Repetition is a way the body communicates, and American settler culture isn't fluent in the language. Kelley harrell - Soul Intent Arts

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

A conversation with the body through runes.

Eihwaz. Different rune set, same rune. So very curious when a rune gets it in mind that it will be the one. When I began working with the runes over three decades ago, one of the first nuances of them I picked up on was repetition. I could present the same intention all kinds of ways and the same rune would come up. That was how I learned how blunt they are. Their message is their message. There’s not much room for glorifying or bypassing it. The same can be said about the body.

The body doesn’t get to lie, which is the most profound truth of being, and the hardest part of humaning to cope with. The body shows everything–every joy, pain, trauma, uncertainty, scar. While other layers of Self can dissociate or straight up lie about personal truth, the body can’t. We may not know how to decode its message or what to do with it, but it speaks very clearly in pain, fatigue, pleasure, and connection. The body records every experience it has, and its memory is infinite.

Repetition is a way the body communicates, and American settler culture is not fluent in the language. I’ve gone to work sick and not thought a thing of it, more times than I can count. I’ve ignored to be productive. I’ve placated and prioritized others’ discomfort with my limitations.  I’ve prioritized creativity over rest and mistaken creativity for rest. The signals my body sends at 51 are the same ones it was sending, undiagnosed and vivid, when I was a teenager.

With this second visit of Eihwaz on this runic body exploration, I’m challenged to envision who I am between the extremes of life and death. I know that I’m tired of approaching disability as a good girl. I’m wedged into a body that has been the victim of my wellness dysphoria, and that is a work in progress.

On that topic, I’ve been writing a piece for a week on my experience of Maying, Bealtaine, Volbarg, Walpurgis, and how in this year of Aun it is body who has told the truth about ecosystem. Every time I’ve sat down to chase lingering spirits of the Hunt back across the veil, those who were instrumental in deathwalking so much of my experience of COVID and all that has died in the last year, I’m faced with body. Body. But for me that is who has carried the wounds of culture. That is where I feel harm in the land.

So today my thoughts are of Maying my body, gathering what sweetness it holds, exploring what a safe return into the forest of physicality can be.


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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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elder well, die well, ancestor well


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