For the week of 30 July 2023

Becoming Better

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Thurisaz is the half-month rune through 13 August. Berkana is the intuitive rune, and Uruz indicates The True Jotnar Heart of Humanity’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Pine Cone with element Air, in the direction of Above/Beyond, in the season of Winter. Read right to left is Thurisaz, Berkana, then Uruz.

The full runecast will be publicly available here, two weeks from publication. You can find it in full on Patreon, now.

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 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
  • Soul Reading and Soul Tending sessions, based on tier
  • optional services with me
  • discounts on soul tending services

The Runecast

Moving into Thurisaz this week shifts us from this formative physical and conscious space into shaping what we do with them. Thurisaz is the rune of quickening, which I talked about in the What in the Wyrd episode of Thurisaz as a rune. It is the point in the traditional Elder Futhark order that we assess the data coming in from physical, mental, and emotional levels, we generate awareness of sacred order, and we respond with urgency. We could even say with lightning speed.

This rune is everything Thor, which means it’s the point of our cultivation of righteousness and the capability of responding when that sense of divine order has been disrupted. Whether we commit some offense against it or someone else does, we feel it in our bodies and ontologically. Our whole being knows the infraction has happened, and we’re poised to respond. At this point in the Futhark progression, how we respond has everything to do with how well we’ve come into relationship with Fehu (body/force) and Uruz (unconscious/action)…

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?

If we’ve not had the resources to do so great with it, we might arrive at a berserker stance, in which we fly into a fighting rage. If we have been able to learn to decode felt sense and experience how we feel on matters, we might be able to respond with compassion, and actually help to reframe the matter. It’s likely a combo of both. However we demonstrate awareness of cosmic disruption, what emerges at Thurisaz is that we have enough of a relationship with sacred order that we know what it feels like for it to have been disrupted. 

By rune three. Sit with that for a second and think of it in terms of psychological, social, energetic, and spiritual development. We know what sacred order and the violation of it feels like by the third rune in the Elder Futhark. That’s a pretty big deal.

Berkana as how we can better cultivate our Thurisaz is very nurturing. Berkana is the only pause rune that isn’t at the end of an aett. It comes after battle, after the experience of life and its constant implications of the agency-impact dance have taken a toll. That this is the reprieve accompanying how we sit with the way we come into form, and what we know of sacred order, this week.

The message here is not to force things. Give our experience of how we’re in form room to develop its own story to inform us. That sounds pretty simple and rewarding on the surface, though it’s one of the hardest things we will ever do in form. The problem there is, that even though we cultivate the capacity to know sacred order in a deeply felt and personal way by the third rune, our natural process to do so has already been hijacked. Our story has already begun being written for us. Our narrative of how we got here and what we want to do with our time here has been overlaid with other entities’ plans. It’s been limited by systems and dynamics both personal and collective that cause us to retreat from what we most deeply know: our calling.

So yes, take a Berkana spa stance in approaching Thurisaz this week. Give Self room to feel what thoughts of sacred order bring up, what feels of sacred order emerge from deeper levels of inner cosmology. The challenging part of that self-awareness is to feel it all out, without becoming emotionally stuck in what it brings up. We can feel the feels and still remember our skills. We can be in the muck and still hold intention of not bypassing, becoming or belittling it. 

Yes, this all comes up by rune three, but this is not our first time around a runic cycle.

Uruz through the voice of The True Jotnar Heart of Humanity is a lot. I’m always amused by how often the previous or subsequent rune in given order accompanies half-month runes. That relationship imparts the feeling that no matter how big the focus of one rune, we’re still in relationship with all of them. We can still draw on the range of what the whole Futhark brings for insight, direction, and support.

I don’t know what else to call the life force I felt, other than The True Jotnar Heart of Humanity. The context felt around it encompassed part of my experience of Creation Story, which doesn’t plot humans well in the fuller company of the planet. In my experience of Creation, humans weren’t given much agency initially (if at all), but we were made from Nature Spirits who not only did have agency, but who were long-steeped in, well, the many forces of Nature. They were/are very familiar with sacred order and were/are only ever capable of moving with it. Whether we go with the ON creation story that introduces humanity to the mix through the trees Ask and Embla, or whether we work with the clay formation of Adam and Eve, or Amilius and Lilith, that we come from existing forces of Nature is attested in many creation stories. That Jotnar core is a foundational part of who we are, and regardless of how we’ve been domesticated, it’s still there. Uruz provides that reminder, and its raw presence in the cast as the Jotnar Heart is an enormous appeal of support from our Nature family, in general, but specifically with finding balance in our primal natures.

Where this feels relevant with Uruz is our ability to connect to our inner awareness of sacred order, which I correlate to our nervous system (inner Frithgard). It’s inherently there, but we have to reach out to it. Our inner Frithgard can and will respond through its own conditioning, which may or may not tell the truth of the moment given our relationship to trauma. We have to extend our knowledge, skills, and intention through it to get an accurate reading or feedback. 

And we can do that. We can re-member our true Jotnar Heart that only knows sacred order, in spite of Uruzy limbic urges. We can be primal and sacred and quickened, and still get the bills paid and the rituals done.

The direction holding space for us this week, thus the best to appeal to for runecast matters, is Above. In my cosmology that is the domain of Sky Parent, Sky Family, which is all aspects of Sky. From an animistic vantage point, Above is the transconscious strata, where All Things converge. There we explore our direct personal relationship to the origin of All and what our role is in the sacred order of All. In traditional ON lore, it would indicate Asgard, which would point more to the godden, to bigger cosmic currents.Know that when we appeal to Sky Parent, we engage our oldest conceivable Ancestor, our entire lineage of Beyond Earth, whose outlook on our situation is just as expansive.

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. Where sacred order may be accessed via Air is to breathe out what triggers our inner Frithgard, to give it to Sky Parent. Use Air to give it to Above, so that we are engaging our elemental Helping Spirit in our care, as well as our Sky Parents. 

Pine Cone is our close earthly Ally this week, both bringing and reminding us of longevity, peace, enlightenment, regeneration, fertility. These are things that we feel aligned with when we’re also aligned with a healthy inner cosmology. Pine cone encourages us to draw on our immediate resources and think bigger. We are here to create, and our capability within that is far greater than ourselves, as is the impact of our creation. Pine cone fuses the vision and wisdom of Self with the manifestation and support of ecosystem. Again, another direct appeal for us to reach out to our elements, our directions each where we are, for help in holding our inner worlds.

Pine cone is a key landvaettir for me. I’ve never known my experience of Naturekin without it. Their fragrance, prickly scales, and earthy color all speak home to me. I truly can’t imagine myself or ecosystem without Pine Cone.

All of this engaging of ecosystem Helping Spirits and inner anchoring is done in the tone of Winter this week. This means no big expenditures. No giving of extra resources, no wandering off into the woods–however literal or figurative. Keep it light, cozy, and rooted–advice that echoes the spa qualities of Berkana.

Whatever constraints we feel in being here, humaning well, however explosive or sublime they may be, those are prodded by the explosiveness of Thurisaz. They just are. And we don’t have to take it personally or feel lost by that truth, or that we aren’t also still good people doing good things. 

I mentioned the larger planetary perspective coming in last week, and in this cast, I still feel a collective/planetary commentary in the half-month rune. It may be as simple as the reminder that what we are working through in our innermost cosmology, so it is being worked through at levels far above us. If we must put a name on it, at godden level, Ally level, Watcher level. It’s all being asked to delve into its inner machinations and do better, just like we are.

And for the 1-3-1 pattern in this runecast, Berkana is a wonder presence to hold space for us as we become.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How do you hold space for uncomfortable emotions?

  • Where do you find power in uncomfortable emotions?

  • What brings you relief when they come up?


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

  • Uruz – Oo, Ooroo, Ur


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


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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.