What in the Wyrd podcast

Kelley Harrell explores animism and soul tending seasonally through the Elder Futhark runes.

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Find full The Weekly Rune at  patreon.com/kelleyharrell, and the free version at Soul Intent Arts.

Elder Futhark

Transcript below

How Can a Rune Even Be Blank?

by Kelley Harrell | Trailer


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, actionable animism, soul tending, and how all of those intersect through sacred activism on my path.

Thank you to everyone who listens to the podcast, to those who send notes and share their experiences of the runes. That’s what it’s all about, and I’m grateful for the engagement.

Thank you to everyone who listens to the podcast, to those who send notes and share their experiences of the runes. That’s what it’s all about, and I’m grateful for the engagement.

I also want to thank my Patreon supporters, who make the sharing of my runework through the podcast and the runecast possible with their financial support. If you have benefitted from the runecast, the podcast, or the ton of free articles on the runes, animism, and soul tending on my website, you can show your support through buying my books–which you can find at soul intent arts dot com or Amazon–by making a one-time contribution through Paypal or Square, or by contributing regularly through Patreon. Just go to patreon.com and search for kelley harrell. You can also subscribe to the paid version of the weekly rune there.

And thank you for it.

The Weekly Rune is out, and if you’re not sure what it is, it’s a runecast that I’ve done for years focused on the runic calendar and the current half-month rune. The Weekly Rune is now available in full on patreon.com. –just do a search for Kelley Harrell to find it, and you can find the archive of all past runecasts on my site, soulintentarts.com

If you’re not sure what a half-month is or what the runic calendar is, listen to the early episodes of What in the Wyrd, or just go read The Weekly Rune. It’s explained fully at the beginning of every runecast.

I  want to take a moment to thank the new supporters who have started listening in the new year. It’s been great to meet you and get notes from you!  And I also want to address that it’s been a minute since the last episode, and I’ve had folx asking if I’m still doing the podcast, if I’ve wrapped it. And the answer is, I’m just doing what I can, at any given point right now.   I’ve begun including transcripts of episodes on my website–soulintentarts.com. Go to Listen -> WITW Podcast –> Transcripts. Getting those finished and uploaded makes things take a bit longer, so there’s that.  Also, I’m human. I have a family. I have a job. I manage several chronic health conditions and curious neurological wiring–all during a pandemic. My priorities have had to shuffle in order to do what I need to for myself and my family, and part of that has meant I record when I am able to. So,. I’m still here. The Weekly Rune is still being produced, and I will record new episodes for What in the Wyrd when I can. Thank you for enjoying it enough to ask about it, and for being concerned about me.

And of course, that feeling of ‘where have all my resources gone’ is part of our topic for this episode.

We’ve spent the last few months with very clear instruction on how to take care of ourselves right now. The weekly runecast has covered this beautiful progression of intentionally reframing our unconscious, actively engaging healthy energetic hygiene, being cognisant of embodiment of ourselves, what our external resources are –the cosmological equivalent of frithgard and fylgja– and our human-person boundaries and supports also. I seriously couldn’t have picked out better runic combinations than we’ve gotten intuitively over the last couple of months in The Weekly Rune, not just to close the second aett for this turn of the wheel, but for quarantine life.

At every level of being, the message has repeatedly emphasized how we need to be deeply prepared to take care of ourselves, and I feel like we’ve been given that message for multiple reasons. The reaction a lot of folx have to that kind of memo is–you know, this is the shit hitting the fan, for everyone, during COVID. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally–everyone is managing cPTSD right now. WHY THE HELL would we need to take better care of ourselves? Why can’t we lean on each other? The short answer is because we can’t. And I know it’s a hard time to learn that. Many times in The Weekly Rune over the years we’ve gotten the message that learning a new, more functional way to move through life is doable during distress, but it’s much harder to do then. That’s WHY we engage in good hygiene habits all the time, not just so we can feel good about having good habits, but so that those habits will be in place to carry us during challenging times, and so that we can stand on the benefit they have brought us in having cultivated a relationship with them before duress.

But why now? Why exactly now are the runes urging us to step up how we take care of ourselves? I’ve got a few ideas…

The first one is because it’s just time. [laugh] It’s time for us to level up our humaning skills to what our current maturity level and emotional needs demand.  And this demand may not look like a push to accomplish do, push push but it’s more like step back. chill. regroup. ask for support. give support. sleep. seriously. That’s where we are–the base components of self-care, the royalty among which are saying no, and setting and honoring our boundaries.

The second one, the second reason is likely the one that’s gonna be upsetting a lot of people, but the heavy emphasis to take on more of our self-care is because we have leaned too heavily our spirit allies. Spirit allies, spirit guides, whatever you want to call them– guardians– they are supposed to be anchors that hold a place in the unseen to help us get our shit together here. They have access to resources there that help us make better active choices here. They’re like a mystical cheering section that has the capability of weaving threads for us that we can’t, don’t even know about, or even have access to. They do their end of keeping us together, while we do our end. They’re not supposed to be these beings who pick up our slack in the formed world, and the idea that that is their job it’s not really our fault. It comes from the projection of not being we’re not enough to curate and tend our own divinity, being told that we need a saviour, and most recently the 90s guru new age movement taught us our spirit allies are a crutch that we go to for everything. They’re the fill-in-the-blank of our lives. Coin in slot, pull the lever, out comes manifestation.

The truth is rarely do spirit allies intervene in a life-altering way. What’s more realistic and appropriate is a sustained relationship, a joint effort through reciprocity of us offering blessings and gratitude on the regular for them to do what they do on their end, while we engage everyday in grounded actions that helps us to manifest what we need in our lives. We can’t get out of the chop wood carry water part of the mundane. But the result is we’ve relied too heavily on our spirit allies to fill in our blanks, and they can’t. They literally can’t. It’s not their job to. And now, especially now, they’re busy. As animists, we understand that chaos that’s happening on the earthly plane now is just the physical part of something that’s also happening in the spirit world. I’m not saying your allies have forgotten about you, but I am saying you aren’t their top priority right now, AND that is how it should be, because WE are on top of things on our end of things. Right?

And the third reason I feel the weekly runes have been leaning on us upping our self-care game is because our Dream Teams are under duress so much that they are likely not our Dream Team anymore. We really have to learn how to be functionally self-reliant, and this is a very fitting theme to close this season of the second aett. Okay, so maybe that’s the hardest one  I don’t know.  Maybe this is harder than the spirit allies one. They’re both kinda harsh.

So, everyone who studies with me, whether it’s one-on-one, in one of the Intensives that I lead, or in a live group class knows that right out of the gate I ask you to know your Dream Team. We’ve talked about this in previous episodes–somewhere. I don’t remember which ones. But your Dream Team is the community of people who support you–by which I mean human-persons. I ask that folx make a list of them and note under what circumstances you would column that person, like a ready list–what their contact information is, and keep it nearby as a primary resource for the time frame that you are in this class. Some people don’t take that very seriously. They don’t yet have the connection that you can’t undertake any kind of spiritual or energetic study without changing yourself, and in ways that you don’t know you’re going to change. How you embody yourself, your cosmology, and every relationship that you’re in has to shift how to support that. We don’t get to pick and choose the parts of our lives that are affected by our spiritual studies in healing, and so we need to understand impeccably who we go to, and under what circumstances when we need help assimilating how we change with soul work, back into our lives. We need specialists that we trust to help us do that.

But of course this practice to understand who your dream team is and commit to calling on them in times of need works differently when you alone are in crisis, when you’re the only one, compared to a time when all of us are in crisis–INCLUDING YOUR DREAM TEAM. They also have to step away now. They also have to have firmer boundaries. They also have families and loved ones to support. Ya know? Who knew? Who could have truly envisioned a period of time that we would all be unapproachable and deeply taxed to give even the support that might be our profession to do so–ALL AT THE SAME TIME?

For that reason–the collective combustion of this time–THIS experience of Sowilo and the end of the second aett is very different. In my experience, the first aett is the training wheels portion of being a soul in form, and we close it on a very high note, with both the realization that we have an active role that is solely in human-person hands to fulfill, and with the realization that we have deep spiritual resources to draw on–both WAY OUT THERE and right here. And we still do. When I say that our spirit allies are busy I don’t mean they’re gone. I don’t mean they won’t respond. I mean think carefully about why you reach out to them and for what reason. What is your expectation of them at this time? Is it reasonable for the work that’s on the table for us all? Is it selfish?

Because the second aett is the crash course in what it’s like to be a soul in form doing your unique happy little dance through life, among everybody else doing theirs. That’s the challenge. The addition of you + everyone else changes everything. It changes your dance.  It’s not so simple as just listen to your unique drum. It’s not as clear as get your rhythm. You bump into each other. People may not like your dance and try to stop it. You might not like somebody else’s dance. The music changes, it might even completely stop, sometimes. Yet dance, we must. It’s our job to keep going the best we can without collateral damage to everyone else, and without taking them off step. And the third aett? Holy shit y’all, the third aett starts out in the midst of battle. It starts at the point that mid-conflict we realize our only option is Plan B, which begs the question–what exactly was Plan A?

[Big heavy sigh.]

Plan A was your relationship to the dance. When we sit with ourselves as an animist moving through the world, we eventually realize that in all engagements there are more components to relationship than just you and the thing. There is you, the thing, and your relationship to the thing–which is neither you nor the thing. It is unique life force. Sit with that for a minute. There’s you, the thing, and your relationship to the thing. How you feel about the thing may not be reflected as clearly in how you actually relate to it as you think. You may adore the thing, in this case your unique happy dance through life, you may idolize your unique happy dance through life. But what is your relationship to it really? Because the relationship is affected by all those other people doing their unique happy dances to –who knows god-awful music with no rhythm–and then you have to be like wait, did I just judge them, because that judgement factors into my relationship to my dance…

[Another big heavy sigh]

We’re about to move into Tiwaz, like, where this is all going, which demands that you get your relationship to your unique happy dance right, and right now. That’s the Plan B, and the timing emphasis of Tiwaz is real. We do not have all day to enact Plan B. It’s the opening scene of the third aett, and the entire stage is on fire—-under normal circumstances. To say nothing of what the segue from second to third aett may be like during a pandemic.

This time around the wheel going second to third aett transition finds us all having to do that shuffle at the same time–doing that deep personal awakening to our own dance and mining our relationship to it, all at the exact same time.


It’s going to be very interesting, to say the least. Messy, I’m pretty sure. It could also be very beautiful . It could be phenomenal to see a collective come into its own rhythm better. Because many of us will. We really will because we have been listening to the runes, we have been to our own signals and we can do it. We can listen for the point that  Plan A has to drop. We have to look at the dance, realize it for what it is, realize our relationship to it for what it is, and find the beginning of it, the changed version of it, whatever it needs to be all over again. It can be beautiful, and many of us are going to do just fine.

GO with that thought.

Stay with your self-care. Give regular blessings and gratitude to your spirit allies. Shift away from calling on them as much. Instead, bless yourself, bless them, bless your Midgard level allies–your frithgard and fylgja. Do the self-work to get out of their way so that you don’t complicate their jobs and they can continue doing them at the high level that they do.

What’s ahead of us in the third aett is  the movement into the sage’s life, which means eldering well. It means we’re doing all the things demanded of us at the best level that we can to be self-reliant, to bless our spirit allies in their work, to make use of and bless our Midgard allies. Because in the third aett we get the full memo that it’s no longer about us. We’re going to come through the third aett and see our embodiment and power for what they are–the tools to do it again and again, to hold space for community to do it again and again. And this time, in this pandemic expression of the end of the second aett, we can do all of that while remembering our divinity, and remembering the divinity of everyone around us.

It’s all connected, and right now more than ever we see the impact our actions have on one another.

It’s all connected.

The Sowilo Half-Month Affirmation from Runic Book of Days is

All Things,

Through you

I am.

Thanks for listening. If you have questions or insights about working with the runes in season, or you just want somebody to bounce your ideas off, feel free to email me at Kelley that’s k e l l e y at soulintentarts.com or you can call into the Anchor app, which you can download for Android or iPhone.

Also check out earlier episodes by downloading them from Google Play or iTunes–and various other podcast platforms. And you can learn more about me, Runic Book of Days, and my work by visiting soulntintentarts.com or on Instagram @kelleysoularts. I’m Kelley and this has been What in the Wyrd.


on Instagram

S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.

I’m an author, lifelong deathwalker and animist, and the founder of Soul Intent Arts in North Carolina. For almost 25 years I’ve taught 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.


elder well, die well, ancestor well


We don't heal

In isolation, but in community
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