Palms of Our Hands

A Polytheist's Blog

Pagan Blog Project C and D: Cleromancy! and Developing Divination

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I’ve noticed that a lot of pagans have some form of divination.  My friend has read Tarot and Angel oracle cards.  I’ve also gotten some suggestions that divination is good to help understand the needs of the Gods and spirits.

One of those things was getting dice for divination.  Reading Tess Dawson’s blog post on not using Tarot to do divination with the Canaanite deities left me with a dilemma.  I had just started using Tarot cards, so my associations with them were still nascent. Should I give them up completely because she recommended a more Canaanite method?  Was using a different one going to interfere with connecting with Them?  (Also, my reading skills were pretty abysmal. I gave a reading to a fellow pagan friend, with every single card I pulled being reversed!) For the time being, I’ve put them aside.

So, I tried learning how to cast lots (dice), known as cleromancy.

My divination dice, and the 'board' made from a shoe box lid.

My divination dice, and the ‘board’ made from a shoe box lid.

I’d put out a thought to the Universe at large that I needed dice. These three were ‘the Right Ones’ the moment I saw them in a gaming store, from their grab-bag orphaned dice.

I’ve been doing dice divination for about a month, give or take a week.  To start off, I ask which dice will be the one to do divination with.  Whichever die comes up with the odd number is chosen, with a second round if 2 out of the 3 ended up odd.  My questions are simple, related to offerings: “Do you want an offering of olive oil? Of incense? Of food?…”  (For me, odds mean yes, and evens mean no.) These questions are good for practicing my connection to the Deities.  Yet, sometimes it gets in the way of me making an offering at all, because I would need to purify myself to even ask a question. Then I worry that I’m not pure enough to give an offering, then thinking I shouldn’t give one at all!  I’m still working on hitting the brakes on that downward spiral…

I feel limited by the yes/no nature of dice.  While there have been a variety of interpretations across the three main books on Canaanite spirituality, none of them have been able to strike a solid chord with me.  I can’t ask deeper questions the way I would for tarot cards, which is a definite drawback. 

So, my newest creation is runes based on the Phoenician alphabet!

My Phoenician 'runes'.

My Phoenician ‘runes’.

This was the case for making my ‘runes’.  I have an inkling I could get some good divination out of these. It’s going to take awhile before I get all the interpretations for each letter memorized and interpreted for myself. And before using, I will try blessing them and dedicating them to the ‘Iluma.  Kothar-wa-Hasis seems to be the god I most associate with making things.

Dots to show the reading orientation.

Dots to show the reading orientation.

A blank rune.  The sun and moon, with hands up in prayer.

The sun and moon, with hands up in prayer. And a blank and/or spare tile.

The Ugaritic cuneiform pieces, on the other hand.

Ugaritic 'runes'? (Tiles?)  The pronunciations of the cuneiform are capitalized to indicate the given sound of the symbol. The vowels are lower case because they can vary a lot.

Ugaritic ‘runes’? (Tiles?) The pronunciations of the cuneiform are capitalized to indicate the given sound of the symbol. The vowels are lower case because they can vary a lot.

Originally, I was practicing writing on wood and getting the designed balanced.  At first I tried writing the names of the Iluma.  Yet having to erase their names over and over to get it right felt somewhat blasphemous.  Instead I decided to write the virtues in creating connection with the deities, as written in The Horned Altar: Shalamu (Peace), Chalmu (Dreams), Umatu (Community), Char(a)shu (Creativity, Magic), Chukmu (Wisdom), Dadu (Love) and Pi’du (Compassion).

I also wrote down, for myself: Nap’shu (Spirit, Soul), and Kappu (the Hand).  Poor Kappu looks kind of crappy compared to the other ones because it was the prototype Ugaritic tile!

Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera, authors of Talking to the Spirits: Personal Gnosis in Pagan Religion, recommended being proficient in at least two forms of divination, which makes good sense to me.  Should these types of divination not work for me, I’ll go back to Tarot.  I’m also thinking about learning Sannion’s Oracle of the Doors, to have a somewhat objective divination.

Omniglot entry on Phoenician: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/phoenician.htm
David Myriad’s Phoenician alphabet rune readings: http://davidmyriad.tripod.com/phoenician.alphabet.index.html
Another version of the alphabet:http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Phoenician%20Alphabet

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5 thoughts on “Pagan Blog Project C and D: Cleromancy! and Developing Divination

  1. Your runes — or, you know, non-runes — are beyond cool! I’m kind of relieved someone else has had bad luck with tarot, too. I always want to collect cards just for the pictures, but I can’t get any kind of meaningful sense out of them. I’ve had great luck with the I Ching, though. I think divination methods are probably very personal, and it’s normal to have to search around a bit before one works well.

  2. Thank you Bear! I’ve found that others reading Tarot for me is great, but me reading for others is not as good, ha! I’ve been in that same trap–liking the artwork is not the same as reading with that artwork. I’ve also had a great connection with one or two cards in a deck, yet have been unable to delve into the rest.

    I agree, divination methods are going to vary depending on the individual. For myself, I’m willing to explore different traditions if the spirituality, the gods, and their ways speak to me, so long as I can follow and adapt in a respectful (non-cultural appropriation) way. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  3. Pingback: Moonrise over the green hills, part II | Windows of the Night

  4. These are REALLY beautiful. Wow. I think it’s an offering to study and make these. More than using one already made, you’re bringing back or growing your tradition. That’s harder. Before ink intolerance I used Tarot but I
    I’m a visual learner. I’ve noticed that makes a difference. I used them.as doorways of colors. They incuced trance but that meant I.couldn’t read for me, I was not me when reading.

    I think it’s good to have a yes no version for somethings. I have a white rock, black rock and grey rock from the beach where I.sometimes can make offerings. The grey rock let’s me know I’m phrasing the question wrong or maybe (future stuff) or to stop asking. I use runes for me and astrology, I used ogham for a while but runes have poems about things I understand like ice. I’m in Vermont! People here end up using runes. For clients I just go into the tarot trance state without tarot. It’s easier to read for others because im not involved or fully aware. As a musical learner I find having iPod on shuffle often helps for big open ended questions about personal life.

    You’ve totally inspired me to write about multiple intelligences and divination!!! Thanks!

    • Thank you Heather! I haven’t yet had the chance to really play with my runes due to the regular ups and downs of life. However, I still have them :). Plus, I intuit there’s a difference in the way I see the runes/tiles. Ugaritic is the cuneiform language that the records of Ugarit and the Canaanite gods’s myths and prayers were preserved. Proto-Canaanite seems to strike my subconscious a lot easier than the later Phoenician letters, which is on the tiles.

      I’m a little better with the dice, but as always, still working on it, moreso this time around with the Iluma. 😀 I like the idea of having a piece to indicate needing to rephrase or rethink the question.

      Since making this post, I’m more open to other systems of divination–the best system(s) is the one that the Deities speak clearest to us. Practice and testing is likely in the future for me. 😉

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