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.

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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.

Maple

I’m not a crafter. I do not, with my own hands, fashion precise items from imprecise or unformed beginnings. I’ve tried, it’s an awful, frustrating and unrewarding experience for me and I’m at least a little envious of people who have the talent.

I put pen (stylus) to paper (cintiq) and turn a series of lines and colors into a drawing – more often intangible than tangible. I don’t sculpt, I don’t whittle or bronze or form or fold – I draw, and sometimes I write.

So the idea of crafting my own runes was laughable, and in no short order very scary. What runes would an anxious, clumsy, and craftably-impatient human such as I create? Maybe they would be beautiful, maybe they would be functional, but they would be pushed full of my insecurities and I would reject them out of frustration.

I don’t know a whole lot about myself, but I know that much.

So I bought a set of Elder Futhark runes from The Magical Druid Shop – in part because making my own (as mentioned) terrified me, and I wanted to be able to support a business that was trusted and praised by someone I honor and admire as a human being. All around a rather win-win situation.

Now, for the majority of my life I’ve had a connection – if I was ever willing to admit to such a thing – with Hematite. I don’t know why, and I haven’t really done a ton of research into it, but it has always calmed me. Aside from finding it aesthetically pleasing, there was just something almost electric about it. But it’s cold, hard and while calming not exactly something that feels like grounding to me.

So I ordered some runes in Maple.

Maple fits me in an odd way. It’s not the biggest tree, or the smallest, it’s not the most famous in any mythology or religion (I’m not even sure it’s /mentioned/ in any religion), but it’s very adaptable. It belts the globe in over 100 different varieties – and is usable in things from bonsai to building to being (sugar!) – which lends itself to a huge variety of wood and leaf colors. Its roots are dense and deep, while not as strong as Oak or as forceful, it is stable and yet gentle.

Plus, Maple reminds me of home, and there’s a comfort and a connection with that. A sense of familiarity that is more accepting of me and still strong and stable like hematite.

So in my mind I stand with oak in my hand, connected to the oaks around the world, and that becomes the cosmic center from which I can travel. The Earth isn’t a cosmic center, it moves around a star that moves around a black hole and it’s all affected by billions of other stars and planets to create a galaxy that’s affected by other galaxies so on and so forth. So strictly speaking the Earth isn’t the center of much of anything, but it is a center for Me, and that’s the important part.

And with that center, that piece of grounding to what I hug close as home, I can reach out – far beyond all that I know directly and start to look for that first step, that first connection, that first series of words that helps to define this undefined feeling in my core.