For the week of 18 June 2023

Eldering the Weather Together

The Weekly Runecast is made public each Solstice. I hope you find it insightful and supportive for this June Solstice season. Please support my work by subscribing to Runes for Change to receive TWR highlights in your inbox, or by joining my community at Patreon. Thank you for walking with me.

Dagaz is the half-month rune through 29 June. Gebo is the intuitive rune, and Ansuz indicates Force’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Fossilized Echinoid with element Mycelium, in the direction of Front (blue dwarf), in the season of Autumn (tree button). Read right to left is Dagaz, Gebo, then Ansuz. 

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 other-than-human Helping Spirits on Earth, which includes humanity’s animal and plant Ancestors, and other earth-centric 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. 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 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
  • Soul Reading and Soul Tending sessions, based on tier
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

This week Dagaz closes another cycle with the runic calendar, one in which we’ve engaged intentional relationship with Self and ecosystem, and cultivated faith in the runes as devotional allies in humaning well across season. This week also heralds one of the most spectacular stellar portals of the year, and suggests good company with whom we can navigate it.

Also, this week Nigel Pennick’s updated Runes and Astrology – Symbol and Starcract in the Northern Tradition is officially available. Its previous edition – Runic Astrology – Starcraft and Timekeeping in the Northern Tradition was the runic calendar reference for Runic Book of Days. I’ve really enjoyed the updates he made to it; let’s get together and talk about them sometime! 😉

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?

From an animist viewpoint, I speak of Dagaz as the rune that challenges us to find meaning in our day. It means the full scope of and is the origin of our word, day. Implied in its relationship to Jera, year, is the accounting of what is important to us in a day. The micro-harvest. As I put it, where Jera is hearth accounting, Dagaz is heart accounting. It challenges us to know what we need, the barriers to meeting our needs, and engage what we can around that for change.

So often Dagaz is heralded as an immensely bright, uplifting rune. In season it represents opening, light, health, midday–all good things. However, there’s a tension inherent in Dagaz that isn’t represented in those one-dimensional qualities. 

Dagaz represents day–the full day–not just the daylight part of it. Therefore, it also holds characteristics of darkness, of shadow. And more than even those juxtapositions, Dagaz represents the relationship between brightness and darkness, light and shadow. It encompasses the tipping point of lightness into darkness. It holds the qualities of both states while being neither. In Runes and Astrology, Pennick describes it as a catalyst rune, in that it holds the state for radical change without being changed, itself. It is the gap between extremes, the margins, the scar.

The meta here is we experience this every day, and we’re moved by it, however subtle. We unconsciously shift gears as we hit midday, every day. We begin to slow down, or maybe we actually speed up. We liminally seek out the markers of daylight leaving, and darkness’ approach. We’ve learned to navigate the tension of the shift from daylight to darkness without thought that our bodies have been encoded to do so. That is, until we experience the macrocosm of that same transition, in midsummer.

Dagaz as the rune of June Solstice draws attention not just to that transition at midday, but also to the one at sun’s highest point of the year in the north. While it is at its highest point, it is also simultaneously transitioning away from that point. It is the thing, while becoming something else. The result is a vantage point of liminal stillness. Things seem suspended in those few moments, again making a point of not here, but also not there, a point between extremes, as within the center of the Dagaz symbol, itself.

I personally find that spot excruciating. June Solstice has always been hard for me, for many reasons. It feels like an incredibly loud suspension of agency, in which I truly feel forces of the multiverse holding me to their will. I experience it as a not-so-gentle reminder of my wyrd-as-reckoning, thus a nudge to make sure I’m really doing what I need to be doing with my time here, for me to elder well, even when there’s adversity–maybe especially when there’s adversity.

Dagaz in the northern season is that of the Fair Folk, the Shining Ones, which brings a depth of trickery all its own. I don’t work with them, per se, though I brush against them now and then. For me they represent a boundary in Nature that humans haven’t managed well. In fact, the existence of a boundary at all may be testament to how humans have handled such relations. Maybe it’s a relationship born of the broken path? That they are more active this time of year and intent on maintaining that boundary is a caution all its own.

This seasonal experience of June Solstice and Dagaz is not without the layer of intra-COVID experience. We have still not collectively addressed the dead who didn’t get proper rites. We haven’t addressed the dramatic change in our social and physical immunity, and the dearth of wellbeing it has introduced. We haven’t addressed the tax this dynamic has brought to our systems–personally, collectively, medically. We haven’t addressed that the facade of normal is really a completely new way of moving and none of us were given the updated parameters.

And the thing is, we’re not going to address any of that collectively, and there are no updated parameters. We spent a good 4 years upheaved–even slightly before COVID–knowing that we were beyond what had been normal, and we’ve spent the last year merely in proximity to it. When we sit with that grand flux alongside a stellar event such as June Solstice, which is inherently intense, the discomfort is real. And it will be felt this week, bordering on ordeal.

Gebo as the best way to Dagaz presents bonds with our kin as anchors for this Solstice and midsummer season, and also as the blessing that comes out of this time. Gebo is all about intimate relationship. It’s about the beings who can meet us where we are because they have done the work to be in that place, themselves, and we see it in each other. Gebo is the point in the traditional futhark progression that we find others with whom we bond through exchange, and that bond becomes its own life force. It becomes its own magick in the world, which we benefit from. Bonds become part of how we human, how we elder.

Gebo may function as a reminder in this Solstice season, that what holds us in the interstitials of being are the bonds we’ve made, what we’ve shared, what we’ve given, what we’ve received. It may point out bonds that we need, places where we need help with our heart accounting. 

Ansuz holding the voice of Force is foreshadowing that even I couldn’t make up. Ansuz is the rune of soothsaying, bearing our truth to the world. The 4th rune in the first aett, which we’re about to cycle back into, Ansuz is the breath of Odin moving through us, which means that our truth has the power of the godden. 

When we talk about Force as a being among us, my thoughts go to Fehu. Meaning cattle, it refers to our assets that must be tended. They require our effort to grow, our force. In Runic Book of Days, I note Fehu as the fire that sparked All Things. It is the force that does, it acts.

What Force quietly whispers through Ansuz is that our truth must be part of how the ethers shape for this next week. We can’t hold it in. It must be brought to the world, and this scorching gap of Dagaz is ready for it. I imagine it somewhat like tossing a penny into a wishing well: this week we blow our truth into the embers of June Solstice knowing they will burn brighter from it. In this way we aren’t just observing that gap, we are participants in it.

The place-space holding us this week has qualities of bounty, Descendant relationship, ecosystem relationship, and success. Autumn sets the space, with preparation, bounty, maturity, harvest. Despite the actual summer in the north, for this week our energetic seasonal focus turns away from the forest and to tending hearth, getting stores, ground, home, and harvest ready for needier times. Yes, it’s blazing out, but move like it’s not. Tending both outdoors and indoors, and conserving energy is what’s needed this week. For Solstice, this means not expending more than we have, not taking more than we need. Keep the personal circle close and small, for now.

Holding space for us is direction Front, which aligns with where most folx plot  North. It’s cold and encourages us to think ahead as we forge new bonds. The direction of ice, air, and lineage, Front specifically emphasizes the Descendants. They are everything ahead of us, and the benefactors of every choice and decision we make now. Luckily Front is also the direction of  knowledge and wisdom, which allows us to draw on our Allies as much as our skills and experience to know and do what’s best for ourselves, and our communities. As we greet Solstice, Front may be able to help us hold vulnerability, insecurity, and fear about what greets us in that gap.

Mycelium as our elemental influence may help us transmute those concerns. Mycelium is incredibly supportive. Its network underlies every aspect of life–death, support, birth. It may be the original midwife and deathwalker. Given that, there is no one “meaning” with mycelium. It may be more useful to explore it as the backbone of life, and check in with it to learn how to deepen bonds with ecosystem, how to be fruitful with change, or perhaps even being the catalyst for change. In short, Mycelium holds the secrets to souling-in-form well, and may help us transmute resistance blocking the meaning Dagaz brings to our life this week. Learning and engaging such transmutation is the building block of elderhood. It’s not that resistance doesn’t happen, but that we recognize when it does and use our skills to move through it.

For those not keeping track, Fossilized Echinoid came up in the June Solstice runecast last year, which  makes it super important to pay attention to this year. 

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 full affirmation that a dispute is actually happening. The tension is real. It’s not just our feelings or perception deluding us. Going into this Solstice, a cultural conflict is continuing to play out that has been playing out well past its expiration. There are many things that need deathwalking here, and the noise coming out of that disruption creates further interference that intense events like June Solstice exacerbate. All of this frenetic energy takes us off our game, though with the bonds of Gebo and the Force of Ansuz, we can still elder through it and come out the other side together.

We have a 3-1-1 arrangement from the aettir this week, which foreshadows that even though we cycle again, despite that we know it all repeats, we did still go it all the way through, and we’re bringing that wisdom forward in how we do it again.

Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How does June Solstice feel in your body?
  • What truth needs speaking this week?
  • Who else can hear you speak it?

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.

  • Dagaz – Dthah, Dthahg, Dthahguh
  • Gebo – Gay, Gaboh, Geh, Gehboh, Gif, Gihfoo

  • Ansuz – Ahn, Ahnsoo, Awn, Awnsoo, Oss

    Thank you for walking another year of the runic wheel with me, with The Weekly Rune. It’s been 11 years together, and I’m grateful to share this space with you. Thank you for all you do in the world.

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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

@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.