As one of our themes for this month is divination, I thought I’d kick off by writing about some of my personal experiences in this field.
I got into divination indirectly as a result of Brian Bates’ novel ‘The Way of Wyrd’. My father read it, and was inspired by the book to go out and acquire a rune set. After a while, he decided it wasn’t for him, and the runes became mine. I would have been about twelve. I started learning with the intention of being a fortune teller at my school’s fund raising fete, and by the time we got there, I didn’t know anything like enough, and had to rely on notes. But I was twelve, and charging 50p for a reading so no one really cared.
It took me a couple of years of reading and study to get the runes enough into my head that I could read a cast without looking at notes. More years to get so that it feels more like opening a door, than trying to make a story out of possible interpretations. I’ve been rune casting for about twenty years now, although it’s not something I do very often.
I use what is probably an anachronistic set – including a blank rune, because that’s what I started with. I read runes reversed – not as their opposites, but as a darker take on what the upright meaning gives, and I have been doing this long enough that many of my interpretations have become a touch idiosyncratic!
While runes remain my favourite divination tools, I also have the druid animal and plant oracle cards, which I find helpful on days when I’m just looking for some inspiration. When I cast runes for me, it’s usually because I’ve hit a problem and I don’t know enough to make an informed decision. If I need more sense of a wider picture, or to check I’m not misunderstanding, then the bag comes out. Casting for other people often feels a lot more like counselling, only with props. The runes make it possible to tell people things they might not be willing to hear or explore in other circumstances.
Most of my divination work is about understanding the shape of now, and what has informed that. I don’t believe the future is fixed, so I don’t believe that you can ever reliably divine it. What you can do is look for the patterns, for the direction current actions might lead in, and the possible outcomes. I’m less interested in what might happen, than in how to act for the best. Of course, having any sense of where things might be headed creates the possibility of changing outcomes.
I frequently cock things up. I cast, and it isn’t until after the event that I really understand what it meant. But every time, I learn a bit more, so it’s a process.