The Weekly Rune, For the Week of 16 June 2024

Who We Most Deeply Are, in the Gap

This week  in The Weekly Rune we’re close in on June Solstice, which is Summer here in the North. Thursday 20 June at 4:50pm EST marks the moment, and as it’s such a huge moment in earth-timing. The Weekly Rune is available to all to read in-full this week. I always make solstice casts public, and hope that the information in them gives insight into the week, and also this pivotal half of the year. Follow the links to find the written and audio blog. As we delve into the runes of this cast, keep in mind that timing, as well as the overall significance of working with the runes in season. Even if working with a different runic calendar than the one I follow, they truly are pivotal in providing small containers of wisdom that we can approach as devotionals. A good resource on working with the runes in this way is my book, Runic Book of Days, which is available online and on shelves.

The Weekly Rune – Dagaz is the half-month rune through 29 June. The intuitive rune is Laguz, with the off-planet helping spirit, Mordgud (skull), speaking through Uruz. The earthly spirit of place anchoring the runes this week is Mink Vertebra, in the direction of Beyond (world marble), with element Plant (caloglossa red moss), in the season of Summer (tree button). From right to left are Dagaz, Laguz, then Uruz (carved, polished lapis lazuli).

Why Join the Runes for Change Community?

Runes for Change provides community and resources to gain insight into the Elder Futhark runes oracle, elder well with ancient wisdom, and cultivate a strong spiritual path. When you join Runes for Change, each week you will receive the full version of The Weekly Rune, which is only available to the Runes for Change community. The runecast includes:

  • fully detailed runecast
  • an audio recording of the runecast with galdr and instruction on how to work with each sound
  • the half-month runic impact on human life force
  • insights on how to best manage the curves and twists therein
  • devotional introspective prompts to nuance and tend self-work for the week
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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 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.

What's a bindrune?

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What Does The Weekly Rune Mean?

The tone of Othala over the last couple of weeks has been somber yet utterly effective in tuning us in as elders to our duty here, our calling, and our place between the Ancestors and the Descendants. As with this whole cycle of runes this year, Othala was heavier and emphasized that we pony up to what’s expected of us in formed being, not just for our own sake but for that of our communities. And sort of all of formed being…

Moving into Dagaz is always a bit leaden. At this point in the Futhark, we’ve had the reality check of how we soul-in-form (first aett) and how we manage the agency gymnastics that is humaning (second aett). Indeed half-month rune Dagaz closes the runic year, thus the entire Futhark, but we also need to give attention to what we’ve weathered over the third aett.

I call the third aett the Aett of Reckoning. It’s the point that we know the deal: humaning is hard. We fully understand the stakes of moving among,the power of our own agency and that of others, as well as the toll of agency-impact. By the third aett we have the memo not only that is this how it is and are fully aware of how well (or not) we handle it, we understand that we have a choice in all of it. And that choice is whether we’re going to stay in it, and if we choose to how we’re going to stay in it.

It will start all over.

We will confront challenge all the way through the next runic cycle and every one that follows it.

We will re-experience the places where we’ve learned to do better and those where we have not.

And we will blindly stumble into aspects of humaning we’ve never witnessed before.

This is the great reckoning of all humaning, and it is confronted full-and-center not only with Dagaz, but with Summer Solstice.

Big. Deep. Breath.

The runic new year isn’t the New Year of the Gregorian calendar. It isn’t holiday lights and parties. Instead, it’s glaring sunlight, heat, and the shadows created by that light as cool comfort (at least where I live). It’s another place that we are required to take stock.

Dagaz means ‘day,’ as in, a full rotation of the Earth around the sun, placing great emphasis on light, darkness, and our relationship to both. I approach Dagaz as daily inventory (the condensed version of Jera). It is the assessing of what allowed our truth to be heard this day, what didn’t, where our truth must be spoken regardless, and how we plot adjustments for tomorrow’s humaning. In short, from an animistic standpoint, I interpret Dagaz as what gives our life meaning in the day-to-day. 

Exploring Dagaz through the spectacle of June Solstice allows us the opportunity to explore meaning further. Summer Solstice represents a suspension of time. In the north it’s the day of most sunlight, least darkness, while in the south it’s the day of least sunlight, the longest darkness. Because we track time by these light and dark opposites, we forget to be attentive to what exists between these polarities. We emphasize the length or shortness of day at Solstice, though what makes Solstice truly special is its emphasis on those protracted moments between light and darkness. It is a space of time-untime connecting our old relationship with timing to a new one. 

Thus, when we work with Dagaz as the rune for June Solstice, it encompasses not just the full spectrum of day, as in both extremes, but also neither, and something Other, all at once. That something Other is a gap between the known, with unique qualities we can tap into. Everything we have been, everything we are, and everything we are becoming is in that gap.

On a personal level, that bared space between extremes reminds us that we, too, are betwixt. Human-persons as souls in form are both matter and spirit. Like that interstitial moment between darkness and light, our lives are fully neither, some combination of both, and an expression beyond. We are liminal. We are the gap whose agency unites all possibilities. Dagaz asks us not just to honor that gap space, but to realize it’s where we stand all the time, and that we’re tasked to make use of the potential within it. We bear a responsibility by being in form to explore how our own light and dark are in relationship with each other.

June Solstice is a good time to get in step with the gap of extremes. It’s where the human-person center lives, and we have to be in relationship with it as much as we are with the extremes that hold it. As an animist, for me that means continually learning how the runes are actionable in everyday life. Dagaz at June Solstice reminds us to note the extremes in our lives, to explore where our inner extremes meet and what meaning they hold in our lives. These extremes may be our own light and darkness, our shadow and sacred, or where our soul meets our form. And while we feel these extremes, we can only ever be in the gap–somewhere in relationship with the extremes, yet not fully either. Ever.

While Dagaz is an incredibly positive rune, the stillness and tension in that space between light and dark can be intense and disconcerting. It may bring up conflicting feelings that seem counter to the assumed sunniness of Summer for those in the north. For those in the south initiating into Midwinter, it may trigger a reluctance to embrace inner darkness. June Solstice has a way of exacerbating our discomfort with extremes, within and without. 

Consider that tension isn’t new, but has been mounting around some life area. Perhaps Solstice reveals a problematic life area that needs attention.  However it resonates, June Solstice is a great time to create sacred space and craft a ritual to harness the insight of the gap.

Laguz as our best way to Dagaz this week speaks to going with the Flow. Not just kicking back and taking things easy, but being able to identify sacred order within and without us and make the shifts necessary to stay with it. Easier said than done, but having Laguz as the action point for the week helps.

Uruz represents an interesting presence in the runecast, one that has never made an appearance before. This rune has historically represented the bigger voices who want to offer support to humanity for the week. It’s not been a frequent feature since the pandemic, though has been emerging over the last few half-months. Uruz is the rune of souling-in-form, from an animistic perspective. It’s where our consciousness seats into form and really begins to see Self as powerful, one of the mysteries of the pluriverse, and as a custodian to the earthly plane.

Where this is an important coming from Mordgud is she is also a custodian–of the gates of Helheimr. Hella is the tender of Helheimer, but Mordgud guards the Gjallarbru bridge, keeping humans, Aesir, and other folx who don’t have any business engaging the lesser-quiet dead, while also keeping those restless souls in a safe space. 

The memo I take from her appearance in this cast, through Uruz, is that we all have a duty to our realms in order to maintain sacred order, and the 1% of humans calling the shots for the rest of us aren’t doing well as custodians of Midgard. They aren’t doing their duty and haven’t been for long while. If Mordgud wasn’t doing her job, the dead would be spilling out of Helmeimr and causing all kind of distress. As a deathwalker, I can tell you for a fact that part of what we stopped sufficiently doing several thousand years ago is our proper death rites, and that means many of our dead never even get to Hellheimr. 

So while we have our hands full finding meaning in our day (Dagaz) and holding relationship with Flow (Laguz), we have to remember the collective aspects of those. When we stand in our agency here (Uruz), show up to our truth, and bring it to this world, we are also paving the way for our communities and descendants to do the same. When we find meaning in our lives we also find belonging. When we find belonging we see ourselves fit to create interdependence. And when we know that we are tended as we tend, everybody’s needs get met.

It is a dangerous time to bear our truth to the world, and it has never needed us to do so more. The greatest rebellion of our lives is being who we most deeply are, here, and this Summer Solstice is a good time to find who that is in the gap between spaces, Selves, and shadows. 

We have so much support helping us do that. Direction indicates how we best ground for our work this week. The direction best holding our space and most able to protect it is Beyond. Beyond/All Things is the container of all that we know and beyond. It is the direction of sacred order. It’s the realm of Watchers, Norns, Multiversal Jotnar who caretake the machinations of all life. Given that, it can also be the microbes, the mitochondria, the bacteria. It’s not just Out There, but the in there strata of communities within our bodies, all of whom are part of the managerial oversight that aligns with respect for all life at all levels. Beyond is the direction of Source.

Elements are the active components of everything; they are how things get done. Plant helps us facilitate our agency this week. In many ancient creation myths, Plant is the first ally of humans. In fact, in many creation stories, humans were made from Plant. Plant is food, medicine, protection, and conduit to the godden. Plant has feelings, intelligence, and awareness, and the ability to sense our intentions and respond to our actions. When Plant visits it’s time to bring our awareness in closer, quieter, and listen to what the smaller voices of our ecosystem are saying. 

This Plant, caloglossa red moss, as the best elemental influence for how we find meaning 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, the gap, 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.

Season is the wide landscape upon which we Dagaz, and it’s fortuitous that in the north, we are approaching mid-summer. As the forest reanimates in Summer so do we. Indeed human persons are more welcome to be outdoors in summer, and it represents good times and coming into power. It’s a time of adventure and expanding innangardr, and Summer is an opportunity for human persons to more intimately deepen our relationship to Nature. We have to pause with Summer, as our experience of it is becoming longer and hotter, and so our relationship to it perhaps should be re-explored. Seasons are what Earth is known for in our solar system, and the loss of them is quite felt in what we consider the heat of Summer, which brings its own kind of ecological grief.

All the same, our solastalgia of Summer includes times of fun, play, relaxation, community. All of these are aspects of life that remind us of our own playfulness and curiosity, which are what help us to navigate the gap. Spend some time this week exploring how Summer can help Self feel those qualities and still participate in this world.

On that note I want to mention I will be teaching a lab practical this Autumn called The Uninvited Guest – Solastalgia, Climate Change, and Ritualcraft, in which we will discuss the impact of seasonal dissonance on rituals, and delve into unique solutions for effective spiritual plasticity during climate change, staying true to our experience, and our  present and future experience of ecosystem. That’s a lot. That’s a whole lot, and I’d love to see you there.

Get on the waitlist to be notified when registration opens from the really hideous link that I’m not even going to try to voice, below. You can find it in the written blog post: : https://mailchi.mp/d74d6c347e86/uninvited-guest

Finally, the earth-spirit helper this week is Mink Vertebra, who brings support and community engagement. Vertebrae literally are the support of everything in our lives. And remember that Mink is very secretive, and deals in the currency of whispers. Their motivation stems from what is heard and observed, not what said or done, which speaks to interconnection. Again, the gap. They can squeeze out of tight spaces and access spaces we wouldn’t normally be able to, and they prefer spaces they can control and gatekeep.

Call on Mink this week for ways to make tiny truths known. Like Moss, it isn’t a big, noisy presence, but small, attentive, and ever capable of adaptation. 

The Weekly Rune Prompts for Laguz

  • What is your relationship to extremes?

  • Do you feel more comfortable in the extremes or the space between them?

  • In which does your truth emerge more easily?

The Weekly Rune Galdr

  • Dagaz – Dthah, Dthahg, Dthahguh

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

  • Uruz – Oo, Ooroo, Ur

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S. Kelley Harrell

S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.

Kelley Harrell is an animist, author, deathwalker, and death doula held by Tuscarora, Woccon, and Sissipihaw land. For the last 25+ years, through Soul Intent Arts she’s helped others ethically build thriving spiritual paths. Her work is Nature-based, and centers soul tending through the Elder Futhark runes, animism, ancestral tending, and deathwork. She hosts the podcast, What in the Wyrd, and also writes The Weekly Rune as a celebration of the Elder Futhark in season. Work with her in the Runes for Change community or in her intensive soul tending training, The Spirited Path.  Full bio.

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elder well, die well, ancestor well

@kelleysoularts

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