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NESP Reviews


Teutonic Magic

by Kveldulf Gundarsson

ISBN #0-87542-291-8

Reviewed by Alfta Svanni Lothursdottir

        Gundarsson starts out describing the Nine Worlds before moving on to a good description of the Well of Wyrd (Urthr), The World Tree Yggdrasill and wyrd. The following chapter deals with the “divisions” of the body, soul and mind of the “magician.” This section, though it had some good information seemed to be a little too much influenced by Ceremonial Magic, with it's terming of the “Valkyrja” as the higher aspect and guardian of the soul. This seems to be taken directly from Ceremonial Magic's “Guardian Angel,” and on the name has been changed to give it a more Northern sound.
        Chapter 4 begins the discussion of the runes with a brief history, where the various versions are described. After this comes discussion on their magical history and on the theory behind the use of galdr (rune magic). Next is a detailed discussion of each rune accompanied by a guided meditation on which Gundarsson says is based on the lore and meanings of the rune. A few of these guided meditations I found quite garish and one in particular, the guided mediation for Ingwaz I found particularly revolting. The descriptions of the runes, however, are generally done well and provide a good bit of lore concerning each rune, although he does seem to fall prey to the New Age/Neo-Pagan need of identifying each rune with certain stones, elements, etc. Despite this, there is good information imparted here, even though the occasional curious statement, such as Othinn's hermaphroditic (??) nature, appear here and there. He statement that the true vitki must be bi-polar and hermaphroditic is taking it a bit far, in my opinion. Gundarsson also attributes the verses from the Ljothatal to various runes. To my knowledge there is no accepted interpretation of these strophes that allows them to be attributed to any particular rune.
        The next chapters deal with various ideas and methods of using the runes in galdr magic and in divination. I was glad to see Gundarsson state, “Unlike the Tarot, reversal of runes has no meaning; their aspects depend entirely on position, interaction, and the context of the question.” He describes how to make one's own set of runes before moving into the galdr magic. He states that the making of a circle in much the same fashion as would be done in ceremonial magic is traditional for Teutonic magic. I, personally, am not aware of such a tradition unless he talks of the post-Christian conversion of Northern Europe. The instructions here sound more like ceremonial magic than they do anything else.
        The following chapters deal with symbols, animals and an overview of Teutonic Religion, followed by various rites and a glossary. In the end Gundarsson's work suffers from the same problem that many works on the runes do. His infusing of Ceremonial Magic makes it necessary for anyone who reads it to have some knowledge of the runes and Northern Tradition in order to be able to pick out the non-Northern ideals presented. But this also means if one has enough knowledge to do that, that they really have no need of the book in the first place. Gundarsson shows that he has good knowledge of Northern Tradition. It is a shame that he feels, like so many other authors, the need to infuse Northern tradition with foreign ideals because he appears to be someone who could truly write a good book on genuine Northern Magic. It is my hope that he will explore that one day, but this book has too much influence from other traditions in my opinion. You may get some use out of this book, but read with a cautious eye.

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