For the Week of 11 February 2024
Us-all (and the Uncomfortable Galdr)
Algiz is the half-month rune through 12 February, at which point Sowilo moves to the fore until 27 February. The intuitive rune is Hagalaz. The earthly spirit of place anchoring the runes this week is Tree (carved Yggdrasil), in the direction of Beyond (Earth marble), with element Stone (amber chips), in the season of Spring (tree button). The Beyond-earth support comes from Source (pyrite sun). From right to left are Algiz above (carved, polished Amethyst), Sowilo below, then Hagalaz.
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.
- If you’re on a device, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the buttons to log into Patreon or become a community member.
What Does It Mean?
Where we’ve been scrambling to feel our Beyond-earth Allies, rooting into ecosystem for grounded relationships, and digging deeper within to align unconscious support, with the transition from Algiz to Sowilo this week we’re connecting all those dots for powerful community.
Algiz usually comes in as this fundamental reminder that we are supported and protected by ecosystem, that we are Nature. This cycle’s experience brought tones of that, for sure. The framing runes gave it a bit more bass though, along the lines of what we need to do to support ecosystem, what’s required on our end from them so that they sustain the fortitude to help us human well. Algiz has been a study in how Nature helps us tend it well, which in turn means we are all animisming well.
Our time with Algiz has not been without tension, particularly the bits prodding us to get our inner worlds aligned with our outer expressions. As we slip into Sowilo later this week that message takes an interesting turn, the joyful likes of which we haven’t seen in the runecast in a long time.
Sowilo is the rune of paying it forward. It means sun, the center of our solar system, from which most of life on Earth springs. There are some burrowing and sea creatures who don’t need the sun to survive, but we do. Surface dwellers need the light it gives, and Sowilo is our celebration of that life, its source, and everything that shapes within that relationship. As a child of darkness, where I find Sowilo actually warming is in its animistic projection that we, too, are life-givers. We, too, can be suns who light ourselves and others to great warmth and all the fuzzy blessing that comes with it. The sun shines on us so that we may shine on others.
Where I hear this differently than I would in another cast or at another time is how lonely the last year or so has been, spiritually speaking. So many folx I work with–including myself–have been deeply searching for Ally kinship, digging deep in the trenches of our unconscious to be who we say we want to be, to learn who we already are. We’ve set a precedent for staying with that work, despite the loneliness, lack of direction, and big-soul community. And we’ve done it. We’ve put on our big human-person agency and shown up to those needs, largely on blind faith and a lot of regulating against forces that would have us do otherwise.
This runecast, this visit with Sowilo, affirms that we’re not alone in it. Our efforts are seen, even if we can’t conceive of that right now. The Sowilo agency of putting Self in the hard place and choosing to find something bright to leave something right has already begun paying forward on our collective trajectory, and that’s what we’ve been working toward the most over the last 3-4 years.
Algiz in relationship with Hagalaz forms a sort of container of protection. With Algiz we have the ecosystem relationships as protection. With Hagalaz we have the shove toward adaptation. The unity with ecosystem doesn’t stop potential for hard change, but it does leave us less bruised by it. When held in community, we’re not the only one taking the blow, digging out. For the remainder of Algiz we are not out of the woods of adversity, but we’re not alone in the woods. Literally.
In the Sowilo-Hagalaz relationship that moves in on Tuesday, that same idea applies, but broadens. Sowilo brings in our true capacity to use our wisdom, experience, and skills to pay-it-forward, within the context of how we elder, how we tend our presence here. The abrupt daze that occurs with Hagalaz is lightened up with Sowilo. The implication is that we can endure, and we can also still be of service. And through that service we retain our humanity, even in very trying times.
The transition from Algiz into Sowilo lightens things considerably, particularly given the emphasis on us doing a lot of deep inner cosmology work, for months. We’ve had our feet to the fire stitching together unconscious and conscious selves for months. This gradual externalization of our focus brings relief and also less intensity. And in a lot of ways, it reminds us of hope, and how we have to hold space for it to blossom.
For the second week in a row–which is incredibly unusual–the direction best holding space for us this week and most able to protect it is Beyond. Beyond/All Things 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 the nthere strata of communities within our bodies, all of whom are part of the managerial oversight that aligns with respect for all life at all levels. Beyond is the direction of Source.
Stone as the element in residence offers slowness, steadfastness, timelessness. It can’t not be embodied. There’s no rushing Stone, in either its formation or its degradation. Both processes only shift it from one form to another. It still remains. What’s significant with Stone is that it is resonant. It’s not just sitting there doing nothing. It picks up on vibrations, is shaped by other elements, flavored by various minerals, embellished by ecosystem. It adjusts to suit the environment, albeit on its own terms and timing. Working with Stone for transmutation demands patience and slowness from us, yet also diligence in seeing the transformation through to the end–well after the thrill of change has worn off.
Spring, the season whose energy we can best draw upon, the lightness of 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.
So, all of that, right? All of that support, plus what we’ve been conjuring within and around ourselves over the last couple of weeks, and the Beyond-Earth Ally walking directly with us this week is Source. What does Self call the animating life force of All Things, the creator, the original, the first? Because that’s what is whispering to us directly this week. Skip the Allies. Skip the ecosystem. Skip whatever it is that’s been holding everyday life together by a thread, because Source is in the runecast this week as focused Beyond-earth Ally.
Before we get to that–the directions came in differently this time when I called them in, and what was evident right away was a clearer felt sense of what the directions are and what they bring. It was apparent in this cast that the directions are the earthly foundation of the weave. They are what hold it so that we can human, and they know this. They do it with intention. I felt this awareness needs to become part of how I call in directions going forward.
Also what was different with the directions coming in for this runecast was unfettered Source. Source is in every runecast, every Ally, every ecosystem. But we can’t often parse the tremendousness of that awareness or such a presence on an everyday level. And so we start small. We animism local with the grass, the streams, and the warm breeze that turns cold by nightfall. Because that’s how humans work best: with what’s right in front of us, supported, resourced, and engaged. That said, Source came in with no preamble, no pretense, and it was a direct statement on the muzzy Ally connections of the last few months. Years, really.
Source as the Beyond-earth Ally was a clear statement that we are tended, big, small, stressed, exhausted… We are tended. We are part of and in sacred order, and what seeks to interfere with our awareness of that is all middle men, for lack of a more colloquial term. It’s white noise in an otherwise clear and evident signal.
In my cosmology Source is that not-so-easily-definable creator that is also the force created from, the question that’s not answerable, the beginning that is also before itself… However Self acknowledges that life force, feel it in life, this week cut straight to it. We don’t have to omit our usual ecosystem acknowledgements and relationships. Rather, as we honor them, also make space for Source, specifically. Name it, as much as is possible. Allow it, Be it. Dance it. Sing it. This is a week of revelry on a spiritual level. It’s a respite we haven’t had in a long time, and a significant moment to enjoy being Self among all of this…. life. All of this crazy, beautiful, frightening, overwhelming life.
Tree as the helping spirit on the ground with us taps into expansive memory, roots that grant us incredible power over time. It speaks to having and realizing a strong foundation, which helps us gather our scattered energies. In several cosmologies (including ON) humans were made from trees. Tree is a centralized organization of the pluriverse for a reason: it draws on the unseen energies above and the deep, nutritive density below, even as it uses both to create habitable space for Earth life. For us-all. Between life-giving sun (Sowilo) and Tree in this runecast, the memo is cellular, energetic support all around, and literally all through us.
We are Source.
Half-month Rune Prompts
How do you observe Source in your cosmology?
What rituals and ceremonies help you feel connected to Source?
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
Sowilo/Sowilu – Soh, Sohl, Sohwi, Sohli, Sig
Hagalaz – Haw, Hawga, Hah, Hahg, Hahgal
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.