For the week of 19 June 2022

Applied Elderhood – Sacred Confrontation

Dagaz is the half-month rune through 29th June. Othala is the intuitive rune, Mannaz reversed indicates Faithfulness’ message to us. Fossilized Echinoid is in Summer, with the active element of Water, in the direction of Above. Read right to left is Dagaz, Othala, then Mannaz reversed.

Each Solstice I make the full runecast publicly available, and usually a bit ahead of the day. June Solstice is Tuesday 21 June at 5:13am EST, and the specifics of the runecast have granular info for how we can best approach it. If you appreciate the runecast, please support my work through Patreon.    

If you haven’t heard, a new episode of What in the Wyrd dropped last week, introducing Season 6, which focuses on the runes in season… as verbs.

Also, please forgive the audio quality this week. I’m recovering from surgery and can’t walk :\\ The phone just had to do!

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. 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. These sacred voices have been Nature, Earth, Creation, First Ancestor, Survival, etc. I note who’s speaking each week, as it is revealed.

As the runecast has evolved its voice, other components have joined to root it into spirits of place. Osteomancy, the elements, and directions were gradually added in to more deeply root the spirits of place into the cast, each bringing a nuance of how to work with the half-month rune, or how to engage forces of the season on a more personal level for the reader. Osteomancy honors other-than-human persons 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.

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

This week we approach June Solstice in Dagaz, which is one of the most intense times of the year. Where we’ve come to grips with what eldering means for us with Othala, Dagaz blasts in with orders not just to get to work, but with an organization for how to get it done.

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?

It goes without saying that time bends this time of year. Whether in the north or south, we start to notice the way we’ve been moving feels disjointed, that a change in step is needed. Whether it’s to speed up, slow down, or just pay more attention and hold time more loosely, that we are approaching a portal into a new way is evident.

Traditionally we look at Dagaz as ‘day,’ though I square it with its timing more robustly:

“Because we frame days by essential opposites—twilight to dawn, sunrise to sunset—we forget to be attentive to what happens between these polarities, not just the state of light shifting to darkness or the dark becoming illuminated. We must explore the point at which they are one and the same. Dagaz urges us into the place where those extremes meet. Like that meeting place, we are fully neither are some combination of both. We are liminal. We are this and that. We are here and there. We are the rock and the hard place. We are the enlightened and enlightenment.

What often gets short shrift in the nuance of this stave is exactly how climactic that conclusion is and the fact that it culminates in the acquisition of long-sought wisdom. Dagaz marks the arrival at the gods, the pinnacle revelation of a pilgrimage having met its intention and concluded on a very high note.” [1] from Runic Book of Days


I want to pause here and point out that Othala has come up in 4 of the last 5 runecasts. They are both intense runes in their own right. That they are placed in succession of each other in the Futhark (and calendar ordering) assures that intensity will always be there, and frankly, it’s enough. When they repeat in short succession like this it drives home the importance that now more than ever, we find who we are in relationship with our Ancestors and Descendants. This emphasis on being very clear with Self about emergent elder and what we choose to do with it is just short of excruciating. However, it’s nothing compared to having them repeat for several casts and not have gained that insight from Othala. Progressing into Dagaz that way would make the revelations of Solstice destabilizing. In that light (see what I did there) I’m taking the repetitions of these last weeks as heavy guidance to learn what it means to elder way, our unique way.

I present Dagaz as the rune that urges us to find meaning, more specifically to have a daily practice that supports us finding meaning. The implication there is by bringing such to our daily awareness we gain mindfulness about what is working in our lives and what isn’t, which clarifies where we need to take action. For me, this function of inventorying draws from Jera, which sits exactly opposite Dagaz in the runic calendar. It’s a kind of harvest, but done at a daily micro level.

Othala as the best way we can engage Dagaz suggests that through our Ancestors and Descendants we find structure in how to elder well, and also meaning for doing so. What do the Ancestors need from us? How does that further our calling? What do the Descendants need from us? How does that further our calling? How does understanding where we situate between the two inform how we elder? How does it clarify what meaning we need to have in our lives on a daily basis? What are we willing to do to sustain awareness at this level? These would be great questions to have a lead on going into Solstice–Tuesday 21 June at 5:13am EST.

If the recent repetition of Othala-Dagaz isn’t enough, how does it sit knowing that Mannaz reversed was in the June Solstice runecast for last year? I can’t make this shit up. I pay close attention to those kinds of patterns, because they let us know where we are in certain life grooves. Mannaz reversed heralds a time when our social engagement isn’t what it usually is, or it isn’t what we think it is. And that can be very hard to hold, as Mannaz in its traditional ordering is very much a coming out rune. It represents the point that we realize we have to reach out on some matter, ideally to like-minded people who can foster our maturity around that matter. Reversed, maybe the group isn’t so great after all. Maybe we can’t say the words that we need to. Maybe we said it but it was taken wrong. Or, maybe we just still have to go it alone a little bit longer.

What this annual groove with Mannaz reversed says to me is the social holding-pattern of trusting who we most deeply are to the world has been going on for a while. It’s not new, it’s also not personal, but cultural. When it gets right down to Mannaz, we know we’re not in a time or system that can see us, let alone hear our truth. That it presents through the voice of Faithfulness is more active than would seem. When this voice first spoke, I thought, ‘why not just Faith?’ but it was quick to express that Faith wasn’t the same thing as Faithfulness. Faith is an existing force in the world. Faithfulness is what puts us in direct relationship with it. That relationship requires action on our part to occur, and not just any action, but specifically bearing our unique gift to create what’s needed here. What does that mean for Self, particularly in the context of an oppressive system? What does Faithfulness bring to mindful elderhood? Given the systemic challenges of settler culture, is the wisdom that can be gained from this Solstice achievable with an approach as simple as ‘just have faith?’

When we look at the allies for this cast, the answer is pretty clear. In Water we have flow, on all levels, a champion of support rooted in the planet, itself. In the eddas, Water is the blood of Ymir, foundational and required for the correct movement of energy in this plane. With this element we have our first clear indication to engage Water (and the elements, in general) to foster what we need approaching Solstice. This points to a couple of things: no matter how well we elder (Othala), we can’t hold the organization of Dagaz alone; we need to call on elements to help us with that, particularly Water, this week. We need to see it as a being also in relationships with systems on this planet, and to understand how we influence that relationship. Water is fundamental to this plane, foundational. Next time the hydration memes circulate, see them as virtual altars reminding us to check in with our relationship with Water. Spend some time with it this week to learn how it can facilitate moving through the portal of Solstice, and what needs to be learned from both.

Next is the ally of Above. This direction is Sky Parent in my cosmology. It is where we all came from, even Earth, and it is an essential part of grounding well in form. That Above comes now indicates that we need to engage help much bigger than Earth-level. We need allies of Sky, who know things that aren’t common to form, yet have everything to do with how life here shapes. Between engaging these two allies, we gain flow and alchemy to shape not just our own relationship to how we elder in a place that wants us to cower and conform, but helps us to have support in changing the rules of the place. 

In that, there is an aspect of anarchy and rebellion in this element-direction relationship: the form of Water anchors while Above restructures. But these forces, alone, can’t do that job without us, anymore than we can do it without them. This casts the efforts made this week to apply our elderhood with precision. Part of elderhood isn’t just reaching a personal stage of maturity and giving back to the Descendants. It’s also changing shit for the Descendants. This means stirring things up, even as we crave rest. It means sacred confrontation, and it’s not an option of elderhood, but a required feature.

To make support for applied elderhood more tangible and felt, the Fossilized Echinoid specifically shows up to bring success in disputes. The headline here is a good outcome, though the subtext is with full affirmation that a dispute is actually happening. It’s not just our feelings or perception deluding us. Going into this Solstice, a cultural conflict is happening that is at odds with our ability to do the organization of how we elder. To be able to do that organization to get through this portal will be sort of swimming upstream, but with allies.

In the ley of Summer, it speaks of what has been planted coming to power, within us and in the world. Again, this isn’t fantasy or wishful thinking, it’s animism. The disruptions we’ve created in settler culture up to this point are beings who move independently in this plane, as much as are the systems, themselves. How we move among changes what’s in power, but as with working with Water or Above, we have to actually do something. We must be active with cultivating what must come to power, over a continuum. Ie, we must be in relationship with it.

We culturally look at Faithfulness either as this magickal state that just effortlessly is, or as a hard-assed take held in gritted teeth. Foremost, we can accept help in engaging Faith; it doesn’t have to be solitary. We can engage Faithfulness and our allies. In fact, we should, with reciprocity to them, with respect for all involved (including Self and how awkward all of this may feel). We are already in relationship with all of the aforementioned. That we become aware of that fact and behave accordingly is key. That’s the relationship between Othala and Dagaz, in a nutshell, and I think, regardless of Futhark order. The takeaway from Dagaz and this season’s Solstice is the organization to learn how to apply our elderhood, coming into relationship with how that is going to mean sacred confrontation of systems that harm us, how how to stay on track with how personal calling situates into collective need, and drawing on all the ally relationships showing up now to help us accomplish these now and ongoing.

Also, all the runes in this cast are from the third aett. This means commitment to the sage life has been made. This Solstice brings divine instruction on the rebellion of our lives, manifesting the dreams of our well Ancestors, and assuring the roots of our Descendants.

Game on.

Half-month Rune Prompts

  • Where do you feel Faithfulness in your body?
  • How do you engage the elements for support of your needs?
  • How do you engage them for support of theirs?


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.

  • Dagaz – Dthah, Dthahg, Dthahguh
  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal
  • 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 held by Tuscarora, Woccon, and Sissipihaw land. 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 several books on soul work and runes, and when moved 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.