For the week of 7 May 2023

Maying, and The Death of Death

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Laguz (carved reindeer antler slice) is the half-month rune through 29 April. Tiwaz reversed is the intuitive rune, and Jera indicates the broad overview. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Radiance, in element Flesh, the season of Autumn (tree button), and helping Spirit, Death, in the direction of Beyond (Earth marble). Read right to left is Laguz, Tiwaz reversed, then Jera.

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 they 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 earthly helpers. The elements indicate our best deathwalking, enlivening, tempering, and/or transmutational force for the cast, and the directions offer relationship to place as the best boundaried space for where transmutational work can be done. 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, 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.

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
  • live video classes
  • runic insights,  book excerpts, release newsfree classes
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

This watery season of Laguz has been characterized by a good bit of distraction from Flow. Not that we haven’t been attentive to Flow, or that we haven’t been intentional about our awareness of it. We have. The distractions have been bountiful. 

For that reason, the combination in this runecast suggests it isn’t Flow, itself, that’s so hard to get in step with, as it is often put forward in many spiritual corners. We hear the same anthems touted about the human-person experience with regard to how we also soul: we’re only human. We can’t know the machinations of godden. We respond the best we can. Those pat responses omit where humans have made being here harder, not just for each other, but for ecosystems, the planet. Even assuming we come in knowing it will be hard, these runes suggest maybe all the human-person systems we’ve put in place that challenge our awareness of and relationship to sacred order are the actual problem. 

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:

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  • 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.

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What Does It Mean?

Tiwaz reversed is bringing us waaaaay back this week, to examine our creation story grief. This runecast centers Flow, the beginning and end of everything we know and will never know, and how we’re in relationship with it. It’s a big relationship to prod. But the reversal of Tiwaz as the best way to work with Laguz has us exploring where we’re not gaining traction in how we feel about that relationship. We’re in Flow; it’s not that we aren’t. Something in how we’ve defined what that should look like either isn’t working, was never accurate, or needs some other kind of attention. Maybe what was true for Self at creation is no longer true, and now is an opportunity to recreate Self. Maybe that’s what being reborn really is: we’re born not really able to hold our soul’s counsel on how to do what we came here to do once in form. But after we’ve been here. After we’ve reawakened to whatever it is that we came here to do, we get to choose more of the details around how we apply our agency to do that. We have to choose the details around how we do that. Maybe we even get to change what we came here to do.

However that grief is born and acknowledged, the message of Radiance through Jera is lovely. It brings the reminder that we are star stuff, in the most literal and figurative sense. We are the children of a great many wild and vast Ancestors, of radical and sublime events that had to happen in order for us to be at all. We are radiant beneath everything we are and do. And as wee as we are, we’re here with a need to represent all that came before us in the best way possible, to leave it better for those who come after us. It’s a Sowilo kind of thing to say, but we were born from Radiance that made us radiant in how we engage each other. 

Nigel Pennick’s updated version of Runic Astrology (which is the source material of Runic Book of Days) comes out next month (titled Runes and Astrology–available for pre-order), and something he points out in it about Jera is that its “shape echoes its function, looking backward to the old year, and forward to the new.” With that in mind, can we look back at our relationship to Flow and learn how to make it radiant going forward? Can we understand that the only thing at the center of that accounting is us, Self, each other, and in that realization go easier on ourselves about, maybe, everything?

The ambient backdrop or tone supporting us in going forward is Autumn, which sets a stage of  preparation, bounty, maturity, harvest. We have what we need to meet whatever grief we hold around our own creation, and how that narrative influences how we engage Flow. 

Protecting us in that exploration is Beyond/All. Beyond/All is the container of all that we know and beyond. It is the direction of sacred order. It’s the realm of Watchers, Norns, Multiversal Jotnar who caretake the machinations of all life. Given that, it can also be the microbes, the mitochondria, the bacteria. It’s that strata of managerial oversight that aligns with respect for all life. It is the direction of Source. This is who is best holding space for us this week, and can best protect it.

The transmutational element aligned with grief we carry around Flow is Flesh. It brings our awareness back to the fundamental boundary that separates us from other things. Flesh is firm but porous. It is the surface of our protection, and provides our physical appearance.  Flesh is what makes us whole, into one solid system; flesh makes form complete. It is super important to being in form, because the physics and mysteries of Flesh are what allow us to focus our agency. They are what make our agency do.

However, we have to remember that we aren’t really the only ones inhabiting it. We are not individual in form any more than we are in spirit. Our flesh is riddled with other ecosystems in and on it, with whom we are in continual relationship. It’s also intimately engaging the elements inside and out, all the time. So while we can sit with flesh as a pivotal distinguishing element, it’s also the main one that represents our interdependentness.

Strictly from a transmutational standpoint, Flesh digests, it feeds, it rots. Given that, it may be the most frightening form of transmutation to us, because we can’t witness it without witnessing our own mortality. So for this week as we confront grief around our own creation and relationship to Flow, maybe we’re also confronting our own death, how we return unbiased into Flow.

I wasn’t wholly surprised by Death raising their hand to work with us this week, though my humanity paused a bit, if I’m honest. We’re standing at the crossquarters of  Bealtaine, Valborg, Walpurgis, and in the south, Samhain. We talk about honoring the spirits of the Dark Time during the winter months, to honor the death cycle and deathwalking of all of life. We talk much less about shifting away from that–the death of death, so to speak. We talk less about Maying, when we can be more safely welcomed back into the growth cycle of ecosystem. When we must turn our awareness back to what is coming, what is blossoming–the hard work of holding space for creation.

Ultimately Death is a force in the formed realm that is among us all the time, representing regeneration of one force into another, and as such is the master of alchemy. If any force can foster how we use our time here, how we hold our agency, how we embody the moment, it’s Death. So maybe this time with Death is about deathwalking our creation story, our angst associated with it, so that we can move beyond that grief into Flow. And to do that best in this seasonality we have to put away the sweeping out of last season’s Hunt. We have to turn our focus from what we are letting go of, to how its absence is now the place where we create. That is true Maying: creating ourselves as we truly want to be, with all the information on the realities of form.

We have two third-aett runes firmly rooted in change, into who we are becoming, and Jera, a second-aett friend telling us to re-evaluate how we’re in relationship with that change.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

This whole runecast was full of prompts, really. But to focus on a couple:

  • When you think of your own creation story–how you came to be as a soul-in-form, and even if you don’t know the exact story–how do you feel about it?
  • Where in your body speaks up when you think about it?


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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.

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

  • Tiwaz – Tee, Teewuh, Teewaw, Tyr

  • Jera – Yer, Yeruh, Yarrow, Yair, Yairuh,Yairaw


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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


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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.