For the week of 23 October 2022

The Possibility of Joy

Wunjo is the half-month rune through 28 October. Sowilo is the intuitive rune, and Jera indicates Tide’s message to us. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Unknown (glass vial) in Spring, with the active element of Ether in the direction of Beyond. Read right to left is Wunjo, Sowilo, then Jera.
[ppp_patron_only level="1.00" silent="yes"]The Weekly Rune - Wunjo Audio Blog, for the week of 23 October 2022 [/ppp_patron_only]

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.

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

As we explore our relationship to Joy over the last week, we enter this time with Wunjo aligning us with supports that help us best use our agency. We step into this seasonal place of revelry, though the recipe we’re sitting with this week still whispers that we think in terms of community, sharing, and enjoyment of those things.

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?

So much of learning to human well is learning to hold our extremes alongside our quieter, subtler aspects. In the first aett we have to learn to hold our agency responsibly, then progress into the second, which challenges us to do that with the moving parts of other human-persons, non-humans, and things we never imagined exercising their agency. When we start to throw things like Joy into the mix–the possibility of doing all of that joyfully–the conversation becomes complex. We’re reminded with Wunjo that is exactly the deal- human well, all things considered.

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Sowilo takes that community responsibility thing to a deeper level. This is the rune of pay-it-forward, in which we’re challenged to find our sacredness, and through it honor the sacredness of someone else. In that light (see what I did there–Sowilo, sun…) this is an animistic rune, in that it shows us how we’re inextricably woven into community, communities, all the time, even when we don’t realize it. But with Sowilo, we’re being asked to realize that relationship. With Wunjo, we’re being asked to intentionally bring Joy into what we do here. 

Curious that Wunjo is the final rune of the first aett, and Sowilo is the final rune of the second. They are both so fortuitous and hopeful. They are both about bonds and the way we hold ourselves in them. And both of them are followed by really hard runes–Hagalaz and Tiwaz.

So this week there is an omen in the messaging. It isn’t that Joy is impermanent, as I’ve thought in the past, or that we can’t stay in relationship with it. It’s that we’re still tasked to find it even though Hagalaz. We’re still capable of bringing that energy through how we human, despite pretty much the entire second aett being one big challenge.

Consider the possibilities this week. Y’all know I’m not a Pollyanna with regard to well, anything. I’m also not a pessimist. I plant myself somewhere in the realist camp, though I’m revamping the harder edges I’ve carved from that. It’s easy in this culture to be worn down and feel that we can’t find joy. Sometimes, that’s just the truth of a moment. But some moments we can, even when things have gone all second aett. And this relationship between Wunjo and Sowilo for now is suggesting we hold space for possibility of Joy. Here and there. When we think to. When we can’t think of anything else. When we can’t imagine it. 

No requirements. No rigid qualifications. Just possibility.

Jera speaking through the voice of Tide provides Allies and a reminder of seasonality, cyclicity, sacred order. Jera comes almost mid-way the second aett in the transitional Futhark order. It’s sort of like the calvary riding in, in the form of tools, Allies, our own ability to assess and adapt. This is the harvest rune, and it implies that we’ve learned how to apply our agency. We’ve figured out how to cultivate things that sustain us and let go of things that don’t. 

When we view that spiritually, we’re talking about seeing ourselves in community with our immediate Naturekin, and doing our part in it. We’re part of. We’re among. We’re in continual community with the place we live, and flexing, fluxing to be part of its balance.

Tide is another way that we can locate ourselves in sacred order. We talk about this often when Laguz comes up in runecasts. In many ways that water-element-connection is more tactile, more evident to the way we move–even in settler culture. Tide is more elusive, less detectable. As such, we might have to exert some real effort to let go this week. We might have to remember that we don’t need to know where we’re going, and forget to be led. Tide is about locating the wisdom body that can move us among rooted into true seasonality, true moment. When we think of tide, it conjures thoughts of schedules, safety in planning where we place our bodies in proximity to it. Where Laguz evokes feelings of home, Tide is less fixed. It’s less attached to navigation or destination, and just going with the possibilities.

The Helping Spirits this week are taking on similarly less dense association. Unknown as the earthly force walking with us speaks to  that which is unknown, unknowable. In formed being, we see Unknown in the spaces between matter, in undefined potential. Perhaps specifically in settler culture, Unknown is disruption to our conditioning to crave salvation, truth, arrival. It is the ability to be adrift without assuming loss, yet locate Self without ascribing possession.

Similarly, Ether (the rainbow ribbon) is a primordial state of everything and nothing, all at once. At base, I think of it as the presence of all the elements in balance; thus, it’s a state of infinite connectedness, interdependence, and belonging as the basis of all life. 

In keeping with the inclusivity of the other Helping Spirits, this week Beyond is holding us closely. At first when I asked for the direction, the word All came, and I paused to consider it as a new direction or nuance of existing relationship to one, in a new light. What I realized was I’d been thinking of Beyond in an incomplete way. I’d been thinking of it only as what lies utgard–outside the known territory. When I sat with All as that plus what we already “know,” it felt no different. I’d been trying to locate and pin down Beyond as Out There, when really it can also be across the street in inside. Love to hear thoughts on that…

That said, I experience Beyond as the container of all that we know and beyond. It is the direction of sacred order. It’s the realm of Watchers, Norns, Multiversal Jotnar who caretake the machinations of all life. Given that, it can also be the microbes, the mitochondria, the bacteria. It’s that strata of managerial oversight that aligns with respect for all life. It is the direction of Source.

I don’t know how to quantify all the forces present in the runecast this week. What I can attest to in it is the enormous range of relationship that is available to us as humans, and the potential for awareness of the communities we move among. Our sphere of influence is as large as the depth of our support. Make use of it this week. As we navigate the possibility of Joy, let us also remember we don’t have to do any of it alone. We aren’t, we just have to open our awareness to those relationships.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • Describe your relationship to Possibility.
  • Describe your relationship to Unknown/Unknowable.
  • Describe the difference between Possibility and Unknown.


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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.

  • Wunjo – Woo, Woon, Woonyo
  • Sowilo/Sowilu – Soh, Sohl, Sohwi, Sohli
  • Jera – Yer, Yeruh, Yair, Yairuh, Yer/Yairaw


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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To leave the planet better than you found it.

Ancestor Well

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