For the Week of 14 January 2024

Sacred Order and Risk

Perthro is the half-month rune through 28 January. The intuitive rune is Laguz. The earthly spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Fossilized Belemnite, in the direction of West (Green Dwarf), with element Plastic, in the season of Summer (tree button). The bolder helping spirit holding space with us this week is norn, Hlin (Yggdrasil card). From right to left are Perthro (polished lapis lazuli), then Laguz. 

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Runes for Change provides community and resources to gain insight into the Elder Futhark runes oracle, elder well with ancient wisdom, and cultivate a strong spiritual path. When you join Runes for Change, each week you will receive the full version of The Weekly Rune, which is only available to the Runes for Change community. The runecast includes:

  • fully detailed runecast
  • an audio recording of the runecast with galdr and instruction on how to work with each sound
  • the half-month runic impact on human life force
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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, 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.

What's a bindrune?

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What Does It Mean?

Eihwaz is a tough rune for many of us. Its associations with Death are real and felt, and our time with it has reflected these. No doubt in the last couple of weeks Self has been challenged to die and come back, but with what changed? That is the big question this week. Perthro is the interjection of having faced a point of deep recalibration of Self that has left us tender and sore, only to be further affronted with tossing it all up in the air.

Dislike.

Perthro is associated with luck, though the modern understanding of luck isn’t what the Old Norse would have been in relationship with. Foremost, they didn’t have a concept of the future, per se. Their worldview was about holding the past with the respect needed to make the best choices for the present, beyond which was still to come. We very much associate luck with the future, and with the duality of bad or good. 

Maybe ON folx didn’t need to look far ahead. Maybe their collective holding of each other didn’t prod such a need–I don’t know. I know that for us to get to the core of unknown and unknowable is typically terrifying, and this week’s time with Pertho suggests we try to find the freedom in not knowing what is ahead, with risk-taking.

Laguz as the best way to work with Perthro can be equally terrifying and comforting, depending on the relationship with water. From an animistic perspective I look at it more as Flow, our ability to and capacity for moving with sacred order, which in my experience requires a good relationship with Eihwaz. If Eihwaz is our best foot forward all things considered, I experience that as Sacred Self (there are many names that could be used). This is the part of us that can’t not be in sacred order, but at least in the systems we’re in, or maybe due to the challenges of form (or a combo), we have to work to stay in close relationship with it. It’s not just automatic to be able to hear and follow through with sacredness at the fore.  It takes effort, particularly when we don’t know what’s coming.

I think what Laguz is offering us this week is the reminder that we can’t be out of Flow. It’s not possible. But it is possible to be out of awareness of Flow, which is constantly challenged in American settler culture. It’s flat-out impeded. So the overall memo is it will take work to be able to assimilate the rebirth Eihwaz brought, while navigating holding it loosely with Perthro. Part of that work is having faith in your Ally relationships (and Self), and also invoking it. Engaging the Allies who work with us requires intentionality. I know for me, that will take some homework, and a lot of ecosystem support.

The direction that can best hold space for our risk-taking 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 risk, without losing the stability we’ve created in the second aett.

The inclusion of Plastic in my cosmology as an element was a complicated exploration for me. It didn’t exist before humans, and now occupies a significant space in form. When I thought of how to represent it in divination the plastics of my childhood rose most prominent–the ones that aren’t in any way green and will be here long after I’m gone. Little People Dog represented that cross section well, and Im happy to have him along. Plastic is a life force born out of impatience, symbolic of cultural disconnect, yet meets deep needs that can’t be financially or energetically supported another way en masse. Plastic saves lives and it kills them. Maybe better than any other human creation, it represents the epitome of humanity: brilliant to a fault. Plastic serves as a keen reminder to hold and express our agency with care, because what comes out of it goes on to live its own life, forever.That’s an apt message for half-month runes offering insight into a newly jump-started society.

Plastic is banework in its own right, and quite possibly the true totem of settler culture. Its suggestion for this week is to explore what small doses of otherwise harmful things can get us moving, can motivate us. This reminds me of a month or so ago when the suggestion of invoking Tiny Fear came up (Isa?). I think it could be what some folx call thrill seeking, but the sacred kind. Sacred Adrenaline to follow through on the wisdom of Sacred Risk.

(Do you hear me screaming fthat on the inside?)

Summer as the backdrop that this leap plays upon is promising. Yes, where I live Summer is smothering and shockingly bright, but in all human persons are more welcome to be outdoors in Summer, and it represents good times and coming into power. It’s a time of adventure and expanding innangardr, and Summer is an opportunity for human persons to more intimately deepen our relationship to Nature. Where I live though, trekking into Summer must be well-planned and chock full of resources, as the heat kills and Summer is only getting longer and hotter. And that seems pretty applicable to risk-taking. We can’t prepare to stave off what we don’t want in risk, but we can at least bring some good snacks and a comfy blanket. Sacred-style.

The Fossilized Belemnite brings a curious life force to the cast. Members of the Cephalopod family, Belemnites exist to us as what look like fossilized bullets. They’re the only part of the Belemnite that has survived all this time–its armor, essentially. 

From a lore standpoint, ancient cultures on different continents record them as being connected to lightning, and in the Old Norse cosmology, they were the bits that lodged into the ground from the lightning of Thor’s hammer, regarded as elf, gnome, or pixie lights. In Scandinavian folklore they are still referenced as vatteljus, which translates to ‘gnome lights.’ 

For those who are up on their fair folk lore, we’re talking about elf-shot. This doesn’t situate in Old Norse cosmology directly, but came well after, in the Anglo Saxon cosmology, which absorbed aspects of the ON one. Likewise, there are indications of elf-shot in Viking culture. In a medical text of that era, Wið færstice, which means ‘against a sudden/violent stabbing pain,’ it describes elves shooting invisible arrows at humans as the source of sudden, terrible pain in the body.

Does this mean there are otherkin lying in wait to hurt us this week? I couldn’t say. My take on the fair folk is our myths locate them as indigenous custodians of the planet before humans were conceived, who were at the mercy of their own experiences of colonization, and that did not go well. They had their own version of making peace with how they would continue to hold presence in formed being under great duress, and, fae wrath is real and deserves empathy, if not compassion for that. 

Fossilized Belemnite reminds us to at minimum consider where we are caught in crossfires not of our own making, yet we are nevertheless involved, affected. It also challenges us to question whether we are living life in such a way that only our armor will survive, and what does asking that even mean?

When I set out to see what larger voices might be supportive of us this week, I specifically asked for those who are on our team to come forward, those who tend humans as custodians of the planet. Much to my surprise it was Hlin who came. Hlin is a protector of humanity; that’s what she does. Sister to Frigg, she intervenes when help is required of humans. She can bring peace and calm where there is confusion and mental distress. 

Hlin isn’t a being that I have worked with, though when engaging her for this cast, her primary message was that there are higher beings who are Team Human, and they are at work to give us the best tools possible to human well for ourselves, be fit elders to our communities, and remain strong caretakers of the planet. That’s really lovely assurance to lean into this week, particularly as the threads of wyrd weave so openly at this time. Hlin brings a strong reminder that there are beings greater than us working solely to help us stay in relationship with sacred order in our own unique way.

 

Half-month Rune Prompts

  • When you think of Sacred Risk, where do you feel it in Body?
  • As you continue moving through initiations opened by Eihwaz, what risk is involved?
  • Where do you feel resistance when you think of Risk?

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Galdr

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.

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

  • Laguz – Lah, Lahg, Lahgoo, Law, Lawg, Lawgoo

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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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@kelleysoularts

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