Runes have a fundamentally dual nature. On the one hand, runes are the individual letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used in various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter.
The Scandinavian variants of runic alphabet are also known as futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc.
On the other hand, runes are very powerful magical symbols used in runic magic for divination and other purposes. There is evidence that runes were initially meant to serve this dual purpose – i.e. that they used in magic rituals and objects from the very beginning.
The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark (around 150–800 AD), the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (400–1100 AD), and the Younger Futhark (800–1100 AD). The Younger Futhark (also called Scandinavian runes) developed further into the Medieval runes (1100–1500 AD), and the Dalecarlian runes (c. 1500–1800 AD).
The modern runic alphabet (used extensively by modern practitioners of runic magic – myself included) got the name of Armanen runes. This alphabet is closely based on the Younger Futhark (and has 18 instead of 16 runes) and was (officially) introduced by Austrian occultist and Germanic revivalist Guido von List.
Guido von List (born Guido Karl Anton List) claimed that Armanen runes were mystically and gradually “revealed” to him by some spiritual entities during his 11-month state of temporary blindness after a cataract operation on both eyes in 1902.
Actually, he was telling the truth. The Younger Futhark that Armanen runes were derived from, was not only used (for magical purposes) but actually created by The Black Sun Society at about the same time the initial “Wewelsburg object” was built – i.e. sometime in the 9th century AD.
The Society anticipated (correctly) that in a few years they would need more powerful runic magic – so they made the necessary changes to the alphabet… and then, indeed, somehow revealed them to Guido von List (possibly via some kind of advanced hypnosis).
It was also (undoubtedly) the Society that introduced the Armanen Runes to Heinrich Himmler and inspired his to use them in his SS-Empire. However, they were bitterly disappointed.
True, Himmler used the runes extensively in the SS – to begin with, the SS insignia consisted of a “double Sig” runes (meaning “victory, victory” in the Armanen runes). Not surprisingly, this runes (which look like lightning bolts) alluded to the Air Arm origins of the Schutzstaffel (“fire and thunder from the sky”).
Unfortunately for The Black Sun Society (and for Heinrich Himmler and the SS), Himmler used the runes strictly as symbols (for him they represented virtues seen as desirable in SS members). In other words, for their emotional value – not magical power. An immense magical power.
Why? Because The Black Sun Society failed to make Himmler a practicing magician – let alone the High Priest of the neo-pagan occult religion. Which is understandable, because Heinrich Himmler never wanted to be one. He wanted to be the Grand Master of a reincarnation of the Teutonic Order and the head of the reincarnated Ordensstaat, not the High Priest (let alone a practicing magician).
Although he renounced Catholicism (and left the Holy Roman Catholic Church for good), Himmler never really converted to any coherent and comprehensive neo-pagan religion. True, he wanted to create something of that nature… but it was not really a high priority for him.
Of course, Hitler’s fervent opposition to everything and anything occult, mystical or magical – Der Führer even ordered a full-scale persecution of the latter – did not create any incentive for SS-Reichsfuhrer to get seriously involved with magic and occult (to put it mildly). And, finally, Himmler most likely did not believe in power of magic (of any kind).
Which makes his relationship with Karl Maria Wiligut even more puzzling.