The Dreams from the Wild Gods and Giants: A full Immersion into the Runic Oracle and Northern Myth
with Andreas Kornevall
Thursdays: 12th, 19th, 26th October, 2nd, 9th, 16th November 2023
(7-9pm UK Time)
See below for the summary of the course:
ABOUT THE COURSE:
The purpose of this course is to explore the interior shores of the Norse imagination and its relationship to the runic symbols. The runes will be examined, not as linguistic letters of an extinct language, but as symbols which are alive to different forces and principles in the Universe and in our psyche, similarly to the notion of primordial images such as archetypes. Through various practices, both traditional and modern, we will learn about these forces as an attempt to deepen the understanding of ourselves. The goal through this work is to recognise our individual gifts that we all possess and how they can be expressed more fully to benefit our local ecology, communities and families. To attend to a practice which is generous to the Earth.
In 1643 an Icelandic Bishop called Brynjolf Sveinsson was given forty-five pieces of vellum containing poetry and prose. The words on this vellum are thought to have been written down around AD 1270. Which person, or family, had protected this manuscript for over four hundred years we don’t know, but we can be sure that it would have been a treacherous secret to bear safely through the medieval witch-burning centuries. The Bishop did not himself keep the manuscript and neither did he hold it above a flame; instead, he offered the collection as a gift to the King of Denmark. This manuscript came to be known as the Codex Regius as a result. There it remained, in Copenhagen, until 1971, when it was returned to Iceland. Warships had to transport the manuscript across the sea, as a plane journey was seen as too risky, such was the preciousness of the cargo. It is not surprising: these vellum papers represent the few written remains we have of the Northern European pre-Christian culture and their old mythic imagination. They are known today by the collective name of the Eddas. Many ideas and scholars debate what the intriguing word “Eddas” may mean etymologically, my own preferred conclusion is: “Grandmother.”
What stories do we find hidden amongst these ancient animal skins and are they relevant for us today?
To answer this question, perhaps one of the best definitions of mythology comes from the fourth century Roman writer Sallustius: “Myths are things which never happened, but always are.” This phrase teaches us a great deal about the mythical purpose: that it does not merely reflect the travails of our human life, but guides us through the longings, yearnings and the existential search for our hidden human soul. Reading the Edda today, we create a world of meaning. Central to the mythical directive in the Eddas lies in the reconciliation with each other through grief and how it can lead us towards the birth of wisdom.
This understanding relates to all of humanity and not only for those with Northern European ancestry, the symbols of the runes and the mythical landscape of the Eddas are a literary heritage for humanity just like Homer or Shakespeare. This course will be an immersion into a rich living tradition, both ancient and modern. We will explore together with the myths the rune symbols which are said to originate from within the branches of the Northern Anima Universalis: the Tree of Life, named Yggdrasil.
All are welcome to join regardless of experience, sexuality, and cultural/spiritual background: the spirit is warm and always enthusiastically inclusive.
Weeks 1 & 2: Thursday 12th & 19th October 2023
Runic Currents and Images
First we will lay the groundwork of establishing an understanding of symbols, what they are and how they are different from signs. We will learn about the underlying wisdom in Northern mythology and its relationship to personal and universal destiny and fate by studying the concepts of “Urlog” and the “Wyrd” which are presided over by the three Norns: who are the past, present and future. We will inquire into the “Well of Memory” and its relationship to the Tree of Life – Yggdrasil.
Week 3: Thursday 26th October
The Inner Runes of the Sacred Tree: Yggdrasil
We begin by reading the Edda and especially Odin’s initiation on the Tree of Life, followed by a meditation on the runes and how they are embedded within the poetic voice from nature and the Ash tree. We will examine the runes as animated symbols when chanted. This session will also explore the special polytheistic mindset of Northern Europe and how the perception of self was closer to the idea of a “psyche,” which is a more nuanced, complex and poly-sensory notion of the self. Andreas will demonstrate how the multi-self perception relates to the Tree of Life and the deep psychological significance this Universal Tree plays in today’s ecological crisis.
Week 4: Thursday 2nd November
Practical session: Runes – How to send, how to pray, how to bless?
What is an oracular practice, what is oracular language? When we understand symbols as animistic and alive, then what role does ritual have in creating a relationship to the symbol? Using a gentle visualisation technique from Jungian Marion Woodman, we will go on a journey to retrieve an “unbidden” image and learn to craft this image into a poetic metre called the Galdralag (A Spell Metre), a writing technique seen in the Edda. There will also be a practice on how to write spell metres and how we can transform them into a song or chant for beneficial purposes.
“In the current writing technology we use, we are missing the corporeal, the rhythmical and the echoes of the natural world. Our current mode of reading and writing is the master of information and utility. In my rune practice I am attempting to make markings and symbols more corporeal and less of the policing of form and grammar. People are often ranked about their “readability” which has stopped many people from sharing innate expressions. With runes and symbols we bring the language and writing back to its origins, back to the self, and into the dusk-light of nature’s own writing.”
Weeks 5 & 6: Thursday 9th & 16th November
Bringing it all together
Taking what we have learnt and putting this all into practice with conversations and a final assignment. The final assignment is to learn to understand rune symbols in fairy tales, this assignment will be inspired by the work of Jungian Marie-Louise Von Franz.
Andreas Kornevall – Biography
Andreas Kornevall is an author, storyteller and ecological activist. He grew up in South America, Sweden and Switzerland, and now directs the Earth Restoration Service charity. In response to the sixth mass extinction, he was the catalyst behind the Life Cairn movement: memorials for species rendered extinct at human hands. As a storyteller, he works with old myths and fairytales which shine a torchlight on life’s journey; his stories tend to gravitate around the Norse material which have led him to lecture and perform in universities and other educational centres. He is also a prize-winning author, whose work has been published in magazines such as Resurgence, The Ecologist, Permaculture magazine and in the Dark Mountain series. He is a member of the ‘Forn Sed’ (Old Customs Association) in Sweden which works closely with ancient Norse culture, traditions and spirituality, unearthing old legends, forgotten folklore and endangered Norse languages.
Through his charity he has planted over 200 woodlands in the United Kingdom and he has recently been voted by the University of Southern California as one of their 100 spiritual exemplars.
“Andreas Kornevall offers a powerful immersive experience of travelling into Norse mythology and Runic divination, food for both soul and intellect. Understanding Runic script as mythic symbols opens a door into the archetypes that inform all human existence, and Andreas’ deep knowledge and love for his subject is truly inspirational.”
Dr Angela Voss