For the week of 28 May 2023

Eldering, Now

[ppp_patron_only level="1.00" silent="yes"] [/ppp_patron_only]

Ingwaz (carved reindeer antler slice) is the half-month rune through 29 May, at which point Othala moves to the fore through 14 June. Perthro is the intuitive rune, and Ehwaz indicates Wrath’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Mink Femur with element Acid, in the direction of West (Vestri), in the season of Autumn (tree button). Read right to left is Othala above, Ingwaz below, Perthro, then Ehwaz.

The full runecast will be publicly available here, two weeks from publication. You can find it in full on Patreon, 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 other-than-human Helping Spirits on Earth, which includes humanity’s animal and plant Ancestors, and other earth-centric 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. 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.

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
  • self-paced and live video classes
  • runic insights,  book excerpts, release newsfree classes
  • Soul Reading, and Soul Tending sessions, based on tier
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

Moving into Othala early in the week shifts our focus from a very high, and likely exciting place, to one that’s a bit more subdued and somber. In my vernacular, Othala is the rune of eldering, and in American settler culture, that’s a challenging thing to do. Yet, it’s also the greatest demand of our lives.

Most of us have not had quality elders who share spiritual alliance with us. Most of us do not come from wisdom traditions that have structures in place to protect and hand down their teachings and place-space relationships. Most of us haven’t had role models for how it looks to still elder well in systems that want us sick, uneducated, conformed in mind and representation of body, and poor.

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

To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:

  • If you’re on a desktop, log into Patreon or become a community member with the buttons at the right sidebar.
  • If you’re on a device, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the buttons to log into Patreon or become a community member.

[ppp_patron_only level=”5.00″ silent=”yes”]

What Does It Mean?

And yet, such elders do exist. They are indigenous people all over the globe. They are our civil rights leaders. They are the land keepers. And in order to be good elders now, we have to honor them in our season of inheritance, as we honor who went before us and who comes after us in our own lines.

We commonly talk about Othala as a death rune in terms of it indicating matters of transferable estate. What gets left out of that base observation is transferable lineage relationships, and that Othala looks in all directions, not just back. Inheritance encompasses not just what comes to us, but what we leave on all levels of being, and what’s most significant to that open stance is our feet on the ground now, in the present. In order to truly do well by what must transfer from the Ancestors, we must be here, in our bodies, engaged actively in ecosystem. In order to take on that mantle and shape it to meet the needs of our time, we must hold it in a way that it can be transferred to the Descendants.

Another way to look at Othala may be, where Uruz attests internal organization of form, we could approach Othala as an externalized organization of form, of lineage. Who are we, as a group? Who are we, as a family? What do we do here? How do we do that together? How do we make that approachable to our youth, so that they can situate in a held lineage context and securely create their version of What Comes Next from within it?

Perthro reversed as the way to work with Othala brings an almost excruciating examination of the moment. It can easily bring the questioning of elderhood to a gritty and grueling level that’s not necessarily helpful. I can’t think of a previous time when the modifying rune was expressing what not to do, though Perthro reversed seems to be indicating vigilance: observe what occurs just before we notice we’re not here. Watch for the kind of dynamics that leave us feeling detached from place. Question what should be brought forward from the Ancestors, though be prepared to deathwalk what shouldn’t be brought forward, and to birth what should. 

I feel like this placement of the wyrd rune speaks acutely to how eldering in American settler culture comes with unique baggage, and the best way we greet that is with that awareness, honesty, great love for being, and with boots on the ground to evoke change. So while the internal process posed by Perthro reversed may be microscopically intense internally, how we can respond to it externally can evoke big change in how we hold our lineage stuff.

Ehwaz through the voice of Wrath has been on my radar, so to see it in this cast is validating. Ehwaz is the rune of humans intentionally engaging their unseen. It is horse as vehicle for that travel, which suggests thoughtful weaving of human-Nature animistics is the core key to bringing back Beyond Earth magick to evoke change. 

Where this has been on my mind a lot for several weeks is applying agency to anger in a way that moves the dynamic in a better direction. There’s plenty of room for subjectivity in that, though Wrath is who has shown up for me in that combination. Wrath through Ehwaz gives Beyond Earth grounding to feelings that can otherwise distract us from intentional application of agency. Decades ago I realized that I can know a lot of things at a core level of Self. Yet when I experience their spiritual manifestations and engage them, those relationships become part of my core functionality in a necessary way. I could never do that with anger, though when I could meet its sacredness as Wrath, it’s been game-on. 

We can feel deep anger and through our agency channel it into trajectory-changing Wrath. This feels imperative with Othala this week. To really meet the need it’s presenting in how we are the Middle Person for our lineage, we have to be able to reconcile the shit that comes with that. We have to be able to turn our anger into useful agency that both reconciles the shadows of our lines and creates a walkable path for those who come after us–blood family and everyone else. The duty to tend our lines is one thing. The responsibility to hold space for everyone to have better is another. This cast has us examine what tending our lines need–past, present, and future–and urges us to see where Wrath is a healing tool to outcreate the dynamics that have held us back.

The place-space holding us this week has qualities of abundance, security, release, and support.

It starts with the direction of Left, which is west for others. It represents lush green, with endless opportunity for fertile growth. It’s expansive but undefined, intentional but not at all limited. Left is the direction of growth and possibility. The boundary it holds for us provides flexibility, yet security.

The seasonal backdrop brings the feel of Autumn–of preparation, bounty, maturity, harvest, turning from the forest. In autumn, our focus turns to tending hearth, getting stores, ground, home, and harvest ready for needier times. It’s a time tending both outdoors and indoors, and conserving energy for the cold to come, honoring Nature’s retreat underground. Autumn is also the wind up for the Wild Hunt, the ethers of which may be potent to call upon for the work of Othala.

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.

Threading this backdrop together is earth-based helper, Mink Femur. Mink are known for their silence, secrecy, whispered access. They bring in the element of what we hear and observe, not what we say or do. Mink can squeeze out of tight spaces and access spaces you wouldn’t normally be able to. They move around silently and often unseen, so they overhear a lot. They like spaces they can control and gatekeep.

The Femur brings movement, literal and figurative, how we carry ourselves, and with the Mink, particularly how we carry ourselves in tight spaces, how we maintain momentum when we feel squeezed or stuck. It is literally how we move through the world, and energetically how we present who we are to the world. It is the forward motion needed for us to move into new experiences and grow, to see and acknowledge the places where we can and cannot hold embodiment as we move. 

Femur is the strongest bone in the body, and it reminds us that while our time with Othala is reflective, it is also to stir movement that aligns us with our calling. It’s to be in whatever tight places are upon us right now and look back, look forward, look down where we stand, and act based on what needs converge at our feet, and start moving in alignment with them. Regardless of how old we are or where we are on our path, we can use this time with Othala to assess our relationship to life and death, Ancestors and Descendants, and how our calling feeds us all. This is how we elder, now.

Given our transition from Ingwas to Othala this week, we have two runes from the third aett and one from the second. Two runes in firm alignment with a process that supports how we move among, and one that questions that process. Because of course it does.

[/ppp_patron_only]

[ppp_patron_only level=”1″ silent=”yes”]

Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How does sitting with Othala get you in deeper alignment with your calling?

  • What feelings come up when you sit with Othala?

  • Where do you feel it in your body?

[/ppp_patron_only]

[ppp_patron_only level=”1″ silent=”yes”]

Galdr

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.

  • Ingwaz – Een, Eengwa, Eengoo

  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal

  • Perthro – Pair, Pairth, Per, Perth, Peorth

  • Ehwaz – Eh, Ehwuh, Eoh

[/ppp_patron_only]

Runes for Change community

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

join the Runes for Change community.

For suggestions on how to weather the season gracefully, subscribe to my private runes community on Patreon.

#beyourcommunity

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

@kelleysoularts

A black wood-grained background with the Elder Futhark in a circle and the words "What in the Wyrd," "Soul Intent Arts"
The Spirited Path Soul Tending Intensive
Reawakening with the Runes mini class

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.