For the week of 31 July 2022

Primal Human

Thurisaz is the half-month rune through 13 August. Algiz is the intuitive rune, and Ansuz indicates Solidarity’s message to us. The Spirits of Place anchoring the runes this week are Fossilized Echinoid in Summer-Autumn transition, with the active element of Stone, rooted in the direction of Front/North. Read right to left is Thurisaz, Algiz, then Ansuz.

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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 persons 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

When we work with Uruz, we have the opportunity to at minimum brush up against ideals of souling in form. We can reach back to projections we had about what that might look like upon entry. We can be faced with our reality of being in form not matching what we’d hoped. What’s most likely is we encounter all of that, plus the lived reality of how hard being in form is in the immediate present, and how much of a gap there actually is between who we think we are and who we wholly are.

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?

The progression to Thurisaz calls out that gap like nobody’s business, because if we haven’t dealt with out Uruz crises before we get to Thurisaz, “thorn” will reveal where that alignment hasn’t happened, and it will be felt. This week’s cast looks back a bit to the counsel of last week, with some new grounding to help us make the shift.

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Uruz is the confrontation of our unconscious, full-stop. Whatever that is. And every one of us has stuff to make peace within those layers. No one escapes that. It is a lifelong process, of which we don’t seek an end but an awareness. The deeper truth of that whole dynamic is, the reason we aren’t in touch with our unconscious is trauma. Literally, the things that have happened to us that caused disruption in our lives, but also the actual fact that we aren’t brought up to be aware of and to have an active relationship with our unconscious are traumas. 

I always try to bridge what the runes might have said in their origin times, as well as what they can say now. We know what Uruz meant, and to some degree humanity understood that we have the potential to be a wild creature. Yet, we also possess evolving faculties for bridging our wildness into living cohesively among all of things–including with trauma. Even that guess of a historic potential of how Uruz fit into cultural context leaves room for our wild. It doesn’t gentle it away, demonize it, or pretend it isn’t there. It accepts the whole. In this way, Uruz isn’t about getting by in our trauma but managing it in the moment–each moment that is affected by it. This is how we honor our unconscious, yet aren’t ruled by it.

That single distinction means everything as we progress into Thurisaz. Thurisaz is the rune of Jotnar or thorn, depending on which poems we read. Both draw on characteristics of powerful forces that can be combustible energies. Most folx who read runes acknowledge that rumbling inner undertone of Thurisaz, yet still externalize it as something happening to us. The nuance that’s missed in that perspective is that with Thurisaz we have to sit with the extremes of being the one done to, as well as the one doing. And we know it. We know Thurisaz moments as some of our most paralyzing, explosive moments, yet also ones in which we feel the most “on” and “here.” It truly is berserker energy. Everything has this experience. Everything, everyone

Again, not inherently bad. It’s part of who we are, and in a culture that saw itself as intact with Nature, we would know this and have skills around it. That’s where the progression from Uruz is important. If we haven’t become active in relationship to our unconscious before we get to Thurisaz, that dynamic of doing and done to can be disastrous, if not fatal. 

The supportive thing about working with the runes in season is what we don’t have to perceive them as each half-month thrusting us into its focus. Rather, we can view our short time with each rune as a point to come deeper into relationship with it. We can bring it into our meditation, galdr, and let it guide us into closer connection with what it holds. With Thurisaz this may look like pausing on impulses, which by design mean we don’t pause. It could include mean setting aside time to allow all thoughts that come up to do so without judgment or re-routing. However it wants entry, let this rune be a mediator between the hard places of Self and waking awareness, so that they can strengthen their relationship. 

Algiz as the best way to allow this strengthening to happen is curious, as it was the rune in the same position last week with Uruz. It is another indicator to return to Spirits of Place. They are the elements, the directions, Land Elders, the spirits of what grows in our living space, the spaces itself, the structures. We are standing among relationship all the time. Be active in it. Notice who’s there, ask what they need, state what Self needs, and follow through on all of it, regularly. These relationships are as close to us as our closest human-person relationships. But to feel the benefit of them we have to live like it, which means awareness, asking for what we need, and reciprocity in giving what they need. Our SOP are where our deepest bonding is. That bonding can go a long way in helping us anchor in our daily lives, so that we have room and energy to do the deeper relationship building within ourselves.

Ansuz as the voice of Solidarity asks us to see where we aren’t alone, but also where we belong, where our truth belongs. We have a place. Our truth has a place. Neither of those things means we were born into a family, community, or culture that can hear it. The way that we ease toward both speaking our truth and connecting with those who can hear it is by appealing to our sense of innate belonging, and that of others. One cannot happen without the other. Belonging requires interdependence. We can’t be heard without also listening. We can’t experience place without also holding space for others. 

Understanding this truth about how we engage relationships externally is also applicable internally. We can’t reject any aspect of Self any more than we can throw out select personal truths. As we long for supportive, healthy, community with others, our unconscious seeks the same with our inner cosmology. The longing for community that we direct outward is the same yearning our inner cosmology has for its own cohesion. The demand that we embrace all of who we are and learn how to bring who that is forward in a way that can engage healthily in community is a significant undertaking, on all fronts. The challenge to honor our primalness with the compassion and respect for All Things is real.

The SOP for this week bring suggestions for how we can ease our primal natures to the fore in a supported way. Fossilized Echinoid (Sea Urchin) as the non-human earth influence indicates success in disputes. Specifically, it is historically a lucky charm. The indication here isn’t that it will be smooth sailing to work with Self in this way, but that standing solid in the effort when conflict comes up will be worth it. This is not a masochistic pursuit. 

These SOP hold space against a backdrop of the transition from Summer into Autumn. When I first saw that the Fossilized Echinoid fell exactly between these two, my first instinct was to see if it really was more in one season than the other, then to release into those fitful but exciting days of not-quite-summer but still-not-fall. In eastern NC they are vivid, and also explosive. For the last decade hurricanes mark that transition. There’s very little wobble in terms of sensually felt change. It’s still damn hot at that point, so it’s more an internal knowing how short the days have become, a readiness for all that bright light to go away, a fatigue in watching plant life turn its focus beneath the soil, and the scurrying creatures start to pack up. Then one day there’s a hurricane and it turns. 

For this week we have the good times and promise of power that Summer holds, as well as the sense of preparation and bounty that Autumn brings. Having both of those means we can relax into the support of SOP and other allies. We can also do the work that’s uniquely before us to bless all that support and move us further along in our calling. We have what we need right now, and it is lasting.

From the direction of Front/North, bridging unconscious into conscious action is best done with awareness of listening to the well Ancestors, and keeping the Descendants welfare at the fore. The question it asks is, “How do I best behave as a primal human that exalts my well Ancestors, and blesses my Descendants?” The implication is that Thurisazing well isn’t just about benefiting Self or community in the present, but that doing so spans into the past and potential futures. Ie: it matters.Big. In my cosmology, Front is cold, and it comprises both ice and air.  The emphasis of this helping spirit is knowledge and wisdom, our own and that of our well Ancestors. 

Stone as the element who can best demonstrate how we approach Thurisaz supports a slow, embodied stride. Like glacially slow. The kind of relationship Thurisaz requires us to have with our unconscious is the kind born over a lifetime of work, which implies the work never stops. There are successes. Longevity doesn’t mean there isn’t. But instead of looking at not being actively connected to our unconscious as a fault, consider it part of the deal. Our earliest ancestors didn’t have to cull through the systemic indoctrination against ourselves and each other that we do, but they still had to survive natural disasters, starvation, illness, assholes–all the same. I can’t say that it’s part of why we come here, but coming to terms with our unconscious is absolutely part of being here.

Ultimately with Thurisaz we’re talking about remembering that we’re connected into a gorgeous, wild, elegant organization that is real. It’s real seasonality. It’s real timing, and we feel it underneath all the colonization. It’s not controlling or arranged by hierarchy. It’s organically structured by interdependence and thrives because it generates belonging, and our greatest reminder of that organization is our unconscious. It tells us when we’re there as viscerally as it tells when we aren’t.

We’re working with two runes from the first aett this week, with one from the second. The sense of calling in the SOP to anchor the work we do is crucial to our ability to do it well.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How can SOP help ground you?
  • How do you recognize when your unconscious is driving?
  • What feelings come up when you have that awareness?


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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.

  • Thurisaz – Thoor, Thooree
  • Algiz – Awl, Awlyee, Ail, Ailhaw, Ailha
  • Ansuz – Ahn, Ahnsoo, Awn, Awnsoo


Runes for Change community

For more insight into the runes, eldering well with ancient wisdom, and cultivating a strong spiritual path

join the Runes for Change community.

For suggestions on how to weather the season gracefully, subscribe to my private runes community on Patreon.


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, die well, ancestor well


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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.