For the Week of 28 January 2024
Getting Midgard Right
Algiz is the half-month rune through 12 February. The intuitive rune is Mannaz reversed. The earthly spirit of place anchoring the runes this week is Barred Owl, in the direction of Within (mink skull), with element Ether (rainbow ribbon), in the season of Spring (tree button). From right to left are Algiz (ceramic tile), then Mannaz reversed.
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.
This runecast isn’t divinatory in the sense that each half-month rune represents events to occur in its fortnight. Rather, the timing of each rune allows us to greet where we are with what the dynamics each rune represents. It offers an examination of our relationship with the rune and what it may teach us about current events and dynamics.
What do Spirits of Place have to do with runes?
Everything we do is rooted in place. We are ecosystem. We are relations with place. In order for that relationship to truly be exalted we must formally invite Spirits of Place into our rituals, and ensure that we craft our rituals to the benefit of the whole ecosystem.
I don't live in Europe, where the Elder Futhark flourished. I don't live in 200CE, when the runes were in wide use. But my Ancestors did, and to honor them I must carefully include them in my place-space rituals, including this runecast. In order to do include them in a way that benefits the whole ecosystem of my present, I introduced my ancestral Spirits of Place to the Spirits of Place I live among now. Negotiations were made and boundaries were drawn to support this full relationship I walk among to bless us all, as well as readers and their ecosystems.
In this runecast 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 week on a more personal level in your geographical and cosmological context. Osteomancy honors earthly other-than-human Helping Spirits, which includes humanity's animal and plant Ancestors, and other earth-centric Ancestors and helpers. The elements indicate our best deathwalking, enlivening, tempering, and/or transmutational force for the cast, and the directions offer insight into the best boundaried space for where transmutational work can be done. Season provides an expression of how we can best hold our agency, or the energetic tone of the cast. These additional beings in the cast give us actionable ways to engage the runes for the week and move among with them. Feel free to work with Spirits of Place that most resonate with this runecast, even if they show up differently in your 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.
- 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 full version of The Weekly Rune is only on Patreon, and it includes:
- more detail in the runecast
- 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:
To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:
- If you’re on a desktop, log into Patreon or become a community member with the buttons at the right sidebar.
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What Does It Mean?
Algiz is among the runes directly associated with aspects of Nature. For that reason, it feels very grounding after the tension of [What Do You Think?] Perthro. We often situate Algiz as ‘protection, though it’s much more than that. Algiz speaks directly to the truth that human persons aren’t separate from Nature, and that having to parse both of them into separate words or concepts is still missing the point. Algiz message is more along the lines of, ‘We are us,’ and that’s about as protected as we can be.
Algiz means a couple of different things, given the rune poems. It can mean an elk or a sedge grass (also called elk sedge), both of which are territorial, protective, and omens of optimistic offense. Algiz is a deeply animistic rune, in that it directly points to our relationship with our ecosystem, and not just that we acknowledge that we’re in one, but that we’re actually involved with it. We tend it. We’re in reciprocity with it. We observe no separation. The suggestion here is that we are so integrated into our ecosystem that we are family with it, thus carry it with us everywhere we go. That’s the protection and reminder of who we are that Algiz brings.
We have to ground the initiation of Eihwaz, through the risk of Perthro, into the ecosystem relationships of Algiz.
Curious then that the best way to work with Algiz is through Mannaz reversed, which tends to indicate muzziness in our social interactions. Mannaz is a coming out rune, in that it occurs in the Futhark progression that we are presenting a new aspect of Self to the world or a new way of being, and we’re in search of support for it. Reversed, it doesn’t mean the support isn’t there, so much as it may be harder to locate. Our insecurity may not allow us to accept sincere support. It can leave us with the feeling that we’re outside, not included in Flow specifically because of this new facet of Self.
Sit with the places where this may be true. Consider that it feels true but isn’t actually. Consider that people that have been entrusted with this new Self aren’t trustworthy, or that there’s confusion in the interaction that makes them seem untrustworthy.
When I put those questions alongside the protective ecosystem of Algiz, the memo I get is protect our Midgard. Despite the socialness of Mannaz, our best supports are those closer to home–literally ecosystem, which can still include human persons. Given that, Algiz is asking us to ‘get our Midgard right,’ as in, do the roll call, assess needs and ask for what’s needed, give what’s asked, bring those relationships into as pristine a balance as possible. Actions for this week aren’t big, they aren’t reaching into utangardr. Rather, they are smaller, local, and deeply centered on tending ecosystem relationships.
Holding space for us to do that this week is Barred Owl. This ally this week sees behind masks, those of our culture, and of being human. They’re a take-no-shit ally that moves easily between living and spirit worlds, and for that reason can’t be deceived. As someone who has walked closely with Barred Owl for my entire adulthood, that skill seems cool as long as isn’t pointed at Self. It also means that with Barred Owl comes the challenge to realize the deceptions of settler culture and still stay rooted in soul calling. Owl, in general lives and walks beyond illusion, though it also brings protection. The bars on its chest indicate sacred space. Keep that in mind while vying for space to birth relationship with ecosystem this week. The earthly Ally helping us to do that is fierce, not just in defending it, but also in making sure we stay in our best lane in how we birth it. Its appearance means validation of feelings, that we’re heading in the right direction, doing the right thing.
Within is the realm of Níðhöggr. It literally is both the underground caverns of inner Midgard and the secret tunnels within us. It represents our torso, nervous system, gut instinct. It speaks directly to our animism, our personal relationship with being on the planet, and our capability of allowing Body to be both the boundary for and determiner of our experience here. Within reinforces that we take initiative, we set the parameters–again, do agency. It informs us that there are parameters to be set, as well as we have to take action on them–as in, if we don’t Ansuz, other forces will plug in random parameters that may or may not be beneficial or represent our truth. And our spirit helpers can’t do it for us. It was never their job to do so, but apparently now more than ever, they aren’t in a palace to intervene.
Within is the direction of the center of who we are–our center of personal cosmology, stretching out into All Things. It is soul in form. It is animisming in interdependence and belonging. It is our direct personal relationship to being here, now, embodied. It reiterates our accountability to formed being, the reminder that we have foot in both worlds that meet at the heart. Despite that the heart and passion can easily dictate how we move among, we are challenged to remember to move with our whole Selves, with our whole Within.
It both exalts what is wonderful about being in form, while fully honors that we are also Other. It fosters us to remember that we do not and cannot forego honoring all of who we are. We literally do not have to choose.
Ether (the rainbow ribbon) is a primordial state of everything and nothing, all at once. At base, I think of it as the presence of all the elements in balance; thus, it’s a state of infinite connectedness, interdependence, and belonging as the basis of all life. The presence of Ether in this cast reminds me of all earthly helping spirits visiting the cast last week. This element brings a tremendous amount of support for transmuting our relationship to place–literally. The elements are the agents we invoke in ritual to evoke change in the world.
Spring, which presents new growth, creativity is also the seasonal point that human-persons can more safely venture beyond their own thresholds–utangardr–return to the forest. The space that Spring holds is one of opportunity to verge outward and explore new territory. And it is this season that brings the most optimistic aspects of this runecast. We can see the place we’re in as the foundations for growth that will come, which allows us to glimpse the world we are building.
Half-month Rune Prompts
What are you bringing from your experience with Perthro?
How does that situate with the advice or protection and rebuilding Midgard relationships?
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.
Algiz – Elhaz or Eolh, Awl, Awlyee, Ail, Ailhaw, Ailha, Elha, Elhwa
Mannaz – Mah, Mahn, Mahna
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.
#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem
elder well, die well, ancestor well
To bear your unique gift to the world.
To leave the planet better than you found it.
So that your descendants never elder alone.