Ken – the flaming torch in the darkness of the Autumn Equinox

Ken or Kennaz is the rune most associated with the Autumn Equinox, and it represents a flaming torch that lights up the darkness, leading to flashes of enlightenment. I had such a flash today when reading about it in Nigel Pennick’s excellent book “Runic Astrology”.

He says:

“It symbolises a flaming brand illuminating the royal halls of olden times, and the Deal branch from which it is fashioned. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem says: ‘The torch is living fire, bright and shining. Most often, it burns where noble people are at rest indoors.'”



My flash lighted up what I believe is a misunderstanding of those lines on Pennick’s part – and it was the same mistake about the word ‘noble’ that was made by the early Victorian Indian Raj translators of The Vedas on the meaning of the word “Aryans”, which went on to cause so much academic confusion for centuries afterwards.

Those translators wrongly assumed that the word “noble” automatically meant “royalty”. But to the ancient Indians and Celts, according to my research, “noble” meant those who have attained wisdom through shamanic practices.  The flames of the fire altar or hearth were considered to represent this form of inner enlightenment that came from the spirits of the ancestors who were consulted for their guidance.  That’s why every home in ancient Britain had a flaming hearth in which the fire was kept alight at all times, even during the hottest summer months. It was never snuffed out.

When the Romans began their conversion of the shamanic Celts into Christianity in Northern Europe, one of the first things they did was to get them to snuff out the fires in their hearth. This was to get them to switch their focus from their own ancestors in the Underworld below to the more universal God above; in other words, from the gods within to the God without. In this way, they attempted to sever their roots from their Sovereignty, which comes from the spirits of the land.

I have no issue with the rest of his explanation of the meaning of Ken, which is as follows:

“Ken therefore signifies illumination, being the mystery of transformation, regeneration through death, the destruction of the pine wood giving heat and light. In the darkness, Ken brings light, allowing us to see and thus is the bringer of knowledge, inner light. It is the bringer or starter of the fire of the hearth, the power of the forge where material is transmuted by the will into something which reflects the human intellect, and reflects the divine harmony. As a rune of balance through transformation, it is present at the autumnal equinox.”

The true nobles – in both Celtic and Vedic literature – are those who pursue the royal road to wisdom and enlightenment by firing up the crown within their heads with inner flames that come from the darkness within, of inner space. I go into much more detail about how this is achieved in my books Reclaiming Sovereignty and The Grail Mysteries.

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