04 January 2009

Of Divination and Smoke

For a long time I had something of a love/hate relationship with divination. Or, rather, a passing fancy/general dislike for said art. Try as I might I just cannot develop an interest in either Tarot or Runes. I was given a nice set of each as gifts years and years ago and tried for quite a while to "get a feel" for them. I read, I studied, I meditated, I drew cards and drew runes and drew and drew to no avail. I made interpretations based on the words and works of others. And I went with my gut and my pineal gland and made my own interpretations. I tried and worked and tried, for years. Eventually, I got tired of trying to force something that just wasn't happening and put the cards and runes aside and went on to seek another method. Perhaps my disinclination for cards and runes makes me an atypical, or uncool, witch but I don't really care.

My next method was by pendulum. I have a pendulum that I've dedicated some time and effort towards mastering. And, given its lack of specific images and its wonderful earthiness, it should work better for me. It's a very beautiful hematite pendulum with a nice, comfortable weight to it. But, like the cards and runes, I've had a very hard time developing a relationship with it so I put it away with the Tarot cards and the Runes. I eventually concluded that perhaps this witch just isn't made for divination at all. But I was wrong.

It was, purely by accident, that I discovered my preferred mode of divination: smoke scrying. I was under the influence of my favorite herb and got lost in the smoke of an incense stick. And I started to see things, visions some people would call them. Ideas, thoughts and symbols abounded! I learned more from, say, 6 months of smoke scrying than 2 years of working with cards or runes. Alas, I no longer have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of my favorite herb (money: it's a bitch) so I haven't been able to to see things in smoke as I once did.

I've tried scrying with the smoke of other things but they just don't work. And, call it "sour grapes" if you will but, without my favorite sacred herb I can't seem to reach that "just right" head space anyway. The smoke from the fireplace just isn't the same. It's a different kind of smoke. Not to mention the fact that our open fireplace is in the living room with the damn television which can really play havoc with attempts to get in touch with one's higher self. And the little bit of smoke that a candle produces doesn't do it for me either. I need a thick stream of fragrant smoke that lasts, uninterrupted, for at least 20 minutes. And I need my Green Goddess.

So, I'm back to where I was before: stuck. I feel the call but haven't a method. I miss my smoke, in more ways than one. I'm a Cancer by birth and a very watery person whose emotions often run away from me. What's more, I'm a bipolar Cancer so my roller coaster emotions can make my life truly hellish. Up until I started smoking and then smoke scrying water, and emotions, dominated me (and, no, water scrying isn't for me either) and I felt the absence of the other elements quite keenly. Smoking and smoke scrying really helped me balance things out; I was on a much more even keel. There's a lot less fire, earth and air in my life than there was up until this time last year. This writing is one way of trying to accept that sad, depressing and infuriating fact. For over five years I had a lot of wonderful smoky air, via the herb and incense, in my life--and now it's gone. I guess I'm whining. I'm trying not to be bitter but can't really help it as my current financial hell was not of my doing.

When I think back on those beautiful and enlightening times I can't help but smile a bittersweet smile. It's sad, but a smile all the same. I guess I'm grateful for those times. So, I'll send a "thank you" out into the universe for the years when I did have the blessings of other elements in my life. I don't get to enjoy the benefits of the sacred herb anymore and there are no more visions. But that wasn't always the case. And for that I am thankful.

9 comments:

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

I hope you can soon again enjoy your favorite smoke...

Hell, i hope i can too!

Gave up my (the?!) Green Goddess last november, not so much for financial reasons as for trying to get a diff job (well, that's pretty much financial, ain't it! but you get the diff...).

The job should come through this coming week... PRAY...

Maybe a way to share Her Gifts will present itself; i'd like your ability to create visions to come back!

On divination: the only 'luck' i've had therein is whan i look at it as what Dion Fortune termed 'psychic inventory'. Then, too, I've always known divining weren't where my talents lay.

Oddly, given my green thumb, Herbal paths seem to lend themselves...

When i do 'divine' it is with runes, laid out in a Tree Of Life pattern. Any other pagans use this method? Just curious.

Good to see you back, m'Lady...

Cygnus

Livia Indica said...

Hey, I've got a plan. When you get moved up here we gotta get together and share a smoking ritual. I don't know how and I don't know when but perhaps by them my financial situation will have improved and I can manage it.

Yeah, I've had a patchy history with divination too, but I'm still hopeful. I never tried a specific pattern with Runes, so I can't speak for the Tree of Life pattern.

As always, thanks for visiting.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Hey WOMAN,
i have a great Rite involving smoke learnt me by Coyote, my Native American friend.

Mayhap i am to be CygnuSativa...
Seems like a good compliment...

I look forward to the day, my Lady!

When, when we can make it be. How will take care of itself. I firmly believe that.

More soon...

Cygnus

p.s are you familiar w/ the Tree pattern, or caballa? doubtless you are, but..

C.

mahud said...

My first experience with divination was the I-Ching (Yi Jing. It didn't really work out for me, as I found English translations of the Book of Changes unhelpful. At some point I'd like to study the 8 trigrams in depth, then perhaps I'll have more success.

Currently I'm a Tarot fiend. Bought my first pack last summer. From the moment I began consulting Tarot I made an instant connection. I also find it to be a formidable spiritual teaching tool.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Finance Schminanse.

We're talking a RITUAL here, woman. Sacred.
We'll WILL it be.

i was drawn to the Runes and became intimately familiar with them, annd the Tree of Life.. wow! What a complete system! thetwo together were what i KNEW i was to use... i know you of all folk will fathom...

More soon,

Cygnus

Livia Indica said...

Mahud, I forgot all about the I Ching! I remember playing around with it long before neopaganism and witchcraft found me. I'm not even sure how I came across it. But I remember thinking, like you, that the phrasing didn't sound or feel natural. I'm not a linguist but I find that many translated texts, especially Asian languages but also Latin, have that distant and almost unreachable feel to them. Good for you about the cards. It seems many folks form a deep attachment to Tarot but I'm just not one of them. Thanks for visiting!

Cygnus, bring on the peace pipe man! I am familiar with Qaballah only in that I can recognize a Tree of Life (mostly from wanting to figure out the origins of the design on a TOOL cd booklet). But that's about as far as it goes. Since I don't have my smoking method anymore I'm kinda sorta considering giving either Tarot or runes another try. I'll have to think about it...

Riverwolf, said...

yeah, I think we have to keep experimenting until we find what works best for us. The practical side of me always wondered why there were so many forms of divination, but it seems we just need to find the right method for each of us. Tarot cards have worked for me surprisingly well as well as plain ol' stones.

Sorry to hear about your lack of herb and smoke. That is frustrating. But is there any other method you haven't tried in a while? Maybe another shot might open up some doors.

And don't be so hard on yourself!

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

TOOL...
Now THERE's a creative soul. Tool, A Perfect Circle... and the man's fingers are in a lot of other creative bents.

The Dio Non Fortuna (aka dion fortune, of "The Sea Priestess" fame)
wrote THE definitive caballa book; read past the surface xtianity (think mystic) and add the high scholarly language while keeping the layman threads... "THE MYSTICAL QABALLA"

One of primarily two that, literally, changed my life.

C.

Livia Indica said...

Riverwolf, yeah, I think perhaps it's time to either give Tarot another try or look around for something else. I have always liked looking at clouds so maybe that's an option (at least after it warms up a bit). Thanks for the encouragement!

Cygnus, Oh yeah, Maynard is definitely an Alpha. I saw TOOL a couple years ago and it was amazing. Best concert I've ever attended. I dunno about Qabbalah (I have no idea of the proper way to spell it, I've seen it so many ways). I did read a little about ages and ages ago and it didn't really appeal to me. However, since you recommend it I may, might, maybe give it another look. As always, thanks for you input.