For the week of 19 March 2023

Expansion and Intraction

Berkana (wrought iron tile) is the half-month rune through 30 March. Dagaz (rosemary polymer clay tile) is the intuitive rune, and Kenaz reversed (polished amethyst–I forgot to reverse it in the photo) indicates [sort of] Clarity’s message to us. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Barred Owl and element Ether in Summer, in the direction of Left (west/Vestri). Read right to left is Berkana, Dagaz, then Kenaz reversed.

The full runecast will be publicly available here, two weeks from publication. You can find it in full on Patreon, now.

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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 a two-week examination of our relationship with the rune.

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

Berkana follows grief. It comes not just after a hard time, but after the impact of that hard time is felt. Often considered the rune of healing, of feminine-influenced tending, I see those aspects of this rune and more. It does speak to the qualities of midwifing wellbeing, and also those of evergreen, nonbinary gender, and the resoluteness of dues having been paid. 

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?

Berkana not only holds aspects of our ordeal and aftermath, but also that we have accepted them. We are allowing the medicine and are compliant in giving what it needs from us to do its job, creating the life in which it can root.

To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:

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Dagaz as the rune facilitating how we Berkana this week points to where we find meaning. Dagaz is day, as in one rotation around the sun, with all the intense accounting of Jera, which means year. But we can’t do all of that in a day. We’d combust, so we have to distill it down to what is doable, which is assessing what brings us fulfillment, what brings meaning to our lives.

Meaning is a slippery slope, in that most of us have experienced some sort of abuse around that. We’ve been told the Tiwaz moments in our lives had to mean something positive, which by default means we spent our Berkana time trying to talk ourselves into that, which means we didn’t really get rehabilitated. Finding meaning in beneficial or harmful life experiences is one option. It’s one way to respond to them, but it’s not the only way, and it’s not required. 

My approach to that accounting is to explore it as the being that it is. My day is alive. What happened in it is alive. What relationships were between us? How were the relationships beneficial to my needs for the day? How were they not? How was I not beneficial to the needs of the relationships I engaged? What is my relationship to assessing these things? There may be meaning, there may not be. The point of examining our day isn’t to ascribe meaning, but to give ourselves and those relationships the chance to be heard. And for me, that process brings meaning. It is the meaning.

Kenaz reversed through the voice of [sort of] Clarity was clear, but not. It came as another of these big forces–like Dismemberment a few months back–an enormous presence that encroached over the land. I could tell that it was clarity in awareness, but it wasn’t just knowing. It wasn’t just felt sense balance. It was the kind of clarify that taps into a depth of intuition that is before Earth. It comes from the Celestial Parents of Earth, of us All.  And I had the distinct feeling that Clarity of this variety is moving more deeply into our day-to-day functions. Whether we all grok that is the question. 

This Clarity situated with Kenaz reversed felt tense. Kenaz, in general, points to a small, known irritation, that pushes to be acknowledged until it bursts into our awareness. In this way, it’s something we don’t know until we know how to know it. Maybe education was required, or life experience, or some collective event had to happen first. With Kenaz reversed in relationship with Clarity, a lot of people are going to realize that something has changed, but will not have the articulation to express what it is, so they won’t be able to have the agency within the relationship that’s needed. A lot of people will absolutely realize that something has changed and still won’t have the skills or knowledge to know what to do with it. This little memo embedded in these runes is giving us a heads up to be on the look out, and to be able to pivot so that we know how to move with Clarity.

The helping spirits who are holding space for the revelations brought by this time with Berkana are held in Summer, indicating good times, coming into power, and also by Left (this side/ Vestri).  For me, Left represents lush green, with endless opportunity for fertile growth. It’s expansive but undefined, intentional but not at all limited. Left is the direction of growth and possibility.

Element 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. 

When I open space and call in the directions, they are what form the literal container in which I’m working. They hold the boundary of what comes in, what goes out, and what remains. The elements are what transmute the changes needed. For this week, these helpers can help us rehabilitate in safe space and know that what happens in that space is what we needed, and that at our request, it will be tended by the ether, in kind.

Barred Owl  as our earthly, boots-on-the-ground ally, sees 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. Its appearance means validation of feelings, that we’re heading in the right direction, doing the right thing.

Barred owl feels like a grounding presence to this [sort of] Clarity force coming in. Where our usual intuitive feelers might not know how to respond to this Clarity or might identify it as questionable, Barred Owl helps us suss out how we’re in relationship with it, and how we might be able to grow within it.

With this runecast reaching into the third and first aetts, we revisit how we come into our form in a way that supports our wellbeing, as in how we soul-in-form in a way that truly replenishes us. I suspect that with [sort of] Clarity, that could involve some undoing of ways that fatigue us, though we’re very held in learning new ways of being. We can both expand from and intract change. We can literally become the change.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How do you experience clarity?

  • Where do you feel it in your body?

  • How do you recognize it for what it is?

  • How do you respond to it when it visits?


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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.

  • Berkana/Berkano/Beorc – Ber, Bair, Beor, Berka, Bairka

  • Dagaz – Dthah, Dthahg, Dthahguh

  • Kenaz – Kehn, Kenuh, Kawn, Kawnuh, Kain, Kainuh


Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

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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.

#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem

elder well, die well, ancestor well


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