For the week of 12 December 2021
The Body Keeps the Door
Jera is the half-month rune through 13 December. Ehwaz is the intuitive rune, Uruz reversed indicates Survivor’s message to us, and sodalite wanted to come long for the ride. Read right to left is Jera, Ehwaz, then Uruz reversed.
At each solstice I post the full edition of The Weekly Rune. This one was poignant enough that I’m also releasing it in full as the next episode of What in the Wyrd. Find the audio of this post in the usual podcast streams. I hope both meet the need of the season. On that note, I don’t know what my attentiveness to the podcast can be, going forward. I truly enjoy doing it and am not at the point of writing it off. However, my Patreon community and that of The Spirited Path, as well as writing Eldering Well are my priorities, and everything else will be as it can be. Thank you for your understanding in that.
Episode 105 - What in the Wyrd - Half-month Jera and The Body Keeps the Door
The Elder Futhark runic calendar provides to 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.
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:
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- introspective prompts to nuance and tend self-work
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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).
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.
We near the midpoint of the runic year with Jera, stretching ever closer to December Solstice. These solstices are portals, times that the light plays funny games with our awareness, where bright isn’t as luminescent as we maybe thought and shadows aren’t as hidden. We tend to look at these times of Earth shifting in relationship to sun as extremes: we tip forward, we pull back. We’re just along for the ride and scrambling to adjust.
It can be really hard to internalize a dance the planet is doing with its primary star as something that is happening with and within us, and not just to us and externally. Current buzz says body is the filter for these experiences–it keeps the score–meaning it remembers trauma in a way that doesn’t let us decide how we participate in such stellar dances, let alone everyday life. But what if instead the body is a door, the threshold to a completely different experience of stellar Self that we grow into from our extremes? This week’s runecast covers all the bases of inner cosmology and describes how we can support it for the best during this solstice season of shifting darkness and light.
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?
Meaning “year,” Jera is the rune of harvest, or as I say, of hearth accounting. It’s the time that we assess how the year went, what we can take from it, how we approach things differently next year to better align with our needs and desires, and what we need to take out or bring in to better grow. Jera comes after difficulty with the opening winter trio of the second aett. It comes after a time of adversity that brings trauma, if not PTSD/cPTSD. What we’ve gone through with Hagalaz, Nauthiz, and Isa left a mark, and that mark is part of how we move among. We can’t ignore that it’s there, despite that settler culture wants us to. It brings the dichotomy of pretending the wound isn’t there and business as usual alongside demonizing it as a flaw that leaves us forever less. We get no help from settler culture regarding trauma.
It’s true that trauma marks the body and changes us forever, and until it’s allowed to speak its own truth and find its new relationship to personal power, trauma can be very disruptive. Because it feels scary the messaging that gets culturally reinforced about trauma is that feeling and expressing it should be avoided, that realizing how we’re in relationship with it is to invite more trauma. Settle culture capitalizes on that fear, and continues to inflict aggression to distract us from understanding and living from the power of our trauma. We’re a civilization built on a pattern of rewounding and denial, so much so we often can’t realize when our trauma is making all the calls. It becomes an unconscious motivator and we think it’s just how we are. This week’s runecast offers insights into how we make space for our trauma in a way that lets the body be the door to our power. Read more…
Over the pandemic, the runes have edged around the cPTSD that we’re living. Through this time I’ve fielded loads of notes and emails from folx who can’t figure out why their rituals suddenly stopped working, why their Allies became distant, why they can’t engage trance or meditation. My Instagram has some short videos that go into more detail around these changes in spiritual practice. The oversimplified reason for these and other shifts in how we engage our spiritual paths is life is really hard right now. Even for folx who weren’t bringing trauma into the pandemic, business can’t and shouldn’t go as usual. The runes reiterated this very clearly in the gaslighting of societies trying to get back to normal that no longer exists and wasn’t all that great for many of us to start with, while ignoring that where this can land doesn’t exist yet.
The reality is most of us were bringing unresolved trauma into the pandemic, and the double down of every day life now demands that we get to work on reconciling what of it we can and finding the new way we function beyond it. That is how we survive this time. For this reason the winter runes have been particularly caustic this year (and I hear they occurred with intense eclipses?). It’s not because we’re fucking up or not doing enough. It’s not because we can’t get with the program. We’re doing a shit ton more on a daily basis than we have (maybe ever), and there’s no program to get with, externally at least. What’s changed is we’re feeling the weight of it all more, and when we are this overwhelmed, everything points back to the foundation: tend the inner cosmology. Eat as well as possible. Sleep well. Exercise as is possible. Engage tools that quiet the mind. Tend the etheric field. Seek out the Dream Team. The big rituals can’t be done right now. They over tax the aforementioned needs. The big soul travels need to wait until the field says it can support their embarkment and refueling.
The only program to get with right now is the internal one telling us to get our house in order.
The runes this week offer a primer on how the body keeps the door, and how, like the Earth and sun in solstices, we move back and forth in an elegant complex dance with Selves. It touches on how we take care of the levels of our inner cosmology, and how we can start that dance more on our own present terms. cPTSD is power that can’t find itself amidst the continued upheaval of the nervous system. It’s there. It wasn’t diminished by the harm. It is, however, changed because of it, and our healing process has to teach us how we can not only come into new relationship with it, but continue to let relationship unfold with both our power and our trauma the way it needs to. In the way that solstices have us re-examine our relationship to our light and shadows, their intensity reveals the post-traumatic places that haven’t been able to clearly articulate their needs (Eclipses do this, also, in more nuanced ways). In this runecast we approach solstice beyond the linear black and white rhetoric, so that we not only understand the sore parts of ourselves that have been speaking, but in that crack between regular light and felt shadow we have the opportunity to let them live through their power. They do so not as wounds calling shots based on old terror-filled wiring, but from synapses rooted in our present circumstances, drawing on our full system to respond differently.
Let the harvest the inventorying of the internal infrastructure begin. With our movement into Jera, take stock internally of what can be addressed at this time, and externally consult how the Dream Team can help. Harvest is the time to relish what has been accomplished, and to line up the resources and support for how to take those accomplishments to their next level. Ehwaz as the rune to describe how we can best work with Jera suggests we take it deep. How deeply we can go at this time fully depends on how taxed we’re feeling in the everyday–and that depth may change one day to the next, one hour to the next. Honor it. Knowing where we are and what we can accomplish is also part of Jera. It’s not pie-in-the-sky time; rather, it’s time to be very centered in who we are and what we can do within our boundaries of now.
As the rune of horse, the vehicle for taking things spiritually deeper, Ehwaz is often construed as meaning soul travel, and if that’s doable, go for it. However, from an animistic standpoint, taking things deeper can be as simple as remembering that everything is in relationship with us and remembering to act accordingly during our day can be just the depth we need right now. It may be all that’s needed. If reminding Self that we are in relationship with the Nature around us is reinforced by sitting outside for a few minutes, that’s enough depth. If skittle-sized rituals are deep enough, that’s fine. But do them. If soul travel isn’t possible, come back to its temple and tend it. Nourish the body the best you can, speak to the entire System of Self what it most needs to hear. Find the ways that deepen what Self is already doing. Find the sacred in the everyday, because if it isn’t there, where is it?
Ehwaz covers the soul care, and sodalite addresses the needs of the mind. Associated with the hvel of hafela, it emphasizes energy tending that supports the highest consciousness available. That’s an awesome goal, though we can’t safely get to those higher hvels until our lower ones are well-supported. Sodalite specifically brings our awareness back to our beyond-Earth supports, to the Watchers, the Allies who anchor our work here in something bigger than ourselves. However that tending can happen, this week know that in taking care of Self at the most elemental of levels–how our life force comes into our body–is part of how we find balance in our nervous systems from trauma.
Uruz reversed through the voice of Survivor gives all of this runecast its nuanced shading. Where Jera is advocating for us to be active in tending our tactile needs (and accomplishments) and Ehwaz asks us to acknowledge where we can take tending those needs soulfully deeper, Uruz reversed brings us back to the body. Uruz is the rune of the soul in form. It’s the point that universal consciousness realizes it has landed in a body, in a strata of being that can manifest like nobody’s business. It’s also the point that we realize how limited the power of that consciousness feels from inside a body.
Soul-in-form is the greatest challenge of being on this planet. And under current settler system values, we get acquainted with the hardship of it quickly and ongoing, That conundrum is humanity’s great grief and could be called our first trauma. It is the part of us that misses a home it can’t name and has no particular memory of. It is the part of our awareness that remembers accomplishment beyond our imaginations yet feels marginalized by form. It is the root love-hate we all carry some version of, in just being who we are. The impact of realizing how real here is is not to be underestimated in the tensions of our day-to-day, particularly during the pandemic. We feel such power at the level of consciousness/self-awareness, yet continuously push up against the limitations of our body in carrying out the will of the unconscious.
Reversed, this rune is asking us to come back to where we might feel ill-fitting in our body. It’s a horribly uncomfortable thing to consider, yet we have the skills and resources to do it well. It’s also asking us to remember that we are survivors. The push-pull that is our base experience of soul-in-form is why the body is the key to our awareness of Self as Survivor. It is the door to our soul, and trauma is what guards that door. Survivor shows up as trauma, the tiny sliver of awareness that largely goes unnoticed in the everyday unless it bleeds into difficult feelings or arises from triggers, yet is illuminated front-and-center in times like solstice with fire in the head and shadows at the fore. While the mind can dissociate and the soul can flee Beyond, the body is right here, right now, always. It feels it all and holds it all. It holds our trauma. If we agree that we are in relationship with All Things, then we are always in relationship with our trauma in some fashion. If we agree that our deepest well of power comes through our unconscious/transconscious, then we are always in relationship with our unconscious. That also means that our trauma and our power are in relationship with each other, independently of us.
Trauma and power are in relationship with each other independently of us.
That mere suggestion of relationship can mean they are also allies, our allies. What if we were able to bring our awareness to those relationships? What if we could change how we are in relationship with each of them? What if where we’re comfortable saying ‘the body is the temple of the soul,” we could say, “the body is the door to the soul?” Could we sit with the body on those terms? Even with trauma, maybe even especially even with trauma? All that wiring that fires when we don’t want it to or how we don’t want it to, all the coping skills to keep things preciously safe, to get through the day, to soothe brain… What if we could change how we’re in relationship with them such that they worked in favor of our sovereignty not from shadow or light, but both? What if we could take the savvy of our trauma along with the sacredness of our wisdom and make an entirely different harvest?
Drop the projections and the ideas of the body, the brain we wish we had. Tend them and tuck them gently in with the deepest care possible. Tend the body. Soothe the mind. Find the sacred in doing both of those things for now, because it is there. It was always there. And it is our greatest power in being here. We don’t get to enlightenment by pushing passed our trauma and shadow to some false perception of power and light. We get there by taking it all with us on the journey. We start that journey by stepping through the door, into the experience of the body. It’s hard. It’s messy, and it’s the only true portal we have into our deepest power.
Half-month Rune Prompts
- How are you in relationship with your mind? Your soul? Your body?
- What relationship do each of those have to trauma?
- When you bring your awareness to those relationships, who do you become?
- Who can help you change how you are in those relationships to best support your power?
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.
- Jera – Yer, Yeruh, Yair, Yairuh, Yer/Yairaw
- Ehwaz – Eh, Ehwuh
- Uruz – Oo, Ooroo
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
To bear your unique gift to the world.
To leave the planet better than you found it.
So that your descendants never elder alone.