Do it now

Last month, I got a bunch of urgent and difficult things done. This month, I've been feeling burnt out and have been having trouble getting much of anything done. Talking to my new therapist this week, I wandered onto the topic of tarot, and was explaining the verb theory of the suits, that each suit has a verb that sums it up. I listed Wands as "to do", and so I've been working with Wands during morning ritual since then. It's kind of helping. While setting my box of working tarot decks to rights, I located my Morgan's Tarot deck in the bottom. For those unfamiliar with it, it's not a true tarot, lacking any sort of structure at all, much less the Major/Minor/suits of tarot. Instead, it's a divinatory or oracle deck. I don't usually care much for those, although I own a few, but I like Morgan's. It's a silly, compassionate, hippy, and very very human sort of deck, with cards like Tomato Potato Eggplant, This Is Central Headquarters, BOO!!, and more. On impulse, I picked it up, and it gave me some good advice. So now I'm using that every morning as well, a simple three-card spread. Today's was particularly good. I had a terrible time getting to sleep last night, didn't finally pass out until after 8, and had to take pills I don't like to manage it then. These pills leave me even more tired and logy than my usual ones, and being up that late meant there was no way I was going to be able to make the Very Important Call I really needed to get done today. I woke up with a sense of despair on top of my exhaustion. But my Morgan's knew just what to say, and I got Do It Now, Whatever's Right, and Don't Worry You Can Do No Wrong. It made me feel immensely better, and gave me the energy to make another phone call I needed to make. I want to carry that over into actually making something (which I haven't managed in weeks) in just a little while here, too....

More Charmcasting blogging

5/4/15 - May the Fourth be with you. 7:20pm Playing with chalking not only the querent-figure, but realms. Not sure yet what they all mean, but we'll get there. I need to give my figure a name for things. I think right now they're Lex. Cast: Hm. I think edges are farther out in time. Red skull rolled right off the mat, so injury and major illness are not a worry at this time. The compass is farthest out: a specific direction is a ways off. It's on the line between what I think are the mental realms on the right and the spiritual realms on the left. Only slightly closer in is the marble of clarity in the spiritual realm. Not doing a lot of focus there. Closer in is the vertebra, above Lex's head, but a way out. Perhaps Lex ought to be considering structure... No, I think I have the upper two realms backwards. Mental on Lex's own left, as they are facing me. So the marble and vertebra are mental clarity and structure, not spiritual. Close to, but not very, Lex' right hand is the work they could be doing, but apparently are not. About as close to hand on the spiritual side to the key, for secrets and revelations. At Lex's feet is the thread, the path they must walk, a practical path in the realm of the earth. It begins coiled around itself a bit, a bit that repeats a few times, bouncing back and forth between two things for a bit before breaking free into the rest of the path. Celebration, and a dream, but one that maybe cannot be immediately realized. Lex is having fun spinning off new ideas, new concepts, new projects, but will not finish most of them. That's ok. Finally picking a project to run with, Lex finds they don't have the money for it, and goes hunting for ways of getting it together. They rely primarily on themselves to do this, not entirely paying attention to advice and aid offered by others. Instead, Lex plays to their personal strengths. Below and farther out are three charms in a line: a path that Lex might choose to take, if they thing of it. Persevere through the mundane slog, follow their heart into the realm of spirits and gods, and find transformation there. The Tree floats unconnected amidst this mess, possibilities unconsidered. Time spent, from sketching to finish, 45min. Notes to self: Find heavier/less rolly things for skull, compass, marble. MAKE PEOPLE FIGURES. Add a targeting loop. 9:00pm Found a bit of red yarn, tied it in a loop. Targeting loop! Actually, that might be a Warning Loop, and I might add purple for the Pay Attention Loop instead. Decided to add a moonflower vine seed, for stretching and growth. Started making shrinky-drink people pieces. Whee! I forgot how much fun it is to do shrinky-dinks. Note to self: sharpies work really well. 10:37pm Shrinky-dink people (and spirit) came out well! They look like they're doing some sort of primeval safety dance or something. But they look like they're having fun! Had to swap something things around. The red and purple circles turned out to be too grabby. Have a much smoother blue yarn, and might add a red back in as well. New pieces: Five people pieces, seed for growth, wings for a message or messenger, circle for attention. Casting really works best when I'm sitting on the floor with the mat in from of me. I get the best spread that way. Rather than move my butt off the couch and away from the computer for the moment, though, I have a big coffee-table book in my lap with the mat on it. Here's what I've got. Very tight grouping, the problem with sitting too close. Basically everything is happening at once. Lex is thinking about an earth person, strong and solid and reliable, probably makes things. They wear their heart on their sleeve here: everyone knows how they feel about Earth Person. At the center, much busyness, much interconnectedness. There's change and growth, but it's hard, and Lex must just keep swimming, just keep pushing through it. Forward momentum, that's the way! A Spirit that is attached to a fire person (Fire Person is on top, so they're central, and the spirit follows on) is there to help, and will pass Lex on in the direction of Water Person, who can help with the swimming, the perseverance. Air Person bears a message about an opportunity to make money, and sends Lex back towards Fire Person and their Spirit. At Lex's feet, ready to be called upon, are both strength and sadness, together, a package deal. A word of advice: secrets can...

Not Quite Live-blogging Creating an Oracle

I've been fascinated by the idea of a charm oracle -- an oracle built out of charms, beads, miniatures, whatever comes to hand -- ever since I read Little Red Tarot's guestpost on How to create (and read) a charmcasting oracle and the various posts it linked to. I've been locating bits and pieces around the house as I came across them and setting them aside for inclusion. A tiny vertebra, a red stone skull bead. Turned up a metal Wizard of Oz lunchbox (Glinda on one side, the Wicked Witch on the other, and "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" on the sides") that I used to carry around with various bits and bobs in. I thought it would make a good carrying case for the thing. Then yesterday, a friend gave me a beautiful chunk of chamois leather that I knew would make a perfect mat for it, so today I set out. I couldn't find the Big Bag O'Charms and Beads, which is maybe for the best. Too many possibilities there. I want to start small. So I picked through the things I had found, and selected bit that spoke to me, that I knew meanings for as soon as I glanced at them. A dozen or so, plus Alice in Wonderland to symbolize the querent. The idea occurred to me that a string would let me target significant symbols that weren't necessarily immediate, and would let me connect things. So I snagged one of those as well, a length of linen. Initial pieces: Alice in Wonderland, for the querent a red stone skull, for illness and injury a small vertebra, for structure a tree, like the World Tree, for possibility, choices, travel a glass owl and some tiny cogs embedded in a resin cabochon, for industry, making things, and skill a hand, for help (obverse) or self-reliance (reverse) a marble, for sanity, clarity, understanding a pair of cups, for celebration, happiness an amethyst bear fetish, for strength and endurance a bat, for listening, of different kinds a fish, for perseverence -- "Keep swimming" a heart, for love and emotion a dragonfly, for transformation, change, shapeshifting a replica of an old Chinese coin, for money, 4 symbols for lots of money, 2 for little or lack a key, for opening and closing, for secrets and revelations a butterfly, for hope, for dreams, for wishes a compass, for seeking and finding, for directions I found a clay cup, and began casting, trying to understand how things fell together, and then just trying to learn to cast them so that they neither jumbled too tightly nor spread too widely. Trying to tell stories from the patterns I saw. I rapidly found that the querent-figure, Alice, was not very useful, at least as a cast piece, and that the string did very well to simply chart the course of a story. I tied a small knot in one end for the start, and a larger one in the other end for the end. I grabbed a broken spindle to use as a pointer, because it was handy. I'd rather have a dip pin, but might also try a small brush. Having trouble getting a good spread. Lots of clumping, with the marble and compass tending to roll away. Might have to replace those, although I love the marble, which has a story that connects it to the lunchbox. At that point, I took a few minutes to stop and write this post so far. Everything going forward is written as it happens. Tried placing Alice at the center of the mat, and casting around her. Sure enough, the thread centered nicely at her feet -- this is a path she's walking. The thread makes a lemniscate, possibly indicating a repeating cycle. The thread's start is at the compass. Alice is seeking, finding a direction. Next stop, the dragonfly atop the vertebra. The thing on top is the main concept, with the underlying piece modifying it. A structural change, a transformation of the fabric of her life. That's what she's seeking -- we're not to results yet. The tree almost covers the heart entirely, new possibilities and opportunities open up within as well as without. The thread rises, falls and crosses itself, a rush forward, a taking of initiatives, seizing one of the open possibilities, a settling into the new role. The butterfly, a hope, a new dream to pursue, and the compass again, for a direction to follow, a pole star, a goal. Wow. That started communicating with me remarkably quickly. The thread seems to be really key to my understanding, and making it directional helps. I also really like putting the querent down first and casting around it. I might actually draw a figure for the...

Spring Cleaning Spread

I've been having a bad time for, well, a couple of years now. Since the restaurant closed, and then since Kate lost her job. It gets worse and worse and worse. Nothing I try seems to improve the general lot of the household. I feel very stuck. The past week or two have been a mess. I have delayed phase sleep disorder, which is to say that my personal diurnal cycle is a few hours longer than an actual day, and doesn't reset properly at the end of one. Without a schedule to keep to, I just go to sleep later and later until I'm sleeping all day instead of all night. In my house, we refer to it as rolling forward, and to being on an all night schedule as being upside down. So I was upside down, and decided to roll all the way forward until I was right way up again. Having late morning and afternoon as the end of my day is very disorienting, as is going to sleep when it's light and waking up when it's dark, and I tend to spend several days fuzzy-headed and useless while rolling around. This, of course, is bad for accomplishing things, and so bad for my self-esteem. Yesterday, as I finally achieved a useful schedule, I was feeling like a totally useless and worthless human being. No marketable skills, can't even find a retail job, haven't even gotten very basic stuff done for a week, like weaving and studying. I finally managed to shake it off in the afternoon, got out the triloom and did some weaving. I felt so much better for it that I managed to put in an hour on Ruby, and smashed the hell out of that Roman numeral problem. (I'm still pleased with myself for that. And once I lick the next level of that, I'll have the technique I need to finally make the geomancy script work. I think. And apparently Roman numerals is one of those problems that's well known for just being annoying as fuck to code for.) We got out the door and to the food back, sold some books, bought some groceries, and basically got everything done that needed to get done. Kate managed to get some stuff done that had been building pressure behind it, too. A good day in the end. Now, I had the excellent blog Little Red Tarot hanging around in a tab for a couple of months, and finally started reading it regularly in February. Good reviews of decks, intruiging new spreads, cool stuff. For the Equinox, she posted a spread for Spring Cleaning, and I let that hang out in a tab for a week, meaning to get around to it once I was right side up again. So this morning, I tried it out, and I must say it rather nailed me, despite my initial bafflement at a couple of those cards. Spring cleaning spread: 1 & 2 – You, now Sun, Seven of Pentacles You are brilliant and skilled, don’t forget it. 
3 & 4 – All that junk under the bed – and how to tackle it Page of Wands, The Devil You have an image of yourself as a dilettante, as flitting from one thing to another as a new shiny comes along. Do not let that image limit you. 
5, 6 & 7 – Redecoration! Fresh ideas Queen of Wands, Two of Swords, Magician Yes, you have many passions, many interests. This is a strength, not a weakness. Yes, you must choose things to focus on, but that choice comes again and again. Don’t choose forever, choose for now. You are good at many things. 
8 – …and it really is time to chuck this out Death Stop thinking you can change everything. Stop thinking that one thing will change everything. Stop thinking there is one big solution. It was that last card that really baffled me as I started to lay them out. I had glanced over the spread description, and remembered that last position as "…and it really is time to chuck this out". How do I throw out Death, I though? What the hell? But once I worked through the whole spread and reached it, it was clear as a bell. This spread was about spring cleaning my head, my thinking. The position was an idea I needed to get rid of. And what I needed to get rid of was the idea that I could make one big sweeping change, fix everything at once. What a ridiculous notion, now that I consider it carefully. Silly me. I've gotten used to myself as not having any marketable skills, any skills that can make us money, because I can't find a job. Can't even figure out what to...

Fortune Teller

If you’re around my age and went to school in the US, you probably remember paper fortune tellers, aka cootie catchers, from around middle school. We loved those things. In case you’re not familiar, here’s a how-to on folding them. You write or shade colors on the top side, and numbers on the inside. Typically, this is done with two people, one of whom made the fortune teller and wrote the messages, and the other who’s having her fortune told. (This was mostly a girl thing in my school, so I’ll be referring to everyone with she/her pronouns.) The one having her fortune told picks a color, and the owner of the fortune teller opens it alternately up/down and left/right as she spells out the color. When she’s done, the other looks inside and picks one of the visible numbers, which is then counted out in the same way. The querent picks another number, and that flap is opened and the fortune or message read off. Usually at my school it was more messages and good wishes than fortunes. So I was looking for something to do with the first batch of test triangles, and thought what the hell, fortune tellers are all triangles and squares, I’m going to try that. I figured out most of this on the fly, and took as many pictures as I could manage as I went, but this post will probably be a bit confusing. Sorry. After I’ve had a chance to make more of them, I’m going to try to work up a pattern, which will hopefully make more sense. In the mean time, if you’re having trouble visualizing what I’m doing, you might want to stop and make a paper one (all you need is a square of paper) to refer to. You need 24 triangles to make this. You can do this with crocheted or knitted squares as well, in which case, use 12 and just omit the bit where you stitch triangles together. The seams are all very directional, in order to get everything to bend the right way. For the top, you need 8 triangles to make 4 squares, and some way of designating them as different colors. For preference, actually make them out of different colors of yarn. I was working with what I had, so I grabbed some easter-egg-dyed silk (did you know you can actually dye protein fiber with easter egg dye? You can; maybe I’ll do a post after Easter), and needle felted it on in little spirals. First, though, I paired off eight triangles, stacked each pair congruently, and whip-stitched the long edges together: The seam on each should be raised in a ridge. That’s the top. Then I felted on the spirals. Needle-felting silk is a PITA, but it was what I had. I used red, blue, yellow, and green. They’re all pastels, because that’s what you get with easter egg dye. What these are are silk hankies that have been drafted out into faux top. (Er. Yet another post for another day. But you can either spin from this or weave/knit/crochet with is as is.) If I’d had four or five colors of yarn, I’d have just paired like colors to make solid-colored squares. Now, if you remember, all the triangles have a knot on one sharp point, where the weaving began. I tried to put all of those in the same places, so on the top, all of them went to the outside. Inside the fortune teller, all of them gathered at the center. So. Now I have four squares, each assigned a color. I set those aside. I needed numbers for the inside, so I knotted pips, 1-8, onto eight triangles. Rather sloppily. With a paper fortune teller, you have flaps inside the thing that you flip up to read the messages. That doesn’t work here, so the plan was to make each numbered triangle a little pocket that fortunes could be tucked inside and swapped out. So, each of those triangles with pips was paired with a plain one, and whip-stitched all around the edges, leaving part of one short edge open (the one without the knot, because I wanted the knots at the bottom and the openings at the top. These openings turned out to be really hard to photograph. I tried several angles, and it’s still hard to see. Here’s the best, with yarn needles holding the slits open. (The colors on these are crap. Sorry. The pips are sort of cream colored, not yellow or orange. I need to take a class or something.) That, obviously, has already had the next...

Hanging Maiden Complete

I’ve been working on the Erigone pendulum oracle I talked about before. I believe I’ve got the rhyme and method hammered out pretty well, although of course there may be later refinements (like some kind of coda to the rhyme, although I’m not sure it’s necessary, since you should stop once you received an indicator). I’ll need to practice with it more to get a better sense of how it works out in reality. No substitute for experience. As I mentioned previously, pendulum divination is best done by someone other than the querent, as it’s too easily influenced by the person holding the line. Before attempting to use a pendulum for divination, you should practice with it quite a bit. Establishing a spin, maintaining it, changing directions by thinking of a direction shift rather than consciously moving your hand to change it. If micromovements of your hand control the swing, then it’s easier for the less conscious and more symbol-oriented parts of your mind to direct it, giving you better and truer answers. The divination does not begin with the querent asking their question aloud. Instead, the diviner sets the pendulum going in a clockwise direction, while chanting the rhyme. The querent can chant along if they know it, too. The chant should be recite sing-song and rhythmically, like a nursery or counting rhyme. You’ll find your own pattern for it as your practice. The line on which the pendulum either goes into a flat swing or stops completely (depending on the preference of the diviner) indicates the topic. (You can stop the chant at that point.) This may be a surprise to the querent, and they should stop to consider for a moment if they are asking the right questions, or if perhaps the situation they want to know about may have a very different dimension. If they mean to ask about their job, and the pendulum stops on a line about pregnancy and childbirth, then things may be about to change very suddenly! Perhaps they or their partner will become pregnant, and they may need to seek new job opportunities because of it, or perhaps their boss will, and they’ll be promoted while the boss is out for maternity leave. That’s a positive line. Or there could just be a party. Use binary questions to find out more. Once the topic has been established, the querent may ask aloud questions they have about it. Now it’s time to play hot-and-cold, as the pendulum gives only yes/no and either/or answers from here on out. The diviner should get a spin going again, then let the pendulum go to a flat swing. A forward-and-back swing is affirmative, a side-to-side negative. For either/or questions, assign an axis to each choice. If it settles into a diagonal flat swing, that’s a maybe or neither. If the pendulum reverses direction and spins in circles the other way, that means the question is entirely wrong, pick another one (this should be quite rare). The rhyme: Erigone Whisper to me Little doll Tell me all What does my future hold? Birth, Death, Heaven’s Dome Love, Hearth, House and Home Wealth, Riches, Money, Fame Strife, Conflict, Trouble, Blame Sickness, Hurt, Accident Health, Healing, Improvement Fate, Chance, Change and Choice Power, Sway, Sounding Voice Lack, Want, Famine and Need Growth, Increase, Planted Seed Bearing, Children, Celebration School, Study, Education Job, Work, or Profession Friends, Help, Wishes and Dreams Fears, Worries, Nightmares, Schemes Now, here’s what those lines mean: Erigone Whisper to me Little doll Tell me all What does my future hold? Invocation Birth, Death, Heaven’s Dome Anything of this world; anything under the sky, from birth to death. This establishes the realms that the divination covers. Despite the hanging maiden and chthonic symbolism, this is not a good method to use for questions about the afterlife or about specifically divine matters. You could, in theory, write a new rhyme for inquiries about the Underworld or the gods, but truly I think there are methods better suited to that. Love, Hearth, House and Home Family, romance, love in all forms, hospitality, guests, physical home. Wealth, Riches, Money, Fame The acquisition or retention of money, possessions, nonphysical types of wealth, and fame. Strife, Conflict, Trouble, Blame Arguments, fights, contests, lawsuits, social clashes, political fights. Sickness, Hurt, Accident Short or longterm illness, disease, injury, any accident that hurts someone, physicians. Health, Healing, Improvement Healing, good health, recovery, remission. Fate, Chance, Change and Choice Things that you have no control over, but also choices that you make that may have unforseen consequences. Things getting away from you. A notice that the gods have some purpose for what you’re experiencing, although what...

Hanging Maiden

So. The Hanging Maiden and her noose are done for the Erigone pendulum. Still working on the rhyme, but it’s getting there. Thought I’d post the picture, though. Crude figure, and it turned out the Sculpey had sparkles in and got slightly swirly, but there it is. Maybe eventually I’ll do a nicer one, if I become really fond of it. This Maiden figure is about 2.5” tall and .5” thick, made out of Sculpey. The noose is, of course, handspun hemp....

Erigone Pendulum

Sannion, talking about developing his divinatory toolkit, mentioned that he was thinking of developing a pendulum divination using a noose or a doll hanged from one, but that he hasn’t done any work with pendula. Well, I have, and am very fond of them, so I’m thinking about developing this. The thing about pendulum divination is that it’s basically used to answer binary questions — yes/no stuff, or you can play hot-and-cold with one, or any either/or question (there’s an old midwife’s divination that hangs a pregnant woman’s wedding ring from a thread over her belly; along her body means a boy, and across means a girl) — or for dowsing, finding, or tracing energy patterns (which all come down to the same thing). I would be inclined, for my own use, to connect it more generally to the Women of the Purple Thread, although still through Erigone. Many of them were hanged or hanged themselves. But using Erigone, who was still young, and in whose memory a girls’ festival was held, suggests that this divination be done in a fashion more like a children’s game. Perhaps start it with something like a counting or clapping rhyme, pendulum spinning, and the line on which it goes to a flat swing or maybe stopped altogether being the first indicator. Then play hot-and-cold, chasing it down with more questions, if necessary. If so, the skill would be in asking the questions. An unweighted noose won’t have enough weight on the end of a rope to make a good pendulum, but a well-weighted doll would. I went looking for the little clay doll that’s a replica of one found in some Greek ruins, I forget which ones, but I’d quite forgotten that my young friend stole it and gave it as an offering to Hermes (who is not inclined to give it up; I asked). I’m poking around for something else to use. It needs to be no more than about 2-3”, well-weighted, and compact to work as a pendulum. I’ve got all the Poppets, but I don’t think those will work for various reasons (starting with them having their own meaning and personality). I suppose might try making a knotted-rag doll and weighting it with beans or something, but that would be clumsy — loose fabric would slow the swing. I have air-dry red clay, and might try my hand at sculpting with that, or with Sculpey or some other more modern material. (I’ve got some two-part epoxy clay someplace, I think.) There wouldn’t be anything wrong with buying one at a toy store, but it would need to be small enough and heavy enough; money’s too tight for me to spend any at all, we’re counting pennies. A fancy doll could also be carved from some dense wood or root, or bone, but I don’t have the skill for that. My modeling skills aren’t good, but they’ll probably do. Of course I’ll be spinning my own hemp for the noose and line, although there’s no reason anybody else who wanted to try it couldn’t just buy twine. One of the really great things about a pendulum is that you can make it from nearly anything. All you need is a weight and a line or string or chain. Pick up a river rock, tie a bit of string around it, with at least four or five inches for it to swing by, or use a fishing weight and line, or a binder clip and thread, whatever you have handy. For this, the symbolism of a doll and noose is significant, but any doll of appropriate size and weight will work. It is important that the line or chain not be too heavy for the weight, that the line be pliable enough, and that the mass of the plumb be compact. One thing to know about pendulum divination, though, is that it’s highly susceptible to influence by the person holding the pendulum. It’s very very easy when divining for yourself to simply pick the answer you want and to unconsciously change the swing. Unless you’re specifically trying to get at answers from your own subconscious, pendulum divination is best worked by someone other than the querent....

Trioditis Spread

This is a spread I use for decision making. It’s a Hekatean spread, echoing the three-way meeting of roads (“crossroads” is something of a misnomer, since it’s the meeting of three ways that’s specified by the name Trioditis) that is sacred to Hekate, and I always invoke her when using it. It does, however, offer the option of finding a third choice if the first two are not acceptable. This would be analogous to breaking new trail, something I find Hekate encourages. But the additional third option is a squirmy, tricksy thing. It may show you a new option you hadn’t considered before. It may show you a way to compromise between the two obvious options. Or it may give you advice that applies to either path, in which case its cards will modify those of the path you choose. Trioditis Spread Lay out and read the first ten cards. The other three are there only if you need more information. 1. First step: Where you began the path that led to this particular choice. 2. Along the road: What you did, encountered or experiences on the way. 3. Where it led: The immediate that prompts this choice. 4. The Choice Before You: This describes just what your choice is, the theme of it, what you need to consider. 5. Left-hand option: One of your options. If you are right-handed or of a right hand path tradition, this may be the choice you favor less; if you are left-handed or of a left hand path tradition, it may be the choice you favor. Or it may just be one option. This card should tell you which of your options it is. 6. Along the road: Some of the consequences of this choice, things you will encounter on the road if you make this choice. 7. Where it leads: This lets you know what, ultimately, this choice gains you, and whether or not it’s what you want. 8. Right-hand option: Your other major option. This may be the option you find preferable, or may not. The card should tell you. 9. Along the road: Some of the consequences of this choice, things you will encounter on the road if you make this choice. 10. Where it leads: This lets you know what, ultimately, this choice gains you, and whether or not it’s what you want. If you are unsatisfied with both of your choices and need a third option that you can’t yet see, or you’re looking for a way to get the best of both options, or you just need some more advice, now lay out these three cards. They may provide you with a third option altogether, suggest how to compromise between them, or just give you general advice that you can apply to either path. These three cards are very contextual. 11. In the Center: How to begin: the third option you haven’t seen, the compromise you might make, or advice that can apply to either path. 12. Along the Road: Some of the consequences of this choice, things you will encounter on the road if you make this choice, or the way taking this advice will influence your journey. 13. Where it leads: This lets you know what, ultimately, this choice gains you, and whether or not it’s what you want, or it may modify the destination card for the choice you do make. This spread was created by Rebecca Lynn Scott under a Creative Commons Share Alike license, which means you can distribute it freely, but please keep attribution intact....

De Capitem Draconis

Note: This entry is nearly three thousands words long, and actually pretty difficult to understand. Not so much because the ideas involved are tricky, just that they take a lot of explaining, and some of them I don't understand that well, and some of them I didn't put the work into explaining them clearly, and some of them are just really dull unless you're a divination nerd. So, y'know, be warned, and don't necessarily expect to finish reading the stupid thing. Having finally finished my (fourth or fifth, in the 23 years I’ve been using it) study of the tarot, which I started doing when I renewed a regular practice, as a way to recondition my mind to thinking in certain symbols and patterns, I have embarked on a study of geomancy. Unlike the tarot, it’s something I’ve studying only briefly and superficially, once, years ago. I’m picking it up again now because divination and oracular practices (in the form of tarot) were my first foray into both magic and paganism, and studying or regularly practicing any method will reliably deepen my practice. I have been both a diviner and an oracle (a diviner is one who practices divination, the art of gaining information about the future; and oracle is one through whom a god delivers messages to mortals). First I gave tarot readings for friends, and later spent more than two years setting up weekly in a bookstore coffee shop and offering readings for tips, and occasionally hiring out for parties. (I remember one Halloween party where everybody was having fun and being pretty silly and enjoying the readings a lot… and then there was an older women who simply started silently crying in the middle of the reading, and thanked me profusely when I was done. I have no memory of what I said to her, and never knew what it meant to her at the time, but it really brought home to me how I could touch people with divination, even when I knew nothing about them or their lives, had no knowledge to draw on with which to refine the reading.) I studied runes, pendulum work, the I Ching, geomancy, tasseomancy (and other cup-reading methods, like reading the foam on a beer glass), scrying, and a couple of non-Tarot divination decks (like Morgan’s Tarot, which is not a tarot at all). Cartomancy and rune readings were the only ones I ever studied very deeply, and I’ve long since given up runes (although I still have a set). Divination, of course, is one of the classic witch’s skills. My oracular states have always tended to be at the will of the gods. I can intentionally use trance and ritual techniques to get there, but historically it’s been far more likely that I’ll be in the middle of a reading and suddenly somebody else is using me to get a message to the querent. I’ve dedicated myself to service to my gods, and I have no objection to this being part of it, but it’s not an easy thing when you’re prepared for it, and much less so when you’re not. So, as I said, this connects to both magical practice and religious practice for me, and since I’m working to make the practice of each of them a major part of my life again, I’m trying to keep studying more methods. This includes practicing the methods I’ve been studying, too. I no longer use the Greek litteromancy every day, but do turn to it when I have a question, and write down the answers and the ways they’re demonstrated in my life. Having finally freed up my favorite decks from the study, I’m also reading those for myself with some frequency, and sometimes recording those results, too. (It’s less necessary, since I already have a long history with tarot, and know how the cards reflect life, but not yet much about how the Greek letters do.) As an aside, I love the wide variety of methods of divination and the names for them. I love the ability of humans to take a set of information with some degree of randomness (and nearly every method of divination I’m aware of has some random element), find a pattern in it, and derive meaning and advice from it. The term apophenia was coined by Klaus Conrad, a German psychiatrist and neurologist, in 1958 to describe it, but he specifically intended it to refer to false meaning and delusion as a symptom of schizophrenia. Michael Sherman coined patternicity fifty years later for the human tendency to find pattern in meaningless noise, without any connection to mental illness, but it’s still...