It is a well-established fact that SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler had more than a passing interest in just about “all things occult”. Unfortunately for him, for the SS, for Nazi Germany and possibly even for the European Civilization and for the whole world, he was never serious about occult (any occult).
Which prevented him from using the immense power offered by the occult objects and practices (and he had everything he needed to use these objects and practices to the fullest extent possible). The power that could very well have won the war for the Third Reich.
One of the occult system that he (and the SS in general) toyed with were the Runes. More precisely, the Rune magic.
Rune magic (“Runic magic”) is one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful) kinds of magic there is. There is ample evidence that since time immemorial Runes (of all kinds) in addition to being a writing system, Runes were used in magical rituals (i.e. for communicating with all kinds of invisible entities for all kinds of purposes).
Or, which I believe to be far healthier – and what I actually practice – harnessing cosmic energies from the realms of the Runes. Actually, energy – an extremely powerful spiritual energy which goes by different names (I prefer Vril).
In the early 20th century, Germanic (and not only Germanic) mysticism created new forms of “runic magic”, some of which were continued or developed further by contemporary adherents of Germanic (and not only Germanic) Neopaganism.
Not to mention two news systems of runes – by Guido von List (Armanen Runes) and Karl Maria Wiligut (Wiligut Runes). The former appears to be the one most commonly used by contemporary runic magicians (myself included); however, the most common traditional runic systems (Elder and Younger Futharks) are still widely used.
Runes (of all kinds) are far more complicated and powerful objects that might seem at the first glance. They are, of course, “letters” of an “alphabet” used to produce all sorts of texts; however, they are also so-called “archetypal symbols” that represent the most basic human desires, emotions and qualities.
However, the true power of runes lies in the fact that they are triggers, portals, gateways even that provide the magician (if properly used, of course) with the ability to connect with The Source of immensely powerful “cosmic” energies… or with invisible, spiritual, supernatural entities and even deities (the latter is NOT recommended).
As not every sound that the language could produce has a corresponding Rune, it can be surmised that runes were originally used for sacred purposes only, not as an alphabet. And only subsequently began to be used to write names, short messages and then longer texts.
Whether the runes were developed from Old Italic alphabets by Germanic people, who often served as mercenaries in the Roman army (as is commonly believed) or they are rooted in a much older tradition of the “Atlantean North” (possibly a reminder of a very old global tradition) is still an open question.
Regardless of their origin, runes were used for magical purposes and thus were a part of a Germanic pagan religion. Which was ruthlessly eradicated by Christianity (probably the most intolerant religion there is).
However, some open-minded Christian priests (or those that had been born with magical and mystical abilities)… and not only priests quickly discovered the immense power of the Runes (magic and occult rituals were far more widespread among Christian clergy than is commonly believed).
More specifically, the power to help them achieve their political, religious and personal goals. Hence, these characters tried (and tried hard) to get hold of the sacred Runic knowledge even while they publicly condemned all those who used the Runes (and the Runes themselves).
Indeed at the same time when King Olaf of Norway (subsequently canonized by the Holy Roman Catholic Church) had been persuaded to kill all the Rune masters in his country, and destroy all standing Rune Stones, there were Christian priests (and not a small number of them) who were trying to obtain the secret Runic knowledge for themselves.
It is believed that to prevent misuse (and abuse) by such unworthy and ruthless people that Rune masters (allegedly) decided to block access to the enormous powers of the runes by adding new symbols and changing old ones.
As a result, only properly initiated individuals (“righteous seekers”) were able to understand the Runic system and to use the Runes with success (in other words, to achieve their objectives with Runic magic). For those who lacked the proper preparation and initiation, working with the new system became ineffective or even hazardous.
Some Runologists see Runes as so-called “primary abstractions”. In fact, the simplicity of Runes, and at the same time complex and very powerful effects, are a clear indication that these abstractions are of a pre-linguistic, in some situations even non-linguistic kind. This means that we can trace back this type of “creative interaction with the environment” to the earliest origins of humankind, even before language as we know it evolved.
From the energy perspective (and everything in our Universe is ultimately energy), Runes are defining and creating energies. In other words, energies that first create and then implement a certain blueprint (or a plan).
They can do it by either connecting the magician to The Source of immensely powerful cosmic energies (recommended); or to the spiritual entities and even deities (NOT recommended) or by creation of energy fields (artificial supernatural spiritual entities) with a power and flexibility that simply cannot appear when we work with the same energies without the impact of a connection to certain Realms of Creation (it depends).