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Runic Book of Days - A Guide to Living the Annual Cycle of Rune Magick by S. Kelley Harrell, 2019 Nautilus Book Award Winner
Mannaz, Soul Intent Arts
Mannaz, Soul Intent Arts
Mannaz, Soul Intent Arts
Runic Book of Days - A Guide to Living the Annual Cycle of Rune Magick by S. Kelley Harrell, 2019 Nautilus Book Award Winner

Plenty – boon to men and good summer and thriving crops. Icelandic rune poem,

Runic and Heroic Poems of the Old Teutonic People by Bruce Dickins

Jera - to Cycle - Runes as Verbs, Season 6, What in the Wyrd, hosted by Kelley Harrell

Jera

Traditional meaning – year
Association – harvest, reward
Pronunciation – yair, yar
GaldrYer, Yeruh, Yarrow, Yair, Yairuh,Yairaw
Element – earth
Dates – 13-28 December
Verb – to cycle
Animistic Qualities – balanced, healthy relationship with ecosystem
Challenge – Embrace our own cycles, find tools that work

Listen to What in the Wyrd Episode 118 – Cycling with Jera

Traditional loreJera is year–a full cycle around the sun–and it encompasses our capacity to observe what has transpired in that cycle. In the calendar I work with, Jera is the rune of Yule. It comes in the season of Winter Solstice in the north, and is a time to sit with the rewards of our hard work and balanced relationship with ecosystem.

Animistic loreJera is the time to sit with the fruit of the year, to enjoy it as we do our Winter deathwalking and shadow work. This season helps us feel aligned with sacred order. We feel one with place and timing, which is a deep honoring of cycle at the most divine levels. In Runic Book of Days I call Jera “a second wind, the reprieve before spring, [the time] to get things in order to plan for the next year.” 

Nauthiz as runes oracle – Embracing cycles through the seasonality of Nature.

Elder Futhark runes Fehu, Ingwaz, Kenaz reversed with a white seashell on an orange background

We can’t Jera and grind culture.

Grind culture removes us from cyclicity. Without cycles there is no harvest. There's nothing to harvest.

Show Transcript

Episode #118 – Cycling with Jera

I’m Kelley Harrell, author, animist, and creator of The Weekly Rune. Soul Intent Arts is my soul tending practice, and you are listening to What in the Wyrd–my podcast in which I talk about runes, animism, soul tending, and deathwalking, and how all of those are in relationship on my path.

In this episode of working with the runes as verbs, we’re working with Jera.

Jera is year–a full cycle around the sun–and it encompasses our capacity to observe what has transpired in that cycle. In the calendar I work with, Jera is the rune of Yule. It comes in the season of Winter Solstice in the north, which is new year vibes for many folx, close of the year for others, and it is that cyclicity that I have in mind for verbing Jera. 

To cycle.

I approach Jera as harvest, or Hearth Accounting 101. It gives very homey, hearthy vibes, that all is well in the household, and for that I wouldn’t shun ‘to harvest’ as its verb. I feel like our modern perspective on ‘harvest’ isn’t expansive enough to do justice the context around it, which is largely land-based and seasonal. Harvest is generally a celebratory time. The resources are there. The work has paid off. The relationship between land, ecosystem, human persons—all of it is in good stead, and the balance of that relationship is producing rewards for all involved. The way I describe Jera in Runic Book of Days is:

“Jera [is] “year” in the understanding of the sun cycle—dreaming, planting, cultivating, reaping, benefiting, giving, dreaming again. When Jera comes up in a cast the emphasis of that cycle is the harvest, [or] ‘hearth accounting.’ In short, finally there’s payoff! Jera comes at the time that we have reaped the benefits of hard work and find ourselves in a position to make choices in how we move forward with abundance and awareness.”

I think the big takeaway from that is at the point of Jera in the Futhark, we experience reward for our work.  We had this hint with Ansuz that our agency has impact, but Jera really shows this through commitment to time and place-space. 

We have the vantage point to assess what approaches to our work were functional, what ones weren’t. We can employ new strategies. We can totally change tack and go in a different direction, take a totally different approach, or do absolutely nothing. That’s the thing–we have the perspective to sit back, organically evaluate the whole dynamic, and make the decisions we need to in how we go forward. In this way, with Jera we can find the tools that work, the ways of being that hold us, the ones that really meet our needs.

What I find most significant in the seasonality of Jera–amongst the observations of close of one season, opening of another–is relationship to land. In a literal ancestral sense, harvest didn’t exist without being in good relationship with ecosystem. When we talk about harvest, it’s all about cyclicity, which is another way of saying sacred order. It’s a focal point in the wheel of the year, for which we can experience oneness through the reciprocity of land-based relationship. Even in a modern understanding of cycles, being relatively removed from Nature, we still live in response to the seasons. Specifically in the time of Jera, our relationship to place-space is front-and-center, along with embodying ecosystem, and feeling that sun transition from darkness to longer light. In the festivities of Yule, we celebrate. We analyze. We plan. We consume. We thank. 

How we honor this season helps us feel aligned with sacred order. We feel one with place and timing, which is a deep honoring of cycle at the most divine levels. In Runic Book of Days I call Jera “a second wind. It’s the gap season. It’s the reprieve before spring, [the time] to get things in order to plan for the next year.” What’s interesting about Jera aligning with Yule for me is the conflict between that land-based cyclic pull to slow down with the settler cultural shove to speed up. 

Jera is the time to sit with the fruit of the year, to enjoy it  as we close in on the Dead Time of Winter. We need that holy space. Our dead need it, too. They need us to do that work to remember, honor, and in some cases release them. It’s the time to behold our bounty as we embrace the shadows of the dark season. In fact, maybe we have a surplus of resources at that dark time so that we don’t have to worry where food is going to come from while we do our deathwalking and shadow work. Maybe that’s a built-in feature of Winter that we don’t get to partake in because our culture doesn’t make room for us to. 

We’re also supposed to have the reprieve to feel sustained while we brew possibility for what we may plant in the coming sun. Yet culturally we skip over that–and maybe even more sinister is we try to make all of the year the same. We neutralize season through grind culture, go-go-go. 

Grind culture removes us from cyclicity. It lies to us and tells us we and our ecosystem are the same all the time, all year-round, when in reality our every sense of place-space screams otherwise, all day, every day. There is no cyclicity in grind culture, because if there was, it would have honor slower times, times of stillness and enjoying what has been produced. We can’t Jera and grind culture. That fevered pace takes us out of place-space, out of our ecosystem, out of our land-based identity.

We really struggle with stillness and spaciousness, with what we perceive as open or vacuous. We’ve internalized that empty means inanimate, when really it means disanimate. Emptiness is still a being with presence. It is life force, and for that reprieve after harvest, before planting, in the gap-time of Jera, it is its own kind of timeuntime,  when we are primed to experience spaciousness, and go even one step beyond that–not rush to fill it up. 

We see openness, we feel it, and our immediate reaction is to fill it, or to ache until we fill it. We aren’t comfortable with spaciousness at all, and the fact that deep, gut-level stillness visits with Jera during the most chaotic time of year is telling. Everything seasonal is hibernating. It’s redirecting its energy to the roots, to its unseen. Dormancy is Jera’s activity. All we have to do is snack on the harvest of the year, while we conjure up creative plans for the next. This tiny pause button may be the most important point of manifestation in our cycle of the year, and we don’t honor it in American settler culture. 

I want to come back to the land relationship aspect of harvest and Jera, this whole Hearth Accounting thing. In order to plan for the next year, we need that gap time, right, to declutter and plan. But we also have to be really clear in our resources, which means really clear in our relationships. We have to know what our ecosystem can handle, in terms of planting what we need or want to grow, and we have to sit with the realities of where maybe that just can’t be grown right now. The land needs augmentation in order to produce. We have to know that relationship really well and listen to its boundaries in order to affirm our success for next year, for our next harvest. 

Or maybe the almanac 8-Ball says “Outlook not so good,” and that means we need to draw on our Dream Team for help–literally and liminally. We have to identify and reach out to the resources that help us keep our ecosystem healthy and evolving, again, literally, liminally. We have to be really in touch with cyclicity to do that and we have to be comfortable with it in a way that we’re willing to put down what must be sacrificed to maintain a healthy balance for the whole ecosystem. That kind of examination and service to community requires the right tools, which in relationship vernacular are Allies, another facet of Jera: harvest shapes community.

I think appropriate questions to ask around Jera are:

  • How do we carve out the time to make use of it as a second win, despite cultural busy-ness? 
  • How do we make the space to celebrate harvest and meet our spiritual need to process the year? To figure out our Dream Team as we plan to go forward in the new year?

The challenge of Jera is to be accountable to our own process, and humans don’t do that when things stay the same. We’re not good at initiating change. We get complacent and bored, even when we know the status quo isn’t working. But what we learn with Jera is that we don’t have to initiate change, because ecosystem motivates change for us. It gives us cycles that prompts us to best behave in certain ways at certain times. In this way in modern culture Jera has some trickster qualities. It challenges us to realign ourselves with natural cycles that aren’t easy to align with and maintain our place and pace in settler culture.

That’s something to think about, and now, at the recording of this episode as we wobble into Spring in the north, we’re challenged with putting what we did with our Jera gap-time into motion. What’s that looking like? How is the way we spent Jera last season going to inform how we spend it this season?

Wisp of light
in the dark unknown
Both are allies in my success
Jera half-month affirmation from Runic Book of Days

We have to embrace our own cyclicity and that of our ecosystem, and Jera is an excellent teacher in helping us do that.

Thank you for listening, especially to the Runes for Change community members who make What in the Wyrd and The Weekly Rune possible with their financial support. You can receive the weekly runecast by subscribing to the community on my website–soulintentarts.com–by clicking Join in the top menu. In the community we’re currently holding a monthly runes class called Runevaettir & Landvaettir, and current members will get a look at the galley copy of my upcoming book, From Elder to Ancestor.

Which speaking of, comes out 4 June. It’s available for pre-order now, anywhere you buy books, online or off shelves. You can find excerpts of it in posts on my website.

If you have questions or insights about working with the runes, runic calendars, soul tending, or if you just want to drop me a line you can do that at Kelley at soulintentarts dot com, that’s k e l l e y at soulintentarts dot comLearn more about me, Runic Book of Days, and my work by visiting soulntintentarts.com. I’m most often on Instagram @kelleysoularts. Check out previous episodes, and find detailed notes on this episode on my website, under the menu option Learn… Liveable Runelore. The transcript of this episode can be found there, as well.

I’m Kelley and this has been What in the Wyrd. Thank you for the harvest that you bring.

Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

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Cycling with Jera Introspections

  • How do we carve out the time to make use of it as a second win, despite cultural busy-ness?
  • How do we make the space to celebrate harvest and meet our spiritual need to process the year? To figure out our Dream Team as we plan to go forward in the new year?

@kelleysoularts

on Instagram

S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.

I’m an animist, author, deathwalker and death doula. For the last 25+ years, through Soul Intent Arts I’ve helped others to ethically build thriving spiritual paths as fit, embodied elders, who upon death become wise, capable Ancestors. My work is Nature-based, and focuses soul tending through the Elder Futhark runes, animism, ancestral healing, and deathwork. I’m author of Runic Book of Days, and I host the podcast, What in the Wyrd. I also write The Weekly Rune as a celebration of the Elder Futhark in season. Full bio.

#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem

elder well, die well, ancestor well

@kelleysoularts

Elder Well

To bear your unique gift to the world.

Die Well

To leave the planet better than you found it.

Ancestor Well

So that your descendants never elder alone.