For the week of 16 October 2022

Embodiment and Alchemy

Wunjo is the half-month rune through 28 October. Berkana is the intuitive rune, and Laguz indicates Embodiment’s message to us. The spirits of place anchoring the runes this week are Death in Spring, with the active element of Mycelium, in the direction of Above. Read right to left is Wunjo, Berkana, then Laguz.
[ppp_patron_only level="1" silent="no"]The Weekly Rune - Wunjo Audio Blog, for the week of 16 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

The connections forged with Gebo and the shifting season leave us keenly supported for our time with Wunjo. Where Gebo expresses the way in which gratitude and all things giving connects us, Wunjo helps us to deeply experience the benefits of our agency and revel in the nexus of Flow.

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?

The rune of joy, Wunjo closes the first aett on an incredibly high note. We have learned to human well. We’ve made the internal alignments needed in our inner cosmology, we’ve learned to apply our agency to evoke change, we’ve gained the perspective on our agency to feel thankful for it and what it brings. For this reason I sit with Wunjo as a rune of manifestation, specifically celebration of of human alchemy.

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While Wunjo is a rune that brightens faces when it turns up in a cast, it also stirs some shadow for folx. It’s difficult for settler culture people to sit easily with joy. We question it. We prod it. We don’t trust it. We want to cling to it. These are all trauma responses, and this might be a good week to explore the personal relationship to joy. With the upcoming Hunt in mind and the path we’re creating to new normal, let this week be a time of deathwalking relationship to joy that doesn’t exalt both parties. Wunjo, joy, are life forces with whom we are in relationship. The more we can bring our awareness to that fact, the better we can recognize where trauma interferes with our joy, thus our alchemy in form.

Berkana is the rune of dues paid, of healing and thinking about sort of maybe potentially beginning again. In the Futhark’s traditional order, it follows the ordeal of Tiwaz with balm. As the rune best engaged to be in step with Wunjo this week, Berkana suggests we move into closure of our time with the first aett with some healing. 

That’s pretty fair any time we close an aett, though this year’s experience with the first one has been curious. We went years with the runic cycle guiding personal growth and development with some understanding of what those anchored into. In the pandemic the tone of that guidance wasn’t terribly different, though the foundation to ground it into changed dramatically, in that there wasn’t one–or at least not in the clearly visible unmoving understanding of foundation we’d subscribed to, prior. 

I’ve long said that center moves, though during that time I also described it as invisible. We’d locate it, map it, then try to access it later only to find it someplace else. It felt like constantly starting over with self-awareness. As much as we rely on regulation to stay embodied, it has been pretty hard to do over the last couple of years. As much as we have shifted internally to cope, so has the world around us. Inner is outer. 

This year the tone of Wunjo isn’t dire emergency or glittering celebration. It’s some place tucked into our new boundaries, enveloping awareness of our nervous systems, and consciously walking a walk that is more intentionally among relationship with place. It is perhaps a more realistic experience of flow than we’re used to, and not at all without moments of bliss and joy.

With that in mind, Berkana’s tone isn’t one of looking forward, projection, or even planning, It’s heal now. Do what’s required in this moment (maybe joy?). See to the needs of the present so that we’re prepared when it’s time to move forward.

I love that Laguz in the voice of Embodiment shows up for Wunjo. This is the rune of Flow–sacred order–sacred orlog–and it’s perfectly in step with Wunjo’s joy. I often remind folx (and myself) that we can’t be off our paths. We can’t be out of sacred order, though we can not be aware of it. We can move among in a way that challenges our relationship to it, and that feels a whole lot like a lack of Flow. 

Wunjo is our ability to make that connection, to realize that we can do all the things it takes to human well, and still be in sacred order. I think where that often falls off our radar is because we live in a culture that doesn’t function with this in mind. Our culture is in a challenged relationship to sacred order, which means that to an extent, we can’t help but be, also. That is enough to keep center moving and invisible.

The thing that helps us find stasis in settler culture with regard to Flow is Embodiment. I say this carefully, because ‘embodiment’ is the new ‘manifestation.’ It’s the new means-well social media spirituality that simultaneously ends up trauma-shaming us. 

Yes, embodiment is a good thing. It means to bring as many of our experiences as possible through the lens of the body first and primarily. However, in order to do that in a sustained way, we have to fully be here, which is really hard for people who have endured trauma, which is everybody. What social media misses in its directive on embodiment is that before we get to the direct relationship with ond, we have to go through the body’s record of form. We have to find ond beyond the nervous system’s experience of trauma. And that speed bump is enough to deter anybody from practicing embodiment no matter what Instagram says. The buy-in of embodiment has to be bigger than our trauma, and that is what Wunjo assures us this week.

To feel the greater Flow and find our place in it, we have to start from where we are–in form.  And here’s the thing about being in form–it posits us directly among our Naturekin, our Spirits of Place. While we may not always be able to locate center because our culture stacks up challenges for us not to be able to, our space-place relationships only affirm our center. Always, forever. They do so because it is not possible for them to fall out of awareness of sacred order. This is what we’re being challenged to remember this week: find the real things that support our embodiment, because they are also what foster our joy. The experience of Embodiment we’re being directed to is literally our own backyard.

The really lovely thing about this invitation is that it comes from Wunjo, Joy. We have the support of the most light, loving rune in the Futhark, meeting us in assured benefit of being fully here. We have the cocoon of Berkana holding space for our healing and joy of being. We have Laguz giving the felt foundation of sacred order.

The direction holding space for us this week, thus the best to appeal to Wunjo, 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 cosmic currents in which we are small ripples.

Mycelium is also incredibly supportive element for the kind of inner tending we’re asked to do this week. Mycelium underlies every aspect of life–death, support, birth. In 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 what area of life needs the most support at this time, and what insights mycelium has to provide that support. Mycelium holds the secrets to souling-in-form well, and as such may be a good Ally for deathwalking any traumas around Joy.

Death introduced itself as a new Helping Spirit this week. I had to sit with it a bit to understand if it was interjecting as an element or Ally, or even a Big Voice. I hadn’t really considered the possibilities there, though Ally it is (although I could still see it being a Big Voice). Death visits to remind us of our spiritual perpetuity, and of our body’s term length. That combination is the heart of our alchemy and agency as humans, and it’s so very short. 

I realize that pushes buttons; it can’t not. However, short of Wunjo platitudes of ‘enjoy every moment,’ this is more along the lines of ‘use our agency every moment,’ with careful thought and intention. We can be dazzled by our creative alchemy and still use our agency responsibly. We can hold that state of joy while realizing its impermanence. We can accomplish these reminders from Death through Embodiment. 

Ultimately Death is a force in the formed realm that is among us all the time, representing regeneration of one force into another, and as such is the master of alchemy. If any force can foster how we use our time here, how we hold our agency, how we embody the moment, it’s Death.

Through all of this Spring brings new growth, creativity is also wickedly optimistic. What we’ve planted prior is rising to support us in working out our relationship to joy. It’s also holding space for us to be at ease in how we move forward, when we’re ready to do so.

With two of three runes rooted in the third aett, our exit of the first one is well-grounded in skills around spiritual triage, Naturekin relationship, and our own wisdom in humaning well.


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Half-month Rune Prompts

  • How do you experience joy?
  • What feelings around it are supportive? What ones aren’t?
  • How can you not rush the moment yet stay focused in holding your agency?


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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
  • Berkana/Berkano/Beorc – Ber, Bair, Beor, Berka, Bairka
  • Laguz – Lah, Lahg, Lahgoo, Law, Lawg, Lawgoo


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.