For the week of 21 August 2022

Hold the Space for Better

Ansuz is the half-month rune through 29 August. Perthro is the intuitive rune, and Mannaz indicates Hospitality’s message to us. The Spirits of Place anchoring the runes this week are Helping Spirit, Barred Owl in Autumn, with the active element of Plant (Calaglossa red moss), rooted in the direction of Above. Read right to left is Ansuz, Perthro, then Mannaz.

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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.

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, including Google Play and  iTunes.
  • 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 is the free version of The Weekly Rune.  Get the full benefit of the  ad-free, detailed version every Sunday, by joining my private runes community at Patreon. The paid runecast includes:

  • more detail 
  • ad-free
  • 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:

  • Community connection via ​Discord
  • live video classes
  • runic insights,  book excerpts, release newsfree classes
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

Our time with Ansuz is always a little self-conscious. It challenges us to speak our truth, which implies that we have worked the inner processes to know what our truth is and how to express it. It may or not go over well, which we also have to be prepared for. All of these moving parts are quite a lot with this godden-rune. Two weeks and some change spent focused how we use our agency each season always generates huge inner change.

Learn more about this seasonal progression, and how to draw its insights into the personal spiritual path in Runic Book of Days.

What Does It Mean?

This final week spent with Ansuz is no different, though it brings great support for that exploration, and equal warning. When it comes to matters of applying our agency, that’s pretty fair. Being human is a big deal, by which I don’t mean “Check us out,” but that it’s a big responsibility. The runes this week express that clearly. 

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For the sake of continuity, let’s look at how we arrived at Ansuz. Fehu has us tending what’s most important to us–how we soul-in-form. Period. Being the custodians of Earth, which implies having the most agency, we need the resources to do the job well. Uruz allows us to realize how complex we are. We have inner selves, a full inner cosmology, who without intentional awareness can wreak havoc in our lives. We have to cultivate a solid embodiment practice to keep all that in check, so that when we arrive at Thurisaz, the point that we have to choose to be here, we can do it with actionable skills to human well. All before applying our agency–Ansuz. 

Think for a moment what applying agency looks like without the previous steps in a good place. Because we can. We have agency from the time we develop the motor skills to realize it. We have agency before we have the maturity to know what to do with it. In settler culture, though, we don’t get that holistic introduction on how to human. We don’t have elders teaching us that. So as we go through the runic year, take time to assess where work is needed with each rune. Bring that need into conversations with the Dream Team. That is working the runic calender. It is wyrdweaving at our highest capability. It is intentionally holding the space to do better.

Ansuz is where that capability begins to be expressed to the world around us. It is rooted in implications of mouth and breath, both indicating that life force from beyond us moves through us, picking up our unique resonances and skills and works through us in the world. While I stand by the speech and truthsaying aspects of that, it can be extended to all creativity. If we bring it to the world, we Ansuzed it. 

The point, of course, is to be very intimately involved with what we’re bringing. Just as we have our own relationship to the progression of tending, embodying, quickening, so do the life forces we create. They have their own agency–Ansuz–and the beauty and lessons of shepherding them and their callings into being…  All of that happens in a way that blesses us and our lives, because we do it in the spirit of it being a gift we bring to bless our communities. Ansuz is how we leave it better than we found it.

Perthro, of course, reminds us that not everyone is going to like how we express our agency. We don’t know exactly what Perthro would have meant in ON culture (because it’s only explicitly referenced later in the Old English rune poem), though we know it in the context of gaming, revelry, and having fortune on one’s side. This often gets associated with luck, which has been projected as the hamingja. I see this often reduced to “good luck, bad luck,” with a total lack of nuance or reverence for the hamingja as our personal life force.

If we look at Perthro and these concepts through an animistic lens, that is, as life forces with their own agency, the concept of chance removes the binary aspect, and we’re left with the realization that things can go in our favor as much as they can’t. Perthro introduces risk, and when we talk about it in the traditional ordering of the Elder Futhark, which places it near the middle of the Futhark–right there, smack in the middle of all this growth, personal development, and communal education–we’re still met with risk. 

That’s the message with Ansuz this week, as well. Putting our creative efforts into the world will always generate risk. We will always draw attention that we can’t control. Our creations will always shapeshift into manifestations we never intended. This is the way of agency. We can put all our heart into what we do in the world, and still be at risk of harm, isolation, success, brilliance, shame. Because part of the deal with Perthro is simply not knowing where things will land, which also kinda sorta implies that where they land is none of our business. It’s beyond our agency.

Hospitality through Mannaz is kind of funny. Mannaz is the social rune, a coming out rune, in which we bear a brand new truth to folx who can really hear it (as opposed to those who cannot). As a non-human Ally, Hospitality is about receiving someone or something well, if not in a very generous manner. In the ON tradition, this would be frið (frith), which meant peaceful, balanced protection. Even the Hávamál, stanzas 1-4 give very specific information on how guests are to be treated and how to conduct ourselves in a way that offers them the care and security of our home. It is literally about making something that ordinally doesn’t belong to feel included and tended, per the house rules. 

In terms of this week, Hospitality as a Mannaz breakthrough experience can point to what we can be prepared to receive, with regard to how we bear our truths, or it can indicate how we need to hold ourselves and our own space for someone else. Maybe both? The idea here is that of interdependence and belonging–that we create kinship as a way of being, of moving among each other, not just situationally, especially when the expression of sacred creativity is afoot.

The Spirits of Place anchor us in Autumn, the season of preparation, bounty, maturity, harvest. With this season, the resources are in place to support us for a bit, and we can sit back a little and realize the efforts of our work.

Barred Owl as our non-human Helping Spirit see behind our 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 self-truth 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.

As with last week, we are again best-anchored with Above – Sky Parent, which is all aspects of Sky. From an animistic vantage point, Above we’re in the transconscious strata, where all things converge. There we explore our direct personal relationship to the origin of All and what our role is in the sacred order of All. In traditional ON lore, it would indicate Asgard, which would point more to the godden. Perhaps Sky Parent has the best insight into how to wyrdweave this week, or we need to call in the soul aspects of our creation intentionally, as we create it.

Plant, in this case caloglossa red moss, as the best elemental influence for how we speak our truth 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. It also hints that our creations are more well-rounded and prepared to explore their own agency if we allow all aspects of ourselves space to help create them.

This runecast is equally spread across the three aettir, which means we have to draw on a broad range of skills with this week’s iteration of Ansuz. We need to be prepared to pay close attention to how we soul-in-form, how we navigate doing so among others doing the same, and how we cope with how doing both of those prods our sacredness.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What personal truth needs most of your attention at this time?
  • What does giving that attention look like?
  • What shadow selves want to have input on your truth?


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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.

  • Ansuz – Ahn, Ahnsoo, Awn, Awnsoo
  • Perthro – Pair, Pairth, Per, Perth
  • Mannaz – Mah, Mahn, Mahna


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Originally published on Soul Intent Arts.

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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