For the week of 3 September 2023

Movement and Resistance

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Raidho is the half-month rune through 13 September (carved reindeer antler slice). Hagalaz is the intuitive rune (carved polished lapis lazuli), and Sowilo indicates the perspective of The Wind That Shakes. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Wheel with element Mycelium, in the direction of Front/North/Nordri, in the season of Autumn, with a Death as a prominent presence. Read right to left is Raidho, Hagalaz, then Sowilo.

Find the full runecast on Patreon.

Also, find my daily #thebodyawake rune pulls on Instagram.

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.

Why Join Patreon?

This full version of The Weekly Rune is only on Patreon, and it includes:

  • more detail 
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  • 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:

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  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

We have but a sliver of time left with Ansuz in this runecast, though it wanted expression this week all the same. It comes with the whisper to honor truth no matter what the week brings, though it comes with potential calamity, as well. Tiwaz as the best way to work with each half-month rune suggests we’re holding grief that needs expression with our truth. The bigger memo coming from Thurisaz reversed suggests these unexpressed feelings are more complicated than that. With Thurisaz reversed, we’re talking about primal jotnar that are rumbling. They’re rough and tumble, emotionally combustible Nature Spirits who have truth to share, though they don’t have refinement to share it respectfully, maybe even without compassion. They’re essentially hurt and angry four-year-olds but with an adult’s range to cause harm.

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:

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What Does It Mean?

Before the runes were laid for the cast, Death presented as presiding over it. Here, the Summer has been so hot and without rain that many plants are already dead and insects that usually don’t come until Autumn are already presenting. I don’t feel this inclusion is about my seasonal experience, so much as it is the overtone of climate change wanting to be acknowledged in this cast, and the emphasis on how that changes the seasonal procession of Death, and quite possibly The Wild Hunt.

We’ve discussed through the course of the runes in this current cycle that they are conveying with more shadow than in the past. It’s like they’re all reversed. They’re not bad; they’re not dark; they’re just a reflection of the time, and are accurately describing life in the hinge of enormous transformation. I have pointed back to this observation several times in runecasts, though remember December Solstice of 2012? How so many spiritual folx were convinced it was heralding a time of radical transformation and unity? Then in ensuing years of gut-level systemic challenge those same folx started wondering where their spiritually deepened life went? I’ve maintained, this chaos, now, is what the road to unity looks like for American settler culture. Maybe for the planet and Beyond.

I think what I sit with most in the chaos that is now is how it’s only really new to folx who have been deeply privileged by the systems of American settler culture. Those systems were always damning to us all, even the privileged folx, but that truth couldn’t be held until now. Huge internal processes have had to flame within for folx to see community disparities. And many factors of sooth-saying (Ansuz) have contributed to making these revelations possible. Before we go further in this cast, I want to acknowledge the hardship of now as how hard it is to really bring Ansuz to light in this day and age. It is no small task. It takes guts, and incredible risk.

Given that, our time with Ansuz in this cycle has been about spaces that can and cannot hear our truth, as much as our ability to express it. Moving into Raidho fully this week has that same shaky quality: our truth must go on the road, though how do we handle that travel?

Raidho is the rune of movement. Green means Go! And green, of course, is our will. It’s our consciousness and its precious inability to be still or satisfied with anything about form. A million years ago I wrote a novel that’s never been published, and in it one of the characters says, 

“Consciousness only knows ‘Go!’  It doesn’t know ‘try,’ or ‘maybe,’ or ‘when you get a chance to.’  You’re a transpersonal student.  You know that at the higher levels of yourself, all the tools are available to act now.  But in the formed realm, we know differently.  Just because your consciousness is ready to move doesn’t mean that all the other pieces are in place.  Timing may be a factor—planetary alignments.  Other people may be critical—someone you’ve not met, or not connected with in the right way.  Or your body may not be able to physically withstand the vibrational changes coming into it.”

That, now. That, Raidho.

I think where I’ve had to reframe my sense of the runes in season, intra-pandemic, is their traditional order is a progression of building qualities and skills for humaning well when things can rise to meet those needs. And now, they’re also the boundaries that have to be set when it’s not possible to get those skills. They’re the recourse of coping for when the playing field can’t be leveled. I’ve always held the runes in the vernacular of now, in terms of honoring their cultural context and being inclusive of how life works now. And right now best efforts are awesome and can still be unseen and unheard.

And the playing field is being leveled, for the Descendants.

So maybe we’re bringing our agency (Ansuz) out into the world (Raidho) with a busted GPS. Or we don’t know if the car can make it. And maybe there’s no car, with miles to go. It’s not that we can’t Raidho under the current circumstances, though how we Raidho is going to be very different for the foreseeable future. And the collective note on that is we have to move together. We can’t leave folx behind, and also can’t drag them kicking and screaming. But at least our motivation for how we move among has to hold space for moving us all among.

Hagalaz as the best way we can accomplish that does not present a cakewalk. It’s the rune of sudden, external change–as in the hail storm that takes us by surprise. I’ve been pulling daily runes to speak for Body, and the other day Hagalaz was the rune. In that context an aspect of Hagalaz became evident to me that I’ve never thought of before: Even when we’re savvy, we’re always mentally taken aback by change. But not Body. Body is change. It is in a constant state of adaptation. We could even call that adaptation the aging process. Body knows it,  and is. For Body there’s no angst or consternation, even in the face of physical imbalance. Body’s just here for the experience and not judging Self or anybody else against it.

So yes, we have to make room for adaptation where bringing our agency to the world is concerned, yet it can’t stop us from doing so. This is a potent thing to say in a time of open hate, and our elections around bringing our agency to the world have to be made in split-second intervals where we assess our safety. 

Sowilo through the voice of The Wind That Shakes levels this sense of curious safety. It’s an optimistic rune that portends the sun, and how it shines on us so that we may shine on others. The Wind That Shakes came as a vision. I saw it begin Beyond Earth and rattle everything in its path as it touched down on land, as a cyclone. It doesn’t destroy or overtake. It just shakes things hard enough that they have to question if it’s worth holding on, because holding on is a commitment to the gesture of holding, to the thing being clung to, to the resources to keep clinging… This force is what’s moving through levels of being in form, Beyond Form, and maybe beyond that. Even as we navigate hatefilled aspects of chaos, we’re also navigating ones that can transmute, The Wind That Shakes and makes us all decide what hill to die on.

We can’t know what choices formed reality and Beyond will make around holding on. We only know our own choices, and in culling through the Ansuz to arrive at them, we understand also that holding on affects everyone else (Raidho). It may be appropriate to explore how we help others hold on or let go.

This 1-2-2 aett pattern spells out the humaning progression so well. I’ve said a few times in talking about Raidho over the last week that it’s a mini intro to the cacophony of agency that is the second aett. That it is grouped with the first and last runes of that aett is telling. We must take our agency out into the world. We will meet risk in doing so, and we will also be opening the way for others to take their agency into the world, as well.  

The support for this movement is held firmly by Front – North/Norðri. It’s cold, sounds so refreshing right now in this hot Summer, and encourages us to think ahead as we forge new bonds. The direction of ice, air, and lineage, Front specifically emphasizes the Descendants. They are everything ahead of us, and the benefactors of every choice and decision we make now. Luckily Front is also the direction of  knowledge and wisdom, which allows us to draw on our Allies as much as our skills and experience to know and do what’s best for ourselves, and our communities. 

Element Mycelium is also incredibly supportive. Mycelium underlies every aspect of life–death, support, birth. It may be the original midwife and deathwalker. Given that, there is no one “meaning” with it. It may be more useful to explore it as the backbone of life, and check in with it to learn how to deepen bonds with ecosystem or how to be fruitful with the journey ahead. In short, Mycelium holds the secrets to souling-in-form well, and it knows all about agency on-the-move. When Self feels agency isn’t going where intended or isn’t landing as desired, seek the help of Mycelium this week.

Wheel as the boots-on-the-ground helper references the natural sequence of timing and seasons, in that each season depends on the other in order to keep the movement going. So do life stages that All Things move through. Wheel portends movement, in general, of feelings, currents, thoughts, dynamics. Again, where assistance is needed in mooring to sacred order and focusing agency, call upon Wheel.

The seasonal backdrop brings the feel of Autumn–of preparation, bounty, maturity, harvest, turning from the forest. In Autumn, our focus turns to tending hearth, getting stores, ground, home, and harvest ready for needier times. It’s a time tending both outdoors and indoors, and conserving energy for the cold to come, honoring Nature’s retreat underground. Autumn is also the wind up for the Wild Hunt, and while those winds haven’t blown in yet, the ethers of the Hunt may be potent to call upon for releasing what impedes movement this week.

In the current climate there are plenty of reasons to resist movement this week. There are infinite reasons to hold agency close and keep it close. Instead of shrinking it down and stuffing it back, I encourage Self to find the trusted souls who can hear it, who can help hold it. And for the record, I’m here.

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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What in you resists movement at this time?

  • How does fear influence delivering your agency?

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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.

  • Raidho – Rhye, Ryedthe, Ryedthoh
  • Hagalaz – Haw, Hawga, Hah, Hahg
  • Sowilo/Sowilu – Soh, Sohl, Sohwi, Sohli, Sig

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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.

#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem

elder well, die well, ancestor well

@kelleysoularts

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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.