For the week of 25 September 2022

Humaning Who We Are

Kenaz (cedar) is the half-month rune through 28 September. Jera (reindeer antler slice) is the intuitive rune, and Thurisaz reversed indicates Praise’s message to us. The Spirits of Place and season walking with us this week are the active element of Stone, rooted in the direction of Below (underworld), with Wheel in Summer. Read right to left is Kenaz, Jera, then Thurisaz.

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What's a Runic Calendar?

The Elder Futhark runic calendar I work with is based on the work of Nigel Pennick. It has the potential to provide humanity keys for how we live in season with All Things. Through #theweeklyrune I share the Futhark’s insight on how to live better as animists, to make better choices based on keen insight into the present, and to help each of us be more active in creating a better life for us all. That realization includes living with All Things as family, learning to tend what can’t just be fixed, and using every tool at our disposal to do so. The runes are such a tool, and in the Old Norse tradition, this process is wyrdweaving at it deepest potential. The runes provide one way that we can create ourselves as fit elders, so that upon our good death, we can be well Ancestors.

What’s a half-month rune?

“Half-month” is an astronomical concept in which each month is divided into two parts: days 1-15, then 16-month’s end. In terms of the runic calendar, each half-month rune is one of the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark, and governs for a tad over two weeks (14 and 1/4 days, or a fortnight).

How is the Runecast Done?

The Weekly Rune is a (mostly) three-rune cast, situated among spirits of place. Those runes are the half-month, the intuitive rune, and the sacred overview. When the runecast falls at a half-month transition, the fourth rune is included. The half-month is a set rune, which for the most part follows the traditional ordering of the Elder Futhark. However, in the calendric ordering observed by Pennick, the order is slightly different. The intuitive stave (meaning, I draw it blind) indicates the life force most available to us, and suggests how we can best handle the half-month energies. The final rune (also drawn blind) provides a high overview of the current time, and speaks from voices other-than-human, which are non-human concepts and beyond Earth beings. These sacred voices are Allies, and have been Nature, Earth, Continuity, Creation, First Ancestor, Survival, etc. I note who’s speaking each week, as it is revealed.

Spirits of place are represented through osteomancy, season, elements, and directions. Each brings a nuance of how to work with the half-month rune, or how to engage forces of the season on a more personal level in the reader’s geographical and cosmological context. Osteomancy honors other-than-human Helping Spirits on Earth. The elements indicate our best deathwalking/enlivening/tempering force for the time, and the directions offer relationship to place as the best energetic grounding or area where work is needed. These additional beings in the cast give us actionable ways to engage the runes in season and move among with them. Readers should feel free to work with Spirits of Place that most resonate with this runecast, even if they show up differently in their cosmologies and relationships.

New to Runecasting?

  • Catch a couple of my IGTV videos, which explain the intention and process behind the runecast, and what makes it different from other ways of casting.
  • Listen to my What in the Wyrd podcast, which is available across all popular podcast platforms, including Google Play and  iTunes.
  • A few people have asked the reason that I switch between different rune sets for TWR. The short answer is: because. The more nuanced answer is, I ask which sets wants to speak each week. I don’t assume the same elements are in play according to the timing of the runes; I also don’t assume the same elements of my runes are appropriate to speak each week. I did a podcast on this subject, so there’s more info there. (See above)
  • Also, for deep work on coming into relationship with the runes in season, check out my book, Runic Book of Days.

Why Join Patreon?

This is the free version of The Weekly Rune.  Get the full benefit of the  ad-free, detailed version every Sunday, by joining my private runes community at Patreon. The paid runecast includes:

  • more detail 
  • ad-free
  • audio blog, with galdr of the runecast and instruction on how to use each sound for felt sense resonance
  • the current runes’ impact on human life force 
  • insights on how to best manage the curves and twists therein
  • introspective prompts to nuance and tend self-work

Other Patreon offerings:

  • Community connection via ​Discord
  • live video classes
  • runic insights,  book excerpts, release newsfree classes
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

This season of Kenaz has had some plucky moments, all compounded by a lot of astro-retrotivity (I totally just made that up). The result has been a sense of frenetic running in place, which is also on par for the greenlight ley of collective life force movement the runes have been gently revealing over the last couple of months. The indications of our creation of new normal are on the horizon, and even though the movement that’s been supported in the runes is small and slow, it’s still movement.

Learn more about this seasonal progression, and how to draw its insights into the personal spiritual path in Runic Book of Days.

What Does It Mean?

Kenaz is the rune of the small eruption, just hot and painful enough to disrupt. This pain is internalized differently across the rune poems, predominantly through the symbolic liaison of a torch and a boil. If we’re reading this relationship as animists, we’re looking at the dawning of an awareness, along the lines of enlightenment or our calling. 

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Where Kenaz gets uncomfortable is–well, it was always uncomfortable. This rune represents a slow burn, something we kept at bay of our awareness until either we, it, or circumstances were ready for it to emerge. In a sense, there’s already been a decent amount of discomfort by the time we get to Kenaz, hence fatigue, with this rune. 

As well, the reveal of Kenaz isn’t without demands. There’s a projection in maybe all walks of life, that just coming to know the thing is enough. The relief is real when something long-awaited comes to fruition. In keeping with the conversation we’ve been having about Ansuz + Raidho = Kenaz, our whole deal in form is using agency with grace, creating with grace, tending our creations with grace.

Nothing in that suggests that just knowing the thing is enough.In fact, it’s likely where a completely different type of work begins, and it’s the kind that doesn’t accept fragility, stoicism, or wonky boundaries. For that matter, the thing is never just the thing. It keeps evolving.

Jera has a lot to say about that. Rather, it brings a lot of support to that. Jera is the rune of harvest, which is timely, as in the north we’ve just reached our second harvest sabbat, the Autumnal Equinox. What we gain with Jera for working with Kenaz is tools, or more specifically, relationships. When we take stock of our harvest, by default we’re measuring how we are in relationship with what grew, what died, what will sustain us, what can be sold, what must be reserved for planting. So as we approach the Aha! Of Kenaz in this final week together, consider what relationships can finesse that moment. What relationships may have been out of reach but are now salient? What relationships suddenly emerge as helpful with calling? What relationships support and help us further our calling?

And of course, what ones don’t? That’s just as telling.

Thurisaz reversed in the voice of Praise is uncanny. Upright, this rune is where we first really experience the synergy of soul-in-form. We quicken, and by choosing to do so, realize our potential here. Reversed, Thurisaz comes with a lot of gnashing of teeth, not being able to quicken as or what we want. That’s distressing enough. The anthem of Thurisaz reversed is “gnashing of teeth and we can’t just change it.” We can’t bypass it, ignore it, or tear through it. What do we do when we have to go through something? We cultivate coping skills. We discern the porosity of our boundaries and refurbish them or get brand new shiny ones. We note the analytics of our relationships and they grow or go. 

Where the hell does Praise fit into that shit show? At its base, when Thurisaz is reversed, we struggle with tension around not being able to be who we want to be, which ripples out into all the things. And that’s just it–the only reason we would be out of joint with how we manifest here is from some wider collective interference. We are who we are, and that’s where the Praise for slowing down and sifting through the underworlds of Self comes in. It’s hard and messy, and many people–ones we know and love–will never do that work. Praise, damn straight.

Humaning isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s work that never stops. Any point that we can recognize that fact and depersonalize it long enough to look around and within to get back in sync with who we are is worthy of Praise. Because when we are in sync with our deeper Selves, we are able to accept admiration and approval from the relationships all around us, AND we’re capable of reflecting that back.

Stone as Baltic amber further reinforces slow, embodied, resonant efforts right now. It also brings in the characteristic of timelessness, in that there’s no rushing stone, in either its formation or its degradation. Both processes only shift it from one form to another. It still remains. What’s significant with Stone is that it is resonant. It’s not just sitting there doing nothing. It picks up on vibrations, is shaped by other elements, flavored by various minerals. It adjusts to suit the environment, albeit on its own terms and timing. In this way it’s an excellent model of how we can process our own vibrations, reshape as needed, and adapt for longevity.

Holding space for us from Below – Earth Parent, which is also all of our Earth family–our immediate relations in Nature. It can be considered animism, itself, in that it is focused on the direct personal relationship to the organism that made us, and all the relationships that entails. What emerges from those relationships are our collective story, including the ancestors and planetary currents. For me, there is a cave aspect to this direction, very much directly within the vantage point of Earth and all that they are.

Wheel in Summer references the natural sequence of wide cycles, seasons, in that each season depends on the other in order to keep the movement going. Summer specifically references a life stage that all things move through, sort of adolescence, though certainly movement of all things–feelings, currents, thoughts, dynamics. It’s an overall good time, and a point of coming into power.

However things slow and chap this week, the runic memos revolve around moving through it embodied and with our sacredness at the fore. While we have the relationships of Jera, we don’t have the outpouring of Allies that we’ve had for several months in the runecasts, but maybe we don’t need them right now. Maybe now is just about us putting some skills and abilities into motion.

Two from the first aett, one from the second. This week our relationships get us through what bubbles up, and we greet Gebo–deeper partnership, late next week.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How does vulnerability show up in your body?
  • How do you know when a boundary needs to change?
  • What is your relationship to stillness?


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The way that I use galdr is through chanting. I find repetition of the base phonetic helps me feel the rune. Remember that the Elder Futhark isn’t a language. It was originally an alphabet, incorporated into mythical origin. It functions phonetically, both in spelling and pronunciation. Given that, galdr isn’t terribly different from the overall pronunciation, and the emphasis is on the intention of the chant, not so much the pronunciation.

My personal emphasis in galdr is on the vowels initially and I incorporate the consonants later. For instance, with Ansuz, I focus on ‘ahw-oo,’ before incorporating the middle ‘n,’ such as ‘ahwnsoo.’ There is no right or wrong with galdr (although I guess there could be a flat-out wrong?), though often the final consonants aren’t pronounced, as in ‘ahwsoo.’ Practice galdring different ways, and go with the way that you feel in your body.

  • Kenaz – Kehn, Kenuh, Kawn, Kawnuh, Kain, Kainuh
  • Jera – Yer, Yeruh, Yair, Yairuh, Yer/Yairaw
  • Thurisaz – Thoor, Thooree


Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

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Originally published on Soul Intent Arts.

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.

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elder well, die well, ancestor well


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Ancestor Well

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