Daily Devotional, 5/14/18

Devotional went pretty well today, for the most part.  I lit my charcoal and waited for it to heat up.  Once that was good and hot, I lit my Three Kindred candles, sat down in front of my altar, and began.

I honor my Ancestors.  I named my recent Ancestors as I placed rosemary on the lit charcoal as an offering.  The scent surrounded me as I shuffled my Wychwood Oracle deck.  Ancestors, what do you want me to know today?  I shuffled three times and drew XV – The Wolf.  I looked up the meaning and smiled, since it shows the Ancestors have my back and my relationship with them is improving.  I placed it on the floor in front of me.

I honor the Nature Spirits–those of bud and leaf, fin and feather, fur and scale.  I honor all of you.  I placed the offering of lavender onto the lit charcoal and inhaled the scent as I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle three more times.  Nature Spirits, what do you want me to know today?  I drew XXII – The Coins upright and smiled.  I placed the Coins next to the Wolf in front of me.

I honor the Vanir–Freyr and Freyja, Nerthus and Njord, Skadhi and Gerd, Odr and Kvasir, Hnoss, Gersemi, and Gullveig.  And I honor any I may have forgotten.  I placed the offering of oats onto the charcoal and let the smoke waft around me as I shuffled the deck three times again.  Vanir all, what do you want me to know today?  I drew XXI – The Horseshoe upright.  I smiled again, for the Three Kindreds have given me such a positive Omen.

The only one left to honor that remained was Lady Freyja.  I lit her candle, picked up her prayer card in my left hand, and raised my right hand towards the sky.  I was up on my knees, facing my portrait of Freyja I have on the wall above my altar.  I spoke with a strong yet loving voice:

Hail to the Lady of amber.  Hail to the Lady of steel.  Hail to the Lady of passion, Bringer of luck, Bestower of wealth.  You are the envy of all the Gods, the treasure of the nine sacred worlds.  Freya, mighty and magnificent, I praise Your name with my Passions.  Ignite within me an awareness of my own creative fire.  Ignite within me hunger, to burn through the pale shadow of my life and find integrity:  in all I do, in all I dream, in all I am.  Bless me, Freya, Lady of the Vanir, and I shall hail You always.  (Prayer by Galina Krasskova, modified to be in the singular.)

I squeezed some honey on to the lit charcoal as an offering.  I put the lid on the incense burner and allowed the scent of the honey to suffuse the air.  What do you, Lady Freyja, want me to know today?  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck a final three times and drew XXIV – The Wand, reversed.  I frowned as I looked at the meaning.  Admittedly I was a bit distracted while shuffling the cards.  I put the reversed Wand under the other three cards.  I looked at Freyja’s portrait and smiled.  Thank you, Lady Freyja, for your insight.  I will figure out what this means.

I looked back to the lit candles on my altar.  For your blessings today and every day, I thank you.  May I continue to honor you today and every day.  I blew out the candles and left the charcoal to burn out on its own.

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XV – The Wolf, XXII – The Coins, and XXII – The Horseshoe all upright.  Underneath is XXIV – The Wand reversed.  All cards from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Wolf in the upright position comes from the Ancestors.  The Wolf is a sign of loyalty, bonding, and conformity.  Bonding was the meaning that stuck out to me the most.  I am bonding with my Ancestors.  The Nature Spirits give me the Coins upright.  The Coins represent good fortune, fiscal gain, and security.  Perhaps this means I am secure in my relationship with them.  This could also mean that the meeting I have today with a lawyer to discuss disability will ultimately result in fiscal gain.  The Vanir give me the Horseshoe, in the upright position.  The Horseshoe is a card of good luck, peace, and contentment.  All of these are good omens.

Lady Freyja, however, gave me the Wand reversed.  This card means disconnection, lack of intention, and distraction.  I was a bit distracted while drawing her card, but I felt like this had some sort of deeper meaning.  I noted that the last three cards (including this one) I have drawn for her were all reversed.  The Hand was the first.  I felt that this card represents her reaching out to me, and now I see that perhaps Lady Freyja is giving me tools to help me.  These last few days have been part of an ongoing conversation with her.  The Crown from yesterday was also pointed towards me–another tool she is giving me, perhaps in preparation for something.  The Crown (upright) means recognition, authority, and pride.  Lady Freyja is giving me the pride and authority to stand up for myself as the first tool.  The second tool she is giving me is a Wand, often a symbol of magic.  She is giving me the power to change my reality.

I really hope that over the next few days I’ll find out what these tools are for–if they are even for a specific task.  This conversation has been very insightful so far, and I look forward to future communication.

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Daily Devotional, 5/13/18

My devotional yesterday went pretty well.  I lit my candles and then I realized I forgot Freyja’s prayer card as well as some other cards, so I got those off my desk behind me.  Then I began.

I honor my Ancestors.  I specifically mentioned that I honor my Ancestral mothers as well as other specific Ancestors.  I placed the rosemary offering on the lit charcoal and let the smoke waft over me.  Ancestors, what do you want me to know today?  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck three times and drew X – Chaos.  I wasn’t sure how to feel about this card, so I simply placed it on the floor in front of me and moved on.

I honor the Nature Spirits–those of bud and leaf, fur and feather, fin and scale.  I honor all of you.  I placed the offering of lavender buds on the charcoal and let that scent waft over me. Nature Spirits, what do you want me to know today? I shuffled the deck once and drew the Lord upright.  I smiled once I looked up the meaning.  All that time in the garden the day before paid off.  I placed it next to Chaos and moved on.

I honor the Vanir–Freyr and Freyja, Nerthus and Njord, Skadhi and Gerd, Odr and Kvasir, Hnoss, Gersemi, and Gullveig.  And any others I forgot to mention.  I placed the offering of oats on the lit charcoal and let the smoke surround me.  Vanir, what do you want me to know today?  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck once and drew the Stranger, reversed.  Upon reading the meaning, I frowned.  “My relationship with the Vanir is not that good today, it seems,” I thought.  I placed it next to the Lord and continued.

I lit Freyja’s candle and recited her prayer with love and devotion.

Hail to the Lady of amber.  Hail to the Lady of steel.  Hail to the Lady of passion, Bringer of luck, Bestower of wealth.  You are the envy of all the Gods, the treasure of the nine sacred worlds.  Freya, mighty and magnificent, I praise Your name with my Passions.  Ignite within me an awareness of my own creative fire.  Ignite within me hunger, to burn through the pale shadow of my life and find integrity:  in all I do, in all I dream, in all I am.  Bless me, Freya, Lady of the Vanir, and I shall hail You always.  (Prayer by Galina Krasskova, modified to be in the singular.)

I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck three times.  What do you, Lady Freyja, want me to know today?  I drew the Crown reversed and set it beneath the others.  Looking up the meaning, I frowned a little bit.  I wasn’t sure what this card meant in terms of my own life.

For your blessings today and every day, I thank you.  May I continue to honor you today and every day.  I shuffled the cards back into the deck one by one and blew out all the candles, leaving the charcoal to burn out on its own.

X – Chaos, XXVII – The Lord, upright, XXIX – The Stranger, reversed, and XXIII – The Crown, reversed.  All cards from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Ancestors gave me Chaos.  This card, whether upright or reversed, means change, surprise, and (obviously) chaos.  Another ambivalent card.  I need to work harder on my relationship with the Ancestors it seems.  The Nature Spirits gave me the Lord, upright.  This card represents skill, dedication, and vitality.  This is definitely an improvement from the Lady reversed the day before!  The Vanir gave me the Stranger, reversed.  This is a troubling card.  It signifies caution, intrigue, and disruptive energy.  This means that I need to work on my relationship with them.  Or perhaps they are warning me of something to happen in my life.  Lady Freyja gave me the Crown in the reversed position.  This means obscurity, compromise, balance.  I tend to think compromise and balance are good things, so maybe the Lady is just telling me that things are working themselves out between us.  Our relationship is balanced.

I look forward to seeing what everyone has in store for me today!

Daily Devotional, 5/12/18

I did my devotional a little differently today.

First I lit a disc of charcoal and placed it in my incense burner.  When it was ready I lit my Three Kindred candles and sat down in front of my altar.

I honor my Ancestors.  I then named my most recent Ancestors that I could remember as well as some cultural Ancestors as I placed rosemary on the charcoal as an offering.  What do the Ancestors want me to know today?  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck three times and drew the Trickster, upright.  I looked up the meaning:  mischief, fun, uncertainty.  I placed the card on the floor in front of me and continued on.

I honor the Nature Spirits–those of bud and leaf, fur and feather, fin and scale.  I also mentioned that I honor all the Nature Spirits, because some of them don’t fit in those categories.  I spoke these words as I placed lavender on the charcoal as an offering.  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck once.  What do the Nature Spirits want me to know today?  I drew the Lady in the reversed position.  I looked up the meaning of this card–allure, negligence, disharmony.  I made a grimace because this certainly was not a good sign, and left the card next to the Trickster from the Ancestors.

I honor the Vanir–Freyr and Freyja, Nerthus and Njord, Skadhi and Gerd, Odr and Kvasir, Hnoss, Gersemi, and Gullveig (and any others I missed).  I placed oats on the charcoal as an offering.  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck once more.  What do the Vanir want me to know today?  The Cup, upright.  I looked up the meaning–replenishment, respite, healing–and smiled.  Thank you, Vanir.

I raised myself up from a sitting position to my knees and threw my right hand up in the air, facing towards my portrait of Lady Freyja.  I picked up my prayer card and recited the prayer on it to her:

Hail to the Lady of amber.  Hail to the Lady of steel.  Hail to the Lady of passion, Bringer of luck, Bestower of wealth.  You are the envy of all the Gods, the treasure of the nine sacred worlds.  Freya, mighty and magnificent, I praise Your name with my Passions.  Ignite within me an awareness of my own creative fire.  Ignite within me hunger, to burn through the pale shadow of my life and find integrity:  in all I do, in all I dream, in all I am.  Bless me, Freya, Lady of the Vanir, and I shall hail You always.  (Prayer by Galina Krasskova, modified to be in the singular.)

This prayer was full of devotion and love.  I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck three times.  What do you, Lady Freyja, want me to know today?  I drew the Hand reversed and placed it under the other three.  I read the meaning silently.  Help needed, reaching out, incomplete goals.  I looked at all the cards gathered.  The Hand was closest to me.  It looks like Lady Freyja is reaching out for me!  I was excited at this revelation, because it shows that the Lady is interested in me and also reflects the fact that I am reaching out to the Kindreds.

From left to right:  XXX – The Trickster, upright, XVII – The Lady, reversed, and XXV – The Cup, upright.  Bottom card:  III – The Hand, reversed.  All cards from Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

I finished my devotional with the words, For your blessings today and every day, I thank you.  May I continue to honor you today and every day.  I shuffled the cards back into the deck after taking the above picture.

Upon reflection, it appears that I have a good relationship with the Vanir and Freyja.  The Ancestors seem to be a bit finicky, and I definitely need to work on my relationship with the Nature Spirits.  Being more Earth-conscious should help with that.  Also spending more time outdoors with the garden will help.  I’m not sure what is going on with the Ancestors.  The Trickster seems to be a benevolent figure in this case, but–thinking back to myths of Loki–the Trickster could just be ambivalent.  In any case, I look forward to seeing these relationships grow and change over time, and I look forward to getting to know the Kindreds and Lady Freyja better!

Druids in Cars Going to Festivals – A Drought of Work

I began my (volunteer) transcription work on the second episode of Druids in Cars Going to Festivals, a new podcast put out by Rev. Jan Avende and Rev. Michael J. Dangler of Three Cranes Grove, ADF.  This podcast is about various Druidic topics actually recorded in cars and on the way to and from festivals.  This particular episode was about “A Drought of Work,” which basically means what happens when your practice wanes and it’s hard to get back on track.

I definitely could relate to this particular podcast.  It helped me to know that even priests experience this feeling of being unconnected and like things aren’t working spiritually.  I learned that having periods of disconnection is a cycle that is perfectly normal for most people, and guilt about not being able to keep up with personal practices is very common.  I’ve felt this guilt for a long time before I started doing daily devotionals.  I have found that starting daily devotionals this year (after being a Druid on and off for five years) really helps with that feeling of guilt and disconnection.  There’s still a little something there that keeps me connected, even on bad days.

My husband is great at reminding me to do devotional if I haven’t yet done it when he gets home from work.  Usually this happens because I’m either having a bad depression day or I’ve been busy and haven’t gotten to it yet.  Rev. Dangler gives good advice when he says, “When you feel least like praying is that is when it is time to pray,” in the episode.  I do end up feeling a little better after doing devotional on those bad days.  Doing devotional on the bad days really helps avert the feeling of guilt that Rev. Avende and Rev. Dangler discuss in this episode.

I have very little experience with the practice of expiation–that of apologizing to the spirits and asking them for help to do better.  I’ve done it a couple times before and that’s it.  I think this is a good aspect of practice to keep in mind since I think it may help me feel better about missing devotionals occasionally.  Making extra offerings alongside this apology sounds like a good plan.

The idea of divination being “a conversation between you and the spirits,” according to Rev. Avende, is one that I need to keep in mind as well.  I don’t do divination outside of my daily devotionals simply because I don’t feel like I’m good enough at it to make much sense of it.  I need to work on my divination skills to get more in tune with the Kindreds and the messages they have for me, and the way to do that is by doing regular divination other than drawing one card during daily devotional!  I may switch up my daily draw during daily devotional.  Instead of focusing on the question, “What do I need to know today?” as I shuffle, perhaps I will ask each Kindred and Freyja if they have any guidance for me today.

For example, I’ll ask, “What do the Ancestors want me to know today?  What do the Nature Spirits want me to know today?  What do the Vanir (I honor the Vanir specifically instead of the Shining Ones more broadly) want me to know today?  What does Lady Freyja want me to know today?”  This way the lines of communication are opened, I’ll get better at divination, and I will get to know each of the Kindreds and my patron better.  I’m not sure yet whether I’ll ask each Kindred for their guidance after each corresponding offering (for example, after I make the offering to the Ancestors, ask, “What do the Ancestors want me to know today?”)  or if I’ll ask the questions all together after I make offerings to all the Kindreds and Freyja.  I’m thinking it might flow better if I ask after each offering.  (Any opinions on this are welcome in the comments.)

I was also relieved to hear that “[t]here’s no shame in [losing that connection] and it is a cycle for just about everybody that you’re going to go through these times where[…]you’re just not feeling it” from Rev. Avende.  I do feel bad when I can’t keep up with my personal work because it seems like everyone else is doing so much better at keeping their practices.  I used to feel bad that I wasn’t doing daily devotionals but everyone else had a regular practice because I felt like I couldn’t manage keeping up a daily practice.  (I’ve found this is wrong.  I’ve only missed about three days in three to four months of daily devotionals.)

I will take Rev. Dangler’s words to heart–“…it happens to us all.  No, it’s not a problem unless you let it become one.   And, hey, you know, there’s support out there if you need it, if you want it.  Reach out–the spirits will help and hold you on this.”

Daily Devotional, 5/11/18

I smiled when I sat down to do devotional today.  I guess because I was happy to be honoring the Kindreds.  I got the candles lit and made my offerings.  I tried hard to let the offerings scents fill me.  I named my Ancestors, various categories of the Nature Spirits, and the Vanir.  My recitation of Freyja’s prayer was strong and full of devotion.

I drew the Lady today:

XXVII – The Lady, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Lady is a sign of strength, dignity, and patience.  I will be patient and dignified in the CUUPS chapter meeting tonight, I guess.  I will conduct myself as “a lady.”  I’m not really sure how else this card may manifest itself today.

Daily Devotional, 5/10/18

Today’s devotional went well.  I honored each Kindred with joy in my heart and smelled the scent of each offering to more fully suffuse myself with them.  I started out a bit weak and hesitant when reciting Freyja’s prayer, but my voice grew stronger and I felt more joy as I continued.

I drew the Black Cat, so I drew another card as a clarifier.  That turned out to be the Lord in the reversed position:

XIII – The Black Cat, upright, and XXVIII – The Lord, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Black Cat, which I’ve been drawing a lot, means that my luck will change.  The Lord reversed is the card I drew to clarify the Black Cat.  Reversed, the Lord signifies lack of discipline, dominating, independence.  I am trying to show my family that I can be independent, so that’s a possible meaning here.  It could also mean that perhaps I’m trying to become more disciplined, especially with devotionals.

Daily Devotional, 5/9/18

Devotional was late again today.  I did another transcript for the Druids in Cars, Going to Festivals podcast and then I didn’t feel good for a good while after that.  I finally felt good enough to do devotional, so I cleaned out my incense burner, lit some charcoal, lit my candles, and sat down.

I tried to let the scent of each offering fill me after I placed it on the charcoal to create a deeper link to each Kindred and Freyja.  I named the Kindreds as usual, though I omitted some Ancestors due to my anxiety when my husband is in the room.  My prayer to Freyja was filled with as much joy as I could muster, though I still wasn’t feeling that great (a holdover from earlier).

After I shuffled my Wychwood Oracle deck for the third time, a couple cards fell face down onto the floor.  I picked them up without revealing them and placed them on top of my deck.  The top card ended up being the Moon, reversed:

VIII – The Moon, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

In the reversed position, the Moon says that you are trapped in a cycle, unfulfilled, and/or influenced by others.  This is exactly how I was feeling after I finished the transcript.  I was feeling unfulfilled and letting others’ spiritual practices influence how mine should look.  I often get trapped in this cycle of feeling connected spiritually for a while, then I get upset and no longer feel connected to anything.  So, it seems like the Moon is a reflection of this period of time.  It could also be telling me that I need to somehow get out of this cycle and worry about my own spiritual practice instead of those of others, which is something I have struggled with for a long time.

Daily Devotional, 5/8/18

Today’s devotional went really well.  I got all my candles lit, then began to make my offerings onto charcoal.  I took a deep breath after each offering to let each offering’s scent fill me.  I named each of the Kindreds, as usual.  When reciting Freyja’s prayer, I started out a bit hesitant, but rectified this and grew stronger towards the end.  I’m not sure why I was hesitant in the first place.  Perhaps my subconscious was occupied elsewhere.

I drew the Coins upright today:

XXII – The Coins, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Coins card is a sign of good fortune, fiscal gain, and security.  A very good card to draw today!  My husband has to work his part-time job tonight, so perhaps we will end up with some more money than usual from that.  Also I think the Coins refers to general good fortune for the day.  I am looking forward to the rest of the day!

Daily Devotional, 5/7/18

I am late with today’s devotional because I was transcribing the Druids in Cars, Going to Festivals podcast that is put out by Rev. Michael Dangler and Rev. Jan Avende of Three Cranes Grove, ADF.   Click here to listen.

My devotional went pretty well today.  I took a moment to smell each offering I placed on the hot charcoal after I named each Kindred.  I tried to allow the scents to permeate my being so that I would be suffused with the Kindreds.  I didn’t recite Freyja’s prayer as enthusiastically as usual.  I’m not sure if I was distracted or just “not feeling it” today.  I tried to be more enthusiastic toward the end of the prayer.  I’m not really sure how it was received since I am a bit puzzled by the Omen.

I drew the Black Cat reversed today, so I drew another card with it, which was the Compass reversed:

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XIII – The Black Cat, reversed, and XVII – The Compass, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle. Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Black Cat, whether reversed or upright, simply means “your luck will change.”  The Compass, in the reversed position, signifies lost ways, uncertainty, and risks.  Now, putting those together, I get “your luck will change in terms of lost ways, uncertainty, and risks.”  I’m honestly not sure what this means.  Will I become certain of everything headed my way?  Will taking risks no longer work out in my favor?  Will I suddenly find my way?  If anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

 

Daily Devotional, 5/5/18

You may have noticed I didn’t do devotional yesterday.  I actually started to.  I had the charcoal lit for offerings and I was lighting candles when I saw my friend pull up in the driveway.  We had planned to hang out, but he was a little early.  I didn’t want to make him wait so I just blew out the candle I lit and let the charcoal burn out on its own.  I feel a little bad for wasting a charcoal tablet.

Today’s devotional went pretty well.  I patiently got the Three Kindred candles lit.  The Shining Ones/Vanir candle had a pretty short wick so it was hard to light.  I took a deep breath and started.  I named my Ancestors, various categories of Nature Spirits, and the Vanir.  I took a moment to smell each offering on the charcoal before moving on.  I really enunciated Freyja’s prayer this time, which helped me put passion into it.  I felt I did a good job with it.

I ended up drawing two cards today.  I took a deep breath and focused on the question, “What do I need to know today?” as I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck three times.  I drew the Black Cat:

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XIII – The Black Cat, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Black Cat, whether reversed or upright, simply means “your luck will change.”  That didn’t give me a whole lot of information.  I decided to put the Black Cat back in the deck and shuffle another three times while asking, “My luck will change in terms of what?”

This time, I drew the Key reversed:

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XIX – The Key, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Key in the reversed position signifies openness, honesty, and revelations.  Putting this together with the question means that my luck will change in terms of openness, honesty, and revelations.  People seem to be open and honest with me, so perhaps someone will hide something from me today.  Or maybe people are actually lying to me most of the time, so my luck will change and people will become open and honest.  This is a hard combination to figure out.  Maybe revelations will no longer work out in my favor as they have been.  That’s also a possibility.  If you have any insight, please share in the comments section!