Palms of Our Hands

A Polytheist's Blog


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

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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Pagan Blog Project – R is for Restart

This morning I woke up to distant, rolling thunder and pounding rain.  Most days I think, “Oh, it’s rain.” Today was also the first time I looked outside, I heard the rain and thought,

“Ahh…it is Ba’al Haddu coming through.”

It’s the morning after I sat before the Canaanite deities and made offerings to Them once more.  I focused on what I wanted to offer Them, instead of the nebulous anxiety that I tend to let sway me.  I took comfort in doing prostrations in front of my little shrine to the Gracious deities.  Even when remembering that I’d forgotten to formally cleanse myself (and did so asap), the little mistakes just reminded me that so long as I was conscientious and sincere, it would be okay.

Looking at the rain, and consciously connecting it to Ba’al, suddenly made me realize how much I take the rain for granted.  I live just outside of Seattle, in the western half of the state, and Seattle stakes part of its reputation on being the “Rainy City”.  Rain is so ordinary, normal, and an irritation when you’re driving on the road.  Seriously, I’ve seen people driving in a panic as if the concept of slippery ground had never ever happened until the hour after a downpour.  (No really, cars can slide…)

Yet to the Canaanites, living in a mostly arid desert climate, rain’s presence or lack thereof was the sign of the divine’s favor.  I have watched the differences in my plants when it rains.  My garden’s growth was slow, steady, when I water it. (Sometimes I say a small thankful prayer to Athtaru, the Canaanite god of irrigation, for having fresh water to use so close by.) The day after a brief shower, however, the yard just seems to explode with greenery. Bigger leaves, bigger stems, bigger flowers, new shoots!  Rainfall does that extra ‘something’ that irrigation just doesn’t seem to have.

Traveling has also taught me how much I take for granted fresh water. When I hear about how other states are draining their water tables, or splitting up the state rivers four ways, I become doubly glad that rain comes down pretty reliably in Washington (at least, my part of it).  Giving thanks to Ba’al Hadad and all other gods that bring rain is the least I should be doing!

Today is considered the beginning of the Canaanite New Year, ‘Ashuru Mothabati, or the Festival of Dwellings. I had planned to do a proper ritual and celebration, but have obviously blanked on it due to life things happening. It’s also difficult to do a large ritual when my family is nearby.  I don’t live with my parents, but they help me out a lot with finances, which means that they get to barge into my house whenever they want. They ARE family. And very Catholic, so having a daughter on a Canaanite path, giving offerings to Ba’al, is not something to spring on anyone unexpectedly.

So today was a very modest offering (grapes) to Ba’al Haddu. I read aloud part of the Ba’al Cycle where Ba’al Haddu is victorious. “Sixty-six towns he takes, seventy-seven towns he seizes.” Lightning goes where it wants, and I imagined that Yagrushu, the Driver, and Ayamiri, the Expeller, have a huge reach in Ba’al’s hands.  The thunder reminded me of Ba’al finally agreeing with Kothar-wa-Hasis to build a window, where his mighty rains and voice come through, so I read that part as well.

Other gods I formally invited by name were Choranu, to ask for purification to be open to the Divine Assembly. And Kothar-wa-Hasis…because He insisted on being formally present. (???) I offered incense to Them in thanks.

Well, I have restarted a schedule to give offerings for at least seven days, mostly of small things like grapes, wine, and dates.  I am also exploring using dice for divination, and making practice rolls with them.  Something about clacking dice in my hand puts me in a meditative state.  I have 3d6 (or for non-gamers, three six-sided dice), and a shoebox lid is the divination ‘board’ until I find a better one that can handle dice rolls without breaking them.