For the week of 15 January 2023

Breaking the 4th Wall

Perthro (ceramic tile) is the half-month rune through 28 January. Ingwaz is the intuitive rune, and Sowilo indicates Intensity’s message to us. For this week of Wild Hunt season the spirits of place , thus Death are still engaged, though being sick over the last week left me and the Spirits of Place otherwise occupied. The remark I got from them was that we each engage our SOP to learn who wants to help us individually hold space for these runes in our lives, over the next week. Read right to left is Tiwaz, Ingwaz, then Sowilo.

Also because I’ve been sick, there’s no audio blog 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.

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

In the traditional progression of the Elder Futhark, Perthro presents a question, an unknown, the force of which hasn’t been overtly in the Futhark until that point. We don’t really know what Perthro means, as it isn’t written about until the Old English rune poem, and then it’s something along these lines:

Peorth is always a play and laughter
to the proud, where warriors sit
in the beer-hall, happy together.

Translation by Dr. Aaron Hostetter

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?

Those few words offer it as engagement of an unknown force that is pleasant and can be bonding. 

It also echoes the sort of unknowable-ness of the Elder runes, as a whole. Beginning with the first aett, we have this sequence of runes that cover the journey of soul into form, with really tactile insight into what needs to be in place for us to succeed at applying our agency. We move into the second aett where all those good efforts are challenged by the clamouring of all other beings doing that very same thing, and they’re bumping into each other, causing harm, causing joy, merging agency, disrupting agency, mitigating impact. In the second aett we enter the cacophony of formed life that we know best, yet there’s still a sort of bubble about it. There’s a sort of mysterious detachment from it all, like life is a cosmic scene we’re watching yet feel and crave some bigger investment in, yet can’t quite figure out how to accomplish that–this contradiction both drives human hunger for enlightenment and plagues our psyche.

Until Perthro. 

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Perthro breaks the 4th wall of the Elder Futhark. Allow me. The 4th wall is when a performer disregards the invisible boundary between them and the audience, thus violates the rules of the art, and for a moment, the construct of performance equalizes both performer and viewer. Both are performing together. Both are viewing each other. The dramatic actor looks right into the camera. The puppetmaster reveals the strings. In literature, second person reveals thoughts of the reader and weaves them into the narrative going forward.

Perthro brings that same suspension of intimacy by breaking the rulesas we’ve understood them, which by virtue of itself results in creating deeper intimacy among all who are involved. With Perthro we genuinely realize that we have a place in All Things, and that our agency cooperates with that of All Things.

It is the tender spot in wyrd where wyrd looks back at us. It’s the point that we realize it is alive and engageable, even if we don’t really know what wyrd is. It’s the realization that we’re in relationship with it, and we play a part in how it transpires is, in itself, the greatest enlightenment we can ever have.

Perthro interjects chance, risk, luck (although I cringe over our simple definition of that one, though). We had glimmers of this in Ansuz, where we begin to express our agency, and with Raidho, where we take our agency out into the world and let it go do its own thing. But Perthro reveals the bigger game of all of life doing that–seen and unseen–how all those relationships interplay, and how, even once we know that, must still take risks. Perthro introduces just how much impact our agency can have, all the while cloaking our odds of success or failure. 

With perthro we recognize the moments where we can peer behind the curtain and widen the grounding from which we make choices, and still not really know how it’s all going to turn out. Because Perthro isn’t about the outcome; it’s about realizing we are part of the agency generating it. It’s a process based on risk. To risk, by default, means to take action. We have taken a risk by including ourselves in the forces of creation and cast our lot with The Powers That Be.

Yet despite knowing that we have an active role in wyrd, we can’t ever control where it lands.

No matter how enlightened, there is risk. No matter how emotionally, energetically, and spiritually literate, there is risk. No matter how well we navigate the fray of the second aett, there is risk.  No matter how carefully we navigate the orlog our ancestors gave us, there is risk. So we may as well laugh and enjoy the game of wyrd, because we have as much influence over it as we don’t. We may as well see ourselves as great beings in comradery, because we are all influencing the tapestry of wyrd. And we may as well find relief in realizing some things are just out of our hands, because we truly can’t change them anyway.

Ingwaz as the best way to work with Pertho suggests that we’ve gained a new way to recognize and make use of wyrd, and perhaps we need to get out of our own way and let that take form. Ingwaz is the point that some new consciousness or awareness has entered, and we usually know what that is. It’s not a nebulous dawning of perspective. We’ve worked for it, asked for it, and it’s come. And as with all new things, we have to allow it space to claim its own agency, so we can elect how we go forward in relationship together.

Perhaps our moment with Ingwaz this week is to realize where we’ve Perthroed something into being. Our process and its relationship with orlog worked. What we wanted or needed has arrived, and we need to behold that at a deep, respectful level. Maybe we need to consult this new awareness on how we go forward together. Or maybe the presence of this new consciousness or the successful working of wyrd scared the pants off us and we don’t know what to do next. 

At some point this week we confront a beautiful outcome of our own creation in relationship with The Powers That Be. The 4th wall of manifestation will be broken, and the intimacy that evolves from that leave us changed. The next step in that process is creating the orlog of how we go forward with it.

The lovely note in this runecast is the Intensity of Sowilo. Sowilo is the sun, literally the force that sustains all of formed life on this planet. It represents our strength and capability, the process of applying our agency in ways that meet our needs and leave us strong in tending the needs of others. It’s a true pay-it-forward state of power, so it seems fitting that the voice of Intensity speaks through it this week.

When I was holding space for this rune to come and the non-human helping spirit who would bring it forward, I had the sense of heat rising in my body, emanating out and beyond me into space. It wasn’t unlike the reverberation of the horses hooves on the ground last week, yet was more subtle. It wasn’t a physical vibration as with the horses, so much as a growing, approaching transformative sensation, which fits so nicely with warmth and the sun.

Enjoy that this week. And know that Intensity can be validation. It doesn’t have to be a trigger to the nervous system or indicate an unfavorable omen. It can be embracing, tender, and a reflection of warmth that Self also offers.

If there’s a particular take-away with these two second-aett runes and the single third-aett one, it’s to focus it all through Sowilo. It’s to remember our own sacredness, and that of those around us. Of everything. In the chaos of second aett challenge, it’s all still sacred. And even though we’re in the midst of that seasonal parade of all agencies right now, we’re still capable of growth, renewal, and moving onward.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • List some times that you broke the 4th wall of manifestation and your needs were met.

  • How do you pay-it-forward?


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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.

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

  • Sowilo/Sowilu – Soh, Sohl, Sohwi, Sohli

  • Ingwaz – Een, Eengwa, Eengoo


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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