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Divination 2, Question 10

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)

When I take an omen in public ritual, it is similar to how I take it in private.

When I take the omen, I always begin with a full set of runes. I carved the runes the Grove keeps, and so I have no issues using the Grove runes for all Grove divination. I feel that these runes have a familiarity with me and the Grove that other runes simply do not have. I pick up the bag and begin to breathe, seeking a light change in consciousness that allows me to open to the Powers.

Once I feel I can open, I will often shake the bag or put a hand inside to mix up the tiles. As I do this, I either think or say out loud the following prayer:

Speak to me as you follow the wind,
tines of ash within my hand.
Follow perfectly the waves of the air-ocean,
making known to me their invisible pattern.
Out of the Well of the Wyrd they flow,
Carrying the wisdom that is their gift.
Carry it to me also, give to me, ash spirit,
the knowledge that you have,
the knowledge that we seek.

This prayer helps me focus on the connections in the runes and the cosmos. I do not generally invoke a specific deity, though I will often call out to "the Powers" or "the Kindreds" to speak to me.

As soon as I feel connected, I will speak our first question. In our Grove, this question is "Have our offerings been accepted?" We are all fully aware that it is possible to receive a "No" in response, and I am extra careful to remain objective on this question.

I pull the rune, and interpret it. I do not speak the name of the rune, but rather only describe what the rune means. I do this to avoid conflicts between the seer's interpretation and the interpretation of any attendees who might know (or think they know) what each rune means. If I draw Uruz, for example, I might state, "The Powers have accepted our offerings, with strength and power!"

Our second question is, "What do the Powers offer us in return?" This question is designed to inform us of what will be poured into the Blessing Cup by the Powers, and is very important. Again, the rune name is not spoken, but the interpretation is given.

The final question we ask is, "What further needs do the Powers have of us?" In asking this question, we are seeking guidance until the next ritual. Again, the rune name is not spoken, but the interpretation is given.

I will usually draw a single rune per question I ask, though a "No" response to the first question will prompt further praise offerings and I'll re-draw for that question after the round of offerings. I feel around in the bag until one feels right to me, and then pull it. I interpret them one at a time, and then try and see how they fit together, within this situation. When I have my interpretation, I will set the runes aside if there is no further divination to be done, so that the folk can come view the runes that were drawn after the ritual, either to better understand the interpretation, or to write them down for their Dedicant work or their journaling.

The omens are then written in the Book of Three Cranes, and recorded. They will be checked on again at the next rite, and in any business meetings we have between rituals.

I do many things differently between public and private for a number of reasons. The first reason is "theatre." It's vital that the omens, so important in our rites, be clearly spoken and pronounced with authority. I don't take as long to think them over or to work them out. Also, the questions that we ask in public ritual are designed for public ritual. I am also less likely to confer with another person in a public setting (though I occasionally do this).

When I do divination for another person, I often confer with them directly about possible meanings of the runes, potential challenges that we might face in interpretation, and I often ask the opinion of the person I'm reading for. Because reading for another person in private is so intimate, I'm a lot more soft-spoken and inspirative when it comes to the meanings, too. These are things that just don't work in public ritual, for the most part.

¹ - Altered from Ceisiwr Serith's A Book of Pagan Prayer, under "Prayers for Divination", p. 227, to reflect runes instead of an oracle.


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