Divination 2

  1. Describe the geographical and temporal distribution of your chosen symbol set. If the symbol set was used cross-culturally, describe how each culture used your chosen symbol set. (min. 300 words)

The primary source for the Greek Alphabet Oracle comes from an inscription found in Olympos (an ancient city in Lycia), which is in the geopolitical region of Anatolia.  This Olympos was named for the mountain peak Tahtali Dağ, which the Greeks who moved into the region called Mount Olympus after their own Mount Olympus in Greece.  This was part of the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age, and was completely Hellenized by the influx of Greeks following the Persian Wars when it fell under the Macedonian Empire. The people in the region initially spoke languages in the Luwian family, before the amount of Greek speakers effectively converted the linguistic makeup of the region (“Lycia”).

While there is little evidence to suggest that this specific Greek Alphabet Oracle was used cross-culturally, there is evidence that shows a variety of alphabet and dice oracles in general were used across Greece and Asia Minor, though there is not nearly as much evidence to see how the alphabet oracles worked.

In Bura, there was evidence of a dice oracle where the Seer would cast the dice onto a table, or perhaps into a dish of holy water, and from that numbers shown on the dice, find a corresponding letter.  It seems as though this particular version of the oracle was used before taking part in other ceremonies, religious or otherwise (Heinevetter 33).

In the ancient Pisidian city of Adada was a similar inscription to the one found at Olympos.  This one was also found on a mountaintop, and in addition to the collection of letters and phrases, contained an invocation to Apollo and Hermes.  It is likely that the Seer would call on Apollo to guide his divination and on Hermes as the messenger of Zeus. It interesting to note from the German translation that the Oracle, that is the person through whom the gods speak, is called literally the “Orakelsprüche” – the speaker of oracles.  I find this to be particularly interesting when you combine it with the belief that at the time, all magical acts were spoken (Heinevetter 33-35).

Heinevetter also references the work of Kaibel, who theorized that when the letters were inscribed on stones and placed in a temple, the priest at that temple would put these stones into an urn, and “his hand would be guided by the deity” and upon drawing out a specific letter, he would immediately know what it meant (Heinevetter 35).  

 

  1. Describe the division of sacred and profane use for this symbol set in cultural context (i.e. how was the symbol set used in every day life, and how was it used in religious contexts?). If you find no such division, explain why you think that the set was either entirely sacred or entirely profane in the culture. (min. 300 words)

Ancient Greek was used from about the 9th century to the 6th century BCE, and is the language used by the classical poets, playwrights, historians, and philosophers.  The Greek alphabet, specifically the Ionian Greek alphabet and its dialect, has uses both in the sacred and the profane, though most writing appears to be for profane purposes.  For example, the literature of the ancients Greeks was written mainly in Old Ionic Greek.  This includes the works of Homer and Hesiod, from whom we get a large portion of our knowledge about the deities today (“Ionic Greek”).  While some of these texts, such as the “Homeric Hymns,” were arguably used for sacred purposes, such as invoking deities within a ritual context, I think it’s important to remember that many of the texts were written with the purpose to entertain and perhaps teach ethical and moral lessons.  This can be seen in The Odyssey, where the trials and tribulations of Odysseus are related.  It is, on its most basic level, an adventure story.  It also teaches the lesson that one should be careful which gods one offends.

Hesiod’s works, particularly Works & Days, fall fairly solidly into the category of profane uses of the language.  The vast majority of Works & Days contains information on the proper way to behave and complete certain mundane tasks.  For example, he instructs on how to determiner he proper time for plowing your field and planting your crops: “Mark, when you hear the voice of the crane who cries year by year from the clouds above, for she give the signal for ploughing and shows the season of rainy winter” (Hesiod ll. 448-457). He also includes a variety of moral lessons that the narrator tells to Perses.

It is interesting to note that the Greek Alphabet Oracle has an overwhelming number of symbols that relate to having to work hard for any successes you might have, and that this is the general feel of Works & Days, wherein Hesiod tells the reader and Perses, in great detail, the jobs that must be done to be successful in life, and the morals issues one must tackle to be judged properly.  I would postulate that this particular work either draws from the alphabet oracle, or informed the alphabet oracle, because the resonance is between the two is very strong.

 

  1. Describe the life of a seer in an Indo-European hearth culture, their techniques of divination, and the respect they received. (min. 600 words)

I think that in the past, just as it is in modern times, the Seer acts as an intermediary between the Folk and the Gods.  Also important to note is that the seers of ancient Greece were written about by people who had real life seers before them.  And those ancient seers then tried to behave as the seers in myth were portrayed to them.  “So art imitated life, and life art,” so it isn’t easy to pick out a cut and dry source for how the Seers in ancient times actually worked and behaved (Flower 21).

The role of the Seer in Ancient Greece took multiple forms.  They can be basically divided into the Institutional Oracles.  These are the ones that most people have heard of and know about, and they are the ones who commanded the most respect in their time.  The other type of Seer in Ancient Greece was the mantis.  They are the independent diviners, and were paid through their services.

The Institutional Oracles were an important part of the economic ecosystem of the cities they existed around.  Generally speaking, they did not provide for themselves in the way of sustenance, but rather relied on the folk they served to bring that to them.  In the Homeric Hymn to the Pythian Apollo there is story asking how the people chosen by Apollo to care for his temple shall be provided for.  They were reminded that “the glorious tribes of men will bring gifts to you as Iepaeon (`Hail-Healer’), and you will receive with delight rich sacrifices from the people dwelling round about” (Evelyn-White).  This meant that when the people brought forth sacrifices to the altar of Apollo at his temple, the priests there would be well fed as long as the fame of the oracle lasted. In this same sense, it was also beneficial for the surrounding towns to enhance their Oracle’s reputation.  The more people traveled through, and stayed for extended period of time, the better business was for that town.  This was especially true of the Oracle of Delphi, which later became the site for the Pythian Games (Johnston 34-46). This being said, the Institutional Oracles, while perhaps the most famous, were certainly not the most widely used method for gaining knowledge.  The oracles would only take questions once a month, and the right to ask a question was very expensive (Flower 2).

The Institutional Oracles were often described as receiving their omens through ecstatic trance.  The Oracles would enter trance and as the questions were asked, they would posit answers to these questions, most of which were then translated into verse by the priests and priestesses who tended the Oracle and the temple of the god the Oracle spoke for (Flower 6-7).

For the independent diviners (manteis), they made their living much the same way other merchants did: by selling their wares and services to the public.  They were well-respected as part of the aristocratic class of men (and sometimes women) who would seek to further themselves and their reputation not only through their divination, but also through feats of strength and courage (Johnston 116).  The mantis is “one who speaks from an altered state” or “one who is in a special state of inspiration.”  They are literally “workers for the community” and they have a special gift and skill that cannot just be learned, but rather has to be granted by the divine (Flower 23).

The manteis had a very important role in the military history of Greece.  In myth, every army had its own mantis, because of how important it was to consult the will of the gods when approaching something that their good or ill will may determine the outcome of the battle.  The mantis would bring out sacrificial animals before a battle.  He would kill these animals and read their entrails, determining how the battle would go and what would need to be done in order to win the battle.  Generals were known to put great weight in these divinations, and would even delay battle until the omens were fortuitous.  The independent diviner had more freedom than the institutional oracles to peruse the life they wanted.  They were less tied to the people in the sense of dependency, but also had to prove themselves much more than the institutional oracles to maintain their reputation and thus be able to sell their services (Johnston 116-118).

The mantis was also a crisis manager; he was an integral part of the Hellenic society.  When something went wrong, the mantis would not only look to the future, but would also look to the past.  It was his job to determine how the folk might have offended the gods at some point in the past so that the correct amends could be made to set the course of history back on a good path.  He coasted the line between priest and diviner, and existed in that liminal place where he was able to travel and be available for those that needed him for a variety of services (Johnston 116-118).

The manteis commanded a certain type of respect, as they straddled the line between priest and magician.  The term mantis carried far more respect than the term magos.  “Anyone could insult a mantis by calling him a magos, and any magos could lay claim to higher status by calling himself mantis.”  And just as the authority and reliability of the seer lays outside of the self now, so it was then: “You could call yourself whatever you wanted; the proof of expertise lay in what other people were willing to call you” (Flower 66).

As mentioned above, the manteis used a variety of methods for divination, one of which was the reading of entrails (both extispicy and empyromancy).  Other methods included augury (the behavior, movement, and calls of birds), the interpretation of dreams and portents (like storms, earthquakes, and eclipses).  They also occasionally, though not often compared to the institutional oracles, engaged in spirit possession (Flower 24).

It is interesting to note that the role of the mantis extended beyond only divination and was also said to include healing and purification (Flower 27).  This meshes well with what I’ve experienced as a seer, because after a reading has been given to someone, they often have a lot to think about, and sometimes a lot to deal with.  I have had many readings that end with the querent in tears, and me left in the position where my best course of action is to offer some form of comfort and healing.

 

  1. Describe what you have done to connect with this symbol set on a spiritual level, where your ideas came from, and how it has affected your method of learning this set. Some examples might include (but are not limited to) carving or sacrificing for your runes, gathering each kind of tree for a set of ogham, or doing volunteer service at your local zoo to get more closely acquainted with the behaviors of animals. (min. 600 words)

Connecting with the Greek Alphabet Oracle on a spiritual level has proven easier than my attempts at connecting to either the runes or the ogham.  I suspect this is partly because I resonate better with a divination system that matches my hearth culture.  One of the first things I did that has helped me connect to my oracle is make one to use.  Part of this was necessity.  There was nowhere to purchase one, and so my options were if I wanted to use this system, then I would have to make my own.  So I did.  I researched the way that the ancients made their version of the oracles, and finding that I had a hard time with the dice due to the math, decided I would prefer the traditional sortilege.  The ancient system had its symbols painted or inscribed on pottery fragments, so that was my first step.  It didn’t go well…

I started out by making a terra cotta dish of my own, and let it dry-fire in the sun.  So it hardened nicely, and, while not particularly pretty and not particularly water tight, it was a bowl.  Then I smashed it, and picked up the fragments, using those as my first set of pieces to carve symbols into.  Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, this did not go as well as I’d hoped.  First of all, it’s hard to carve into hardened clay without breaking pieces.  The second obstacle came from when I began doing divinations with this set, the pieces were all different sizes and some were sharp on the edges.  Not conducive to good, active seership, and I’m really not into bleeding for a reading.  The third and final obstacle, and the one that led me to make a new set, was that, wonder of wonders, pottery is fragile, and some of the pieces broke into dust after too much carrying them around.

This incident, while regrettable in its unfortunate outcome involving cuts on my hands and the symbols wearing away to dust, did at least help me to get my magical juju flowing into connecting with and understanding this symbol set.  I successfully learned what each symbol looked like, and put a bit of my own energy into the creation of the set.  Then, when I did make my new set (this time out of wooden disks, paints, and gold leaf paint) I was better equipped to charge and put my new found knowledge and understand into each symbol.  On this new set I put the symbol and its name on the front of each disk, and then on the back put the phrase that corresponds with it.  This proved extremely beneficial to me in the beginning as I learned to match the symbols to their names and to their phrases.  It has still been useful even now, because while I no longer need the crutch of the names and phrases, it’s been beneficial for those people that I have done readings for to be able to see that corresponding phrase.

While the above text describes how I connected with the set on a magico-religious level, and while that certainly helped with learning the technical symbols themselves, I definitely resorted to more esoteric methods to actually learn the set, its symbols, and meanings.  To memorize them I started by pulling a single symbol each day and making sure I knew the word, key word, and phrase that went with it, as well as the meaning I’d begun to tease out of it from my work connecting with the set.  However, I found that I was missing some of the symbols this way, because I don’t often pull some of them, which mean they weren’t coming up in my daily drawing of them.  So I turned to the tried and true method of flashcards, and was able to fairly quickly memorize the symbol set this way.

 

  1. Describe the overall symbology of a chosen divination method as well as each individual symbol in that set. Review and compare to your answers to this question from Divination 1, explaining how and why those views have changed over time. If you have changed your primary symbol set, why did you change? (min. 600 words for the descriptive essay, and 100 words per symbol)

When I began working with the Greek Alphabet Oracle in Divination 1, I was working on learning the symbols and their meanings.  Each letter in the alphabet oracle correlates to a phrase containing a key word that starts with that letter (Sophistes).  In the initial learning phase I examined the letter itself (I use the Ionian Greek alphabet for the purposes of divinatory work), the key word, the phrase that goes with it, as well as the phrases that I wrote to correspond to the letter’s sound in English (since the key word for each phrase is in Greek, and thus the first letter does not match to the Latin alphabet that we use when it is translated to English).

Some key points that I’ve analyzed since beginning the work with this symbol set are my choice of which alphabet to use, and a deepening of my understanding on each symbol.  I chose to use the Ionian Greek alphabet for a few reasons.  In part, it was simply because to my eye, it looked cooler, and once I started learning the symbols, it would have been difficult to switch.  Another reason I chose this particular alphabet was because I didn’t want to run into preconceptions regarding the letters based on their modern usage.  The biggest culprits for me here are the Greek letters that are used in mathematical equations, such as Delta, Sigma, Lambda, Gamma, and Rho.  I still have trouble separating out Delta from its meaning within the oracle (strength is weak) and its mathematical meaning (change).  The final reason I chose this particular alphabet is because it is likely a closer approximation to the alphabet that would have been used at the time the oracle was used than the modern Greek is.  The Ionian alphabet was the alphabet that was used in the writing of the Illiad and the Odyssey.  And as far as why I didn’t use a different ancient alphabet, most of that relates to not all of the oracle’s letters being found in other incarnations of the ancient Greek alphabet, as can be seen when you compare the various scripts side by side (“Ancient Scripts: Greek.”)

One of the things I have done as my understanding of these symbols deepens is develop a narrative to accompany each symbol.  This has helped immensely in my personal understanding of the symbols, as well as made it easier for me to explain that meaning to others, but in individual explanations and in combined meanings of multiple symbols.  By developing these narratives, it has allowed for facets of each symbol to come out and become more apparent.  These facets allow the symbols to have a different emphasis depending on the situation and its proximity to other symbols, or placement within a divinatory spread.  Many of the narratives come from accepted myths within the hearth culture, some come from accepted cultural norms at the time in history, and some come from trance work I’ve done as I’ve worked to deepen my understanding of the symbols.

The symbols themselves seem to fall into three generalized categories: how the gods influence the lives of men, how men influence the lives of men, and how nature influences the lives of men.  This appeals to my English major self in that it encompasses the types of conflicts that can are experienced in a narrative: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Nature (or Divine, as the case may be).  That is to say that some struggles are between mortals.  For example, Pi advises perseverance through adversity.  Tau advises that there will be a separation from the people around you.  Some struggles are internal. For example, Delta advises that outright strength and full on assault is not always the best options.  Rho advises waiting, despite a possible desire to blunder forward.  Iota reminds that work is the way to succeed.  And some struggles are with forces that cannot be controlled. For example, Kappa advises endure the waves.  Zeta advises fleeing the storm.  Theta reminds that the Gods are helping.

Alpha: “The God [Apollo] says you will do everything {Hapanta} successfully.” 

Alpha reminds us that we have the support of our gods, and to trust in the reading that we have been given.  It is a note that we will be successful at any goals we have set for ourselves.  This can also mean that the querent needs to stop second-guessing themselves when they are considering their actions and to just go with it. In some cases this symbol can also signify that the problem needs to be looked at from all sides in order to have the most favorable outcome.

Beta: “With the help of Tychê [Fortune], you will have an assistant {Boêthos}, the Pythian [Apollo].” 

I have always taken a large part of Beta to mean that in order to receive the help you desire and need, you will need to ask for that help.  It is good fortune that will aid you, but you can’t have that good fortune unless you’ve sought it out.  It is important to ask for the help, because otherwise the being you are seeking help from either won’t know that you need it, or will place such a high value on the act of asking that unless that happens, they will refuse to give it.

Gamma: “Gaia [the Earth] {Gê} will give you the ripe fruit of your labors.” 

Gamma is the symbol of the Earth Mother.  It represents the culmination of our work and our projects, as well as the new life that can begin thanks to her bounty.  In a reading that involves actions, this symbol indicates that a successful outcome is at hand due to the work that has been put in, and the seeds that have been carefully tended.  It can also represent the cycle of life, from nothingness, to seed, to something to be tended, to the culmination of that project, which then cycles back around and allows us to begin planting seeds anew.

Delta: “In customs inopportune strength {Dunamis} is weak.” 

Delta is the symbol that reminds us that whatever methods we normally use to approach a situation will not work in this case.  The analogy that use to explain this symbol most often is that for many people, it is it takes a certain amount of strength to confront those who are at odds with us or our ideas, however, it often takes even more strength to sit back an listen to those conflicting views and either choose to accept them, or choose to disagree.  In either case, the approach that you initially want to try, or normally would try, is not the course of action that should be taken here.

Epsilon: “You desire {Eraô} to see the offspring of righteous marriages.” 

Epsilon is the symbol of fertility.  It represents the creative magic that comes from working towards a goal.  It is the imbas and the inspiration that gets a project off the ground and moving along.  It is also the culmination of work that has been welcomed and approved by the Gods and/or community.  It is also literal fertility, as has been demonstrated by multiply instances of magical work done where this symbol was pulled, and babies happened soon after.  It is a symbol of support that the culmination of your desires and projects is strong, and depending on what symbols are pulled along side it can advise how the desire will (or will not) come to fruition.

Zeta: “Flee the very great storm {Zalê}, lest you be disabled in some way.” 

Zeta is the symbol that represents Zeus, the storm god.  At first interpretation, this symbol can mean that there is a situation that has occurred that the querent must remove themself from.  It can also mean that the querent must set aside those things which are no longer serving their goals, or which are acting as obstacles to their goals.  This setting aside mainly relates to things and situations, differing from Tau, which deals more with a separation from people.  A deeper look into this symbol carries an additional meaning that this ‘fleeing’ is okay, and advises the querent to accept that sometimes it is necessary and in their best interest to remove themselves from something, and that that is okay.

Eta: “Bright Helios [Sun] {Hêlios}, who watches everything, watches you.” 

Eta is the symbol that represents Helios, the sun.  This is the oath symbol, and can serve as a reminder for the querent to keep any oaths or promises that they may have made.  It can also be an indicator that one must consider their oaths when they are decided what actions to take.  Depending on the surrounding symbols, it can represent that an oath needs to be taken, or that the consequences of breaking an oath must be considered.  This symbol, unlike the sun symbols from other systems, does not represent victory.

Theta: “You have the helping Gods {Theoi} of this path.” 

Theta is the symbol that represents the Theoi, the Olympians, the Shining Gods.  This is a very good symbol to get when the querent is considering actions because it means that Gods are in agreement with their actions and will help bring those actions to fruition.  There is a similarity to Beta, in that both symbols signify that help can occur, however the different here is that the help that is being received does not necessarily have to be asked for, and the help that is being received is coming from the Gods, not from other mortal sources.

Iota: “There is sweat {Hidrôs}; it excels more than everything.” 

Iota is one of the many symbols that indicates a need for work.  The Olympian Oracle, and the Greek mythos in general, is very clear in maintaing the fact that mortals are responsible for their own actions and are responsible for making their own fortunes in the world.  Iota is the epitome of that worldview, reminding the querent that in order to achieve their goals, they will need to work at it.  Additionally, the work referenced in this symbol is most often external work.  It also indicates that the work will be hard, and that the best way to achieve the optimum result is by doing that work.

Kappa: “To fight with the waves {Kuma} is difficult; endure, friend.”

Kappa is the symbol that represents the ocean.  It is both a warning and an encouragement.  It is a warning because it can signify that a situation is about to arise that will require the querent to keep a level head, and endure the turmoil that will try to throw them off course.  It is also an encouragement because if there is already a situation that the querent is working through that contains a lot of turmoil, it helps remind them and sympathizes that “yes, we know that it’s hard, but we need you to keep plugging away at it.  We still care for you and are not turning our back on you.”  It is a reminder that the going is tough right now, and it will take strength to endure, but you’ve got to try.

Lambda: “The one passing on the left {Laios} bodes well for everything.” 

Lambda is a signifying symbol.  It acts as a notice that there is going to be a sign or a portent from somewhere that will act as the turning point for a situation.  It relates to the querent that this sign will come from somewhere that is either very unusual for them, or from an unexpected place.  The turning point also indicates that things are about to turn around, and the world can expect to look up again.  Or, if things were already going good, there may be a bump in the road which, when paired with Lambda, will indicate to not read too much into that because things will still turn out okay.

Mu: “It is necessary to labor {Mokhtheô}, but the change will be admirable.” 

Mu is another one of the many symbols that indicate work.  While Iota reminds the querent that only by working hard can they excel at their goals, Mu helps to give the querent faith.  While the work may be arduous, and you may want to stop doing it, it will be worth it in the end.  Mu is also an indicator of work that will happen internally, while Iota often signifies external work.  Mu is an especially apt symbol to pull when the querent is facing a choice to do something they may not want to do.  It reminds them that the easy path is not always the right one.

Nu: “The strife-bearing {Neikêphoros} gift fulfills the oracle.” 

Nu is the strife-bearing gift, and is the hard-won lesson or hard-won strength that you receive following a series of trials. Nu is the silver lining of a bad situation.  The myth that explains this symbol perfectly is the story of Heracles.  Heracles was a mortal, who was cursed by Hera.  This curse meant that he had an extremely rough time of it, and was forced to atone for actions that never would have happened had it not been for Hera.  However, it is also because of those actions, those labors he had to do, that made him worthy of being called a hero, and later a god.  And so, it is the strife-bearing gift that came out of it.  He had to deal with the curse and the labors following it, and that was no fun, but out of all that hardship, pain, and hard work came the gift of godhood.

Xi: “There is no fruit to take from a withered {Xêros} shoot.” 

Xi is one of the agricultural symbols within this set.  Agricultural was very important in the ancient times, and so it made for a good analogy to help people understand the deeper meanings behind the phrases.  Xi is the reminder to the querent that they need to tend the seeds they have planted if they expect to have any sort of good result from it.  It is dangerous to begin many, many projects but to not follow through on any of them to the point of completion.  This symbol warns against just setting up your master plan, but then not caring for it, nurturing it, and tending it to ensure that all the pieces fall into place and everything works out in the end.

Omicron: “There are no {Ou} crops to be reaped that were not sown.” 

While Xi talks about tending the seed one has planted in order to achieve the ends you want, Omicron takes that back one more step.  The warning inherent in Omicron is that if you didn’t lay the groundwork for your project to succeed, if you didn’t plant the initial seeds in the first place, then you will not see the culmination of any projects.  Omicron encourages forethought and foresight when approaching a goal or an outcome.  Omicron, Xi, and Gamma are the three symbols that follow the agricultural progression: from seed to plant, and from plant to fruit.

Pi: “Completing many {Polus} contests, you will seize the crown.” 

Pi is the symbol of perseverance.  This symbol indicates that there are trials in your future.  There are obstacles that you will need to overcome in order to reach your desired outcome.  This is both a symbol of hope, because it explains that if you are persistent, and keep plugging away and doing things the way you have been, that you will eventually gain whatever it is that you have placed value on.  It can also carry a note of caution, reminding the querent that there are going to be a lot of steps on their path, and that there are going to be a lot of obstacles that must be tackled to achieve their goals.

Rho: “You will go on more easily {Rhaion} if you wait a short time.” 

Rho symbolizes patience.  This is the magic 8-ball answer of “try again later.”  Everything is so much in flux right now, and because of that there is no clear answer or clear direction indicating a course of action.  It will work out better if you wait for all the pieces to fall and let everything settle, and then reevaluate.  This can also mean reevaluate your work and your assumptions to make sure they are accurate, and that you’re not giving in to your biases.  In most cases this applies toward the querent assessing their biases, but I’ve also found that if a reading is being done for someone the seer knows well, this can also be a caution to the seer to not assume too much about the reading, and instead focus more on what the symbols are saying and less on what they know about the querent personally.

Sigma: “Phoibos [Apollo] speaks plainly {Saphôs}, ‘Stay, friend.’” 

Sigma is the trust symbol.  It means you need to trust your instincts, and trust your gut.  You need to trust that the gods have a plan going on, and you’re part of it.  It also means you need to stay the course and keep doing what you’re doing.  Hold your ground.  Sigma stands opposite Tau.  Where Tau represents a separation, or a cutting away, Sigma represents a holding together and staying strong.  It can also hold a connotation of together we are stronger than we are apart.  This can also caution the querent to stop second guessing themselves, and that this is as plain as the gods can make the message right now.

Tau: “You will have a parting from the {Tôn} companions now around you.” 

Tau signifies a separation that will occur. It can mean that the querent must distance things which are no longer serving their goals, or which are acting as obstacles to their goals.  This setting aside mainly relates to people and situations, differing from Zeta, which deals more with a separation from things. This symbol also carries less in the way of an acceptance that a separation will occur, and is more of a warning that this separation will occur and has the intent to allow the querent to prepare for the aftereffects of that separation.

Upsilon: “The affair holds a noble undertaking {Huposkhesis}.” 

Upsilon pairs nicely with both Pi and Mu.  It informs the querent that the task at hand is a worthwhile thing to be doing.  The keyword in this symbol is Undertaking.  This can be both a noble quest, or it can be an ordeal.  It can also be both something that needs to be done as well as something that is going to be a lot of work and hard to complete.  There is also an undertone that the querent needs to seek understanding to determine whether they are supposed to seek out something noble to do, or whether they are already doing something worthwhile and are going to face obstacles on the path.

Phi: “Having done something carelessly {Phaulos}, you will thereafter blame the Gods.”

Phi indicates that the querent needs to take responsibility for their own actions.  If you have made a mistake, then you need to own up to it and accept the consequences.  Do not try to foist the blame off on someone else for what you have done.  Do not try to lay blame at the feet of the Gods when only you can determine your own actions.  On the slip side of this, you must also refrain from taking credit for work that is not yours.  This essentially boils down to honestly and examining yourself and your ethics.

Khi: “Succeeding, friend, you will fulfill a golden {Khruseos} oracle.” 

Khi represents wealth, worth, and value.  This can be physical value, or it can be something that you have placed value on that is an intangible thing.  This symbol can be an indicator that if you have placed value on something then you are more likely to put the time into it and put the work into it, and thus succeed at any oaks you have set for yourself.  Khi is strong indicator that you will be successful at whoever it is that you put your mind to.  On the other hand, depending on where it falls in a reading, it can also be an indictor to reexamine your values, and reexamine where you’re spending your time and what you’re putting work into.

Psi: “You have this righteous judgment {Psêphos} from the Gods.” 

Psi is the symbols that indicates you have a directive from the Gods.  They have given you a task, and given you a set of actions to take and goals to have.  You are expected to follow through on them.  This can also mean that you have been given what ever it is your deserve.  This could be a good or a bad thing depending on the querent’s situation and/or the symbols that are pulled along side it.  This symbols comes up fairly often for those people who have either asked a specific question regarding their spiritual work, or for those who have a call to serve the gods, folk, and land.

Omega: “You will have a difficult {Ômos} harvest season, not a useful one.” 

Omega is another one of the symbols that deals with work.  However, where as many of the others symbols discuss the work that needs to be done, and how it will benefit either the self or the situation, Omega indicates that there will just be a lot of work to put in, and you won’t feel as though it’s worthwhile.  This can be a warning that you’re pouring all your energy into something that is not something you should be doing.  Additionally, depending on where it falls in a reading, it can also indicate that even though the work sucks, and you don’t feel like anything is coming from it, you’re not getting anything out of it, it is still work that you have to do.  You still have to clear the field to plant new seed, even if your harvest has been completely decimated.

 

  1. Describe the primary sources available regarding your chosen symbol set, explain the place of inspiration in your interpretations, and describe how the synthesis between historical source work and inspiration plays in your personal practice. (min. 1000 words)

The primary source for the Greek Alphabet Oracle comes from an inscription found in Olympos, which is an ancient city in Lycia.  There are actually a couple of different inscriptions, though this one appears to be the one that most sources for the Greek Alphabet Oracle pull from.  The inscription begins with an invocation to both Apollo and Hermes (Apollo being the prophet, and Hermes being the messenger of the gods, specifically Zeus), and is then followed by the 24 phrases, one for each letter.  In Ancient Greek the phrase would begin with a word that started with that letter.  This made the key word for each phrase the one that started with the letter, and the remainder of the phrase helped for further clarification.  The inscription was divided up into 5 verses, the first being the invocation, and the 24 phrases making up the remaining 4 verses (Heinevetter).

These 4 verses divide up the symbols as follows.  The first verse contains Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta.  The second verse contains Eta, Theta, Iota, and Kappa, Lambda, and Mu.  The third verse contains Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, and Sigma.  And the fourth verse contains Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Khi, Psi, and Omega (Heinevetter).  I’m not sure that these divisions contribute at all to the meaning, though my sense is that they most certainly could.  However, there are no sources that have broached this subject, and the division of verses is only mentioned in the German source books.  I haven’t explored the possibility of adding subtle nuances to the meanings of the symbols by including which verse they belong in.

As the only primary source that exists for this symbol set contains simply the phrase, which begins with the word that starts with the indicated letter (Sophistes), I have made use of inspiration and myth to begin expanding on my knowledge of the symbol set and it’s subtler meanings.  The first thing I did, in part to help my remember which phrase and meanings was associated with each letter, was write a poem of my own, which allowed me to add some of my own insight while maintaining the structure of the initial inscription. I had the phrases that I wrote begin with the same letter, or at least sound, so that as I was learning them it would be easier for me to remember.

Alpha: “The God [Apollo] says you will do everything {Hapanta} successfully.” 

All you do is successful.

Beta: “With the help of Tychê [Fortune], you will have an assistant {Boêthos}, the Pythian [Apollo].” 

Because you asked for help

Gamma: “Gaia [the Earth] {Gê} will give you the ripe fruit of your labors.” 

Gaia gave what you need.  Harvest it.

Delta: “In customs inopportune strength {Dunamis} is weak.” 

Deciding how to act and when strength is necessary

Epsilon: “You desire {Eraô} to see the offspring of righteous marriages.” 

Eager to see the results of union

Zeta: “Flee the very great storm {Zalê}, lest you be disabled in some way.” 

Zeus causes the storm: flee before his anger

Eta: “Bright Helios [Sun] {Hêlios}, who watches everything, watches you.” 

Every word you speak, Helios knows the truth

Theta: “You have the helping Gods {Theoi} of this path.” 

Throughout your journey, you will have the gods help.

Iota: “There is sweat {Hidrôs}; it excels more than everything.” 

If you lose all else, your hard work remains

Kappa: “To fight with the waves {Kuma} is difficult; endure, friend.”

Keep on enduring the inevitable with courage.

Lambda: “The one passing on the left {Laios} bodes well for everything.” 

Learn that blessings come from the most unsuspecting places

Mu: “It is necessary to labor {Mokhtheô}, but the change will be admirable.” 

Much good will come through labor and toil.

Nu: “The strife-bearing {Neikêphoros} gift fulfills the oracle.” 

Notice when strife has come, for it is a sign.

Xi: “There is no fruit to take from a withered {Xêros} shoot.” 

Expectations should be rational

Omicron: “There are no {Ou} crops to be reaped that were not sown.” 

Only what you plant will yield a harvest

Pi: “Completing many {Polus} contests, you will seize the crown.” 

Perseverance through adversity will win many battles.

Rho: “You will go on more easily {Rhaion} if you wait a short time.” 

Remain a short while and you will proceed more easily.

Sigma: “Phoibos [Apollo] speaks plainly {Saphôs}, ‘Stay, friend.’” 

Stay and hold your ground

Tau: “You will have a parting from the {Tôn} companions now around you.” 

Travelers must eventually part ways.

Upsilon: “The affair holds a noble undertaking {Huposkhesis}.” 

Understand whether you should seek a noble quest, or whether your quest is being hindered.

Phi: “Having done something carelessly {Phaulos}, you will thereafter blame the Gods.”

Fate is yours alone – take responsibility for it and do not blame the Gods.

Khi: “Succeeding, friend, you will fulfill a golden {Khruseos} oracle.” 

Completion of your goals is excellent

Psi: “You have this righteous judgment {Psêphos} from the Gods.” 

Suitable judgment has been passed down by the Gods.

Omega: “You will have a difficult {Ômos} harvest season, not a useful one.” 

Onerous times await you.

As I continued to learn this symbol set, and was beginning to use it for readings for other people, I needed a better way to explain what each symbol meant.  I need the flowery language of poets and bards to help me explain the meaning in such a way that could be understand by the vast majority of people.  So I turned to the myths.  There are good myths that be used to explain nearly every symbol, and I have taken to using them extensively when I’m explaining an omen I’ve taken, and am trying to make sure that the querent understands the subtler meanings behind it.

My favorite example is that of the letter Nu.  Nu is the strife-bearing gift, and is the hard-won lesson or hard-won strength that you receive following a series of trials.  The myth that explains this symbol perfectly is the story of Heracles.  Heracles was a mortal, who was cursed by Hera.  This curse meant that he had an extremely rough time of it, and was forced to atone for actions that never would have happened had it not been for Hera.  However, it is also because of those actions, the labors he had to do, that made him worthy of being called a hero, and later a god.  And so, it is the strife-bearing gift that came out of it.  He had to deal with the curse and the labors following it, and that was no fun, but out of all that hardship, pain, and hard work came the gift of godhood.

 

  1. Maintain a journal of regular divinatory practice (entries at least weekly; daily is ideal) for 5 months. At the end of that five-month period, write an essay reflecting on the importance of daily practice; the results seen (including whether your ability to work with this symbol set has increased and why you think it has); and your feelings about the symbol set’s strengths and weaknesses after this period of work (min. 1000 words)

During the course of keeping this journal, I rarely engaged in daily practice.   Most of my entries are spaced out with one every few days, sometimes more frequently if there was a ritual I was taking the omen for as well.  There is a chunk of time in the second month of the journal where I diligently took an omen each morning before going in to work.  What I found was that the meaning seemed to get diluted.  The days ran together, and the omens ran together, and the meanings ran together.  I found the daily divination strategy to be counterproductive when I was taking daily omens.   Part of this certainly could have been the time of day that I took the omens, and the rush of the morning.  However, as I do daily morning devotionals, the timing seemed to make sense, not to mention the fact that if I wanted the omen to guide me throughout the day that I should take it before I truly started my day.  I found more value in the ‘spaced out by a couple of days’ divinatory work.  The view was longer, and that seemed to help the omens make more sense.

I will say that this chunk of time doing daily divination was most beneficial in that the last vestiges of uncertainly I had with the symbol set vanished with this work.  Because I was working with them every day, the few symbols that I was unsure of were solidified in my brain.  I also began to truly get a sense of the often subtle differences between the various symbols, for example, the difference between Iota and Mu.  Both of the symbols reference that work will be necessary, however Iota is work that occurs externally, and Mu is work that occurs internally.  Both types of work will effect change, and both types are necessary to achieve your goals, but the approach is vastly different.  Iota might require you to actually go confront that person you’ve been clashing with and take many, many steps to begin to repair the relationship.  Mu would require you to examine within yourself how you have been acting in relationships, and what changes you need to make internally to deal with the situation.  Of the two, Mu is often much harder, because while Iota requires physical labor, Mu demands that you work to change something within yourself and how you view the world.

Overall, regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this symbol set, I would say that it boils down to the fact that this is a rough set for beginning diviners.  It is a hard set to learn divination with.  Many of the weaknesses of the set become strengths the more you work with it, and the more you engage with it.

Strengths:

  • often give specific instructions on how achieve the goal you were striving towards (ex: zeta = flee, kappa = endure)
  • lack of primary sources means you really have to engage with the set to get meanings

Weaknesses:

  • for beginners to the set, so many of the symbols appear to have the same meaning
  • agricultural based: if those metaphors don’t make sense to you, it can be hard to grok the meanings
  • the symbol set’s reputation as “the doom and gloom oracle”
  • lack of primary sources leads to having to do a lot of work on your own to get meanings
  • requires knowledge of the myths to truly begin to understand and explain the subtle meanings
  • oftentimes the keywords offer little guidance as to the meanings of the symbol

 

  1. Describe your method of taking an omen or doing divination in your private practice, from start to finish. Include any prayers said, deities invoked, or sacrifices made. (no minimum word count)

In my private practice, when I take an omen, I start almost identically to how I start every other time I do divination.  The first thing I do is take a deep breath to center myself and then call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

I crush the bay leaves in order to offer them because it is both a sounds and a smell that happens every time.  This resonates with the idea that the Pythia had a whole series of steps that she would do the same every time in order to prepare her to speak with Apollo and enter that trance state where that was possible.  The Pythia is the name given to the Oracle who dwells at Delphi and speaks for Apollo (Johnston 33-50).  As I use them in a similar way to put myself into a light trance in order to make that call to Apollo Mantikos and be able to hear and interpret his words, I feel it is an apt way of doing things.

Then I begin pulling symbols out of the bag, letting my hand stir them around and linger over them until one ‘feels right’ and I pull it out and lay it out as part of the spread.  I do not put the symbols back after I pull them, because I feel that in most cases this is not conducive for me to be able to relate the symbols to each other.  It makes sense to me to have the smaller pool of symbols, and I feel like if this is how I always do my divinations, then the messages I receive from the divine will answer my questions in such a manner that this makes sense.

 

  1. Describe the results of nine divinations you have done for others (without assistance from a book). (min. 300 words per reading, and 600 words for a summary)

As usual, the first thing I do is call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

“Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand. 

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.” 

The spread I use most often for divinatory readings for others is one that I developed myself, called the Delta Plus Spread.  The symbols are pulled all in a row, with the interpretation coming after all symbols have been pulled.  The layout is indicated below.  The “D” symbols are pulled first, and form a Delta.  The “P” symbols are pulled second, and form a plus sign.

D2                            P4

P1             P2

D1            D3                      P3

 

The Delta portion is the action plan, the change. The meanings of the symbols circle around, each symbol feeding into and relating to the other two.

The Delta symbols can then act as a catalyst for the Plus portion to occur. The Plus portion first runs from left to right. These two symbols are interpreted together in part to represent what will happen following the action plan, and in part to represent what will be allowed by their culmination.  Then that horizontal meaning circles to the bottom and the vertical meaning runs rom bottom to top. The vertical meaning is both influenced by the horizontal meaning and then must also pass through the horizontal meaning to reach the P4 result.  So, as P1 and P2 have come together for an interpretation, they then can allow P3 to happen.  Then to move from P3 to P4, the vertical meaning must be interpreted with the knowledge that this path must pass back through the horizontal interpretation, influencing the symbols again.

I always ask after I’ve completed a reading if the person has any further need for clarification.  If they would like further clarification, I continue to pull symbols form my set without putting those already drawn back.

C3

C2

C1

 

These don’t necessary feed up the path into each other, but that can sometimes help in determining the order of importance of the necessary steps to reach a point of clarification.

One thing I have found interesting as a pattern in my readings is that those people who either are currently priests, or plan to embark on the path to priesthood, is that they nearly always receive Eta or Psi in there readings unless they have asked a very specific question that doesn’t revolve around their position.  For priests, I think these two symbols have similar meanings.  Eta is meant as a reminder that we must hold our oaths, and Psi is the directive from the gods.  So, assuming that a priest has been called to serve, they will have both been directed to take that path, and will have oathed to continue on that path.

Another thing that is interesting, is that when I have done readings for people that I know well enough to know who their patrons are, I often pull the symbols that represents their patron.  For example, when reading for a friend who has one of the storm gods as a patron, I pulled Zeta, and there was a definite shift in the feeling of the meaning.  This has also happened with another who works closely with the Earth Mother.  I have had that similar shift in the feeling of the meaning occur when I’m doing readings for folks that I don’t know, and it makes me curious if perhaps their patron(s) were represented within the reading.

I occasionally do other spreads for readings, though not as often.  I do a basic Past, Present, Future reading when someone has a question that specifically pertains to that, or when they just want a short reading.  These are both not as detailed, but also more straightforward.

I’ve also considered putting the symbols back after I’ve drawn them, so that all options are valid for every single pull, but I feel that in most cases this is not conducive for me to be able to relate the symbols to each other.  It makes sense to me to have the smaller pool of symbols, and I feel like if this is how I always do my divinations, then the messages I receive from the divine will answer my questions in such a manner that this makes sense.  I could see putting all the symbols back if a person has a completely different follow-up question, rather than a simple act of clarification following the initial reading.

 

Querent 1:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: Whatever I need to know…

D1: Nu- the strife bearing gifts. Out of the ashes and out of difficulties you’ve faced there is a hard-won gift you’ve been given to use.

D2: Tau- a separation from those now around you. A division of the way things currently stand.

D3: Xi- there is no fruit to bear from withered shoot. If you don’t tend the seeds you’ve cultivated, then you should not expect them to grow.

P1: Pi- Perseverance. Completing many contests, you will receive the crown. The trials that occur before your goals are realized.

P2: Eta- Helios, the sun, the oath watcher. Hold fast to your oaths and virtues.

P3: Omega- there will be a difficult harvest, not a useful one. There is a lot of work to be, but it may seem like it’s not going anywhere and it may not be rewarding.

P4: Rho- patience. You will have an easier time if you wait a bit.

Delta: there have been difficulties and out of these difficulties you’ve been given gifts and lessons. You are also currently cultivating seeds, and in order to properly tend them and allow them to bear fruit you must apply your gifts. You must also be willing and able to set aside something that is an obstacle. There must be a separation in order for your seeds to come to fruition.

Plus: Perseverance regarding your oaths. Continue to hold fast to your virtues, your word, your promises, and your oaths. There will also be a significant amount of difficult work that you may feel is not going anywhere and you must simply be patient and continue to do the work. This continuance of the work is what will allow you the ability to continue to hold true to your oaths.

 

Querent 2:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: General Reading

D1: Lambda – Look for an unusual or unexpected sign

D2: Kappa – endure the waves and the turmoil that surrounds

D3: Beta – You must ask specifically for help, rather than just expect it.  And because you ask, so shall you receive.

P1: Nu – the strife-bearing gift and the light at the end of the tunnel.  The lesson received after turmoil

P2: Xi – There is no fruit to take from a withered shoot.  Tend the seeds you have planted

P3: Khi – Succeeding, you will fulfill the golden oracle.  Wealth and value, more often immaterial wealth and abstract value

P4: Gamma – The Earth Mother grants you the ripe fruits of your labors.

Delta: Endure the choppy seas and be willing to ask for help when you need to.  Look for an unusual or unexpected sign that signifies the end of the choppy seas is near, and you’re moving on to the next step.

Plus: The difficult times have taught you a hard lesson and given you a hard-won gift.  Use that gift to now tend your seeds, your projects.  In tending those seeds and accepting the fruits of those labors you are then able to take the wealth and value and worth received, and gift it in turn to the Earth Mother.  The Earth Mother will then complete the cycle and in turn return the love and gifts back to you.

 

Querent 3:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: no question, general reading only

D1: Delta – Inopportune strength is weak.  While it takes strength to stand up for your beliefs, it sometimes takes more to sit back and say nothing, just listening.  A different approach is needed

D2: Pi – Perseverance.  Completing many contests, you will win the crown.  After many trials, you will make it through

D3: Theta – The Theoi stand by you, helping you as the bright and shining gods.

P1: Nu – the strife-bearing gift.  Out of the ashes you receive a hard-won gift or lesson.  The light at the end of the tunnel.

P2: Epsilon – you desire to see your projects come to fruition and have things fall into place

P3: Omicron – there are no crops to harvest for seed that were not sown.  If you expect results, you must first do the work.

P4: Psi – a directive from the gods.  They expect you to do something for them, and it is their righteous judgment.

Delta: Persevere on your path, and know that the waiting is often harder and requires a different strategy.  it requires a different kind of strength than active strength.  You also have the helping gods, which will help to make the path clearer, and easier to maintain.

Plus:  The strife-bearing gift.  You’ve been given gifts that are things that have emerged from the ashes.  Now you must plant those gifts, those seeds, if you would hope to realize the result of the gifts you received and the lessons you learned.  You must do this, because you have been given this directive from the gods.

 

Querent 4:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: general reading

D1: Alpha – the support of the gods that you will be successful, and the assurance that you are on the right path.

D2: Mu – the work is going to be hard, but it will be worth it.  The change will be admirable

D3: Khi – worth, wealth, and value.  Determine what you value, and what you desire success at

P1: Iota – there is a lot of work, and doing the work is what will allow success

P2: Kappa – endure the turmoil, endure the waves.  There is difficultly ahead, but stay your course.

P3: Eta – oaths.  Helios watches over the oaths you have taken, and holds you to them

P4:Nu – the strife-bearing gift.  Out of the ashes, a gift arises.  This is your hard-won lesson, and your light at the end of the tunnel.

Delta: Determine what it is that you place value or worth on, and put in the work towards that thing.  By putting the work in, you will be successful at it, and you will value it even further.  Note as well, that you have the support of the gods that you’re making the right choices.

Plus: As a barrage of stormy seas crashes against you, whether situational or emotional or whatever, you are going to have to work hard to not let it drown you and sweep you away.  By working at it and maintaining yourself and your values, you will then be able to keep your promises and oaths, and acquire a gift from the lessons learned within the stormy seas.

After talking with the querent regarding his view of the reading:

He is struggling with being Senior Druid, and the way the bureaucracy of the position is preventing him from doing what the community needs, and serving the folks the way they need to be served.  He was considering not running for re-election but the ‘oath’ piece brings a new perspective on that.  There has been a lot of push back and he’s struggling with whether or not to push a change in the by laws.  The previous senior druid, and founder of the grove, is not being very accepting of any changes to the current by laws and way that things are run.

Delta: He values the change, and the work will be hard to get the by laws chained, but it would be worth it to make those changes. Also, the gods remind him that he has their support in the matter.

Plus: If the bylaw changes are made, there will be a shit storm that he will have to work like hell to not drown in it, and let it consume him.  This would allow him to keep his oaths, but he’d have to pass through the storm to receive the gift at the end, and the light at the end of the tunnel.

I recommended he do some divination of his own, and determine to what extent his oaths hold in the eyes of the gods, and to do some serious thinking on whether or not he’ll broach the subject.

 

Querent 5:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: What to focus on in the short term to have peace of mind.

Delta: The changes you must make:

D1: Kappa – perseverance – you must persist at the things that are of value to you and keep working at and thru them despite any difficulties.

D2: Zeta – flee – you must discard those things that no longer serve you.

D3: Beta – ask for help – to both persevere and to discard the things that aren’t working for you, you will need to ask the gods, spirits, and people to help you with this.  They will not help, or will not know you need help, if you don’t ask for it.

Plus: If you make these changes, the outcome is:

P1: Xi – put in the work – with the effort you’ve made, things will be fine

P2: Khi – success – you will be able to have peace of mind, calm your thoughts, and calm your emotions

P3: Eta – keep your word – you need to keep any promises you’ve made, or perhaps by making the changes, you will be able to keep your promises and your honor.

P4:Alpha – everything – because you asked for help the gods will ensure that you be successful in this endeavor.

 

Querent 6:

Past, Present, Future Spread

The Querent asked me if I had ever done a reading with there being a question, but without me knowing what it is.  I said that I didn’t think I had, and so she suggested that we try it.

So, initially, without knowing the question:

Past: Gamma – the earth mother gave you the ripe fruits of your labors.

Present: Xi – There is no fruit to take from a withered shoot.  Tend the seeds that you have sown if you expect to have a good harvest.

Future: Omicron – there are no crops to reap that were not sown.  If you have not planted the seeds, then you won’t even have the option of having a harvest at all.

The first thing I asked her after seeing the symbols I’d pulled was whether or not she was a farmer.  She smirked at me, and said yes.

With that in mind, I gave her the following interpretation:

You received gifts, and now you must care for them.  And in order to repeat the cycle of a good harvest and reaping those rewards, you must plant the seeds anew, and continue to tend and care for them.

After this, the Querent revealed to me her question:

She is writing a book on gardening for pagans, whether it is full-scale farm, backyard garden, or pots of plants on a patio.  She was stuck in the process, and had stagnated.  She wanted to know what to do to be able to continue writing it.

 

Querent 7:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: general reading only

D1: Mu – there is a lot of work ahead of you, but the change that comes out of it will be worth it.

D2: Omega – You will have a difficult harvest, but not a useful one.  As you are working, you will feel that you’re not getting anywhere with it.

D3: Beta – because you asked for help, you will receive aid.  Without asking, you will not gain that which you desire.

P1: Alpha – everything you do will be successful.  You have the support of the gods.

P2: Zeta – flee the storm.  This is the signifier for the storm god.

P3: Nu – The strife-bearing gift.  Out of your struggles and out of the ashes you have been given a gift or a lesson.

P4:Khi – Wealth and value.  Succeeding, you will fulfill the golden oracle.

Delta: You need to do the work, and it will affect a change.  However, you will get no benefit from that change unless you ask for help front he gods or others around you.  You will find the work difficult and unrewarding.

Plus: If you have asked for help, you will successfully complete all you have set out fro, as long as you listen to the words of your patron (a storm god) and set aside that which no longer serves you.  You must take all the gifts you’ve been given out of the hard lessons you’ve had to learn, and apply them if you hope to find value, worth and success from your work. Your experiences have made you who you are.  Use that knowledge.

 

Querent 8:

Delta Plus spread.

D2                            P4

P1             P2

D1            D3                      P3

The Delta portion is the action plan, the change. The meanings of the symbols circle around, each symbol feeding into and relating to the other two.

The Delta symbols can then act as a catalyst for the Plus portion to occur. The Plus portion first runs from left to right. Then that horizontal meaning circles to the bottom and the vertical meaning runs rom bottom to top. The vertical meaning is both influenced by the horizontal meaning and then must also pass through the horizontal meaning to reach the P4 meaning.

Question: General Reading

D1: Psi – the righteous judgment and directive from the gods

D2: Upsilon – this is a noble undertaking. it will be work, but it is the right path

D3: Lambda – the unexpected or unusual sign

P1: Xi – tend the seed you have planted if you expect to achieve results

P2: Tau – a separation or pulling apart of the ways things currently stand.  A barrier.

P3: Sigma – A very clear indicator to stay the course, stay on your path

P4: Zeta – Flee the storm / set aside those things that are not serving.  There must be a sloughing off of the old for new beginnings to occur.

Delta: Watch for the unexpected sign that will guide you in the knowing what the task is that you have been given and when to begin. The task is needed and necessary, a lot of work, and a directive from the Gods.

Plus: You must release a piece of something that is stopping you and creating a barrier and preventing you from tending to you seeds.  You should also stay among friends and know that sometimes it is necessary and okay to flee from what you have built.

Clarification was requested:

C3

C2

C1

C1: Theta – the Theoi, the shining gods of your path

C2: Rho – You must wait a short time

C3: Beta – Asking for help.

You must ask for help in order to have the gods’ guidance.  And you must be patience in waiting for their response.

 

Querent 9:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: general reading

D1: Epsilon – the offspring of righteous marriages.  A coming together of creative energies.

D2: Psi – the righteous judgment of the gods.  A directive from the gods.

D3: Zeta – flee the storm and set aside the things that are creating obstacles.

P1: Theta – the Theoi, the helping gods of your path

P2: Iota – There is much work, and by doing the work you will excel

P3: Lambda – The unexpected or unusual sign

P4: Alpha – everything you do will be successful

Delta: In order to allow your projects, desires, and imbas/creative juju mingle and successfully create, and thus allow you to complete the tasks that the gods have required of you, you need to set aside that which no longer serves you.

Plus: Once you have set these things aside you will be able to do the work to develop your relationship with the gods.  Then you will be equipped to recognize the sign that will allow you to achieve everything the gods have directed you to do.

 

  1. Describe the method you would use for drawing an omen in public ritual, how it is different from any private practice you do, and how it is different from taking an omen for another individual. (min. 600 words for the essay)

The method that I use for public omens is essentially identical to how I do reading for myself, or private reading for other people.  I still do the set up the same way.

The first thing I do is take a deep breath to center myself and then call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

I crush the bay leaves in order to offer them because it is both a sounds and a smell that happens every time.  This resonates with the idea that the Pythia had a whole series of steps that she would do the same every time in order to prepare her to speak with Apollo and enter that trance state where that was possible.  As I use them in a similar way to put myself into a light trance in order to make that call to Apollo Mantikos and be able to hear and interpret his words, I feel it is an apt way of doing things.

Then I begin pulling symbols out of the bag, letting my hand stir them around and linger over them until one ‘feels right’ and I pull it out and lay it out as part of the spread.  I do not put the symbols back after I pull them, because I feel that in most cases this is not conducive for me to be able to relate the symbols to each other.  It makes sense to me to have the smaller pool of symbols, and I feel like if this is how I always do my divinations, then the messages I receive from the divine will answer my questions in such a manner that this makes sense.

The difference in taking the various types of omens comes in when I consider what spread to use.  In a public omen, it depends of their are set questions or not that are typically asked.  For example, when I take the omen for my Grove’s Druid Moon rituals we always ask:

  • What is our path?
  • On what should the Grove focus for the next month?
  • On what should each individual focus on for each month?

I pull a symbol to answer each question, and then also give an overall interpretation of the omen as a whole.

When I take an omen in one of the Full Moon rituals that I lead the questions I ask are always:

  • Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom or blessings do the Kindreds offer?
  • Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom or blessings do Selene and the Patrons of Magic offer?
  • Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom or blessings does [DotO] offer?

Then, as with the Druid Moon rituals, I pull a symbol to answer each question, and then also give an overall interpretation of the omen as a whole.

In our Grove’s public High Day rituals we most often, but not always ask:

  • Have our offerings been accepted?
  • What wisdom do the Kindreds offer us in return? 
  • What further needs do the Kindreds have of us? 

Then, as with the Druid Moon rituals, I pull a symbol to answer each question, and then also give an overall interpretation of the omen as a whole.

Occasionally during our High Day rituals we will instead ask for a blessing from each of the Three Kindreds.  These are then interpreted both individually, and then taken together to determine the blessing of the Kindreds as a whole.

Only rarely do I do in-depth divinatory work for myself.  Most often if I am doing a divination fro myself I’m either pulling a single symbol or three symbols to be interpreted together for a full meaning.  I find that I am often too close to the situation to be able to get a clear reading.  The exception to this, is that I will do an extended reading if I am preparing for extensive magical work, in order to be sure that I’m taking the right actions and that I have take all I need to into consideration.

When I’m taking an omen for another individual I most often use the Delta Plus Spread that I developed.  The symbols are pulled all in a row, with the interpretation coming after all symbols have been pulled.  The layout is indicated below.  The “D” symbols are pulled first, and form a Delta.  The “P” symbols are pulled second, and form a plus sign.

D2                            P4

P1             P2

D1            D3                      P3

 

The Delta portion is the action plan, the change. The meanings of the symbols circle around, each symbol feeding into and relating to the other two.

The Delta symbols can then act as a catalyst for the Plus portion to occur. The Plus portion first runs from left to right. These two symbols are interpreted together in part to represent what will happen following the action plan, and in part to represent what will be allowed by their culmination.  Then that horizontal meaning circles to the bottom and the vertical meaning runs rom bottom to top. The vertical meaning is both influenced by the horizontal meaning and then must also pass through the horizontal meaning to reach the P4 result.  So, as P1 and P2 have come together for an interpretation, they then can allow P3 to happen.  Then to move from P3 to P4, the vertical meaning must be interpreted with the knowledge that this path must pass back through the horizontal interpretation, influencing the symbols again.

I always ask after I’ve completed a reading if the person has any further need for clarification.  If they would like further clarification, I continue to pull symbols form my set without putting those already drawn back.

C3

C2

C1

These don’t necessary feed up the path into each other, but that can sometimes help in determining the order of importance of the necessary steps to reach a point of clarification.

 

  1. Give and explain the results of three omens taken by you in public ritual. (min. 300 words per omen)

May Hellenic Full Moon to Apollo – 14 May 2014

The working for this moon was a blessing of our divination tools.  I decided that I would like to have every person pull a symbol from their sortilege set (which I was very thankful that everyone who came was using sortilege) and interpret it.  Then I would interpret the symbols for their combined meaning.  Below is the text of divinatory part of the working, including the symbols that were pulled and interpreted.

We come together now in the presence of all the Theoi, but most especially Apollo Mantikos, Apollo Aphetor.  Prophetic One, Giver of Oracles.

Klûthi mou, Apollon! (Hear me, Apollo!)

Elthé moi, Apollon! (Come to me, Apollo!)

Deûro Mákar! (Hither, Blessed One!)

We come with our tools, and we come with open heart and empty mind.  We ask that you give us the gift of the Mantis, and the gift of your blessing, that our Sight might be improved.

*All Speak Together or Call & Response*

Phoebos, Radiant One,

Shine your light down on me.

Mantikos, Prophetic One,

Send your truth down to me.

Aphetor, Oracle Giver

Send your wisdom down to me.

Proopsios, Farseeing One

Send you visions down to me

Leskhenorios, Converser

Send your voice down to me

Loxias, Speaker

Send your words down to me.

Pythian Apollo, of Delphi,

Let your Oracle speak through me.

*if all are using a sortilege, each person draws a single lot and interprets (otherwise each person seeks an omen in whatever manner they generally use); whoever took the rite’s omen should make sure they are drawing lots from the full set for the working*

We have received the blessings of:

Nu – the strife-bearing gift

Sowilo – the sun and victory

Gebo – gifts

Birch – new beginnings

Khi – golden oracle fulfilled, worth, and value

Gamma – Gaea, the earth mother gives the ripe fruit of labors

30, The Clanging – illumination and enlightenment

Magician – power and willpower, as well as creativity

Eta – the Sun, and oaths

8 of Stones – apprenticeship and practice of skill

Ivy – journey, guidance, travel

7 of Arrows – insecurity and facing your doubts

Honeysuckle – lay down your burdens and have fun

Iota – sweat and work excel

Rebirth – new beginnings

 

Apollo Mantikos, Prophetic One,

I seek to know of these omens.

Let your truth be told through me.

 

Apollo Aphetor, Oracle Giver,

I seek to know of these gifts.

Let your wisdom flow through me.

 

Apollo Leskhenorios, Converser,

I seek to know of these messages.

Let your voice speak through me.

 

*Seer makes offering of Oil and/or bay and speaks prayer as needed*

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

 

These blessings and wisdom that we have received, when taken together, mean:

 

With the bright light of the sun illuminating our path, we have been blessed with many gifts. It is now time to take these gifts and focus our willpower and creativity to work on and practice our skills as we set down our burdens so that we might pick up burdens anew as we face our fears and set out on our new, enlightened path.

Reflect a moment on these gifts and how they pertain to your Sight.

  

3CG Summer Solstice @ Comfest: June 24, 2012 

As the Seer for the rite, I called out to Apollo Mantikos, offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

Apollo Mantikos, first I ask have our offerings been accepted?

Omega – No.  You will have a difficult harvest, not a useful one.

At this point as I nodded to MJD, and he asked if anyone had forgotten to give an offering, or would like to make more, I noticed that some of the offerings we had set out on the altar were still sitting there.  In the shuffle of the ritual, there was a huge chunk of offerings that were promised to the Kindreds that had not, in fact, been offered.  Jessie came up to offer those out, while I and a few others made additional offerings.

Apollo Mantikos, have our offerings and their additions been accepted

Epsilon – Yes, the fertility of our gifts and out desire to continue giving rings out.

Apollo Mantikos, what blessing do the Kindreds offer the community?

Khi – They give us knowledge and wisdom to follow the right path.  As they guide our steps to build a stronger community, we will succeed on our path.

Apollo Mantikos, what further needs do the Kindreds have of us?

Rho – We must have patience to know that we may not always get what we need or want immediately.  Sometimes we must wait for the right moment and wait for the proper time and proper materials to best serve the Kindred, our own community, and ourselves.

Taken together: The Kindreds want us to come together and flourish as a community and walk the path of the Old Ways with the knowledge that what we need may not come to us immediately, but if we wait we will best serve them and succeed in coming together as a community.

 

Elembivios Druid Moon: August 22, 2012

As the Seer for the rite, I called out to Apollo Mantikos, offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

Apollo Mantikos, first I ask have our offerings been accepted?

A wren called out in sweet, chirping song.  We took this to be a good omen, that our offerings were accepted.

Apollo Mantikos, what is our path?

Nu: The Strife-Bearing Gift

We have been through a lot of rough times, struggling and fighting to make sense of things.  We’ve experienced a great deal of strife.  Now it is time for us to look for the silver lining.  What lessons have we learned from this?  How can we use what we have learned to help others.  Now is the time for us to look at our struggles as a gift that has not only made us stronger and taught us valuable lessons, but to also look into spreading that wisdom so that others need not experience the same strife as we have.

Apollo Mantikos, on what should the Grove focus for the next month?

Sigma: Stay, friend.

We are only as strong as the sum of all of us.  The message is clear: we need to strengthen our bounds with each other.  As families often do, they have a tendency to grow apart at times.  We need to focus on building our ties between each other, support each other, and not give up on each other.

Apollo Mantikos, on what should each individual focus for the next month?

Epsilon: Desire Offspring of Righteous Union

There are things that we want to see.  Now is the time to take our goals and dreams and begin making the steps towards making them a reality.  This is the letter of fertility.  Allow the forces of creation to bubble up in you, and flare in you, and allow you to make the changes you need to succeed at your goal.

Taken together, these omens suggest that we focus on combining our respective powers and gifts and lessons learned to maintain and strengthen our bonds as a folk so that we can unite to achieve our goals.  “With our powers combined…”

 

Cranefest Hellenic Main Rite: September 2, 2012

Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom and advice do the Kindreds offer?

Omicron: “There are no crops to be reaped that were not sown.”

You must plant seeds first if you expect them to grow.  And in planting them, you must also be willing to tend them and care for them.

Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom and advice does Zeus offer?

Phi: “Having done something carelessly, you will thereafter blame the gods.”

Take responsibility for your own actions.  You can only control you and how you act and respond.  Do not take responsibility for others actions, and do not blame others for your own actions.  Zeus is the bringer and enforcer of justice.  Do not try to take his domain into your own hands.  Control yourself, your actions, and your reactions without assigning blame to others for your situation.

Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom and advice does Hera offer?

Iota: “There is sweat; it excels more than everything.”

To reach a place where relationships reach a balance, and a place of harmony, there is work that has to be done.  It is hard work to grow and maintain a relationship, but if it something you love and care about, it should feel less like work because it is worth it.  Hera helps create and defend healthy relationships, and reminds us that we can’t simply rest and expect those types of relationship to fall into our laps.  There is work that goes into creating them, and it is a labor of love.

Taken together the message is in building and sustaining relationships of all kinds remember to tend the seeds that you plant so that they might grow.  There will be a lot of work to do, and all you can control are your own actions and reactions.

The path to peoples’ hearts is a rocky slope that is hard to plant seeds of love on.  But once planted, if tended with love and care (because doing what we love should not be work) they will grow to be beautiful flowers.

 

References:

“Ancient Scripts: Greek.” Ancient Scripts: Greek. Lawrence Lo., 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 29 May 2014. <http://www.ancientscripts.com/greek.html>.

 

Evelyn-White, H. G. “The Homeric Hymns 1-3.” Classical E-Text. Theoi.com, 2011. Web. 06 Aug. 2012. <http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns1.html>.

 

Flower, Michael A.. The Seer in Ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Print.

 

“Ionic Greek.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Apr. 2014. Web. 16 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionic_Greek>.

 

Hesiod, and Hugh G. Evelyn-White. “Works And Days.” Hesiod: Works and Days. Sacred Texts, 1 Jan. 1914. Web. 16 May 2014. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/works.htm>.

 

Heinvetter, Franz. Trans. Jan Avende. Würfel- und buchstabenorakel in Griechenland und Kleinasien. Breslau: Grass, Barth & comp., 1912. Print.

 

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Ancient Greek Divination. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Pub., 2008. Print.

 

“Lycia.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 14 May 2014. Web. 16 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycia>.

 

Sophistes, Apollonius. “A Greek Alphabet Oracle.” A Greek Alphabet Oracle. Biblioteca Arcana, 1 Jan. 1995. Web. 17 May 2014. <https://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/GAO.html>.

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