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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in omens
In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Hopes that He's Wrong

The Romans (of course) had a phrase for it.

Absit omen: “May it not be an omen.”

As resident priest here at the Temple of the Moon, I make offerings twice daily—mornings and evenings—and pray for the well-being of pagan peoples everywhere. As one might expect of a pagan temple, the prayers take different forms depending on what time of year it is.

The prayers, of course, are recited from memory. Twice now during the last few days, I've slipped up and started prayers in their Winter form. Both times, thankfully, I've managed to catch myself before I'd got very far, and corrected the prayers to the proper Summer form instead.

But now I'm starting to worry. Even though, here in the North, Winter is the general default setting, somehow (whether rightly or wrongly) when things go wrong in ritual, they seem to take on a super-charged significance.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Well it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere. I did read a magazine article about climatologists watching three of Antarctica's i

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Shit on the Altar

What would you do if you came down one morning and found shit on the altar?

Literal shit?

It happened to a friend of mine.

She'd recently moved the household altar, with its antlered Grinnygog* and photos of the dead, from a wall-shelf upstairs to a beautiful painted alcove downstairs. By aesthetic standards, the move was a quantum improvement, and yet, there it was: desecration.

What do you do when there's shit on the altar? Well, first you wash everything as thoroughly as you can, and strew the altar with salt.

Then you figure out what's going on, and what you need to do about it.

It turns out that the shit wasn't actually shit, but—hardly an improvement—spew.

The kitty had jumped up on the altar, eaten the food offerings, and then puked them back up. Yuck.

Well, kitties will be kitties. Still, when it comes to the sacred, these things don't just happen.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On the Reading of Omens

Tarot-Schmaro.

My favorite form of divination has always been reading omens.

Of course, there isn't always an omen lying around when you happen to need one. Hence the cards, the runes, the lots: systematized omen-taking.

What's so compelling about omens is the way that they offer themselves. There you are, in the middle of everyday life, and suddenly something out of the ordinary happens. Voilà: a sign!

Of course, omens aren't always favorable. Then it's good to have some counter-magic handy, usually spoken. Absit omen, said the Romans: May it not be an omen. Keinehora ("no evil eye") my grandmother used to say. Hornie avert, I say, making the sign of the Horns.

There was a hole in the pasture fence. That's the simple explanation for why five cows kept coming up to the wooded ridge in southwestern Witchconsin where the Midwest Tribe of Witches had gathered this summer.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Or that you can get a different kind of browse on a wooded ridge than you can in a pasture!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Let's see; five cows-five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Dream. I know most people would write spirit instead of dream, b
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Loved it, I like omens too and have always found them useful. Messages are all around us wherever we care to look. You are so righ

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Omens and signs from nature

Omens & Signs

Keep an eye out for any signs and signals from nature.  One of the most common and well known is finding a feather in your pathway but there are many more.  What about a poorly house plant?  If you have been looking after it properly is it a sign of a sickly relationship in the family?  Take a look in the garden, are there plants growing together or entwined that don’t usually mix?  It could be a sign of love or a relationship.  Don’t forget the plants that self-seed in the garden, where are they growing and what type of plants are they? 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Googlemancy

Seeing order in randomly generated patterns is the essence of fortune telling and interpretation of omens. Hundreds of years ago, people might expect to go outside and see many different species of birds routinely as part of their everyday experience. Thus, reading the first type of bird one sees after asking a question was something people could reasonably expect to do as part of their normal lives, because seeing random birds was part of people's normal lives. My everyday experience includes the internet. I see random stuff on my Facebook feed and on the day's Google Doodle as I'm sipping my morning coffee. 

Random stuff is exactly what's traditionally used for fortune telling and omens. Rune casting interprets the way lots fall on a cloth. The rune Perthro, the rune of destiny or wyrd, is shaped like a dice cup, which refers to rolling dice to read a fortune. The heathen art of reading bird omens derives a positive or negative answer from whether one sees a white bird or a black bird first. (Black is the good color, because Odin's ravens are black.) In other traditions, tea leaves make patterns in a cup, and a deck of cards has a traditional significance for each card in Tarot and in cartomancy. 

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Blood, Black Dog, & Boardroom

 

It is common in many traditions to ask for guidance from the unseen realms, from the spirits. Sometimes the requests are answered in signs, omens, visions, and the like. I have three short vignettes to share that illustrate some of the reactions that can occur when the guidance is very clear.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The time of birds

It’s the first day of December, and most of the leaves are now down from the trees where I live. There’s one little ash tree that is, somehow, still mostly green but the yellows are creeping in there, too. It’s been a matter of weeks since enough leaves fell from the horsechestnut to reveal the bird feeder I put there last year.

During the summer, bird watching is a difficult activity because there’s so much cover. Seeing a whole bird isn’t easy unless you can put up a bird table and lure them out into the open. In years when I’ve been able to do that, it’s still not been easy to see birds in summer because most of them prefer to be in the trees or out in the fields. I’ve noticed that birds tend to return to urban gardens in the winter, they’ve got wise to bird feeders.

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