Analysis of the Trollaukin Bind-Runes
It will of course be impossible to ever know if the meanings we can derive from the form of such bind-runes was in keeping with the vitki's intentions or not. But we do know certain meanings such ancients ascribed to runes, and what's more we know certain tendencies they had in symbolism in bind runes. Taking them together I think we can draw some interesting conclusions. Note: I derived the meanings I associate with each rune from the Icelandic Rune Poem (as the spell is Icelandic, it's the clearest expression we have of the metaphysical thought underlying the system of Icelandic runes) wherever possible. But for some runes with no stanzas I used meanings taken from related rune poems in other countries, as well as using etymological evidence.
First of all is in their locations. One on the heel of the right foot, one on the toe on the left. This seems to me to be deliberate. No direct line connects these two runes. They are not only on opposite feet, but on opposite ends of opposite feet. To go from one to the other you would have to draw a line through the whole body. I think this was deliberately part of the symbolism, and should be taken as meaning that the runes acted upon the whole body. Quite reasonable given that it was for a gangr-like process.
Next let me discuss the first of these runes, Gapaldur. I will focus on the first form of that rune. It is a bind-rune composed of eight Man runes. (Remember this is not the Elder Futhark, but the Icelandic Futhark, which is a variation of the Younger.) The meaning of the Man rune to an Icelandic vitki we can determine from the Icelandic Rune Poem. This rune would have meant both "fellowship" and also "death". But how to interpret eight of them? It seems quite likely, from bracteate inscriptions, rune-stones, niding poles, etc., that number lore played a key role in runic magic to the ancient heathen vitkar. So I analysed the bind-rune by number lore. The first thing that strikes me is the number two. There are two Man-runes, primarily, of large size. Two represents duality, and usually the pull of opposites, in Norse folklore and mythology. So right off the bat we can surmise that this rune is supposed to create not one but two bonds that are both of fellowship and of death, in two opposite directions conceptually. Next in the number analysis comes the number three. Each Man rune has three smaller Man runes on its branches. Three is the number of action, of activity. So each bond of fellowship/death is supposed to create others of a similar nature. The number three denotes this to be an active process. In other words, it keeps happening. A striking feature of Norse cosmology is the principle that things above are like things below. The large is like the small. Gods are like men. The dead are like the living. And this makes a LOT of sense knowing what we know today of the unitary state. If the rune generates connection after connection, fellowship after fellowship, an ongoing active process then eventually all parts of the mind will be similar in some way or another to each other.
Look at a common metaphysical interpretation of death. We know that death is necessary for perception; the ego, the self must die. We know there is a "fellowship" in possession. This is found both in the actual possessing animal spirit and also in the assisting spirits such as the disir. But if such a connection is supposed to be continually generating, itself, other, similar things that both kill the self and connect it to something else, is this not what the unitary state is? Finding a point of view such that all of the contents of the mind are moving in unison, operating along the same directions? I think meditation upon this rune was supposed to suggest just that approach. I will further add that there is one more number, four. Each side of this rune is a total of four Man runes. Four in Norse folklore is a number of comleteness. It is where we get the saying "the four corners of the earth" from. I think this rune is supposed to destroy the ego and generate a spiritual connection, and that this connection is supposed to spread itself through the whole mind and being. And that furthermore the rune tries to do it in two opposite directions at once. One interpretation of this has to do with the concept of dynamic tension. Small details of thought and emotion will tend to be lost under such tension, because such pulling will cause each connection, each fellowship, to inhibit somewhat the effect of the other. Errors will tend to be canceled out by such opposite pulling, because errors are most often the result of smaller unnoticed misconceptions.
Now I shall look at the other rune, ginfaxi. The first thing I see here are two horse runes (a straight line bisecting a circle). The horse was a very spiritual and powerful symbol. Possession was called, like in Vodoun, "being ridden". But note that there are two of them. *This harks back to the duality of the gapaldur rune!* I think it means that the two things that seek possession of the berserk, as with gapaldur, are by ginfaxi being further altered by the other runes that make up ginfaxi. I will first note that these runes fall on four branches, meaning they are supposed to both surround and suffuse the berserk. Three of these branches are a triple sea-rune. The sea to the Norse was the Abyss, the deep, deadly, open, terrifying thing that had to be crossed perilously to get from one land to another. There are three runes on each branch, meaning a motion of the sea. Each rune is taller than the last, indicating the motion gets progressively more severe, applying a little simplistic pictographic interpretation. I would interpret these runes then as meaning "storm at sea". The berserk is using this rune to throw himself open to the storm of the abyss. I think this also makes sense. Consider what such a metaphysical storm would entail; a storm of the freed subconsciousness, just the sort of thing that must be stirred up for the gangr. This just leaves us with the fourth arm. One sea rune, so the berserk is still supposed to be floating in the abyss. But two twilight runes as well. What is the period from one twilight to another? Dawn to dusk. This I think is just a typical formulaic element setting the bounds of the spell, making sure it is operative from beginning to end.