For the Week of 5 November 2023

Ecosystem is Godden

Hagalaz is the half-month rune through 13 November. The intuitive rune is Laguz. From right to left is Hagalaz, then Algiz. From right to left is Hagalaz, then Laguz. The earthly spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Death (plastic skull), whispers of the Hunt (stag button), dead things (not pictured), World Ancestors (wee wooden spoon), and Key in the direction of Back/South (golden dwarf), with element Acid  (lemon zest), in the season of Winter (tree button). 

As we go into the remaining season of Irish Samhain, Czech Dziady,  and Nordic Alfablot and Vetrnætr, and the  many iterations of ancient holy days celebrated around the world, let us stay mindful of the Ancestors and what they teach us of resilience, adaptation, and weathering truly horrific times.

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
  • Early access to What in the Wyrd episodes
  • Community connection via ​Discord
  • Excerpts of articles and upcoming books, exclusive first peeks at current projects, and galley copies

Optional Runes for Change offerings:

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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 It Mean?

This week we’re deep into Hagalaz and quickly feeling the pressure of the second aett. The first three runes of this aett are a wintry trio of harshness, focus, and stillness–fun combo! They set us up for how we fare with the remainder of the aett, which means for how well we cope with navigating the affectivity of others. Where we got comfy with the idea of having agency in the first aett, the second one reminds us sharply that our agency isn’t separate from that of others. What we do with ours reverberates out into everyone else with impact, just as the impact of theirs ripples back to us. 

And impact, we are definitely feeling. We are feeling global terror, godden absent from the wheel, human leadership not leading well, and the inflation of doing outstripping our capacity to be. Go into this runecast gentle with Self, gentle with all beings, and as possible, go gently into this Dark Time.

In the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome community is the phrase “October Crush,” referring to body’s response to the dramatic change in environment as we move into Autumn in the north. It’s characterized by widespread increased pain, fatigue, brain fog, and overall lowered capacity to human. October Crush is a pretty good metaphor for Hagalaz–an external thing, particularly natural environment-related that we can’t change. It’s a place where we can know hardship is coming, yet we can’t change it. We can’t know its scope or duration, fully. Our only option is to assess how we’re in relationship with it and respond the best that we can.

Something that comes up in my upcoming book, From Elder to Ancestor is something I’ve talked about a lot in TWR. We’re not supposed to be doing this alone. And really we aren’t doing it alone, we just have minimized awareness of ecosystem family and spiritual support because that’s the reality our systems have wanted us to have. This week, this experience of The Dead Time is as good as any to really situate into that knowing, to peel back any residual blinders to who is with us, how we’re in relationship, and how we can better support one another.  Perhaps that lie is something that can be deathwalked.

Even though there is an ecosystem component to the drama of Hagalaz, it doesn’t make it personal. Natural disasters aren’t out to get us. Hagalaz isn’t out to get us. Both natural disasters and Hagalaz are facts of humaning, and what they both give us is adaptation. Adaptation is a community activity. This week is a good time to explore what that means. For more on that, check out the What in the Wyrd episode Adapting with Hagalaz.

Laguz as the best way to Hagalaz is wonderfully matched. Laguz is water.  It is Flow. Together those are home, sacred order, oneness. All water comes from the ocean. All water returns to the ocean. All water is connected, even in the atmosphere. Yes, water can mess us up pretty badly. Again, it’s not personal. There is no ‘personal,’ thus experiencing something as out to get us is not sacred order.

For me personally, that’s a lot to sit with. It prods beliefs that work against me, and maybe that’s a spot for some deathwork this week, also.

The emphasis in TWR remains on our ecosystem spirit relationships. Godden is local and connected to All Things. When we engage ecosystem for needs or to leave offerings, they ripple out to the planet. When that shift first showed up in TWR it felt simultaneously right and also stressful to me. Now I appreciate the refocusing, and it feels so right. If there’s more conversation we can have around this, feel free to comment or take it into Discord. It’s a rich time to be the human at the table of ecosystem.

We still have the death allies with us this week, though some of them didn’t make it into the photo. We are reminded by their presence not only that death is natural, but Nature has a way. It has a way of sweeping out the dead that can be released, and this week in my region we finally have those winds. Explore how The Wild Hunt shows up in ecosystem and what may be given over for it to sweep out.

Back is the direction others consider South/Suðri, which in my cosmology is heat, fire, flat, sandy land. It’s also the direction of the janitors continually deathwalking what is no longer needed, so that fungi can lay down the new network and teach us all how to use it. It is what is behind me, place of past and letting go, so that we know what comes is what is right for us. Back is the direction of earthly Ancestors–the plants, the rocks, the primordial soups that created life as we know it. It is the Ancestors, who are literally behind me, because they have my back.

This week explore what Ancestors can teach around deathwalking and adaptation. I would even take that a step further and inquire what queer Ancestors can share about these, as their worldview and beyond lies outside supremacy.

The elemental ally this week is Acid. We often forget the power of corrosion to dissolve detritus.

The slow releasing of what is no longer needed is the superpower of Acid. It erodes away what we can’t, or perhaps what we shouldn’t carry further. In this way Acid is more of the tending side of things, rather than curative. It’s about process and staying with it. This is a great time to work with Sacred Acid to loosen and drop the crud, so that we don’t bring it ahead with us. Remain mindful that Acid works slowly. What is left to dissolve now may take extra time and tending. Once given over, check in on it intermittently to stay attuned to its process. We can’t speed it up, but we can be present to it until its end.

Winter brings a cloistered space, huddled for warmth, slow-moving, and ample stillness. The world gets smaller in Winter. The forest becomes less approachable and perhaps even hostile toward human-persons. We are less involved with the outdoors, and must pay closer attention to our reserves. It is the time of The Wild Hunt and standing in the danger of our dead.

I love this matching of season to seasonality in the north, for this week. It reinforces that we need rest, and that the demands of what lies beyond our doorstep require it. The season requires it. In American settler culture we really don’t ramp down for Winter. In some cases, we speed up. Sit with what rebellion toward rest is possible this week, and maybe for the remainder of Winter, and let Self name that rebellion exactly what it is: outcreating the system(s). Practice feeling shamelessly unapologetic for rest, setting and holding boundaries, and saying no. 

Key as our earthly helping spirit can signify different things. It can indicate freedom, that which was previously locked is now open to us, which grants us new possibilities. It could be that which was wide open and inundating is now locked, tucked away–or we are tucked away from it, protected. The thing about Key is it allows us to choose: opening, closing. It is the conduit that reminds us of choice, selection, and boundaries.

In this runecast we have the second aett tension with the third aett wisdom. The drama will pass. We will adapt. Our capability of doing so is sacred order for a survival much bigger than just ourselves. Look to our ecosystems for guidance, teaching, boundaries, and community. They do not fail

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

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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What does ecosystem have to say about this experience of season?

  • How does your relationship with it need to adjust?

  • What signifies The WIld Hunt where you live?


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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, Hahgal

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


Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

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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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