Oracular seidhr for November: Tuesday the 12th

My next oracular seidhr session will take place on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013. If you would like to be included, please email your question to me at: wodandis at gmail dot com.

Since I skipped my October session, I will be relaxing my limit of five querents for this month’s session; I have a few questions I saved from last month, have already received one new request this month, and have room for a few more.  So if you have a question, send it in!

Per usual, I will still be accepting only ONE question per session from each individual (with NO follow up questions, please!) . Please allow 2-3 days after the session to receive your answer, to account for the fact that Jo needs to type up the dictation she takes down during the sessions, after which I look over and sometimes amend her transcription before emailing the answers off to you.

Please get your questions to me by Monday night if you would like to be included! I will reply briefly to your email to let you know you’re in, and will post again when I feel I’ve reached my limit for the questions.

Although this is a free service I provide to the community and payment is not necessary, donations are always VERY gratefully accepted, especially this month, as I really overextended myself on preparing my booth for my recent craft fair venture and made no sales at it.  (More on that later: the venue and so many other things were wrong about this!)  Also, this disaster coincided with my having recently reduced my working hours to 25 per week, and while I am definitely seeing an increase in my energy levels as a result, there is also a rather large decrease in my paycheck.  So as always, if you appreciate what I am doing with my seidhr practice and/ or my blog, and I have helped you in some way, I deeply appreciate any financial gift you can afford to make, no matter how small. If you would like to make a donation you may do via Paypal at wodandis at gmail dot com.  Or, you could always hop on over to FiberWytch on Etsy and pick up some handspun yarn or a ritual cord or two instead; all of my prices have recently been lowered with the holiday shopper in mind (I realize many of you have money issues of your own, but you still need to get those holiday gifts bought or made, right?), and I’m adding at least one new item every day.  (Plus, domestic US shipping is now free!)

More information about my seidhr practice may be found here.

Oracular seidhr for October: Sunday the 13th

My next oracular seidhr session will take place next Sunday, October 13th, 2013. If you would like to be included, please email your question to me at: wodandis at gmail dot com.

Also, if you contacted me about seidhr last month but were too late for September, and if I told you I would include you in the October session, please email me again to remind me.  I have a crappy memory due to fibro fog and don’t always find these emails a month later.  To help make sure no requests slip through the cracks, I am also asking that all seidhr request emails have the following subject line: ORACULAR SEIDHR FOR (fill in the month).  Please take care that your spelling of seidhr matches mine or I may not find your email when I search.

Please keep in mind that, going forward, I will be accepting only ONE question per session from each individual (with NO follow up questions, as usual), and limiting each session to FIVE separate querents. In addition, please allow 2-3 days after the session to receive your answer, to account for the fact that Jo needs to type up the dictation she takes down during the sessions, after which I look over and sometimes amend her transcription before emailing the answers off to the querents. I think these changes will make it easier for me to continue to do seidhr in a manageable fashion.

Thank you for understanding, and please email me before next Saturday night if you would like your question included in the upcoming session. Anyone who sends theirs in too late will have the option of being first in my queue for the November session!  (But I will ask you to remind me, as noted above.)

As always, donations are very gratefully accepted, as I am only able to work part time due to my health issues; if you would like to make a donation you may do via Paypal at wodandis at gmail dot com.

More information about my practice may be found here.

Reminder: oracular seidhr for April

My next upcoming oracular session will be held on the evening of Friday, April 19th.

This year I have made several changes in the process for submitting a question, so please read this page and make sure you understand the changes and the new information before sending me a request for an oracle, as if you do not follow the new guidelines your question/s will be rejected. This is not for the purpose of being a hardass, but to make it possible for me to offer you the extra sessions I have added (11 this year as opposed to the 5 I held in 2012). And if you can do so at all, please do consider donating this year, to help support my devotional practice, if you submit a question. It is still not required, but I am working fewer hours now due to chronic health problems (I am “invisibly ill”) so it is always appreciated!

Thank you!

Oracular seidhr for February 18th is now closed

I have reached my capacity for the number of questions I think I can handle for tomorrow night’s session, and am at this point closing it to further questions.  If you have already had a quick email back from me that I have accepted your query, it will be included.  Any further questions sent to me after this post will be saved for the ninth of the following lunar month, March 20th.  (Or if it is an urgent matter, you can request a paid Tarot or rune reading.)

Thank you for your questions, everyone, and you will be receiving your answers within two days following the session.

Seidhr for Yule is now CLOSED

Okay, a couple more questions trickled in today and I think we are now at capacity for the 16th, so at this point I am closing the session to further questions.  Jolene (who assists me) is currently back east attending her grandmother’s funeral; she will just be getting back two days before the session (and has to go to work the very next day after her return), so I don’t want to overtax her…or me.

I do want to thank all of you for an incredible year!  I feel that my practice has grown and deepened immeasurably over the past year thanks to your questions.

Oracular seidhr for Samhain

My next scheduled oracular seidhr session will take place on the evening of Saturday October 28th for Samhain. These are remote sessions, meaning that anyone can send me a question to put before the gods and spirits on your behalf; you don’t have to be local to me.  However, kindly bear in mind that this practice is central to my religious path and is not a parlor game; serious questions only, please!

Pllease email your question, rather than replying to this post, although if you have questions ABOUT my practice, feel free to post them here!

Seidhr is an umbrella term encompassing both Scandinavian witchcraft in general and the ancient tradition of oracular trance that is (and was) most often practiced by followers of either Odin or Freyja. Although the practice has echoes in both Anglo-Saxon and continental Germanic practice, “seidhr” is the name I used when I began this practice (close to a decade ago now!), so seidhr is the term I stick to. Many different versions of oracular seidhr exist in modern heathenry.

If you are unfamiliar with my practice, please review this page BEFORE submitting your question.  Although not required, donations are especially welcomed now, as I have recently reduced my working hours to part time due to my health.  Any donations will be used to purchase offerings, libations, etc, all of which are needed in abundance this time of year!

Another seidhr schedule change, and a few important notes on my practice

As mentioned in a previous post, my oracular seidhr session for May Day, originally scheduled for Sunday May 6th, will now be taking place on Saturday, April 28th (right before Walpurgisnacht).

Also, it has recently come to my attention that the oracular seidhr page on my Gate of the Slain website (which is a fairly static site at this point) was badly in need of updating.  I have made some edits to that page, but since the changes are really important ones and I don’t want to mislead anyone, I am also publishing them here, below.

There is no charge for my oracular seidhr services, as this is a gift I offer to the pagan community and in service to my gods and spirits (especially Odin).

However, please read on.

I know that in the past I offered, on this page, to add additional oracular sessions to my schedule upon request.  I will no longer do so for the following reasons:

1) In the elder Heathen times, in Scandinavia, oracular seidhr was not a common occurrence.  The saga of Erik the Red describes one such session in detail, and the sense is given that it was a fairly rare event, reserved for times of great need.  Even among modern practitioners, it does not take place frequently, as it is a fairly demanding rite involving deep trance and usually requiring the assistance of at least one helper.  Even more than that, though, in the course of my years of seidhr practice I have come to the conclusion that, just as the Havamal cautions against making too many offerings, it is not a good idea to ask the gods too often for information about your future.  There comes a time at which we must take whatever guidance is given and act on it to the best of our ability.  There are no absolute assurances and the gods expect us to make our own choices and our own mistakes; this is what life is for.  I suspect this is why the ancient Germanic pagans did not do this rite very frequently.

2) I currently work full time during the day and have chronic pain issues, and in addition to that am trying to get a small business off the ground and write a book (on working with Odin).  So although I have occasionally been known to add an additional session to my schedule (this year, I added one in February), I really can’t afford in terms of time or energy to be doing this on demand.  The sessions really have to happen according to a pre-determined schedule.

This being said, if you email me a seidhr question when I am between sessions, I will be saving it for my next pre-scheduled session, and will not be adding an additional session for you (sorry!), as this rite is just too demanding for me to do so.  I will email you back, though, to confirm that I received your question.

If you feel your question is urgent and cannot wait until my next session, I have a new option available: I am available by appointment to do a Tarot or rune reading for you for a fee of $20, payable in advance via my Paypal account.  These readings can take place either via email or by chat.  If you choose chat, we will agree on a mutually convenient time and the reading will be limited to 30  minutes.  If you choose email, I may need 24-72 hours to reply with your reading, as I work full time, but I will get your reading to you as quickly as I am able.  I prefer not to do phone work.    Depending on the situation, there may be light trance involved on my part during your reading and if there is a message for you from one of the gods that comes up during the reading I will definitely convey this to you, but of course I cannot guarantee that such a thing will happen.If you would like this service, make your payment to wodandis@gmail.com via Paypal, and then email me at wodandis@gmail.com explaining your situation and specifying whether you would like Tarot or runes.

I am sorry but I cannot at this time provide free Tarot or rune readings.  Depending on the situation, though, I may be open to barter.  If you would like to propose a barter, please email me and explain the situation, as well as what you will offer.  I hold to the principle of Gebo in this (a gift demands a gift), so some form of exchange must take place.

I will be adding a page to this blog with more details about my Tarot/rune reading services, as well as additional spiritual services I will be offering on a prepaid basis, in the near future!

Oracular Seidhr for Hallows (Samhain)

Just a reminder that my next scheduled oracular seidhr session will take place on the evening of Saturday October 29th for Hallows/Samhain.  These are remote sessions, meaning that anyone can send me a question to put before the gods and spirits on your behalf; you don’t have to be local to me.

Currently I only do these sessions three times per year, so if you’ve been saving up a question you’d like me to ask for you, now’s the time to email it to me.   I have made a couple of small changes in my schedule for the rest of the year, so that the Hallows session will be on 10/29 Iinstead of 10/30) and the Yule session will take place on 12/17 (instead of the previously posted 12/18).

If you’re not familiar with what I do, oracular seidhr is an ancient pagan Scandinavian tradition of oracular trance, most often practiced by followers of either Odin or Freyja.  Although the practice has echoes in both Anglo-Saxon and continental Germanic practice, “seidhr” is the name I used when I began this practice (close to a decade ago now!), so seidhr is the term I stick to.  Many different versions of oracular seidhr exist in modern heathenry; you can read more about my particular version here.

Rune Wednesday: Advice for Beginners

Last week, I promised to post some book suggestions for newcomers to the runes.  And yet while looking over the large and diverse selection of rune-related material on my bookshelf a few minutes ago, I realized that there are really only a few titles I can wholeheartedly recommend for brand-newbies (or even relative newbies) to the runes.

Why is this?  Because of something I touched on last week, in my review of Gods of the Runes: many rune authors (perhaps even most) have an approach that is somewhat individualistic at best,, wildly idiosyncratic at worst.  In personal practice, there’s nothing at all wrong with this; in fact, the more you work with the runes,  and the deeper and more intimate your understanding of them becomes, the more highly individual your approach is likely to be.  For beginners, however, picking up one of these books is like  (to use an example from the world of textiles) trying to spin an exotic art yarn before you’ve mastered the basics of a good solid worsted single.  Without that foundation in place, without a solid grasp of the basics, how can you expect to judge what makes a good novelty yarn and what is just poorly executed and bound to fall apart with the first wash?  To put this in runic terms again, if you don’t have a solid grounding in runic lore and haven’t explored the runes using your own intuition, how will you know when a so-called runic “expert” is inspired and advanced versus when they are misled or just plain wrong?  Without that solid foundation, you don’t have the information needed to make that call.

So, start with the basics.  At the risk of sounding like a lore-pusher (which those who know me will be aware is far from the truth), a good reading of the poetic and prose Eddas is a great place to start.  You don’t have to be able to retell every story from memory or pass a lore test, but read these two volumes through at least once; they will give you a basic grasp of Scandinavian religion (which is, after all, the context of the runes) that will prove invaluable, and will prevent you from believing such statements as “Idunna discovered the runes and then Odin stole them from Her.”  (Yes, I have seen one author who claims this.  See what I mean about being able to read critically?)  A bonus to this approach is that if you’re interested in runic magic at all, Odin’s recitation of the 18 charms in the Runatal section of the Havamal will get you started down that road nicely; why not go right to the source?

After the eddas, read the rune poems, at least the major three: the Anglo-Saxon, Icelandic, and Norwegian.  These correspond to the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc and Viking Futharks, respectively; unfortunately, there is no surviving poem for the Elder Futhark, although a few authors (notably Kveldulf Gundarsson) have made some pretty good efforts at reconstructing it, so you may want to take a look at some of these too.  At least with the traditional rune poems, you may even want to memorize them, or at least come back every so often and read them again.  (Whenever your memory of them starts to get a little wobbly.)  The rune poems may not be the be-all and end-all of understanding the runes, but just like the eddas, they’re a damned good foundation.  They tell us what the original cultures who used the runes thought they meant, and can help you begin to understand how runic concepts fit into and shaped those cultures on an everyday basis, which in turn is very helpful in beginning to see your own daily life through a runic lens.

Next, go to the runes themselves.  Draw them, chant their names, see what images, colors, feelings, sounds, impressions come to you when you contemplate them or meditate on them.  Ask yourself how the major concepts associated with each rune (as depicted in the rune poems) are reflected in your life, how those concepts relate to you.  What can Fehu tell you about your livelihood, for example? What can Ansuz tell you about communication, or Algiz about protection, both mundane and magical? Spend some time living with the runes, playing with them, making them part of your life and consciousness.  (I will discuss some ideas for doing this in future posts.)

Lastly, read a few books by some of the better modern rune authors.  If you’ve taken the foregoing advice, you will start to develop an awareness, as you read, for what is solidly based on runic lore and tradition and what is derived from the author’s own opinons, inspirations, or UPG (unverified personal gnosis).  The latter are not a bad thing (in fact, I hope you will already, by the time you reach this point in your studies, be in the process of forming some of your own), but you should at least be able to tell them from the former when you see them.

I recommmend starting with the following books, in order of preference:

Taking Up the Runes, by Diana Paxson.  Diana, a long-time Heathen priestess, presents all the rune poems alongside her section for each rune, and she is very careful to separate conclusions derived from the lore from the individual interpretations of various rune authors, including her own.  (The fact that she presents a roundup of these interpretations is a nice bonus, and can help you decide which books you may want to follow up  with later on in your path, when you’ve developed your critical eye more fully). The guided meditations may or may not be your cup of mead, but there are abundant suggestions for working with the runes in magic, as well as sound guidelines for using them in divination.

The Runes Workbook, by Leon Wild.  Wild’s background is in the Rune Gild, so his approach is somewhat different, however there is a lot of good beginning guidance here for galdor, meditations, and ways to bring the runes into your daily life, as well as gorgeous illustrations for each rune that bring out the major runic concepts.

The Way of the Runes, by Bernard King.  King, a British author, introduces a few nuggets of information not covered in the other two books (such as the role of Ehwaz as a rune of confirmation, as derived from the Anglo-Saxon practice of horse divination), as well as an introduction to runic numerology, making your own runes and casting the runes, a format for runic magic based on the Havamal (I told you reading that would pay off), and an across-the-board grounding in the magical techniques and traditions of Northern Europe.

That ought to do it for starters.  So, what are you still here for?  Go on, you’ve got work to do!

Rune Wednesday

I’ve decided to start a regular runic feature for the blog, and what better day for it than Wednesdays?  Each Wednesday I will share a bit about my experience with the runes–either my observations and impressions of one or more individual runes, or my techniques for working with them in general.  I also invite rune-related questions from my readers–regarding runic divination or magic, history and lore, correspondences, making rune sets, whatever you’d like to ask–and will try to address some of them in my Rune Wednesday posts.

I have close to a decade of experience working with the runes in divination and magic, mostly with the Elder Futhark.  (During the past six months or so I’ve been studying the Anglo Saxon Futhorc, but the Elder Futhark is what I started out with and I have to admit it’s still what comes most naturally to me.  Perhaps not too surprisingly, since Odin Himself initially approached me in His early Migration Era continental persona of Wodan.)  My teacher in all things runic has been, first and foremost, Odin, with His lessons supplemented by a few other gods and spirits and by my readings in a wide variety of rune-related material presented in books, in person by human teachers, and on the web.

Since I don’t currently have internet access at home (a situation that will be remedied at some point in the coming weeks, though it’s still behind a couple of other more important things on our household list of priorities), I’m doing all my writing for this blog at home to be posted later on.  So for now, if you’d like your question to be considered for the next Rune Wednesday post, please get it to me by the preceding Monday afternoon, to give me time to have the answer ready for posting by Wednesday.  You can email runic questions to me via wodandis at gmail dot com.  (And once again, these questions should not be divination requests, but rather questions about the runes themselves.)

To start things off, I’ll share one of the first and most useful runic techniques I learned, which I still practice today.  Each morning, preferably while I’m still at home in front of my altar but sometimes on the bus on my way to work, I’ll ground and center, then say a brief prayer to Odin asking for an oracle for the day ahead and for the runes to speak to me clearly, as they speak to Him.  Then I’ll draw a rune from my drawstring bag.  (My spindle isn’t the only thing I carry with me just about everywhere.  I’m still using the first set of runes I made nine years ago, hand-carved and blooded by me on yew wood tiles, although I do have plans to undertake the making of an additional set–to introduce somewhat different energies to my runic practice–at some point soon.)  I spend a few minutes in contemplation of the rune I’ve drawn, seeing what associations arise, and if I feel the need I’ll then ask for further clarification and draw one or two additional runes.  It’s remarkable how much benefit I’ve derived from this simple practice, both in becoming forewarned about what my day may hold and in terms of increasing my insight into the runes themselves.  I always write down the runes or runes I’ve drawn in a small notebook that I carry with me, and beneath that, once the day has passed, I’ll jot down anything that happened in the course of the day that seemed to reflect on or be connected with those particular runes.  If you have any ambitions of being a rune reader, this practice is invaluable as it will help you to recognize, over time, how the energies of various runes tend to play out in everyday life.

Be warned, though: if the first rune is harsh and you’re just hoping the clarifying runes will soften it, don’t bother.  I’ve tried this trick on occasion, and it has been known to result in my drawing the very same rune–not once, not twice, but THREE times in a row.  No kidding.  If you haven’t yet been convinced that This Shit is Real, the runes will teach you that lesson quite thoroughly.  However, as a corollary to this, don’t make the mistake of thinking that there are such things as “bad” runes, and that drawing a traditionally harsh rune necessarily means the end of the world.  This is a trap newbies habitually fall into, yet I have to admit it sometimes still gets me, too; it’s hard to stare down at the Hagalaz or Thurisaz rune you just drew and NOT be thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong for you that day.  The runes are both subtle and incredibly powerful, (even, on occasion, treacherous), and falling into this line of thinking is dangerous in that it can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Sometimes, I think, the runes themselves test you in this way, probing to see if you can keep your calm and wits about you in the face of threatened disaster–because if not, if you’re just going to throw your hands up in despair at the first ominous sign from them, you obviously can’t handle their secrets, so what’s the point in bothering to work with you any further?  So stay calm, and remember that “ominous” runes don’t necessarily presage disaster, anyway.

As an example, yesterday morning I drew Hagalaz, with Wunjo and Jera as clarifying runes.  I read this as meaning that something unexpected was likely to happen, but that instead of a disaster it felt like it would be a positive occurrence, maybe even a reward for hard work but manifesting in an unexpected way.  I got off the bus and began my walk to work, crossing W. 11th Avenue (a busy industrial street) towards the wetlands–an extensive marshland that provides a haven for osprey, blue heron and a variety of other water birds along with a host of other creatures–where my company is located.  There is a bridge, crossing Amazon Creek, that serves as the demarcation point between industrial Eugene and this wild area, and as I was crossing this bridge–from which I’ve had the opportunity to watch ducks and once or twice a blue heron in the creek below–I found something unexpected.  I can’t go into exactly what it was, but given what I found, and given my recent circumstances (my increasing focus on spinning and the fiber arts, and my immediate plans to get a spinning wheel and focus even more of my energies in this direction) I understood it to be a gift from Frigga–completely unexpected (in keeping with the rune Hagalaz), but also entirely positive, and resulting from my own efforts (in keeping with the other two runes, Wunjo and Jera).

So yes, sometimes even the most dire-seeming rune can mean good things, and yes, the runes do operate with a will and consciousness of their own.  Like the gods themselves, they test, they probe, they make demands, and working with them is not for the timid–however, it is full of rewards.

Any questions?