The Galdr Invocation of IAO
Now, most of the people who make their way here will have seen IAO at some point in their occult studies, and may be familiar with its roots as a Greek Formulae. The “Greek Tetragammaton,” specifically, since the Greeks favored a Three-Fold World over a Four-Fold World as in the Abrahamic Tradition. It is most famously described by Crowley as a transmutation formulae, via his Isis, Apophis, and Osiris description of “Life,” “Death,” and “Rebirth.” Well, with all of this knowledge in my back pocket, yet focusing mostly on Rune Magick for my “Formulae” practice, I decided one day to translate IAO into a Runic Galdr so that it can be utilized as Isa, Ansuz, and Othala.
Then I had to figure out what to do with it. So, I constructed a meditation and a ritual from scratch and I started experimenting. Now I’m sharing what came out of this little project so far, so that others may benefit from it and perhaps take it further while I work more on other things for a while.
1) Meditation experience. In particular, the ability to relax the mind to a state of Center or Mental Silence, where there is a state of inner peace and the “monkey mind” is conquered. I describe how to do this effectively in Fundamental Development, and there are tons of other methods too.
2) Attunement to The Futhark Runes, particularly Isa, Ansuz, and Othala for this operation. It doesn’t matter if you use Elder, Anglo-Saxon, Armanen, or whatever. All that’s necessary is that you are attuned to the I, A, and O vibrations, and if you do not know what “Attunement” or “Activation” is then you need to work on your Runic Initiations a bit longer before you will enjoy the following exercises fully.
3) Ability to Vibrate a Formula mentally, energetically, and physically simultaneously. In short, a basic and complete Vibration in conventional Western occult style.
4) Basic understanding of the nature and effect of the IAO Formula. There are many symbolic explanations for IAO, but they all do the same essential thing. I’ll try to offer a Runic explanation at the end of this, but prior knowledge of what IAO actually is and does will be useful, if only so that you will know if you actually want to practice these exercises or not.
The Galdr Invocation of IAO
1) Clear the mind to Mental Silence.
2) Take up your favorite meditation posture and breathe in a comfortable, but deep pattern until you are relaxed physically and you have no distractions.
3) Turn your Awareness entirely upon the I Rune, so that little else has room to exist in your mind. Inhale deeply, feeling the energy of the I Rune invoked into your entire being. Do not imagine anything. Once you have invoked the I Rune successfully, exhale slowly and vibrate the I sound for the entirety of your exhale. Feel the vibration exert itself upon your mind, your soul, and your body.
4) With the I Rune vibrated completely, turn your Awareness entirely upon the A Rune, so that little else has room to exist in your mind. Inhale deeply, feeling the A Rune invoked into your entire being. Do not imagine anything. Once you have invoked the A Rune successfully, exhale slowly and vibrate the A sound for the entirety of your exhale. Feel the vibration exert itself upon your mind, your soul, and your body.
5) With the A Rune vibrated completely, turn your Awareness entirely upon the O Rune, so that little else has room to exist in your mind. Inhale deeply, feeling the O Rune invoked into your entire being. Do not imagine anything. Once you have invoked the O Rune successfully, exhale slowly and vibrate the O sound for the entirety of your exhale. Feel the vibration exert itself upon your mind, your soul, and your body.
6) Repeat steps 3-5 up to nine times. Excessive practice is not useful, so do not push for quantity. Rather, work on making the quality of each vibration better in future sessions.
7) Once the nine repetitions are complete, sit and meditate on the feelings induced by the invocation for a while. Meditate on your spiritual nature, or just bask in the after-glow of this kind of spell work. How long is up to you. When you’re finished meditating, Center your mind and Ground any excess buzz via exhale and return to other activities.
I’m not yet sure what long term benefits are for this exercise, which is part of why I have decided to share it: feedback. I can note that upon completion of this meditation, I am usually left with strong feelings of ecstasy and similar feely-goods because it directly raises the vibrations of the users energy and consciousness – which is not as New Agey as it sounds, since vibration is a perfectly natural principle with higher and lower frequencies. So it has a very strong effect on consciousness and also tends to bring me back into a sense of equilibrium when I am “off” for some reason. I would like to hear what other effects pop up, should anyone decide to experiment with this meditation.
Do not visualize any specific tactile feelings or visual colors or movements, do not imagine anything at all. This is not a visualization exercise, and you do not need to imagine anything – imagination in fact hinders the work the spell is trying to do. Simply focus on the Rune and Vibrate the Sound. The Vibration will do all the work, so all you have to focus on is the Vibration. Not even what it means, just the Sound and its Vibration. This is why Mental Discipline is extremely important to Galdr practice. Working with vibration is extremely simple, and if your mind is active it will find a million ways to over complicate things and prevent the vibrations from doing their work. Do not imagine anything, do not think anything. Focus entirely on the sound and vibrations.
The Stadhagaldr Invocation of IAO
1) Clear the mind to Mental Silence.
2) Stand in the Stadhagaldr of Isa. Turn the mind to the Rune of Isa, observing Isa within and without. Microcosm and Macrocosm. Inhale slowly as Macrocosm enters Microcosm. Exhale slowly while vibrating Isa through the whole Being. When the breath and the vibration end, return the mind to Silence.
3) Raise the arms to the Stadhagaldr of Ansuz. Turn the mind to the Rune of Ansuz, observing Ansuz within and without. Microcosm and Macrocosm. Inhale slowly as Macrocosm enters Microcosm. Exhale slowly while vibrating Ansuz through the whole Being. When the breath and the vibration end, return the mind to Silence.
4) Raise the arms and place the palms together for the Stadhagaldr of Othala. Turn the mind to the Rune of Othala, observing Othala within and without. Microcosm and Macrocosm. Inhale slowly as Macrocosm enters Microcosm. Exhale slowly while vibrating Othala through the whole Being. When the breath and the vibration end, return the mind to Silence.
5) Keeping the hands together, bring them down to the solar plexus in a prayer position. Keep the mind in Silence. Inhale slowly, focusing only on the feelings that the previous vibrations have left you with. Exhale slowly, vibrating slowly the complete formula of IAO through the whole Being through one breath. As the breath and the vibration end, return the mind to Silence.
6) Lower the hands, returning to the Stadhagaldr of Isa. Keep the mind in Silence. Breathe casually and passively observe the effects of the complete operation. From here the entire operation may be repeated, but no more than nine times.
7) When the repetitions are done, stand in the Stadhagaldr or Isa and maintain Mental Silence. Meditate on your spiritual nature, or bask in the after-glow of the ritual, observing and taking note of how you feel or simply trance out and enjoying it. How long you meditate like this is up to you. Once you are finished, Center the mind and Ground out any excess buzz via exhale and return to other activities.
The core benefits of this ritual are identical to the previous meditative form, though I have found that exercising the physical postures can make it easier to invoke the Runes and Vibrate them through the whole body. For those still getting the hang of this sort of work, then, this may be notable, and one may use the Stadhagaldr ritual as a preparation for the Meditation. It is easy enough to start with the easier physical ritual and move into the more meditative form as your skills advance.
As with the Meditation exercise, take note that this is not a visualization practice. The vibrations and energies involved in this are very objective, and you either have command of them or you don’t. If you in fact do not, then refer to the prerequisites list and work on your training a bit more before you work with Galdr like this. Also, a notable alternative to this Stadhagaldr Ritual is to utilize the Hand Gestures, which come from the same Armanen source. Simply utilize the hand positions for the I, A and O Runes in sequence, and it will play out similarly to the Stadhagaldr. I did not feel the need to write this up as a third exercise partly because it is very close to the Stadhagaldr Ritual in structure, and also because I simply have done more work on the Stadhagaldr Ritual than the Hand Gestures. As one final note, the “within and without” instruction means that you should use the external expression of the posture to connect to the external energy of the Rune in Nature, so that you can feel and activate it internally. Your Mind, Soul, and Body should be all focused on the same thing: the Rune. For when you stand in Stadhagaldr properly, you are the Rune, and thus it is invoked.
Notes on The Runic IAO
For those who do not understand the correct pronunciation of IAO, note that “I” here is a Greek and Norse sound, meaning that it is pronounced “Ee” and not “Ay” like in English. Therefore, the correct pronunciation of IAO is “Ee,” “Ah,” “Oh.” This is the traditional pronunciation, and part of the reason it is translatable into Runic Galdr – the sounds are already present.
Isa is often used as a freezing or binding energy, but the vibration of Isa is more than that. It is the vibration of Niflheim, the Womb-World from which all life spawned upon Muspelheim’s giving warmth. Because of this, Isa’s energy in this formulae takes on a role of “potential unrealized.” It is a frozen, mostly static energy, but there is something in the ice that can be thawed out.
Ansuz is often called “Odin’s Rune,” or “The Rune of The Aesir,” because it carries the vibration of higher spiritual authority and power. It is the vibration of Asgard, with all the gentle warmth and light and power that this entails. Because of this, Ansuz in this formulae plays the role of breaking loose Isa’s potential, though not in a violent manner. Destruction, or “death” going by Crowley’s interpretation of A, need not be violent and chaotic. It is simply a transition. The light and warmth of Ansuz can thus thaw out the “unrealized potential” found one’s inner Isa, and not only free that energy up to flow, but also leave a distinct “spiritual” impression on that energy – to raise the potential found in Isa not only from the ice, but further up unto the Aesir.
Othala is often called the “Inheritance Rune.” Whereas Fehu is a sort of wealth that is generated and created by one’s own hard work, Othala is the wealth and luck and fortune of the ancestors passed down to you. Because of this, Othala carries the vibration of solidifying a work, but not in the sense of freezing and binding like Isa. Rather, it is a grounding force, a sealing force, an energy that says “although I have what I have from this source or that, I am in the here and now.” This allows Othala to play the most important role in the Runic IAO. As Crowley considered the O to carry the vibration of “rebirth,” so does it here, but not quite in a literal sense. Whereas Isa is the “unrealized potential,” and Ansuz frees up the “unrealized potential” and raises its vibration towards The Aesir, Othala has the most important role of locking in that freed up “potential” so that “unrealized” becomes “realized,” so that the potential that was freed up and raised up via Ansuz does not sink back down into the arms of Isa again.
When these are combined into the IAO formula, you thus have this effect: Isa invokes your unrealized potential and true spiritual nature, Ansuz thaws out Isa and raises up your unrealized potential closer to the surface, and Othala locks in the work done by Isa and Ansuz so that you will be closer to realizing your true potential.
Or in other words: Isa contains the inheritance, Ansuz unlocks the inheritance, and Othala receives the inheritance and makes it a permanent part of you.
Of all the Magick Formulae floating around out there, this is one of the most powerful, done via European Runes or not. There is a reason it has been around for thousands of years. There are of course many other formulae and many other experiments to be done, but this is an important part of my recent work. It is my hope that experienced readers of this take away not only a couple of practical exercises, but also an understanding of what it takes to construct a Galdr Spell either using personal formulae or other ancient spells like ALU. Dissect, study, learn, and experiment. Nothing is infallible, least of all me and my experiments, so I encourage further experimentation on the subject so that more learning can be gained and spread.