Nineteen Years

Much the way new parents refer to their babies’ (I have twins; always plural 😉 age as “twelve weeks” or “twenty-four months” as a way to deeply honor the distinctions of developmental stages, authors do the same with their books. We remember every stage of each book’s development.

Nineteen years ago, I was prepping the release of Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma. It came out 1 September 2004 from Spilled Candy Books.  Even as I type those words, that book is in my bones. It’s so felt because it was my first book, but also because it was *that* book. For me, telling my story that way brought me to exactly where I am now. Telling it and knowing it was being witnessed didn’t just anchor an experience of trauma into my body in a new way, it anchored that kind of storytelling in broken-path, American settler culture spiritual narrative in a way that hadn’t been done before: from the inside of soul travel.

Every author will tell you that every book takes a pound of flesh, and then some. I couldn’t appreciate the energetic vulnerability that would occur as the result of putting my story of soul tending initiation in the public domain any more than I can fully grok now how much relationship-building resulted from it. This book is how I met many of you. I have never forgotten that.

Truly, we don’t heal in isolation, but in community. I’ve thought many times, as all authors do, how I would approach it differently now. I think of how excited and terrified I was this time nineteen years ago. This is a good time to reflect on my relationship to this book, to tend the vulnerability that came out of it and anything in that initiation that needs attention now, to feed the soul of this book from where I stand now, and deeply appreciate who I am and my life as a result of it.


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S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.

I’m an animist, author, deathwalker and death doula held by Tuscarora, Woccon, and Sissipihaw land. 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 several books on soul work and runes, and when moved 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


We don't heal

In isolation, but in community