For the week of 16 July 2023

The Impact of Belief

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Uruz is the half-month rune through 29 July, (carved Baltic amber). Raidho reversed is the intuitive rune (carved reindeer antler slice), and Othala indicates Believing’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Barred Owl with element Flesh, in the direction of Above, in the season of Autumn (tree button). Read right to left is Uruz, Raidho reversed, then Othala.

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 Uruz this week pushes things into new territory. Well, okay, not new to us, but new for this cycle. With Fehu we begin the cycle with a very grounded, tending of formed beingness, and Uruz ignites that with a little drama. 

In fact, Uruz kind of is drama, of the primal variety. If Fehu is making sure we have the Midgard supports in place to soul-in-form, Uruz draws on the unconscious ones. It draws on the muddy, entwined roots that simultaneously anchor us into the ground and Beyond, into All Things. It is where our wild becomes metabolized into neurology, will, agency. 

I’ve spent a lot of TWR talking about Uruz as our untamed inner power that the world can’t handle us wielding. I want to take that a little deeper in this cast. This is the only rune associated with a named other-than-human being–Audumbla. Audumbla is the primordial feminine life force/Jotun/goddess/aurochs who was carried forward largely in oral tradition. She’s barely referenced in Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda, and that’s it. We have Ymir all over the place…

Learn more about this seasonal progression, and how to draw its insights into the personal spiritual path in Runic Book of Days.

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What Does It Mean?

Ymir, curiously, isn’t associated with a rune, but gets all the credit of first Jotun/primeval force/god/creator, despite that Audumbla, either pre-dates them or at minimum co-creates formed reality as we know it with them. Ymir is attested as an intersexed Jotun, whom Audumbla licked free of the primordial ice. Both went on to lick other beings free from the ice, among them being Odin’s grandfather, Buri. 

I talk about this some in the runes intensive that I teach. The attested lineage looks like this: Audumbla-> Ymir-> Buri-> Borr-> Odin -> Ask/Embla/humanity. 

The oral tradition looks like this: Audumbla/Ymir-> Buri-> Borr-> Odin -> Ask/Embla/humanity.

Why is there only mere attestation of Audumbla in the ancient texts? I have a theory that Audumbla and Ymir were aspects of the same being. They were a conjoined gender, as well as the origin synthesis of animal and forces of Nature that created our world as we know it. They were the original force + action that created us. Why wouldn’t we want that documented, celebrated, and remembered for all time? Maybe it’s because who wrote down that history in the 1200s was an xtian man who was more vested personal imperial interest that steered populace support away from land-based identities to genealogical identities. Someone who saw more to gain from departing from an animistic worldview in which splitting out the feminine from our sacred origins mirrored our separation from land. Someone known for embedding biblical narrative into Edda in a way that Audumbla bore the ‘cast out’ aspect of the ON creation narrative. 

I pose these questions so that when Uruz visits we consider its real, vital, unconscious secrets: that we also contain outcast primordial aspects of Self that tie us closely to the land, that the complex and confounding power of Audumbla that could only be held in the oral tradition of Uruz is a power that is also in us.

That Raidho reversed is the best way to work with Uruz this week hints at coping skills. Raidho is the first whisper of our agency co-mingling with that of others, and it’s still under this sort of first-aett training wheels bubble. It’s kind of protected. Even its reversal isn’t a whopping blow to our intended journey plans. It’s more like the affirmation that things more often than not won’t go to plan, and the reminder to use our skills to tend that disruption. 

With Uruz, we could be talking about our deep unconscious demanding more from our peaceful but maybe complacent life. It could be that life (collective deeper unconscious) is demanding action from us but we can’t live up to it in some way, or due to some other circumstance beyond our control. Or, maybe we feel the rumbles of our deeper inner cosmology and have no idea how to respond to them. However it shapes up, there’s dis-ease with the inner state of being this week. There’s disjoint around feeling like who we are and who we want to be aren’t friends, though the only way to soothe the dynamic is to give all involved the chance to speak and be heard. And in order to do that we have to go deep.

Roots deep. Othala as the holder of the bigger, beyond-formed being brings supportive depth to that undertaking with Believing. I’m a second decan Cancer in the Babylonian astrological system, so I don’t believe much. I feel. I experience. For a long time I positioned feeling above believing, and if I’m honest, I still do. Felt sense is my navigation system, though to commit to that exclusively in my present state of deconstructionism would bypass the many encoded biases that I carry and have ultimately formed beliefs around that are in my unconscious. Ie, they shape my Uruz. To value feeling above belief doesn’t leave room for me to course-correct unsupportive ur-beliefs. So I have to generate beliefs around ‘everyone deserves compassion,’ or ‘I am capable.’ These neurological creations are beliefs, and my relationship to them, to the act of believing, is more precious now. I’m more selective about it, more capable of tending ur-belief, itself. 

So when Believing surfaced in this runecast, I felt and believed it to be very special, not just in relationship to these runes, but in this time on the planet. What we believe now matters more than ever, because we have never been as neurologically agile, or capable, of changing our beliefs to the betterment of All. 

There’s a double-edged sword happening with Othala and Believing this week. Othala is the rune of being the midpoint between the Ancestors and the Descendants, which means it’s about how we use our agency in form. With Uruz that could mean that some of our ur-beliefs come from not-so-great Ancestors who need tending. It could mean that we have Ancestors who can be vital community for holding space for our primal Selves. Probably both. Regardless,Othala rallies that Believing has a long lifespan, and that we should approach it carefully this week and understand how it influences our deep unconscious motivations.

An interesting observation about Uruz and Othala in general is, where Uruz attests the internal organization of being in form (inner cosmology), Othala could easily be the external organization of form. How we are left things from those who went before, and how we leave them for those who come after both influence our unconscious in a big way. That both show up together this week suggests exploring how our inner cosmology is in relationship with the Ancestors, and get to work on where that needs attention.

The tone of support this week again comes from Autumn.The other day I asked ecosystem the reason that this span of bounty and preparation has come up so often over the last few months. The response was something along the lines of our experience of Summer in the North needs offsetting with a cooler, more internal sense of support. Also that there’s a collective vibe of ‘not enough’ or being taken from that is being augmented by TPTB, who are giving us an undertone of Autumn to know that stolen-from vibe is being handled. I also feel undertones of inner motivation being what helps us sustain during climate change.

Autumn turns our focus to tending hearth, getting stores, ground, home, and harvest ready for needier times. It’s a time tending both outdoors and indoors, and conserving energy for the cold to come, honoring Nature’s retreat underground. Autumn is also the wind up for the Wild Hunt, the ethers of which may be potent to call upon for the work of deathwalking inner aspects of Self that are no longer needed.

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. It may be helpful this week to explore where our unconscious Selves are in relationship with the greater transconscious.

Flesh as the element in league with Uruz brings us back to the fundamental boundary that separates us from other things. It is firm but porous. It is the surface of our protection, and provides our physical appearance.  Flesh is what makes us whole, into one solid system; flesh makes form complete. It is super important to being in form, because the physics and mysteries of Flesh are what allow us to focus our agency. They are what make our agency do.

However, we have to remember that we aren’t really the only ones inhabiting it. We are not individual in form any more than we are in spirit. Our flesh is riddled with other ecosystems in and on it, with whom we are in continual relationship. It’s also intimately engaging the elements inside and out, all the time. So while we can sit with flesh as a pivotal distinguishing element, it’s also the main one that represents our interdependentness.

Strictly from a transmutational standpoint, Flesh digests, it feeds, it rots. Given that, it may be the most intimidating form of transmutation to us, because we can’t witness it without witnessing our own mortality. Where Uruz is concerned, Flesh is its container. Flesh is what keeps Uruz united and safe. It may be a powerful gesture to take time to honor Body as exactly that this week.

Barred Owl as our boots-on-the-ground ally this week sees behind masks, those of our culture, and of being human. They’re a take-no-shit ally that moves easily between living and spirit worlds, and for that reason can’t be deceived. As someone who has walked closely with Barred Owl for my entire adulthood, that skill seems cool as long as isn’t pointed at Self. It also means that with Barred Owl comes the challenge to realize the deceptions of settler culture and still stay rooted in soul calling. Owl, in general lives and walks beyond illusion, though it also brings protection. The bars on its chest indicate sacred space. Keep that in mind while vying for closer relationship with inner Selves this week. The earthly Ally helping us to do that is fierce, not just in defending it, but also in making sure we stay in our best lane in how we birth it, how we deathwalk it. Its appearance means validation of feelings, that we’re heading in the right direction, doing the right thing. It’s affirmation that while our deeper unconscious may be foreign territory, it’s exactly where we need to be focusing attention for now.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • In what ways do you regularly tend your deep unconscious?

  • How do you feel stolen from right now?

  • How has this long span of Autumn supported you inside?


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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.

  • Uruz – Oo, Ooroo, Ur

  • Raidho – Rhye, Ryedthe, Ryedthoh

  • Othala – Oadth, Oadtha, Oadthal


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.