There is clear evidence in the older texts that the northern peoples had a strong belief in ‘fate’. Connected with this are the Nornir, the Disir and many of the Gods. The concept of ‘fate’ is extremely complex and draws into it the flow of Wyrd, the laws of orlog, fate lines seen as threads or weavings, and ‘gift giving’ of both positive and negative traits and predictions (think of the gifts of the faeries in Sleeping Beauty).
There is less evidence to support the systematic use of a widely accepted, common rune calendar or clock (see the section for ‘Sages’ below for more on this). Studying the rune calendar and clock is, however, is extremely rewarding and I would encourage you to try it and make up your own mind.
The runic half-months
There are 24 runic half months which divide our calendar year into 24 equal parts as follows:
- Fehu: 29th June – 14th July
- Uruz: 14th July – 29th July
- Thurisaz: 29th July – 13th August
- Ansuz: 13th August – 29th August
- Raidho: 29th August – 13th September
- Kenaz: 13th September – 28th September
- Gebo: 28th September – 13th October
- Wunjo: 13th October – 28th October
- Hagalaz: 28th October – 13th November
- Nauthiz: 13th November – 28th November
- Isa: 28th November – 13th December
- Jera: 13th December – 28th December
- Eihwaz: 28th December – 13th January
- Perthro: 13th January – 28th January
- Algiz: 28th January – 13th February
- Sowilo: 13th February – 27th February
- Teiwaz: 27th February – 14th March
- Berkano: 14th March – 30th March
- Ehwaz: 30th March – 14th April
- Mannaz: 14th April – 29th April
- Laguz: 29th April – 14th May
- Ingwaz – 14th May – 29th May
- Othala – 29th May – 14th June
- Dagaz – 14th June – 29th June
How is the rune calendar calculated?
There are 24 runes and their transitions through the year are calculated based on the same motions of the stars as are the signs of the Zodiac. 12 of the runes reach their peak at the point that the Zodiac signs are transitioning and 12 reach their peak at the same time as the Zodiac sign. So, for example, in 2015 the Sun moves into Aries at 10.46 am on 21 March and the half-month of Berkano peaks at the same time; when Aries reaches its peak as Berkano transitions to Ehwaz.
The table above provides the general dates for each rune-half month but you will need to look at the astrological calendar for any given year to ascertain exactly when the transition takes place. I am not an astrologer and don’t offer birth month calculation but you will find astrological calendars out there which will help you calculate the transitions of the Zodiac for any given year and from their extrapolate the half-months.
The runic hours
- 23:30-00:30 – Jera
- 00:30-01:30 – Eihwaz
- 01:30-02:30 – Perthro
- 02:30-03:30 – Algiz
- 03:30-04:30 – Sowilo
- 04:30-05:30 – Teiwaz
- 05:30-06:30 – Berkano
- 06:30-07:30 – Ehwaz
- 07:30-08:30 – Mannaz
- 08:30 – 09:30 Laguz
- 09:30-10:30 – Inguz
- 10:30-11:30 – Dagaz
- 11:30-12:30 – Othala
- 12:30-13:30 – Fehu
- 13:30-14:30 – Uruz
- 14:30-15:30 – Thurisaz
- 15:30 – 16:30 – Ansuz
- 16:30-17:30 – Raidho
- 17:30-18:30 – Kenaz
- 18:30-19:30 – Gebo
- 19:30-20:30 – Wunjo
- 20:30-21:30 – Hagalaz
- 21:30-22:30 – Nauthiz
- 22:30-23:30 – Isa
Exploring the mysteries of a rune during its half month will provide great insights and should be easier than at any other time in the year as the dance of the star’s resonates with the energies of that rune. Rune readers may find it helpful to ascertain a client’s runic birth half-month and hour.
An awareness of where you are in the runic calendar will help you to fine tune your healings, as will an awareness of the birth half month and hour of your clients. You can also use the half months to charge objects such as crystals, herbs and rune talismans with a particular rune’s energies ready for future healings.
Using the rune calendar is hugely helpful to building a strong relationship with the runes as we can work with them in turn throughout the course of the year. Meditating on the runes during their half months has been very valuable to me and has revealed deeper mysteries which I would only have connected with through working with the runes ‘in-flow’ allowing time and the order of the Elder Futhark to guide me. A two week period is not as long as you think but if you are dedicated you can gain significant insights through your meditations on the rune’s correspondences, its place in the season and its relationship to other runes.
The earliest references I can find to rune astrology is Nigel Pennick’s Runic Astrology: Starcraft and Timekeeping in the Northern Tradition. It is a very interesting book but not brilliantly referenced so needs to be taken on its own terms. One of the reasons I have been working with the rune calendar for the last five years is so that I can test how helpful and meaningful it is. I have found much in the placement of the half-months to be valuable and the fact that there are 24 runes in the Elder Futhark is certainly convenient! My advice to northern tradition practitioners is to use it if it’s helpful and don’t if it’s not.
For the rune hours, you cannot deny that the rune clock is very pretty and neatly fits within our timekeeping framework; have a look at infinity-codes runic sundial for an example.
As has already been mentioned for healers, the runic half month will present the most powerful time for work with a particular rune. If you can create a talisman for a particular rune at the peak of its half month and during its assigned hour than you magic will resonate particularly strongly with the power of the rune.
View the rune calendar page and the Ansuz to Raidho blog post for more information about birth runes. You will also want to look at the individual Elder Futhark rune pages which include links to articles written about the runes on their birth months.