For the week of 15 December 2019
The Uninvited Guest
Every year, I make the Winter Solstice weekly runecast public, so that folx get a glimpse of what the paid version brings. If you enjoy the detail of this runecast, it enhances how you move through the week, and helps you find relationship to the runes in season, please show your support through Patreon, where you get to read it in full for as little a $1 a month, every week. You can also find the galdr sound file there for this week. Your support enables this rune magick to happen, and I thank you for it!
Jera is the half-month stave through 28 December. Raidho reversed is the intuitive rune, and Mannaz indicates Liberty’s message to us. Read right to left is Jera, Raidho, then Mannaz.
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).
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.
With Jera we shift from the solemn stillness of the winter runes, into the heart of harvest. In fact, I call Jera the Hearth Accounting rune, because it has everything to do with covering our bases–or asses, depending on how you look at it.
In the north we’ve reached the point that our harvest is going to sustain us… or it isn’t. No, we’re not affected by the sense of cyclic household accounting in the way our Ancestors were, so we don’t sit with the rune quite the way they might have. For us it’s about balancing what’s coming in and going out where possible, letting go of what’s not needed, and laying the plans for how to dream it all up again, next year.
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?
Jera is most often regarded as the rune of rewards for hard work. I’d edit that a tad to be more along the lines of “the rune of what you put in, minus external influences.” We can’t control every aspect of the harvest, and we don’t know exactly what will come out of our efforts, ever. But we do know that something will, and while this rune isn’t traditionally associated with wyrdweaving, a pivotal part of that intentional process is holding space for what shall be–literally what is the logical outcome given the input and circumstances, but we don’t know. We can’t know. Right now that honoring is Jera, and this week we have some unforeseen influences impacting how we do that. Read more…
It’s easy to just put out there that this seasonal time represents sitting with the realities of our harvest, and we have some practical math to do to understand what it means for survival as well as preparation for the next planting season. What’s more complex in that process is how we’re doing with it. It’s not as simple as bring in the crops, reserve some seed, butcher the livestock, get through winter, plant, repeat. Sometimes there’s more to work with in that process than others. Sometimes we’re physically or otherwise incapable of working the process fully. Sometimes shit happens.
And sometimes awesome happens. Sometimes we have loads of resources to work with, the elements collude, life grows, and at the end of the season we’re taken care of and feeling pretty good about our ability to provide and set aside a little extra.
We’re more or less wired to cope with those two potentials. Humans thrive in pattern matching. It’s a behavioural imperative that has kept us alive for thousands of years. We have templates for success and failure, though not so much with waiting, unresolved dynamics, the unknown, or the unknowable. So of course the runecast this week deals in exactly that.
It’s odd, because if the runes in this cast came to me another way or single-file in a reading, I’d never have arrived at the conclusions I did for this week. In fact, once I saw it, I looked again to be sure I wasn’t trying too hard. I mean, it’s not a concept I arrive at often. Yet, when I rebooted my life force and looked back, I couldn’t unsee the Uninvited Guest.
Many cultures have lore of the Uninvited Guest: the needy stranger who shows up in the stormy night, the encountered shifty Nature being with a promise, the physically challenged person who negotiates an odd bargain. They are common tropes in ancient allegories and fables. The device of the Uninvited Guest functions somewhat like a true trickster–not the modern chaotic take on Loki. This being functions as an abruption of the status quo, usually a mystical creature, or someone who is inserted into a dynamic under mystical forces. The being upends the status quo and generates change that the regular cast of characters wouldn’t or were unable to do within the existing system. In short, the Uninvited Guest is an agent of change, where regular methods haven’t worked to improve a dynamic.
It’s also worth mentioning that across many ancient and indigenous cultures, that trickster force is a facet of soul tender.
Likewise, the archetype of the Uninvited Guest has carried down through faerietales most often as the wicked stepmother. She’s depicted as evil, intent on harming the present dynamic, and often is warped as commentary on why women shouldn’t have free will.
More modern explorations of the Uninvited Guest are the devout servant, the selfless mammy, and simultaneous versions of disruptive Mary Magdelene and martyred Mother Mary. In all of these recent versions of the Uninvited Guest it’s easy to see how our perception of change as a force of Nature (Jotnar?) has been jaded to require wisdom from someone who isn’t permitted inside the inner circle through no fault of their own, rampant othering as a result of the existence of said circles, and a general disposition to resist change. In the more modern viewpoint, the Uninvited Guest has become passively expected (so why try to change on our own), while simultaneously disregarding the marginalized position of the being providing the catalyst for change.
Enter Raidho reversed and Mannaz reversed.
Raidho reversed is all about derailment. It doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t make it to our destination, we just won’t make it the way we thought we would, or we may not be the same ‘we’ upon arrival. However we hold it, a shift in plans is afoot. Mannaz reversed from the voice of Liberty speaks to aloneness in a newly dawned consciousness, and the freedom that can bring. But of course both of those states come with significant unknowns.
As this is the holiday season, that unknown could literally be an uninvited guest, someone who stays longer than their welcome, or brings a life force into holiday celebrations that isn’t necessarily wanted. For most people, that is their entire experience of the holidays, and why they find the season so stressful.
On a more metaphoric level, we’re talking about our harvest bounty of a great new thing that we can’t fully enjoy at this time due to outlying factors. Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it, but that we can’t experience it the way we want to, or at the level the victory demands.
It’s easy to be resentful in such dynamics, and there’s room for having feels around that. There’s also a ton of room for loads of next choices we can make in approaching this Solstice season. We can be grateful we aren’t faced with the literal threat of winter that our Ancestors may have been, while also setting the boundaries to allow our experience of the holidays to be sacred. No one can do that for us. And if we gain anything from the winter runes, we learn that ritual is boundaries, and in order to hold the status quo that truly suits us, we have to be active in that creation of space. Let’s create our holiday space with as much forethought and ferocity.
Half-month Rune Prompts
- Who is the Uninvited Guest in your lore?
- If your life?
- Are you the Uninvited Guest?
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
- Raidho – Rhye, Ryedthe, Ryedthoh
- Mannaz – Mah, Mahn, Mahna
S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.
Kelley is an author, animist, and deathwalker in North Carolina. She teaches rune work, ancestral healing, and deathwalking, as well as mentors and leads the soul tending training intensive, The Spirited Path. As an interfaith minister, she has served her local community and an international client base since 2000 through Soul Intent Arts, and advocates embodied soul tending and sacred activism through Nature. #beyourcommunity
elder well, die well, ancestor well
So that your descendants grow from your wisdom.
So that you leave the planet better than you found it.
So that your descendants never elder alone.