For the week of 23 July 2023

The Secrets of Consciousness

Uruz is the half-month rune through 29 July, (carved lapis lazuli). Nauthiz is the intuitive rune, and Sowilo indicates Rupture’s perspective. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Mink Rib with element Metal, in the direction of Back/South/Suðri, in the season of Spring. Read right to left is Uruz, Nauthiz, then Sowilo.

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

Uruz has us reaching into our wildness, the aspects of us that have never been and can never be domesticated. It sounds like a dangerous invitation on the surface, though through the relics of rituals we have from our northern Ancestors, they understood the need to be in relationship with inner utangardr. While great personal insight came up in this cast, the whole time I was listening to the various pieces and parts, I kept getting the memo that this runecast speaks more to the collective dynamic than to personal ones. In other words, it’s about the overall energy and transitions happening to the planet, which are informing our personal ones.

The thing about Uruz that has always stood out to me is that our wildness follows our tameness in the traditional ordering. Like some kind of reminder. “Don’t be too tame.” Fehu is our assets that must be managed, represented by cattle. They are domesticated. They cannot tend themselves. They require force. Uruz, though, is the aurochs, a wild creature that tends itself. Uruz is action. It may or may not flow accordingly; that’s not up to us. Even for Utharkists who place Uruz first, I feel like the opening tone of the Elder Futhark is that it takes relationship with both our discipline and our chaos to function well in this world. We can’t disregard either. In fact, our capability in navigating both sets the pace for our experience of the rest of the Futhark. And if we haven’t done that sitting with, by the time we get to Thurisaz and Gebo and Eihwaz, and even Tiwaz… Think about it. What does hardship look like without our cunning edge and knowledge? What about partnership? Or the entire log jam of the second aett? Not good, friends. Not good. And if we look at this from a collective vantage point, souling-in-form is getting a sharp upgrade. Even other-than-human forms are getting deep reunification with Beyond. I’ve got mini essays on that.

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?

Nauthiz as the best way to Uruz this week brings in the element of fire, needfire, not so much as scaring away evil, but returning what no longer serves us back to the recesses, where it is taken care of. And I say that with specificity: taken care of. For care to be given in its rightful place. This is depossession. This is deathwalking.

This placement of nodfyr up under our Uruz is literal kindling for us to light and burn off what doesn’t serve us, primal, domesticated, or otherwise. The point being made is that everything affects our unconscious. It’s all in there, and we’re either attentive to that and responding with compassion, or we’re out there living hard lives, and probably making others’ lives hard. So maybe needfire is literal here. Maybe we need to extinguish all other fire in our lives right now, so that the one(s) we light with intention are getting the elements they need to stay evenly stoked, so they can healthily sustain us.

Again, from the collective perspective, we can see the fires blazing–literally and figuratively–on the ground and in oppressive systems. How can we stoke them with compassion and intention, so that they serve the purpose of true, deep, deathwalking of what doesn’t serve? How do we make fire regenerative?

Rupture speaking through Sowilo implies that we have to midwife the burning, ordeal-style, to its initiated completion. Rupture means to break, usually after a crescendo of built-up pressure. Sowilo is the rune of the sun, of life-giving light. The sun will eventually rupture. And that means we will have figured out other ways to thrive, or we will be prepared for that demise. Or both.  Sacred Rupture means to function as doula to the break. See it in all its sovereignty, hold space for the break where possible, and meet the change it generates with intention. To do so is eldering at the highest capacity possible, and with the deepest understanding that as the sun shines on us so that we may shine on others, so we stand in the danger of the demise of difficult things, so that they will not continue to hurt others.

I think the planetary aspect of that one is self-evident.

The supports coming forward for us in intentionally evolving our unconscious in ways that are healthy for us all include fire, foundational roots, new growth, and the capability of letting our boundaries evolve.

The direction giving the spacial tone this week is Back (South/Suðri), which in my cosmology is heat, fire. It’s also the direction of the janitors continually deathwalking what is no longer needed, so that fungi can lay down the new network and teach us all how to use it. It is what is behind me, place of past and letting go, so that we know what comes is what is right for us. Back is the direction of earthly Ancestors–the plants, the rocks, the primordial soups that created life as we know it. It is the Ancestors, who are literally behind me, because they have my back. What or our inner noise could we give them to handle, or ask their insight on this week?

Metal–our elemental support–is what gives Earth structure. It is hard, thus it represents boundaries. Metal is old, in terms of who’s been here longest, and it’s finite in supply. This suggests that it is shrewd in its energy, yet entirely up for the job. Its place in greater elemental relationships also has us reflect on our external experiences, to draw from them, and turn within to set our boundaries and honor our value. Likewise, Metal shines. It is brilliant and inspiring. Like it, we harden under duress, yet can be continuously shaped.  When metal gets too strong, however, it becomes rigid. When it’s melted, it is likewise dangerous, It burns everything in its path. Balanced metal allows for healthy boundaries, an easy routine, and inspiring rituals, whereas too little metal will lead to sloppiness and numbness. When metal becomes overbearing we will have difficulty with expressing ourselves, with intimacy and spontaneity. 

If there’s a memo from Metal, I suspect it’s along the lines of boundary inspection. We give a lot of talk in Instagram-therapist culture about having boundaries, standing on them, honoring them. We talk far less about boundaries that can be flexible, that some should be.  When we talk about things like exploring our unconscious motivations, it’s often with the assumption that they are bad or harmful. Metal seems to be questioning that, and suggesting we can come into relationship with our unconscious in a completely different way, and at least somewhat on our own terms.

The metaphoric weather this week is that of Spring – new growth, creativity, return to the forest. It’s quite the stretch from our many weeks of Autumnal abundance. Spring indicates a time of new growth and creativity. It represents the seasonal point that human-persons can more safely venture beyond their own thresholds–utangardr–return to the forest. It’s a time to verge outward and explore new territory. I think this viewpoint of Uruz assures us that we can’t go wrong with intentionality toward our unconscious. There are many blessings there, and the enlivening of creativity from Spring helps us to recognize them and act on them.

Mink rib as our earthly helping spirit makes our motions this week tiny, subtle. There’s no grandstanding or boldly visible moves, with regard to exploring inner cosmology this week. Mink represent the work that comes from silence, secrecy, whispers. The emphasis is on what we hear and observe, not what we say or do. Rib comes in as backup support (pun) to what Metal also offers support and evolving boundaries. Ribs are cartilage. Their whole job is to hold us together, yet have the flexibility to move with us, to subtly give us poise in form. 

I feel like the messages for our last week with Uruz are about our space-holding for unconscious depths can be loving and beautiful–the space-holding and the aspects of ourselves that we find there. And even though the supporting runes are from the second aett–lots of busy vibes–they still indicate support from our ecosystem and other-than-human spirits, the whole way through. From the planetary standpoint, this cast affirms for me that we have to be one-for-all to do the personal work Uruz hints at, that being able to see each other starts there, and that doing so eases tending our unconscious stuffs. Ie, the more we see we’re all connected, the less afraid of our unconscious we have to be.

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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • What comes up for you when you think of exploring your unconscious?

  • Where do you feel it in your body when you think of flexible boundaries?

  • What secrets do you carry that need to be kept? Hat ones can be let go?

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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.

  • Uruz – Oo, Ooroo, Ur
  • Nauthiz – Now, Nowdth, Nowdthee

  • Sowilo/Sowilu – Soh, Sohl, Sohwi, Sohli

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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

So that your descendants never elder alone.