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Friedrich Bernhard Marby, born May 10 1882 in Aurichmarker / Ostfriesland and died on April 3 1966, was a German rune occultist and Germanic revivalist. He is also most well known for his revivalism and use of the Armanen runes row. He was imprisoned during the Third Reich, which may have been due to a denunciation by Karl Maria Wiligut.


Friedrich Marby developed a set of occult exercises he called "runic gymnastics", as a means of "channeling runic power and forms through and around the self".

Marby, along with Siegfried Adolf Kummer, was criticized by name in a report made to Heinrich Himmler by his chief esoteric runologist Karl Maria Wiligut. Goodrick-Clarke states that they were "censured by Wiligut in his capacity as Himmler's counsellor on magical and religious subjects for bringing the holy Aryan heritage into disrepute and riducule and this criticism may have led to Marby's harsh treatment in the Third Reich." Siegfried Adolf Kummers fate after 1933 is unknown.

Marby spent a total of 99 months in the camps at Flossenbürgmarker, Welzheimmarker, and Dachaumarker (from where he was finally liberated on 29 April 1945).

Marby was a printer and editor by trade.

Alan Baker, in the book Invisible Eagle, stated that:
Interestingly, not all rune scholars subscribed wholeheartedly to the racist, anti-Semitic interpretation of the Eddas. For example, one rune occultist, Friedrich Bernhard Marby (1882- 1966), synthesised rune scholarship with astrology after encountering the writings of Guido von List. In his paper Der eigene Weg (established 1924) and his book series Marhy-Runen-Bucherei (begun in 1931), Marby emphasised the health benefits gained from meditation on the runes. He was denounced as an anti-Nazi by the Third Reich in 1936, and sent first to Welzheim concentration camp, and then to Flossenburg and Dachau, and was only freed when the camps were liberated by the Allies in April 1945. Although he lacked the virulently racist outlook of the other volkisch occultists of the period, Marby subscribed to a similar theory to that espoused by Liebenfels: namely, the essentially electrical nature of the cosmos, inspired (as noted earlier) by the recent discovery of radiation and the new uses to which electricity was being put. In Marby's opinion, the Universe was awash with cosmic rays, which could be both received and transmitted by human beings. In addition, the beneficial influences of these rays could be increased by adopting certain physical postures in imitation of rune-forms (a practice with an obvious similarity to yoga). In 1927, Siegfried Adolf Kummer (b. 1899) founded a rune school called ‘Runa' at Dresden. Runa concentrated on the practice of ritual magic, including the drawing of magic circles containing the names of the Germanic gods and the use of traditional magical tools such as candelabra and censers. During these rituals, the names of runes were called out and rune shapes were traced in the air as an aid to the magical process. Like Marby, Kummer was denounced by Wiligut, who considered their methods disreputable.
In the Odinist magazine Vor Trú, issue 69, it was written of Marby:
He was one of the most (if not the most) important figures in the realm of runic sciences. His impact was certainly significant among his contemporaries, but indeed remains so in the furtherance of Runology among today's researchers and practitioners. Marby was the first to develop and utilize the processes of Runengymnastik (Runic Gymnastics) as a means of channeling Runic power and forms through and around the Self and personal space. Siegfried Adolf Kummer also worked to advance similar developments in what he referred to as Runenyoga (Runic Yoga), though his own efforts seem to have followed Marby's innovations.A significant difference between the runic investigations of Kummer and Marby is that Kummer's own works were rooted in the Armanic 18-rune futhark (Wodan's row, as it is known among Armanen and Irminen), whereas Marby's work instead concentrated on the Anglo-Frisian and Norse futharks (the latter, a so-called 'younger' row, of a variation circa 600CE and after).Marby was a printer and editor by trade. According to information provided in his own records, he had begun to use the runes in an esoteric fashion in 1907 (a year before Guido von List would publish his groundbreaking volume, Das Geheimnis der Runen= The Secret of the Runes).In 1933, the National Socialists had come to power in Germany, and subsequently outlawed 'secret' or 'esoteric' societies who weren't directly connected to the NSDAP in some way. By 1936, Marby had still maintained his efforts independently of the NSDAP or NSDAP-sponsored organizations -a factor which led to his arrest and confinement to concentration camps for the duration of the war. In total, Friedrich Marby spent ninety-nine months in the camps at Flossenberg, Welzheim, and Dachau (from where he was finally liberated on 29 Ostermond 1945).In 1952, Marby resumed his Runological work, and published the journal Forschung und Erfahrung until his death on 3 Julmond 1966.

Written works

  • An den Quellwurzeln unseres Seins
  • Die aufschlußreiche Pendeluntersuchung
  • Der germanische Einweihungsweg in Sinnbildern und Symbolen
  • Die drei Schwäne
  • Der Weg zu den Müttern
  • Runenschrift
  • Runenwort
  • Runengymnastik


  1. The Occult Roots of Nazism by Nicholas Goodrich-Clarke, p.162; Weisthor (i.e. Wiligut) to Himmler, letter dated May 2 1934, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Himmler Nachlass 19.
  2. Invisible Eagle by Alan Baker

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