Omens and Tarot

I’ve been incorporating omens into my devotionals lately, partly because I’ve been wanting to take my spiritual work to the next level, and partly because I have so many beautiful tarot decks that need love. (I’m such a little kid, wanting to play with my toys.)

The short version of this post: how do you take omens during a ritual?

The long version: I had a very successful daily devotional today, one where I felt really connected to the Kindreds. I made some very labor-intensive old-fashioned cookies earlier, and I used cookie pieces for my offering, to what I feel, looking at the omens, was success.

I’ve been using the fairly standard two question, two card (for tarot users) method of drawing omens, asking, “Was my offering acceptable?” and “What blessings are offered me?”

The trouble is, I’m not a big fan of yes/no questions for the tarot. Some people go for a basic, even number means yes, odd means no, or the opposite, or whatever, but I’ve always thought that method is naively over-simplified. With all the rich imagery a card presents, why look only at its number? And anyway, how often is something a simple yes or no, especially in the context of the questions we usually ask tarot? No, I’m one for trying to read into the card for an answer.

This time, for the first question, I drew The Lord, aka the Emperor. In the Druidcraft Tarot, which I’m currently using, the figure is grave man with a staff and an antlered headdress. I won’t go into the multitude of meanings for the card (especially a Major!), but I interpreted this to be a stern yes. The sort of yes you got when you were 16 and asking your dad if you could drive all of your friends to a late movie, or the yes you get when you ask your boss for permission to take liberties with an assignment. It’s like saying, “Yes, you can do this, but you need to prove to me that you are worthy.”

Okay, maybe I’m being a little facetious, but I think you get the drift.

For the second question, I drew The Hermit, which gave me a little thrill. The opportunity and the capacity to meditate and to grow spiritually is a huge blessing, and one I feel very ready and excited to receive. The accompanying book gives, for this card, the story of the Well of Segais, in which Manannán mac Lir teaches King Cormac that wisdom comes from within as well as without.  If I’m being given the opportunity to learn inner wisdom, I am blessed. And of course, seeing Manannán in the descriptor gave me a little thrill, because all encounters with my patron are a blessing.

So, yes, good omens. Two majors and two very serious positive answers.

But I still ask… what’s the best way to take omens? It must vary from person to person, but how does one find a method and feel confident that it’s working? Any thoughts?

Meditation Week 10

In high school, I had a trumpet instructor who told me once that, in terms of conditioning, every day I didn’t practice would cost me three days of practice. They say similar things about running, about learning a language, anything really. I’m currently teaching myself to play guitar, and I am discovering that if I don’t practice every day, the muscle memory doesn’t gel the way it should.

When I do practice every day, however, I notice that even if I’m struggling with a lesson during my session, somehow, the next day, that lesson has just suddenly fallen into place. My fingers remember where to go.

I’ve been thinking about how this relates to meditation. During our ten minutes, or twenty minutes, or however long, we work to make our mind concentrate on the Two Powers, or a single concept, or whatever our focus is that day. But in between practice sessions, the things we focused on or the lessons we learned during the practice time are still there in our minds, developing a structure beneath the surface of our thoughts, changing the way we see the world.

I’ve noticed, particularly this past week, that suddenly I’m able to concentrate much more easily. When writing, I can clear my mind of the thoughts that belong to me and allow only  the character’s thoughts to have a voice on the page. When I want to offer thanks to a spirit or a god, I can brush away my other concerns and focus on a spiritual offering.

I’m beginning to understand what it means to have mental discipline.

Spring is Almost Here

A few ramblings… Spring is just around the corner. I can feel it in the sunshine and the rushing river near my home. There aren’t any buds on the trees yet, and some of the ground under the large tree I park the car under is still frozen, but I can feel the thaw starting far below my feet.

Spring is particularly significant for me because I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which, mock all you will, is a real condition. This winter wasn’t quite as bad as some (thank you, New Mexico sunshine), but I’ve been unhappy all the same. Now the sun is shining more and I spend as much of my writing time outdoors as I can.

With the change of seasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about Persephone. I’m not sure how having patrons in two different hearth cultures would work, but I feel drawn to her as a goddess with whom I want to develop a personal relationship. How do you start developing a new relationship with a deity? I’ve been making offerings to her and thinking of her often, and I think that’s a good start.

It’s odd to me that both Manannán, my definite patron, and Persephone, a potential patron, are associated with the Underworld. Manannán is a gatekeeper, certainly, while Persephone is Queen of the Underworld but travels back and forth. I would never have guessed myself to be attracted to deities associated with the dead and the Underworld. I wonder what that says…?

Meditation Week 9

I actually have been meditating again (yay!), though I’m skipping the two powers this week and trying something new.

Instead of active, visualization meditation, I’m trying passive, receptive meditation. Every night, before I go to sleep, I sit completely quietly in my bed, and I invite the Kindreds to come to me, if they will, and speak to me on their own terms.

I haven’t heard a concrete message yet, but I know they’re there. I can feel their presence. I will keep listening.