For the week of 12 February 2023

The Most Vulnerable Sowilo in the Room

Sowilo (polymer clay rosemary tile) is the half-month rune through 27 February. Berkana (amethyst) is the intuitive rune, and Mannaz (porcelain tile) indicates Wisdom’s message to us. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are fossilized Gastropod (sea snail) and element Air in Autumn, in the direction of Front. Read right to left is Sowilo, Berkana, then Mannaz.

The full runecast will be publicly available two weeks from publication.

[ppp_patron_only level="1.00" silent="yes"]The Weekly Rune - Sowilo Audio Blog, for the week of 12 February 2023 [/ppp_patron_only]

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

Half-month rune Sowilo closes the second aett, and our first week with it carries a strong message about being Self in the world. The progression of the second aett is one of life’s challenges, specifically the basics of navigating personal agency alongside all other beings doing the same. It makes for a complicated journey–one which we all sign up for. But of course it’s the human interaction part  of humaning that is so hard. How we treat each other is everything, and this week’s runecast speaks to that imperative.

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?

Sowilo is the rune of the sun. This star is the center of how we orient ourselves, thus it influences everything we do. Everything alive draws it down automatically by virtue of cellular makeups, thus an approach to this rune is that we function similarly. We be that supportive, nurturing energy for others, that we pay forward the blessings we gain from the life-giving sun, such that we shine on others. 

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[ppp_patron_only level=”1.00″ silent=”yes”]What a great note to end an aett on. If it were up to me, the Elder Futhark probably would have ended right there with Sowilo. But of course this final rune of the second aett isn’t the resting place of humanity. Realizing our benefits and blessing others with them is not our whole experience of souling-in-form. Yet it’s telling that while Sowilo has the first-day-with-the-beyond-body vibes of the first aett, it comes after the shitshow of the second aett. Because we need that reminder. 

Sowilo is the rune of interdependence and belonging. As much as I loathe to say, I don’t think humans would freely give such intimate connection without having realized at deep personal levels why it’s so important to give (and receive). That way that our consciousness struggles in form is already challenging, though applying agency within the legacies of American settler culture capitalism, we’re easily distracted from empathy and don’t readily align with interdependence.

The rune to help us with all of this this week is Berkana, and its message has some interesting nuance. It would be enough to leave it at the nurture of this rune, or the quality of rest it brings. Berkana comes after the battle rune (Tiwaz), and it’s  one of two runes that has a whisper of rest that doesn’t come at the end of an aett (the other is Isa). The suggestion with this placement is that it’s a more subtle kind of rest, possibly even a convalescence. It’s a recovering from something that extracted part of us, and we didn’t get to die. We didn’t get released from whatever that trauma was. We’re still here, and we have to figure out how to survive and be a force of survival for everyone else.

The weekly runecasts have traced through the pandemic era a certain new life force coming in, which by default means another is leaving. Patterns, systems, beliefs, attitudes, paradigms, are changing. We aren’t in the new patterns, etc. And it may well be that new patterns and such aren’t even the way to go. Maybe the shift doesn’t have such rigid foundation as to support patterns or systems, or…  What this betwixt season of Sowilo tells us through the action of Berkana is that as we explore what we’re letting go of, we return to themes of belonging and interdependence, and feel into where they are needed when we are convalescing. 

Berkana is asking us through Sowilo to outcreate where we’re going based on the most vulnerable person in the room. It’s asking that what patterns we outcreate, what systems, etc., that we do so not based on our own needs or desires, but on those of the most vulnerable person in the room. Because if that person’s needs are met, the needs of all else will be as well.

Sit with that before we move on, because it is not just where we’re going, but where we have to go. And in order to go there well, we have to be able to thrive with the skills of the first aett, so that we can cope with the reality of the second. I think that’s why the second aett ends with Sowilo.

Mannaz with the voice of Wisdom has even deeper perspective on the Berkana of now. Mannaz is the rune where we intellectualize, we are mindful, and we take it to our people. It’s a coming out rune, in which we have outcreated a terrible thing (also points back to Tiwaz) while also having incubated a new mindset around our experience, and we’re ready to live the changed version of Self that has resulted. 

This is the memo of Wisdom. What we’ve learned about ourselves in these last few seasons with the runes, it is for something, and for something greater than ourselves. We are on the planet at a time of radical change, on every level. The upheaval we’re feeling as humans right now is a reflection of the entire ecosystem that is Earth undergoing significant rebuilding. The only way it turns out to be a better version than where we’ve been is to apply our wisdom to what we outcreate. We cant hope someone else will do it. We can’t deny knowledge we’ve learned. We also can’t evade the wisdom we’ve gained along the way–and the only way we gain wisdom is through intergenerational connection. We hand down our stories, our knowledge, and experience, so that they become familial wisdom. The biiiiiiiig Sowilo that is ancestors having paid it forward, as we are now charged to do.

History repeating itself isn’t the problem. It’s supposed to repeat. That’s how our brains work. We are pattern matchers from way back. That’s also orlog. And wyrd. Repetition is as intended. We inherit from our Ancestors. When we repeat harm is the problem. We have to plan for that repetition in how we live now by doing better. 

And the Mannaz of that dynamics is we have to start talking about it. We have to go to our people and start standing in our personal wisdom, and The Wisdom of Humanity. We’ve been here long enough to see what works and what doesn’t, in terms of tending the most vulnerable in the room. The runecast this week demands that we live it. We can’t just idealize it. We have to put one foot in front of the other and pay our blessings forward, right now. If we don’t start living that way now, we will just create more of the same–philosophies of community, fantasies of belonging, realities of exclusion. It will be another reality where a select few talk about how it should really be, while plenty of others live into the -isms. Again. This isn’t a think about doing, or a philosophize on how doing should be done, moment. It is do, or die having done nothing for change.

The helping spirits who facilitate our ability to stand in our truths and live them this week include fossilized Gastropod This particular one is a sea snail (or snigill in ON). Gastropods are gentle. They’re nonbinary. The spiral on their shell reflects the Fibonacci sequence. 

Behaviourally speaking, they like to travel, but don’t hurry. They move purposefully, which means they take their time about everything, what they do is their truth. They have soft bodies that are protected by a hard shell. The sturdiness of their shell contributes to our high fossil record. Gastropods carry their house everywhere they go, and as such have a continually good security system. They know when to say no. 

The element Air represents the forces that carry our intentions to where they can best root. Air’s strength is transmission, dispersal, sweeping clean. Our best way to engage it is to allow it, to find the flexibility in ourselves to sway with it, and to learn how to embody its qualities in our own lives. This might seem like a contradiction to the otherwise firm, boots-on-the-ground perspective of the runes this week. In reality, we have to find good balance in how we mitigate change right now. Flux but not flight. Roots without clinging. Air seems like a pretty good teacher for that balance.

That these helping spirits come in with the forces we attribute to Autumn is advantageous. We can expect support with preparation, bounty for our effort, maturity in how those efforts manifest and come back to support us (and our communities), and harvest as the overall spirit of relationship with the land and working together to provide.

The direction of Front  (North for other folx) encourages us to think ahead, as we seek to outcreate. 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. In short, now isn’t about us. At all. Front can help us hold perspective on that.

Curious that our closure of the second aett is ushered in with two third aett runes in the cast. The handwriting of our growth is on the wall. In runes.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • Who is most vulnerable in your life?
  • How do you advocate for their needs?
  • How do you rest?


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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.

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

  • Mannaz – Mah, Mahn, Mahna

  • Berkana/Berkano/Beorc – Ber, Bair, Beor, Berka, Bairka


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

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