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.
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.