spear Age.

The Spear Age:
The Age of Norn and Need
The Time of the Turning of Fate or Orlog, the Dawn of Human Cultural Time and the Ur-Heathen Era

“In their dwellings at peace
they played at tables,
Of gold no lack
did the gods then know,--
Till thither came
up giant-maids three,
Huge of might,
out of Jotunheim”


“Once walked, 'tis said, the green ways along,
mighty and ancient, a god most glorious;
strong and vigorous, striding, Rig.

Ever on he went in the middle of the way,
till he came to a house with door unclosed.
He entered straight; there was fire on the floor
and a hoary couple sitting by the hearth,
Great-grandfather and mother in ancient guise.”


In the Spear Age, the natural harmony that mankind instinctively dwelled in is broken by the arising of a new sort of consciousness- one that begins the long journey towards full self-awareness and access to the heights of abstraction and creativity. In the new consciousness of this age, the concept of “Need” becomes paramount- death and survival, once instinctively approached and integrated, are now alarming threats that loom over human beings, who begin to consider their own survival more and more as individuals, and who are taking the first steps towards rudimentary material culture.

One of the first products, I feel, of such “rudimentary material culture” is the spear- originally a sharpened shaft of wood or stick. Its close relative, the cudgel or club, is a likely candidate for the first “all around” tool of defense and power. It is important to understand that at this point in the history of humanity, we are not dealing with humans that have developed languages nor even clothing and command of fire. We are dealing with humans who have begun to interact with their environment in more creative ways, however- creative compared to the total immersion with the environment of the previous age.

While humans were preyed upon by large land predators for millions of years, a point came when they began to band together instinctively for defense, and did manage to manipulate crude tools in the environment (like clubs) for assaulting dangerous predators that came too close. This point in history led to a revolution in human social potential- and led to the formation of the first survival-bands. It may have come with a primordial “pecking order” of types- the strongest men or women who could manage to scare away threats or even kill them may have assumed a natural sort of authority over others or been held in clear regard.

From this point, we fully enter into human pre-history and the long track that leads into the Stone Age of technology- but long before humans would arrive there, they would need to develop more abstractions like language. In this long period of history we are dealing with humanity’s first clear awareness of the cycles of time- though they may not have called it “time” or conceptualized of it as we do- by viewing, through the lens of their new consciousness, the movements of the sun and moon and stars. They would have experienced sickness, danger, and death in a new manner, as well, and this new awareness began to carve in their minds and organisms the deepest channels of habit and emotion that continue even to this day when we encounter danger and death in our own lives.

This age is called “Norn and Need” because it is at this time that the web of Wyrd began to grit and grind on itself and the long march to conflict’s arising began. Human life was no longer a state of blissful absorption with nature. Now, human life-situations were encountered in new ways, and the twin forces of fear of danger and need for survival became the primary focus of human experience. The first three Runes resonant with this age are HAGALAZ- the harshness of the hail-storm or cruel nature; ISA, the ice and stasis; NAUDHIZ, the Rune of distress and need, and JERA, the Rune of the endless cycles of time and nature. Who knows how many millenia passed while mankind was in this state?

The world was not suddenly a dark and oppressive place; the change at this time was an evolutionary change in the human mind-body complex. Now, new demands- and the need to meet those demands- were at the forefront of the human drama. Such needs on the part of the spirits of humans brought about an important and world-changing response from the Gods and the other beings in the world who are fatefully concerned with human welfare.

The response came in the form of new realizations that mankind needed to have, new ways of understanding the world and relating to it, and new access to reaches of consciousness that were required to make human beings and their generations safer. The force of the Mannaz Rune- the underlying mystery that girds the appearance of human beings- was not yet done manifesting. Mannaz will not be truly complete (at least “complete” as we perceive “completion” in serial time) until each man and woman reaches the highest potential of their conscious existence.

The new realizations that mankind “needed” to have can be grouped into two sets: the realizations of solar consciousness, and the revelation of the sacred quest to achieve it, and the realizations of culture- patterns of perceiving and behaving that were taught by the Gods to mankind, in line with Rita, in order that man could have as stable and productive an existence together as possible.

The first of these two realizations, that of “the realization of solar consciousness and the revelation of the sacred quest to achieve it” is beyond a doubt the highest and best gift of the Gods to mankind, for it was the actualization of this realization in the souls and spirits of human beings that brought the Spear Age to an end, and went on to define and characterize the age to follow. This sacred quest to solar consciousness was fulfilled first, and timelessly, by Odhinn, the Allfather himself, when he journeyed to the vertical axis of reality- the World Tree- and hung himself for nine nights, coming to his own death and plunging into the dark void of Hel at the roots of the Tree, and there he encountered the ultimate mysteries- the Runes- and brought them back to the other worlds of the Tree.

The next Runes in the sequence of the Elder Futhark that follow Hagalaz, Isa, Naudhiz, and Jera tell the story: Odhinn goes to the central axis of reality (EIHWAZ), and from there, plunges down to the deep well of Orlog and to the depths of Hel (PERTHRO), and winning vision and wisdom from that darkest, deepest place, moves back up the axis, back to regular consciousness and thenceforth to higher consciousness (and into the company of those spirits of higher consciousness, who become his servants) (ALGIZ) in the form of an Eagle- and he brings the essence of inspiration, also won from the Underworld, to the entire world and to the horns of the Gods above.

This is a victory for solar consciousness- the consciousness that is no longer bound to the lunar and watery absorption in instinct, but is unchained and allowed to move up and down the vertical axis of reality to access the secrets and wisdom of the deepest world and the inspiration of the higher worlds. This victory for creativity and spirit and the hidden light of the mind is symbolized by the SOWILO Rune, the sun Rune, and by the Eagle and the Sun-Wheel.

Allfather’s quest is a deeply perpetual realization, an event that is timeless, and which first manifested in serial time through the spirits of the first human mystics or shamans who made the universally-patterned journey to the depths and the heights and were able to mediate this sacred solar consciousness victory to humanity as a whole, beginning with their own tribes and kin. The blood of Allfather’s wounds shed at his sacrifice bring the Spear-Age to an end, and inaugurate the Eagle Age, the next age.

Allfather, at some point, in the guise of Rig, moves across the world and comes to the poor shelters and “homes” of primitive human beings and begins fulfilling the second aspect of his quest- he begets children on the daughters of men, and to the greatest of his children, he teaches the sacred solar-minded science of the Runes. He teaches humanity culture, the divisions of society, sophisticated communication (to fulfill the seed of speech planted in them at their shaping), and all of the other sacred technologies that mankind would forever after use to shape the world and their societies.

The latter half of this Spear Age, when the first mediations of the successful solar-quest began to enlighten humankind and when the first languages, technologies, and cultures began to embrace what we call the “Paleolithic” and “Mesolithic” and “Neolithic”, is also the beginning of an era that I call the “Ur-Heathen Era”, the pre-historic time of the first primordial cultural spiritual or mystical expressions of what today we clumsily call “religion”. At this time, however, very few- only the solar-awakened shamans or mystics- knew the Allfather or the creative Gods of his family.

The Vanir Gods and the spirits of earth and water were the primary divine powers and spirits that mankind in this age worshipped, sometimes savagely, but as the light of solar consciousness increased and cultures became more stable, this sort of worship began to change, too. Before this period of expansion of consciousness, and during it and even after it in many places (for not all human beings were immediately awakened, nor do old fears die easily) the rawest and most primitive forms of animism, magic, and fetishism were common among human beings- without any way to guess or explain the world, the idea that bizarre and unpredictable magical forces simply controlled everything was common.

Much fear still circled around the “unseen world”, though at this time, people even experienced the unseen differently and with different notions than we do now- it may not have been so “unseen” to them. The shamanic arts of Seidr were likely practiced by humans in this era too, a gift from the Vanir-Gods and a good response to the spiritual needs of those times.

Sun and Moon’s courses were tracked for the first time in the latter half of this Age. Time was now a reality to the minds of human beings. Bear in mind again that this Age is still well within pre-history; the very concept of “history” had not yet sprung up, nor would spring up in the minds of people for ages yet. No “history” was recorded from these eras.

The Eagle Age:
The Age of Sun-Boat and Wagon
The World-Day and the First Heroic Age of the World; the time of the Paleoheathen Era

“Bölverkr proceeded to the place where Gunnlöd was, and lay with her three nights; and then she gave him leave to drink three draughts of the mead. In the first draught he drank every drop out of Ódrerir; and in the second, he emptied Bodn; and in the third, Són; and then he had all the mead. Then he turned himself into the shape of an eagle and flew as furiously as he could; but when Suttungr saw the eagle's flight, he too assumed the fashion of an eagle and flew after him. When the Æsir saw Odin flying, straightway they set out their vats in the court; and when Odin came into Ásgard, he spat up the mead into the vats. Nevertheless he came so near to being caught by Suttungr that he sent some mead backwards, and no heed was taken of this: whosoever would might have that, and we call that the poetaster's part. But Odin gave the mead of Suttungr to the Æsir and to those men who possess the ability to compose. Therefore we call poesy Odin's Plunder and Find, and his Drink and Gift, and the Drink of the Æsir."


Odhinn’s “solar consciousness” victory alters the shape of the world forever, on every level. As the mysteries of the solar-mind become more and more realized through the mediation of the men and women who are brave and wise enough to complete the Odhinnic quest, the march forward of human technology and society continues apace.

The Eagle Age roughly corresponds with the Bronze Age; at this time, the greatest civilizations of the world were rising from Egypt to China, and in Europe, the emerging Bronze Age cultures were being forged under the sign of the eagle of insight, the equal-armed cross or solar cross, the fylfot or the swastika, and the emblem of the solar boat or the boat with the solar-cross marked sails. The Runic force most resonant with this age is SOWLIO, the solar victory Rune, symbolizing Odhinn’s great solar consciousness victory.

This great time in pre-history represents the first great large-scale organization of human societies and the establishment of the first advanced societies under the sacred technologies of metal-working, farming, kingship and queenship, and laws. The “People of the Sun”- the Ar-yans or the Ar-men (Irmen) refer to those European peoples who established the Bronze-Age nations and tribal pacts under the solar signs, but also to all human beings worldwide who were stabilized in solar consciousness and able to create lasting establishments of social connection and technological group-effort for the causes of the common good and prosperity. One group of Armen-ian or Ar-yan Europeans of the Eagle Age, the Proto Indo-Europeans, would spread out in later ages to carry their culture and languages all over Europe and the world.

The greatness of the Irmen or Aryans is not just in their ascension beyond savagery to the heights of technological and social power; their spiritual connection and inspirational, artistic “high-mindedness” or noble-mindedness and bearing is the true hallmark of the solar consciousness that they commanded then, and which the true Aryans or Irmen command today. We are speaking of a special spiritual insight, a freedom from fear, a noble bearing and acceptance of Fate (though never a fatalistic resignation to oppression or danger) and an acceptance of the sacred power of blood and life-generation. The Irmen are bonded to kin and clan and put the good of their people first. They are known throughout history- even into modern days- as the men and women who possess the craft and drive to carve out and create new and lasting nations and who can dream visions of better governments and “ways of being” and fight tirelessly to make their dreams manifest, even if great personal self-sacrifice is required.

The solar-consciousness that made this Age of the world possible makes its greatest emergence in the spiritual impulses that characterize this era: the worship of solar Gods and Goddesses and the Earth Mother- the Nerthus figure in the sacred wagon and the “Sky Gods” that are often clearly inscribed with emblems of the sun in their command. The solar chariots and boats are also common icons of the religious stream of this age: the sacred motion of the bodies of heaven and the motion of life itself, expressed on every level, utilized by human men and women as a means of aligning themselves with Rita, the universal law of rightness and harmony.

The motions of the solar boat and the solar wheel also call to mind the invisible paths followed by the indestructible solar essence- the undying spirit given to humans by the Gods- and thus have a sacred funereal meaning, as well. Life was not seen as a tiny span of years in one human body, but a long journey, a spiritual journey, accompanied by and protected by the solar-forces of the Gods. Man lived in full consciousness of his origins among the Gods and sacred nature, and the Earth Mother, along with the Vanic powers of fertility, were enshrined and worshipped with the first institutions of formal sacrifice (those institutions which act as the primordial ancestors of the sacrifice-rituals that arose in all later Indo-European Pagan societies, and which survive today in the form of the Blot ritual of modern Asatru) alongside the Aesiric powers of the Sky-God (Tiwaz) and the Thunderer.

Allfather’s following among human beings, which was expressed with more subtlety in those days, likely tied up with the mysteries of Fate and the dead, so connected with these themes as Odhinn always has been, and the secret sorcerous mysteries of consciousness alteration and magic. That a Fateful (and fatal) Goddess or series of Goddesses was worshipped in these times, emanating in the “choosers of the slain” Goddesses, birthing Goddesses or feminine family-spirits, and doom-choosing spirits, is undoubted- the origins of both the complex figure of “Fate” and the Fate-spinners, and the valkyries and disir.

The crude superstitions and primordial animistic roots of the ancient past had resolved themselves, by this point, into the command of priest-kings and organized cults of well-defined spiritual ideals, all of which were embodied in the landscape and in artistic endeavors. The burial mounds, alignments of stone, and carvings or paintings are all attempts to grasp and “re-create” on earth expressions of deeper pylons of spiritual reality, or should I say deeper strands of Wyrd, for the ancients were not yet fallen victim to the lamentable mentality that separates “spirit” from “matter”. While the first chieftainships, burial mounds and stone-alignments (as well as agriculture) had arisen late in the Spear Age, the true heights of these projects didn’t reach their terminus until the Eagle Age.

Professional visionary seers had no doubt replaced the ancient tribal shaman of the Spear Age, and access to the vertical axis of consciousness- the supreme solar mind feat- was either taught among special groups or tightly controlled. It is likely, in my belief that kings and queens of these times had to have been given sacred access to such mental and spiritual operations, as a means of mediating the blessings of the vertical axis to their lands and peoples.

This age is called the “first heroic age”, because within the boundaries of this age, and the Oath-Age to follow (and the start of the Iron Age) are found the ages in which many heroic legends, epics, and sagas would find their long-forgotten historical originals- from Greece’s divine and semi-divine heroes and ancient myths like the “labors of Heracles”, to epics further North that became told over and over again in more and more modernized forms (the Nibelung saga, Beowulf, etc) the “age of heroes” begins in the Eagle Age, when chieftains and kingships were reaching their first heights of greatness and humanity was falling into ancient heights of organization that would be the foundations of future greatness.

Now, the heroic quest was clear: it was a quest on the part of human beings to reach into spaces and conditions that were reserved normally for divine beings. The entire “Odhinnic quest” or death on the vertical axis and the movement between the worlds above and below was as “heroic” as could be imagined- it took a powerful mind to survive the rigors of such transitions.

But Heroes could go further- challenging semi-divine powers or defeating monsters at the borders of this world and returning to transmit treasures or wisdom to their people, for the regeneration or increase of those people. The ancient shaman of the past had become the hero of the present, and the legendary hero of the future tales and stories that would be told- the boundary-crossing human being who had the might and cunning to even go among the otherworlds and compete with those powers for the recovery of treasures or wisdom, or who had the might to overcome supernatural threats to the world-good.

Despite what some people like to imagine, the great organization of human societies and the proliferation of technology in this Age was not accompanied by large scale warfare. War did exist, along with warriors and weapons of war, but it was no mere matter of armed groups of men walking about and murdering other men and women for no matter other than the satisfaction of greed or wickedness. Guido Von List discusses the three ‘classes’ or divisions of ancient Germanic society in “The Secret of the Runes”, and discusses the Istaevons, who were the ‘soldier class’, and whose name refers to “those who pass away due to a consequence of fate”. He writes:

“(The Istaevon caste) is in no way that which we today understand as the military- for all members of the folk were responsible for the common defense- but rather they were the great mass of the surplus populace who had to migrate in order to establish new states. There was no personal ownership of land and soil; only familial estates- the elder governed it for his clan, the members of which had only the rights of usage over it. If their number became too great for the ownership of the land, then the surplus would have to migrate (“hel fesen”)- never to return. They elected a “duke”, [=”war leader”], and he searched for land. Since such migratory expeditions- or colonization efforts- were carried out according to rita [=cosmic law], the power of the Aryans to found and maintain state structures, recognized by all historians in all times and places, is evident. Throughout the whole world we find these Aryan foundations which are testified to in historical as well as continuing folk-, land-, and place-names of Aryan state establishments- reaching all the way back to prehistoric times.”

Of course, List is referring to a much later Germanic social reality, which would arise ages later in the Pyre-Age when the Proto Indo-European would branch out and assume different linguistic and cultural groups, such as the “Germanic”, in this case. But the root of the division of society into functionary classes was certainly present in Eagle-Aged societies and among the Proto Indo-Europeans; such a division is a part of Rita and has been expressed by many advanced societies in many different forms worldwide, and by all Indo-European peoples. The Proto-Indo Europeans may have inherited or learned the idea of tripartite society division from much earlier peoples.

My contention that the institution of “warfare” was not at all like we know it today during the Eagle Age does not merely rest on this one point- the necessary social and material conditions for organized, large-scale and epically destructive warfare simply did not exist in the Eagle Age. The expansion of peoples through fateful circumstance or for resource competition would have been the only cause for violent interaction, and it could not have been of a tragic scale.

Also in this paragraph, List is referring to the Proto-Indo European and Indo-European peoples as “Aryan”, thus reflecting the racial understanding of the Indo European peoples in his time. He is not far off-mark; the IE culture was and is a widespread family of languages and cultures now, as they were in ancient times, and its origins are certainly in the copper and bronze ages.

My use of the term “Aryan” or “Irmen” is a far more esoteric one- referring to the solar-minded human beings of any geographical origin who daily express feats of creativity, consciousness, and standards of high-mindedness and nobility beyond that of other people. It is the solar consciousness in us, awakened first by Allfather’s timeless quest, and then mediated to us by thrice-ancient mystics who shaped the destinations of ancestral tribes and nations, that is now awakening within certain people worldwide and which fills the true Irmen with their urges and bestows on them their capabilities.

To the Eagle Age I ascribe the beginning and time of a pre-historic period called the “Paleoheathen Era” by me. These ancient times give us the mysterious emblems and archaeological remains of the elder Heathenry that was clearly still being transmitted, in some extremely diffuse form, to the Heathens of the last historical Heathen era, that of the Viking era. To an extent, modern Asatruar and Celtic Reconstructionists, as well as Slavic Reconstructionists, are receiving something of the “fateful spiritual remains” of these times, as the original forms and faces of Gods very important to the Eagle Age- the Earth Mother, the Sky God, and the other Gods associated with the fertility of the land and solar and lunar themes of afterlife and animistic connection between all things, are still being worshipped by modern Heathens today.

At some point late in the Eagle Age, it is clear that migrations and conflicts between people- for never forget that as the ages continue, conflict between people and hardships are fatefully due to increase- did reach a point in which a social and even metaphysical change or transformation was needed to protect the continuity of human societies. I do not think it was mountains of corpses being created by massive warfare; I believe it was the idea of group-identity being faced with more and more pressure to migrate and move, and facing uncertain futures. Whatever it was, a response, a transformation was needed- and one came.

Once again, the mythologies that we have before us give us a story which I believe reflects the prime internal conflicts of the Eagle Age- that is, the growth of a dread of destiny for one’s people, and the growth of the “lurking fear” of conflict and violence to come- and the metaphysical transformation that led to a new age of the world: the story of Tyr and Fenris.

Fenris, the supreme emblem of the danger of both greed and the giantish forces that threaten the world and which will one day destroy it, was once a friend of the Gods- during his growth, he was a friend of Tyr (Tiwaz) the God of the sky, light, protective solar order and consciousness, and oaths- a binder of humans on fair and honorable terms which made society possible. He was the God of local custom and law, not some over-arching notion of “justice” that bound all people universally. Still, as a guardian of the world order, Tyr realized that his lupine friend was growing larger and more dangerous, and the Gods began to (rightly) fear what Fenris represented- the doom of all things.

To overcome this threat to the world-order, the Gods conspired to bind Fenris, but were unable to do so through might alone, and had to use subtle means, and have a magical treasure created from the slightest yet strongest substances, to bind him. It was Tyr who made the personal sacrifice to trick the giant wolf and have him bound, for in so doing, he lost his hand to the wolf’s jaws. The shedding of Tyr’s blood in sacrifice heralds the end of this Age and the beginning of a new age- the Oath Age- and it shows us that good people (like good Gods) must forever suffer to ensure the safety of the world. The great wolf, representing the growing danger to the world, was bound by Tyr’s sacrifice, and the human social presence in the world was thus granted a reprieve to continue on longer.

The Oath Age:
The Age of Binding and Breaking
The Second Heroic Age and the time of the Mesoheathen Era

"Yet remains that one of the Æsir who is called Týr: he is most daring, and best in stoutness of heart, and he has much authority over victory in battle; it is good for men of valor to invoke him. It is a proverb, that he is Týr-valiant, who surpasses other men and does not waver. He is wise, so that it is also said, that he that is wisest is Týr-prudent. This is one token of his daring: when the Æsir enticed Fenris-Wolf to take upon him the fetter Gleipnir, the wolf did not believe them, that they would loose him, until they laid Týr's hand into his mouth as a pledge. But when the Æsir would not loose him, then he bit off the hand at the place now called 'the wolf's joint…”


The dawn of the Iron Age of technology (1200-800 BC) brings us into the Oath Age, the second heroic age of the world and the time of what I call the Mesoheathen era- the prehistoric “middle Heathen” era. With the mystical event of Tiwaz-Tyr’s sacrifice inaugurating this age, It is no accident that the Iron-Aged Indo Europeans (like their predecessors) kept as supreme a “Sky God” (Tiwaz-Zeus) and were a mobile, war-ready people who practiced colonization through expansion in accordance with Rita or the cosmic law of rightness. What had changed between the Eagle Age and the Oath Age is a matter of technology and an increasing level of pressure, danger, and hostility in a world that was growing more populated with technologically advanced societies.

There is, of course, the matter of changing consciousness. The tiny family groups and clans of Spear-Age hunter-gatherers and small farmers had now fully given way to tribes and nations of people who, after the great technological awakenings of the Eagle Age, created enduring group and ancestral identities, and whose sacred identities were merged with the lands that their ancestors had bonded with for countless centuries. “Culture” now was fully arisen in the deepest religious sense of the word- “Cult-ure” contained the physical as well as the metaphysical realities that bound a people together.

The workings of Iron-Age technology and long-established worship of Gods and spirits and the uniquely culture angle on belief and interaction with spirits and magical powers now also gave rise to unique spiritual worldviews, which would continue to develop into the two ages that would follow this one- the two historical ages called by me the “Pyre Age” and the “Wolf Age”. The Oath Age is, in a sense, the “bridge” into the historical periods of our world.

This age is characterized by great migrations of people, though the greatest migration of any people in history- the Volkerwanderung- will not occur until the Wolf Age to come. As discussed before, Tyr’s sacrifice was both a Godly event, but also an awakening consciousness on the part of human beings that dangerous forces that threaten the harmony of societies and well-being have to be held at bay through sacrifice and effort- and with this consciousness comes a re-assertion of the needful bonds in society that hold people together in peace.

Oaths, in ancient times, were the heart of social bonding and honor, and so the importance of Oaths and loyalty to family, kin, and society were at the forefront of human organization and life. A far-seeing person could look ahead to see the seeds of future cultural imperialism and elitism well in sprout, though an even more discerning person might have seen those seeds quite a long time before.

The glory of the Eagle Age has faded by this time; enough changes and disruptions have happened to lay low the first solar societies and to flood the world with trouble and dangers not dreamed of in former ages. Even the supreme metal of this age- Iron- is not as “solar” a metal as bronze or copper- not nearly as aligned with the light of the sun, though it is stronger. It is fitting for a more dangerous age, but one further from the light of the Eagle Age, and darker. Now, Fate’s wheel has turned such that the natural harmony that once embraced humans in large groups is defended and mediated as a “blessing” of types, bestowed by tradition, sacrifice, custom, and belief. Instability and the bravery needed to face it come to the forefront of the human mind.

The weird presence of the extra-rational and preternatural is never far from humans in this age, just as it was never far from them since the extremely ancient depths of the Spear age; Gods still walk and spirits are still the common companions of human beings, though they interact with humans and behave towards humans under the influence of right human behavior, ritual custom, and within the constraints of the preternatural allies that humankind claims for its own.

Magic and witchcraft are common factors of reality in this age, as it was in the ages that went before. What has changed for magic or sorcery is the social context within which it once dwelled: now the threat of metaphysical attack by other societies or enemy peoples leads to a distrust of all things seen as metaphysical and nature and foreign- and people meet strange practices that purport to interact with the unseen world in some sorcerous manner with suspicion, not unlike how the Aesir met the Seidr of Gullveig. Where once the tribal shaman worked unquestionably for his or her people, things are no longer so simple.

The legendary Trojan War was believed to take place just before the dawn of this Age- sometime around 1200 BC in a transition between a bronze age culture and an iron age (the late bronze age in Greece saw the Mycenaean culture) and the “heroes at Troy”, along with the forgotten historical prototypes of many other cultural heroes, give this Age the honor of being the last “heroic age”. This age also saw the first true expressions of the “wolf’s jaws”: greed for gold and power over entire nations becoming a dominant and deadly force in the minds and souls of leaders, chieftains, and kings who had warbands of armed followers and the power to command obedience from many groups of people, none of whom were related to them as kin. The Greek Dark Ages are placed around the time of the beginning of this Age, and the Dorian invasions that followed the fall of the old Bronze Age Mycenaean culture.

This age is called the “age of binding and breaking”, for as oaths bind men, the breaking of oaths is the inverse reality that drives men apart. In a world whose Ages are darkening, as entropic forces grow stronger, real heroism sometimes has everything to do with keeping oaths and following duty. And many lives depended on such honor in the Oath Age, as they do even now. The Runic force most emblematic of this age is, of course, Tyr’s Rune, TIWAZ. The three Runes that follow it in the Elder Rune row are Berkano, Ehwaz, and Mannaz- the Runes of the Earth Mother, of Horses, and of Humankind, representing the final mastery of the land under empire, the mastery of animal-husbandry, and the first full manifestation of the various degrees of human experience.

War and conflict between people is the common and most ancient enemy of humankind, and now, at the turning of this age of the world, its true evil and destructive power is known. As the Oath-age unravels, and as conflict rises higher, setting the stage for the unimaginably destructive and widespread warfare and conquests of the next age, the interior lives of human beings across the globe are being transformed by the grief of loss through violence. Such grief has been with mankind for many ages, but never before has it reached its own metaphysical “boiling point”.

This point of excess mingles with many powers, both seen and unseen, to create the “ending myth of the age”- which comes down to us as the myth of the death of Balder. Within this myth we can glimpse the inner workings of Orlog which describe both true events within the world of the Gods, and the workings that will bring this age to an end, and pave the way for the next grim age.

While the last and most “modern” versions of the myth of Balder present Balder as a peace-loving and beautiful, youthful God, a God of light and peace that all beings loved dearly, the original Balder was probably more complex and a bit more gritty. According to the research presented in the form of a long chapter on Balder in “Our Troth, Vol. 1”, the original Balder mythos presented Balder as a young warrior-a noble and good warrior, not a “hippy” god of compassion or anything of the sort.

Whereas most people look upon the myth of Balder’s death as another version of the archetypal “dying and resurrected God”, the reality isn’t so easy to lump and categorize away- Balder does not come back from his death within the time of this world-cycle. He dies and stays dead; he is lost until the end of time, only returning after the world-regeneration.

His killer is a blind god named Hodr- whose name means “battle”. How simple and straightforward the symbolism truly is- it is the blindness of war and battle, the way it kills all, even the greatest, the youngest, and the most precious, and Balder is the ultimate exemplar of the cost of battle- the bravest, youngest, and best of any society. Balder and Hodr’s myth is the recognition of the grim cost of conflict, and the grim nature of conflict’s destruction and cost. The only consolation is this- and it is the same consolation that the Gods must seek, who cannot save Balder from what Orlog has declared: what is good and noble is truly lasting; even though death may take it away, after the world regeneration it will rise again; it will be here again. Death cannot overcome the best things about our lives and in our world forever.

It is Balder’s funeral pyre, pushed out onto the sea on a funeral boat (it is important to note that it is the waters of that sea, along with Balder’s shed blood, represent the Orlog-layer that ends this age) that give the next age its name: the Pyre Age. And it is appropriately named; the pyre of mourning will light nearly every night of the next age, due to the increase in war and greed.

The Pyre Age:
The Age of Kings and Armies
The Dawn of the Historical Age and the time of the First Historical Heathen Era

The Pyre Age is the first of the two truly historical eras, and in this case, it is the age of the first great continent-spanning empires. From the first Emperor in China who violently united China’s seven kingdoms, to the massive empire-building conquest of Alexander the Great, the Pyre Age is so called for the funeral pyres that follow in the wake of kings and armies as they collect power in exchange for a currency of human corpses.

Within the Pyre Age can also be located the great Persian Empire that so famously menaced the Greeks; I also allocate to this period of time the rise of the Roman Republic and its wars of conquest all around the Mediterranean and elsewhere in Europe and Africa. The end of the Pyre Age comes roughly about the time that Rome made her transition from a Republic to an Empire.

The “memory” of history for Europe and the West begins in this Age, at least in a literary sense- from Herodotus on down, literate Indo-European cultures begin making historical record projects and the words of writers, philosophers, explorers, and others begin their long march down the years to us in the present day. Greek and Roman philosophers visit the Teutonic peoples in Germania and the various Celtic peoples and record much valuable ethnographic information for us, some of which we are fortunate to still have.

What information we glean from them and from Pagan cultures all over Europe in these times give us what we know about the “First Historical Heathen Era”. We can clearly see how the ancient patterns of polytheistic religion in the past evolved into the Paganisms of the various IE people, in this period. The Greeks and Romans write long histories and accounts of wars, neighboring nations, religion, philosophy, and government for us, and the Greeks bequeath to us a lively tradition of philosophical writings along with poetry, drama, epic, and theatre.

Great empires did exist before this age- Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon, just to name three that are well known to history. They were also literate and advanced to the extreme, enduring products of the miracles of the mind so suffused by solar consciousness and turned to industry in the Eagle Age. But the “age of empires” that we see in the Pyre Age is a different story- whereas the Eagle Age empires were guided by a powerful mystical awareness and governance within Rita, the Pyre Age is an age of decline for the greatness that was.

Empires are no longer maintained primarily by creativity, industry, Gods, and the fortune of the stars, nor the motions of Rita that wisdom reveals; they are maintained by money and population, by ruthless rulers and a new sort of war that never ceases. Men still dream of the perfect civilization; Rome is created in a dream of Republic and freedom from the tyranny of kings, but within a thousand years, she lives out her lifespan and falls victim to entropic forces. The fall of the Roman Republic and the transition into an Empire ruled by ruthless men marks the end of the Pyre Age and the start of the final Age of the world: the Wolf Age.

How interesting that Rome’s fall from grace should begin a period called “The Wolf Age”- the symbol of Rome was, after all, the great female Wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus. But this is not the reason for the designation “Wolf Age”. The “Wolf Age” is called so because it ends with the great wolf Fenris breaking his chains and heralding the beginning of Ragnarok, the doom of the entire world-system.

It is salient to point out that Rome’s other symbol was an Eagle- the supreme animal-symbol of the sun and solar consciousness, a hearkening back to the Solar greatness that the Indo-European peoples (including the Romans, who were of Indo-European origin) descended from. And truly, before her downfall into Imperial absolutism and tyranny, Rome was the last great expression of the Solar Consciousness that made the Indo-Europeans great, and which still blesses the world in some ways.

The Pyre Age saw a final great flowering of Solar Consciousness from another Indo-European source, further east: Siddhartha Gautama, the man that the world would come to call “the Buddha”- himself a son of an aristocratic warrior family who were among the Indo-European peoples who migrated into northern India- experienced his “enlightenment” or his awakening in this age, and began to preach a path to a similar enlightenment. Buddhism, which stayed safe in the East from the claws and powers of revealed religions that would have destroyed it in the West, still exists today in an unbroken tradition and has finally entered into the mainstream of Western thinking. It still exerts an amazing power to heal people and bring them to the ultimate solar realization which is similar in nature to the “Odhinnic Paradox” that I will discuss later. Buddhism, like any other product of these ages, still has its own special failings, but remains a viable mystical path to overcoming the radical ignorance that obscures the true freedom at the heart of each individual.

It is incredible to consider the heights and depths to which humans were able to ascend and descend thanks to the sacred technologies of culture taught to them by the Gods; it is sad- but fateful and necessary- that every human attempt to build greatness out of the ordering powers of mind and technology in every age should be hindered by entropic forces (none more so than the wolf of greed) and eventually collapse into some new transformation- this simple fact of human history is a minor demonstration of the entire pattern of the cosmos and its doom.

Rome and the empires like her had come a long way from the times when Gods and Spirits worked their will among men- religion (especially in the crowded urban centers of the south of Europe) had become neglected and rote, rather lifeless cultural repetitions that (more and more as time went) failed to give people the spiritual refreshment they craved; mystery cults, especially those of exotic eastern deities, proliferated, and by the time the Christian cult subverted Rome’s greatness and brought her to her knees, many Romans were thankful for an exotic new religion to rekindle their excitement.

The fact that Christianity spelled the death-knell of the last great bastion of Western urban civilization was irrelevant to the unwise masses who, by this point, were victims of the same lack of gnosis and spiritual understanding that we today suffer from. This state of affairs is fatefully endemic in the latter ages.

It was the “barbarian people” north of Rome and Greece that maintained the lasting spirit of the Gods and the mystical force of the past that had not grown nearly so dim, at least not among the people of the cold and untamed wilds. It would take Christianity time to subvert Rome, and then, fully matured in the Wolf Age, to begin to filter out into the world and begin destroying the last vestiges of spiritual power that connected human beings to the previous ages of the world.

The Runic force that is most emblematic of this age is LAGUZ- the life-waters that are also the death-waters, the waters upon which Balder’s funeral boat sailed. To reach Laguz at this point in history is to show another major turning of Orlog- the end of Orlog’s arising for the entirety of the world-cycle is getting near.

In the mythological sequence that forever accompanies the so-called “outer” world, we are given a sacred story that reveals fading stability even in the Godly world. The story of the flyting of Loki, and his punishment and imprisonment, is the dominant mystical theme that resonates with the ending of this age and the establishment of the final age. Loki, complex figure that he is, represents the “internal enemy” of any order or society, and the hidden danger lurking within the Godly society.

Of giantish stock himself, Loki hatches a plot to ensure that the attempts of the Gods to bring Balder back from the Underworld should fail. Despite what most modern people think, Loki is not Balder’s killer, either directly or indirectly. He simply prevents the damage done by Hodr from being repaired. Paranoia about Loki, hatred for him, and the internal conflicts he caused- Loki being the outsider or “other” within Godly society- neatly represents the everyday conflicts, hidden fears, and hatreds that torment every society from those days to our own.

Not only do we find the conflict with the “other” appearing in every social group that undergoes the inevitable stress of evolution, but the “other” within arises to claim his own share of our peace- our own worst enemies are truly within. It is only our lack of ability to realize the necessity of the “other” that creates and drives the problem, though to be fair, it is often thought to be a failure of wisdom on the part of the Gods to accept a dangerous being like Loki among them in the first place (even though he sometimes brought them very important evolutionary changes and was responsible for gaining for them their greatest treasures.)

Perhaps it wasn’t lack of wisdom at all- Odhinn may have been very wise to embrace the far-off seeds of destruction in the form of Loki, for the good of all societies, Godly or Human. Beyond what most people can grasp, perhaps the decision was a good one- and it was certainly fatefully necessary; it was Orlog. This is what the worldview of the positive fatalist asks us to accept: that even conflict is needful and that painful processes are often the road to renewal. Fate does not ask us to accept it sitting down; even the Gods fight hard at the Ragnarok, a battle that they must know they will lose.

Loki’s final mockery of the Gods and violation of the sacred hospitality and peace of Aegir’s hall is the crime against Rita that sends the Gods after him, and, after he changes into a fish to avoid capture, he must endure being smashed by the strong hands of Thorr and then being chained in an underground cavern, tormented until the end of the world by venom leaking onto his face.

Odhinn had long ago sealed himself in blood-brotherhood to Loki, and this breaking of those bonds- a great collapse of the stabilizing power of oath-bond- is the final failure on the parts of the Gods that will lead to Ragnarok. Loki will be very vengeful when he breaks loose from his prison, and will lead the Giants in the final war against the Gods and the world-order. Both the waters that Loki attempted to escape from the Gods through, and the venom that punishes him, are the Orlog-symbols that show the end of the Pyre Age and the start of the final age of the world.

Many times we have seen that the age of the world must change due to the shedding of the blood of some divine being, or some being otherwise: it is interesting to note that the fall of the Roman Republic and the start of the Wolf Age was just a few decades near to the supposed time of Christ’s crucifixion and the turning of the Christian calendar from “Before Christ” to “Anno Domini” or “Year of the Lord”- and the shedding of Christ’s blood marks the birth, in Christianity, of a new age and order of the world. More importantly, Christians believe that the age begun by Christ’s sacrifice is also the last age of the world.

The Wolf Age:
The Age of Wind and Ashes
The World-Evening and the Time of the Second Historical Heathen Era

“Now Garm howls loud before Gnipahellir,
The fetters will burst, and the wolf run free;
Much do I know, and more can see
Of the fate of the gods, the mighty in fight.

Brothers shall fight and fell each other,
And sisters' sons shall kinship stain;
Hard is it on earth, with mighty whoredom;
An axe-age, sword-age, shields are sundered,
A wind-age, a wolf-age, ere the world is ruined;
Nor ever shall men each other spare.”


Rome did not survive long into the Wolf Age; by the third century of the Common Era she was crumbling under the massive force of the great Volkerwanderung migration of the Germanic peoples. This was the greatest migrations of the Germanic peoples into Europe and their conquest and settling of states from England down to North Africa.

The foundations of nations including (but not limited to) Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, and the entire foundation of distantly approaching medieval Europe is laid by the Germanic kingdoms that are established at the end of this dynamic time, and the dying Roman Empire- having been forced by a corrupt emperor into conversion to Christianity and therefore fully bereft of her last protections by the Gods- falls for the final time before the hordes of the Germanic peoples.

While this event is normally recalled with a wistful “sic transit gloria mundi”, I am always quick to point out that “the glory of the world” had been passing away since the sun and moon were placed in their golden and silver pathways, and since the solar and lunar chariots first began pulling them down their Fate-ordained and Godly-shaped courses. The fading of the world is not something that begins with the fall of one empire in one late age of the world. It is a constant and pervasive reality.

The Wolf Age saw the arising of the great “revealed religions” of the West- Christianity and Islam. In Europe, the entire world seemed plunged into darkness- and, the suitable historical term “Dark Ages” is applied to the time after Rome’s light was extinguished and Classical learning was all but lost amid a turmoil-filled network of petty kingdoms, constant warfare, superstitious ignorance, illiteracy and lack of sanitation.

Islam, born roughly 600 years into the Wolf Age, arose with its brutal, single-minded demand for “submission” and immediately began to spread all over North Africa and the Middle East with sword-power and armies to drive it. In the midst of dark uncertainty, people sought the certainties promised by the revealed faiths: that “god”, the true author of the entire universe was still benevolent and caring; that all would be well, and the darkness of the world resolved to eternal peace and happiness in heaven.

It is an understandable reaction to the times. But it is not a solution that has ever offered the world peace or solace, and it came at the cost of the utter destruction of the ancestral traditions that had connected humans to the wise guidance of the Gods for ages before. Humans were now essentially on their own- left in a world of ashes- for the “Pyre Age” had finally burned out, leaving a ashen landscape in the interior world of man.

As Guido Von List said in his discussion of mankind: the “man-ash” that yields the term “mankind” for us travels through three ages: the generation age, the persistence age, and this final age, the “ash” age- in which mankind comes to a ruin of itself- chiefly by falling victim to “asceticism”- that is, a warped and unnatural turning against the naturally sacred and holy generative powers within. This final age of the world sees more people thinking of reasons not to engage in sexual behavior and falling beneath beliefs that cast hateful doubt on sexuality, than any other age.

Fear of sexuality and prudishness characterize this age more than any other, and standards of high “holiness” among the revealed religions often goes side-by-side with vows of abstinence from sexual behavior. The entire time this madness is in operation, the natural forces of vitality in man strain to break free from it, resulting in a further unbalanced degeneracy when they do manage to erupt, and further scorn from the prudish establishment of nature-hating religions.

The final distance between the Gods and human beings has been established; the Wolf Age is both a destructive time, given to political and social turmoil, but also a strangely quiet time, a vast and quiet landscape of uncertainty. The second and last historical Heathen Era came at the start of this Age- and as the last vestiges of Paganism were stomped out by Christian armies and rulers, it was the Germanic Pagans in Europe who held on longest to their ancestral traditions. The “Viking Age”, from roughly 700-1000 CE, was the final Heathen era, and ended with the conversion of Iceland under social and political pressure from the continent. After this period, a 1000 year “interregnum” of Heathenry began, not ending until the start of the “New Heathen Era”, (so called by me) in which Asatru was again recognized as a legal religion by the Icelandic government- fitting that it should be in Iceland, where the last historical Heathen era ended.

The Wolf Age is an age of quiet gestation of many suppressed forces, all waiting for a chance to break free and re-manifest themselves, though in strange, new forms. This is why, in the sequence of the Elder Rune-row that we have been following through the ages, the Runic force most resonant with this age is INGWAZ, the seed of fertility that must gestate to gain strength. It is also the Runic emblem of the Earth God Frey- the World-God who has a distant familiarity with the sacrificed man-God, Christ. The divine in the Wolf Age is often depicted (by most in the West) in human terms; the world simply lacks the grasp on the subtle and the mysterious that people were once more comfortable with. But two more Runes remain in the Rune-row; DAGAZ and OTHALA- and they tell us much about the spiritual forces still most available to us to manifest through our minds.

Dagaz- literally the “Daybreak” Rune, is the Rune of the “Odhinnic Paradox”- the Solar Triumph of mind and spirit that raises a person above the dualistic mind-frame and allows one to experience a state that is neither alive nor dead, neither dark nor light; it is the deathless state-beyond-states that Odhinn himself dwells in, and perhaps many of the Gods.

This condition, which places the man or woman who wins it simultaneously in a perpetual state of both full conscious participation in the world-unfolding and in a mystical freedom from its deaths and destructions, is still possible in the Wolf Age, just very unlikely for most.

The strange, wise individual can still find this hidden treasure, and undergo a personal metamorphosis in these days. The rise of “occult” societies- always seeking this transformation into a new order of being- is common in these recent centuries. The ancient brotherhoods and sisterhoods devoted to Odhinn/Wuotan always kept the flame of this promise burning within their societies, under many esoteric guises. Today, they are few and far between, though the strange individual- or fatefully arisen key- may arise in many forms.

Othala, the Rune of inherited, ancestral land, is a final call back to finding one’s ancestral origins, and this same impulse drives those today who look deeper than revealed religions for their true source. In some manner, it is the impulse behind the “reconstructionist” Pagan religions, and the impulse behind Heathenry in any genuine form. To seek the ancestors and the old Gods is only sane in a world full of people that feel cut off from the wisdom and power of their true origins.

The Wolf Age is packed to its teeth with the miracles of technology. The gift of the awakened Godly spirit and mind is still largely with us in this one important way- the brilliance of our minds with respect to the creation of technology has never faded, and in this age, it has reached truly promethean heights. Our wisdom and spiritual connection with the wholeness of our situation as human beings may have faded to a very dim light, but we never stopped attempting to tame the world and one another with tools and technology. Marvelous advancements in transportation, medical science, communication, and many other fields define our times, as well as the destruction of the “borders” between our nations of mixed populations, and the collapse of the world into an information network.

The time of nationalism and nations burned itself out in World Wars, and now, only an ongoing war of information and financial imperialism- sometimes necessitating the march of ultra-modern armies- still remains with us. Even the revealed religions of the Wolf Age are feeling their doom; as the world modernizes, and the forces of skepticism and materialism gain more ground, Christ and his Father are finding themselves uninvited to more and more gatherings. In the east, Islam finds that only violence and violent resistance to the “outsider” cultures of the West can maintain their grip on their own societies. But they too, are heading into their own “world ending age”, for no revealed religions have the power to continue on for much longer. The same powers that brought them into position simply no longer have a place in this world.

The Wolf Age is characterized by the twin force of Greed and Broken Social Bonds- and no one can doubt that these things have reached their apex now, aided greatly by our modern miracle technology and the ease with which information control equates with control over entire societies. It is the same greed and the same violation of sacred bonds between people that we have known for many ages- only now it is the rule, not the lamentable exception. In this age, those Heathens who attempt to re-create the peace that came with solid oaths, social bonds between families and kindred, and who try to re-create Heathen communities in line with older models of kinship discover quickly how hard it is to maintain. Communities of any kind discover the same thing: this world tears people apart as quickly as it sometimes brings them together.

It is our information-bond in the modern day- a bond of electrons, not a bond of hearts or benevolent regard for one another- that makes it so easy to see the violence that once was unseen: the constant genocidal wars and conflicts that spring up every decade or so now flash themselves onto your TV or computer screen, allowing everyone in sufficiently wealthy Western or Eastern societies to see into the gaping maw of Fenris.

The New Heathens have a benefit now that Heathens from the former ages never had: with so few still reaching out for the Gods and the ancestral powers, a large amount of “attention” and power can be gained from the still-existing ancestral Gods. They still see humans as kin and still want to help, but the turning of Orlog limits all beings now.

An interesting phenomenon occurred, at the end of the historical Heathen eras: in the Viking Age, it was Odhinn, and not Tiwaz/Tyr, the old Solar/Sky father, that was the primary God of the Heathens. It is true that Thorr and Frey had their own widespread followings around the Heathen world at that time, as did the cults of the Mothers and the Disir, but Odhinn was ascendant during the last Heathen era, and this ascendancy had begun some time before. As a result, Odhinn is the primary God of most modern Heathens today. The eagle has been eclipsed by the raven- and Why should this be? Odhinn is just as associated with solar consciousness as Tyr or any of the Gods; Odhinn has for one of his many forms that of an eagle; his Ravens represent a darker, more internal form of wisdom. Why the Odhinnic “change”?

It is right that Odhinn the Allfather should become ascendant in this final age. It was he and his brothers that crafted this world; now, in the world-closing age, he comes to the forefront of Heathen consciousness. He is the “Alpha and the Omega” God, the God of the first ages and the last ages. His similarities to Christ in this way cannot be overstated; both are creators (logos-figures) of the world-order; both shed blood for the good of the world, both died hanging from a tree, and both are associated with the cross, though the equal-armed solar cross (called “Odin’s Cross!”) is a far cry from the Roman Cross, with its imbalance shown in the fact that one of its arms is longer than the others, thus moving it away from the earth.

The Wolf Age will be very, very long. There is no certain “time” that we can guess when it will end and Ragnarok will be upon us, but we know what the sacred stories tell us- Fenris will break his chains, finally- the entropic powers cannot be contained forever- and as he flies across the sky, a red rain will fall: his own blood, and Ragnarok will be upon us. Other signs herald the coming of Ragnarok, of course, but the “red rain” of the blood of Fenris is the final layer of Orlog that reveals itself before the World-Twilight.

This Wolf Age will go on for countless millennia, and in some way, true heroism, though more rare now, is needed more than it ever was; human beings need access to the vertical axis of consciousness, need to discover the occasional flowering of some branch of the World-Tree, more than ever before. When these flowerings come, some person or some small stretch of the world is healed by wisdom’s presence.

The Gods are wise and understand the realities of the world Orlog; they have not abandoned the world; they have simply taken to interacting with the world given the limitations of the age. They still desire that humans do what is right and honorable, and find wisdom. Odhinn particularly still interacts with human kind in a more intimate way- which he has always done- he may still be found wandering the back-roads of the country or the back-streets of cities, going his strange way and preparing for the future in a way that only he comprehends.

The mysteries of sorcery, whether it be Runic sorcery or the old and wild mysteries of Seidr, are still there to be found, in a somewhat less direct form, but still there; Allfather is still master of those mysteries and still sometimes imparts them to people in this world- for his own reasons- as do other ancient beings who exist and can be found by the proper sort of motivated heart. The destructive powers loom powerfully now. Bravery is required, and wisdom- perhaps more than ever.

The Gods have not left the worlds; they have simply gone into counsel among one another, and have withdrawn to the extent that the world-age has forced them, and to the extent that people have learned to ignore them under the thick cobwebs of ignorance that characterize this age. It was fate that things should be this way. It is fate that some should still live to strain against the darkness and find the old Gods again. More important than finding the Gods, however, is the need for people- now released in many places from the constraints of unwise cultural patterns that enslaved their ancestors- to discover in themselves the Godly spirit that was implanted in the ancestors many ages before.

This search is the characteristic search of the Wolf-Age, and blessed is the person who can find the freedom and introspection to accomplish it. The Gods are great allies in this search, for obvious reasons. But the search finally comes onto the shoulders of each man and woman who can find the insight to realize that this search should be taking place at all. Strange though it may sound, while all people sit about daily wondering what it is that’s “missing” in their lives (and spending a lot of money on all the things they believe will “fill them up”) what’s really “missing” is our multi-layered experience of many reaches of consciousness, and the knowledge of the timeless, undying spirit that remains with us until the end of any age.

What we feel “missing” is the vibrant, healthy connection with other human beings and beings like the Gods, once enjoyed by our ancestors, and which is a vital part of the full and complete manifestation of the MANNAZ Runic power. Without such connections, no human being is complete.

Ragnarok, the World-Twilight, the Judgment of the Powers and the Passing Away of the Gods and all the worlds, comes at the end of the Wolf Age. The Vala prophesized in Voluspa:

“Fast move the sons of Mim, and fate
Is heard in the note of the Gjallarhorn;
Loud blows Heimdall, the horn is aloft,
In fear quake all who on Hel-roads are.

Yggdrasil shakes, and shiver on high
The ancient limbs, and the giant is loose;
To the head of Mim does Othin give heed,
But the kinsman of Surt shall slay him soon.

How fare the gods? how fare the elves?
All Jotunheim groans, the gods are at council;
Loud roar the dwarfs by the doors of stone,
The masters of the rocks: would you know yet more?

Now Garm howls loud before Gnipahellir,
The fetters will burst, and the wolf run free
Much do I know, and more can see
Of the fate of the gods, the mighty in fight.

From the east comes Hrym with shield held high;
In giant-wrath does the serpent writhe;
O'er the waves he twists, and the tawny eagle
Gnaws corpses screaming; Naglfar is loose.

O'er the sea from the north there sails a ship
With the people of Hel, at the helm stands Loki;
After the wolf do wild men follow,
And with them the brother of Byleist goes.

Surt fares from the south with the scourge of branches,
The sun of the battle-gods shone from his sword;
The crags are sundered, the giant-women sink,
The dead throng Hel-way, and heaven is cloven.”

The prophecy of Ragnarok is well-known by this point by most of my readers. Those who do not know it can clearly see where it is going: the end of all things at the triumph of chaos- the fire and ice that once drove the world-beginning now burn it and freeze it and reduce it back to its roots.

But just as the order that triumphed over chaos at the “beginning” of the world was a temporary triumph, so is the victory of chaos over order temporary.

The descendants of the Gods survive as well as others; old Odhinn, forever cunning and beyond the true grip of death due to his mystical attainments, easily re-appears from his death in a new form in the new world- that of the “reader of the blood-twigs” (the Runes). Balder, lost to Hel’s maw in the previous age, rises up to become the new ruler of the regenerated world-order. Hel gives up all of her dead, to the regeneration. All that was lost in the old world sees the sunlight again. A new Midgard arises out of the deep, and in it, life proliferates again.

The eagle flies again, deer lift their heads in forests, and the human race arises again: the children of the new “first man” Lif and his wife, Lifthrasir- their names mean “Life” and “Desirous of Life”. The chaotic powers are again sidelined, to wait and grow strong, forever threatening the new world-order. All that happened before will happen again, in some form. Now we know the end, and the beginning. In a way, those who know these things know everything. We know what age we dwell in, and what we must do in that age to find the peace we seek.

“Now do I see the earth anew
Rise all green from the waves again;
The cataracts fall, and the eagle flies,
And fish he catches beneath the cliffs.

The gods in Idavoll meet together,
Of the terrible girdler of earth they talk,
And the mighty past they call to mind,
And the ancient runes of the Ruler of Gods.

In wondrous beauty once again
Shall the golden tables stand mid the grass,
Which the gods had owned in the days of old,

Then fields unsowed bear ripened fruit,
All ills grow better, and Baldr comes back;
Baldr and Hod dwell in Hropt-Odin’s battle-hall,
And the mighty gods: would you know yet more?”