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Posts Tagged ‘divination’

Within the context of a single paleo-pagan Indo-European culture, discuss three different forms of divination or seership, and give an example of each. (minimum 100 words each)

Working from Tacitus, the Sagas, and the Poetic Edda, I’ve found three different forms of divination used by the Germanic culture group, which includes the Scandinavian and Icelandic cultures. While it could be argued that these three cultures are separated by both time and geography, their similar language, alphabet, cosmology and mythology is more than enough for me to be comfortable talking about them as a group together.

First, there’s a documented form of trance-like seership called seidhr. In Leif Eiriksson’s Saga (ch. 4) a seeress named Thorbjorg is featured who is highly honored by the farm she visits. She is brought there during a difficult time for the farm, and she spends a night there, honored by the various guests and given special food (milk porridge and animal hearts). After some reluctance (ostensibly due to being Christian) the women of the farm come and form a circle around her, and sing the ward songs, and she is visited by the spirits, who tell her that the hardship will last no longer. As well, she sees great reward for the woman who sang the ward songs. This type of divination is also seen in the Voluspa, and is perhaps the most formal and ritualistic type of seership among the Germanic and Norse cultures.

In Tacitus Germania, there is a reference to divination by something which sounds a great deal like it would be runecasting. A little bough is chopped off of a tree and cut into small pieces, which are given certain markings. They are thrown at random over a cloth, and then either the priest (or the head of the family) chooses three of them and finds meaning according to the marks. This is extremely similar to most modern practices of runecasting (Germania 10). Also, later sources (Egil’s Saga, Ch 44) show runes being used for magic, and Thorsson believes that runes were “born from a magical tradition, not a purely linguistic one” (5). Between the rune’s associations with magic and their predating Tacitus’ encountering them among the Germanic tribes (Thorsson states as early as 200 BCE (12)), I am comfortable considering runic divination, at least in terms of the casting of lots inscribed with magically meaningful marks, a divination tradition among the Germanic and related cultures.

In Svipdagsmal (Poetic Edda, Hollander) young Svipdag is given a terrible task by his evil step-mother (proving that Evil Stepmothers existed from quite a ways back). In order to get help and learn how he can complete his task, he goes and sits outside on his mother Groa’s grave, a practice called utiseta or “outsitting”. Groa comes through for Svipdag, and he not only learns how to complete his terrible task, but also is granted nine magical spells. This practice was also used in the conversion of Iceland to Christianity, when Thorgeirr (who was chosen to moderate the conflict between the Pagan Icelanders and the Christian forces from Norway) sits out for a day and a night under a skin in order to determine the fate of religion in Iceland. This practice of outsitting is a way of getting information and help, often specifically from the ancestors, and divining the future with their aid.

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Name and briefly describe one method of divination or seership technique common to three paleo-pagan Indo-European cultures. (minimum 100 words each)

While there are several different types of divination methods that could be discussed in response to this question (watching bird flight, for example, or dream interpretation, or the use of seers/oracles), the one that most intrigues me is the wrapping of a priest or seer in the hide of an animal and sleeping, to receive a vision in a dream (either from a God or from the Ancestors).

In the Aeneid, Latinus goes to the Oracle of Faunus for advice on the marriage of his daughter, especially in the light of several strange portents which had happened recently. While at the oracle, Latinus performs divination by sleeping on the hides of a hundred sacrificed sheep. In response, he hears a voice from the grove of Faunus not to marry his daughter to a Latin suitor, but instead that she should be married to a man from abroad (Virgil 7.80). While this doesn’t speak much to the agency that Latinus grants to his daughter in her choice in a husband, it rather clearly shows this type of divination being successful.

In Peter Ellis’ The Druids, Ellis speaks of a ritual known in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as the taghairm (a word he says has Irish cognates). In particular, a seer is to wrap himself in the hide of a newly slain bull and lie down at a waterfall or at the foot of a precipice and meditate. The spirits would visit him and tell him what he needed to know. (Ellis 222) This method includes both the sacrifice of an animal (in this case the bull, which seems to have been sacred throughout the Celtic cultures) and then the meditation on a desired question or outcome. This particular iteration of this divination form says nothing about actually eating the ritual flesh of the bull, however. This is similar to the commonly told tale of an Irish seer wrapping himself in a bull’s hide, while Druids chant over him, so he may dream of the next king.

In the Chandogya Upanisad, there is a ritual to Savitr that a man should do if he desires to achieve greatness, which includes making offerings to a fire, reciting a Rg verse, and then going to sleep/rest on a skin by the fire, where if he sees a woman, he will know his rite is successful. “When a man sees a woman in his dreams/During a rite to obtain a wish;/ He should recognize its success,/In that dream vision” (5.2). While the exact content of the dream is specific (seeing a woman as a way to divine the success of the ritual), it is still a form of divination similar to the others in that the dream comes after eating in a particular way and then laying down on an animal skin near a fire to sleep/meditate.

These three examples are also very similar to Norse practice of outsitting (utiseta) – wrapping in a blanket or fur skin and sitting on an ancestral mound or crossroads to receive guidance from the ancestors (Sagas of the Icelanders 764). This is particularly noted in the conversion of Iceland to Christianity, where Thorgeirr stays on a mound under a skin for a day and a night to determine the fate of Iceland’s religious future. According to Ceisiwr Serith, “the seer, identified with the dead animal, goes where it goes – to the ancestors. From them the seer acquires knowledge to benefit the community” (Serith 262). While not all of the original texts make clear that it is from the ancestors that the seer receives the knowledge (and in fact, in the Aeneid it is Faunus who gives the information), the three (or four, if you count utiseta) different ritual forms all have enough in common to be counted as one form of divination.

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After six months of sitting on it, thinking about it, buying books and running out of space to put them (I have plenty of bookshelves in the main part of my house, but I like to keep my obviously druidy books in by my altar, and there’s just not enough space in there), planning what courses to do first, attending (via skype) some workshops at a study group retreat, and otherwise generally kicking around the Initiate’s Path, I decided that instead of trying to force myself to do the hard stuff first (see: Trance and Magic), maybe I’d be better off just FINISHING something.

So I did.

Over the last three weeks, I put together Divination I and submitted it for review last night. I didn’t have to work too hard, though a few questions required more books for source material, and overall it was really satisfying to just get SOMETHING done.

I haven’t decided if I’m posting my IP work here or not. I can definitely post my works cited list for each course, but the courses are long, and each question (there were 11 for Div I) can be one or several blog posts in length, so I’m not sure exactly how to approach that.

As for what’s next, I’m reading the books required for Liturgy I and Liturgy Practicum while I wait for Div I to be reviewed. (I can’t submit anything else until my currently submitted course actually passes.) Liturgy I looks to be mainly an understanding of the different parts of the COoR, which I think I have a pretty good handle on, so hopefully finishing that will just require actually sitting down and writing it out.

And then once I finish Liturgy I, I’m going to work on Divination II and Liturgy Practicum journals together. They seem to dovetail nicely – 5 months of regular divination or ritual practice, documented. Those entries will probably get posted here, since I will be writing them up anyway, and they usually make nice blog post sized chunks. Also if I make it a regular feature to post about them, I’ll be more likely to actually stick with it for 5 months (or 4 in the case of Liturgy). I’ve almost completed the first month of the Div II journal (May), so that’s at least well started.

That said, since I’m going to be doing weekly (or more) divinations for the next four months, if you have questions and you don’t mind a rather amateur rune reading, I’m offering up these readings for free. They may or may not be super detailed, but I need all the practice I can get.

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((Here it is Thursday of the first E week and I’m just now getting around to posting last week’s posts. Here’s a second D entry, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow!))

I’ve been doing some form of divination longer than I’ve been doing paganism – tarot was, in a way, a sort of gateway drug. I got really into tarot reading at the end of my time in college, when I got involved with the Aeclectic Tarot forums and started swapping for decks and doing readings. I’ve done readings on and off since then, never for money, but often for barter. My favorite deck, by far, is the DruidCraft tarot, which I’ve loved since the day it came in the mail. I got it used as part of a swap, and though I’ve gotten many other decks since then, it’s my go-to reading staple. It reads very straightforward. (I also like the Shadowscapes and Revelations decks, as well as the good old standard RWS deck.)

Now I’m trying to learn runes, since that’s a very Anglo Saxon type of divination, especially given that there’s a full rune poem. I’m not very good with them yet, and still prefer to read tarot when I’m pressed for a quick answer.  Since I’m working primarily with Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Gods, though, I’d really prefer to develop fluency with a divination system that they’ll be easily familiar with.

I use divination in two different ways, and right now that lines up with the two different systems that I use.

On one hand, I use it as an introspective way to examine the complexities of a situation – for this, I almost always use tarot. I don’t really use spreads, I just draw cards until I feel like I’ve got enough information. I don’t see this as “looking into the future” at all, more like looking into the present (and sometimes past) to see what influences I might be missing or not aware of.

The other way I use divination is as a way to communicate directly with the Kindreds, in ritual and in meditation. As part of ADF ritual, we make offerings in return for blessings from our Kindreds (the Gods, Dead, and Nature Spirits). These blessings are divined by a seer as part of the ritual itself, and can take several forms. I typically draw three runes, one for each Kindred, asking specifically what blessings are offered in return for our sacrifices.

I know it’s possible for a skilled seer to get the kind of nuanced rune readings I get from tarot, but I’ll just have to work toward that.

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I received notice yesterday that my IP Enrollment application has passed through the voting stage, and is approved! I’m very excited to start this new process in my Druidry. It’ll be a big step up from what I’ve done, both in intensity and study, but I’m oddly looking forward to the challenge (for the most part).

I’ll actually be doing an online ritual with my IP reviewer (Nick Egelhoff) this weekend, so that’s a fun way to get to know him for the first time. If anyone is interested, the Norse Kin is doing an ADF Druid Moon ritual on Saturday evening at 7 EST (6 central) on the ADF Google+ page, via the hangout system. Our trial run looks like it has a lot of possibility, and it’ll be set up so that people can hang out and chat with us after the ritual, and can participate at home as we do the work. It’ll be a ritual honoring Freyr, in his role as Frith-maker, to bring together the online community and build our presence online. (For those unable to come, it will be available on the ADF YouTube page afterward as well.) I don’t have a very big part, mostly because I got out-volunteered (and because I’m a new face to all the people involved), but I’m excited to be part of this, and hope to take a bigger part in future rituals.

I think my first course in the IP is going to be IE Language – for which I’m told I don’t need pre-approval on my book choices, so I can freely use the Anglo-Saxon textbooks that I picked up to complete the course. I’m excited, since I’ve wanted to learn Anglo-Saxon for awhile (years actually) and this will finally get me some experience with the language AND some ritual phrases I can use on a regular basis, I hope. I’ve always been fascinated with the language, since some parts of it sound so much like English and some parts are so clearly lost to the modern ear. I’m going to have to step up my reading time in order to make solid progress on this path, but that’s just a matter of scheduling, not of desire.

The Trance 1 and 2 classes still intimidate me, since I find trance to be so difficult. I’m hoping that following the process will lead me to a place where I know what works and what doesn’t work for me, trance-wise, but I also hesitate, knowing that I have some non-neurotypical issues (and medications) that can sometimes get in the way. I definitely meditate better without meds, but I’m not willing to trade off my quality of life for one skill. Where there’s a will, there’s a way though, and it may just take me trying a lot of different things until I get to a place of comfort working in Trance. My renewed practice of my mental grove has gone well, and I’m starting to add in the concept of the mists surrounding the area where I am sitting, to help me begin the process of journeying. My energy work in ritual has been good and solid, even in groups, so I’ve obviously gotten past whatever weird issues I was having two or three years ago (though I think I figured out what was causing that, and it wasn’t ritual energy).

Magic 1 and 2 should also be interesting, especially with my renewed interest in bringing more magic into my ADF rituals. Working in ADF’s format for magic will be new for me, but I think it will be a good exercise, and help me develop my own flavor of magical practice. I got started by doing some more serious ancestor work with my solitary Hallows ritual, and that felt much better – taking time, making individual offerings and having conversations with my specific ancestors.

There are four courses that require substantial journaling requirements for completion – Magic 2, Trance 2, Liturgy Practicum, and Divination 2. Sustained journaling will be something I likely upkeep on this blog, since having a weekly check in really helps keep me focused, but I haven’t decided which of these I’ll be tackling first. I’m inclined to say Divination, since I really want to be more proficient with Runes (more on that in a later post). I have considered doing some of my journaling by hand this time as well, but I know that’s harder for me to stick with (both because I tend to put off doing it and because I can’t jot off a quick post about what I thought while I’m at work).

I’ll probably end up having to set aside specific times during the week to work on this, though with the holidays coming up, that may be hard. Still, it’s the dark time of the year, and I’m always more into reading and study when the evenings are dark and cozy and I can curl up with a mug of tea and a notebook.  I’m not giving myself a time-bound goal of when I need to be done with the IP though. With so many long-term requirements that I am probably going to have to tackle one at a time (due to my schedule), I know it will take me at least 20 months just to get through those, and that doesn’t include the reading and studying requirements! I’m glad to have the support of the ADF Study groups to help keep me motivated though, and hopefully some readers here on the blog will help keep me on track if I get too bogged down.

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I celebrated my Autumn Equinox ritual in the early afternoon on Friday, September 20, 2013. This was a solitary ADF style ritual that followed the CoOR. I used the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s Autumn Equinox ritual and devotional for this rite, since I wanted a simpler observance for this High Day. I brought silver for the well, incense for the fire, and a bottle of handcrafted ginger ale for the Spirits. As well as honoring Nerthus as the Earth Mother and Heimdallr as the Gatekeeper, I honored the Vanir as a pantheon for this High Day, since they are closely related to fertility and the harvest, which is celebrated at this time of year.

I did this ritual just prior to completing a separate ritual for my Dedicant Oath, and I was a little nervous about both. I didn’t ever really settle into a rhythm, even though the SDF ritual uses lovely poetry and text as part of the celebration. For it’s purposes, I feel like I celebrated other High Days better, and will spend more time on personal offerings when I use this ritual format in the future. Overall it was a good, if somewhat shorter than usual, celebration. I almost poured out ALL of the ginger ale in my last offering and had to remember to save a few mouthfuls for the blessing! That’s what comes of pouring offerings out of the bottle instead of out of my own cup. When I use my cup, I know how much I have to keep back for the blessing!

In the future, before celebrating this holiday, I will also take time to get my “fall” decorations up in my house. It doesn’t feel like fall outside, so having those decorations up (and in my ritual room) helps me feel the changing seasons more than the weather does. I will definitely be using the SDF Autumn Equinox devotional in my future rituals, as I really liked the poetry and imagery for this holiday. It stressed the balance of the Equinox, between light and dark, in a way that I felt was very meaningful.

For the Omen, I said “Great Kindreds, grant me true seeing that I may know what blessings you have for me.” I then drew the following three runes:

  • Isa – Ice – beautiful but dangerous – Something has the appearance of beauty, but danger lurks beneath the surface if you are careless enough to break it. Deceit may be nearby, or a time of frozen standstill. Things aren’t changing – they have the appearance of being fine, but are frozen. Clarity. Make sure your choices are correct and made with consideration and forethought.
  • Hagalaz – Hail – Destruction, death, an early Winter. Destructive, uncontrolled forces of chaos disrupt the natural order – but may renew that order in the end. Disruption of the unconscious.
  • Pertho – Dice cup, vulva, joy, uncertainty – A secret thing, hidden matters, an unseen destiny. Initiation and the unknown changes it will bring. The gamble that is any new beginning. Female mysteries.

Ensure that you know the truth of the situation, what looks beautiful may be hiding danger; the time of destruction is not yet over. The outcome is unknown and will result from your actions – roll the dice carefully, you’re treading on new territory.

Another warning message in the form of a blessing, I think I know what this is referring to – things have been tough recently, in new and different ways, and it’s challenging to go through. But I think the outcome will be good if I continue to work on it and myself, becoming stronger and continuing on my path. This is a pretty personal omen though, so I won’t discuss it further.

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I read this article on The Wild Hunt this morning, and it just made my skin crawl. The short summary is that (infamous) psychic Sylvia Browne, on the Montel Williams show, told a mother that her child was dead, and implied that the child was murdered. That child turned out to be Amanda Berry, one of three women rescued from being held captive in a house for the last ten years.

I know little or nothing about Sylvia Browne, though I hold a healthy degree of skepticism against out of the blue psychics who claim to communicate with spirits and the like, especially for high publicity jobs like those on “reality” TV shows. I hold this skepticism at the same time as I actively read tarot cards for others online (for friends and through forums, and not usually for pay) and am attempting to learn runes. I am large, and contain multitudes, I guess.

Granted, I think there’s a difference between “psychics” and performing divination – especially in the Druidic sense. When I am asking the Kindreds for their guidance, I’m specifically asking other beings that I trust to give me guidance in the form of cards or runes. I also tend to run those guidances through my own personal filters of “does this make sense”, and ask my teachers and other people whose opinions I trust if those guidances make sense. That’s for religious matters, but I do tarot readings for non-religious questions as well, and for people for whom a card reading is just a card reading, not an encounter with the divine.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, when it comes to reading for other people, it’s that I have to set boundaries. There are subjects about which I won’t read, because it is just too fuzzy, too ambiguous, and too likely to be incredibly damaging if I’m wrong. A teacher I once had called these things the “Three D’s”: Death, Disease, and Divorce. I won’t do a reading to tell you if you have cancer (go to a doctor), I won’t do a reading to tell you if you’re going to get a divorce (go to a counselor, or see a lawyer), and I won’t do a reading to tell you if someone is or is not going to die/has already died.

I also won’t do readings for people who aren’t actually there to hear them. If you want me to do a reading to look into your relationship with your mother-in-law, I’ll do that, but it will be focused on you, your actions, and how you contribute to that relationship (and whether or not your taking steps might mend or break that relationship). I will not do a reading to see how your sister is getting along with her husband, because a) that’s a huge breach of privacy – she may not want you to know that, and b) why don’t you just ask your sister? If you’re estranged from your sister, see above about a reading about mending a relationship.

And I always couch these readings with the strong statement that the cards I’m reading are only looking into how the situation looks right now. I strongly believe that even a ‘future outcome’ spread has the potential to change drastically based on how you respond to it, and that a tarot reading is never set in stone. For me, divination serves two functions – it serves as a tool for communicating with specific Gods and spirits that I trust, and it serves as a way to look into current situations and attempt to bring unseen aspects of those to light, for consideration and reflection.

Maybe I’m having too strong of a “squick” reaction to this case simply because it’s so egregiously bad. I know or know of several intuitive readers who have strong ethics and aren’t out for sensationalism. But this is just bothering me on a lot of levels.

I certainly don’t expect that everyone who reads cards or does divination work will have the same sets of boundaries and guidelines that I do – I know that kind of thing is very personal. I just really hope that people who take on this kind of responsibility will do so ethically and responsibly – in a way that suits their own boundaries and is beneficial to the person for whom they are reading. It just strikes me as highly irresponsible to tell someone that their missing loved one is dead and murdered, on national TV, and then say “well I’ve helped lots of other people, so I guess I was just wrong about that one” when it comes up as wrong.

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Since I’ve been thinking about where I fit into ADF, and what my future paths will be and how those are or aren’t affected by ADF, I thought I’d try doing a more introspective sort of Rune drawing. Normally I use a set of cedar runes that I got from The Magical Druid, but I had the inspiration while I was away from home, so I tried a drawing with the app Runes, by Netistry.

I thought for awhile on how to phrase a question. What I want is insight into where I am on this path, and where I’m supposed to be going. So I ended up doing just that – asking the runes for insight into my spiritual path. It’s not the most specific of questions, but I couldn’t find anything more focused that still had the same feeling to it. I guess I wanted to leave the question a bit open ended and see what happened.

These are the runes that I drew:

  • Jera – Year, the harvest, hard work – Each is given their proper due in full measure, good or ill. The golden crop, sown in the past, has come to fruition and is now the full harvest; the results of earlier efforts are realized. Natural cycles will always spin, and the year will always turn again, but for now all is well. The order of the cosmos is maintained, and everyone reaps the benefits of hard work and has a chance to build a new harvest for next year.
  • Ehwaz – The horse, transportation, an easy journey – Mind your connection to animal spirits as helpers and partners. Successful partnerships require care and respect – neglect your allies at your peril. Keep a level head and do not be reckless – gradual change and continued progress is at hand, and will lead you to your goals. Remember that you travel with help, and those allies can make the journey easy for you.
  • Sowilo – The sun – Energy, clarity, and satisfaction. In the absence of obstacles and distractions, realize that your sustained, focused efforts have resulted in success. In the light of the sun, you can see to the horizon. The Sun’s power is available to you to make changes that will lead to renewed life and victory. Wholeness; all is right with the world.

I’ll be honest, getting such an unabashedly positive reading startled me at this point. I’ve been floundering a little with regards to what path I should take and where I should go, and I’ve not had hugely positive readings when I’ve asked similar questions over the last year or so. I try not to do this reading too often, so I don’t get weird results, but every few months or so I’m trying to check in and see what I’m missing, or need to be paying attention to, or how I’m doing. This is the first time I’ve drawn an entirely positive spread for this, which hopefully means that things are looking up, and I’ll be able to get some clarity and sense of feeling settled in.

If I apply a “past, present, future” template to this reading, it actually makes a lot of sense.

You did a lot of spiritual work in the past, it was very good, and it has allowed you to move on into a new “harvest” for the future. Use your allies and those around you to help you and guide you on this path, and all of your efforts will be successful in the end.

Of course, there’s no definite answer to what success actually IS in this situation, being that I asked a really open ended question, but for now I’m content with the idea that I’m moving in the right direction, and that the work I’m doing isn’t going unnoticed. I can’t say for sure that this reading is ADF specific, since I didn’t ask the question that way, but I think it suggests good things to come, and that I’m doing the right thing (for now) in studying and working on this path.

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I talked a little about last week’s rune yesterday, so today we’ll just look at this week’s rune. As usual, the question was “What do I need to focus on this week?”

Dagaz: Day – rising sun, new day, deliverance

Day, the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord;
it is beloved of men, a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor,
and of service to all. – The Anglo Saxon Rune Poem

This is a rune of a bright future, of good hope and promising things to come. It’s certainly a pleasant rune, and one that has a lot of promise to it.

Also, in Dangler’s Very Basics of Runes, he speaks of a sort of divine intervention aspect to this rune, that the blessings it brings are “heaven sent” (53).

I am not sure how this rune will apply this week. Hopefully some aspect of my life will experience a little “redawning” or turning over of a new leaf. Perhaps I’ll have some new clarity on my path in ADF, or some new insights into the relationship I’m developing with the spirit who has been visiting in my meditations? Perhaps this is a runic nudge to “count my blessings”? Or perhaps I’m just due for a few good things to come my way. I find this to be a hopeful rune, if not one that I can immediately place into a situation that’s currently going on in my life. I look forward to seeing how it pans out this week.

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I’ve been rather at odds with myself on the question of hearth cultures. I started this druidic journey pretty firmly convinced that I was going to stay in the Celtic pantheon that I was already familiar with. Unfortunately I’ve not felt myself overly connected to that pantheon in my devotions, to the point of not really finding that I like my options for devotional rituals. It just doesn’t “feel” right. I love keeping a hearth in my kitchen, but working with Brigit just doesn’t seem like it’s working out, for example. I’m not feeling any return energy.

So I’ve started looking around at other options, wondering if maybe my lack of connection to the Divine is a result of not trying to get in touch with the right Gods. I really enjoyed the Gaulish ritual I did for Yule, but resources are very thin about Gaulish paganism, and I’ve had trouble getting anything beyond a few web articles. I couldn’t do my hearth culture study book on Gaul, since I can’t actually find any books!

I’m getting to the point, though, where I’m going to have to face up to the possibility that I’m being drawn to the Norse culture. I keep running into things that make me feel like I should be looking there, even though I’m more than a little uncomfortable with some of the Norse gods. I especially seem to be running into mentions of Odin, which makes me nervous, for while I don’t know a ton about Odin, I do know that he can be a challenging patron.

On some levels, it doesn’t make any sense. My ancestry is Scottish and Italian, with a little bit of English and French thrown in. I don’t really have any Germanic cultures in my recent ancestry, and it seems like that’s a big pull for a lot of people who end up following the Norse Gods. I also know very little about their mythology (and what little I know seems dangerous!), and I’ve tried, quite unsuccessfully, to use Runes for divination in the past.

On the other hand, when you start seeing ravens (and other birds of prey), or realizing that your clueless dolt of an uncle gave you a set of runes for your birthday when you were 10 that you just can’t make yourself get rid of, or that you keep running into High Day rituals in the Norse Culture that look wonderful and strong and beautiful, or that your closest Pagan friend is an Asatruar… Maybe I’m just not getting the hint, you know?

I also have a much stronger relationship with the land spirits, and an increasing relationship with the Ancestors, things I’ve been told are very important in Norse Paganism, so that’s a welcome idea.

But I just… it doesn’t seem right, or something? I’m really resisting the idea that I should work in a Norse culture, for some reason I can’t yet put my finger on. Maybe it’s all of Asatru’s bad press bubbling up from my subconscious, or just the fact that I’ve never felt like it should be for me. Maybe I need to remember that I’m looking at the Norse part of ADF, and not giving up on this dedicant path, and that questions are what being on the DP are all about anyway.

Given my turmoil about it, I figured I should do a reading. I didn’t figure an ogham reading was the best bet, since they’re so strongly connected with the Celtic lore, so I decided to do a tarot reading instead. Of course, I thought of doing that reading while I was at work, so I used the tarot deck I have on my smartphone (Mystic Dreamer Tarot, if anyone’s curious), and did a little lunchbreak divination.

Three Card Spread: How Should I approach my search for a Hearth Culture?

  • The Heirophant – Learned Truth, a teacher, balance of belief with practice – can indicate that you know the solution but need to put it into practice. There are two ravens on this card, bringing messages to the Hierophant.
  • The Two of Cups – Strong, passionate relationship (not necessarily romantic). Two things that come together to create a third union that is strong, beautiful, and passionate
  • The Hermit – Self Knowledge, seeking the truth within yourself. Withdraw from outside sources and review all of your knowledge, understanding, and experience.

I didn’t set this card up as a past-present-future spread, and in fact I didn’t assign meanings to the placements at all, since I want an overview more than a specific set of answers. I prefer to look at how the cards interact with each other.

In this case, I think the Heirophant and the Hermit go together:

Learned truth and self truth provide the foundation for a profound and meaningful new relationship.

Hopefully the deep and meaningful relationship will be the relationship with the Divine that I’ve been looking to establish. It fits with the Dedicant Path as well, since both learned knowledge and self knowledge are goals of the DP. I also didn’t expect the cards to have a strong Norse symbolism (which isn’t something this deck is designed for), but with the two Ravens, I get a strongly Odinic feeling from The Heirophant card – even if the man in the card has both of his eyes.

I didn’t ask a particularly pointed question, so (as expected) I didn’t get a particularly pointed answer, but I think the reading is ultimately positive. In some ways, it’s a bit of a “duh” response, not anything I didn’t already know. I’ll keep searching though, and I’ve borrowed a copy of Gods and Myths in Northern Europe to start digging through. That’ll be the learned knowledge part, at least. And if nothing else, I can’t go wrong learning about it, and I’ll continue to do meditation and devotional rituals that attempt to suss this out.

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