Last week I came across Caitlin Matthew’s wonderful blog, on the newsfeed at Facebook. (You see, there are good things about FB!) Caitlin is an authour and Tarot deck creator whose work I have admired for many years. I’ll share some links at the end of this post; anyone interested in Celtic magic, GrailMysteries, Goddess spirituality, tarot and more will want to check this blog. I’ve been there many times too, over this past year or so, but as is often the case, with so many blogs and sites of interest, I can lose touch. When I connected with Caitlin’s post a couple of days ago, I was delighted by her latest offering; as a longtime practitioner of augury ( and I mean longtime, I started, without knowing what I was doing, in childhood) this idea is right up my alley. The title of her blog entry is”The Omen Days: The Twelve Days of Christmas” and here is a very brief summary of the idea:
“….you treat each day of Christmas as the opportunity for an augury for the month it represents in coming year. This might be experienced during a daily walk, or perceived in the nature of the day itself and how it falls out. Personally, I like to make a frame for each Omen Day, by asking to be shown an augury from nature and allowing the next thing I experience, see or hear to be the sign I am expecting. It helps to find the right place to do this on a walk, to close your eyes, to spin around on the spot and then be attentive.
Many of my students have been doing this for a while and last year I shared it with an online group of Lenormand Card readers, who are now using the Omen Days to divine for the year ahead, choosing one or more cards each day to discover the nature of the months of the year. There is no right way to do this, only by the unique interaction you have between the world that is seen and the world that is unseen, but just as real.“
So I decided to try this, and blog about it here. It will be interested to see what appears to me as an omen, and then how each sign manifests in the corresponding month.
The first Omen, which was yesterday, was really a plethora of signs that challenged me a little to sort out what was what. It’s been snowing and very cold here all December and Dan and I have subsequently missed a lot of our walks. We headed out yesterday, fueled in part by my commitment to get outside and see what I might see. It was colder than I thought at first! By the time we made it to the edge of the forest(on the Eastern side) Dan was already holding up a paw (a little bit of drama, but not entirely). The air was still and heavy with fat, white snowflakes, falling on us, the pines and cedars, the deep uneven trail left by the farmer’s last foray into the woods. Walking was not entirely comfortable. I looked at a pale, soft sun showing faintly through the thick covering of grey cloud and thought, hhmm, beauty even in the cold, maybe that’s my sign. But I wanted to practise on the first day as I always do; simply to walk through the woods with awareness, centered deep into my body, and listen. No assumptions, and no urgency to figure it all out right away. You know, unless a white hart leaped put of the woods, or a snowy owl flew down and sat on my shoulder.
Or maybe a wild boar? (Especially as we don’t actually have wild boars up here..)
But no, nothing life-altering out there yesterday. Stillness, conifers, the stream almost frozen over and no one around for miles and miles, but nothing out of the usual. 🙂
Reaching the woods, I was on higher alert than usual, although trying not to be. The first thing I noticed was a noisy white breasted nuthatch, cavorting around the entrance to the woods. Not exactly uncommon! but there were no other birds. So I took note. Later a black cap or two..and lastly the nearby croak of “my” solitary raven, of whom I will write more later. None of this felt especially inspiring. “hhmm” I thought “pale sun means January will be a month to hold onto faint hopes”.
As we left the woods to head back to our warm house and hearth, Danny cold even in his super cozy Chillydogs coat, something caused me to stop abruptly and look North. A large tree branch had fallen – not certain what type – and formed a perfect, oversize(maybe 12 feet high) letter Y, leaning against two very old and almost dead white cedars. It was a startling image, for some reason. I thought at once of the many prayer wands (shaped in a large Y, following something I read once and felt called to do) I have started to make and not completed over the years – birch, elm, beech, maple, wild cherry, hawthorn, willow. Something right there grasped my senses – that’s often how it works. I had said I wasn’t going to hunt my omen, but I had done so anyway; letting go, the song of the forest pitched me one clear note and I turned to see something that I was sure, was significant. No maybes, no guessing. Yeah, that’s often how it works, for me.
It’s too easy to allow the day to get away from me; happens all the time. I wound up not writing anything down at all when I got home…it’s the holidays, I’m distracted, you know the drill. Somewhere around 7 pm or so I flopped down to watch a movie, and let myself drift.Now I can’t even say which film, or even what significance the scene actually had – that’s how tired I am these days – but I recall sharply, a similar image in one of the films – a large fallen branch that formed the letter Y, clear as a bell. So, evidently, this wanted to be seen.
Still not sure 100% what it meant, but as I live a hermit’s life, more or less, I can take my time.
Some ideas, at this time; The Y struck me right away as a prayer wand, so the concept of prayer will be important for me to work with in January. I am good at a few things but praying regularly isn’t one of them. I consistently pray a brief psalm of gratitude for Danny every night, I never miss it. Otherwise, I can “forget”…which brings me to, the concept of completing things. Since I have half finished Y-shaped prayer wands all over the house and yard, this symbolism cannot be ignored. I am thinking, January is a good month to go more deeply into my prayerwork, and also to commit myself to completing all the various loose end projects I’ve started over the past 5 years(and there are many).
Yes, the more I think of it, the more this feels right. If anything else comes to me, will add it, of course.
And now, on to February..and what I might need to know, be aware of, focus on in that cold quiet month, as well.
More from Caitlin – including her SIXTY books, courses and blogs – here.