For the week of 5 March 2023

Generational Grief and Personal Truth

Tiwaz (lapis lazuli) is the half-month rune through 14 March. Ansuz reversed is the intuitive rune, and Othala indicates Loss’ message to us. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are fossilized Echinoid (sea urchin) and element Mycelium (mushrooms preserved in resin) in Spring, in the direction of Within (temporarily represented by the mink skull). Read right to left is Tiwaz, Ansuz reversed, then Othala

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

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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 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 a two-week examination of our relationship with the rune.

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

The somber beginning of the third aett sits hard after the chaos of the second. Add to that, the suspended shock of Tiwaz follows the bright expressiveness of Sowilo, which seems like a bad joke on the surface. We move from months of clashing with other beings, figuring out how we human among everyone else  doing their thing, to close that aett with a rune that shows we get it. We endure friction learning how to soul-in-form among others, so that we can help each other do it better. We get the rhythm of it down and are feeling good about it. Then Tiwaz.

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?

But that process isn’t without its losses, and I think that’s why Tiwaz comes so quickly after. We have to learn to grieve, which is an act that American settler culture doesn’t acknowledge let alone hold space for. As a result, we don’t know how to grieve. We don’t get allotted time out from hardship to have the process we need, yet we also aren’t taught skills to get through our days carrying underlying duress (PTSD). We often don’t even understand what we’re grieving, because we’ve compounded years (if not lineages) of trauma. 

Then Tiwaz.

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It’s easy to see this rune as just battle. Just pivoting in the heat of the moment to what will work. If we look at Tiwaz as less specific and more thematic regarding life, we have to make space to grieve. We can’t wait for the right time. Maybe we have to create regular space, even when we’re not fully cognisant of something that’s tugging at us. Because something eventually will, and it won’t be gentle. 

Every week when I cast the runes, I’m waiting for each one to reveal itself, each helping spirit to speak. It all comes together so organically, and when the overall message emerges it’s always so on the nose, yet I never see it coming. The memo this week is about seeing the toll of not being able to speak our truth about our life experiences, and how that inability gets handed down, along with the impact of those experiences. How not grieving becomes a family’s culture.

Ansuz reversed is pretty straightforward. We can’t speak our truth. It may be that the processes that help us discern what our truth is can’t gel. We don’t know exactly what the truth is, we just feel it. It’s in our body or etheric field. It may be that we know it but no one will listen. Maybe there is no one to listen, no one to witness to give our truth wider wings.  It may be that there are so many truths that have been held back we don’t know where to start–so we don’t. We spin on it until we’re sucked back into confusion. Perhaps the facts of a dynamic aren’t clear and so personal truth can’t fully solidify. Or maybe someone else is distorting our truth, however unintentionally, and is blind to the ramifications. 

Whatever the reason that our truth can’t gain its own agency, this week it’s felt. And it’s related to grief. Some unspoken grief that may be ours personally, or may be in our ancestral line, needs to be acknowledged with Tiwaz. That will look differently for each of us. What’s important is that we recognize it for what it is, and understand that we have relationships and support to have that recognition. Our ecosystem, loved ones, Allies, Ancestors–we aren’t doing this alone, even if we aren’t totally aware of who we’re doing it with. Now is the time to establish that awareness.  Now is the time to grow those relationships.

Othala through the voice of Loss stands alone. Often folx approach Othala as a death rune, though I think it’s more about life–if the two can be divisible from each other. Othala is about inheritance, and estate, and those close family matters. Animistically, that’s how we’re in relationship with the Ancestors and the Descendants, which means it’s about how we elder. How we elder is humaning the best we can, with the leading edge being bearing our unique gift so that we leave life better for the Descendants

And that means we can’t help but leave them with our Loss.  We all know what that is. Loss, itself, having at the deepest, most intimate awareness of Self, and then not having. We all know it. And we all respond to that differently. And no matter how we respond to it, we are marked by it. We are scarred by it, in a way that we are never the same. This means how we are in relationship with everything can’t be the same. What we leave the Descendants reflects this.

It also means we leave them with technologies to deal with the legacies and impact of Loss. This is where The Broken Path has left us without skills and rituals for grieving. This is where we are re-learning them now, so that we don’t show up empty-handed to our own Loss, or that of those we love now and leave behind, later. 

This is Tiwaz of this season: aligning our awareness with the need to grieve and have some passable skills, rituals, and lore to share with our community and Descendants so that we don’t just tend ourselves, but also hold the generations after us.  

The part of this that I have to remind myself of is that in this era, we are dealing with a particularly complex weaving of wyrd. Humaning is hard. Period. Right of the box, stepping into form, we sacrifice some higher awareness or some such to be here. I don’t know what it is, but we all feel it on some level. We gave something up to be here. So the big question we carry forward is why. I think that question would be more easily answered in an intact culture, with living ancestral rituals, community, land/ecosystem relationships, spiritual/physical/emotional/mental technologies that help us deal with the sacrifice. But we don’t have that in American settler culture, and that lack doubles down on how hard humaning is. It’s extra, on top of the mythic sacrifice we make to come into form.

Maybe on some level that depth of extra is part of what we have to grieve right now. It is part of a collective Loss. And I point this out to reiterate that what we each do to thrive despite mythic sacrifice and cultural systems is also extra. Extra special. Extra amazing. Extra worthy of acknowledgement.

The helping spirits holding space with us this week are Echinoid Fossil (Sea Urchin) who represents success in disputes. It’s a lucky charm, of sorts. It’s funny. I have zero doubt about spirits, inner soul cosmology dynamics, or life beyond life, but I struggle with lucky charms. No doubt some grief to be unpacked there, and this is the ally who can help with that. 

Element Mycelium is an incredibly supportive Ally to have. 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 despite grief. In short, Mycelium holds the secrets to souling-in-form well. It probably holds insights into grief, as well.

That this runecast is occurring in Within reinforces that we set the parameters. It informs us that there are parameters to be set, as well as we have to take action on them (As in, if we don’t other forces will plug in random parameters that may or may not be beneficial). 

Within is the direction of the center of who we are–our center of personal cosmology, stretching out into All Things. It is soul in form. It is our feet on the ground of Midgard, seeing it all from our own perspective. It is animisming in interdependence and belonging. It is our direct personal relationship to being here, now, embodied. Within speaks to our capability of allowing body to be both the boundary for and determiner of our experience here. It reiterates our accountability to formed being, the reminder that we have a foot in both worlds, which meet at the heart. Despite that the heart and passion can easily dictate how we move among, we are challenged to remember to move with our whole Selves, with our whole Within. 

It both exalts what is wonderful about being in form, while fully honors that we are also Other. It fosters us to remember that we do not and cannot forego honoring all of who we are. We literally do not have to choose.

A note on the directions and seasons–both have said in the last couple of weeks that they want to be represented in the runecasts, not just known. They want to be tactile relationships. I’m working on their representations, some of which revealed themselves quickly, some not. The mink skull is a stand-in for Within.

That all of this occurs in the cosmic season of Spring is uplifting. Our exploration of relationship to grief comes with new growth, new creativity, and new promise for where it can go. It may not be the most wonderful exploration we’ve ever had, but it will be held in the most wonderful support we could hope for. This is the best lab space possible for creating skills and rituals on working with grief to be handed down.

In this runecast we have two runes from the third aett, and one from the first. That 3:1:3 sandwich is so focused on personal truth within the parameters of space to process our grief, that we can’t not. We have the opening rune of the aett that has us reckon with grief, and the closing rune of that aett (depending on what system you follow)  indicating that we did so successfully.

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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How do you sort out grief that is personal, ancestral or systemic?
  • Where do they overlap?

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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.

  • Tiwaz – Tee, Teewuh, Teewaw, Tyr
  • Ansuz – Ahn, Ahnsoo, Awn, Awnsoo, Oss

  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal

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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

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