Body-by-the-minute, a rune a day.

A conversation with body through runes.
Algiz. Protection. The thought of it brings up tension. Body hasn’t been very protected in its time here. In some cases it hasn’t even been protected from me. Bodies are not protected here.

What makes the runes meaningful to me is how they situate into an animist context, which is different for each of us. For me, this rune shows more animistic roots than others in that it encompasses protective ecosystem features–sedge grass and elk–both pokey, both territorial. They know the boundaries that separate territories–communities–are the same spaces that overlap relationship. They know that place and Self are the same. As does Flesh.

In my cosmology Flesh is an element. It is the container that makes all of our internal systems a wholly functioning system, it is what makes us form, what makes agency have action. We aren’t the only ones inhabiting Flesh. We are not individual in form any more than we are in spirit. Flesh is riddled with other ecosystems in and on it, with whom we are in continual relationship. It’s also intimately engaging the elements inside and out, all the time. So while we can sit with Flesh as a pivotal distinguishing element, it’s also the main one that represents our interdependentness.

And that may be the hardest part for me to tend about Body–the easily abused illusion of singularity. All it takes is one infraction upon soft, fragile Body and our sense of how we connect in is changed forever, our awareness that  we connect is changed. That’s why physical violence is so vile: it causes soul loss, which robs us of agency, which leaves the role of form incomplete. In this way we are no more discrete divisions of inner cosmology–mind-body-soul–than we are separate from air, land, fire, water, ether. We are collections of messy, overlapping relationships, and the harm of any of them is the harm of all of them. And if we’re looking at that through Algiz, it means the harm of Body is the harm of place. We are where we stand. 

And that means the liberation of Body is in the land.

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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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The Spirited Path Soul Tending Intensive
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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.