For the week of 8 December 2019

United alone

Isa is the half-month stave through 13 December. Sowilo is the intuitive rune, and Mannaz reversed indicates Coming’s message to us. Read right to left is Isa, Sowilo, then Mannaz reversed.

I truly believe that #theweeklyrune includes the keys to making better choices based on keen insight into the present, to help each of us be more active in creating a better life for us all. That realization process includes learning to tend what can’t just be fixed, and using every tool at our disposal. 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 we can create ourselves as fit elders, so that upon our good death, we can be well Ancestors.

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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).

Learn More

The Weekly Rune is a three-rune cast. Those runes are the half-month, the intuitive rune, and the overview. The half-month is a set rune, which for the most part follows the traditional ordering of the Elder Futhark. The intuitive stave (meaning, I draw it blind) indicates the life force most available to us, to the focus of the half-month rune into sharper focus. It 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 different voices. These voices have been Nature, Earth, Creation, though are sometimes others. I note who’s speaking each week, as it is revealed.


New to The Weekly Rune?

  • 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.

The Runecast


As we come to the end of our time with Isa, this may be the first time in our time with TWR that we’d rather stay still. In the past the seasonal runes have come with more tension, if not angst. This year, though, they’ve been affirming in their solitude, and we’ve known how to make the best use of it. While it has had us more tucked in than stuck, too much of a good rest can easily turn to complacence.

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?

Isa has given us really thorough and quiet time to reflect. It’s come with a tad of tension, though nothing like what the closure of the winter runes usually brings. Maybe that means in the last year we’ve matured. Maybe we know better how to take advantage of even stuckness as downtime. Maybe we’re just freaking exhausted and appreciate the seasonal reprieve. Whatever the reason, it’s uncharacteristics of our usual experience of Isa in season, and the framing runes indicate we’re good for making such good use of the lull.  Read more…

Sowilo keeps this cast interesting. It brings a pay-it-forward vibe, which speaks to our personal time-out as vaulable to others, not just ourselves. More than that, it’s an affirmation that we’ve done the work, and it’s okay to celebrate it as such.

We can’t pass on our skills and wisdom without first celebrating that they’re there. For most of us, our skills in that department are rusty, if not non-existent. We just don’t have cultural support to recognize our accomplishments, let alone the impetus and support for celebrating them. I’ve done on-on-one sessions with a lot of you, and you know that I harp on doing decadent celebrations for yourself. In the soul vernacular, such are ceremonies. Ceremonies are celebrations for something. No requests for stuff. No internal need to be met. Instead, there is only the need to let ourselves shine as we truly are, and hold as fully as we can what we’ve accomplished.

Decadent can mean a lot of things. It can mean over-the-top, as in something you wouldn’t normally do. It can mean making an investment in yourself that you wouldn’t normally. It could even mean seeing yourself as decadent, as something to be enjoyed and cherished. A lot of us struggle with that bit, too. We’ve been groomed to see such behaviour as selfish. I challenge each of us to celebrate self somehow this week in an act of decadence, so that when we go forward in  the new wisdom of Isa, we know the product we’re selling with Sowilu.

We can do that with healthy ego. We can step into that celebration with full knowing that we’re onto something that not only other people need, but it’s worthy of sharing. Be it, and everyone around us will become inspired to be their wisdom, too.

Purple text reads "Runes for Change" with a grayscale billowy tree with purple runes carved in it and an owl perched in the branches

Gain animistic insight into the runes, learn to elder well with ancient wisdom, and cultivate a strong spiritual path

by joining the Runes for Change community.

Mannaz reversed sings an odd song, through the voice of Coming. At first when I heard the voice I wasn’t sure I’d heard it well. Then it more emphatically said, “Forthcoming.” Okay. What I took from that visit was we have to be willing to do this process alone–as in without social credit, as Mannaz reversed indicates. It doesn’t mean we are alone, but as if we’re alone. It’s a very different tone, really, and it’s one that sidesteps ego very nicely.

More than just don’t expect cookies or pats on the back, don’t expect. Just be. Be in the moment of celebration of self, and embody it fully. Be celebration. We’re not alone, though we need to stand in our power as if we are, as if no one is going to rally us. When we can dance like no one is watching, even though we know they are and probably can’t handle that truth, the people around us will start dancing anyway. They don’t have to know why we’re dancing. They don’t care why we’re dancing, they just feel the current of life force and want to embody it, too.

Let them. We know we’ve grown. We know we’ve come through a hard year of skill-building to be able to find comfort in Isa. Fully embodying that process and letting it move through who we are in joy just happens to be what everyone else needs, too.

Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What need is pressing?
  • What pattern is it tied to in your life?
  • Are you ready to let it go?


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. 


  • Nauthiz – Now, Nowdth, Nowdthee
  • Sowilo/Sowilu – Soh, Sohl
  • Kenaz – Kehn, Kenuh, Kawn, Kawnuh, Kain, Kainuh

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


Originally published on Soul Intent Arts.

S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.

I’m an animist, author, deathwalker and death doula held by Tuscarora, Woccon, and Sissipihaw land. 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 several books on soul work and runes, and when moved 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