The following interview is an excerpt from the book, by Hunter M. Yoder, Heiden Hexology, Essays and Interviews, 2012
Today I thank Waldzauberer for coming on and conversing with me, from one Hex to another. He's had quite a year, also known as Valúlfr, Óðvaknir, Jaivanta, and many other by-names, his experience in the realms of Hexerei and Icelandic Galdr are legendary. We had the pleasure of showing Hexes together this year at Germ Bookstore/Gallery in Philadelphia in a show entitled, "Deitsch Heathen Hexology" Anyway first Question:
1.Heil Waldzauberer! Tell what you can about the reasons behind the disbanding of your well known Rune School, The Wolfbund?
* The reasons were legion my friend, suffice to say that between losing friends over disjointed and out of control egos to getting folks who really didn’t know what it was to be a “magician”, the Wolfbund had seen its days, at least I’d had enough of it all. There were also health issues that had manifested that needed my undivided attention, so everything unfolded as it should have. Through it all my personal Work continues on nonetheless, such is the life of a Hex, I’m just a lot more cautious now about who I choose to pass along what I have learned over the past 34 years.
2. You seem to have been able to compartmentalize the Hexerei from the Galdrstaves in your work, is that correct and if so what can you say about that?
* For me, this is an ongoing process of discovery and innovation. Starting off with the painting of Hexefuus, I decided to stick with “original” motifs to get a real feel for the craft itself. Given all the potential in shape, form, and color, I think this was the best approach for how I’m wired. My background in Icelandic galdr-staves as you know is extensive. Normally these are scratched on wood and stained with some special substance, or they are penned on specific medium. To date, I have successfully married the two “systems” in my mind, with some very positive feedback on my most recent piece, the Vegvisir–hex. Your work in this area obviously served as the inspiration for my own
3. We have discussed at length the PA Deitsch traditions. I can't but notice the enormous Germanic energies emanating from Michigan, educate us.
* Aside from my own endeavors here in the Great Lakes region over the years, and the already established heathen communities, there are those who had their genesis in my hallowed Hall going all the way back to the mid 90’s that continue the Work today. Some of them have now established themselves in independent Halls that are somewhat philosophically connected, others are either solitary or have joined other groups; all are completely independent of what was the Wolfbund. It’s like a tree you grow and nurture; it will produce seeds that fall whereby new trees will grow, and though they look somewhat similar to the old tree, they are unique unto themselves nonetheless; this is a feature of Berkano. All in all, I don’t think this is unique to the Great Lakes area though, there seems to be a strong surge of heathenism across the country, amazing what the internet has done.
4. The folkish Germanic Heathen community has embraced Hexology, any thoughts?
* Symbols are a very interesting study in how they impact the consciousness of man. The hex-sign seems to resonate on a very deep level with those of German descent for obvious reasons. Additionally, due to its obscurity, it has a certain draw and mystique that connects many to a piece of German-American history that can still be seen in your neck of the woods. It’s also something that Deutsch/Deitsch folk can embrace today, keeping the craft itself alive and well. Hopefully we won’t see them in video games like runes are today.
5. As a fellow enthusiast of wood and iron fittings from old structures, what is it about these materials?
* Good question, I’m really not sure though. I have been drawn to old structures since I was a kid growing up in rural Michigan. I would come across some old barn, or house, and find a quiet place to sit, listen and “feel”. For me, it was as if I could almost hear the past whispering through what was left; a resonance, or signature that imprints itself on its surroundings. A great many “workings” have taken place amid such places. I suppose it’s also an appreciation of the craftsmanship of days gone by. My Grandfather was a carpenter, old school, and I remember when he got out of the business, and how pissed off he was at the new way of building homes and barns.
6. What is the relationship between Germanic Folkish Heathenry, the religion, and Hexerei?
* Difficult question for me to answer as I am not involved in any organized Folkish groups, however, on the surface it’s really a question about the relationship between religion and magic. To me, religion, regardless of the flavor, is a belief system based upon a concept that a divine cosmic being can/will act on one’s behalf under the right set of circumstances of a devotional nature. Magic, on the other hand, and generally speaking, is the belief that the developed human Will can bring about changes, both internally and externally, in accordance with desire and need. One is not any better than another; it’s really a matter of one’s temperament and world-view. For the religionist, symbols serve to remind one of ones place in the grand scheme of things, and for the magician (Hex), symbols serve their creator to effect change in the world(s) around and in them.
7. The Rune School concept of the subjective/objective Universe in Galdrstaves and Hexology, is it that simplistic. Isn't this Dualism? My view is that the concept is overplayed, what is yours?
* Unfortunately, dualism is the springboard from which we all start our lives. It is the prevailing philosophy that is difficult to overcome except for the few. Given this circumstance, and the fact that even our various languages have this undercurrent in it, it is the philosophy of dualism itself that is used to peer beyond it. One must understand one’s circumstance first before progress can be made. Over time, and with a good deal of re-wiring, the difference between what is called objective and subjective begins to blur. The galdor-stave, runes, hexefoos, what have you, are now seen as active “agents” working on behalf of the magician as co-creator/destroyer manifesting a directed Will.
8. At what point do the Northern European traditions part from our own New World/Vinlandish folk traditions and which way should we go with that?
*The first place I would start would be a healthy dose of reality. First and foremost none of us can be purists in the strictest sense of the term; we do not live in the 9th century. Granted, there is a good deal we can do within the cultural norms we live in today, but there is a good deal we cannot as well. Our social niceties have changed radically in the past 120 years; hel, there was a time when hangings were public affairs where the whole community would attend. I wonder how many folk today could endure watching this for an afternoon. Anyway, regarding the issue of Northern European vs. Vinlandish tradition, I don’t see this as a problem in that the Vinlandic traditions were actually brought here by our ancestors from whatever part of Europe they came from. Additionally, there was a good deal of borrowing from the native populations which is evidenced in many of the early American farming, hunting, and healing folk traditions. This too, I believe is making a quiet comeback. As far as which way to go; I say, go with your blood, what will work will resonate with you, and be sure to teach the young ones.
9. What influences, if any did Kabbalah have on Icelandic Magic?
* That, of course, depends on what period in their history we look at. Prior to the conversion of 1000 CE there was virtually no influence as the population was composed largely of heathen Norwegians and Celts from Ireland, its only after the conversion that things get interesting with regard to your question. With the coming of the first Catholic Bishops to Iceland came knowledge of all sorts from the continent, travel to and from the continent also increased, mostly by those who could afford it. At any rate, knowledge was passing back and forth among the educated; this includes those interested in the arcane. Several of the most well known “Magicians” from that period were Bishops, and with them came the occidental traditions, such as they were at the time. There are examples of SATOR squares from Iceland, some carved in runic script, there are also elements of Judeo/Christian motifs in many of the magical formula, as well as the “Himmelsbrief”, or Letter to/or from Heaven. This is not unusual to Iceland though, that pattern is repeated all over Europe during the transition period relative to the area.
10. I've drawn blanks in the Germanic/Rune School arena for my personal interest in Shamanism. What tribal primitive Germanic practices fill that void?
* There are many in fact, that’s if we are defining “shamanism” the same way. When I think of Shamanism, I think of the tribal traditions of the pan-Eurasian semi-polar people, I think of the pan-American “medicine-man”, the Bon of Tibet, and so on. One common thread with the “traditional” tribal Shaman, regardless of place of origin is; communication with the dead, healing an afflicted person through “spirit travel” and/or plant knowledge, foretelling the future, the perspective that all of nature is animate, shape-shifting into various animals, song/chant/galdr/mantra/etc, direct communication via a meta-language with the “spirits” and animals of the tribe and geographic area, and last, but not the end of a longer list, a unique world-view that places the Shaman at the direct “center” of his/her world. This view is the most important factor for the rest of it to work.
So in answer to your question, there are a variety of “shamanistic” type practices from our ancient Germanic past that can still be invoked today, the problem being in the label and the various understandings of the terms used. However, from the list above, one can see that there are practices from our Germanic past via the literature that have similar descriptions. For example, if I use the Old Icelandic term seið-berendr, meaning sorcery, or one who communicates with the dead, well what does that mean? Sorcery means different things to folks, and besides, that’s a Latinized French term used to describe some practice from Iceland that was similar to what was called sorcery on the continent. Even the “shamans” of Finland and of the Siberian tribes were called “sorcerers” by the Christian missionaries. All in all, I think that our collective Germanic heathen “spirit” has awakened, and a good deal of the “old ways” have begun to reemerge. It will look different though, as it should; we don’t live in that time any longer.
11. How do the magic objects you create differ from their images that we see on the internet?
* To me, and this is just my humble opinion, having “the object” within your personal sphere creates a resonance between the two. This includes something for one’s self, or something meant for another, this is the basic rule of sympathetic magic. There are of course other possibilities that could include optical magic, something I became aware of recently. Seems a mutual online friend of ours from Texas had some very positive reactions from simply looking at the Vegvisir-hex online.
12. The older more primal symbols used in Hexology such as the rosette, the cross, the spiral, the earthstar, etc. what is their relationship to Runology?
* Not much from what I can tell, with the exception of the use of symbols to represent specific ideas. However, that has now changed, today, with Hexologists such as yourself, a “marriage” between the two has emerged. We, who are using the best of both worlds in our rendering of Hexefuus, are on the cutting edge of what will come of it.
13. Plant mysticism in Germanic Heathen traditions today seems to have been forgotten. What are your views on 'die Blantz' ?
* Oh, I don’t know, I think there are a lot more Folks paying attention to die Blantz, at least the well grounded “heathen”. To me, and you know this, plants are sacred things, been a big fan of die Blantz for over 30 years, especially those with a “strong spirit”. There are plants that can take you places only imagined, plants that heal or kill. After having grown Datura now for a couple of years, I can now say that we have gotten to know each other quit well. Among the “power” plants I’m growing are Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), Atropa belladonna, and tobacco (Nicotiana), all Solanaceae family. I have also made it a point to learn what grows within a quarter mile of where I live, something every Vinlandic
heathen should do.