Divination Journal – 10/23/16

Omens came a little late this time. I was a bit scattered/tired and had no specific entity to call for guidance so I drew runes in the style of my Grove: one rune for each of the Kindreds.

The Mighty Dead brought Dagaz – The Day
The Nature Spirits brought Gebo – The Gift
The Shining Ones brought Perthro – The Dice Cup

The ancestors have reminded me, with elation, that Samhain is drawing near. It is a turning of the season, a closing of the door to look forward to better days. I hope to end the year honoring those who came before me and gave me so much strength and wisdom, carrying that power through to a new year of life.

The creatures and spirits of this Earth call for a stronger relationship. I witnessed so much beauty on my trip down south this week. So many wonderful creatures and plants reminded me of the glorious color that exists in this world, outside of my walls. I still dream of a small garden outside the apartment… But am often stalled by indecision and a lack of expertise. Clearly the spirits grow restless with my hesitation.

My mother Goddesses and all they share the stars with see my uncertainty, rattling it’s bones noisily as a parent scolds a child. I’ve heard it many times. I don’t fault you for reminding me… In fact I certainly need the reminder.

Now to figure out a low-light, outdoor, pot-friendly plant that can survive a SoCal winter…


Reflecting on the Omens – 10/17 & 10/19/16

As I write this I am sitting at a hotel in San Diego with my husband. In the room next to us is his parents. We just concluded a fun yet exhausting day at the San Diego Zoo and yesterday was a fun yet exhausting day at Cabrillo Beach back home. I have been ruminating on two omen drawings and a curious meditation walk.

So on Monday I called upon Artio to offer inspiration following my peculiar meditation journey up the tree-lined slope that rose up out of my mental grove. I could not get over the other side of that slope because I felt too small and I could not reach over the top. When I asked Artio if I was supposed to see the other side she told me that I was uncertain so I should go spend some energy and have a good time at the beach on Tuesday.

So the next day we got up and went out to Cabrillo. I wanted to make a strong effort to be comfortable on the beach, to be welcoming to the ocean and truly reach out to Nehalennia and ask for her to join me. I found a place of beautiful quiet as my family meandered here and there. I took my shoes off and… Just bliss. Feeling the sand rising between my toes, surrounding my bare feet… The cold ocean waters rising to meet me, the foam kissing them before pulling away. It all suddenly felt right. I spoke to the horizon, spoke from the heart about my longing for the woods (pining for the pines if you will) and how I’ve had a home within walking distance of the ocean for a decade and never really made an effort to make the ocean a home as well. I opened my heart to the ocean, to the guardian of the fleet, the keeper of the hound.

I felt comfortable on the shore for the first time. I craved the waters to surround me more and more. The tide came up higher around my ankles as I walked the sand. It was so cold. It just felt wonderful. The cold became a bit too intense the longer they were submerged but then the waters would recede and the warmth would return. I enjoyed this cycle for some time and eventually noticed a peculiar stone embedded in the damp sand. It was almost perfectly square, very flat, with a series of clam bored holes along one side. From one corner to another was a set of three pits, then a single pit, then a barely started pit. It was a peculiar shape with a peculiar sequence of natural markings. It was a warm and wonderful gift and it filled my heart with warmth.

This morning before we left on our journey I called to Nehalennia for the first time at my altar. I called out to her, welcomed her to join our home, and asked for her to guide and protect us on our journey south. When it came time for omens I, again, called to her. The runes sloshed, undulated (not unlike water!) between my fingers and then two rose up:

Sowilo – The Sun
Eihwaz – The Yew

With the sureness of the sun and the defense of the yew I heard Nehalennia reassure me: “Have faith in my protection.” and so I kept her cool waves flowing in my heart all day.

It feels wonderful and ‘right’ to speak with Nehalennia now. I’m not sure if this means a third Goddess will take a place on my altar but, for now, I welcome Her presence and have a great deal of love for Her.

At any rate our journey was pleasant and safe and the stone sitting on my altar at home is so beautiful. I hope to have her guide us home tomorrow afternoon and… We’ll see where this relationship goes, I suppose.

10/17/16 – The Oath and The Ledge

Today I renewed my Dedicant’s Oath before The Kindreds using my personalized Oath. It was a quiet, intimate morning ritual kept to simple offerings of love and a tiny LED flame as my giant cat decided he wanted to take part as well and I couldn’t well reach most of my altar with him on my lap. Still though, despite it being a little weird, it was a nice ritual. It felt good to do the Oath again, now in a more comfortable mood than I had been in months prior.

When I moved into meditation I called on Artio, who had previously indicated to me through the runes that she wished me to meditate, and asked her to join me in my mental grove to pass along whatever she had wanted to tell. The grove was unstable when I arrived. I knew I was having a hard time ‘tuning it in’. The creek was undulating up and down like a ribbon and I focused to ‘flatten it out’. In time the tumult settled and I sat, listening to the kayaderosseras trickle past me, feeling the grass around me. I felt very small in this moment, the grass taller around me than before.

Eventually I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A tree had sprung up in the distance to my right. Another tree followed, followed by another. As the trees appeared so too did the earth below them pull up into a slope. There was suddenly an inclined path up off into the distance lined with tall, shady trees. I looked toward the grove as I knew it and then looked up at this new formation and willed myself to ascend the slope. I quickly reached a sharp wall of dirt that was too tall for me to mantle. I tried to get my paws up on it and could not. Perhaps I was too small at this time to climb it. I looked back down and the path back to the grove seemed darker, as night had begin to set in. I tried again to climb the ledge but I could not. Moments before I rose from the visions I saw some sort of thick, floating stone disc near me. I knew that a book was hidden inside it though I could not see it.

So as the tingles left me and I turned my eyes to the little battery-powered flame on my altar I called on Artio again, lifting my rune pouch. For my Monday omens I asked if that ledge was for me to climb or if I should remain down in the grove when next I visit that place. These runes called out:

Perpo – The Dice Cup

Fehu – Cattle

Ingwaz – Ing

As the runes were cast, Fehu was leaning atop Ingwaz.

I see this answer as “You are uncertain right now. Go and spend some of that pent up energy with others.”

Indeed I am perhaps slightly overtaxed with thoughts and concerns right now. I am on my autumn vacation and I’ve been making great effort to make it a low impact relaxing type of vacation but my sleep last night was riddled with static in my mind and my meditation today was equally rough. Bear-Mother asks me to go work out the fuzz, shake off the itchy, shedding fur and have a nice time.

We’ll talk again next time.


Divination Journal – 10/14/2016

Friday morning. The last work day before my Autumn vacation. I was tired from all of the exhaustion of the week yet a little relieved to have a half day of lighter duty ahead of me. I would need to call an Uber to get in today, as I slept in a touch and would need a new uniform for the day’s assignment. I was a bit hurried, but it was a day for omens. I called for Artio to share Her wisdom with me and my fingers found a pair of runes that spoke:

Isa – The Ice
Ehwaz – The Horse

It did not take me long to discern the meaning of this message…

Me: “Hey there! I’m not able to take your call right now but please leave a message at the tone!”

Artio: “Hey Sticks, we need to talk. Call me back when you have a moment, thanks!”

Bear-Mother very much would like a word with me, it seems. The runes say, quite plainly, to be still and travel. Meditate and visit Her. I am beyond exhausted at this point in the evening to attempt anything resembling effective meditation but tomorrow is to be a day of quiet study and communing with the Kindreds.

I’ll see you then, friend.

Reflecting on the Wednesday Omens

Yesterday my rune read spoke of an intense change leading into another change. Hagalaz rides toward Daguz. I thought on it for a time, then I started my day at work.

I hadn’t even quite committed to my conscious brain that my cane was with me yesterday, as it is again today. It is a thing that I now, thinking specifically on it, was difficult to find yesterday morning because I hadn’t used it in so very long. I needed it, though. I needed it because my primary work location, that I’ve been at almost exclusively since I returned from disability, was closed for refurbishment and thus I was temporarily relocated to another duty that I had been trained for. 

I’ve participated in this alternate location from time to time in the past, a little here or there, bit never very intensely or for very long days. This past week has been full 8 hour days and, largely, very busy and fast paced… And because I am who I am and I have my auto-pilot mode, I go in full steam every time… Until I can’t.

As the week drew on I found myself stiff, achy, in pain. It grew day upon day,with recent evenings relegated exclusively to just lying down so I could get up to do it again. The pain was not the worst of it, though. The real heartbreak was that, prior to this week’s trials, I was seriously considering moving back up to heavier duty. I thought that I was improving nicely, getting a lot more strength in my leg. It was time to move back up to the big leagues. Last night as I slowly made my way home, leaning hard on the cane, I began to cry as expectation was gnashed at by reality. 

So here I am, caught in the hailstorm, seeking shelter. It’s definitely a change in plans. In a way I’m glad for this hardship as it helped guide me away from making a potential mistake. It’s caused me to realize where I am in regards to my physical damage and my work place in a more direct and tested way. It reduces my options for certain but fewer opportunities do not necessarily imply lesser opportunity.

Divination Journal – 10/12/16

This morning I returned to the ‘classic’ morning omen draw that my altar has seen, calling to a specific source for inspiration. This morning I called upon Bear-Friend and Raven-Friend, Artio and Nantosuelta, to speak.

The moment my fingers brushed the right words I felt such a jolt inside. It was so much more prominent than the omens on Monday felt at the moment of contact.

So, betwixt fore and tall fingers came a trio of runes. They were as a fork in a wall socket (don’t try that at home, children) and they read:

Hagalaz – Hail

Raido – The Ride

Dagaz – Dawn

It’s too easy to toss a cliche “It’s always darkest before the dawn” at this one but… Perhaps we’re not far off the mark. Both Hagalaz and Dagaz indicate intense change. 

The intense noise and force of a hailstorm disrupts the quiet and threatens crop and property with damage. The dawn pushes the night away with a burst of beautiful, blinding light. Both are violent and intense in their own ways but work together in an interesting manner as well, the hail coating the land in ice before the sunrise melts it into water.

Raido stood between the hail and the dawn. As a bridge the rune’s meaning is pretty definite. It is the path. The journey forward.

So what we have, all told, is an intense change that will lead into an intense change. It’s a fairly intimidating omen as, in my experience, that can mean anything from an awful illness to changing one behavior for another. The shining face of Dagaz suggests a positive resolution, however. 

This one goes in the front pocket, beneath my snout, eyes open as the day goes on.

Divination Journal – 10/10/16

This morning I called for omens in a way that was not particularly my own, but rather a method employed in our Grove’s public rituals. I called for a rune from each of the three Kindreds. It felt like a weak calling, all told, likely because it was outside of the norm for me and also a bit of a rough morning in general. Still though:

The Ancestors brought Sowilo, the sun.

The Spirits of Nature brought Opila, the enclosure.

The Shining Ones brought Algiz, the elk-sedge.

The mighty dead have brought me a reminder to keep pushing onward. A reminder that the cycle will ever move forward and to be mindful and respectful to the turning of time in this liminal period.

Opila is a familiar sight as of late. To hear the Nature Spirits speak of ‘Home’ is… Honestly a bit different for me. But, thinking on it, I have so rarely called on the creature and folk for omens. The association of Opila as home has come up before but now, in this reading, I too see it as an enclosure. A separation of here from there. True, I do bemoan quite a lot how I miss the woods of New York, and how Southern California just isn’t the same. I also, academically, know that I am blessed with a whole new beauty in the endless ocean and beautiful sun year round. I’ve lived here about ten years now and not once have I truly known the ocean. 

Maybe this reading is less weak than I initially thought.

Finally, but certainly not least, the Gods and Goddesses bring Algiz. Another recent favorite at the altar. The elk-sedge brings me assurance. It’s a guiding hand that has me hold steady, be patient, and watch. Hold the spear aloft, yes, but do not rush into the skirmish. When they come, you will be ready.

The latest milestone in this October of 2016 that is so packed full of stuff is a vacation week involving my in-laws. It’s a split NorCal/Starvation sort of deal and I’m really looking forward to it. Every day lately has been one of those ‘vacation is soon, hang in there’ sorta days and, of course, there’s stress at home to make the place presentable for the parents. To make the home habitable. 

There’s also much talk from the husband about a beach trip up north. So… Hm. Okay, runes. You’ve got my attention.

#DPWOTY – Week Two (Preparation)

It’s about time I got back on track with the WOTY course for my Dedicant Path work. Week two brings us to the First Oath. While it is true that I have been practicing and growing along the Druid’s Path for well over half a year at this point and, yes, at one point I scratched the surface of the week two writing, this weekend was firmly dedicated to for really reals reading and writing to get further along the program.

I feel doing the First Oath now/again is just as important as if I was fresh off the Druidry bus. Like one might renew their wedding vows after so many years, my understanding and love of the Kindreds, of my blessed Shining Mothers, has grown so much since I even considered the DP. The First oath of Falling Sticks circa October 2016 vs March 2016, I feel, is the brass concert of Senior Band vs 5th Grade Band. It has more confidence, more harmony, and a richer sound.

And so I prepare now, a re-dedication if you will. This oath is neither to ADF itself nor any members of the priesthood nor the Archdruid himself. This oath is a message of love and dedication to the Kindreds for whom all this practice is centered around honoring, nourishing, and befriending. What follows is my written oath, to be made in ritual once I have completed preparations:

“I declare, to all that will hear, to be a pagan, seeker of ancient ways, whom speaks with and gives of his heart to the Gods.

By this oath I set upon the Druid’s Way and make my dedication known.

I seek virtue, protecting myself and those in my life, that we may all know strength, joy, truth, and prosperity.

I seek piety, an ever-growing bond with the Kindreds, keeping the rites through the turning of the wheel.

I seek study, growing my love and practice through the truth of the elder paths.

To all here who bear witness, let my vow be heard! Let my dedication be known! Let the Ways be upheld! As my path goes ever on! So be it!”

While the framework is certainly borrowed from OOD I worked to make it my own, with words and sentiments that were comfortable and true to my vision, to my path forward. It certainly feels right, in this moment, but I fully expect to be stirred in the night with more… Or less words. For now… I sleep. Tomorrow… More reading!

Divination Journal – Friday 10/7/16

I woke up this morning an hour earlier than intended (0330 >.>) because I was in incredible pain. I had… Such a headache. Any attempt to lie down was met with the sensation of my eyes throbbing, threatening to splinter the bone of my skull. I was in agony. Couldn’t sleep though, and I had to leave in an hour so… I just went to the altar.

It was, as you would expect, tremendously difficult to focus but still I called for omens to please, please, please push me through the day. I was going to muddle over them during my commute but I did not. I was going to think on them before I clocked in but I did not. Today is actually kind of a blur of pain. I did get to lay down across three metal chairs in the break room for about 10 minutes, though. That was cool.

So anyway… It’s a bit of a miracle I even remembered to look at my omen notes from this morning. Let’s take a look at what we had.

The runes fell in a diamond pattern. My hand found five, with only one face up. In my desperation I called on insight from all the Kindreds. Whatever you got, I’ll take. The pattern in which they fell led me to think the mighty dead took the wheel on this one.

So most prominently we had Algiz. In a lesser position were Dagaz, Opila (Good to see you again), and Ansuz leaning atop Gebo. They all fell together to make the points of a diamond, Ingwaz, from the mouth of the ancestors.

So what words were bubbling up from the cauldron?

The loudest of the runes, Algiz, spoke to me of being resolute. Standing firm. Do not retreat, do not advance hastily. Plant your feet and watch. If adversity will come it will snag on the elk-sedge and once it reaches your shores you will have seen all it has to bear against you.

The quieter message, the face-down runes, reinforce the building of this home. Every day brings a new sunrise, our home grows stronger, fuller of warmth and worth, and our Goddesses gifts will continue to fuel the blazing hearth within these walls.

A reminder of the ever rising sun and the gifts Artio and Nantosuelta have brought this home is so welcome. As the veil thins and the night grows longer, thoughts of despair, worry about loss of time, my unease about death and ending… They tend to swirl up and embolden what may yet linger inside. Creatures like sadness and depression. These beasts have teeth and claws that so often treat armor as paper. These omens speak of defense, acceptance, and gratitude. Make the halls of this home whole, let the gifts be recieved, and by the strength of these walls, day by day, let thanks be also given.

A Samhain Dance #NationalPoetryDay

Oh flaming mane, eyes alight,
your skin, your fur, both dark and bright.
Mother, sister, keeper, friend,
meet me at the summer’s end.

Our breath, our hands, they touch at last,
skin bathed in stream, breeze, and grass.
The Sun, he swells, the canopy parts,
the fire enkindled in our hearts.

A rhythm builds, we growl, we pant,
bone and memory begin to chant.
We are blood, we are skull, we are water and flame,
the rivers burst, we cry our names.

Clawing, biting, spitting, mauling,
we cast our life upon the earth.
Dancing, spinning, twirling, wailing,
the leaves bathed crimson in our mirth.

The song grows ever louder still,
gore and spittle gush and spill,
we are snout, we are fang, we are fur, we are paw,
where once was finger now is claw.

The bones rise up and join in hand,
we sing with beast and breath of land.
As She shines I drink Her light,
and every bone spins through the night.

And so we dance ever on,
aching, screaming, clawing toward the dawn.
The morning will rise and scatter the night,
but Artio and I will have the next song.