A while ago, partly simply because the idea amused me, and partly because making a logical argument linking physics to ancient beliefs and magic is a bit of intellectual juggling I enjoy, I put foreword the argument that Physics could explain how a Voodoo doll could actually work. This was in a blog post cunning called Physic’s and the Voodoo Doll. I spent a lot of time on that title…
The blog was just a bit of intellectual tomfoolery on my part. It speculated that the quantum entanglement of spooky particles could be considered as a basis for sympathetic magic. According to quantum physics, entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances. The phenomenon so riled Albert Einstein he called it “spooky action at a distance.”
Sympathetic magic is a basic school of magic in many ways. The Voodoo doll is the most well known example of this form of magic. An action on a doll , linked to the subject of the doll , will cause the subject to be effected in the same way. A link made all the more powerful with finger nail clippings or hairs etc from the subject infused with the doll.
It was a fun idea, I got a short blog post out of it that has been one of those that has retained a degree of popularity, as it was written 5 years ago and still gets regular hits. It is safe to say that the basic idea at least holds appeal beyond itinerant authors in the north of England who were bored on a Tuesday five years ago and started throwing ideas around. But it was no more than a blog post based on my workaday understanding of Quantum theory, and ritual magic. I don’t really know enough about either subject to go deeper into the subject than a short blog post… Which brings me to Wyrd by Kieth Healing or to give it its full title Wyrd: An Exploration of Connections and Handbook of the Runes.
In Wyrd, Kieth Healing explores both the concept of the Wyrd and the ancient Anglo Saxon Runic alphabet, its use in divination, as well as the runes connections to the Wyrd. All in of itself fascinating stuff. It is however a book of two half’s. The first half I will come back to in a monument, the latter is a list of runes, what they are call, what they mean and what can be derived from them thanks to the rune rhymes.
I found this latter section fascinating because of my beard runes. Yes I have beads with runes on them I wear in my beard, what of it? This I suspect was not the main driving force behind Kieth’s desire to write about runes, but still it is nice to know the name of the runes your putting in your beard…
The second half of the book fascinating though it is, wains in comparison to the first which is a truly fascinating read marrying Kieth’s broad knowledge of quantum theory with the more ancient concepts of the wyrd. Kieth managed to explain, theoretically at least, how the wyrd, can be understood better as a concept through the lens of modern thought in terms of string theory. It also goes into how this could be used to explain how some places feel different and are connected in different ways to the world in a web like weave of….
And I will stop there. Trying to sum up what Keith has to say on the subject of the Wyrd in a blog post is pointless. It is a fascinating read that is all I have to say. It is both thoughtful and thought provoking. You may end up reading bits of it twice as you’ll want to get your head around some of the complexity’s but that is because it is complex, not because of the way it is written. Keith manages to make all this accessible and entertaining at the same time.
Does it convince me of the power of runic divination? Or indeed that the wyrd exists as a thing other than a new-age mysticism concept? Well no, but it does leave me as open to the ideas and concepts as I was when I started reading and better versed in the ideas and concepts involved. As such I can recommend it to both sceptics of new-age thought and the faithful.
I also lover the idea of Ball of String Theory, but that’s just me