For the week of 8 October 2023


Gebo is the half-month rune through 13 October, with Ansuz reversed expressing how we can best work with Gebo. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Death (plastic skull), whispers of the Hunt (stag button), and World Ancestor (wooden spoon) in the direction of Austri/East/Right/Ocean (mossy dwarf), with elements Timing (wee hourglass) and Bone (turkey wishbone), in the season of Autumn (tree button).

For those of you who didn’t get the memo on last week’s cast, there was a tech kerfuffle and we jetted several runecasts into the future to the one for the week of Hagalaz. I don’t know what happened to the ones between, so I’m catching up to reconstruct them. Let’s just consider last week TPTB intervening with an intuitive rune, because we’re all excited for Autumn to finally be here!

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I have submitted the manuscript revisions, so that bit is done. Shortly I will get back final edits to peruse, bless, and fill with the greatest of hopes for their agency, and then it will be game-on til publication. I have to say, that was the gentlest and most encouraging experience I’ve ever had with the first round edits of a manuscript. They usually feel like learning a new language while simultaneously administering triage during a natural disaster… Which is to say they are very educational and my synapses are exhausted by the end. I have said several times that if you don’t hate a project a little bit by the time you get to the end of it you haven’t edited it enough. I can’t say that I hate this book or its editing process. In fact I feel better for it.

That said, the shape of this runecast still wasn’t ready to go back to our usual format. As I drew the runes for the cast the beyond-Earth helping spirit just wouldn’t come. I was annoyed with that for a bit and then it dawned on me that their absence in the runecast is mirroring what’s happening in our lives right now.

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.

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What Does It Mean?

During early COVID we talked about there being a vibe of dramatic change, cellularly, energetically, and even transpersonally. It wasn’t wordable or even clearly evident. Rather, it held this liminal, Kenazy just-at-the-edges life force that was totally felt, largely evidenced, but not ready to be named. Then our conversation shifted to one of feeling new normal within reach yet not near. Which brings us to the present in which we’re still not near and feeling pretty alone in it. 

The vast majority of clients I’ve had over the last 3 months have expressed that their cosmology is either gone as they knew it, non-responsive, or so changed that they haven’t learned the ropes of the new relationships yet. I’m one of those people. And where this meshes with what I’m hearing in soul-centric conversations is a wide array of people are experiencing this across many walks, and it’s absolutely on pointe for  where we are as a culture and as souls in form.

We can’t shout for all the change that we have and expect it to be limited only to here, in form. The kind of change that has to happen to keep folx tended and included spans way beyond just formed being. I know that even folx outside the church carry the belief–or hope–that deity is omniscient. My experience is that it isn’t. Godden engage when we create the opening for them to. Rarely do they just interject. Many of them haven’t understood the circumstances of formed being, for a long time, and even at their vantage point on All Things, change takes time to ripple down to here.

I’m not a ‘it was then that I carried you’ person, though I do feel that whatever is happening in personal cosmology and/or wider world cosmology, it’s tending back toward direct sacred order relationship. It may not feel that way now. In fact, I’m certain it doesn’t, yet there’s a sense of it being better than what was, even if it feels less stable. Double the protections and efforts, and keep the Dream Team on speed dial. Things are moving even when it seems like they’re smotheringly stuck.

And so, Gebo. Gebo is the rune of relationship, which in animistic territory means everything. Gebo is the first place in the traditional arc of the first aett that we are met on our path, really met. We find interdependence. We find belonging, and it reflects itself back to us. We gain reciprocity with a matched other. We are able to see and be seen. We understand that our agency doubled is the shit. Gebo often gets foisted into the realm of romantic relationship, though there’s no attestation for that and it’s missing the wealth of relationship that is All Things. That doesn’t mean we can’t experience Gebo in a romantic relationship, though it’s not prescribed to be such. And relationship can be so many things.

Ansuz reversed is tricky. Maybe even tricksy. Most of you know that I hold reversals carefully, as they aren’t a historically attested experience of the runes. That said, regardless of how a rune is facing or what other runes it presents with, it can have shadow qualities. When it actually does come out reversed or otherly revealed, I take that at its shadowy face value.

With this particular rune it can signify that dynamic of feeling talked about. It’s not good or bad. Not a lie but not exactly true or the whole story. And this feels appropriate to the cosmology tensions right now. It’s not that allies are gone (although some may be), but more that they can’t be fully present, or aren’t able to be present the way they used to be. What we’re left with in that wake is a full house of ecosystem-level allies, within whom we are co-creating so much change.

This starts for me in with Right (That Side/ East/Austri) in my cosmology we have water, flow, being carried that is the direction of East. It specifically is Ocean, which represents home, in that all of life emerged from the Ocean. All water flows to the Ocean. So when this direction comes up in casts, explore what home means, at the most sacred and embodied level. Literally, consider where the body feels best. Consider what makes a space feel sacred. Consider how to get more of those needs met in the immediate living space. 

For me Right also is the place of dreams, the primordial soup of our desires mingled with multiversal forces that can help create them into being. It is the direction of realizing our agency, of truly grokking that how we as human-persons align with form is unique in evoking deep change here. And with that unique potential is the responsibility of using our agency to benefit all touched by its impact in a way that lets us work out what we need to around cosmology, yet still find strong Gebo at the Midgard level.

Speaking to that wealth of local relationships, we have two elements present this week. Element Timing reminds us that greater laws are in relationship and are carrying out duties that, while we have no control over them, we also don’t have to lift a finger to make sure they keep doing their job. As rough as souling in form is, we don’t have to be mindful of everything

Timing is ability to pace Self according to the cycles of Nature, to be in relationship with Nature such that one’s habits and body rituals sync with natural occurrences (up at dawn; relax when the shadows grow long). It’s also a point for realization that we are naturally synced with Nature. We don’t really have to work at it.  The transmutation Timing offers is the faith that time will take care of need, despite that our comprehension of time is very short.

And for me this is some comfort in the cosmology-Ansuz reverse tangle: given the earnest effort of our relationships to level the playing field for all life, that is what’s happening. It may be beyond our scope to perceive or even witness, but it is happening.

Element Bone speaks to our foundational structure, our fortitude to persevere and generate change in our lives. It also is sound conductor and speaks to returning to our foundation, our base, and remembering its inherent relationship to eco system, to our calling, to All Things. Bone is very much about relationship to Self but also to place, which may be a good Gebo meditation to engage this week.

Autumn is on pointe for those of us in the north, as we slip closer to coolness and The Dark Time. We are pressed to wrap up sun-focused activities and reallocate our energy to matters of conservation, retention. Along with Autumn are the helping spirits of Death and The Wild Hunt. We’re moving into the seasonality of these entities, though the fact is, where I live we’re there. I still feel so out of sync at a deep body level with the climate-changed seasonality and my sense of time. Autumn has come up more often than it hasn’t in this runic cycle, which nods to having the resources to do what we need. It also speaks to the murmurings of darkness and shadow coming in around the edges. That shade is real in the ecosystem, in inflation, in the fatigue of showing up every day. I feel like our best use of the autumnal resources is to be on top of what needs deathwalking in our lives, to get it queued up and ready to hand off to the The Wild Hunt in the weeks to come. It’s time to come into personal awareness of what turning inward at this time means, and understanding how what we find there is in relationship with our calling, even if its shadows.

Death, the Hunt, and the World Ancestors are showing up for the foreseeable future. Create space for them in everyday life. Cull through what dead internally and externally need to be released, and where shadow rattles, maybe join in. It’s not far-fetched to say that in Old Norse traditions (Krampus), this was the time of year to wail, groan, and release all the ugliness we’ve kept tidily hidden all year. This is the time of outlets, of Nature family who can not just handle it, but take it on to What Comes Next. And with Gebo, we’re not doing it alone.

The prompt from the Morbid Curiosity deck this week is, “What are your feelings about organ donation? Are you a registered donor?”

Learn more about this seasonal progression, and how to draw its insights into the personal spiritual path in Runic Book of Days.

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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Elder Well

To bear your unique gift to the world.

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Ancestor Well

So that your descendants never elder alone.