Die Schwarzesonne (Revised)
By: Steve Anthonijsz
This article was originally written under the pen name Radböd Ártisson. All runic symbols have been removed and replaced by the names of the staves for easier reading in .HTML format.
I have seen a number of commentaries put out by modern rynsters discussing the Schwarzesonne, or Black Sun design. There exists one major problem in all these interpretations: all of them have been based on the so-called Elder Fuþark despite the fact that the designers of this symbol based their conceptions on the Armanen Futharkh. The Armanen Futharkh was the only runic system available to most Germans in the early part of the twentieth century. Certain antiquarians and scholars knew of other rune rows, but little work was done with them, as there was simply no information available at the time.
Would anyone attempt to make a commentary on the Kylver stone inscription using the Northumbrian Fuþorc? Of course not, as this inscription was carved in the Gothic Fuþark. Would it be wise to attempt to find deeper meanings in Icelandic galdrastafir by using the Prof. Hermann Wirth’s “Holy Row” or maybe King Wladamar’s Runes despite the fact that we know that these designs were based on the Standard Nordic Fuþork? No? If this is the case, then why would we not view a symbol such as the Schwarzesonne using the Armanen Futharkh on which its interpretation was based?
This brief analysis is an attempt to redress the aforementioned issue. All interpretations of the runes in this treatise are taken from Siegfried Adolf Kummer’s Runen=Magie, written in 1933 (tr. Edred Thorsson as Rune-Magic, 1993). Kummer was not only a German rynster (living in Dresden in the years just prior to World War II, and having founded his Rune School Runa in 1927) contemporary with the interpretations made at Castle Wewelsburg discussed below, but was arguably one of the greatest runenmeisteren ever to have worked with the Armanen system.
To Irminists the Schwarzesonne is a very important symbol. To other Heathens it seems to be one recognized as bearing some significance, but it generally considered rather vague and obscure. What is really known about the secrets of the Schwarzesonne?
This symbol may be traced back into the mists of human history, as a symbolic representation of a solar eclipse. This occurs when Mâno moves directly between Sunna and Mittigart, causing a brief period of darkness. This experience has, in various world mythologies, been associated with either the end of the world and/or some drastic change (such as a new dispensation) approaching. The fact that the appearance of darkness conquering light may have profound mythological implications ought not be surprising!
The most familiar Black Sun design first appeared on the floor of Castle Wewelsburg in Westphalia before the building was taken over by the Schutzaffel (SS) just prior to WWII. Although some of he SS occupants who worked with the runes continued to use the Armanen system, the majority came to give preference to the runic system favoured by Karl Maria Wiligut. Wiligut, incidentally, was one of the key individuals involved in choosing the Wewelsburg for the uses of the Nazi SS. Because of re-interpretation through Wiligut’s ‘Teut-onic Rune Row” and later embellishments made by party leaders, the interpretation of this symbol as used by the Nazis proved to be somewhat different from its original intention.
The selection of Castle Wewlesburg was far from arbitrary. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke reports:
During the Nazi electoral campaign of January 1933 Himmler travelled
throughout Westphalia, making his first acquaintance with ‘the land of
Forest, a drive up to the Hermannsdenkmal in fog, and the romantic
Grevenburg Castle, where the Führer’s party stayed overnight, impressed
Himmler deeply and made him think of acquiring a castle in this area for SS
purposes. After two other castles had been considered in the course of the
year, Himmler viewed the Wewelsburg with members of his Personal Staff
on 3 November 1933 and made his choice that very evening. After a further
visit in April, the castle was officially taken over by the SS in August 1934.
The Wewelsburg began its new career as a museum and SS officers’ college
for ideological education within the Race and Settlement Main Office, but
was then placed under the direct control of the Reichsfürhrer-SS Personal
Staff in February 1935. This transfer reflected the increasing importance of the
castle to Himmler and the germination of this plans for an SS order-castle,
comparable to the Marienburg of the medieval Teutonic Knights. ¶ The
impetus for this changing conception of the Wewelsburg came almost
certainly from [Wiligut], who had accompanied Himmler on his visits to the
castle. [Wiligut] predicted that the castle was destined to become a magical
German strongpoint in a future conflict between Europe and Asia. This idea
was based an old Westphalian legend, which had found romantic expression in
a nineteenth-century poem.
The Black Sun design emerged on the floor of the Führersaal (= “Leader Hall”) at Castle Wewelsburg, made of dark green marble against a grey background. Some writers claim that it was found already worked into the tiles, whilst others allege that Himmler had it worked in to the tile pattern. The SS interpretation of this symbol and its use in religious ceremonial is not well understood. However, it’s reasonable to assume that, if the inspiration did, in fact, come from Wiligut, that Theosphy would have heavily influenced these ideas. The Theosophical conception relates to the idea of an ‘invisible sun’ around which the All is assumed to revolve. Wiligut evolved this idea manifested as an extinguished star that had once shown over the mythical land of Hyperboria. The rays of this un-dead star, he believed, still energized the Aryan soul.
Interestingly, an identical rendering of Wewelsburg’s Schwartzsonne may be found as a wall painting at a WWII military bunker at Hamburg below a statue of Bismark. Its origins are unknown.
We may view the Schwarzesonne in two ways: either (1) as a ring composed of twelve Sig runes, or (2) as three overlaid fyrfoßen. If one contemplates the symbolism in either fashion, however, one will discover that these two separate interpretations will lead to complementary conclusions.
The first way that we may consider the Schwarzesonne is as a ring of 12 Sig runes spoked in a wheel to appear as solar rays. 12 is the number of the Tyr rune. For an interpretation of this stave let us turn to Kummer:
The t-Rune, Tyr, is the Rune of good fortune, of spiritual victory, of rebirth, of
creation, but also of destruction and eternal change; Thor, Tyr, Tiu, Zir, Teut.
It is the Rune of the Teut = Teut-ons = Deut-sch [Germans]. It indicates a
concealment, disguise; also within it operate the Three: Arising-Being-Passing
away to new Arising- therefore turning, twisting, striving ever upward. Tyr,
the Third, the threefold power. The spiral current, the cosmic rhythm; the
arrow- and lance-head in the shape of the Tyr-Rune.
Kummer informs us regarding the Sig rune:
“The s-rune, Sig, Sal, Sol, the Rune of the Sun’s power, of victory [Sieg], Sal
and Sig = Well-being and victory; of the Light, of the Hale, of the soul, of the
kindling, lightning; Sig = the sunlight the Sieve, the Seventh (head of the
ruling council), the clan of blood-Kin. The Sig-rune is the rune of the fighter
and the victor; it provides victory and makes the enemy cowardly, weak and
powerless. Numerical values is 11.”
The runic key for the S-rune is “guiding”.
If we multiply the numerical value of Sig (11) by the number of Sig runes used to compose the Black Sun design (12), we arrive at a product of 132. We may examine each of the digits composing 132, but we must also reduce this value to 6. Let us see how these numbers and their runic correspondences affect our view:
1 is the number of the Fa rune. Back to Kummer:
“The f-rune, fa, Fa-tor = Father; generation in Spirit and in Matter, kindling a
fire, fire- engendered magical force which shapes everything; the eternal
return of the Fa-tor—pure Love which constantly works in a creative manner.”
3 is the number of Thorn:
“The th-rune, Thor; thurs, thorn. Thorn is Will and Deed. Donar = Don-Aar,
the singing sun, the thunder, Thor’s hammer. The Thorn of Fate, the Thorn of
Life, but also the Thorn of Death which leads to rebirth; no Life without Death,
no Death without Life. Sleeping Beauty, who is awakened by the Thorn of Life.
The Gate (The Golden Gate and the Gate of Misfortune in folk tales.)”
2 is the number of the Ur rune:
“The u-rune, the ur [primal, original], Rune of primal fire, original creation,
primal birth, primal Spirit, original knowledge, primal light, original position,
primal cause, original eternity, primal time, origin, original writing,
judgment [or-deal], primal ba-sis, original mother, the Norn Urda, Uranus,
primal arising, primal being, primal passing-away. The origin of all
manifestations is the Ur- the Ur of the All, the Ur of the Earth. Urn.”
And if we reduce all of these by reducing 132 to 6, we arrive at the Ka:
“The k-rune, Ka, is the rune of Cause and Effect, of poetic justice. Its sound,
k, indicates to spiritual and physical ability, to cures, art [Kunst], those who can,
king, queen, Kun, Kano, the canoe as a feminine symbol; Arkona, the Knowing One,
the Norn. Kala, the secret of traditional Knowledge. Ka, the Rune of pure,
conscious, Racial generation and multiplication.”
The implication of this symbolism is that the Germanic soul rises victorious. Our völk are healed-- spiritually speaking--after centuries of foreign and internal propaganda that led to our own destructive self-persecution. While a certain amount of anger and extreme reaction is inevitable, in the end our people prove to be resilient. Our reawakened triuwa is not the same as that of our ancestors (Os) but is equal in its dynamism and purpose.
Another way that we might reflect on this emblem is to see it as three fyrfoßen (swastikas) overlaying one another. 3 is a “holy number” that is greatly represented in Heathen mythic lore. It represents completion of, or giving life to a process. Completeness in the mythic lore is characterized in a number of profound examples: e.g.; the 3 progenitors of the 3 divine clans: Wuotan, Willo and Wîh fathering the Ensi, Wanen and Alpâ respectively; the three visible roots of Irminsûl reaching into Urdabrunno, Huergelmer and Mîmesbrunno. Even ancient poetic forms were often based on triplicates. And, of course, the fundamental Armanic principle of the threefold cyclical process, ‘Arising-Being-Passing away to new Arising,’ representing the key to the evolution of both the individual and of the ethnic unit.
There are three fyrfoßen to embody the three cycles of rising, being, and passing away/rising again.
The fyrfoß, of course, is a variant form of the Gibor rune. Of Gibor Kummer states:
“The g-Rune, Gibor, Ge, Gea, Geo = Earth, God, gift, giver, Gibor—the Rune
representing the Fyrfos, the swastika, the fire of Love, constant re-creation
and eternal rebirth. Giborallar, the altar of the All-Father, the Giver; the
Giver-Rune, in which is contained the Mal- cross [the "times-sign"], the
crossing, the marriage of two Selves, of two powers. Gibur is the Eternal in
human hearts. Gibur Arahari! = Man, be one with God!—or—Give us primal
power, Soul of the Sun, Arahari! Numerical value 18.”
If we were to multiply 18 (the value of Gibor) by 3, whose symbolism has been discussed above, (for each fyrfoß) we come to 54.
5 is Rit:
“The r-Rune, Rit; counsel [rede], wheel [flarf], red, rita, rota— holy,
invulnerable, innate Righteousness. Cosmic rhythm, whispering, raging,
rolling, rubbing, rustling, etc. The Savior [Rei-ier], the Righteous, the Rider
[Knight], the Hero [Recke], Ararita, the Law, the symbol of the All-Rite. The
Rune of Righteousness and Integrity.”
4 is the Os rune.
“The o-Rune, Os; East, Easter, Ostara, the goddess of Spring. Os is the rune
of spiritual speech, of power, of language; through spiritual regeneration, every
negative force can be overcome. Os = womb, Osrun which conceives—that
which is conceived by Spirit and Love becomes a reality.”
Os is the only rune in the Futharkh with an alternate form. The alternate form of Os is Othil which, while representing the same general principles, carries a stronger emphasis on Heritage and Inheritance.
54 > 9, which corresponds to the Is rune. Kummer describes Is:
“The s-Rune… indicates the magical Nine of completion. It is the Rune of the
upright, enterprising, conscious leader and magician. Its symbol is the World
Axis, the Irmin-column = Irminsul.”
9 itself is the holiest of numbers. While it transforms anything that it touches, it remains constant in and of itself. This number, like 3, is also well represented in the mythic lore: the 9 worlds; Wuotan hanging from Irminsûl for 9 nights and returning with 9 prodigious songs; the 9 mothers of Heimo…
Thus, following this route of interpretation, the Schwarzesonne represents the reuniting of the human soul with the divine, the religious/ceremonial acceptance of our ancestral heritage, putting us in sync with the ways of our götter. Our reawakened triuwa is built on a foundation of Mutual Exchange and Welcome with our ancestral gods. The Black Sun acts much as a talisman intended to work for the victory of the Germanic psyche. Granted, this purpose was greatly distorted by the unenlightened Nazi ethic when the SS took over Castle Wewelsburg in January of 1939. The Nazis associated the glyph with strange theories of Atlantis and its supposed language called “Vril.”
Today we can reclaim this symbol for what it was intended—perhaps in an even more enlightened interpretation, as our minds are not being affected by the various religious, social, and political extremes of pre-war Germany. This symbol represents the spirit of the Reawakening, the continuation of the work that began in the Germanic Revival during which the symbol was developed.
The notion of such a profound change is directly related to the idea of self-actualisation. In his spiritual quest, the seeker strives for self-evolution through challenge, and often he will meet transformative situations that will cause these dramatic effects. In these times the challenge may be met by a combination of hope and fear—the same emotions we can imagine our altmâgâ feeling seeing a solar eclipse. But like the eclipse, the Schwarzesonne is not an individual experience, but one shared among the entire völk.
The Black Sun’s shape, as well as the use of the twelve Sig runes, graphically demonstrates the glory of the Reawakening upon the Germanic soul, shining its grandeur among our folk. This meaning is echoed by alternative interpretation of the three overlaid Gibor runes.
Hail the götter!
Hail the völk!
Hail the Reawakening!