Band of the Holy Vehme
According to von List, with the rapidly approaching threat of Charlemagne's rein of terror, the skalds realized that something radical must be done in order to preserve their spiritual traditions in some form. Excerpt from page 77:
In spite of the fact that the skalds were persecuted and scorned, they collected themselves together and secretly took the German faith and the German law (Wotanism) in a concealed manner into the "hidden tribunal" (heimliche Acht) of the "fem" (five) fingers of the sword's hilt--and thus arose the band of the "Holy Vehme."
Basically what was happening was that the skalds--the now underground "heimliche Acht"--were conducting meetings in order to develop a system of which they could conceal Wotanism in every part of society. I believe they developed a system which would "grow on it's own," so that as society changed, this system would adapt and develop along with it. This system would be applied to every part of society. Everything from architecture to baking. Although it would be romantic to say that they ALL met at one time, in one place, and decided on one system; more than likely they had many regional meetings over a period of time. The "exoteric" is what something appears on the outside (for the general public); the "esoteric" is what is on the inside (for the initiated only).
Still on page 77: Out of the "Skaldic Order" the "Minnesinger Order" later emerged, as did the "German Builders' Guild" and the "German Heraldic Guild." From all this, in broad branchings, sprang the judicial sciences, poetic arts, linguistic sciences, graphic arts, etc. Because the skalds, as poets and singers, were also the maintainers and formulators of language--and because it was neccessary for them to preserve in strict secrecy the Wuotanism that they took with them underground into the "heimliche Acht" (in order not to be persecuted as heretics), they had to use the three-fold interpretation of words to have their messages delivered--even by messengers--without these or other noninitiates being able to understand the correct interpretation. Through steady skillful practice they reached such refinement in this double-edged type of poetry (called heimliche Acht or kala), that one and the same text could conceal two completely different messages, whose obvious sense (understood by everyone) would actually be secondary, while the concealed sense (kala) would contain the only real, secret message for the men of knowledge.
Exactly how this system worked, in detail, is more than I wanted to add to this series. You would need to get a copy of 'Secret of the Runes'. For example, the "three-fold interpretation of words." Suffice to say, even the process itself was based on Wotanist spirituality. These were great men; who made the best of a bad situation. Not just by their actions, but by the genius by which they accomplished it.
On "Part 14," the translation of List's work was mentioned. I would like to place the footnote on the bottom of page 77, in order to sort've "put it out there" that maybe it's time to translate some of these books! This is List's footnote, with an editors note, and it's regarding the above text:
Concerning this see my essay "Vom Wuotanismus zum Christentum," in the weekly Der Deutsche (Berlin), 1, no. 13 (1904). Compare also my essay "Von der deutschen Wuotanspriesterschaft," in Das zwanzigste Jahrhundert 4, nos. 2-5 (1893). [Ed. note: List also discusses this transition at length in his book Der Übergang vom Wuotanismus zum Christentum.]
I was also thinking, smaller essays could be put together in book form. I just purchased 'The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk - Esoteric and Exoteric' (List; 1909 or 1910). This was translated in 2005, and it's only 56 pages long. It was the last copy on Amazon.com; and sold by Rûna-Raven Press.
'Die Religion der Ario-Germanen in ihrer Esoterik und Exoterik' ('The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic People in its Esoteric and Exoteric Aspects')