Divination Sets and Their Personalities/Characteristics

Ogham alphabet (non-IPA)
Ogham alphabet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve seen a lot of Pagans talk about divination sets and their personalities, which often seem to be independent of things like whether the set/symbols were hewn out of a rare tree or scribbled on the back of bits of paper. I’m relatively new to divination, but I’m learning this about tarot and Ogham sets myself. My DruidCraft tarot deck likes to push me to get practical things done, while my symbols-on-the-‘right’-trees Ogham set likes to be a bit ironic and ‘told you so’ about things, and my Wild Wood tarot seems to be deeply mystical. Some of this is based on the imagery of the set in question – the Wild Wood tarot was never going to be highly practical, with all those inner-world archetypes, for example. But some of it seems to be about the particular set – I have a set of Ogham cards that seems fairly neutral in comparison, even though they both use the same basic symbols.

So, a couple of questions come out of this:

1) Do you have a divination set with a particularly interesting ‘personality’? What kinds of experiences have clued you into this?

2) Do you think the ‘personality’ of a set has more to do with the type of divination it’s set up to do, or is it more about the character of a specific set? Is the Thoth tarot destined to be weird and dark, or could you conceive of a cheerful Thoth deck?

3) Or do you think it’s not possible for a set of printed cards or factory-etched runes to have any kind of personality? In that case, would you be more willing to ascribe one to a hand-made set?

Runes: Making vs Buying

Picture of Runes used in Fortune Telling
Runes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am reading up on using runes on the fabulous website previously mentioned someone on the board (I am sorry but I can’t remember who posted it). I was wondering whether buying runes in person or online would be better.

I have found posts regarding buying various tools (cards, stones, pendulums, etc.) where it was recommended to hold the object in your hand and see if it speaks to you in some way. I definitely get this, especially for divination tools since their use is so personal. I don’t know where to find runes in person, though, and don’t even know what keywords to use in searching for a local store that may carry them.

I found this http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/runeset.html on making runes on the site I have been reading. Has anyone made runes this way?

How Does Habits of Generations Affect Faith?

English: A photograph of a 2 month old human i...
Four Generations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am doing class work on how different generations think about work and how that effects their work. This is not part of my class work nor will it be used for it. I got the question how and what does the generations think about faith? How has it affected the perception of belief?

Traditionalists 1925 to 1945,
Baby Boomers 1946 to 1964,
Generation X 1965 to 1980,
Generation Y 1981 to 1994,
Generation Z 1995 to 2004.
Current generation 2004 to 2013 (do not know the name).

I am a baby boomer and lost my faith for a while due to the enforced belief that what my parents believed was right and what I believed was wrong. Until I learned that my belief was right for me.

Shared/Confirmed Gnosis Resources?

Gnosis (magazine)
Gnosis (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are there any resources with specific examples of shared/confirmed gnosis? Just browsing this forum I’ve picked up a few patterns, which I’ve found to be incredibly helpful. While I think an actual list of gnosis experienced might ruin things by planting ideas (and thus risking “false experiences”) and taking some of the hard work out of it, it might also help bolster faith and prevent people from “reinventing the wheel.” Comparing notes could be a great way of turning UPG into SPG or even CG (or, contrarily, reveal a UPG as a misguided hunch). Also, perhaps the Deities reveal contradictory things; could this not also be enlightening?

I know there is some pantheon-specific SPG, but it’s usually sprinkled around instead of gathered together. Are there any resources that do, even if they are only specific to one pantheon?

For example, here is some UPG-turned-SPG I’ve encountered from different “paths”:

– The Morrigan seems to disappear for long stretches of time, and has a sort of vibe that is like “No…I’ll call you.”

– Ishtar and/or Inanna generally seem to come off to people as…scary. Not necessarily bad, but potentially dangerous. While most (if not all) Deities can be intimidating, there’s a specific wild vibe to Her.

– Ganesh doesn’t seem to have a bad thing to say about anyone. I’ve never heard of anyone getting a negative response from Him unless it was in the form of an important lesson.

– People seem to also find Kemetic Deities to be especially forgiving and patient. There are always exceptions, of course, but in general the reception seems to default towards warm, or at least kindly uninterested.

– On separate occasions, people have noted that Freya requested chocolate, and Anpu has asked for…Tootsie Rolls? The oddest thing is that these are usually requested without their wrappers.

– When I was active in the Celtic Recon community, I noted that I was getting very hostile feedback from Dian Cécht, and this was very quickly echoed by nearly everyone else.

If there isn’t a resource like this, how hard might it be to put notes together and make one?

Alternative Symbolism of the Pentagram?

Pentagram with a circle around it
Pentagram with a circle around it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A small silver pentagram charm recently entered my life under the sort of circumstances that always means (to me) “this is important — pay attention!” It’s very simple, about the size of a U.S. dime, and seems to be made of one piece of silver wire fashioned so that the “woven” aspect of the pent is present, and surrounded by a silver wire circle.

I’m not sure why this is standing out to me as significant. I’ve never felt much of a connection to the symbol before and never worn a pentagram. I’m not Wiccan, nor do I practice witchcraft of any type.

So, I’m curious about other meanings people see in the pentagram (the pentagram specifically — not other five-pointed star designs). I’ve often seen it used as a symbol specifically of Wicca and sometimes of paganism in general, and I’ve seen it interpreted as representing the four classical elements (earth, fire, water, air) plus spirit. Anything else?

Do you know of any other interpretations, whether modern or ancient? Does anyone use it in a unique way to represent something spiritual or religious, other than Wicca or the elements? Does it have specific meaning in other cultures?

I do have an idea of what it might be telling me, but I’d really love to get some outside input on the possible symbolism.

Audio Resources (e.g., Podcasts, etc)?

English: Podcast or podcasting icon Français :...
Podcast or podcasting icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a huge fan of audiobooks, radio, and podcasts. I love being able to listen to stories, lectures, and discussions while doing other mundane chores like dishes. It is entertaining, and a great way to learn!

Does anyone have any recommendations for pagan themed podcasts, audio material, online pagan radio stations, etc?

I’d be leaning towards something that involves discussions or informational material, and right now, I don’t have a strong preference for or against specific paths as long as the material is general enough. For instance, a series of podcasts on the intricacies of divination using runes would be too specific, but I’d find a general podcast on issues in Asatru interesting even though I don’t necessarily think that is the path I’d end up pursuing.

If you have any suggestions, please do share!

The Malleus Maleficarum

The Hammer of Witches which destroyeth Witches...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I originally joined my old coven, one of the HP’s had a real thing about learning the history of Witchcraft. One of the required reading books was The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer as it translates). This book was given a significant weight at the time when it was ratified in a Papal Bull by Pope Innocent VIII. I’ve read it several times now and it still makes me angry and upset, more than any other book on Witchcraft history that I have read.

Has anyone else actually read this cover to cover? What did you think? How did it make you feel?

Three Questions for Hard Polytheism

Taranis with wheel and thunderbolt
Taranis with wheel & thunderbolt (Photo: Wikipedia)

I have a few questions regarding views on the Gods and Goddesses. I started out as a soft polytheist but, to my surprise, a few experiences have rapidly been changing that. I’m mostly there, but the “scientific” part of my mind is still restless about a few things.

Hopefully none of these questions are offensive, as they are things I honestly want to know for myself. I’m not doing this to find a pre-packaged answer, but I feel that outside input would be very helpful.

Also forgive me if any of these are repeats. I tried to make sure they aren’t. I specifically mentioned hard polytheism, but I would still welcome input from people with other conceptions of divinity.

1) What of Deities of countless different cultures whose associations overlap? What of, say, Thor and Zeus and Taranis? How can they all be considered Gods of thunder? Is it a timeshare situation? How do you know which Deity to associate with any given storm? Is Thor Norse thunder and Zeus Greek thunder? Or is thunder merely something associated with them, and not their “dominion?”

2) Humans are a tiny blip in time on a cosmic scale. What are we to the Deities? A random creature that actually noticed them, and decided to say hi? What about societal Deities? Who was Heru before there were pharaohs? Who was Hestia before the hearth, much less land animals, period?

3) We are also a tiny blip on a cosmic scale. In your theology, are “your” Deities the Gods and Goddesses of all creation, or just our local solar system?

It’s Round, but it’s not a Circle

"Magic Circle" by John William Water...
“Magic Circle” by John William Waterhouse, 1886 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most – especially new – pagans/witches have certainly read about circle casting. And since most of the 101 books one comes about at first are somewhat wicca-ish in style, so is this version of circle casting.

Those circles are cast mainly for two reasons: to contain energy and to keep psychic nasties from getting their little tendrils on this energy and/or disturbing the magical work.

Now, there are whole traditions where circles are not used at all, or where something similar is used, but it ain’t a circle in the wicca-ish style.

This is a rather interesting topic. So let’s chat:
How do you use sacred space?
Circle or not?
Style/make up of the circle?
What is the purpose of this space?

To answer my own question:

I am not using a circle kind of space a lot. Most magic workings I prefer to do within the protection of my own auric field. (I think it makes much less noise than casting a full blown circle and less noise means less unwanted attention, too.)

But when I use a special sacred space in my practice of Primal Witchcraft, it is not a wicca-style circle. Tho’ I include elements, but the main purpose of the Compass is to place and root myself in the worlds and to open an entrance to the otherworld within this space. So the Compass is not a protective circle, but a door and a road sign.

Fearsome Deities of the Modern World?

English: The Tigh na Cailleach near Glen Lyon ...
The Tigh na Cailleach near Glen Lyon in Perthshire, Scotland (Photo: Wikipedia)

It occurs to me that there’s something of a disconnect when people in developed countries worship Gods that could be considered “dark.” For instance, Sekhmet can send plagues. But, well, what does that actually mean for people who live in a society with advanced antibiotics? The Cailleach is, among other things, the fearsome winter — but since I don’t live in an agricultural society, I’ve never been afraid of not having enough food to last the winter, or that I’ll freeze to death.

So my question is: do you think there are Gods Who relate to things gravely feared in our society — for instance, is there a Goddess of Cancer? A God of Serial Killers? If there are, would you worship Them? If such Gods don’t exist, why not?