For the week of 4 June 2023

Eldering Self

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Today marks The Weekly Rune’s 11th birthday! Thank you for your continued support of this runecast and for how you continue to bring the runes forward in a livable way. I so enjoy it with you!

Othala (carved wrought iron tile) is the half-month rune through 14 June. Perthro is the intuitive rune, and Fehu reversed indicates Fear’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Barred Owl with element Air (feathers), in the direction of Above (cloud marble), in the season of Winter (tree button). Read right to left is Othala, Perthro, then Fehu.

The full runecast will be publicly available here, two weeks from publication. You can find it in full on Patreon, now.

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 other-than-human Helping Spirits on Earth, which includes humanity’s animal and plant Ancestors, and other earth-centric 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. 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 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
  • Soul Reading and Soul Tending sessions, based on tier
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

This week’s cast brings a chaotic mix of influences over how we feel about ourselves as elders. As if we need more insecurity around that. But it also offers wisdom on how to elder from where we are, not where we want to be or think we should be, which is an abundant stance to take, all things considered.

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

To access the audio blog recording and continue reading:

  • If you’re on a desktop, log into Patreon or become a community member with the buttons at the right sidebar.
  • If you’re on a device, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the buttons to log into Patreon or become a community member.

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What Does It Mean?

We’ve discussed Othala as the rune of the elder, the human-person point of action between the Ancestors and the Descendants. It’s also the lead-in rune to Dagaz, a turn of the runic year, and segue into June Solstice. I tend to feel that by the time we reach Dagaz, we’ve done what we’re going to do with the year, with this life stage, and it’s a matter of quietly observing what that is, what it has been, what it might be. But Othala is the final point where we’re moving things around, culling through our calling to see what is holding up our people. I kind of see it as a death in and of itself in season, a reminder to stay in touch with how we situate in lineage with the willingness to recreate it all from the ground up, if necessary.

That’s a big deal, and not one that we feel lightly.

Perthro, again as the modifier rune, brings a spotlight to how we Othala. Perthro isn’t really clear in its meaning from antiquity, but it has something to do with being willing to take risk, understanding that we’re at the whim of wyrd as much as we are able to control it, knowing all the die faces but not which one will show at any given time. 

The memo on Othala here is to trust our process. When we approach the runes with intention, in season, we don’t just roll up at Othala, we grow up by Othala. By the time we’ve lived the Futhark through Othala we’ve been through some shit–our own, challenging, shadowy difficulties, and we really do have experience to support where we are in life and where we want to go–even if we don’t know exactly where we want to go–maybe especially if we don’t know where we want to go.

The voice of Fear through Fehu reversed sings to this insecurity. Much the way Pertho reversed plucked our shortcomings last week, Fehu reversed could feel like terrible loss of direction or leadership in our own path. We don’t know how to elder in American settler culture. We haven’t had trustworthy, fit elders as soul allies. We don’t have a template for what that should look like in application, and every one of these lacks is cellular in felt sense. It’s part of who we are. We are broken path. And we are also the awareness of path, embodied. We are the possibility of path, tended.

Maybe this week is about grieving the leadership we haven’t had. Maybe somewhere in feeling that grief we move closer to ourselves as elder. And maybe when we can feel the wound of generations of lack of representation in the intersections of our ancestries, we can better see the places where we naturally are elders. Because at the end of the day where we elder is where we’re called, and that’s not very likely to be something we’re not already doing with reasonable flare.

The place-space holding us this week has qualities of sobriety, relationship support beyond our comprehension, our desires being heard, and seeing deep truths.

The direction holding space for us this week, thus the best to appeal to for Othala matters, is Above. In my cosmology that is the domain of Sky Parent, Sky Family, which is all aspects of Sky. From an animistic vantage point, Above is the transconscious strata, where All Things converge. There we explore our direct personal relationship to the origin of All and what our role is in the sacred order of All. In traditional ON lore, it would indicate Asgard, which would point more to the godden, to bigger cosmic currents. Know that when we appeal to Sky Parent, we engage our oldest conceivable Ancestor, our entire lineage of Beyond Earth, whose outlook on our situation is just as expansive.

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. Air could help us see ourselves as elder, or where we best show up as elder. It could also facilitate deathwalking, as needed.

The tone of this week is set by Winter, with rest, grounding, endurance, resourcefulness. 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. As with Air, Winter may be of service to naturally deathwalk what can be released this week.

Barred Owl as our boots-on-the-ground ally this week sees behind masks, those of our culture, and of being human. They’re a take-no-shit ally that moves easily between living and spirit worlds, and for that reason can’t be deceived. As someone who has walked closely with Barred Owl for my entire adulthood, that skill seems cool as long as isn’t pointed at Self. It also means that with Barred Owl comes the challenge to realize the deceptions of settler culture and still stay rooted in soul calling. Owl, in general lives and walks beyond illusion, though it also brings protection. The bars on its chest indicate sacred space. Keep that in mind while vying for space to birth self as elder this week. The earthly Ally helping us to do that is fierce, not just in defending it, but also in making sure we stay in our best lane in how we birth it. Its appearance means validation of feelings, that we’re heading in the right direction, doing the right thing.

This week the cast is a sampling from each aett, reinforcing that they all fortify us into who we are. We don’t just arrive at the third aett fully baked and ready for the world. Rather, we arrive fully knowing what moving among the world means, and gathering what we need and who we are to do it all again. Before all else, we elder Self.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How do you perceive yourself as elder?

  • What does it mean to you to elder?

  • What does it mean to deathwalk?


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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

  • Perthro – Pair, Pairth, Per, Perth, Peorth

  • Fehu – fee, feehoo, feh, fehhoo, fay fayhoo, feoh


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Originally published on Soul Intent Arts.
S. Kelley Harrell

S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.

Kelley Harrell is an animist, author, deathwalker, and death doula held by Tuscarora, Woccon, and Sissipihaw land. For the last 25+ years, through Soul Intent Arts she’s helped others ethically build thriving spiritual paths. Her work is Nature-based, and centers soul tending through the Elder Futhark runes, animism, ancestral tending, and deathwork. She hosts the podcast, What in the Wyrd, and also writes The Weekly Rune as a celebration of the Elder Futhark in season. Work with her in the Runes for Change community or in her intensive soul tending training, The Spirited Path.  Full bio.

#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem

elder well, die well, ancestor well


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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.