For the Week of 4 February 2024

Showing Up At Home

Algiz is the half-month rune through 12 February. The intuitive rune is Othala. The earthly spirit of place anchoring the runes this week is American Sweet Gum Tree Seed Pod, in the direction of Beyond (Earth marble), with element Plant (caloglossa red moss), in the season of Winter (tree button). All are held by the etheric field casting cloth. From right to left are Algiz (carved reindeer antler slice), then Othala. 

Why Join the Runes for Change Community?

Runes for Change provides community and resources to gain insight into the Elder Futhark runes oracle, elder well with ancient wisdom, and cultivate a strong spiritual path. When you join Runes for Change, each week you will receive the full version of The Weekly Rune, which is only available to the Runes for Change community. The runecast includes:

  • fully detailed runecast
  • an audio recording of the runecast with galdr and instruction on how to work with each sound
  • the half-month runic impact on human life force
  • insights on how to best manage the curves and twists therein
  • devotional introspective prompts to nuance and tend self-work for the week
  • Early access to What in the Wyrd episodes
  • Community connection via ​Discord
  • Excerpts of articles and upcoming books, exclusive first peeks at current projects, and galley copies

Optional Runes for Change offerings:

  • Community-only classes, self-paced and live
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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.

What's a bindrune?

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What Does It Mean?

With last week’s tenuous step into Algiz we were greeted with emphasis on ecosystem relationships while also feeling out of Flow. This week the emphasis on close-to-home support dives inward, with some interesting information, support, and relationships.

The etheric field casting cloth is where the intrigue starts. Years ago I handmade and sold them as chakra cloths to deepen oracle readings into the personal/transpersonal field. The cloth wanted to be the container for this week’s cast, which adds a layer of insight that we don’t usually have. Thematically, the presence of the cloth means we’re changing in our bodies this week, and how our fields are in relationship with other fields.

Because the cloth has specific use, the method for casting was different, in that it truly was casting. I let each component speak, then cast them to see where they would land on the cloth. The color bands represent the different strata of fields/chakras/hvels, so each runecast component is read within that context, as well. I don’t know if this is a one-off drive-by for this cloth, or a request to be included until further notice. We’ll see!

That said, Algiz landed in blue, which is the expression of the throat. This chakra is about speaking or expressing our truth (Ansuz vibes), which in the context of Algiz could imply that vows to land or oaths to ecosystem need updating, or that living animistic relationship more outwardly is needed. We can’t just keep it to ourselves or to philosophy. We can’t sustain relationship with ecosystem by hiding in it, or in the case of the protection Algiz offers, behind it. Ultimately all ecosystems are in relationship with each other, to be one ecosystem. This week we are being asked to expand our understanding of that relationship by being willing to be more bold in representing it. We are being asked to animism where our mouth is; have animism will travel.

Othala is the rune of eldering, being able to conceive of Self as descended of Ancestors and their dynamics, and a strong influencer of the descendants and their dynamics. It is the rune of getting our affairs in order and showing up to how we manage our positionality in family line, community tending, and expressing our calling. 

Othala situates in the teal strata of the cloth, which in my cosmology is the high heart. Where the traditionally observed heart chakra is just below that, is green, and holds space for giving compassion and unconditional love, the high heart holds space for accepting these.

When the high heart comes up we’re dealing with our relationship to feeling loved, seen, heard, and held. Challenges with these stem from unexpressed trauma around accepting unconditional love, and vulnerability is a key feeling that comes up in this chakra. Considerations that the high heart brings to Algiz via Othala, or eldering well, might include not believing that we can be a good elder, not feeling ready to be one, not knowing how to be one. It can also pluck chords around ecosystem needing us to be in a more confident place than we actually are, in terms of how we move in the world. Ecosystem may need us to embody belonging more, to live in interdependence more. 

These sound nice and desirable on the surface, but with deep personal reflection may be fairly triggering to actually accomplish because that means we have to be very aware of where our personal field stops and that of others begins. It challenges us to live more in the transpersonal than the personal, which means really walking it like we talk it.

The direction best holding space for us this week and most able to protect it is Beyond

Beyond/All is the container of all that we know and beyond. It is the direction of sacred order. It’s the realm of Watchers, Norns, Multiversal Jotnar who caretake the machinations of all life. Given that, it can also be the microbes, the mitochondria, the bacteria. It’s not just Out There, but also that strata of managerial oversight that aligns with respect for all life at all levels. It is the direction of Source.

Beyond fell in the yellow bands of the cloth, or solar plexus.This one is potentially full of ouch. The solar plexus is the point at which we begin to seek relationships beyond primary family. We’ve learned the places that we are supported by primary family and we aren’t, and we venture beyond the socialization of our formative years into the great unknown to find kin (lots of Mannaz vibes here). When we look at the Beyond through this energetic aspect, we are forced to come to terms with where we haven’t felt met by the pluriverse and why. What got in the way? What defenses were built as a result? Likewise, where were we perfectly met and our needs fulfilled by the pluriverse? 

This week is the time to explore where we are at odds with our Allies, deities, Watchers. It’s the time to sit with our faith and reality at the same table. It’s the time to acknowledge the distance we’ve felt from Beyond these last few months alongside the deep need for that intimacy.

Plant is our element this week. In many ancient creation myths, plants are the first allies of humans. They are food, medicine, protection, and conduit to the godden. They have feelings, intelligence, and awareness, and they have the ability to sense our intentions and respond to our actions. When Plant visits it’s time to bring our awareness in closer, quieter, and listen to what the smaller voices of our ecosystem are saying. 

Caloglossa red moss –  as the best elemental influence for how we reconnect with ecosystem Algiz-style suggests our best efforts will be behind the scenes. Moss isn’t a center-stage life force. It’s liminal, and as such, it occupies diverse space at once, and demonstrates comfort with both light and shadow, and everything between. It exudes calmness and soothing. This elemental support accepts all of who we are and encourages us to do the same.

In this cast, Plant is in the indigo strata, which corresponds with the third eye. It is the place that we are consciously and unconsciously creating the vision of our inner truth. What we feel is what we create. In a manner of speaking, just as moss is a smaller voice, so are our lesser conscious aspects. These behind-the-scenes parts need not only to be heard but be allowed to speak, which implies that we’ve done the work to be able to hear the smaller voices, and we’ve done the work to heal them. If we don’t have good ego balance by this point in our energetic growth, we may not understand why our lives are shaped the way they are. This doesn’t mean everything is our fault. Culture, colonization, all the isms are not under our control. Moss is whispering that we learn what is and play to those strengths.

The backdrop of Winter – vetr- brings a cloistered space, huddled for warmth, slow-moving, and ample stillness. The world gets smaller in winter. The forest becomes less approachable and perhaps even hostile toward human-persons. We are less involved with the outdoors, and must pay closer attention to our reserves. It is the time of the Wild Hunt and standing in the danger of our dead.

Winter is in green on the cloth, the energy of the heart. Even when it’s cold, even when resources aren’t assured, even when we are less able to directly access ecosystem, we still have to give love. We still have to be willing to allow our vulnerability and still have an open heart.

The earthly Ally walking with us this week is new. American Sweet Gum Trees (Seed Pod), also called Witches’ Burrs, are protective in nature. Their spiny pods protect the seeds until they mature and scatter, and the tree, themselves, can thrive under a wide range of conditions. As well their gum is used for treating wounds and respiratory conditions.  For these reasons they are known for their strength, resilience, and adaptability. 

The seed pod also fell in yellow, the solar plexus, which suggests that energy of reaching out, finding new relationships of support into which we can be more loudly who we are, is now. As challenging as it may feel, as terrifying as it may be, the tone of how we step out into the world with our true hearts leading the way has never been more needed or supported than it is now.

This runecast raises a lot of questions that don’t have answers and poses actions whose acceptance isn’t assured. It challenges us to raise our game in terms of our Algiz-ecosystem-protection relationship. Indeed, our ecosystem provides Naturekin protection and is ever-present with us. This week we’re being asked to be ever-present with them, deeply, completely.


Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What does it mean to you to show up to your ecosystem?

  • To carry it actively with you wherever you go?

  • How do you carry your ecosystem with you and still respect the new ecosystems you enter?


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

  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal

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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.

#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem

elder well, die well, ancestor well


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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.