For the week of 6 August 2023
The Ritual of Within
Thurisaz (carved Baltic amber) is the half-month rune through 13 August. Nauthiz is the intuitive rune (carved reindeer antler slice), and Raidho indicates Jargon’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Mink Vertebra with element Timing (hourglass), in the direction of Right (East/Austri-river dwarf), in the season of Winter (tree button). Read right to left is Thurisaz, Nauthiz, then Raidho.
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
- 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:
After the volatility of last week, our second week with Thurisaz has some suggestions regarding ritual and observation of timing, in terms of how to successfully work with our inner Jotun. We are what we are, and we can come into awareness of that in a way that lets us bring who we are through what we do in our time here. We can scream from the mountaintop when needed and still tuck the children in at night.
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:
- If you’re on a desktop, log into Patreon or become a community member with the buttons at the right sidebar.
- If you’re on a device, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the buttons to log into Patreon or become a community member.
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What Does It Mean?
Nauthiz as the best way we can accomplish that this week speaks to ritual as both spiritual practice and nervous system training. I’ve long-said this in mentorship and classes I teach, though it’s particularly true for people who are neurodivergent: make the everyday tasks that must be done sacred, and the relationship to ritual radically changes. We always think ritual has to be this big set-aside, ceremonial undertaking. And it can be that. It’s fun for it to be that sometimes. It’s not easy to take that approach to ritual while working 40+ hours a week and trying to be a whole person. So we break it down into bite-sized, even Skittle-sized if necessary, to get in the spiritual juice we all need. We sacredize the things we have no choice but to get done, like washing the dishes, doing the laundry, getting dressed every day… or most days, at least. We see the sacred in what’s already there, deepen our relationship to ritual, itself, and still manage to get our necessary chores done.
I didn’t say it was sexy, I said it was doable. And when we start to see the sacred in everyday blandness, the sacred becomes more able to reach us. It becomes more of a multi-exchange continuum in which all involved are supported, and it’s even better when we can share that experience with other humans.
This is where Nauthiz excels. Yes needfire, constraint, and all that. What drives the needfire is the making of an everyday task of lighting a fire alchemical medicine. It is what synergizes the mundane practice of snuffing all other fire to kindle this one to purify community and cattle, with the bonds forged with land spirits to fortify that protection. Yes, it’s burning herbs that kill germs. It’s also reinforcing relationship to ecosystem as family. This is what all ritual does–dish washing, or baby blessing.
This week we revisit where we can re-sacred our lives. Look in the most tedious of tasks, especially in the most tedious tasks, for the elements, helping spirits, Allies, Ancestors. They’re there. They always have been. And maybe we’re not extinguishing all dish-washers in the neighborhood at the same time that we wash ours as is the needfire custom, but we can quiet all the distraction within us to be present for those ecosystem allies, who have always been with us as we work.
Of course this rune placement isn’t about dishwashing. Nauthiz is telling us that we can’t just wing relationship with our inner cosmology. We can’t stumble into it or brow beat deep primal relationship with Self into being. Thurisaz takes attention, and at least for now, that attention can be best delivered with intention. So maybe as we cultivate the ability to experience the elements in washing dishes, we also experience dish-washing as an opportunity that all of Self is tending our lived space together. Or when we’re mowing grass, we call forward aspects of inner Self to smell the lawn, feel the heat on our arms, and express how this tending of physicality takes a whole inner community.
In short, this week with Thurisaz we shapeshift into ourSelves.
Raidho through the voice of Jargon takes this shift to heart. Jargon is usually expressed as in-group-speak, as in a terminology only used and understood by a specific group. The presence who came in was Beyond Earth, so not earthly-speak. And the feeling I had was that it referenced the perspective of being removed from what is earthly, and looking out over it. Not in a dominant way, just non-sentimental and looking over the earthscape. The vibe was that we have to remember we have that vantage point, too. We aren’t separate from wider vantage points of our own mortality; rather we become distanced from those perspectives after domestication. However, internal aspects of us–our Thurisaz–who we’re taught to consider uncivilized, lives closer to that Beyond than our conscious experience of Self does in waking beta brain state. Our shadowy, mushy unconsciousness knows more about who we are at Beyond levels than we can learn in our awakened consciousness. The irony.
And there are forces who work against that, which is what [Sacred] Jargon was getting at. The in-group-speak of domestication, colonization, doesn’t have our best interests in mind. Jargon expressed this as language that is created to manipulate. That’s its sole purpose. As I said in the video for this cast, we could make the argument that such is the purpose of all language. Though when we hold that caveat alongside Raidho, taking our narrative on the road, expanding our horizons, this could play more like a warning.
Our stories are sacred. Not all beings are meant to hear them let alone have access to shape them. We have to be able to detect what is supportive of and representative of our truth, of which our stories are the shape of Self we present to the world–another potential of shapeshifting. We can’t hide our truth in home rituals [washing dishes]. This week we need to take our truth for a spin out in the world, in a way testing our capability to sit with our nervous system (frithgard) response and still find ways to find and do those everyday rituals.
Ritual, in this context, is what helps us maintain our semblance of Self, even on the road. Even as we’re learning the stories of others, sifting through jargon, we’re creating the Sacred Jargon of our inner cosmology, remembering the Jargon of sacred order. We are learning more who we are inside through making our experience of outside bigger.
So, movement this week, emphasis on finding the sacred in chores in the safe space of home and moving our roving spirits and the rituals that sustain them into new spaces. We have a concept put forward and put into action all in the same runecast.
The 1-2-1 aett dance suggests a little challenge to our agency this week, though also that it’s well-supported by how we’re souling in form. It’s also really well-supported by the helping spirits.
With Right (That Side/ East/Austri) in my cosmology we have water, flow, being carried. It specifically is Ocean, which represents home, in that all of life emerged from the Ocean. All water flows to the Ocean. So when this direction comes up in casts, explore what home means, at the most sacred and embodied level. Literally, consider where the body feels best. Consider what makes a space feel sacred. Consider how to get more of those needs met in the immediate living space, and how creature-of-habit ritual can situate there.
For me Right also is the place of dreams, the primordial soup of our desires mingled with multiversal forces that can help create them into being. It is the direction of realizing our agency, of truly grokking that how we as human-persons align with form is unique in evoking deep change here. And with that unique potential is the responsibility of using our agency to benefit all touched by its impact.
Element Timing reminds us that greater laws are in relationship and are carrying out duties that while we have no control over them, we also don’t have to lift a finger to make sure they keep doing their job. As rough as souling in form is, we don’t have to be mindful of everything.
Timing is ability to pace Self according to the cycles of Nature, to be in relationship with Nature such that one’s habits and body rituals sync with natural occurrences (up at dawn; relax when the shadows grow long). It’s also a point for realization that we are naturally synced with Nature. We don’t really have to work at it. This can be a place of realizing where we are already in synced ritual with Nature. Again, just a matter of awareness, not bringing in totally new approaches to ritual. The transmutation Timing offers is the faith that time will take care of need, despite that our comprehension of time is very short. Timing is another opportunity to find where we experience sacred order.
Mink as our earthly helping spirit encourages us to be subtle this week. We are bringing our stories into new space through the vehicle of adaptive ritual, though still quietly, steadfastly. Vertebra suggests we can still do this in a way that interweaves. Our foundation can be solid but sparse. Our support can be engaging though not boisterous. We can nurture our inner Thurisaz in small, quiet ways, and still solidify that relationship.
Winter supports Mink’s tone of keeping things relatively subdued. Winter brings a cloistered space, huddled for warmth, slow-moving, and ample stillness. The world gets smaller in winter. The forest becomes less approachable and perhaps even hostile toward human-persons. We are less involved with the outdoors, and must pay closer attention to our reserves. It is the time of the Wild Hunt and standing in the danger of our dead.
And perhaps that is something to take to heart in these themes of allowing doable ritual to be the entryway to deep inner cosmology: it may not be the dead of our lives that must be deathwalked, but the dead within us. Maybe it’s not that we aren’t in touch with our inner thurs, but that we’re more in touch with what obscures us from it.
It’s worth sitting with any resistance to clarity on our inner realms, this week, and to understand what ambient jargon may be feeding that resistance.
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Half-month Rune Prompts
How would you characterize your inner thurs?
How do you feel about them?
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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
Nauthiz – Now, Nowdth, Nowdthee
Raidho – Rhye, Ryedthe, Ryedthoh
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
To bear your unique gift to the world.
To leave the planet better than you found it.
So that your descendants never elder alone.