In Search of the Grail: S.A. Kummer and the Quest for Transcendence

SIEGFRIED Alfred Kummer was born in 1899 and lived in the German city of Dresden at a time when Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was consolidating his regime in 1933. Having been influenced by the 18-rune Armanen Futharkh that had been formulated by Guido von List (1848-1919) in his 1906 Das Geheimnis der Runen, Kummer went on to found his famous Runa school in 1927 and develop a complex system of Aryan magick that was based on gymnastics, body-postures, hand-signals, rune-calls and blood mysticism. This, he combined with similar methods being employed at the Ariosophical school by the Richter brothers.

After publishing his Heilige Runenmacht in 1932, the following year Kummer went on to condense his work into a more practical volume under the title Runen-Magie. This was part of a wider series of books relating to Teutonic literature in general. As Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke explains, Kummer

instructed his pupils to draw a protective magical circle inscribed with the names of Germanic gods upon the floor and use a candelabrum, censor, and aspersorium as they performed rune exercises and invocations. Supplementary practices included rune-yodelling and rune-grips, whereby the hand and figures were used to form a particular rune in the course of meditation.[1]

Sadly, Kummer’s esoteric activities were eventually denounced by Karl Maria Wiligut (1866-1946) and he was forced to leave Germany and begin a new life in South America.

One particular symbol which came to inspire Kummer a great deal was the Armanen Man rune. This stave is identical to the Algiz figure of the 24-rune Elder Futhark, symbolising ‘life,’ and therefore Kummer’s version of Man should not be confused with Mannaz, as defined in the more popularised system as the embodiment of ‘man’ and appearing in the form of a letter ‘M’. Indeed, whilst Kummer himself insisted that List’s alternative version of the Man rune is something that pertains directly to the human form, it also represents a fusion between mankind and the life-force that lies within. In other words, the List-Kummer method employs Mannaz-as-Algiz.

One ritual in which this transformation appears involves the subject assuming the form of the Is (Ice) rune, with the body erect and the hands kept straight down at the sides. As the meditation begins, the magician raises his arms to form what most of us know as the Algiz rune and what the Armanen system prefers to describe as Man. Indeed, whilst performing this posture the subject hums the M-sound and imitates ‘the sound of bees’. The humming can also be further modulated as ‘ma-me-mi-mo-mu / am-em-im-om-um’.

Although the posture does not resemble the letter ‘M’ as we know it, the occult significance far outweighs the alphabetical connotations that we have become so familiar with. Kummer describes the effects:

The subtle currents of the All-power, like radio waves, flood into the back of the Runer’s head, flow through the back and sympathetic nerves and gather in the solar plexus and around the navel.[2]

Having first tried this method some years ago, after suffering a serious injury to my lower back, I experienced a profound floating sensation that alleviated the pain significantly and this was followed by a channelling of energy that radiated from the affected area and went up through my spinal column and out of my sahasrara, or crown chakra. The similarities with Kundalini are obvious and Kummer also describes how this current may be channelled downwards, beginning within the raised palms of one’s hands and then making its way down one’s legs to the feet and slowly into the earth. This represents a form of reciprocation between human and divine or, to use the well-known Hermetic formula, ‘as above, so below’. Meditating on the Man rune can also result in

a strange, blissful, beautiful feeling – a fine ringing and vibration in the practitioner. The glands and higher centres of the body begin to sparkle; the inner Self is freed from the constricting bonds of the body; flashes of thought, ancestral memories and astral projection dawn from within the Runer.[3]

Another way in which Kummer’s system attempts to harness the power of the Man posture, is through what he describes as the Grail-Chalice. This should only be performed after practising the meditation described above for a period of twenty minutes, in order to generate the right amount of energy. With the body erect, feet together and arms lifted up to the heavens once again, at a forty-five degree angle between head and hip, Kummer asks us to imagine that the subject is forming the shape of a chalice. The Anglo-Saxon rune-row, of course, with fifteen additional runes to that of the Armanen Futharkh, also contains a chalice-rune in the form of Calc, but Kummer is once again trying to combine various elements in what verges on a human version of a bind-rune. We have seen how Algiz manifests as Man, and this time we seem to be using a unique trinity comprised of Algiz-Mannaz-Calc. Kummer would disagree, naturally, on account of the fact that the first and third of these runes are not included within the Armanen system.

Whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with making associations between the three separate runic alphabets in a purely comparative sense, for this ritual it is essential to work solely with the Man rune as Kummer himself interprets it. We must also take account of the slightly modified position:

Your weight should be placed on the left foot, while the right foot rests lightly to the side. In this way the astral power centres of the body are most strongly activated. Due to this position, the Rune-stream,, the subtle currently of energy is unable to dissipate sufficiently through just the one foot into the earth and seeks an escape through the navel into the aura, where it then, in conjunction with the fading energies from the mouth, forms the Grail Chalice. Standing in this position, the Runer will feel a rather strong prickling sensation around the navel.[4]

Although Kummer’s system was designed for those of northern European stock, he adds a more ‘eastern’ flavour by asking the magician to use the humming formula ‘O-o-m-m’. Given the origins of the Aryans themselves, this reliance upon what some may regard as a ‘foreign’ system is merely a reincorporation of ancient Indo-European spirituality.

During this process, Kummer tells us, we must imagine a great channelling of Universal Love:

Fa-tor, I call to Thee, / With All-power stream through me, / The Grail in me awake, / Threefold in Love a Tyr’s oath I take.[5]

Cloaking oneself in ‘a very strong Odic mist,’ the magician continues to focus on the form of the Chalice and turns counter-clockwise on the left foot whilst continuing to sing the ‘O-o-m-m’ formula in time with the inhalation and exhalation of the breath. The fact that a chalice is essentially a vessel that yearns to be filled, means that the practitioner becomes a recipient of knowledge and seeks counsel from the gods. Man-as-oracle of wisdom.

Although Kummer’s Armanen system (after List) is broadly centred on the Younger Futhark, it does include two Anglo-Saxon runes in the shape of Eh (Eoh) and Gibor (Gyfu), meaing ‘yew’ and ‘gift’ respectively. It is therefore a great pity that Kummer never discussed the four ‘Grail’ runes of the Anglo-Saxon Futhork – Cweorth (fire-twirl), Calc (chalice), Stan (stone) and Gar (spear) – as they may well have gone on to complement and enhance his own work. Indeed, Kummer’s Grail-Chalice is merely a first step on the long road towards the realisation of the Cosmic Man (through Man himself, no less) but there is nothing to stop we moderns devising a system that utilises the other three runes and, perhaps, at least in a symbolic regard, approaching the Holy Grail itself.


1. Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas; The Occult Roots of Nazism (I.B. Tauris, 1992), pp.161-2.

2. Kummer, S.A.; Rune-Magic (Runa-Raven Press, 1993), p.12.

3. Ibid., p.13.

4. Ibid., pp.14-15.

5. Ibid., p.15.

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