For the week of 10 July 2022

Finding Value

Fehu is the half-month rune through 14 July. Berkano/Berkana is the intuitive rune, and Othala reversed indicates Dependability’s message to us. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are fossilized Belemnite in Autumn, with the active element of Air, in the direction of Left/West. Read right to left is Fehu, Berkano, then Othala reversed.

Check out the new episode of What in the Wyrd, beginning Season 6 of Runes as Verbs – Tending with Fehu.

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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 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. 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.

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

We almost made it two weeks without Othala! But of course that it’s lingering into Fehu season points to concerns around how we value the heritage that created us, and the legacy we’re leaving. The overall tone of the cast this week points to a really solid personal foundation, with specific areas to examine and support.

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?

Fehu as the rune of wealth calls into question what we value and how involved we truly are in tending it. We have historically (through the nuage) looked at Fehu as a toggle, thus also we’ve treated wealth the same: we have it, or we don’t. This rune touches something deeper than that. It comes with the presumption that we can identify what’s of value in our lives, and that once we feel its worth, we will actively take care of it. The challenge in that relationship is that we live in a culture that separates us from that kind of knowing. We’re taught to value only money, at the expense of our bodies, minds, confidence, compassion, identities, communities… This cast, largely by way of Othala reversed, brings us back to what’s really important, and sheds light on how we can tend it well.

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Berkana is the triage rune. It’s the balm that comes after an intense ordeal, as well as it represents rehabilitation. Often the emphasis of this rune is that we’re recovering, which implies birthing a new version of Self or dynamic into being. We attribute that aspect of it to midwifery, a thoroughly held space for growth, and one also reinforced without emotion. It’s the space of healing that must be done. 

In other words, Berkana is the space where we shed our attachment to  trauma. 

Or in a culture that makes room for such, it would be that. We don’t all get to Berkana our hard times. Most of us don’t. What this rune says about Fehu is that we need to deal with our wounds around finding value in our lives, and doing what must be done to heal. The ultimate wealth we possess is being here, being in form, being alive as a human. Whatever stands in the way of us being able to value ourselves–now’s the time. We’ve paid our dues with the trauma, itself. Now we learn who we are in relationship with it, and how we go forward, changed both from the healing of it.

Othala reversed with the voice of Dependability… is a thing. If Othala is honoring the Ancestors and preparing the way for the Descendants, the emphasis of it really isn’t either of those extremes as is most often the focus, but who’s in the middle of them.  WE are. In that way, I get why Othala is an Odin rune. Humans have a shit ton of power here, or should I say, we have a shit ton of agency. We are godd-like. But when we can’t extract from our trauma (which is ultimately what separates us from our agency), when we aren’t taught to value ourselves, our attributes, or our communities, when we’re in a culture that couldn’t care less, we become paralyzed in our agency. When we’re not able to make use of our agency, our relationship to our calling comes into question–right or wrong. We undermine ourselves at our most base level. The question Othala reversed asks is, where are we unable to find our agency between our Ancestors and Descendants? What’s happening there? What are we not Fehuing (valuing) in ourselves, so that we can do that work?

When Othala is reversed, it points to this kind of distraction from our agency, which is specifically a disruption from hearing the Ancestors and from acting on behalf of the Descendants. And it’s not just any kind of distraction, but a cultural one. There can be personal reasons that we can’t hold our familial agency. However, the reasons we can’t get passed those showstoppers is cultural, always. Think about it. Nobody stays stuck in trauma because of just a personal thing, or just a family thing. Nobody. Not everybody has the resources to overcome trauma. Not everybody has the awareness or education to know that trauma is even the problem. These are not personal showstoppers. The roots of Othala reversed are a collective inability to thrive, because if it was only up to Self, Othala wouldn’t be reversed. Ever. If it was just a matter of rediscovering Self after trauma, the Odin-Self would eventually figure that out, and it would be a done deal. The only reasons we ever stall and lose agency are collective, because our particular collective conspires against our Odin-ness. 

When we look at it that way, Othala reversed means we aren’t able to elder well. We can’t access our Odin-ness.

Dependability changes the conversation a little. Dependable according to whom? Upon whom? For whom? Dependability suggests relationship by default, which hints something in this complex of Othala-agency isn’t just ours to reconcile. In the same way that culture conspires against trauma-healing, it also isolates us from collective aid. We’re not supposed to have to hold all of it alone. Settler culture has isolated us from this truth, and that’s evident now more than ever. When we feel cut off from our village, unable to reconcile our relationship to our trauma, thus, unable to tend what we value, we think it’s all our fault.  It’s not.

Dependability brings in the idea that we are valuable from the get-go. If we see Self as dependable, that means we have something to bring to the table. It means we have motivation to work with our trauma so that we can stand in that place between Ancestor and Descendant the best that we can. Dependability also implies that we have support while working on our trauma, and that we’re not doing any of the aforementioned alone. We have resources in our village. It also means that the whole village is intentionally focusing their agency (collective calling?) to tend each other, which tends the whole planet, which means all persons–human, non-human, earthly, discarnate are valuable. We’ve talked a lot about how in Old Norse culture was the concept of everyone had a duty, or knoð, and the collective depended on that duty being done, so that everyone was taken care of and the work was spread around. That is interdependence. It would be belonging. It’s a whole lot easier to have and use personal agency for the betterment of the collective when the collective is also rising to the challenge.  And..  this is animism.

It doesn’t work that way for us in settler culture. The collective isn’t rising to the challenge. We don’t all have the same privilege to exert agency. We don’t all belong. The hidden truth here is in settler culture none of us belong, because the constraints under which we even try aren’t built to tend any of us. Our systems aren’t built to see our humanity. They can’t see our Fehu, let alone meet it. 

The spirits of place for this week offer insight into how we make use of our village in very personal ways. Fossilized Belemnite carries the power of a creature whose inner armor is all that remains of it after it decomposes. This creature was soft on the outside, yet so well-protected inside that even in death that protection remains. It speaks to the sacredness we all carry, that is our only personal protection in this world. Air carries our intentions to where they can best root. We don’t often know where that is, ourselves, though Air does, and now is a good time to set intentions around valuing Self, life, and others. In my cosmology, West/Left represents lush green, with endless opportunity for fertile growth. It holds the space for the intentions of Air to root. These, all on the backdrop of Autumn, further the growth potential that these intentions will be well-received and prepared for a bountiful harvest. Together these spirits help create that necessary village to help us stand between the Ancestors and Descendants,. That support allows us to check our dependability, but also the dependability of other humans and non-humans, including systems around us. The implication here is, what is dependable in our lives is valuable to our agency. When we can best express our agency, everyone prospers.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What would rehabbing self-value look like?
  • What is the relationship between dependability and agency?
  • How dependable are you?


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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.

  • Fehu – fee, feehoo, feh, fehhoo, fay fayhoo
  • Berkana/Berkano/Beorc/Bjarka – Ber, Bair, Beor, Berka, Bairka
  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal


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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Ancestor Well

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