For the week of 14 November 2021

The Tension of Focus

Nauthiz is the half-month rune through 28 November. Ehwaz is the intuitive rune, Dagaz indicates Explosion’s message to us, and the mink vertebra occupies autumn. Read right to left is Nauthiz, Ehwaz, then Dagaz.

The Weekly Rune Free Version - Nauthiz for the Week of 14 November 2021

by Kelley Harrell, Soul Intent Arts | The Weekly Rune

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.

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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).

Learn More

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.

The Runecast

Moving into Nauthiz may not feel much different from our time in Hagalaz. All of the winter runes–Hagalaz, Nauthiz, and Isa–are fraught with tension, which means they are also rife with growth. I don’t call them the winter runes because of where they occur in the runic season, but because they bring the tension of a stagnating chill and burning drive into our lives that we can’t just rush through. They hold us in place for a time, each in their own way. We’re required to gain their wisdom before progressing to the next rune, which results in a push-pull dynamic.

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?

We come here to do something. What that something is has been debated by religions and philosophies since the dawn of us. At least in a modern context we internalize that something as a calling, a uniquely ours gift we bear to the planet. The first aett sets us up to gain the skills to do just that, to soul-in-form well. It gives us a taste of what that balance can feel like. I suppose it’s good that it does, because as we move into the second aett, we’re confronted with the tension of how we come into relationship with what that calling is. And at least for most of us, that relationship doesn’t come from isolation. It comes from getting out in the world and mixing with other folx doing the same. But that, of course, is where the tension rises. That’s where push-back on our calling arises. This week’s runecast suggests a formula for that journey, and that we are well supported in undertaking it. Read more…

Foremost, I want to say that we are going places in TWR dialogues for which I’m super grateful, and I want to express how thrilled I am for how you help to create and hold the space for them to happen. It has all gotten deeper, and you have all come along and supported that deepening so heartfully. Thank you.

Where Hagalaz has this external change– interference in the form of hail that destroys then replenishes–Nauthiz brings its own similar narrative. On its own, it indicates needfire, the Germanic notfeuer, or ritual of clearing out all other fire to focus the ritual one. When Nauthiz came last year, we were just coming into relationship with what life in a pandemic would be. We were witnessing firsthand the value of a ritual fire that burns off the dead of our lives. This year we’re still dealing with those aspects, and also that of examining the depths of our own projections. So much of what we thought about life and ourselves has had to shift around a changed way of being, what the future can look like given the current circumstances, and what we have to offer the descendants. In other words, we’ve had to get very real with ourselves, our coping skills, and how we grow in adversity considering all of the aforementioned. We’ve had to buckle down in how we bring our gifts.

What’s timely about the winter runes, particularly Nauthiz, is growing in adversity is their forté. Nauthiz doesn’t just hold the narrative that doing so is possible; it epitomizes actions we can take to support it. Where Hagalaz pits us front and center of the life-death-birth cycle and we hope we have skills to move with it, through the device of ritual Nauthiz moves us to be uber clear in what we take from that calamity–not the observation that a cycle is happening, that we can grow from it, but what we become responsible for in life for having survived it. Nauthiz is about being active in our process to beseech blessings for the season to come, at a time that we are least capable of perceiving that we’re blessed. It’s about still being embodied when life is dark.

Nauthiz is no joke under any circumstances, though in this seasonal presentation and framing, the message of the discomfort in embodiment is emphasized. We come to the concept of embodiment because we’ve suffered, because we’ve felt something is missing. We view embodiment as relief. And it is, though the payoff can be a long ways away. It may not at all be immediate or evident in its process. Arriving at embodiment is just the beginning. And it’s good that we arrive at it ready to go. We’re focused, and even if we don’t know what ’embodied’ can mean, at the beginning we have the fortune of jaded motivation to make it happen. The thing about being embodied is we learn to sit with all of Self, even the parts we’re not so crazy about. Midway of the relationship with embodiment is where the shadows creep in, we start to wonder if we’re doing at all or just making things worse, if there is anything that will come after.

That’s Nauthiz. It’s the place where we are smack in the center of process, we don’t know if there will be reinforcements, if the outcome will even be worth it… and we just do. We get up, we do the rituals with all our heart to keep things going, and we. just. do. This week the drive to face the tension of healing and keep going despite it all will be real. That suggestion of ritual as the way to to keep moving is how Nauthiz is both the dynamic of tension and how to cope with the tension. Ehwaz helps with further direction. 

Ehwaz means horse, and in the Old Norse cosmology the concept behind this rune is Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse who took him up and down Yggdrasil. This metaphor for the embodiment or trance state to engage the unseen brings the best way we can deal with the tension of Nauthiz. It means we need to remind ourselves in the thick of lack to tap into unseen resources. Even if we’re exhausted and have no idea how we’re going to get through, stay true to the ritual of honoring the Allies, even if the ritual is Skittle-sized. Keep thanking the Ancestors. Continue investing in Self’s health and wellbeing by engaging the Nature kin. The tension will be felt. It is real. Allow feelings around that to be expressed and move fully through, because that allowing is embodiment, too.

Dagaz from the voice of Explosion affirms how we need daily practices to keep us motivated in The Dark Time. Maybe the explosions are to take out unwanted stuff. They deathwalk. Maybe they just burn off chaff that was no longer needed. Maybe they are flashes of light that direct our attention some rustling place we weren’t seeing in life or cosmology. Dagaz is the rune of daily inventory of what has meaning in our lives. It’s the little Jera, where instead of assessing how we keep the homefront going, we assess how to keep the heartfront going. We tend to think of rituals as these long crescendoing interludes with some facet of unseen engagement that are neatly tied up at their conclusion. Explosion suggests they can be little intense bursts. They can be wee abruptions that we intend or become aware of and give attention to as needed. It’s not an omen that everything is about to go scorched earth. Rather, it hints that we should listen for the indicators in our lives that point us to what needs attention and do that daily, so that nothing has to full-on explode. Tending over time.

That the mink vertebra is in autumn indicates we have rich resources to hold this space for ritual and embodiment now. Fall is the time of enjoying harvest and having much to draw from. In the same sense that Nauthiz is about staying true to a practice of ritual when we least feel enthralled with it, the half-month rune suggests that we need to do that preparation. It’s not just about keeping ourselves rooted and going when it’s dark, but that those roots get the change to grow and be in places for us when the light returns. 


Runes for Change community, Soul Intent Arts, Kelley Harrell

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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.

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