Ancestor’s Night

Ancestor’s Night Ritual of celebration and honor – Bolded items are either headings or actions, to make it easier to know what I was supposed to say vs do.

The parts in side parentheses (like this) are after-the-fact notes from me while I write this entry.

Begin Ritual

I am here to honor the gods.

Honoring the Earth Mother

Nameless Mother,
Known to all, and revered.
You stand solid beneath my feet,
Strong rock and soothing moss
Gentle mountains and rolling hills,
Carry me on to the night’s next night.
Support all well, soul of Yggdrasil,
Beautiful blue-green jewel of the Cosmos,
Protector and cradle of humanity,
Honor to you, Nameless Mother.

Offer Rose hips along tree, in well and around fire.

Earth Mother, accept my sacrifice.

Saga, heroine of words
Fine wordsmith with a tongue of tales,
Whose words are like the finest mead,
I ask you spinner of sagas,
To inspire me and give my words power.
Saga, let your inspiration flow!

Offer mead

Saga, accept my sacrifice.

Participant performs A Meditation – (I didn’t do a very good meditation, but I tried. It’s hard to keep your mind blank and think about keeping your mind blank, I didn’t hit a groove – which I have accidentally before – but I gave it my best)

Statement of Purpose – (I maybe was too literal with this, but alas)

The purpose of this rite is to celebrate the life I have, to honor those lives that came before me, and to give praise and thanks as it is due to the best of my ability. To honor the gods and goddesses that call to me, and to honor the ancestors of my life – both in blood and in spirit.

pour a cup of beer for the Outdwellers and take it out of the ritual space:

You who come from the outer dark,
You who stood against the gods and man,
You who are cold of heart and cruel of mind,
Take this and trouble not my work.

Establishing the Sacred Grove through Fire, Well, and Tree

Sacred Fire

Sacred Fire, holy woods
Warm light to fill the hall
Nine realms are known
With my words this night
Let all realms hear the call
Light fires within, warmth to the True
Fire’s flame burns to form the garth
Woods kindle well, with the fire of the hearth.
As I call the Kindred forth…

Cense the fire

I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn well within me.

Sacred Well

Holy Well, waters deep
Three streams strong gather the flow
One of Wyrd, the shining ones know
Another yet, icy, serpent-safe
Last of wisdom, many eyes to see
What is, what was, and what will be
Watching sisters of örlog, three
Many eyes look on, watching well.
As I call the Kindred forth…

Silver the well and cense the waters

In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within me.

Sacred Tree

Mighty Tree, middle of all
Nine realms full its branches make
Much knows Har, High One hung;
Ygg’s steed hight, ever green stays.
Serpent below, eagle above
Squirrel between, Nith-hewer gnaws
Ash-wood tall, wet with white dews
Strong-standing and true, I seek shelter
As I call the Kindred forth…

Cense the tree

Filling the cosmos, cradle to the soul does span the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within me.

Opening the Gates Between the Worlds

Heimdallr, Holy One; Hallinskihdi, Whitest As
Son of nine waves, Sire of Jarl’s sons
Shining guardian, Gjallarhorn holder,
Rune-shower Rigr, Hight Jötun bane
Great golden-toothed Turner of hearths,
Unsleeping reed-giver, Who hears the wool grow
Well-known wise watcher, I ask your help now:
Bïfrost bridge-warder,Open the ways once again.

Sing the Gatekeeper Chant (substituting Heimdall for <gatekeeper>) 3x (I actually forgot to write out the words to the chants, so instead I just chanted whatever came to mind and felt right to say)

Offer Mead

Heimdall, accept my sacrifice.

Let the fire open as a gate, let the well open as a gate, let the tree open as a gate between the worlds, and let Heimdall walk with me in all ways. Let the gates be open!

Honoring and Inviting the Three Kindreds

Ancestors

Ancestors old, Heroes renowned
Blood of my veins, Strength in my soul,
Grandmothers, Disir, Wise watching women,
Weal-bringing warders, I offer you welcome.
Grandfathers, Alfar, light-alf, dark-alf, black-alf,
Weal-bringing warders, I offer you welcome.
Great heroes of eld, might-memory knows,
Your valor shines still, I offer you welcome.
O Ancestors of blood and heart, I call you forth!

Sing Mothers and Fathers of Old 1x -(I actually forgot to write out the words to the chants, so instead I just chanted whatever came to mind and felt right to say)

Pour Mead into offering shell

Ancestors, accept my sacrifice.

Nature Sprits

Land spirits, Keepers of place,
Wise with weather, your knowledge runs deep.
Luck and prosperity, your blessings fall,
Honor to you, I bring this night.
Dragons great, Ancient as earth,
Boulder-homed, Water-homed,
Land homes old, Guardians true,
Your strength is strong still, I offer you welcome.
O Spirit dragons great and small of the natural world, I call you forth!
(I use dragons because it’s pretty ingrained. I’ve pictured dragons as a force of life for most of my own life. Not the d&d kill the ancient wyrm kind, but more as gentle and powerful manifestations of nature.)

Sing Fur and Feather 1x (I actually forgot to write out the words to the chants, so instead I just chanted whatever came to mind and felt right to say)

Pour Mead into offering shell

Nature Dragons, accept my sacrifice.

Gods and Goddesses

Aesir, Vanir, Shining Ones all,
On Itha Plain met, Many moons past,
Of Ask and Embla, My ancestors first,
Many things made, Of the gods we all come.
None of you gods, is not mighty indeed,
Of soul, sense, and being you have given us well,
Taught us of runes, of faith and troth,
Of right-mindfulness, and honor true,
O Shining Ones of magic and might, I call you forth!

Sing Hail All the Gods 1x ( again, I actually forgot to write out the words to the chants, so instead I just chanted whatever came to mind and felt right to say)

Overfill offering shell with Mead.

Gods and goddesses, accept my sacrifice.

Meditation of Merging the Energies and Re-Centering

Honoring the Spirits of the Occasion

Make offering of tea to Grandmother.

Dear Grandmother, I know these words are not your ritual,
I know these gods are not the name of your God.
Yours is mine, though I see and honor them differently.
Yours is mine, though my prayers are said differently.
Yours is mine, a pious life of kindness and acceptance.
Yours is mine, and within these rituals I have found peace.
I make this offering that you will come and share in this peace with me.
I am you, and the stars, and the spirits, and the gods, and you and they are me.
The Cosmos cocoons us all, as the Fire, the Well and the Tree give us strength and life.
We share stars – the lights of the gods, the gifts of life – and are bound by this.
I honor you, in the halls you now dance and delight in, and know that you are never far.
General Praise Offerings to the Kindred

I have called the Kindred here today and it is right to give them praise: A round for the ancestors Share a drink, a round for the nature spirits Share a drink , and a round for the gods Share a drink.

Shining Ones, Noble Ones, and Mighty Ones, I have given you praise and honor! A gift calls for a gift, and I pray to you as I offer up these sacrifices. Accept them, open my heart, and give to me of your blessings.

Quietly chant Come Druids All (1x) (as before, I didn’t recite anything specific, but I did meditate and honestly kind of space out while pulling the runes. I usually keep my hand in the bag and let myself drift every time I pull runes during a ritual. I figure I’m helping myself more if I’m not really thinking about it)

Take the omen, interpret it, and record it.

Receiving the Blessings of the Gods and Spirits

Wyrd’s well waters, I waited to reveal,
Three women weaving, Scores cut and laws laid,
Women writing örlog for the sons of men.
Well have I witness to the glory of gods,
Giving gift for gift, great ones all.
The waters received, wetness of galdr.
Words were spoken and runes were read,
Wyrd was revealed And weal I await.
With these waters let the blessings flow…

Shining Ones, Noble Ones, and Mighty Ones, I have praised you and received your blessings. Hallow these waters and give to me of your power and inspiration and vitality. Seih den Lebenswassern da! Behold the waters of life!

Drink from blessing cup (Mead is delicious, but at night on an empty stomach I was perhaps flawed in my planning.)

Thanking the Kindred and Spirits

Kindred have come, heeded the calling
Honor was given, and honor received.
Great are my dead, and great are my heroes,
Great are my land wights, and great are my gods.
With each call I make to the Kindred true,
They heed my calls more, and our troth stronger be.
Rite ending, words waning, our troth stronger still,
I carry it well, with me all ways
Honor to the Kindred, for ever more.

I have called upon the Kindred and they have answered! With joy in my heart I carry their magic into my life and work. Each time I offer to the powers they be come stronger and more aware of my needs and worship. So as I prepare to depart let me give thanks to those who have aided me.

Grandmother, Ich danke Sie!
Saga, Ich danke Sie!
Heimdall, Ich danke Sie!
Gods, Goddesses, Ich danke Sie!
Mother Earth, Ich danke Sie!
Ancestors, Kindred, Ich danke Sie!
Dragons of nature and life, Ich danke Sie.

Meditation of Re-grounding and Re-centering (I did much better this time, I focused on my breathing and drifted for a bit. It helped to end things in a very relaxing way).

Closing the Gates and Ending the Rite

Now by the keeper of the gates and by my magic I end what I began.
Let the fire be flame,
Let the well be water,
Let all be as it was before.
Let the gates be closed!

I have done as my ancestors have done, and the Kindred have answered.
I go now, a child of the Earth, in peace and blessings. The ritual is at a close. So sei es!

End of Ritual

I spoke longer to my grandmother than what’s written above. Some things are personal and while I mean to share as much as I can, well, some things you keep to yourself I think. Regardless it was a positive experience all around. It was also the only time in the last 36 hours or so that I wasn’t dealing with my headache, so that was nice as well.

Now, to the runes from the draw. It took longer than usual, not only to draw them, but to make sense of them. I read on them a bit right after the ritual but couldn’t make sense of them. It took a few hours of muddling it over in my head, but I think I ended up on the right track eventually. Which is ironic in a way, because they ended up being about being on the right track – far as I can tell.

Uruz – This rune seems to be more about directing energy already there. To organize it and take steps to make sure it’s basically doing what it should be  – or doing what you want it to be doing. It also acts as a forewarning when you need to stock up or protect against something. Like a natural disaster or loss of job.

Because it’s so dependent upon context, I’ll have to look into the rest of these before I can really get a feel for this rune’s meaning.

Next is Raidho the rune of traveling, of change. Paired with Uruz it’s giving me a strong sense of needing to be prepared for a change in the future. Given yesterday’s devotional plus this in the midst of Ancestor’s Night, I kind of feel like I should be stocking piling on comforts and medications so I can cope with whatever is coming and in that sense be in a better position to deal with it. Maybe even end up coming out the other side of it in a better position than I’d be in otherwise.

Finally, Perthero the rune of luck, chance, fate – the dice cup, the rune caster. When I first read these I likened it to winning the lottery, but dismissed that pretty quick – aside from “What are the odds”? the other side to it is more important. I don’t want to get caught up in thinking that all this positivity and these readings mean that I can just coast. Nothing comes to the person who does nothing for themselves.

At least I’d prefer it to not be that way.

In the end, it feels as if the runes themselves are directing energy toward the journey, that while chance still plays its part, something (someone) is looking out for me and doing their best to help me move along the right path. In my Grandmother’s words, I’d say it’s like I have an angel watching over me.

Which is comforting, given that my Ancestor’s Night was built up around honoring my Grandmother and connecting with her, as much as it was to honor the gods and kindred themselves.

Blessings All

~Quin

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Afraid

I’m going to write this a bit out of the usual order for one of my devotionals, and backtrack a bit as I cover the runes I drew. I’ll end by summarizing the purpose of the ritual, and hopefully it’s not so disconnected as to be intelligible.

Before I drew these runes I did not ask for anything, I asked that whoever was listening say to me what they wanted to say. Because I didn’t ask a question I wasn’t sure that what I drew would make sense to me. All three runes came out together, and so my intent was to read them in no particular order and go from there. Moving around sentences and concepts until something jumped out and said Yes! This is what we said.

For its worth, that happened while I was looking them up.

Ansuz – The rune of Odin, of words, of mouth. A rune, specifically in this case, of communication. Ansuz is a welcome rune to me, a good sign and one that I feel close too – it’s spiritual, creative, and if I’m being honest it’s hard not to preen a little when you draw Odin’s rune. Even if Odin kind of intimidates the piss out of me…

Hagalaz – The rune of hail, change, chaos. In reading, depending on what else surrounds this rune it can mean disaster or act as a warning to brace for a change. Positivity resides on either side of Hagalaz when I drew these, the rune was literally sandwiched in between the other two.

Hagalaz is a warning, and even surrounded by positivity I don’t mean to take that warning lightly. Be it in regards to my love, my passion or my job, I don’t want to be blindsided in anything.

I think, however, in this case the change is internal.

I spent a portion of the devotional admitting that I didn’t understand my being drawn to a Norse hearth-culture. I am not fierce, I’m not brash or a warrior. I’m more a cup runneth over with kindness and sheer terror towards just about everything from Outside to Bugs.

But I had to admit I can be fierce, I can be a warrior. I have planted my feet on a few occasions in my life that were important enough to me that despite a spinning head, pounding heart, or knotting stomach, I knew I needed to not back down. I sobbed during the ritual, asserting that I wasn’t weak, but that I wanted to be stronger, I wanted to be more assertive, I wanted to be more – but I wanted to stay me.

I cannot emulate my Norse gods and goddesses, that is not who I am from head to toe, but I want to be able to honor them better in words and actions and I need to change to be able to do that.

Elhaz – let’s just pull this from the book directly. “[..] almost certainly means protection […] possibly by means of drawing natural powers or allowing previously suppressed aspects of the personality to operate.

I have a fire in me, I know I do. I’ve seen it blaze and shine on a few occasions in my life. But that fire is scary at times, because I don’t tap into it often, so when I do it’s like wrestling with a part of me that could just splash out and light everything around me. Sometimes I don’t want to catch things on fire, sometimes I’m afraid of losing control if I do ignite something in others.

Mostly, I’m just afraid.

A lot.

I’m afraid of making people angry, I’m afraid of letting down my family, I’m afraid of being a disappointment to my mother and father, I’m afraid of losing the love of my life, I’m afraid of not being successful, I’m afraid of crashing and burning with my art, I’m afraid of bugs, I’m afraid of people, I’m afraid of my own MIND.

But for the hour of my ritual, for the time of my devotion, when I’m speaking to gods and spirits and kindred, when I’m making myself a beacon for all things in all worlds and reaching out beyond the Gates, I’m not afraid. I can feel the boughs of Yggdrasil protect me, I can feel the warmth and see the light of the flames of fire that guides me, I can feel the cool life-giving flow of water at my feet.

Looping back to the runes I can almost see the words before me from the draw, something like “I am communicating with you, that change is coming and to brace, but be not afraid for it is change that you want and it will be welcome.”

I don’t know who “I” is in this case. It felt assertive and powerful, but neither maternal/fraternal.

I don’t know, it’s just that it so strongly feels like a single statement.

The main purpose of today’s devotional was to use the tree I’d received from a dear friend at least once before the high day celebration I plan to do either tonight, or very very early tomorrow. From there it kind of spontaneously turned into its own thing, but I feel confident in the transfer, and now I can use my stand in tree as the journal I’d intended it for and leave the other with the alter.

Blessings,
~Quin

Odd Omen

Today’s ritual started off with a knotted back, sore legs, and a tangle inside my own soul to be perfectly honest. I’d had a rough week at work, and my last devotional had gone south, which probably lent itself to the clunky week. I even ended up calling off on Wednesday – not a thing I do – because I felt ill at the idea of even going into work that day.

So today’s ritual was just as much about reconnecting with my gods and goddesses as it was strengthening myself and unknotting things internally. At first I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but as the ritual went on I realized I was relaxed.

When I first got my current job I was pretty excited. It was a decent jump in pay, plus a couple extra holidays and a LOT of vacation time for a new job. (15 days, vs ten.) On top of that I knew I was going to learn a ton of new things in my field and the vibe of the office was a lot more friendly and casual than my last position had been.

Lately though, things are hinky, and I’m realizing that there are, sadly, quite a few phobic-toward-anyone-not-white-and-straight-and-Christian types in my immediate vicinity. The amount of racism, transphobic and homophobic thoughts are unsettling. And they’re subtle too – for the most part, which makes it very difficult to report on, or even talk about directly to the persons involved.

Top on a little good old fashioned technophobia and office favoritism, and barely 9 months after I started, I’m ready to leave.

So, yeah, internally, very knotted up. =/

But, as I said, the ritual went well, it had the intended effect I had been hoping for. I shared a drink with my ancestors, the Kindred, and the gods/goddesses. It was, perhaps, not the wisest of me to share hard apple cider with my faith first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, massive light weight that I am, but someone was looking out for me, because I don’t even feel the tiniest bit woozy.

At some point I was compelled to draw an omen. I asked for signs about my job, but backpedaled on that – my mind is made up, I already know what I’m doing in regards to that, and it feels right, even if it’s scary. So instead I just asked for whatever omen they desired to give me, and if they were so inclined, some kind of hint as to who was reaching out to me.

Someone listened, but since I’ll be looking these up as I’m writing this, right at this moment I don’t know who. I just I know that I usually draw three runes. Today, I drew 5. The first two came out easy as you please, but the last three came out all at once, there was just no separating them while my hand was in the bag. There’s plenty of room in there for my tiny hand, so it wasn’t for lack of trying.

I’m not 100% sure what to do with it, but it feels like those three should be considered very strongly connected when I do decipher them.

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First is ELHAZ, for which there is a very repetitive theme of protection. Be it from an animal-spirit guide, in general, from one’s own spiritual power, and/or as a sign of good luck. There’s a warning against grasping Elhaz, that while it offers protection it can cut those that are rough toward it. I’ll take this as a sign of being protected, we’ll see how it holds up against the rest of the reading, as it could be an introduction to whomever has their eye on me.

Next, RAIDHO, the rune of traveling. When paired with Elhaz it implies protected travel. Raidho is often considered to be a statement of the “right way to go” or that one is on horseback (a mode of transportation, i.e. Raidho) and that it is leading one along the Way. I personally struggle with accepting the idea of fate, and that our lives are predetermined before us – but I do believe that we have a series of paths available to us. With varying degrees of the correct path vs essentially having gone off the path. Elhaz and Raidho back to back like this, feel to me like an assurance that the choices I’ve made regarding my career is the correct path and all I have left to do now is follow through assertively with that change.

Then the inseparable three. PERTHRO – DAGAZ – OTHALA

Perthro is, as far as I can gather, the unknowable rune. It can be tied to luck, to fate, to Figg and the Norns. It is the cup and the well, the caster of dice and the caster of runes. It implies fate, luck or chance in a reading and I’m left with the distinct impression that I’ll not know what this implies until I’ve looked at the other runes.

Dagaz the sun, a rune of positivity and hope. Dagaz in a reading often lends itself to a positive outcome, a kind of stay strong and things will get better sort of vibe. Possibly it means slow and measured progress vs sudden outcomes, and/or a clarifying rune to bring things to “light” as it were.

Finally, Othala. The rune of family, homeland, inheritance, of connection both with past lives and current spirits. “As the final rune of the Futhark, OTHALA “Contains” the power of all the other runes, our mystical heritage.”

My initial feeling on this, even after sitting here for long moments and contemplating things which has left said initial feeling unchanged, has me feeling that it’s the runes themselves that are calling to me. Which is kind of an odd feeling, and not at all what was expected. There’s a fringe assumption that in line with that it does include Frigg, with whom herself and the Norns are closely tied to the divination portion of the runes.

But then as well, Odin himself is very closely tied with the runes, and the utilization of them in magical ways. To be perfectly fair, Odin kind of scares the sprinkles out of me, and I’m not sure how I’d react if it was him who took to me. I suppose I’d need to begin construction of an actual functional backbone quite immediately.

Through the runes as well, is a pathway to connecting with my ancestors, and Kindred and all the gods and goddesses. Very family-esque, very connected and protected. Which is rather indicative of this and previous readings.

At this rate I may have to face my fears, and make from scratch my own runes, though I still say that fashioning tangible items is far and away not a skill I possess.

Devotion Gone South

I’m sure it happens to Pagans of all varieties from time to time, but to have a morning ritual just go utterly south feels so disappointing.

I’ve read of similar instances from my dear friend – and the primary reason I started into ADF – the Druid in the Swamp, that it /does/ happen.

As she states in her Trance and Liturgy Journal:

——————————-

“Murphy’s Law of Wells

If:

  • You are already close to running late
  • Your well didn’t get water in it yesterday because you forgot to fill the cup
  • You do your devotional at 5:30 am before caffeine
  • You are trying to establish a regular practice but still get to work on time
  • Your well is a beautiful wooden bowl made of pieced woods in different colors that was a gift you can never replace

Then:

  • Your wooden well will have cracked along a seam in the bottom from having water left in it the last time you did ritual
  • You will not notice this until half the well has emptied out the crack in the bottom, soaking the entire top of your altar
  • You will be out of paper towels in your altar room, and will have to make a mad dash to the kitchen to get some
  • Your old ceramic well will be full of wine corks, which have no other place to go, so you will have to leave them in a pile on the counter
  • When you empty your old well, it will be full of cork dust, so you will need to wash it

And then:

  • By the time you finally get back to your devotional, you will have forgotten what steps you did and have to start over
  • Making you at least 10 minutes late getting out the door”

————————————

Granted, it’s the weekend, so time wasn’t really my issue, so much as the disruption of my offering bowl sliding off one side of the stand and pouring my gift to the Ancestors on the porch. My first was flickering so I emptied some of the excess wax away from the wick and got paraffin all over my fingers and the votive holding the candle. Then I poured out the Outdweller’s beer near where I’d returned the other offerings to the earth, vs on the other side of the porch like I’d been doing.

And I basically just spent the entire ritual and the few minutes after it, apologizing over and over, and was really glad that I hadn’t intended to ask for anything from the start. I just wanted to give and it felt like I’d fumbled the wrapping on the gifts, forgotten to remove the price stickers, and then tripped and dropped everything on my way to give them.

I’m sure it’s all part of the learning process, especially since I’ve never been the ritual type, so almost all of this is completely new to me. But until today the devotionals had been, well, very calming, even though I wasn’t getting the words right and was probably doing a lot of stuff out of order. Today it feels a bit more like I went into it nicely dressed and came out with my hair in a muss and dirt and wax everywhere.

Fortunately I have two solid weeks to work the kinks out of things before celebrating Ancestor’s Night, so that’ll be a good thing.

~Blessings
Quin

Gift of the Grandmother

I had a third Devotional, technically speaking, that I did right at sunrise and something about it felt wrong to write about, so I didn’t. I also kind of realized that instead of counting these, as though some growing numerical tally would lend itself to some odd sense of credibility or wisdom on my part, it was best to just date them. But then it dawned on me that the blog site does that for me and perhaps even better would be to summarize in the title. (Seriously, I’ll get a system eventually).

This morning’s devotional was more of working my way up to the upcoming High Holiday this 31st. While my hearth culture is definitely Norse, my surroundings are the desert, not the most ideal place to welcome in Winter Nights. It gets cold around here at night during the winter, but as I was born much farther north than this, it doesn’t get that cold.

Besides, I am close to my family, and wanting to be closer to my ancestors is one of the many reasons I’ve sought this way of worship. I don’t know if it’s selfish of me, but I mean to honor my grandmother primarily, and then work my way along from there. These rituals aren’t her rituals, and these gods weren’t her gods, but if ever there was someone to watch over me, it was her, and I want the chance to talk about things and to honor her and those who came before me.

So today I went through a little more detail, today I gave an extra offering, and today I asked for nothing in particular in return as I drew the runes. Once I’m more comfortable in my rituals I will actually detail out what I do during them. It still feels like crawling at this point, but I’ll get there.

Again, the message was positive. Either I’m projecting my natural optimism on these rune readings OR they’re legitimately continually good signs. My statistical brain is still struggling against this, and expects that probability will come back to haunt me at some point. But in that statement is the assumption that the runes are drawn in a scientifically random way, vs occurring via the will of the ancestors, gods and whoever else is paying me heed during these devotionals.

As I’ve mentioned before this journey is, in part, to help me reconcile two sides of the same thing inside my own brain. For to me there is no science without magic and no magic without science, and I can’t see how you could revere one and not the other. The idea is to do so in equal measure, for ultimately balance is the importance of it.

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Well, what a start for this! Thor, then Odin – Thurisaz and Ansuz.

Thurisaz has some heavy meanings to it, believed to cover both Thor and the Thurs that he fought against. (Believe me I’ll never look at Thursday the same way again.) It’s a powerful run in magic, but in this instance – as for a reading – it’s meaning is more dependent upon what follows. As it can be greater luck and greater good, or advise caution for tiding that aren’t as positive. Since it’s followed immediately by Odin’s Rune – Ansuz – which is very strong in a spiritual sense, and even in a more practical reading refers to old knowledge.

Like the kind one would receive from one’s Ancestors.

Normally in a reading – I say normally, like I’ve done this a thousand times, ha! – it feels like the three runes together are giving me an insight over all. Like reading a sentence or a paragraph; there’s a connection between the three that tell a definite story.

In this morning’s reading it feels less like reading a sentence, and more like watching the first two runes infuse and strength the final. Like a line of people with buckets of water, moving a higher volume of water with their bucket line than would be possible by merely running back and forth.

And both lead to Wunjo – the rune of joy and bliss.  Taking Up the Runes by Paxson, has a lot to say about Wunjo. Joy in friendship, in strong family bonds, in spirituality, in gifts and life. It cautions fleetingly against complacency in these gifts (Don’t get too fat on the hog, one day you may need to run to save yourself!), but to not worry overmuch and enjoy them, give thanks, etc.

With what leads up to Wunjo I feel like I get bombarded with a lot of meanings for this final rune. I have a strong sense of approval toward how I intend to celebrate the upcoming Ancestor’s Night, and that I mean to begin – officially – my Dedicant’s Path on that day is seen positively as well. I can almost feel my Grandmother’s embrace coming to me through Wunjo, and it feels like a blessing.

The after thought, the feeling that lingers quietly after the initial impressions however, is one that I should focus on the runes and reading them, and utilizing them more often. It’s this wispy kind of tug, like soft spider threads in the back of my mind, and I’m just beginning to know enough to recognize them. That while the news, gifts, and omens they impart may not always be positive, that I will find personal bliss in being a scholar in their meanings.

But, I worry about arrogance too – that maybe my own desires are bouncing back at me in those small little wisps and that they are small because they’re not really part of the gift. For better or worse, time will tell! All I can do is walk the path I feel is the best, and pay the consequences if I’m wrong.

Blessings,
~Quin.

Second Devotional

I felt a little bit more like I had some idea of what I was doing. The awkwardness wasn’t nearly as heavy this morning as I was setting everything up. (I did have to go back and forth a couple times, I need a better system for getting going. i.e. I don’t have a set altar area yet, because of space constraints and the two deviously wonderful kittens I live with)

I still don’t have an outline printed out to go along with, but that’s okay. I incorporated some of the things I’d picked up spending hours reading the ADF.org website. I did my best to follow the general steps and even remembered to give thanks and not rush my offerings.

Fire, Tree, and Well were set, an offering to the Outdwellers was provided outside the ritual space (I’m kind of lucky at the moment the patio I utilize has a deep dividing line between one portion and the other). I asked for Heimdall’s help in opening the gate – this time I remembered some of his titles, and thanked for the help offering some incense for his time.

I spoke – babbled – again for a while, trying to find myself well enough to provide the right honor and devotion in return. I shared water with the Ancestors and the ritual began to feel more right.

I meditated – rudimentary I’m sure – for a few moments. I saw myself as a featureless grey human shape, sitting on a slightly different grey plane. Stars began to fill in the upper part of what I could see in a blue-purple streak. Something about it felt like a rush of … wind, water, I’m not sure, but it was enough to cause my eyes to open and my body to flinch.

I was a little sad because it felt like I was close to touching on something, but I couldn’t find the moment again even though I tried. I gave thanks for the vision(?) and then began to focus on what I wanted or was hoping for from the runes.

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Othala was the first run I pulled when I got to that part of the devotional. I didn’t remember its name when I pulled it, but I recognized it from my First Devotional and took it as a good sign. Family. I had been asking about family before I pulled from the bag, and in a spiritual sense, no less. I lost my grandmother a couple years back and I was – am – hoping she’ll be available to me for guidance. ADF isn’t something she even knew of, but she was a devoted and pious woman in life – open and non-judgmental, caring, giving, and quiet in her reverence. If ever there is a soul I hope to honor and resonant with, it is hers. So  softly strong and defiantly voracious.

Next was Ehwaz, which I’d not pulled before, so I was fully clueless at the time. Change or movement – travel or development either spiritually or physically or an increase in capacity in the spiritual or physical realms as a result of cooperation with another.
Instinctively I know that change is hard. Even when it’s good it never seems to be easy or simple, but it’s a transition that we face constantly. I want this change, I’m ready to face this challenge – I need a challenge. Too often do I find a rut and slip into it peacefully. I’m aware of this flaw and I know I’ll need help in moving forward. This is a thing I want to grow in, and this rune feels like acknowledgement that I will have help. Maybe not from my grandmother, or maybe not just from her, but I’ll take whatever help I can get.

Finally, Ansuz, and… I don’t know. I’ve read the passages in the book several times. It’s muddy and clouded and it’s not making sense to me right now. Something about planes and creativity and I can appreciate both of those, but the connection feels like smoke and I don’t know what to do with it right now.

First Devotional

I did my first Devotional today.

I feel very relaxed afterward, even if I felt a little clumsy and intrusive during the ritual itself.

I cleansed the area I was working in (my apartment patio) with a sage smudge stick, asking for guidance while I worked.

I’m sure I got something out of order, because I wasn’t sure if I setup my offerings before or after opening the Gate. I opened it first, filled the bowl with water, lit the candle, acknowledge my stand-in tree, and then burnt the offering of incense.

I babbled to Heimdall, or any ancestors or other spirits who may have been willing to listen the entire time. I went with Heimdall because the Norse pantheon spoke to me the most while I was reading up on things, and maybe it spoke a bit louder because according to a DNA test that’s where the bulk of “me” comes from.

What little I know so far leads me to believe that Heimdall sees a lot – if not everything – if I was going to be a tiny little unsure speck in the vastness I wanted to make sure someone who was good at noticing could hear me.

I spoke about my concerns, about my desire to honor the gods, to honor the cosmos, to honor life. I spoke about how clumsy and unsure I was, and I asked for guidance and help in this journey so that I could both grow and be useful in whatever capacity I could.

Finally, after I felt calm I listened for a few long moments. The clouds blocked the sun, the wind blew – it didn’t feel like a bad omen, there was something comforting about it. More like I was being protected by the clouds and that stale air was being blown away to make room for something new, or different. Something came across my vision, a bird of some kind, but I couldn’t open my eyes to see it until it had left.

I drew three runes and set them in front of myself.  I don’t know any of the runes off the top of my head so I had no idea what I was looking at. I forgot to thank everyone for their help (I think, I might have said something but I don’t remember right now). I took a sip from the bowl because it seemed right to share it and be a part of it – I don’t even know why I did it, other than it felt the thing to do.

I put out the candle, poured the bowl out, and let the incense be. I closed the gate and sat on the patio for a long moment before pulling out a book to see what my runes might mean in relation to what I talked about and felt.

runes

The first is how they came out, the second is just flipping over the one that was face down.

The first is Naudhiz which according to Taking Up The Runes is a sign of frustrations, blocks, but may also be hopeful as a chance for growth and change.

This makes sense to me because I was frustrated and blocked coming into the my first devotion. I felt lost and was stumbling because of that. Outside of the immediate however, I have personally felt a bit off. Not horribly so, but enough that I’ve been questioning if my art is really the way to go for me. This run makes me feel like I need to persevere in both endeavors, and that there will be times when neither will be easy, but the rewards for my self, my spirit and my life will be worth it.

Next was Othala, and it was face down AND upside down. I’m not sure how to take that at this point, if I should’ve read it differently, but we’ll see. According to the book it’s basically full of meaning – from one’s place in their family or community, to their place in a group or with the land or even to their inheritance (be it land, psychological, physiological, etc), or inner nature and essence.

I’m cemented soundly in my family, always have been. Community maybe a bit less, but I’ve the desire to improve on that especially as of late. I’m not sure about the inheritance, but to me the inner nature and essence just kind of leaped out at me.

It was upside down and turned over, in a knot, like I am. I’m walking along to find myself and to figure out where I fit and how I can be a better me, and it’s like the path solidifies when I plant my foot, but I’m never really sure where to plant it, and the path keeps shifting and changing while I’m trying to make up my mind.

But I’m going to find it, this is the feeling I get from Othala – that I’m tending to things and there’ll be a learning curve, but this is my center, my inheritance, and I’m making my way toward it even if I’m stumbling along the way.

Finally I drew Jera and it’s meaning is summer, the year, the movement of time and the flow of energy.

Jera to me is the last nail I needed. It’s the reassurance that I will find my flow – it’s reassurance that devoting a Year to walking the ADF path was the correct way to go. It quietly assures me that this is the correct path, while affirming that the result will be equivalent to what I give. I can’t just half-ass this and expect a ginormous return.

And maybe – though this might just be me being dramatic – Jera gives me the sense that I have a natural gift for the Flow. Maybe not in manipulating it, but in seeing it and knowing that it exists. That there’s definitively this cosmic connection from star to planet to person to bug to death to life and it’s not necessarily in that /order/, that there’s not exactly an order at all, but it’s all connected. That we’re all bits of billions of stars that are bits of us and there’s this heart beat if you can just hear it.