I live in a historical home in Switzerland and there is a pillar in the front with some symbols on it. I have not paid much attention to this, but the book Geomantie für Einsteiger (Geomancy for Beginners) by Cornelia Wriedt has awakened my curiosity. The signs may be runes from ancient traditions.
The wood in the attic was dated to have been cut in 1581, so the house is just over 400 years old. The region where I live in north-western Switzerland was historically Celtic, before the Roman Empire, then the Franks, then the Austrians, moved in. Nowadays it is part of the Swiss canton Argovia. Switzerland in general identifies itself closely with it’s Celtic origins. The Helvetic Republic is descended so to speak from the Celtic Helvetii tribe.
I will therefore first try to find the meaning of the runes in Celtic tradition. Other choices could be to check Germanic, Roman, or medieval traditions.
A brief excursion on Geomancy. It sounds like it may be some sort of sorcery and many may thus reject it right from the start. On Wikipedia it is described as divination from the earth. But Geomancy can also be seen in a manner with no link to divination.
For the purposes of this article and also my use of it in general, I will use the modern European teaching of Geomancy. The German Wikipedia article has a nice section on the modern use of Geomancy which is unfortunately missing in the English one. I take a note to possibly add a translation of it to the English entry. It could also be that modern Geomancy has progressed more in Europe than elsewhere. Internationally its oriental counterpart, Feng-Shui, is better known.
Here is an excerpt from the German Wikpedia Article on Geomancy and my translation of it. I would add to this that modern Geomancy is for me the practice of connecting the material world with the unseen energy realm. The energy realm is very real but we don’t have as yet any means to detect and measure it in a modern scientific manner. So it remains an esoteric field for the time being.
(copied from Wikpedia.de)
“Die heutige europäische Geomantie ist eine unwissenschaftliche esoterische Lehre, die sich selbst als „ganzheitliche“ Erfahrungswissenschaft versteht und versucht, die Identität eines Lebensraums, eines Orts oder einer Landschaft zu erfassen und diese durch Gestaltung, Kunst oder Raum- und Landschaftsplanung zu berücksichtigen und ihr individuellen Ausdruck zu verleihen.”
|Today’s European Geomancy is a non-scientific esoteric teaching which sees itself as a holistic empiric science. It attempts to apprehend the identity of a living space, a town, or a landscape. Through room design, art, and landscaping it gives its subjects a peculiar individual expression.|
Runes fit well into this modern interpretation. Through runes the object such as a house was given special protection for the well-being of its inhabitants. For our ancestors this was a way to create a harmonious living space.
The runes have little or no meaning for us if we dismiss them as mere superstitions. But if we take them more serious they can take on meaning depending on how we decide to interpret and interact with them.
Here are more detailed pictures from bottom to top. The last one must obviously mean the year 1622 and is not a rune. Perhaps the house was built in 1622 but I find that unlikely because the wood was cut 41 years earlier in 1581.
In the second part to come I will look at the individual signs and try to find their meanings.