History of the Rune-Gild

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By Edred Thorsson

Arcana Europa / Gilded Books, 272 pages, ISBN 978-0999724545


Edred Thorsson (Stephen Flowers) is the world’s foremost expert on esoteric runology. He founded the Rune-Gild in 1979 as an initiatory organization tasked with the creation of Rune-Masters who could carry this knowledge forward to new generations. Unlike other occult or esoteric organizations, however, the Gild’s focus is not only on techniques of magic and self-transformation. The Gild strives to provide its Learners, Fellows, and Masters with a rigorous scholarly perspective for situating these techniques within the broader context of Germanic and Indo-European history and tradition, which is the underlying foundation of our culture.

In this fascinating and informative volume, Thorsson describes his childhood as a “monster kid” in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and documents the first stirrings of Rûna—or “the Mystery”—in his life. He describes his formative (and often humorous) experiences with various occult organizations and the strange and eccentric personalities whom they attract. He chronicles his distinguished academic career and his relationship with scholarly mentors like Prof. Dr. Edgar Polomé and Prof. Dr. Klaus Düwel. He provides the background for his connections to the world of occult publishing and his involvement with neopagan (or heathen) organizations like the Asatru Free Assembly and the Ring of Troth (now known simply as The Troth—the name Thorsson originally gave it). Thorsson also speaks candidly of his more controversial associations, such as with Dr. Michael Aquino’s Temple of Set, or with the sexual subculture of sadomasochism—affiliations that have given rise to considerable misunderstandings and moralizing gossip. Throughout these pages, Thorsson approaches his own life and work with surprising honesty, both as to his successes and—in some cases—his failures. But even when the path has been fraught with difficulties and unforeseeable obstacles, Thorsson has relied on the hidden hand of the “Old Man” (Odin or Woden) to guide his life’s mission of (re-)establishing a traditional Rune-Gild in North America and Europe.

Featuring illustrations and appendices, as well as dozens of rare and unpublished photographs collected from over forty years in the occult and neopagan underground, the History of the Rune-Gild is the inside story of a modern initiatory order, and the magical and intellectual biography of the visionary personality behind it.