Musings on divination

Like many others I’ve dabbled with divination on and off over my years as a Pagan but although I learnt a few things, nothing ever seemed to quite connect.  Recently I’ve been working on my divination skills again and I believe I know why earlier efforts never really felt quite right.  It wasn’t the tools, I use the same rune stones now that I made about twenty years ago now I think, it was my approach.

When I first started to learn about divination it was as a tool to tap into my unconscious mind or into some form of a collective consciousness of the world.  I could get some benefit from this but it wasn’t an approach that really felt right and I never really knew why until recently.  Now I have come to understand divination as a method of communication between myself and my gods and I have found that to be a profound change.

No longer am I doing the equivalent of shouting into the wilderness and hoping someone will hear me, respond and provide useful advice.  Now I am doing the spiritual equivalent of making a phone call to a particular being.  I might not get a reply but if I do I have a much better chance of someone listening and replying.  Given the deities I am devoted to that may not always mean a sensible reply, they too have a sense of humour, but the chances are much improved.

At the moment there are two tools I am working on improving my skills with and both are ones I have had for quite a while.  One is the set of runes I mentioned above that I made many years ago and the other is a set of the Druid Animal Oracle Cards that I’ve also had for several years but not quite as long as the runes I made.  I’ve always loved the artwork on the Druid Animal Oracle cards but used to get more distracted by the details.

I have a number of small yew wood slices now and I intend to use pyrography to create a set of Ogham disks.  I have Ogham staves and cards which I do occasionally use but I like the idea of a handmade set of disks to work with and maybe making them will help me learn the various symbols that I don’t know yet.  If I manage all that, then I may start to use Ogham as a divination tool as well but that’s a bit in the future yet.

When I work with my runes I ask Loki for guidance with them.  I’m aware that He might not be considered the usual deity to approach for runic divination but this works for me.  I think some people often forget, or perhaps don’t even know, that Loki is skilled in the use of words. That is something that shines through in the various tales that we have about Him.  To me, and I’m probably not alone in this, that skill with words implies a skill with runes too.

When I work with the Druid Animal Oracle I have begun to ask Maponos for guidance.  If that seems like an odd choice to you then I will simply point out that the Romans linked Maponos with Apollo and Apollo is well known for His Oracles among other attributes so it is a strong possibility that Maponos too had his oracular side.

At the moment I feel my skills are improving and I have begun to offer readings to others as further practice.  I feel more confident about using divination now that I am approaching my gods when I do this and I trust in their guidance.



Patterns of Devotion

I have written in the past about my deepening devotional practices. Today I wish to share with you how my devotions have changed.

I used to honour my ancestors at the dark moon, Maponos on Sundays and, Brigantia, Epona Rigantona and An Cailleach around the full moon.

Then I joined a flame tending cill with Clann Bhride and began flame tending in honour of Brigantia every twenty days.

I can’t even remember exactly when after that point that other things began to change but at some stage I began to honour Epona Rigantona each week on a Friday. I chose a Friday because Epona is my beloved and Fridays in the past have been linked to deities of love (see Wikipedia Names of the days of the week if you are interested).

It felt good to be honouring Epona each Friday so I decided to start honoring An Cailleach on a Saturday. I was now honouring different deities on Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus every twenty days flame tending in honour of Brigantia.

Then Loki came into my life.

I used to consider myself to be solely a Brythonic Polytheist.

Then Loki came into my life!

That bit bears repeating.  Loki brought change with Him.  I wasn’t looking for Sleipnir’s Dam and I didn’t expect or invite Her (at least not to start with) but for some reason best known to the Bound One, He decided to bring Her changes to me.

One of those changes was that I started to include Loki in my weekly devotions.  At first I tried slotting Him in on Thursdays but that didn’t feel right. So I switched to Saturdays, prompted in part by something I had read that suggested Saturdays had been linked to Loki in the past.  I can’t remember exactly what that was now but I switched days and it felt much better.

But it didn’t feel right honouring An Cailleach on the same day so after a bit of thought I decided to move honouring Her to Mondays.  There are aspects in some of the lore which I believe indicate ties to the moon for An Cailleach so this seemed to fit well.

For a couple of moons I tried to keep the lunar links I had made as well but that became a bit confusing as I ended up trying to honour two different deities on one day.  For me that became confusing and I felt I wasn’t doing justice to my devotions to either deity when the days linked into full moon cycles.  I decided drop the full moon devotions in favour of the weekly ones for a moon or two to see how it felt and I’ve kept that change.

So now I honour different deities on four days of the week and another every twenty days. I’m also no longer solely honouring Brythonic deities.  At first I thought maybe Loki would be in my life for a set purpose and then maybe wander off but at the moment it feel much more like the Sky-treader is here to stay.  The current pattern feels good with one exception and that’s the ancestors.

In dropping the full moon devotions I found I began to lose touch with the lunar cycle and the pattern of honouring my ancestors at the dark moon began to slip as well.  I still have my ancestral shrine area and still think of varying ancestors at different times but the more ritualised devotions have fallen away.  I’m still not sure if I need to start on a weekly basis for honouring my ancestors or try and restore the dark moon practice.  I think maybe moving to a weekly based practice would work out best, if so I have my choice of Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday currently free of other devotions. Maybe Wednesday as that day has links to deities of communication.

My journey with devotional practices has not been a swift one but one that has gradually altered to a more frequent family of devotional practices.  And I know that I am still changing and that my practices will also continue to change.

Deepening devotions

Today (Thursday 30 July) is the day before a full moon and as is my custom I have set out my offerings to Brigantia for this moon.  I am blessed in that my daughter has taken an interest in joining me for these devotions and the ones I do for Maponos in particular and this evening as I finished off some washing up she began to get things ready for us.

Since I began flame tending earlier this year my lunar rites for Brigantia have also developed. In addition to lighting three tea lights and offering a bowl of oatmeal and a bowl of warmed honeyed milk I now include a small bowl of water which I dedicate to Brigantia and use during flame tending to anoint myself with.  I’ve also started to put slips of paper with names of those I know that are in need of healing into a small bronze cauldron I have and requesting healing for them both as part of my flame tending devotions and now part of my lunar devotions as well.

I light the tea lights and my daughter and I offer our praises to Brigantia together.  We make the offerings together and then I sing while my daughter dances round me.  I am enjoying the increased depth of connection I feel with these devotions.

Tomorrow evening (Friday 31st) I will make my devotions to my lady Epona Rigantona. These devotions have also changed slightly since I began flame tending as I felt strongly that in addition to the flame tending I needed to do more for Epona.  I began knitting some roses dedicated to Her.  Some have been kept here on the shire I have for Her while others have been sent out to individuals I felt should get one.  Now when I light my single candle for Epona at the full moon I place a beautiful stone carved with a Pictish style horse in front of it with the wooden quaich I had made for libations sat with an offering in it behind the candle and arrange the roses I have kept for Her around them all.  I now have an additional prayer I use with my prayer beads during these devotions which I usually do alone.

I have recently made contact with others who are devoted to Epona and I hope that my communications with them will inspire me further.  Already I feel I have been led to them.

On Saturday 1st August and the day after the full moon I will make my usual offerings to the one I know as Cailleach.  These alone out of the devotions I do have not really changed.  Perhaps they will at another time but for now I don’t feel I need to do more than I currently do for Her the main aspect of which is a libation offered in a particular goblet.

All the food and drink offerings I make are left out overnight and ritually poured out into the back garden the next morning.

On Sunday 2nd August I will be making my usual weekly devotions to Maponos.  This is another area of devotion that my daughter usually joins me in.  For Maponos we prepare a special oil burner, adding drops of one of three oils I brought for this purpose alone. Again for this one I sing and my daughter dances.  I also have a prayer we have begun saying together which includes praying for healing for those names in His sister Brigantia’s cauldron. (Their relationship is more my UPG than anything bu some tales do have Angus Og and Brighid as siblings so I don’t think it’s an unreasonable link).

This weekend I am also aware that many will be celebrating Lughnasadh.  Of all the festivals this is the one I feel least connected to and as it happens I will be unable to join with others to celebrate this time.  I think this year that instead I will be thinking of all those celebrating but for myself focusing more on my devotions to those deities I have been gradually developing deeper connections with.

Hail the Gods!

(and by using that wording I mean to give honour to deities of any and all gender types)

Devotion takes many forms

A little over two years ago my wonderful Neil made me my first outdoor altar.  While I did use it sometimes it didn’t change much for most of that time.  Following on from my several days of devotional activities at the beginning of May I’ve been moved to develop the altar further.  Doing this in itself has been devotional and I intend to use the altar a lot more now as my practices continue to deepen and develop.

Close up of top of altar
Altar and its surroundings

An unanticipated cycle of devotion

I wrote a bit not so long ago about my devotions.  Today I’ve realised I have a cycle of devotional and religious practice that I didn’t plan but has just fallen into place.

The flame keeping I am now doing with Clann Bhride means I am now spending a period of time devoted to Brigantia every 20 days but the cill tends as a group on the fire festivals so I began flame tending at sunset on 30th May.  After 24 hours which included a fair amount of contemplation as well as other more mundane and devotional activities I completed that shift at sunset on May 1st.  This evening, May 2nd, I have lit three tea lights and made my lunar cycle devotional offerings to Brigantia.  Tomorrow I will be joining Tuatha de Bridget for the Beltane Ritual during the afternoon and in the evening I will light a candle and make my lunar devotions to Epona Rigantona. As it’s a Sunday I will also be making my weekly devotions to Maponos.

The full moon is at 03.42 GMT 4th May so at some stage on Monday 4th Neil and I will be doing the Druid Network international full moon peace intention ritual.  And that evening I will be making my lunar cycle devotions to the one I know as Cailleach.

My usual flame keeping shift happens to fall on Tuesday 5th May so I will be finishing this cycle of devotional and religious activity as I began it with a flame tending shift.

So in the space of a few days I will be engaging in devotions with all the deities I have developed relationships with as well as engaging in a Beltane ritual and a peace intention ritual.

This is an unusually intense period of devotions for me and it will be interesting to see what else comes of all this activity.


Having a devotional practice of any kind in a very personal thing.  Over the years I have had a few devotional practices. Many have involved song in some way.  some practices have been daily for a period of time, some have been weekly, others less frequently.  Some practices have been for fixed periods of time, part of arrangements between me and the being in question.  My personal opinion is that when a devotional practice ceases to have real meaning to you then it is time to reconsider that practice.

For many years now I have had devotional practices based on the lunar cycle.  I’ve written about them before but essentially at the dark moon I share a cup of tea with the ancestors in silence remembering them.  On the day before the full moon I make offerings to Brigantia, on the day of the full moon I make offerings to Epona Rigantona and the day after I make offerings to my Cailleach.  Last year I also started to light a special oil burner in honour of Maponos each Sunday evening.

Just before Imbolc I took up an invitation to join a flame keeping cill with Clann Bhride. My first experiences have been very good ones. I have found it a soothing thing to be involved in so far and am looking forward to continuing with this practice.

I’ve also started a new devotional practice for Epona Rigantona, it’s perhaps a bit odd but it seems to be what she wants me to do at this time.  I started knitting roses for her.  At first I wasn’t sure what would happen with this but it’s a practice that I seem to be getting urges with connected with the build up to the full moon.

For a few days in March before the full moon I had the urge to knit a rose every day.  I thought I would be giving these away but when the full moon came I had a dozen roses of different sizes and colours and it was clear to me that these would be kept for my shrine areas.  A dozen roses for Epona Rigantona.

A couple of days a go my next urge with knitting roses for Epona Rigantona started to rise (by the way I see both Epona and Rigantona as titles for the same being but accept that this is my vision and may not be shared by others).  This time though I also got a very strong feeling that the roses I would knit were to be posted out.  I have also in between knitted a couple of roses as gifts for others with healing intent and not specifically as devotional knitting.  I was guided to make a list of names for this next batch of roses.  Nine individuals, all of whom I feel should be sent one of the roses I knit for Epona Rigantona.  I don’t even have postal addresses for them all yet but the knitting is progressing anyway.

I do this because I feel I must.  Some devotional practices are ones you choose to do, others are ones that feel requested for some reason not clear to you.  It is a choice you make to follow these invitations, however they come to you.

Prayers to Brigantia and Maponos

Earlier this month I had a string of coincidences including this post about a new Brighid Devotional leading me to read this and the freely available Clann Bhride Book of Hours.  Brigantia was clearly calling me for it is this name that I use for the being also known as Brighid, Bhride, Bridey and other names.

From this reading I was inspired to adapt one of the prayers for my own use with Brigantia.  I have also been called recently to deepen my relationship with Maponos and the prayers to Brigantia have inspired a similar set of prayers to Maponos.  For me these beings come across as siblings so perhaps it’s not so surprising that deepening my relationship with one leads to a connection with the other.

I offer both of these prayers here.

Prayers to Brigantia
For use with prayer beads with three sets of nine beads and three starting/finishing beads.
(Adapted from Prayers to Brighid in the Clann Bhride Book of Hours)
Hail Brigantia of poetry and healing!
Hail Brigantia of the forge and of justice!
Hail Brigantia of hearth and home!
Brigantia of poetry, I praise you.
Brigantia of healing, I praise you.
Brigantia of the forge, I praise you.
Brigantia of justice, I praise you.
Brigantia of fire, I praise you.
Brigantia of water, I praise you.
Brigantia of fire in water, I praise you.
Brigantia of the shining stars, I praise you.
Brigantia of hearth and home, I praise you.
Brigantia of poetry, bless my heart with poetry and allow me to see your poetry in all things.
Brigantia of healing, bless my heart with healing and allow me to extend your healing to beings in need.
Brigantia of the forge, bless my heart with strength and allow me to forge my way in the company of all beings.
Brigantia of justice, fill my heart with justice and give me the strength to work for your justice.
Brigantia of fire, light my heart with your fire, let me radiate your warmth.
Brigantia of water, cool my mind with your water, let me flow with the waters of life.
Brigantia of fire in water, help me find the inspiration to nurture the positive energies of my home.
Brigantia of the shining stars, as you sing with the Universe, help me to find the harmony of the greater song of my life.
Brigantia of the hearth, I ask for your protection for my home and my family.
Brigantia of poetry, I honour you.
Brigantia of healing, I honour you.
Brigantia of the forge, I honour you.
Brigantia of justice, I honour you.
Brigantia of fire, I honour you.
Brigantia of water, I honour you.
Brigantia of fire in water, I honour you.
Brigantia of the shining stars, I honour you.
Brigantia of hearth and home, I honour you.
Brigantia of poetry and healing, I thank you.
Brigantia of the forge and of justice, I thank you.
Brigantia of hearth and home, I thank you.
Prayers to Maponos
For use with prayer beads with three sets of nine beads and three starting/finishing beads.
(Inspired by Prayers to Brighid in the Clann Bhride Book of Hours)
Hail Maponos of dreams and song!
Hail Maponos of healing waters!
Hail Maponos ever young!
Maponos of dreams, I praise you.
Maponos of song, I praise you.
Maponos of healing, I praise you.
Maponos of the wildwood, I praise you.
Maponos of the summer meadow, I praise you.
Maponos of the shimmering loch, I praise you.
Maponos of love, I praise you.
Maponos of laughter, I praise you.
Maponos of hope, I praise you.
Maponos of dreams, help me to dream a better dream.
Maponos of song, help me sing from my heart.
Maponos of healing, bless my heart with healing and allow me to extend your healing to beings in need.
Maponos of the wildwood, bless me with the strength of the wood.
Maponos of the summer meadow, bless me with the peace of the meadow.
Maponos of the shimmering loch, let your healing waters refresh me.
Maponos of love, help me recognise the love around me.
Maponos of laughter, help me live each day with joy.
Maponos of hope, help me to look forward with hope.
Maponos of dreams, I honour you.
Maponos of song, I honour you.
Maponos of healing, I honour you.
Maponos of the wildwood, I honour you.
Maponos of the summer meadow, I honour you.
Maponos of the shimmering loch, I honour you.
Maponos of love, I honour you.
Maponos of laughter, I honour you.
Maponos of hope, I honour you.
Maponos of dreams and song, I thank you.
Maponos of healing waters, I thank you.
Maponos ever young, I thank you.