For the week of 29 May 2022

Relationship is Place

Othala is the half-month rune 29th May – 14th June. We move into it today, at  7.5-22.5 degrees Gemini.

[ppp_patron_only level="1.00" silent="yes"]The Weekly Rune - Othala Audio Blog, for the week of 29 May 2022 [/ppp_patron_only]

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. 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. These sacred voices have been Nature, Earth, Creation, First Ancestor, Survival, etc. I note who’s speaking each week, as it is revealed.

As the runecast has evolved its voice, other components have joined. Osteomancy, the elements, and directions were gradually added in to more deeply root the spirits of place into the cast, each bringing a nuance of how to work with the half-month rune, or how to engage forces of the season on a more personal level for the reader. Osteomancy honors other-than-human persons 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.

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

I’ve just returned from traveling for several days, and as such find myself discombobulated in relationship to my home space. I am very sensitive to place and the relationships therein, though significant traveling for the first time since COVID has left me more sensitive to relationship and transitions between spaces. By that I mean not just experiencing and observing ‘who’s in this space, who’s in that space,’ and running out of spoons for it all. I respect what we’ve accomplished as humans, though I don’t think we’re built to pass through so many spirits/spaces so quickly without some kind of acknowledgement, and also toll. This truth isn’t new for me. What is new is my inability to rebalance to my home space after returning. My local spirits affirm that observation by requiring that I intentionally recompose and regulate myself before engaging them thoroughly, thus my ability to read the runes is a bit wampyjawed. As a result this week’s cast will include the overview of Othala as the half-month rune, a snapshot of the planetary moment, and general discussion of relationship to place and why it matters with divination.

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?

This week marks that point in Pennick’s calendar progression that differs from the Elder Futhark ordering. Where the Futhark enters Dagaz, the calendar enters Othala. Accounting for that change was due to several factors, though largely due to the precedence of Dagaz marking June Solstice, while Jera marks December Solstice. 

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That change has us in the head and heartspace of the Ancestors this week. When we talk about Othala, we’ve entered the realm of inheritance (stuff, but also wyrd), the Ancestors, and the Descendants. If we look over the progression of the Futhark, we’ve come through mastering soul in form (first), and maintaining embodiment amidst others doing the same/adversity (second). By this point in the third aett, we’ve learned that the first two aettir are the summation of life. Adversity doesn’t stop, and we have to learn how to soul-in-form, despite, repeat. And we do. That is the third aett: learning that all of that is doable. We really can succeed at our version of embodiment, whatever life deals us.

Othala, then, takes that cycle to a transpersonal level, and that’s what’s really significant to me in Pennick’s (and the sun’s) ordering. We are our Ancestors in form. We are our Descendants in form. We are their success and also their adversity, literally. What we struggle with is their struggle–not in some intangible airy way, but literally. How well we do in our life is how well they do. And that is what Othala is really about. That one realization and every intentional choice that spins out from it determines whether the Ancestors are reconciled and able to manifest their gifts through us, just as it determines how well we set up the Descendants.

It’s a big fucking deal, and that is Othala. It is one of the Odhinn runes, which means it’s where we realize our power in form. It’s where we really step into understanding the power we have in form and what we need to do with its agency.

Which all depends on how well we’re in relationship with the space around us, thus, is where our runecast diverges from its usual form. What I’ve realized from travel this week is that I’m not in relationship with my space in a way that can support the runecast (and soul tending), and my work is to sit with what has been prodded by the last week. I changed, as a result of this travel, and I am not the person who left this space. It is right that my Nature Spirits, Spirits of Place, and Other of here have me know who I am before I re-introduce myself to them. When I can sit with that, my ability to re-enter my home space relationships can happen.

In animacy, we are never fully the same person one moment to the next. We are a version of that person who brings core aspects forward, while others shift to help us greet the next moment. My feeling is that this is a healthy and common way to move among, in a continual stance of moving, processing, changing. Sometimes, though, we change dramatically. We have experiences that leave maybe more of us changed than the same, and we have to pause in our soul tending and energetic regulation to learn who we have become, and meet the needs of this version of ourselves. It can take time.

Over the last week I visited Civil War battlegrounds and the founding spaces of the United States. While negotiating how those spaces could engage me and stay attentive to COVID boundaries (which many others weren’t doing), the US was peeling away abortion law and we had another school shooting. I can’t say there was a particular intellectual revelation in that time, though there were many affirmations of gut-level knowing. I felt myself change with each one. I attempted to feel into the elements and directions of those spaces, both as a status check and for support.

While those affirmations were profound and immediately felt, I also realized I wasn’t going to live into who I am alongside them quickly or gently. The Civil War and current events now aren’t separate at all, and I am not separate from them. They/We are all in relationship, and that was what was affirmed more than anything. Through my Ancestors (helpful and harmful) I am part of that time, as much as I am (helpful and harmful) part of now. And what’s required for change now is related to what’s required for change then.

Maybe the folx who are on Earth now are on Earth because it’s time for that kind of change. Maybe our unique gifts are each already attuned to facilitate that change. Regardless, it’s time for us to make that knowledge active–beyond just intellectual. We must begin asking our unique gift how it is part of that change, so that we, the humans, understand it impeccably. It’s not just a general truism. So that we, the humans, can get the education and the skills needed to make our calling happen. Othala is the point in the Futhark that we know the risks and potentials, and recommit anyway. It’s the point that we embrace our inner sacredness (Odhinn-ness), and live in the relationships that support our calling.

Those relationships are place. They are the elements, directions, human-persons, other-than-human persons, grass, sidewalks, mountains, Land Elders… These together are communities we engage all the time, either consciously or unconsciously, and the work of Othala is for that engagement to become conscious. To become aware and part of how we move along, because we are never moving alone. Ever.

And that’s why we need to be really clear how we’re in relationship with place, because it affects everything–our human-person relationships, our inner cosmology balance, our divinations and tending.

For this week, Othala is enough. What it’s teaching us in life right now is the epitome of our personal version of elderhood. It’s big enough to include everything it took to get here, and what comes next. Its life force knows that it didn’t get here alone, and that it relies on the reciprocity of relationships to go where needed.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How does action need to be expressed through your sacredness?
  • What relationships of place support that?
  • Where is change needed so that support of place can happen?


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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.

  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal, or when galdring it alone–Oadth-ah-lah


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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elder well, die well, ancestor well


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