“In these places you wait, and the places mold you.” ~ Kathleen Norris Dakota p.170
I’m at another point in my practice when simplicity is calling. Usually when this feeling comes around I begin to question where I’ve been putting my attention and how my practice has changed.
My magickal practice with Tarot has fallen off, it being months since I continued my Decan summonings and interactions. I no longer feel this is having any benefit – although successful in terms of entity communication – the symbolism and hermetic style paradigm needed to complete the operation is no longer sitting well with me. This practice was always a bit odd to my indo-european sensibilities – although powerful in the way that the mandalic meditations and empowerments place the magician into an effective communication with earth and sky, above and below – it was a shoe that just never seemed to fit, being a bit complicated in its application. This is a system I taught to others and have worked for at least five years, but it no longer fits my current state of learning, training, and return to basics.
Tarot itself is somewhat an odd fit with my practice just in general. I’ve been trying for some time to create a more pagan/Indo-European system of correspondence out of the Tarot. But I continually ask myself why; is it just because Tarot has great images and is an easily purchased magick system at any Barnes and Nobles. Why would I spend my time trying to create this new system if Runes and Ogham, and specificaly for me Runes, already describe an Indo-European world view and system of thought, action , and being? Tarot is one of things I’m thinking of pushing to the side.
Lately, over the past few months I’ve been reminded of the power of simplicity; Returning to the body as the means of self-realization, simple altar honorings to the kindreds, and attunement with greater powers via acknowledgements of compassionate and sincere rememberings. The practice of the Magician has been almost completely left forgotten over the past 6 months, without any remorse.
If I ask myself what has been important and valuable in my spiritual life I need only look to the things that are consistent in my daily practice:
If you are interested in Runes and/or the intersection of games and personal development you may find a recent project of mine entertaining.
Rune Walker: A Solitaire Rune Game has been published via Drive Thru RPG. It is a game that I developed that uses a set of 24 Elder Futhark runes in order to expose a world of adventure and heroism to a single player. Rune Walker is a game of strategy and choices, that relies on wit and intuition to bring a player into the world of Norse mythology.
More importantly it is a way to have fun while developing a relationship with the runes; a way to learn the names and numbers of runes, and a meditation upon the many possible relationships among runes. I’ll admit I’ve been liberal with some of the historical and mythological lessons found in the runes in order to create a game – but overall I think it does a good job of balancing the fictional with the mythological.
If you are interested it can be found here : Rune Walker: A Solitaire Rune Game
It is priced at a “pay what you want” level, but you can always specify an amount if you want to support what I’ve done and what I may do in the future with Rune Walker and other projects.
Lately I’ve been experimenting again with Psychogeography. If you’re not familiar with Psychogeography it has to do with experiencing the landscape in an abnormal way. Some people do this by walking their city-scape using the map of a different city, or by allowing queues experienced in the landscape to determine their destination, or using a tool or trigger to notice ignored things with a new eye. As a Pagan wanting to live more wholly, I see it also as a way to commune with the Genius Loci of where I live and to better understand the spirit of a particular place. As a Sociologist I also study and am aware of how structures controlled by State and Corporate actors can impose certain actions upon residents, groups, and people. All these areas of the sacred and the profane are of interest to me and nothing is ignored when on a Psychogeographic adventure whether in an urban or natural setting.
I’ve done a bit of this in the past with pendulums,dowsing rods, and tarot – I am now using Geomancy when out for walks to determine where I walk and what to focus on. It’s a bit like dowsing, but I am not a good dowser, and it is easier to use Geomancy cubes than to walk around with dowsing rods. I’ve crafted a Geomancy Compass from an old tin. I place my Geomancy cubes inside and give it a shake at crossroads to point me in the right (or wrong) direction or to point out things that may be of interest.
Geomancy is composed of 16 figures (see image below). I won’t go over them here…but each figure has several Aspects to it as well as a main meaning. These Aspects, which I will discuss below, are what I used to construct my Geomancy Compass.
Brief overview of the 4 Aspects:
Each of the 16 geomancy figures has 4 Aspects; An Inner and Outer Aspect as well as a Mobile and Stable Aspect. The Inner Aspect of each figure is assigned an Element (Earth,Air, Fire Water) – the Inner Element is the ruling Element of the figure. The Outer Aspect is also assigned an Element (Earth,Air,Fire,Water) – The Outer Element is how the figure relates to or exists in the world at large.
Each of the 16 figures also has either a Stable or Mobile assignment, this primarily has to do with the image of the figure itself. When you put these 4 Aspects together, Inner – Outer – Stable – Mobile, they help you interpret what the geomantic figure means in a general sense.
So what you’ve probably noticed is that being that there are 16 figures and 4 Elements, under each Element you’ll have 4 geomancy figures.
The Components of the Compass
4 Elemental Dice – in order to generate a figure – Red/Fire, Yellow/Air, Blue/Water, Green/Earth, each line of a geomancy figure has a Fire, Air, Water, Earth line in that order, always.
Elemental Cheat Sheet – This, as you can see from the example, shows the Element symbol with each figure that belongs to its sphere either above or below it. Being that this is a compass and therefore means that I am seeking a real Outer world conversation and effect on the physical plane this cheat sheet only includes the Outer Aspect Element assignments for the figures. Yet, it does include both the Stable and Mobile Aspects – The Mobile is above the Element symbol and the Stable is below.
Also, for the purposes of using the figures as a Compass I have assigned directions to the 4 Elements. These are the common associations of Fire-South, Air-East, Water-West, Earth-North and for the purposes of using these as walking directives I have made Fire-South-go Behind, Air-East-go Right, Water-West-go Left, Earth-North-go Forward. The Stable figure which is below the Element tells me to only look in that direction and stay where I am, the Mobile figure which is above tells me to walk that way.
Using the Compass
The figures are always generated Top to Bottom in this order – Red die, Yellow die, Blue die, Green die – each line of a geomancy figure has a Fire, Air, Water, Earth line in that order, always.
Example: I put on my sunglasses, my shoes, and leave the house with my Geomancy Compass in hand. I get to the end of my driveway and shake the compass. I read the outcome of the dice Red die, Yellow die, Blue die, Green die in that order. The result is Conjuctio an Earth sign; Conjuctio is a Mobile sign being above the Earth symbol so I walk forward crossing the street. I walk about a block and reach the next street or crossroad or obstacle and shake the Compass again. The result is Albus an Air sign; Albus is a Stable sign being below the Air symbol so I look to the right and look for things of interest – maybe an odd sign, or a car, or anything else – In this case I take in the beautiful sunset and cloud cover over the mountains. I shake the Compass after a few minutes and get Via a Mobile Water sign; I continue my walk to the Left.
A single walk can turn into many turns of looking and walking. Also I have experimented with, when walking in a certain direction, shaking the Compass in order to ask where I should be looking which has garnered some interesting things I’ve missed when walking down familiar streets. Another thing you can do is assign minutes or seconds to the four elements – so when asked to look in a certain direction a shake of the Compass can tell you how long to sit or stand looking depending on the figure generated, or upon seeing ‘something’ of interest you could ask whether or not the ‘something’ is the thing that was meant for you to see, more single dots may mean ‘no’, more double dots ‘yes’. There are many ways this system can be worked with intuitive sincerity – just make sure there is consistency.
As an extra bit of interest you may want to work out a relationship with the Genius Loci where you are walking. I keep a large stone by the front door of my home which I pour offerings upon for the Genius Loci of my neighborhood and area in which I live. I have taken to also touching it before I go for a walk or pouring a dribble of water upon it before I leave. Simple acts like this will help establish a relationship with the land and possibly improve the power of your Compass communications.
Greer, John Michael (1999). Earth Divination, Earth Magic.St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1-56718-312-3
Greer, John Michael (2009). The Art and Practice of Geomancy. San Francisco: Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1-57863-431-6
Pennick, Nigel (1995). The Oracle of Geomancy. Capal Bann Publishing. ISBN 1-898307-16-4.
Skinner, Stephen (1980). Terrestrial Astrology: Divination by Geomancy. London: Routeledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.
Before I began the Initiate Program I made sure that the sources listed for each section of the IP were current – to my surprise and joy and also by sheer coincidence the requirements and the sources had both gone through some revising and were updated officially the next day.
I’m going to start with Liturgy 1 ~
Bonewits, Isaac. Neopagan Rites A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work.
Minneapolis: Llewellyn Publications, 2007. Print.
Newburg, Brandon. Core Order of Ritual Tutorial.
I’ve read both of these works – so writing the essays for this requirement shouldn’t be too difficult.
And there are secondary source materials that I’ll be reading to round out the ADF perspective:
Brooks, Arnold. “Goals of Group Ritual.” ADF. Web. </rituals/explanations/group-ritual-
Canali, Rev. Eric. “ADF’s 5 Tier Druid Liturgy.” The Book of Sassafrass,
Serith, Ceisiwr. Space, Position, Motions, Gestures … and bowls: A Solitary Ritual.
Thomas, Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice.” ADF. Web. </articles/cosmology/nature-of-
I have been thinking about renewing my ADF membership. This is not an easy decision for me – I have been hard on Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship in the past…but I think that ADF has attempted to address some of the concerns I had, the concerns of many other members. I do not confront this choice flippantly, but it is an honest one that I feel I must address.
From the ADF website, frontpage:
“Our vision is that the Gods and Spirits are served in the modern world through:
These are ADF’s core ideals as a Church. As a Pagan, how do I feel about these? Do I feel these fit into what I think Paganism is and should move toward? Yes and No.
Thinking about each of those statements…..
“Our vision is that the Gods and Spirits are served in the modern world through” I’m not too hip on the fact that ADF right out of the gate presents its sole purpose as serving the gods (which should be lower case btw) and spirits. Service to the community, yes. Service and commitment to improving the self and others through learning and empowerment, yes. The gods quite frankly can take care of themselves – granted I worship the gods and give offerings to many of them on a weekly/daily basis and understand the reciprocity that takes place between god (thing) and worshipper, but its not my primary goal in life to serve the gods every minute of the day. In fact our pagan gods tell us directly not to be overly dependent upon them.
Public Temple Worship with ‘skilled’ priesthood – This is good for the most part. Just what is meant by ‘Skilled’ priesthood I’m not sure – I’ve had horrendous experiences with ADF’s clergy programs – so I’m not convinced of ADF’s program oversight or that who is conferred priesthood necessarily is deserving. Pagans should inherently be wary of organizations that create hierarchies as Neo-Paganism is so much about personal understanding and in my opinion should be a revolt against the emulation of systems that are built on segregating members into various groups and intelligenstia. (0)
Accessible Training – Of course I agree with this (2)
A Spiritual relationship with the Earth – Fundamental to Pagan thought and practice and especially any org using the ‘Druid’ moniker. (2)
Sustainable Pagan Institutions – Not too sure what this means, rather an obtuse statement. (0)
Flourishing Pagan culture – As long as it is good and serves the community, great. (2)
The We Value section are all ‘I agree’s’ for sure. However, the ritual liturgy found in ADF is dry. Quite frankly it’s rather boring, and the participant can sometimes feel left out because much of the attention is placed outside of the self, away from ones awareness. One of the large complaints of mine is the Order of Ritual found in ADF – it inadvertantly sets up robotic worship, a congregational mode of religiosity that forces some into a watcher mode. Being a Watcher is not Pagansim – the immediacy of Paganism is its power; doing, working, existing with the gods, ancestors, spirits.
ADF’s constant look toward growing and bettering, making their religion more visible as a public Indo-European religion is sometimes a blinding goal. I’ve had my share of experiences with ADF personages who are so hell-bent on its active tenets of building and growing that they forget or ignore the tenets of virtue and humility and sincerity that religious practice synthesizes within the self – but that’s neither here nor there, and generally pagans, in my experience, are boastful people and can be bold in their actions, this may be different overseas and I’m usually the quite one…so this may just be my thing.
So, I’m still thinking about this – I always felt ADF was a good fit with me. I keep telling myself that a member can’t like everything about the organization he’s part of…but I’m not quite sure yet how much I’m able to ignore in order to count myself back in the fold.
As a member of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) you will eventually be exposed to one of its fundamental practices; the Sphere of Protection. The SoP, as it’s usually referred to within the AODA, is a very Western Hermetic/Esoteric practice (nothing new if you’ve been exposed to Golden Dawn style ritual or readings) of enlivening the self and the psyche. The main practice in the SoP is the formation of an Elemental Cross within the the practitioner that is then used to construct extending lines of Intent (light) into the Horizontal, Vertical, and Extra Dimensional spheres of existence that are meant to seal up (and enlarge) the individual within time and space.
“The intention of the Elemental Cross Ritual is to create a spiritual space where negative energies cannot exist and to enhance positive energies for the benefit of the ritualist. The ritual is composed of seven distinct steps” (aoda.org)
I’ve incorporated similar practices in the past, but more from an Indo-european standpoint, so the importance was placed on three’s not on fours and not on a Western understanding of the Elements. I’ve attempted to work with the SoP ever since joining the AODA (and prior) but the use of godforms for the practice – being that my godforms are more in line with attributions of threes – just was not going to work because the SoP calls for a godform to be associated with the Head, Abdomen, Right and Left shoulders. The AODA is very open to finding attributions that work for the ritualist/member – some people use animals, elements, plants, trees, directions just to name a few.
For a long time now I’ve been utilizing a similar empowerment rite, gleaned from the symbol of the Awen that fits my Heathen IE sensibilities and my Druid philosophy. However, now that I am becoming more focused on AODA as a philosophical adjunct and gateway by which to practice some of my more Western magikal leanings, I’ve been struggling to come up with an SoP that works with the AODA recommendation in order that I might continue through the grades of the Order sincerely.
Runes are the primary lens through which I view my Heathen practice, Tarot is the lens through which I see my Western Magikal practice and being that AODA is a revival Druid order much of its ritual and teachings fit with modern Tarot wisdom due to a shared history. These are two very different ways in which to perceive the world – The Runic much more tribal, the Tarot much more Western/modern. I’ve also for some time been conducting a practice in the evenings that incorporates the four tools of Tarot (sword, staff, cup, disc) as devices of empowerment due to the fact that my Western Magikal practice uses Tarot as a vehicle through which evocation and meditation is accomplished.
My Sphere of Protection
Being that I feel Druidry is a philosophy of the natural world and the immediate surroundings I came up with an SoP that reflects this that still has Elemental and Tarot significance.
I don’t bother with the summoning/banishing of the elements in their appropriate directions as is called for by the full AODA SoP – this doesn’t sit well with me – proclaiming peace, trust, and dignity in all worlds to all beings is enough for me to feel like I’ve acknowledged all realities/allies and been acknowledged in return.
An Update 3/23/18
I’ve made a few changes to my SoP Practice that seem to be working a little better for me:
6. Cross – Instead of using the symbolism and the statement of the “Cup, Disc, Sword, and Staff” I am vocalizing “Light (to coincide with the Sun statement), Life ( Earth), Law (Star), Love (Moon)” – This was inspired by RJ Stewart’s The Way of Merlin (p.83) – as I envision the three dimensional lines extending out and into a sphere of light around me.
7. Closing – Hold hands palm together at chest (namaste pose) and dwell in the light and knowledgeof the sphere of protection created within and without.
8. Finish “May all Beings know Peace, Truth, and Dignity.”
If done in the morning this practice is done twice – Prior to my Stadhagaldr practice and then after.