Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Runes or Hanji

In western paganism we use magical writing. Magical writing serves as a focus for our will. Words have power and when we focus on that word, we hope to will a change. We usually use other languages to help us, as everyday English is too common and cannot help us focus our thoughts. When we use the other language, in our head we see that that is only the word and nothing else.

When most people think of magical writings, the first system that pops into their heads would be the runic system. Runes are the letters of the old nordic alphabet, each letter can also have a specific meaning. The vikings and other related peoples would use them not just for writing, but also for magic and divination, a practice carried on today in modern paganism and wicca.

But the Chinese characters, called Hanji (or Hanzi) are very old. They are a kind of pictoglyph, pictures that mean words, similar to the ancient Egyptian heiroglyphs, but more advanced and stylized. Hanji has been used for thousands of years and so with being very old, should carry a bit more power than the "newer" rune system. Hanji has found it's way into the New Age group, thanks to Feng Shui, Taichi and Kung Fu. Now it needs to establish itself more into the pagan groups. Paganism is a bit Eurocentric (I know we also use a few ideas from India and the Americas, too) and needs to embrace more of a world culture. I like the idea of using Hanji as part of my magic system.

In Asia, it is already part of their magic system. They use it to write spells and blessings. Here is a picture of a talisman I got from a local temple. They write a protective plea to the gods and then fold it up into a hexagonal ba-gua(lucky mirror) shape. Then they put it into the sheath and wear it for the blessing.

But I know that if you are part of cultural tradition, then you should use the cultures language. So if you are a Hellenist, then use Greek, if you are an Odinist, then use runes. But I do not belong to any one tratition, along with many others. You could incorporate Hanji into your system with relative ease. There are different kinds of Chinese spoken, but the Hanji tends to be mostly the same.

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