For the week of 6 November 2022

Lore of the Scarred Tender

Hagalaz (ceramic tile) is the half-month rune through 13 November. Uruz (cedar stave) is the intuitive rune, and Laguz (polymer clay) indicates Edge’s message to us. For this Dead Time the spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Petrified Wood in Summer, with element Plant in the direction of Back. Read right to left is Hagalaz, Uruz, then Laguz.

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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.

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

Hagalaz begins the second aett somewhat challenging the triumphs of the first. While it isn’t the first rune of complication (Thurisaz), it is the first rune of external complication, which forces us to examine our relationship to formed reality in a new way and to create new solutions.

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?

Hagalaz is the point that we realize all the complications we face to being our embodied selves doing our sacred thing isn’t hard enough. We have to master being able to do that among everyone else doing the same–human-persons and non-human persons and spirits. That is enough all on its own. Toss in a culture that works against us in all of the above and generates generations of trauma and complication, and we have, well, now.

To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:

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Because this isn’t a divinatory cast about us personally, we don’t have to experience Hagalaz in season as a personal affront. We don’t have to expect to be upended. Rather, it gives us the opportunity to see how we’re in relationship with our skills of adaptation, and to change where they need updating. It allows us to revisit our relationship to the scars in our life and see where we may have stalled in what they need us to know, or to pay closer attention to our frayed edges that are reaching for a more solid place to root. This last week with Hagalaz is about exploring where we are in the scar and are still crafting a quality life with it.

Hagalaz is the lore of the scarred tender. Y’all know the narrative of the wounded healer. I don’t know where that conceit entered our shamanic understanding of someone experiencing a wound that, though tending it, realized they could not return to themselves or life the same, yet were able to return to themselves and life as something more. This narrative is the story of the internalized hero’s journey. 

Part of the reason I switched my wording from ‘soul healing’ to ‘soul tending’ years ago was my realization that to say ‘healing’ is pathologizing the scar. It reduces the state of scar to being less-than. In settler culture, we lost the paradox of the healer being wounded. We either romanticize the wound or only emphasize being healed, when in truth, it’s not about either of those, but the trickster operative of both existing at once, and still being viable.

‘Wounded healer’ is meant to push boundaries and force us to question what it means to adapt, to consider beyond what is apparent. If we embrace healing as this state of returning to some preconceived level of activity, productivity, or experience of Self, then what was the state between us before the wound and who we are after? Nothing? Were we less? And what of things that don’t heal, ever? What of scars as big as bodies? Where does that leave things that just hurt all the time? Are we never to be ‘healed’? 

When we began pathologizing the place between who we were before the wound and who we are after, we lost the true meaning of ‘the wounded healer,’ which isn’t dredging up our pain all the time, romanticizing pain, or denying it. It’s embracing the scar as possibility. It’s realizing that scar is part of humaning. It’s fully understanding who we were is no more and who we are becoming is never fully here yet. We have to create that. Tending is continually searching, researching who we are and how we’re in relationship with Self, our communities, our Naturekin, the spirit realm. This is the connective tissue nature of scar.

We care, we tend, we adapt, and go on to do fabulously amazing things while still tending the wound. This is the plight of soul-in-form, and it is the lore of the scarred tender, and it is the offering Hagalaz makes to us this week. So again, I change the wording not to set a trend, not to buck against some standard that isn’t mine to take on, but to make us think differently about what the state of scar means to how we hold our agency.

Uruz brings adaptation into sharper focus of the body and how we are soul-in-form. Like, literally, how’s that going? What might need to shift to facilitate that experience to match and support needs and desires? Those are the questions to ask Self this week. Uruz is the rune of consciousness realizing it’s in form. The active place in Uruz is to sit with the fusion of consciousness into form and explore what that relationship means. Let it be a jubilant point of celebrating I am!, alongside honoring scar in the works. It is okay to realize where how we came into form has been shaped by scar. 

Laguz through the voice of Edge is so fitting. I really can’t make this stuff up. Laguz is flow, or maybe more on pointe; Flow. It is the felt sense of sacred order made conscious, so that we allow it in us, in our lives. It is the choice to move in sacred flow. 

When we sit with sacred order and Edge at once, another paradox emerges. In settler culture we think of order as predictable, safe. However, if sacred order comprises Edge, that means scar territory is part of the plan. It means that our imaginations, curiosity, and choices are part of sacred order, as is approaching those components to focus our agency on bearing our sacred gift to the world. Edge is also scar. It is connective territory that comprises all options. Are all options equal? I guess we’ll find out.

The helping spirits this week situate in Summer, which speaks to good times and using the energy of coming into power to help us create healthy methods of adaptation. The direction of Back would correspond for south with most folx. For me,  this direction is heat, fire, janitors, fungi. It is literally what is behind me. It represents the past and letting go so that we know what comes is what is right for us, now. It’s also the direction of Ancestors, who walk behind me. Maybe the strength of Back this week points again to the coming Hunt, and our ongoing effort to let go what holds us back, what holds us in outdated understandings of scar and adaptation.

Petrified Wood as the helping spirit on the ground with us taps into expansive memory, roots that grant us incredible power over time. It speaks to having and realizing a strong foundation, which helps us gather our scattered energies. The significance of Petrified Wood now is to remind us that as we come into the season of deathwalking, we are also able to (and should) tend what is left in the wake of letting go. When I open space, part of my intention is always to release what must go, allow what must come in, and tend what remains from all of that. This is exactly what Petrified Wood suggests we do this week.

The element best situated to help us hold space this week is Plant – caloglossa red moss, to be specific. This iteration of Plant 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, 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. Like Edge, like scar, moss is betwixt, and it thrives.

We have a rune from each aett this week, which speaks to the expansive effort expended to soul-in-form well. It’s not easy, but it’s the job. And remember, the emphasis in this cast is examining how we’re in relationship with these. 


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How has scar affected humaning well?
  • How are the concepts of permanence and healing in relationship?
  • What other beings sit on Edge with 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.

  • Hagalaz – Haw, Hawga, Hah, Hahg
  • Uruz – Oo, Ooroo
  • Laguz – Lah, Lahg, Lahgoo, Law, Lawgoo


Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

For more insight into the runes, eldering well with ancient wisdom, and cultivating a strong spiritual path

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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.

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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.