For the week of 28 August 2022
Agency and Sacred Order
Raidho is the half-month rune through 13 September. Jera is the intuitive rune, and Kenaz indicates Refrain’s message to us. The Spirits of Place anchoring the runes this week are Helping Spirit, Coyote (Tooth) in Autumn, with the active element of Flesh (leather), rooted in the direction of Right (which for me is East). Read right to left is Raidho, Jera, then Kenaz.
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
- 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:
Moving from Ansuz into Raidho continues a progression that plays out in the runes over the next four weeks. When we evolve from the initial first aett runes, we shift from realizing our consciousness to figuring out what to do with it. I express that progression at Ansuz + Raidho = Kenaz, or:
inspiration + storytelling = meaning
soothsaying + storytelling = meaning
soothsaying + movement = lore
confidence + experience = authority
However we go with it, the total six weeks we spend with these runes is formative, and has everything to do with how we handle the chaos of the second aett.
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’s cast is characterized by a good bit of organizing, making synaptic connections to the tools we’re using, and really working with what they bring to our life, so that we get the best use out of them.
To continue reading:
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- 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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Raidho is the rune of movement. It is often described as meaning travel, though it isn’t random wandering. It implies following some sort of direction, yet not with a fixed destination. Animistically speaking, it carries connotations of how we literally move among all the relationships of being, yet it is very centered around our own story of what’s happening. When we boil down those ‘this, but thats,’ we’re talking about following our inner compass–the part of us that is connected to sacred order. Wherever we’re headed, we know where we’re going, even if we arrive some place unexpected, because we let the embodied soul-in-forming that we’ve been doing lead us there. For this reason Raidho has traditionally been associated with very supportive, needs-met aspects.
As we’ve talked about the “Eeks, I’m in form! I better take care of it,” aspect of Fehu, the “Look what I can do!” base of Uruz, and the “I need to take this more seriously…” grounding of Thurisaz, Ansuz is where the realizations of Self start to become active. They become applied. We do them in the world around us. With Ansuz we realize we can impact the relationships around us through how we create.
By the time we arrive at Raidho we’re ready to do that on-the-go. We’re ready to take our agency for a spin, and the story that evolves from venturing is Raidho.
Yes, destination is part of the focus, but so is the journey to get there. They both make up the story. The shiny Soul Mastery part of settler culture emphasizes the destination, as if we weren’t continuously shapeshifting into ourselves the whole way there. As if we weren’t shaped by the new relationships we were passing through the whole way there. I would argue the destination we intended can’t be the one we actually arrive at because who left the starting point isn’t who is arriving. It’s all in flux. It’s all in relationship and continuously forming.
Anytime Raidho comes up I think of a travel journal. All the details–pit stops, breakdowns, side trips, four-lanes, back country, holes in walls–it all matters. It’s all part of the story. So with Raidho we have this component of movement and expressing our agency in new places, new experiences.
But there’s another part to it: the whole way, we’re also deciding what bits form our lore (I could make some unconscious arguments here, but let’s leave that open for discussion). When we start to move through our life, having all kinds of experiences, realizing what our influence is and what it isn’t, we also start to write a story about ourselves. Again, with the first three runes in a good foundation, our selfhood is intact, so that should go really well. But in settler culture they’re not intact. Not for anyone, which is the memo of our time. So when we start to understand that we even have a lore, let alone that we get to shape it, we can get tunnel vision. We can only see what we want to see, to tell what we want to tell. And yes, this is human nature. Tunnel vision is not a creation of settler culture, though settler culture is designed to exacerbate the shit out of it. If only we’d had elders…
This week we’re on such a trip. We’re working out where we’re going and what we’re doing, while navigating how to put it all together. And we’re just not ready or able to put it all together yet–which is okay. It just happens that Jera, as the best way to approach Raidho this week, brings in extra tools. All about harvest, this rune has an understanding of recognizing our tools (Allies, but also skills, resources…), what they can do for us, and applying them. They help us harvest, and in harvesting we gain more tools. We gain what feeds and carries us, maybe even more Allies, information around how to use our tools to build more tools next season. It’s an all-around beneficial tone for how we chart our courses right now.
Kenaz (foreshadowing) sharing through the voice of Refrain brings a message of sticking with the shadowy moments. There’s something rich in there, and we’re seconds from totally internalizing what it is. Kenaz is the rune of something liminal bursting into full awareness. Because it’s not the half-month rune, we can skip over the simmering annoyance bit that leads up to the Aha! moment, and just sit with Refrain to create a quiet space for the Very Useful Thing to emerge.
It’s interesting, because in Old Norse the word for Refrain was stef, as in to hold back, not engage due to some burden, but also refrain, as in the repetition of a line in a poem. To not engage, to hold back something (or from something), to repeat. Sounds a lot like creating sacred space to me…
This week the Spirits of Place anchor us in Autumn, the season of preparation, bounty, maturity, harvest. With this season, the resources are in place to support us for a bit, and we can sit back a little and realize the efforts of our work. This dovetails nicely with the message of Refrain, to put down the work drive a bit so that what has already been cultivated can come to the fore and give support.
The direction working with us this week is Right, which from where I’m facing in my cosmology is East. For me, this direction indicates water, flow, being carried. It specifically is Ocean, which represents home. All water flows to the Ocean. All of life emerged from the Ocean. So when this direction comes up in casts, explore what homes means, at the most sacred and embodied level. Literally, consider where the body feels best. Consider what makes a space feel sacred. Consider how to get more of those into the immediate living space.
We’ve not had Flesh come up as the element before, so it bears a bit of introduction. At the end of the day we work with the elements that resonate with us. It can’t be because the Internet said so, or because it’s what our teacher did. We have to find relationship with the elements that we feel, even if that changes from time to time. There came a point in my exploration of the elements that I realized that yes, we are made up of the elements and are with them in relationship that way, but I’m not a tree, which can do tree things. I’m not a stone, which can do stone things. I am not air… Yet each of those things is vital and has an important seat in the circle of How Things Work. And. So. Does. Flesh.
Flesh deserves a mention as an element because it is the boundary that separates us from other things. It is firm but porous. It is the surface of our protection, and provides our physical appearance. Flesh is what makes us whole, into one solid system; flesh makes the form complete. It is super important to being in form, because the physics and mysteries of Flesh are what give us our agency. Take some time this week to sit with how Flesh contributes to movement (Raidho), and to how we build our lore.
Coyote (Tooth) is really special to me, because I’ve walked with a very clandestine and random Coyote for almost three decades. He doesn’t come around often, though when he does, it’s to point out how inane I’m being (ie, dramatic af). Coyote is the one who highlights the relationship between wisdom and folly. We don’t use that word enough, but Coyote understands that what is foolish and what is wise are family. To understand one isn’t to throw out the other, but to see how they are in relationship. Specifically with Tooth, the focus is on making our wisdom and our folly both usable, turning them into nutrients, into ways that we express our agency that see the truth in both, yet feeds us and our communities.
It’s also worth mentioning that Coyote doesn’t care how change happens, even to its own detriment, but ensures that it will happen.
This week we’re getting hints of what’s to come in the second aett. We have two runes in the first, with one from the second. At least it’s a really supportive one =)
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Half-month Rune Prompts
- What is your refrain this week?
- What do you need to set aside so that new direction for your lore can come forward?
- What wisdom and folly can lead you at this time?
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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.
- Raidho – Rhye, Ryedthe, Ryedthoh
- Jera – Yer, Yeruh, Yair, Yairuh, Yer/Yairaw
- Kenaz – Kehn, Kenuh, Kawn, Kawnuh, Kain, Kainuh
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.
#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem
elder well, die well, ancestor well
To bear your unique gift to the world.
To leave the planet better than you found it.
So that your descendants never elder alone.