For the week of 20 November 2022

Boundaries for Interdependence

Nauthiz (Baltic amber) is the half-month rune through 28 November. Dagaz (reindeer antler slice) is the intuitive rune, and Thurisaz reversed (cedar stave) indicates Demonstration’s message to us. For this Dead Time the spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Mink Vertebra in Autumn, with element Flesh in the direction of Front. Read right to left is Nauthiz, Dagaz, then Thurisaz reversed.

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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.

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

Hagalaz gave us a grounding entry into the second aett. Harbinger of the truth that shit happens always comes after Wunjo’s reinforcement that Joy happens. By the time we progress into Nauthiz, we’ve reacquainted with (or met for the first time) our need for boundaries and understand more personally what humaning really means.

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?

The second aett is the point that we have to hold our embodiment and apply our agency while navigating everyone else doing that, too. The result is learning to negotiate relationship with things we can’t control (Hagalaz), and realizing the necessity of boundaries (Nauthiz). 

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When we talk about things we can’t control and boundaries in settler culture context, it’s almost always in a human-to human-person relationship framing and is expressed in a reactionary, tight-fisted way of holding Self separate. “This happened. Screw you; I’m out.” It’s a manner of pulling away, which is, as far as we know in the collective human-person circumstances we were born into, a natural initial response. 

However, when it comes to humaning well with dynamics we can’t in and of ourselves change and the fact that shit does indeed happen at any point in life, we need a more solid plan than “Screw you; I’m out.” We can’t be out. There’s no such thing as outside a dynamic or relationship. We are always within it, and that means we have to cultivate better skills at setting and honoring boundaries. We have to start looking at boundaries as the way into relationship, not the way out, and we can’t linger in that initial reaction to put up walls.

Enter Nauthiz. This is considered the “not this” rune, which sort of smacks of “Screw you; I’m out,” which isn’t really encompassing its nuances at all. We’ve talked in earlier visits with Nauthiz about it stemming from the ancient European ritual of needfire, or the German notfeuer, in which cattle and humans walked through the fire to burn off disease. 

While that practical gesture was significant, how the ritual was crafted is just as important. All other fire in the community had to be extinguished to both respect the cleansing being sought and to demonstrate the value of the sacrifice of all other fire. As well, the ritual fire had to be rubbed into being (hence its literal translation from notfeuer meaning ‘rubbed-fire’). The fire was created with purpose and had a specific sacred duty. Every gesture of the entire community was in support of fire doing the job of cleaning them. What an amazing expression of interbeing interdependence.

When we sit with the full relationship happening in the cultural context of Nauthiz, the outcome of the ritual has less emphasis than the ritual’s creation. The relationship centers the element of fire and human reverence for its power. They created the space for it by extinguishing all other fire, called it in by rubbing, then let it do what fire does: burn off what’s no longer needed, transmute what’s not beneficial.

 This interdependence has other subtext, which points back to boundaries and the fact that we cannot be out of relationship with anything, ever. We can’t just step out of the state of relationship. It was part of the agreement in coming into form (and probably after in a different  way). In some iteration or another we will always be in every relationship we’ve ever been in, and maybe new ones. What we change, what is under our control is how we’re in relationship–ie, boundaries.

We have to figure out what elemental relationship (fire) helps us to regulate what’s not working (Nauthiz-boundary/need), with some awareness of how the needed thing manifests (cleansing). Therein lies the formula of wyrdweaving we look for our entire lives. But when we unpack the nuances of information and relationships involved in making that happen, it’s easy to see why it takes so long to figure it out. That we are culturally shut out from knowing remains a factor.

Dagaz reigns in how we can make that weaving happen by dialing things in a little. The rune of Day, it sits directly across from Jera, Year, in Pennick’s calculation of the runic calendar. The relationship between these two runes lies in their assessment of what’s important. For Jera, that is a full year’s analysis of harvest. For Dagaz, we only get a day, so we have to be able to hone in really quickly in assessing what’s most important. 

When I sit with what that means from an interdependent perspective, what’s most important is how I apply my agency. What did I do today that blessed my ecosystem? Because if I’m genuinely applying my agency with intention, that also means that I’m embodied. I am where I stand, among my community. When I’m embodied, I’m aware of moving with sacred order, and in human jargon that comes down to–my actions have meaning. They have resonance. They affect the place-space I live among. In the interconnectedness of that blessing I give and receive. I create resonance, which reinforces the connectedness. 

This insight from Dagaz suggests making how we approach Nauthiz small. Don’t overthink it. Come into Self, stand among community, and know that what the Self most deeply needs the community needs as well, and word the weaving to reflect that. The inverse will also be true: what the community needs, Self needs. 

Thurisaz reversed sounding Demonstration brings us back to the unavoidable that happens. When I work with Thurisaz, it’s most often from the rumbling inner Jotnar, which is fabulous, get-shit-done energy. However, if we don’t the grounding of the rest of our inner cosmology, of embodiment, that energy becomes tear-shit-down, without even necessarily realizing that it’s doing so. 

For this week, as we approach sussing out our boundaries and how they hold us in relationship rather than out, listen to the inner Thurs. Don’t just press forward. Pause before doing. Go much slower than usual, and be very clear that place-space and the human-person relationships (that sounds like a band name) are getting equal input on right wyrdweaving. 

Demonstration spoke from an avenue of protest, which in this context also means pause, think things through, cull through what in the thought process is motivating action, and then pause again. Consult the rest of the inner cosmology. Consult the ecosystem and place-space spirits. When all the presence has been accounted for, locate the words, engage the elements, speak the intention, and let the elements do their thing. In this cast more than most, we are being called on to organize the pieces and parts, set the intention, and let the lot do their part in the magick. Which, may be the way it’s supposed to be…

The earth-spirit informant, Mink Vertebra, brings support and community engagement. Remember that Mink is very secretive, and deals in the currency of whispers. Their motivation stems from what is heard and observed, not what they say or do, which speaks to interconnection. They can squeeze out of tight spaces and access spaces we wouldn’t normally be able to, and they prefer spaces they can control and gatekeep. This points back to boundary analysis, understanding what must be kept and why, what must be shared and how.

Autumn  as the Mink’s seasonal axis points to making preparations. Indeed there is bounty and ample harvest, but there also must be maturity in knowing what to do with it all. Appeal to the autumnal spirit for guidance around lack of clarity in how to be in community with what’s needed this week.

Front as Mink’s grounding indicates keeping in mind that community includes the Descendants, always. Everything we do affects them, so how we work with boundaries and weave our wyrd with ecosystem helping has to stand the test of time, at least until the Descendants are the ones doing the weaving. This direction would be North in other folx’s lore, and in my relationship with it, it not only focuses us to call on our own knowledge and wisdom and be able to apply it, but it holds collective wisdom for us to draw upon. Again, call on this spirit if further insight is needed into how to work with boundaries and their ramifications this week.

Flesh as the element in league with Mink brings us back to the fundamental boundary that separates us from other things. It 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. 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.

We have a rune from each aett in this cast (1, 3, 2), which is a pretty fair descriptor of humaning. It is not a straight line, and as long as we’re here, we will cycle through how to do it better. Let part of this season of cycling be the letting go of what isn’t needed. Just this week the winds of the Hunt started whispering in my area…


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How did you bless your ecosystem today? (inner or outer, or both?)
  • How did it/they bless you?
  • What element is waiting to help you with boundary work?


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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.

  • Nauthiz – Now, Nowdth, Nowdthee
  • Dagaz – Dthah, Dthahg, Dthahguh
  • Thurisaz – Thoor, Thooree


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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.