Rune Grandmaster Jurgens Pieterse on Mystical Initiation, Runic Philosophy, and the Journey to Mastery


The mysterious realm of runes holds profound wisdom passed down through the ages. In this fascinating interview, Rune Grandmaster Jurgens Pieterse offers rare insights into the esoteric world of runes, drawn from over a decade of devoted study and practice. From his mystical initiation by a shaman as a child to the philosophical parallels he sees between runes and systems like the Tarot and Kabbalah, Jurgens provides a window into the experience of a modern-day rune master. He discusses the important role of societies like AMORC in informing his approach and the principles of systems theory that shape his runic philosophy. Jurgens also reflects on the responsibilities and deeper meaning of being a Rune Grandmaster today, emphasizing the runes’ universal essence and their potential as instruments for transformation. For those drawn to the runic path, he offers wise advice on core principles and practices to nurture authentic understanding. This interview offers inspiration and guidance for anyone seeking to unlock the potent magic of runes in the modern world.

Knights of Runes
The Ancient Wisdom of the Knights of Runes Runic System
Interview with Donald van den Andel
Interview with David Wolfheart

Interview with Grandmaster Jurgens Pieterse

PAA: What originally drew you to the study of Runes and the Armanen Futhark system specifically? How did you first connect with Rune Grandmaster Karl Hans Welz as a teacher?

The truth might sound more like fiction.  I was initiated by a shaman at the age of ten, in what is  often referred to as “The Call.” The goal of the initiation was the awakening of the soul, an inner realization that there is a deeper purpose to life. During this initiation the shaman handed me a symbol from my ancestors as guidance for my life path. This enigmatic symbol, resembling a rune, sparked my initial curiosity. Although no exact match existed within traditional rune systems, the resemblance ignited a desire to delve deeper. My search revealed a fascinating connection – upon overlaying the Armanen runes IS and GIBOR, the resulting form mirrored the ancestral symbol I’d received!

Fueled by this ancestral whisper and a desire to understand the symbol’s deeper meaning, I embarked on a genealogical quest. The discovery of my sixth great-grandfather, Bertel Pedderson, solidified my connection to the runes. A Danish boatswain onboard the “Cronprincess of Denmark,” his ship tragically sank off the South African coast, intertwining my lineage with the Viking legacy.

Navigating the world of runes initially proved bewildering. Similar symbols bore different names and interpretations, creating a labyrinth of information. I devoured resources, including Edred Thorsson’s “Rune Might: Secret Practices of the German Rune Magicians,” which shed light on the Armanen runes and their esoteric connections. Additionally, Graham Butcher in Britain introduced me to the Younger Futhark and the rune-based martial art of “stav.” His teachings instilled a daily discipline of practicing rune postures, some of which you can still find me demonstrating on YouTube.

Despite the profound experience of energy flow performing Kummer’s Stadhagaldr rune sequence, a yearning for deeper rune knowledge persisted. It was then that I discovered Rune Grandmaster Karl Hans Welz’s online course. Drawn to his practical approach and emphasis on the runes’ universal essence, I reached out on April 4th, 2010, pleading for mentorship.

His initial response was lukewarm, expressing self-doubt and questioning the necessity of further instruction given my prior studies. “I may be less than effective – have not worked with anyone in years.  Having already studied a lot of other systems, I am certain that the “nitty-gritty” stuff is not needed anyway – a hint:  you can proceed a lot faster than indicated in the courses.” However, my persistence, coupled with his fondness for South Africa, ultimately swayed him. Thus began a transformative journey under the tutelage of this esteemed Rune Master!

PAA: Can you share about a powerful initiatory experience or mystical revelation you encountered while working deeply with the Runes over the years?

I was meditating on the rune LAF while staring into my hand made  black mirror. The rune LAF corresponds with the fourteenth charm in the Rúnatal “The fourteenth I know when I sing to the assembled people. I name the divine names, for no one knows the names of the Albs and Aesir as I do.” I went into this rune trance  to connect with, what Karl Hans Welz, called the hierarchy of higher order energies. I found myself being transport mentally from my inner rune realms into a void between the flames of fire and streams of water and ice. (Ginnungagap) I was overcome with a overwhelming feeling of peace , connection and unity.  I felt surrounded by many presences welcoming me into this sacred space that seemed to exist outside of space and time. Whether it was a dream, imagination or real is debatable. The experience however was a significant turning point for me that opened a new gateways of understanding through my unverified personal gnosis (UPG). 

Karl explains the rune LAF in the following manner: “Light and Life are a manifestation of opposites that come forth from chaos.  Both forms of energy set up universes according to their specific characteristics.  The time-space continuum is the mark of light energy, while the magical universe is the mark of life energy.  That is the reason for the importance of life energy in magical work.  It is life energy that makes magical work possible.”  For me this “mystical experience”  introduced me to life energy on a level that cannot be expressed with words.  Skeptics may assign this as  a hallucination induced by trance,  but for me it was as real as the material world. I still savor the feeling of connection I felt and a deeper appreciation of how life energy connects with magic.

PAA: How do you view the relationship between Runes and other esoteric systems like Kabbalah, Tarot, Astrology etc. that you have studied? Where do you see parallels or complementarity?

As an industrial engineer, I approach esoteric systems like Kabbalah, Tarot, Astrology, and Runes through a lens of interconnected complexity. Each represents a distinct cosmology, a unique design of components woven together to produce emergent properties greater than the sum of their parts. These components, be it Kabbalistic sephirot, astrological planets, or the potent energies of the Runes, interact and resonate, forming a dynamic framework for understanding ourselves and the world around us.

While each system boasts its own strengths and perspectives, I caution against facile comparisons or attempts to merge them. Like tools in a skilled craftsperson’s arsenal, each has its specific purpose and application. Interpreting the hanged man tarot card through the lens of the Armanen rune TYR, for instance, might shed light on potential ordeals and sacrifices, but drawing deeper connections can lead to confusion rather than clarity.

The beauty of these systems lies in their ability to translate complex realities into understandable symbols and archetypes. Astrology’s vast macrocosm of celestial bodies interacts with the microcosm of the individual, offering insights into potential life paths. The Tarot’s seemingly random draw of cards acts as a microcosm reflecting the macrocosm of human affairs, providing guidance and introspection.

Runes, in their essence, represent primeval forces, not mere predictors of future consequences. They open a vibrational conduit between the inner and outer worlds, guiding us not only towards understanding potential outcomes but also towards fulfilling our inherent potential.

While superficially similar, these systems function with distinct mechanisms. Understanding these nuances is crucial for applying them effectively. Just as a carpenter wouldn’t reach for a hammer to delicately carve intricate details, choosing the right tool for the right task is essential. The more adept we become at navigating these diverse frameworks, the richer and more meaningful our engagement with them becomes.

PAA: What role has membership in mystical societies like AMORC played in informing your approach to magic and self-development with the Runes?

Membership in a structured esoteric order like AMORC played a crucial role in laying the foundation for my approach to magic and self-development with the Runes. Having a systematized curriculum with practical exercises provided much-needed direction in navigating the vast and sometimes-overwhelming landscape of esoteric knowledge. Without such structure, it’s easy to get lost in a maze of disparate schools of thought and information overload, especially in the age of the internet. While knowledge is valuable, true understanding blossoms from practical application and consistent effort. In this regard, a reputable esoteric order provides a framework that fosters deeper learning and progress.

Combining different esoteric systems, like rune studies and the teachings of an order, requires careful selection. Avoid organizations with rigid dogmas or charismatic leaders who demand unquestioning obedience. Instead, seek those that encourage critical thinking, independent exploration, and respect for diverse perspectives.

In my experience, AMORC instilled in me a spirit of inquiry and tolerance while equipping me with a solid foundation for self-discovery. They didn’t offer a singular “guru” or definitive text, but rather, a pathway to access the accumulated wisdom of humanity within a structured framework. While rune studies can be pursued independently, integrating them within a broader esoteric context provided me with richer insights and a more holistic understanding.

PAA: How has your lifelong interest in general systems theory and universal principles like unity, harmony and balance shaped your understanding of Runic philosophy?

In systems theory cybernetics is an important principle to have a goal oriented system. In essence cybernetics says a system should have a feedback mechanism so that it can correct itself to attain it’s objective. In runic Philosophy the same principle apply. When we set our intention through a rune ritual we remain observant to see whether there is a progress towards our aim. When we detect a significant decision we do a new ritual with a new set of runes to correct our course to keep our momentum towards a goal.

In general systems theory we seek the meta model, the model  behind the system itself,  that explains how the system works. I found the runes to be an exceptionally accurate, useful and versatile metamodel of life.  It provides me with a means to understand life on a deeper more integrated manner and use it to build effective and efficient real life  solutions or systems.

Unity, harmony, balance, integrity and coherence are characteristics of a good working system.  When we create bindrunes or rune formulas we must evaluate the net value contribution of each rune. In terms of these qualities. The Armanen approach balances the magic oriented against a divination oriented approach. There is a continued approach to perform rituals that focus and refocus our will and  intent towards a well defined outcome.  We want to reach this outcome in the quickest most effective way. So for each rune added we must ask ourselves what that rune contributes to the formula and we must ensure affinity between the runes; understand the emergent outcome. In a system one missing component can lead to the failure of the  system in total.  When we work with the runes it is  important to know why we include a rune as well as why we exclude a rune.

PAA: You have an eclectic background spanning shamanism, fourth way teachings, Stoic philosophy, Tai Chi and more. How have these threads come together to inform your Runework?

My eclectic background, encompassing shamanism, Fourth Way teachings, Stoicism, Tai Chi, and more, has woven a grand design that informs my approach to Runes. Each practice has contributed to my holistic development, enriching my understanding and experience of Runic wisdom.

The Fourth Way provided a foundational framework for self-awareness and conscious action. Its emphasis on self-observation and intentional living resonated deeply, shaping my understanding of magic as a conscious, deliberate process. The Law of Three, with its emphasis on the interplay of affirmative, receptive, and reconciling forces, further informs my approach to Runic rituals and formulas.

Each discipline has played a specific role in cultivating different aspects of my being. Tai Chi and Yoga nurtured my physical well-being, Stoicism provided mental resilience, and practices like Qi-Gong and TRE fostered emotional and social balance. Toastmasters International honed my leadership and communication skills, while Rosicrucian ontology and the teachings of Gurdjieff, Bennett, and Steiner nourished my spiritual and psychic development.

It’s crucial to emphasize that this is my personal journey, reflecting the specific needs and gaps I perceived in my life. The key takeaway is the importance of self-awareness and openness to exploring new practices that contribute to your holistic development. Remember, the magic lies in doing, not just reading!

While these practices have been invaluable for me, I don’t prescribe them to others. Each Rune practitioner must identify the specific tools and disciplines that resonate with their unique situation, constitution, experiences, and insights.

For me, all these threads converge in the Armanen Runes. Practices like Stadhagaldr (runic postures) nourish the physical, the Havamal guides the mental, and KOR fosters social cohesion. Odinic Consciousness and Armanen ontology serve as foundations for my spiritual and psychic development. These various disciplines are not competitors, but collaborators, seamlessly enriching my Runic practice. This harmonious integration reflects the wisdom of the Intelligence guiding my journey, a path where I followed the prompts of synchronicity and intuitive insights, while also employing my rational mind to evaluate and integrate each new element into my evolving paradigm.

PAA: What called you to take on a leadership role in the Knights of Runes following Karl Welz’s passing? What is your vision for passing on these Runic teachings?

My decision to lead the Knights of Runes after Karl Welz’s passing stemmed from a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility. Karl generously mentored me without seeking any compensation, always encouraging me to monetize my knowledge while offering his own freely. Witnessing his commitment to “paying it forward” deeply inspired me to do the same.

My leadership was a natural progression. I had established the most active “castle” (lodge) within the organization and possessed a direct lineage of learning from Karl. This, coupled with my own enthusiasm and the unanimous support of key figures like Larry Camp, David Wolfaard, Mbai Tjijandjewa and Donald van Handel, paved the way for my appointment.

My vision for the Knights of Runes is twofold:

1. Preserving Karl’s Legacy: I aim to uphold Karl’s universal approach, emphasizing the practical application and demonstrably effective nature of his Runic teachings to bring healing and serve the world.

2. Clarifying Misconceptions: I recognize the socio-political controversies surrounding the Armanen runes, particularly due to past and present misuse. My goal is to rectify these misinterpretations and demonstrate the true potential of these symbols as a powerful tool for personal development, rooted in Norse wisdom but relevant to our modern world.

Chivalry serves as the guiding principle for our use of the runes. We believe in harnessing their potential to bring healing, not just in the physical sense, but also in fostering wholeness and self-discovery. This allows individuals to realize their full potential as rational, creative beings and live fulfilling lives. Ultimately, we see the runes, as gifted by Odin to humanity, as instruments for growth, wisdom, well-being and collective upliftment.

The title ‘Rune Grandmaster’ holds no allure of personal aggrandizement. It whispers not of fame, but of a profound, unseen responsibility.

Grandmaster Jurgens Pieterse

PAA: What does being a Rune Grandmaster mean to you personally after over a decade working deeply with this system? How has it impacted you?

The title “Rune Grandmaster” holds no allure of personal aggrandizement. It whispers not of fame, but of a profound, unseen responsibility. My mastery is a conduit, channeling the runes’ wisdom to subtly nudge the world towards greater balance, harmony, and wholeness. My satisfaction lies not in public acclaim, but in the quiet ripple effects of transformation.

Each action, each word, carries the weight of this responsibility. I am accountable for those I guide, and the potential consequences of their misuse of the runes bear heavily on my conscience. My karmic debt for missteps is heavier than a beginner’s, urging me to live with unwavering integrity. This mastership isn’t a crown, but an invisible cloak woven from balance, harmony, and coherence, shaping every aspect of my life; an awareness that permeates every facet of my being, infusing my life with the runes’ principles of responsibility and accountability.

My role as a healer transcends the individual. I strive to mend not just broken individuals but fractured communities and a world yearning for equilibrium. This healing is not a spectacle of miracles, but a gentle breeze of change that whispers through lives, subtly nudging them towards wholeness.

As a master, my purpose isn’t to create dependence, but to empower others to claim their own mastery. I’m not a beacon to be worshipped, but a guidepost on the path to self-discovery. My greatest satisfaction lies not in the spotlight, but in witnessing students blossom into masters themselves, radiating their own unique light

After a decade of immersion, the runes have led me to a sanctuary of gratitude. It’s not a flashy temple, but a quiet space where I marvel at the constant synchronicities, the unexpected gifts that blossom in the most ordinary moments. My heart overflows with awe for the runes’ boundless wisdom and the vibrant power of the creative rune realm. I am filled with humility against the backdrop of this deep ancient wisdom.

Ultimately, being a Rune Grandmaster is a state of being, a continuous quest for personal excellence…. It’s about finding inner peace and embodying the best version of myself, ever striving for impeccable virtue. Although I stumble, the runes whisper courage, their strength lifting me to rise again, unburdened by the past or worldly trappings. My path is a constant evolution, a dance towards that ever-elusive state of perfect balance, harmony, and wholeness.

PAA: Why do you feel it is important to share Runic teachings with sincerely interested students today?

Sharing Runic teachings with earnest students today resonates deeply with the echoes of ancient myths and the realities of our modern world. Norse sagas, like Odin’s profound sacrifice and Heimdall’s meticulous instruction of Kon, illuminate the transformative potential encoded within the runes. Witnessing the widespread struggles with karmic burdens and insatiable desires in our present era further fuels my passion to share this wisdom.

The runes offer a beacon of hope and a pathway towards personal liberation and fulfillment. They provide potent tools for individuals to awaken to their inherent divine nature, transcend the limitations of suffering, and embrace a life infused with purpose and creative expression. This resonates with the very words of Odin’s rune song, promising growth, wisdom, and well-being to those who embrace their power.

My motivation extends beyond individual transformation. I believe teaching the runes can be a catalyst for collective upliftment. By guiding students to realize their full potential as both individuals and responsible social agents, we can contribute to a more sustainable and flourishing world for future generations. Rune practitioners, grounded in the cyclical nature of existence and the concept of collective karma, are not passive doomsayers but active collaborators, nurturing each other and working towards a brighter future.

This vision of a thriving, rune-inspired community drives my passion for teaching. It’s a legacy worth preserving and sharing, one student at a time, one life transformed at a time.

PAA: What advice would you give to those starting out on the path of Rune initiation and mastery? What core principles or practices would you emphasize?

For those embarking on the path of Runic initiation and mastery, I offer these core principles and practices:

1. Cultivate Reflection and Awareness:

Maintain a handwritten diary to record your journey, insights, and dreams. This becomes a valuable tool for tracking progress and fostering deeper understanding, especially during times of apparent stagnation.

2. Embrace Consistent Practice:

Prioritize consistency over quantity in your Runic practice. Even a few minutes of mindful engagement, like breathing the runes, can maintain momentum during periods of lower motivation. Remember, regression is inevitable with extended breaks, making consistency crucial for sustained progress. Be kind to yourself, but remain disciplined in your commitment.

3. Seek Wisdom from the Havamal:

Immerse yourself in the wisdom of the Havamal, the foundational text for Armanen runes. Its practical guidance and common-sense advice offer invaluable grounding for your Runic practice.

4. Authentically Master the Runes:

While mentorship from experienced Rune Masters can be beneficial, prioritize verifying your own interpretations and developing authentic understanding. Borrowing ideas may provide initial guidance, but true mastery requires independent exploration and a deep, personal connection with the runes.

5. Begin with Self-Transformation:

Your own life is the most potent laboratory for experiencing the transformative power of the runes. Practice introspection and self-healing first, addressing anxieties and burdens before venturing towards broader goals. Only through personal transformation can you fully grasp the runes’ potential and find the intrinsic motivation to pursue mastery.

The path to Runic mastery is a lifelong journey of exploration and growth. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and trust the guidance of the runes. As you embark on this sacred path, remember that the greatest teacher resides within. Approach the runes with an open mind, a courageous heart, and a commitment to self-discovery. The rewards that await are immeasurable, enriching your life and the lives of those around you.

PAA: What an interesting discussion. Thank you very much for sharing your personal journey.

Further Information

Knights of Runes
The Ancient Wisdom of the Knights of Runes Runic System
Interview with Donald van den Andel
Interview with David Wolfheart

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