For the week of 5 June 2022


Othala is the half-month rune 29th May – 14th June. Gebo is the intuitive rune, Hagalaz indicates Horizon’s message to us, fossilized crinoid occupies Autumn, with the active element of Poison, in the direction of Within. Read right to left is Othala, Gebo, then Hagalaz.

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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. 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

We approach Othala as the rune of the elder–the one who has realized all the truths the first and second aettir have taught about souling in form, and has reached a sort of pause. I see that pause a few ways: part eyeroll, part deep breath, part earned break. However we perceive the moment of presence Othala brings, it is but a moment. In the Pennick ordering of the runic calendar Othala precedes Dagaz, or June Solstice, by which point break time is over.

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?

Othala presents the point in the Elder progression that our eyes are wide open. We understand our mortality. We’re well aware of how short our time here is, and how much is left to get done. And like it or not, we’ve accepted those realities. We no longer carry dreams of reinventing the whole thing, and have honed our vision to what we can do with what we have. This week what we have is a thorough array of supports for how to suss out what that is, and how we can make it happen.

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Gebo suggests we can’t do whatever our Othala momentum is alone. And really, we didn’t do anything leading up to it alone. Individuality is a facade projected by settler culture. All the things we associate with Gebo–gift, giving, receiving, bonding over exchange–apply to supporting that pause and our recommitment to souling well in form. It’s not something we can do in isolation, which may be particularly hard to parse as we cull through the dregs of quasi-pandemic life and what our boundaries need to be. Because, of course, that is the tempo of Othala: revelation, challenge, repeat.

Hagalaz through the voice of Horizon was curious. I felt into it at first, to clarify what was being conveyed, and it was this sense of boundary, of a firmament nature. It’s referring to the division point between one thing and another, though two specific divisions came up. The first is the meeting point of Sky and Earth, and the other is that of spirit and form–specifically with regard to the hvels of magin. The hvel of the head being spirit-oriented, with those of the belly, hip, and foot being form, with the heart the juncture between the two is the classic depiction of how we are soul in form. Understanding that we are part of and must draw from Sky parent and Earth parent to feed not just our soul and form, but maintain healthy balance between them is what Horizon was referring to. We are the extremes, the point where they meet, and the space between them–the horizon. This theme of being entirely composed of two things resulting in something other while also being neither is dress rehearsal for June Solstice, for that moment where we are so laid bare there’s no light or dark, only being.

That, in light of Hagalaz, adversity, implies that Horizon is challenging. In itself? To hold? To stand in? I don’t know, but when I sit with it I feel it. In settler culture, our minds have been shaped to accept binaries. It’s either here or there. But in animism, there are countless relationships happening all up in that. To me, Hagalaz suggests that adversity is natural. Shit happens. Settler culture, though, makes sure it happens, and to some people more than others. I think that’s where we can go off the deep end with both Hagalaz and Horizon if we’re not thoughtful about how we approach them this week.

Being a fit elder is to be in the middle. Of birth and death. Of innocence and maturity. Of soul and form. Of adversity and faith. This entire existence is Horizon. Not one part, but all of it, somehow in relationship at once. And we have to be able to see where we are not just part of it, but a custodian within it. With Horizon speaking through Hagalaz, the memo is more about tracking where our adversity is coming from, feeling into the relationships surrounding it, then mmaking our choices in how we elder to it.

The reinforcements of this cast are interesting, as well, because they reinforce support from different areas and abundance to do so. With the crinoid we have the 400-year-old fossil of an animal that looks like a plant (a tricksy horizon) and anchors itself to the ocean floor with a root called a holdfast. With Othala, we have to place our anchor with intention in territory that nourishes us despite the bullshit that comes with being in form. We have to see this pause in our growth and honor our feelings around the bullshit. We can’t just valiantly press on. Maybe we don’t want to have to deal with it all anymore. Maybe we’re sick of how hard it is. Maybe we’re pissed that we didn’t know what we were getting into. Maybe we feel all that and still push on for the welfare of the ancestors and descendants. It’s all fair and valid, and needs to be felt and breathed out in full this week. Just pausing and not feeling into what’s in that horizon will be missing a valuable moment for realness.

I don’t think many folx work with poison as an element, though doing so is banework, or quite possibly homeopathy. It’s finding the medicine in the poison. And what makes this element stand out to me is that it requires knowledge to find that balance, which is a horizon of science and lore. Without that knowledge, horrific things happen. As we sit with the theme of recommitment to souling in form this week and the supports we actively draw on to do that, consider the balance of impulse control. If we don’t know the balance of what’s good for us, in this case of how we recommit and what supports we have in doing so, we may not be committing to what we think we are.

By the time we get to Othala, we have knowledge. We have wisdom, and it counts. We do get a say, which could be a nuance of why this is an Odhinn rune. We get to assess all the info we have about souling in form up to this point and decide how we go forward. We get to be the elder and choose.

All of this occurring in the seasonality of Autumn means we have loads of resources to draw on right now. We have the discernment to know what to hold back for planting next year and what to make use of now.

That it focuses us on the direction of Within points to our inner cosmologies, and to our own sacredness. Take the time to invoke the inner as often as possible this week to be led by that sacredness. It’s easy to talk about Othala as the step into elderhood, though it’s not easy to live. One way we can better internalize it is to realize elderhood as a place in which we remember our base Self as we came into form, and we embody who that is in relationship with all of our life experience as sacred, now.

It’s a big ask, and in many ways, it’s what’s asked every year this time, as we progress into the biggest solar event of the year. But of course.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • Is your science and lore compatible?
  • What’s anchoring you right now so that you can grow?
  • How are you feeling about Solstice?


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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
  • Gebo – Gay, Gaboh, Geh, Gehboh
  • Hagalaz – Haw, Hawga, Hah, Hahg


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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