For the week of 26 November 2023

Dreaming and Resting

Nauthiz is the half-month rune through 28 November, at which point Isa comes to the fore until 13 December. The intuitive rune is Algiz reversed. The earthly spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Fossilized Ammonite (metallic swirly beauty), Death (plastic skull), whispers of the Hunt (stag button), dead things, World Ancestors (wee wooden spoon), in the direction of Left  (Green Dwarf)), with element Timing (hourglass), in the season of Winter (button).

I’m still recovering from COVID, so this runecast is brief. No recording this week.

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?

This full version of The Weekly Rune is only on Patreon, and it includes:

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  • 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 
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  • introspective prompts to nuance and tend self-work

Other Patreon offerings:

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To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:

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What Does It Mean?

The slow progression through the opening winter runes of the second aett is intense, and nothing if not thorough. We begin with Hagalaz moving our awareness to abrupt change that teaches adaptation, then onto Nauthiz, which teaches us to regroup with ecofamily through ritual. The shift into Isa is usually viewed as more gentle if not romanticized stillness, though it is excruciating in its own way. Stripped bare, Isa teaches us that we must dream beyond our current reality in order to gestate new realities. It can feel like a catch-22, in that we use our resources to move through the current hardship, yet must focus our dreaming beyond it. Indeed, seeds are planted with Isa that require tending, and we must appeal to all levels of Self to do this work without exhausting our reserves.

Isa presents an opportunity to reunite ourselves with oneness, despite the hardships that can distract us from it.

I will teach pop-up class The Dream Tender Thursday 14 December at 6:30pm EST on how to work with the timing of Isa, Jera, and Winter Solstice to engage our dreaming Selves to stay attuned to oneness, while dreaming beyond the challenges of our present. Register to join me.

Algiz reversed brings an interesting observation in to this progression into the second aett. For months TWR has emphasized that our Beyond-Earth Allies are occupied. They’re tuned into resolving their own dramas and needs, and as we’ve ignited a collective drive for change from the roots up in social activism, so that realm of support must reorganize to support our needs at the time. Each week we’ve had the memo to find the local godden, to focus on the allies we move among every day and find the sacred in Midgard. Algiz reversed suggests we need to dig more deeply into that. Maybe as our Nature becomes less engaged above ground, we need to tend it a bit more. We need to sing it to sleep. We need to make sure there’s water, offerings. 

This reversal can also pose a need to investigate whose burdens we’re carrying. Are they ours? Should we be carrying those of other beings? Where are we vulnerable in ways that our local Allies can fortify? Have we asked them to do so? Perhaps this is part of the dreaming that must be.

The direction that can best hold space for our dreaming this week is  Left,  which is West for others, Vestri in Old Norse. For me the direction of rolling green and the watchful tree in the goat meadow. It represents lush green, with endless opportunity for fertile growth. It’s expansive but undefined, intentional yet not at all limited. Left is the direction of growth and possibility. The boundary it holds for us provides flexibility, yet security. We can stretch into the dreaming we crave, without losing the stability we’ve created in the second aett.

Element Timing reminds us that greater laws are in relationship and are carrying out duties that while we have no control over them, we also don’t have to lift a finger to make sure they keep doing their job. As rough as souling in form is, we don’t have to be mindful of everything, even the unconscious aspects of ourSelves, who are always working toward our wellbeing, interdependence, and oneness. 

Timing is ability to pace Self according to the cycles of Nature, to be in relationship with Nature such that one’s habits and body rituals sync with natural occurrences (up at dawn; relax when the shadows grow long). It’s also a point for realization that we are naturally synced with Nature. We don’t really have to work at it.  The transmutation Timing offers is the faith that time will take care of need, despite that our comprehension of time is very short.

Winter brings a cloistered space, huddled for warmth, slow-moving, and ample stillness. The world gets smaller in winter. The forest becomes less approachable and perhaps even hostile toward human-persons. We are less involved with the outdoors, and must pay closer attention to our reserves. It is the time of the Wild Hunt and standing in the danger of our dead. This week is about minimum expenditure, smart engagement. Conserve and rest as intentional activism.

Fossilized Ammonite as our Helping Spirit this week helps us to have good boundaries in our dreaming and drawing inward. Its spiral shell hints a labyrinth-like focus to stay the course and go deeper, though honors patience and timing, in that it has no beginning or ending. There is only now, and our embodiment determines our boundaries. Even with fond relationships, even with letting go, we still have to have them. Taking some time with Ammonite as Ally may help clarify boundaries this week.

We are in the Time of The Hunt. What can be given, offer it. What must be let go, light the fires, ask ecofamily to attend the release, and fortify Self with as much rest as possible.

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

Purple text reads "Runes for Change" with a grayscale billowy tree with purple runes carved in it and an owl perched in the branches

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

by joining the Runes for Change community.

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


A black wood-grained background with the Elder Futhark in a circle and the words "What in the Wyrd," "Soul Intent Arts"
The Spirited Path Soul Tending Intensive
Reawakening with the Runes mini class

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.