For the week of 19 November 2023

Death and Dreams

Nauthiz is the half-month rune through 28 November. Curiously, the intuitive rune is also Nauthiz. As y’all know, that doesn’t happen very often. The earthly spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Death (plastic skull), whispers of the Hunt (stag button), dead things, World Ancestors (wee wooden spoon), in the direction of Below  (Lapis Lazuli), with element Air, in the season of Summer.

I’m still recovering from COVID, so this runecast is brief. Yet not at all in message and mission. What else could we expect from twin Nauthizes?

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 the runes 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 earthly other-than-human Helping Spirits, which includes humanity’s animal and plant Ancestors, and other earth-centric Ancestors and  helpers. The elements indicate our best deathwalking, enlivening, tempering, and/or transmutational force for the cast, and the directions offer insight into the best boundaried space for where transmutational work can be done. Season provides an expression of how we can best hold our agency, or the energetic tone of the cast. 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.
  • 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?

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What Does It Mean?

Nauthiz is the second rune of the second aett. It’s also the second rune of the wintry trio that sets us up to be ready for new year dream-making of Winter Solstice and Yule.

We’ve talked a lot about the first aett giving us the foundation for how to human well, and observed that the second aett introduces the challenge of learning to do that among others doing the same. It’s not that simple, though. In fact, it’s an enormous leap to go from the energetic synthesis of Wunjo straight into Hagalaz. It’s quite discomfiting, and with this double dose of Nauthiz, this is a good time to talk about why.

I consider the three winter runes pause runes, in that each hinders us in different ways. It’s easy to examine them on the surface and just think they’re assholes for the sake of being assholes. When we read them in the context of season, of what’s happening as we settle into the darkest time of the year, these runes, themselves, are deathwalkers. This is the season of The Wild Hunt. It is the time of deathwalking not just what is no longer needed, but what holds us back from being who or whatever we need to be beyond the darkness. We can’t become that if we cling to our dead. We can’t survive the chaos of interwoven agency if we’re not agile and adaptable, if our hands are already filled with relics of a dead time.

Hagalaz has us pause in learning adaptation. 

Nauthiz has us pause in learning perseverance.

Isa has us pause in learning synthesis.

Somewhere in all of that hindrance and releasing of what’s no longer needed a rich, loamy space for dreaming emerges, and it is in that soil that the sacred seed of Isa is planted. We do all the clearing of dead and debris so that we can make room to dream, to express our affectivity for our collective future. We pause, so that when we have the green light to go, we do so with not only a cleared being but also with the connectivity into our inner cosmology, ecosystem, community, Allies, and Ancestors. We are not bringing our dead with us. We do so so that at Solstice we can acccept the tools Jera gives us to go forward in the fray, to continue incubating that dream into being as we learn who we are among each other’s dreams.

The Weekly Runecast for 19 November 2023 on Intentional Insights- by S. Kelley HarrellAs we live into the challenges of the next few weeks, the seeming stuckness of it all, look to the spaces in life that need clearing. Feel into where the dead are ready to be let go and sing them into The Hunt. Dance into the shadows of Self so that they know they are honored and welcomed, as it is their knowledge that leads us best in darkness. The savvy of our shadows keep us sensitive to the dreaming.

Nauthiz is the time of fitness to dream. It is working the magick of our deepest rituals to release what would otherwise hold us back  or impede our capability of dreaming.

Holding space for us from Below – Earth Parent, which is also all of our Earth Family– are our immediate relations in Nature. This direction could be considered animism, themself, in that they are focused on the direct personal relationship to the organism that made us, and all the relationships that ensue from them. What emerges from those relationships are our collective story, including the ancestors and planetary currents. For me, there is a cave aspect to this direction, very much directly within the vantage point of Earth and all that they are.

The element Air represents the forces that carry our intentions to where they can best root. Air’s strength is transmission, dispersal, sweeping clean. Our best way to engage it is to allow it, to find the flexibility in ourselves to sway with it, and to learn how to embody its qualities in our own lives. In the North, this is direct commentary on the winds of The Wild Hunt. Indeed, they happen as a natural phenomena, though we can still be ready to give it our dead to sweep away.

As the forest reanimates in Summer so do we. I have to pause with this season, as it’s the hardest one for me and I want to give it fair attention. It’s become a brutal challenge where I live, though, and some of the more traditional romanticization of it has rubbed off for me.  Indeed human persons are more welcome to be outdoors in summer, and it represents good times and coming into power. It’s a time of adventure and expanding innangardr, and an opportunity for human persons to more intimately deepen our relationship to Nature. Where I live though, trekking into Summer must be well-planned as the heat kills. This burst of warmth in the cool time feels like a dangling carrot of the dreams we’re building, as they area sure thing, question marks, and also motivation.

Learn more about this seasonal progression, and how to draw its insights into the personal spiritual path in Runic Book of Days.

Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

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

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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. 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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The Spirited Path Soul Tending Intensive
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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.