For the week of 4 September 2022

The Two Stillnesses

Raidho is the half-month rune through 13 September. Isa (reindeer antler slice) is the intuitive rune, and Isa (porcelain tile) indicates Radiancy’s message to us. The Spirits of Place anchoring the runes this week are Helping Spirit, Sea Urchin in Autumn, with the active element of Timing (hourglass), rooted in the direction of Right (which for me is East). Read right to left is Raidho, Isa, then Isa.

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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.

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

Raidho entered this runic cycle in an incredibly optimistic way. It allays some of the self-consciousness of Ansuz by giving it something to do: move. Go. Be. Out in the world. It speaks to the moments when enlightenment stank has revealed itself, there’s a wee bit of embarrassment, and a lot of need to do something right with all that agency.

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?

Hard. Where Ansuz comes from a place of expressing our agency, Raidho takes it the next step, literally and gives our agency movement. We’re to take what we glean from the internal process of realizing what we know and learning to express it in the way that conveys our truth, then release it to the world and see where it goes. We’re to literally take ourselves out into the world and open to experiences that take our truth deeper, broader, bloodier, all the while still expressing it, still breathing its own agency into being. 

All told, that is what humans do. As the custodians of the earthly realm, the ones with the most agency for success with these physics, our job is to stand in our truth and do what it bids. Because at the end of the day if we’re really working that whole process, it means that we’re bearing our calling, our unique gift to the world. That’s why we’re here. We come on borrowed time and energy, and as the movie with the blue people said, when we’re done with that energy, we have to give it back. So every move we make has to uphold the integrity and sacred order that gave us that energy to start with.

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Easy peasy.

Isa (Get it? Easy peasy Isa…) comes along to tell us to slow the hell down. Yes, we’re on borrowed time. Yes, our cells and sanity can only sustain so far. That is human truth. That was always true and for the foreseeable future will always be true. The complications under which we greet that truth of human limitation is what makes it so. Freaking. Hard. Tell the truth, do our thing. Not complicated. 

Again, let’s reflect: Fehu–tend, even if we don’t have the resources to; Uruz–embody–even if we don’t know what the hell that means and don’t really want to be here; Thurisaz–quicken, even if that means stepping into a life that’s a dumpster fire; Ansuz– create, even if we have no elders to help us know our truth and nobody is listening. This is settler culture. This our every day. Was it always like this? Who can say. 

My well Ancestors have hinted that the part of humaning that is and always was hard was Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz. Those are the bits we lingered in the spirit realm psyching ourselves up for and ready to take on. Long before we had systemic harm working through its own agency in the world we had natural disasters, oppression, starvation, illness, figuring out which mushrooms were safe. These things would have brought real and valid heartache and devastation. I have also seen that elders served as conduits to grow through these hard experiences, and that success with base human difficulty required elders.

But we haven’t had that. Where things went awry is when groups of humanity started ganging up on everyone else. We began to use our agency against each other, and that agency evolved into systems with their own agency, who now don’t want to die, despite that so many humans aren’t thriving in their short time here.

That is the shit that we haven’t been prepared for. But something my well Ancestors whisper and I hear through gritted teeth is that the spirits who corral to come into form now… do know it’s that way. They do know they’re up against systemic harm.  And they still want to come because they know how powerful human agency is, and they know we can behave differently. They know that we can change how we move in the world with our agency.

This is the part where I ask if everyone noticed the two Isas in our runecast. That has never happened before. I let the rune sets speak for each rune, and when three different sets spoke, it occurred to me as I pulled the third rune that it could repeat. I wondered what I would do if it did.

Mostly, I got really still, and just listened a bit. Then it came to me what they meant, together.

Isa is always presented as ice, stillness. But it’s not just hanging out doing nothing, stillness. It’s the quiet introspective kind, the kind that intentionally makes room for quiet introspection, in addition to whatever led us into that stillness to start with. In other words, it’s a busy stillness. It’s a nod to energetic regulation that we aren’t taught as a base need in this culture. We’re not taught that we are responsible for our energetic state of being. We haven’t even agreed that it exists until the last few years. It’s a true conundrum, because no one else can do it for us–no Spirit Ally, Ancestor, priest, or elder.

When we talk about Isa as animists, we’re talking about honoring sacred order within us. I’ve mentioned it within the context of the sacred seed–which is a concept that is mentioned in the eddas–particularly regarding Isa/ice. It’s the understanding that everything–everything–has an inner quality of unique Self that is in direct relationship with the sacred order of All Things. The Sacred Self. I posit that Isa isn’t just the awareness of that truth, but also the reprieve to do the work to stay in touch with that sacredness. Ie, once we get into form, it’s easy to forget that we’re sacred; thus, effort is expended in that icy cocoon to get back online.

When we explore Raidho through the lens of Isa (middle rune), the message is to set aside time and space this week to see where Self is with regard to alignment with sacredness. It doesn’t have to be a long span of time, though let it be the beginning of a routine with Sacred Self at the fore. The implication here is that the more we do that regulation, the more we experience ourselves through our sacredness, what we put into the world will be more aligned with sacred order, and perhaps it can be better accepted as such.

Radiancy through second Isa is ironic. Radiancy is considered the quality of emitting light. In the realm of physics, it’s more specific. Radiancy is a measure of energy emitted. We have to tend, cultivate, and expend our own radiancy as we create, this week. We have to intentionally see the work we’re putting forward as of ourselves, part of our life force that goes off into the world and becomes its own life force. All of this implies we know how. It assumes we understand what we’re putting into the world. What do we do if we have gaps in our knowledge or capability of tending our energy?

This second Isa doubles down on honoring and cultivating our own sacredness and energy, but it also doubles down on the slowness of doing so. Despite the urgency of so little time here, we can’t rush finding our way back. It takes as long as it takes. 

That is the reminder for our direction this week. Whenever it seems like things are taking 10x longer than they’re supposed to, when we feel a demand we’re supposed to rise to but can’t suss out what it is–Isa x2. Slow the roll. Assess what’s missing or being asked of Self. Consider what need is not being met, and refract the approach to energy work from there: 

  • Is this my need to meet? 
  • If so, do I have the skills to meet it? 
  • If not, where do I acquire them? 
  • If it’s not my need to meet, to what authority do I take it? 

This flow chart is always going to lead to an outcome that requires us to seek support. We may be cloistered in our sacred icy seed alone, but that doesn’t mean we have all the resources in there with us. This is another Dream Team kind of week. Remember, we’re not meant to do any of this alone. That is also part of sacred order.

And I do think that just leaving it at “energy tending” is not getting to the meat of what’s really being asked this week. Like any embodiment or grounding work, energy regulation reveals the hard stuff, the crud we’ve shoved back so far the only thing that can reach it is life force. So as we mine the sources of revealed needs this week, take comfort in the restful bits of stillness, the quiet. And ask for help.

The Spirits of Place and their attributes helping us this week reinforce everything the cast above has already stated. Echinoid Fossil (Sea Urchin) brings in specific support where we experience disputes this week. Whether that be with Self, others, or the relationship between the two, it acts as a lucky charm signifying that all is in order–sacred order. I don’t mean the “everything is fine” kind of order, but real, genuine connection into a felt sense of things moving in the right direction. 

Autumn as the place-based inspiration for the week carries external support in the way of feeling prepared, like we have what we need to address what needs attention. Even if we feel spare of resources, flow, for now, is rolling toward us. (Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for navigation of approaches to energy work, resources, life force regulation, etc).

Timing (hourglass), tið  in Old Norse, also points back to sacred order. Greater laws are in relationship and carrying out duties. Likewise, are we. Our duty is to bear our calling to the world. It is our greatest expression of agency–and maybe our only one, really. Maybe everything we do is a negotiation of pacing ourselves according to the cycles of Nature, to be in relationship with Nature such that everything we do carries out our calling…

All of this with the helping spirit of Right (that side), which is East in my cosmology. It 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, and sooner or later it also ends up there. Just as we come from sacred order and must locate it in ourselves. Just as we borrow energy to come here, and must return it when we leave.

One rune from the first aett, and two, which is really one, from the second. That tells us this week is about realizing that we have to stay in motion as humans to keep ourselves and our creativity fresh (Raidho), we also have to do that while making space to regulate ourselves (Isa x2). It’s a delicate balance being soul-in-form, and the human version of that comes with tremendous responsibility. 


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What approaches to energy tending work for you?
  • What habits do you engage to reinforce energy work?
  • When you sit with the idea of sacred order, where do you feel it in your body?


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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
  • Isa – Ees, Eesuh


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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Elder Well

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To leave the planet better than you found it.

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