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Understanding the Galdrabok

Understanding the Galdrabok

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Published by: wyrdwizard on Jul 05, 2010
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Understanding the Galdrabók & Creating Original Designs
by Greg Crowfoot
 The Galdrabók is a collection of Icelandic grimoires, ormagical texts, dating from the 16th to 17th centuries. TheGaldrabók presents modern-day rune magicians with a widevariety of magical designs. Among them are several versionsof the famous 'Ægishjálmur', or "Helm of Awe."As a whole, the Galdrabók utilizes traditional Northernsymbology combined with a western European influence (whichreflects the joint effect of Old Norse and Christian-Eraculture upon the history and traditions of Iceland). But theGaldrabók's designs go well beyond those of the traditionalbind-rune formulae we are generally familiar with. Even apassing glance at the spells of the Galdrabók will impressanyone familiar with rune-magic of their high degree of sophistication and the potential power designs like themcould have in magical operations.Several books discuss the Galdrabók either in itsentirety or in excerpts: "THE GALDRABÓK" as translated by
Stephen E. Flowers, and "NORTHERN MAGIC," by Edred Thorsson.The problem for the rune magicians of today is that inmany cases the Galdrabóks' designs are so complex and soabstract that they defy easy understanding. This makes itdifficult, if not impossible for rune-magicians to employdesigns of similar complexity and power for their ownworkings. This was certainly the case when I firstencountered "THE GALDRABÓK". Even one of my firstinstructors in the northern tradition was intimidated by it,and was unwilling to even attempt a decipherment of itsenigmatic forms. According to him, the keys to thecomposition of the Galdrabók's designs had been lost andcould not be recovered. I did not accept that idea andsubsequently embarked on an effort to find them.After considerable private study, I arrived at a numberof methods that I believe allow an understanding of many of the designs presented in "THE GALDRABÓK" and will make theconstruction of original forms possible.Originally, my methods of 'decipherment' wereincorporated into my own groups' advanced runic studies-class (as presented in our formal training program). Thesemethods are by no means the only ones which allow thecreation of Terror-staves (Óttastafur), Dream-staves
(Draumstafur), "Super-binds" or workable "Helms of Awe"(Ægishjálmur). I invite input from anyone who has followed adifferent course and arrived at a successful conclusion.
Basic Principles of Sigil-Magic and the Galdrabók
 As I interpret them, the designs contained within theGaldrabók are essentially a combination of classic 'Sigil-Magic' and standard runic-formulae taken to the extreme.The Icelandic magicians who composed the Galdrabók werecertainly familiar with both bodies of knowledge and Ibelieve that they combined them when they composed theirdesigns. Therefore, it is only through an understanding of these two forms of magic and how they interact together inthe Galdrabók, that I feel that it will begin to yield upits secrets.To accomplish this, we must examine the basicprinciples of Sigil-magic and how they were employed by theIcelandic magicians. For those who are already familiarwith such techniques, I must beg your indulgence and directyour attention to the points where Sigil-magic andGaldrabók designs intermarry. For others who are lessfamiliar with this subject, and desire to undertake a deeperstudy, I recommend Frater U.D.'s excellent work, "PRACTICALSIGIL MAGIC

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