Runic Semitones

Imagine that you live in a tiny village, surrounded by a deep, thick wood.

This small village is all that you know.

Its simple characteristics.

The few people who live here.

It has a single industry, and all who live in the village share common traits and customs- they speak the same language, and have no connection to the outside world. 

One day, a pathfinder sets out through the wood, and, after an arduous journey through unknown terrain, discovers another village.

Like yours, it is small.

It speaks its own language, and has its own unique characteristics- the people there are much different from yours in the way they live their lives.

These two villages influence one another, and benefit from being “trading tribes.”

They inform each other, and the pathway between them becomes a road after much travel, becoming easier to traverse with each mission of trade or learning.

Next, another village is discovered.

The same process repeats itself, until a network of villages exist.

The villages, through co-operation, interaction, and exchange, become walled cities, prosperous self-contained kingdoms, overseen by their brightest and best.

Each one has maintained its own culture, its own language, and sense of itself.

Its character has remained completely intact, and in fact, only deepened- now that it is aware of all these others, its own sense of itself has become even more important.

It begins to consider itself as an entity among entities, and it continues to develop.

These cities- each one unique and separate from the rest, but interconnected by a complex weave of roads and rivers.

Each pathway or road between the cities has its own name, and its own personality.

Along its route are shrines and wayside vistas as impressive as anything that can be seen in the cities themselves.

Off their beaten path, there is still much to explore- could there be other villages, hidden temples unknown as yet, wonders of the natural world waiting to be discovered by the intrepid?

These cities are like the runes.

The pathways are the connections that we make between them through long and wandering experience. 

Much attention is paid to the staves themselves, whether the 24 in the so-called Elder Futhark, the 16 of the Younger, and so on.

But, as we read in the rune poems- “the wolf grows up in the woods.”

And, in the Havamal-

“He knows alone who has wandered wide, 

and far has fared on the way, 

what manner of mind a man doth own 

who is wise of head and heart.”

What of the roads and rivers?

What of the space between?

In the western musical scale, there are 12 tones.

For example, C is adjacent to C#, that is, C and C sharp.

Between them is a semitone.

There are many different ways these are applied musically, but what is important for the sake of our current discussion is this:

They are what lies between the notes of the scale. Not altogether one tone, or the next, but a sort of blend in which they are equal parts of both.

Have you read about dark matter?


In its simplest idea, it is a substance theorized to be the unseen matter that lies between, among, and around everything in the known universe, not visible to us now, but affecting everything in myriad ways. 

Take our example of the villages again.

Now imagine that instead of a forest, we are in space.

The pathways are now seen as a diagram in three dimensions instead of a flat map with lines drawn between the dots of each village.

Up, down, beyond, between.



In your conception of the runic forms, what is all this empty space containing?

In mine, it is that “Ginnungagap,” that magically charged space that represents potential.

Ideas in potential. Undiscovered but waiting to be found, grasped, realized, brought forth into conscious reality.

Each area is “influenced” more or less heavily by the runic “stars” that rule that space the most.

If we imagine each rune as a node in the brain, for example, the space between each node and contained within their matrix would be grey matter.

Each time a signal goes from one or more of the nodes to another, or that node is “awakened” or “activated,” it lights up a certain amount of the “grey” or “dark” matter nearby, between, or around the activated area.

How much is “lit up,” I believe, is dependent on an individuals experience.

His “time in,” the real work and hours of relationship he has.

I often consider, when reading the Havamal, all the wandering and “advice for friends” sections as referring to these runic entities.

What is one’s relationship with Sowilo?

Is it stronger, more developed through “face time” than his connection with Perthro?

Has he beaten down the weeds and thorns between himself and Berkano- and shared his full mind there, made the necessary exchanges?

The runes are not flat lines on paper.

They are entities.

Organic, outside of ourselves, yet within us.

They exist like seeds, but they do not grow in our gardens unless we feed them, care for them, and pursue that relationship with them.

Much like trees and plants, they must have space between them in order to grow- but the interplay that occurs within that space is far from a dead zone.

Pay attention to the semitones- what sounds like dissonance to some can be a symphony to the initiated.

Semitones by Paul Waggener