For the week of 20 August 2023

Sacred Wager and Outcreating

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Ansuz is the half-month rune through 29 August, (wrought iron tile). Laguz is the intuitive rune (carved ceramic tile), and Othala indicates Wager’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Death with element Water, in the direction of Right/Austri/East, in the season of Autumn-Winter. Read right to left is Ansuz, Laguz, then Othala.

The full runecast only on Patreon.

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 
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  • 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 
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  • introspective prompts to nuance and tend self-work

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The Runecast

It would seem that the more we approach truth, the clearer it becomes. An aspect of soul tending study is that we learn the closer we get to truth, it shapeshifts into something else. This dynamic doesn’t mean the former experience wasn’t true, just that it’s relative and always gives way to wider awareness that can make it not be true anymore. There are many factors for why this is, some of which are sheer mystery. This week’s cast speaks to that experience, and also to the factors that we know, yet can’t control.

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

To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:

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What Does It Mean?

Ansuz is the rune of truthsaying, soothsaying. In the traditional progression of the Elder Futhark, it’s the point that we realize we’re cultivating a viewpoint. We have thoughts, an opinion, maybe even relevant data that changes how all of us are in relationship with the thing, itself. So if we don’t have strong capability to tend our space here (Fehu), be healthily im-bodied in mind and form (Uruz), and listen well to our primal nature (Thurisaz), our truth might come out with a great deal more complication.

This is the point in the half-month rune conversation that I talk about my recipe:

Ansuz + Raidho = Kenaz

This could be taken several ways. 

inspiration + storytelling = meaning

soothsaying + storytelling = meaning

soothsaying + movement = lore

confidence + experience = authority

However we plug it in, when we move beyond the Jotun-person roots of the opening runes, we’re firmly in human-person territory with Ansuz. This is the first point that we express our agency. We express ourselves; things happen. It’s the point that we grok that our personal life force intentionally mingled with that of the Multiverse creates a result. Ansuz is also the first time we are confronted with being custodians of Earth and living up to that responsibility.

Ansuz is the stuff of strong alchemy.

Indeed, this is the season of truthspeaking, and the conditions of the next week favor it. Laguz as the best way to engage Ansuz speaks to a couple of things. All water points to home, which in terms of truthtelling means speaking our truth liberates us. It leaves us at ease in our skin. It also means that at least for right now, our home territory can hear us and has our back. For a lot of us this probably isn’t a common thing. For those for whom it is, enjoy it. Revel in it, so that it’s brought forward in how Self moves through life for the next foreseeable bit, because Othala reversed tells a very different tale.

Othala reversed through the voice of Wager hints that we not only won’t be heard by the larger systems, we can’t be, and this is where things get a little obtuse. It’s come up in TWRs prior that the change we all constantly feel in our guts right now isn’t just a human-level shift. It’s All Things Earth, including the strata of beings who tend it from Beyond, and the strata of energetics that have kept harmful systems in play. Ie, these systems are now full-on egregores who don’t want to die. The frenzy of change is at all levels, and while we have to be really clear in how we set and act on intentions right now, we’re more alone in that space than we have been historically. We don’t have the plug-n-play simplicity of divinity as we’ve conceived it in the past. Everything is upheaved, and this means there’s no clear place for our intentions and prayers to land, as we’re accustomed. Ie, the godden are offline right now, so it’s down to us and our ecosystem to create, recreate, and hold balance in this plane.

I work with Othala as the rune of eldering, in that it’s how we engage the Ancestors to bless the Descendants through how we live, right now. That input-delivery method is a little off-kilter for the time being. Specifically regarding Othala reversed in this dynamic, it’s saying that we aren’t going to have systemic support to rebuild community stability that holds us all. But really, we knew that, because we are also the agents of change who are taking down those old systems. We are why they are challenged, because they didn’t serve a lot of our Ancestors, they don’t serve us, and they’re not going to suddenly start serving the Descendants. 

While we may not feel support in human-made systems or the godden, our ecosystems are showing up. The interjections of Nature Spirits we wouldn’t normally work with or even notice are coming in full force. Clarity on when and what our ecosystems need is more evident, and we’re more capable of providing for them. This literal grassroots exchange is not just getting us through right now, it’s part of the vital rebuilding and restructuring that has to happen. It’s the way of all of our futures. It is the interdependence that rebuilds better supports for all.

Wager is a first, and it presented quickly, then vanished. It came and went so quickly that I thought I’d grokked it wrong, but then it came back in the same flash and dodge. At first I thought it was how concepts shapeshift in my mind, when my synapses can’t hold them or the concept doesn’t want to be fully seen. Then it occurred to me that such is the nature of Wager. It’s about risk, but also literally offering something without guarantee of clear return on investment. It’s on the line, and we don’t know if it will stay, how or if it will evolve.

Wager is all of life right now, on all levels of Earth life, and maybe well Beyond. I don’t think that means we can’t make long bets, but the short ones are most appropriate for how agency works on the planet right now. I read a meme the other day that said, “You fuck with wyrd magicke when you fuck with community,” referencing Esme Boggart, by @ditchwitchtarot, and that’s spot-on for the ecosystem-bonded front we have to im-body right now (sorry for all the hyphens). Because the other word for Wager…. Is wyrd. It’s acknowledgement of the components we can affect, and doing it, out loud, proud, and with the applicable amount of wrath. Maybe wyrd is Sacred Wager and the truth of Ansuz this week is outcreate.

effigy figure raised in tall grasses and flowers

Staff photo (from rdg.com)

Hallmarks in our ecosystem support right now reinforce much of what has already been laid out in the runecast. The direction of Right (That Side/ East/Austri) in my cosmology we have water, flow, being carried. Again, Laguz. It specifically is Ocean (Atlantic), which represents home, in that all of life emerged from the Ocean. All water flows to the Ocean. So when this direction comes up in casts, explore what home means, at the most sacred and embodied level. Literally, consider where the body feels best. Consider what makes a space feel sacred. Consider how to get more of those needs met in the immediate living space. 

For me Right also is the place of dreams, the primordial soup of our desires mingled with multiversal forces that can help create them into being. It is the direction of realizing our agency, of truly grokking that how we as human-persons align with form is unique in evoking deep change here. And with that unique potential is the responsibility of using our agency to benefit all touched by its impact.

Element Water, more Laguzy influence, indicates flow, depth, balance (level). Water is also the blood of Ymir, our primordial Ancestor. More affirmation that all water flows to the ocean. There is no deterrence, which gives the assurance that we are flowing in sacred order, as well, even if we can’t readily feel it. 

Death as the earthly helping spirit is among us all the time, representing regeneration of one force into another, and as such is the master of alchemy (wyrd/Wager). Its resurgence now is somewhat on pointe as I never felt like The Wild Hunt energy fully dissipated last Autumn, and the way it has poked into the runecasts through the year is telling about these big changes. Big things must be deathwalked to make room for what can come. Likewise, if any force can foster how we use our time here, how we hold our agency, how we embody the moment, it’s Death.

The seasonal backdrop betwixt Autumn and Winter is also fitting. Sometimes things aren’t one thing, but several. As an animist, is anything ever one thing? The feel of Autumn’s plentifulness and Winter’s conservation is pretty much on par for the run-stop vibe of energies right now. It’s contradictory while also being accurate, and portends something undefined, undefinable. We do have the sense of leaving the forest (ecosystem) to tend our household hearths through difficulty. Yet the blending of these seasons also leaves room to do both, to realize that human-persons have a place in both, and really, are already custodians of both. Perhaps a comfort from the energies of Winter can be not that we are huddled for warmth, but for connection, and even in the heat of the north, we can engage ample stillness and awareness of our blessings.

The 1-3-3 aettir pattern also speaks to extremes, to the bubbly awareness of being soul in form in the first aett, while honoring the somewhat cynical recommitment of the third.

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Half-month Rune Prompts

This whole runecast is a prompt, but if I had to point to specific things to pay attention to, they are:

  • When you think about radical planetary reform, what feelings come up?

  • Where do you plot yourself in the midst of such reform?

  • How do you make room for connection in your life?

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Galdr

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, Oss
  • Laguz – Lah, Lahg, Lahgoo, Law, Lawg, Lawgoo

  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal

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Runes for Change community

For more insight into the runes, eldering well with ancient wisdom, and cultivating a strong spiritual path

join the Runes for Change community.

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#beyourcommunity

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.

#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem

elder well, die well, ancestor well

@kelleysoularts

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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.