The Geomantic Compass

 

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.

Sources:

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.

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ADF Initiate Lit 1

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 ~

Required Resources:
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-
goals.html>.
Canali, Rev. Eric. “ADF’s 5 Tier Druid Liturgy.” The Book of Sassafrass,
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6LolKoM98rjNURlT3dSdk0xZEU/view

Serith, Ceisiwr. Space, Position, Motions, Gestures … and bowls: A Solitary Ritual.
https://www.adf.org/system/files/members/guilds/liturgists/yearbooks/2014/2014solitaryri
tualceiserith.pdf
Thomas, Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice.” ADF. Web. </articles/cosmology/nature-of-
sacrifice.html>.

Thinking through

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:

  • Public temple worship with a skilled priesthood
  • Accessible religious training for all
  • A spiritual relationship with the Earth
  • Sustainable Pagan institutions
  • A flourishing family and community Pagan culture

We value:

  • Commonality of ritual practice
  • Honoring the Earth Mother
  • Scholarship and research
  • Reciprocity with the Gods and Spirits
  • Respect for others through living our virtues
  • Service to the community, land, and the Gods and Spirits” (2018)

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.

Sphere of Protection

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)

  1. Preparation
  2. Touch your forehead – Usually assoc. with Mature Male energies/Spirit Above
  3. Touch your lower abdomen – Usually assoc. with Young Male energies/Spirit Below
  4. Touch your right shoulder – Usually assoc. with Mature Female energies
  5. Touch your left shoulder – Usually assoc. with Young Female energies
  6. Form a standing cross
  7. Complete the ritual

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.

  1. Preparation
  2. Forehead – “Sun” (Staff)
  3. Abdomen – “Earth” (Disc)
  4. Right Shoulder – “Star” (Sword)
  5. Left Shoulder – “Moon” (Cup)
  6. Cross – Arms up and out, hands down.  Imagine the light from above and below moving into infinity and the same for the horizontal. Say, ” I am Restored by the Cup of Sympathy, Strengthened by the Disc of Valor, Armed with the Sword of Reason, Supported with the Staff of Intuition.”  A third line of infinite light is imagined extending to the front and behind you.  These lines of radiant light begin to encompass you and create the Sphere of Protection spinning about and within you.
  7. Closing – Breath in the light, calmly enter your normal consciousness.  ” I walk by Moon, Earth, Star, and Sun – with Sympathy, Valor, Reason, and Intuition this day.”
  8. Finish “May all Beings know Peace, Truth, and Dignity.”

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.

 

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A Little Focus

I was happy to find that my song Chrystalimir Morning found its way onto the OBOD Druidcast for February. I’ve meant for years to get some material recorded for a simple album, perhaps this will help push me in that direction.

I’m working on a few articles for pagan publications and working on my AODA 2nd circle material – Also working on my Masters thesis that is moving slower than I hoped and will probably take longer to complete than I planned. I’m trying to reign in my need to be pulled in so many directions, having multiple projects in my head and on paper at once doesn’t do me any good.

I recently did a webcast on google Hangouts for the tarot game Queesn of Fate and plan to do other such tutorials for similar Tarot and Rune games in the future.  I’ll post those updates here as well going forward.

I’ve also been refining a Rune working that utilizes the Runes in a very mandalic based setup.  I probably won’t be sharing to much of that here, as I’m planning to get it written up along with many other practices that I’ve developed into somethng coherent for modern Erilars (runersters).  Something is not quite right with it, it’s taking too much effort to accomplish what I want through the current interface of Runes and I’m rethinking some of the associations I’ve made.

 

Living Druidry

This year I’m doing a few things to deepen my path.  I have decided to move through the ‘Living Druidry’ course over on the Druid Network.  This is a year long course that focuses on the periods from New Moon to New Moon and is meant to be a seasonal meditation.  Several topics are explored during the month: Moon, Festival, Season, Perception, Element, Humanity, Environment, Self, Creativity, Ethics, and a Review.

Along with this program I’m also developing a practice to cultivate relationships with the handmaidens of Frigga.  I won’t go into detail about these goddesses, only to say that there are twelve, thirteen with Frigg.  Each goddess will be given a moon cycle to commune with and study coinciding nicely with the already mentioned course; the Druidic and the Heathen meditations will work nicely together.

Even though the Living Druidry course is a basic one, I am drawn to it.  Druidry should allow for a conversation with nature, and that should be simple and easy in spirit, a practice that embraces silence, contemplation, and joy.

So there will be at least a monthly post that discusses my monthly movement with the Living Druidry course and how it has deepened my path along with an entry on the handmaiden and the relationship established.

tree

Living Gratitude

Gratitude should be a cultivated virtue by those living a religious life; Gratitude for the earth that sustains us, for the sky that protects us, for the life we live and the challenges we are blessed with and brave enough to overcome.

One of the ways I display my gratitude for the life I live is by leaving gifts of offering.  To digress just a touch, I use prayer beads.  Usually these are beads in the form of a bracelet, sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy them.  They get used alot; when driving, when walking, sometimes when in line at the post office.  I use them mainly to recite the Runes to myself, to ground myself, to stabilize my breathing.  Anyway there comes a time when they fall apart…when they do I gather the beads and carry them in a matchbox in my pocket.

matchbox beads

I’ve got a lot of beads in there now.  So, to continue, I carry these around with me, these beads that I’ve spent hours (probably) turning and spinning with intention and sometimes meditatively, that now have very little use.  What are these beads good for?  Well, as I go about my day I’ll leave them in places as an offering to a place or a person, a building or a parks genius loci,  or a tree that I sit next to for a time.

This is a way for me to cultivate gratitude in my life for the places, things, and events that normally I would take for granted.  I’ve left them in cars, at my workplace, outside when taking a walk, in school rooms, even in bathrooms that were in the right place at the right time – anywhere that I feel needs to be honored for what it has given to me – I say a small prayer of thanks or a prayer of acknowledgment and try to place the bead somewhere out of the way, somewhere safe if possible.

We so easily take things for granted living in a society that caters to our every whim.  My gratitude beads allow me to reflect on the beauty around me daily, and to acknowledge the blessings that go ignored.