An ADF Druid's trials, tribulations, musings, and victories

Archive for the ‘Divination’ Category

Beltane Blessings!

Today I hosted a Beltane ritual with my husband for a new friend and our roommate.  Beltane is a celebration of fertility, but we chose to celebrate the Faeries since kids were originally planned to be present.  (They couldn’t make it.)  Here is a picture of our altar after the ritual; I forgot to take a picture before:

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I am in love with this fabric; it is simply perfect for Beltane.  It is also silky and floaty, which the picture doesn’t convey–perfect for honoring the Faeries.

To begin, I said words to open the ritual and create sacred space, offering some thyme mixed with lavender to the fire.  Our guest said the prayer for honoring the Earth Mother and made an offering of bread.  I then called the Ancestors and tossed some mugwort into the flames.  Our guest called the Nature Spirits (offering thyme and lavender) and Deities–my husband poured some wine into the fire for their offering.  I honored the fairies with fruit & nut trail mix.

After personal praise offerings, I took an Omen for the ritual asking what blessings were offered to us.

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The rune on the left is Ingwaz, a rune of fertility–perfect for Beltane.  In the middle is Hagalaz, hail; I see it as transformative from harm to healing.  Finally we have Sowilo, sun and strength.  All in all, this is a very positive Omen for Beltane!

I called for a blessing into a bowl of water and sprinkled everyone with it, including myself.  We then thanked everyone we had called in reverse order, returned to ordinary space, and ended the ritual.

I will elaborate more on the ritual script on Sunday, after I perform it for the congregation at the Unitarian Universalist church I attend.  I prefer to keep the script private until then to have more of an impact on attendees.

The ritual was simple but beautiful.  I enjoyed it, and I look forward to performing it for my church.

Blessings, Rosemary

Devotional Omen for 4/5/2015

First off, I’d like to wish everyone a happy Easter, even though it is a Christian holiday.  If you’re like me, you still have family who celebrates and familial obligations require you to celebrate alongside your family.  If you prefer not to celebrate Easter, then have a happy day!  Spring is upon us!

I had a special altar set up for today, since yesterday I bought some tulips at the grocery:

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Our tulips served as the Tree, a candle as the Fire, and a small cauldron filled with water as the Well.  My husband’s and my blessing cups are in front.  The omen is on the left side in front of the little bag, and the bowl contains our offerings that we made during the ritual.  The white sage bundle was used to smudge the altar and ourselves before the ritual started.

We used the brief ritual liturgy from the Solitary Druid Fellowship.  As soon as I sat down next to my husband to perform the ritual, I felt a shift in awareness take place.  I also noticed (for the first time) that as I read the words for grounding and centering I visualized what I was saying.  I’ve never had that happen to me in a ritual before, so that must mean I’m getting better at it.

We offered bread to the Earth Mother and Ancestors, garden sage for the Nature Spirits, mead for Heimdall (our Gatekeeper), Freyja, Sunna, and the Shining Ones in genera, and Yukon Jack whiskey for the final offering.

Our omen was as follows:

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The Ancestors gave us Wunjo, on the left, which is joy.  The Nature Spirits gave us Hagalaz, hail.  I see Hagalaz as a rune of something oppressive “melting” into something of benefit.  The Gods and Goddesses gave us Thurisaz, thorn, and a rune of Thor.  Overall, I see this as a positive omen, though Hagalaz portends caution.

I wasn’t feeling well last week, so I hadn’t done ritual.  As a result, my week wasn’t as good.  I found myself in a sad mood more than usual during the week.  I made sure to find time today to perform ritual even though my husband and I had to spend time with our families today for Easter.  I feel confident that my week will be better this time around.

Blessings, Rosemary

Devotional Omen for 3/15/2015

Today I performed my first ritual that follows the ADF Core Order of Ritual in more than a year.  I used a basic liturgy available from the Solitary Druid Fellowship (SDF) website.  My husband and I performed the rite together.  We offered bread to the Earth Mother and Nature Spirits, coffee to the Ancestors, mead for Heimdall (our Gatekeeper), Freyja, Sunna, the Shining Ones in general, and homegrown dried thyme for Cerridwen (who has drawn my attention lately).  We also used mead for the Final Offering.  I must admit, it felt very familiar and comforting to perform the rite.  I am confident the Kindreds (Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Deities) appreciated it.  Here was our Omen:

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The rune on the left, Berkano, is the Omen from the Ancestors.  Berkano stands for feminine strength, grace, and wisdom.  The Nature Spirits gave us Wunjo, joy, in the middle.  Finally, the Shining Ones gave us Nauthiz on the right.  I am struggling to interpret this rune.  Nauthiz is a rune of necessity, so perhaps we will be forced to deal with something that needs dealing with or doing something that has to be done.

Blessings, Rosemary

Devotional Omen 3/8/2015

I decided to write my devotional omen interpretation on this blog, since I am getting back into Druidic practice.  However, this devotional was still my usual one, where I said a prayer that you can find on my other blog and lit a stick of incense while wearing my Sun Goddess circlet.

Here’s the omen I drew when I asked, “What are my blessings for the week?”

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The first rune I drew was Wunjo, joy.  The weather forecast for the week shows the high temperature being much warmer than it has been, which is definitely cause for joy.  There may be other reasons I have drawn Wunjo, but I’ll see during the week.  The second rune is Jera, harvest, year, cycles.  This is a rune that normally doesn’t appear at this time of year.  However, it is significant to note that my Pagan dedication anniversary is coming up, so this is most likely a reflection of that.  The last rune is Mannaz, man, self.  Perhaps I need to focus on myself this week, or it should be read in conjunction with Jera to mean that Jera is referring to me.  All in all, I feel this is a positive omen for the week.

Blessings, Rosemary

Weekly Devotional, 10/21/2013

Today I got back into the habit of weekly devotionals.  The liturgy I used was the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s February Cross-Quarter liturgy (available here; scroll down to get to it), since that’s what I pulled out of my ritual bag.  I obviously modified it so that there wouldn’t be mention of any High Days and had a more “devotional” feel.

Here’s a list of offerings I gave to everyone:

Purification–lavender

Heimdall (Gatekeeper)–Oliver Winery’s sangria

Well–quarter dated 1989 (my husband’s birth year)

Fire–frankincense cone

Tree–sprinkle with water from Well and smudge with frankincense smoke

Ancestors–some “berry blend” loose leaf tea I found in my bag

Nature Spirits–lavender

Shining Ones–special Shining Ones blend incense from a fellow ADF member

Freyja & Sunna (my Patrons)–Oliver Winery’s sangria

Final Offering–also sangria

As I was setting up my shrine, I could feel myself entering an altered state.  I also get a sense of excitement when I’m about to begin ritual.  Throughout the rite, I felt very calm.  My voice seemed to resound in the Three Worlds as I did the first half of the liturgy.  I was confident and sure.

When making offerings to my Ladies, Freyja and Sunna, I apologized for not honoring them with weekly devotionals and asked they accepted my offering as both apology and praise.  I talked a bit about how each of them helps me get through tough times.

For the Omen, I asked three simple questions, one at a time.  After each question I pulled a card from the Vibrational Energy Oracle.

The questions I asked were:

Ancestors, what blessings do you have for me?

Nature Spirits, what blessings do you have for me?

Shining Ones, what blessings do you have for me?

Ancestors:  Dream Catchers, Nature Spirits:  Driving Force, Shining Ones:  Messenger

Vibrational Energy Oracle is copyright Debbie A. Anderson and Melissa Brewster, 2013. Photo taken by Victoria M. Laughlin-Casares, 2013.

The Ancestors gave me Dream Catchers.  This card I couldn’t figure out within ritual, so I am taking the time now to see what the deck’s author says.  “Without dreams, there is no future.”  That’s from page 31 of the booklet.  Perhaps the Ancestors are telling me to pay attention to my night dreams for I may receive clues about the future.  This phrase also seems to refer to the fact that every future starts out as a dream in someone’s mind.  I should go pursue those dreams.

The Nature Spirits gave me Driving Force.  To me, this means that they will compel me to do something.  Consulting the booklet tells me basically to be aware of my goals and to keep pushing towards them.

Finally, the Shining Ones give me Messenger.  This vaguely reminds me of my Hellenic days, when I honored Hermes as Gatekeeper.  Hermes is the Messenger of the Greeks.  Maybe Hermes is coming back into my life.  This card could also simply mean the Shining Ones are messengers of the Heavens and they will be sending me some important messages I need to watch for.

All in all, I feel like the Omen was pretty positive.  After taking it, I wrapped up the ritual and took the offerings outside, since my shrine is too small to have a fire pot in which I can burn them.

I feel so much better about myself and my practice after completing this ritual.  It is just what I needed.

An Initiate’s Path

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while–I got married at the end of September and so I was busy with wedding planning!  After that I started a temporary job which only lasted two weeks, so now I have time to post.

I completed the Dedicant’s Path of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) on March 14 of this year.  Last Tuesday, October 15, I submitted my letter for the next step of my training–the Initiate’s Path (IP).  ADF’s IP is a training program that is much more in-depth than the DP, especially in the areas of trance, magic, and divination.  I will also learn more about ADF liturgy and myths of the Indo-Europeans.  The IP is a very personal path, one that only I can walk.  I expect to be confronted with my deepest fears and my happiest dreams.  If you would like to read my letter, I will be posting it at the top with my First Oath and Dedicant’s Oath shortly after I finish this post.

There is a discussion period of at least two weeks after the letter is submitted to determine my suitability for the Path of the Initiate.  This time period will also see a review of my Dedicant’s Path work to determine if it is the required caliber.  I plan to begin reading for the course I plan to undertake first, Divination 1, while I am waiting for my letter to be approved.  I’m also getting back into weekly devotionals (finally!) starting today, later in the afternoon.  I will probably post a recap of the ritual here afterwards.

This past Thor’s Day, I did a divination with my new oracle deck, the Vibrational Energy Oracle by Debbie A. Anderson and Heather Brewster.  I’ll be honest:  the name of the deck, along with the booklet it came with, is pretty New Age.  However, I found the illustrations spoke to me in a way the runes and various tarot decks have not.  I mostly use my own interpretations from the pictures, and only turn to the booklet when I am really not sure of something.

Back to the divination.  The question I asked was:  What should I expect from the IP?

This was my result (apologies for the blurry picture; it’s from my phone):

Perfect Storm, Homeward Bound, Rain Dance

Vibrational Energy Oracle cards are copyright Debbie A. Anderson and Heather Brewster, 2013. Photo taken by Victoria M. Laughlin-Casares (my new name!), 2013.

 

I needed help with Perfect Storm, so I turned to the booklet.  My interpretation of this is that it is the right time for a sudden change.  A storm is perfect when all the necessary elements are in place, resulting in an intense natural phenomenon.  This extends to my decision to complete the IP.

Homeward Bound says, to me, that I will find my true spiritual home after completing the IP.  The IP itself is the Path that will lead me to this home.

Finally we have Rain Dance.  An innocent child is seen dancing in the rain without a care in the world.  The rain symbolizes the difficulties I will face along this Path, but I will be the child–delighting in the knowledge and experience I will gain about myself and the Path I have chosen.

I feel that taken together, the results of my divination indicate that beginning the IP is the correct thing for me to do at this time, and this Path will be difficult, but worth it.

A runic confusion

I have struggled off and on with feeling connected to my Patron Goddesses, Freyja and Sunna.  I feel like they probably know me better than I know them.  So this morning I did some runic divination to see what I could do to know them better.

The first question I asked was, “How can I get to know Freyja better?”  The runes I drew in response were Wunjo, Nauthiz, and Ingwaz.  I  interpreted Wunjo to be joy, Nauthiz to be oppression, and Ingwaz to be fertility.  I will find joy through oppression and fertility.  I am growing a garden right now, so that helps me become closer to Freyja, but I’m not sure what the oppression would be.  I think I will just continue on the path I am on for now.

The second question I asked was, “How can I get to know Sunna better?”  This time I drew the runes Mannaz, Laguz, and Thurisaz.  I interpreted Mannaz to be the self, Laguz to be change, and Thurisaz to be something painful.  I must experience painful change.  Or at least that’s what I got out of it.  I’m not really sure what I might need to change that would be painful or difficult.  Perhaps I need to start some sort of regular meditation practice.  Meditation in general is difficult for me.

However, a friend suggested that Mannaz means “person,” Laguz means intuition and emotions, and Thurisaz means something sudden or unexpected.  His interpretation was that I should be aware of the sudden appearance of an emotional person, who I presume would somehow help me know Sunna in some way (perhaps teaching).

Honestly, I really have no idea how to interpret the runes drawn for Sunna.  I don’t really get any sort of gut feeling when I pull runes.  My mind is simply blank.  My friend did suggest that I sleep on the runes I pulled for Sunna to trigger dreams that might clarify the reading.  I will at least try it.

Does anyone out there have suggestions or advice on interpreting runes?

Blessings, Victoria

A message from the Kindreds

After saying a short prayer of thanks to Freyja and Sunna for their guidance and comfort, I did a divination with my new set.  I asked, “Freyja and Sunna, what guidance do you give me at this time?”  As I was shuffling the cards before casting them, the pink heart fell out onto the Fire section of the cloth.  I took this to mean that Freya and Sunna still care about me and offer their love.  After putting the pink heart back into the stack and shuffling some more, three cards fell out onto the Well section.  Two were facedown.  The one face-up was the shooting star, meaning wishes.  Since the Well belongs to the Ancestors, I at first thought “ancestral wishes,” but that made no sense.  Now I realize that maybe wishes to do with wisdom are being fulfilled, since the Well also represents Wisdom to me.

After putting those cards back and shuffling a little more, I put the stack in their little bag and pulled a smaller stack out at random.  Then I cast.

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The small plant emerging from the soil represents fertility.  It landed in the Tree section, which represents Nature Spirits and the Land on which we live.  So, be aware of the fertility around my home.  That is simple and straightforward enough, especially with Beltane around the corner.

The face-up cards in the Well area are the moon and pentagram, which represent intuition and magic respectively.  I find the appearance of the pentagram in this casting interesting, since I have recently joined a magical order.  Its position on the cloth probably means that it is somehow connected with my Ancestors.  Perhaps some of my Ancestors themselves were members, or perhaps the people who have traversed the same magical path before me will become my spiritual Ancestors.  The moon landed in a position where it appears as if it is waxing.  I see this saying that my intuitive abilities will increase, perhaps as a result of magic since it almost seems to point towards the pentagram.

In short, the message I am getting from this casting is this:  Pay attention to the fertility of the Land around you.  As you continue your magical studies, your intuition will increase.

I know it’s rather disjointed, which does bother me some.  If anyone has any ideas about reconciling everything into one statement, please let me know!

Blessings, Victoria

My first casting

Earlier today, I was at my wit’s end.  I had no idea what I should be working on in regards to my spirituality.  I ran upstairs and grabbed my symbol cards, came back down and laid out the casting cloth, and mixed up the cards.  After grabbing some of the cards out of the stack and tossing them in the air, this is what happened:

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I chose not to read the face-down cards at all.  The pink heart is romantic/platonic love and friendship.  Since the Sky is the domain of the Shining Ones (Deities), I took it to mean that they cared about me.  I also see this as an indication to simply show the Shining Ones that I love them through ritual and offerings (something I’ve been slacking off on lately).

Thank you for the guidance, Kindreds.

My casting cloth is finished!

I was finally able to finish my casting cloth yesterday.  Here’s a picture:

finished casting cloth

The silver triskele primarily represents (in this instance) the three Hallows (Fire, Well, and Tree), which form the Sacred Center of ritual.  In case you can’t tell, the Tree is at the top, the Fire is at the bottom left, and the Well–a waterfall–is at the bottom right.  The dividers between the three sections represent the Three Realms–grass for Land, clouds for Sky, and waves for Sea.  In ADF tradition, each of these Realms and Hallows is associated with different groups of beings:  Land & Tree with Nature Spirits; Sky & Fire with Gods and Goddesses; Sea & Well with Ancestors.  (If you would like more information, please see this post.)

As you can see, though the design is simple, a ton of meaning is embedded in my cloth.  I gave an example of how this would work in a previous post, though I can give another example.  Say the hammer landed near the Tree with the raincloud.  The raincloud normally means depression or sadness, but in this instance I would take it to mean a storm (since it’s in the Land section).  The hammer would mean that the Nature Spirits would protect me from this storm.  It is very hard to explain theoretical examples without actually trying it out, though.

I will bless the cards and cloth during a full ritual today, then try the set later to get a feel for how it works.  I will probably post a picture of the results.

Many blessings, Victoria

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