Futhark Divination: Skjebne Casting Circle

Futhark Divination: Skjebne Casting Circle

Time to share the Futhark casting method I've been using for years. It's based on the "old ways" of Rune divination techniques, presented by Igor Warneck in one of his books (unavailable in english). Skjebne is a scandinavian word for fate. The Skjebne Circle is meant to be used with Elder Futhark.

My personal Skjebne cloth

Here's what it looks like:

First you'll need to create your own board/cloth (square, around 0.5 m x 0.5 m in width and length). You can use paper, cloth, wood - whatever you prefer and then draw/sew/carve the Casting Circle maintaining the proportions from the picture above. If you're performing divination outside, you can just draw it on the ground.
Note: All the elements and Rune names are written around the circle for demonstration only, they're not part of the actual board/cloth.

1. The small inner circle is called skjebne. It represents soul, spirituality etc. 
2. The next circle is called outer-skjebne. It represents emotional and intellectual level of existence.
3. Finally, the most outer circle divided into four domains is optional.
 These four domains represent the material level of existence. You can either place four elements there (Air, Water, Earth, Fire) or four runes representing those elements (this technique is more advanced) OR you can name them as follows: Family (instead of Air), Abundance (instead of Fire), Success (instead of Water) and Health (instead of Earth) - this is for newbies.

1. Prepare yourself the same way you normally would before divination.
2. Focus your intention on the question/dillema and draw 9 Runes from the sack (or whatever you store your Runes in). Don't put the Runes away, hold them in your hands while drawing. Once you draw 9, close your hands with Runes inside and focus your intention on them.
3. Throw Runes on the Skjebne Circle with a gentle motion. But not too gentle - use just enough power to let the Runes spread around the board. (It requires a bit of practice if you never cast before but you'll get it after a few tries.)

This step can seem a bit complicated at first but it'll get easier once you memorize it.

(An examplary arrangement of runes and guidelines: Explained below)

Once our Runes are cast we will separate them into three spheres (3 Runes each). I'll give you two examples of the spheres you can use but feel free to create your own variations, better suited for your specific needs.

1. "Current Situation" / "The Past" 
Now you want to pick first three Runes. In your mind draw a line from the center of the board up (like 12 o'clock). If there's a Rune on that line - that's your first Rune. If not, going clockwise pick the nearest Rune to the line. Then count the next Runes to three - the 3rd Rune is your next. Repeat the counting once again to get your set of 3 Runes for "Current Situation" or "The Past" interpretation. (So, those are gonna be the 1st, 4th and 7th Rune, going clockwise). Once you interpret them, you can remove them from the board and move on.

2. "Material Sphere" / "The Present"
In this step you want to pick your next three Runes to interpret the "Material Sphere" or "The Present". In your mind draw a line from the center of the board down (like 6 o'clock). Going clockwise, count to two to pick every second Rune. Once you interpret them you can remove them from the board.

3. "Relationships, Emotions, Sex" / "The Future"
Now that you've got only three Runes left on the board you don't need to count and pick anything - you just interpret them concerning "Relationships, Emotions, Sex" or "The Future".

How to interpret the Runes depending on where and how they're placed on the board:
1. If the Rune is placed in the inner skjebne, it has to do with the spiritual level of the situation.
2. If the Rune is placed in the outer skjebne, it has to do with the emotional and/or mental level.
3. If the Rune is placed in one of the four domains, in addition to the Rune's meaning you add the meaning of the element/Rune specific for the domain it's placed in. It represents the material sphere.
4. If the Rune is upside-down, this means that the person whom it concerns is not aware of that aspect of the situation.
5. If 2 or more Runes are touching eachother it means that their meanings are somehow connected.

Hope you found this method of Rune casting interesting. Let me know if you plan to try it out! If anything's unclear or you've got trouble understanding any part of the process, let me know and I'll try to explain it as best as I can.
Exploring Creativity with The Fool and #CreateThisOracleDeck + Free Digital Copy of my Oracle

Exploring Creativity with The Fool and #CreateThisOracleDeck + Free Digital Copy of my Oracle

Oh, March, you beautiful month, you. What better month to jump into creative endeavors than March, when The Wheel of The Year turns towards Spring and my card of the month is The Fool! After a rather heavy February I welcomed March like it was salvation - and it certainly turned out to be the case. This month definitely felt like a new chapter, with its fresh vibe of playfulness and adventure, getting my hands dirty with watercolors and basically not being too anal about what I let out into the world. Feels good, man.

A huge part of why March turned out to be such an awesome month for me was #CreateThisOracleDeck challenge hosted by Kristen from Over The Moon Oracle Cards. I had no idea how much I missed creating stuff on paper. This experience opened something up inside me, it rejuvenated me and reminded me what it felt like to draw and paint regularly - the last time I was doing that was in my teens, *cough cough* well over a decade ago. I definitely recommend trying this stuff out - it has a high therapeutic and anti-stress value, helps to connect with our Inner Child and blasts the gates of creativity wide open. If you would like to do this challenge at your own pace, Kristen prepared a free course which will help you go through the process of creating your first deck. Or you can just follow the list of prompts provided on Kristen's IG.

All this drawing and painting got me thinking. This is precisely why art therapy is so effective, because it brings things up and makes things surface effortlessly. The goal is not to be too concerned about how things turn out, but to let go, to not be afraid of getting dirty, to let the magic happen "on its own" - that's when we open ourselves up to specific parts of our subconscious.

The Inner Child is what comes to mind straight away. Particularly, letting go of control and allowing ourselves to create freely is what helps us heal this part of our psyche. Art is an excellent tool for that because it's extremely gentle - it doesn't require us to name things, to name the wounds, fears, traumas that our Inner Child might bear. Art doesn't ask difficult questions that the Child cannot possibly answer. Art creates safe space for the Child to open up and pour her heart onto paper without judgement.

The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth.
- C. G. Jung, Liber Novus (The Red Book)

Another thing that caught my attention are colors - the ones that we reach for in our art most often, the color of clothes we prefer to wear, the color of our favorite mug or home decor. These colors feel familiar, safe, they are somewhat representative of what kind of vibe we want to upkeep in our lives. Then there are these colors that we might not mind but we wouldn't wear them or won't use in our art too much, sometimes without really giving it much thought or perhaps without even realizing that we're avoiding said colors. This topic caught my attention during the creation of my deck - at some point I've noticed that there are certain colors that I used very often and some are completely or almost completely missing from the deck. It's not that my goal was to create a rainbow but I didn't have a set palette of colors that I wanted to use exclusively either.

I started digging to find out why I avoided some of the colors. As I mentioned above, the colors we choose to surround ourselves with correlate with how we feel and what we identify with. Accordingly, the colors we avoid are things we don't want to align ourselves with, sometimes for a good and healthy reason, but other times it might be representative of the aspects that need some internal work - fears, insecurities, prejudice, self-esteem or self-image issues. Now that I think about it, it reminded me of The Color Mage Oracle which would probably be perfect for delving into color symbolism and magick. But I also think it's priceless to form our personal understanding of symbology of colors to make sure we're not looking at the finger but at the actual thing it's pointing at. And the best way to do that is probably through art.

Is color work the new shadow work? Certainly not - but it might be very useful in the process. Since I'm in The Fool vibe this month, I've decided to experiment with colors and see what happens. Because I want results to be tangible and visible in the outside world, I went for experimenting with the colors of my clothing - got myself some yellow, green, orange dresses and skirts. These three colors are probably avoided by me most often. It is funny how that creates this huge gap between earthy colors (black, all kinds of browns, reds) and "airy" colors (blues, purples, white) - and the gap happens to consist of all the colors of passion, openness and love, which should be quite fucking important, am I right?

So far, as soon as it got really sunny (we're finally entering into a real Spring weather-wise), I put my yellow skirt on. She's the kind of really bright yellow that's in your face, so that happened to draw a lot of attention which I found to be quite amusing. Yellow is the color of openness. I definitely felt more open and confident (I'm usually confident anyway!) and acted much more assertively where I would sometimes lack assertiveness - towards people who are "above me", like my boss etc. I felt like a lioness and like I finally got enough balls to change some thing that needed my attention for some time. Screw "what if's" - if the current situation is far from ideal then I shouldn't stick to it at all cost purely because it's a safe substitute for what I actually want. This experimenting with colors is bringing some good stuff into my life so far, looking forward to what's going to happen next.

Now, let's talk a little bit about the art itself. Every card was created using Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box (36 colors), a set of Micron Pens and a medium-sized waterbrush. Thanks to this challenge, I know that I want to continue painting, so I invested in actual, more professional watercolor brushes - wish I had them earlier, the art would look so much better! Being consistent with creating a card each morning gave me a sense of much needed structure and reassurance that I can commit and finish a project - I just need to be really into it. Also, being able to compare my cards and my understanding of certain concepts with others was quite refreshing, I could feel the creative juices flowing and some of the cards turned out to be thought-provoking.

I also have to mention that I wasn't this much involved in a community in a while. I got to know some amazing human beings, I got to talk to people a lot, exchange thoughts and visions. It's been great but also challenging at times. I'm certainly not used to getting so much attention, so many comments and all that social media jazz. When there's two people to reply to and talk to, it feels good but when I woke up to 30 new comments I wouldn't reply to any because it felt like way too much. I am introverted and seeing so much attention makes me feel drained instantly - that's just the way it is.

Post udostępniony przez @mnomquah

All in all, I've got nothing but awesome things to say about this whole experience! I'm thankful for being able to be a part of it and - as my "thank you" to everyone - I am sharing my deck in a digital form with everyone for free. It might not be the best quality on Earth as I do not own a professional grade scanner, but I did all I possibly could to make it look as good as possible. You can print it at home or through one of the sites where you can order a custom deck with the images you upload. The only thing I ask for is not to use my images for anything other than personal use - do not use it commercially, do not claim it as your own, do not make money out of it in any way, shape or form, do not use it as stock images for your art projects (be it digital or traditional art).

Download the deck for free HERE. 
Landscapes of the Abyss

Landscapes of the Abyss

I bet all of us have this experience from time to time when we feel like something was created specifically for us, that it somehow encapsulates the essence of who we are, creates this deep resonance by pulling the right strings of our heart - be it music, poetry, visual art, natural phenomenon or someone's piercing gaze. That's how I feel about the outstanding tarot deck created by Marie White.

It's nihil novi - the Mary-El exists on the market since 2012 and is widely recognized and well-loved by many. It's me being a little late to the party due to various reasons. Serendipitously, with my stupid luck and thanks to the insane generosity of Alaina I'm finally in posession of the Holy Grail. And let me just say - straight from the moment I touched the cards I knew we were going to have a fruitful romance. This is what many tarot enthusiasts aptly describe as having a visceral reaction to the deck. (Although, it's hard to believe some of them if they "have a visceral reaction" to almost every deck they review. I imagine their viscera must be in horrible condition at the rate of one or more decks per week! Pardon my sarcasm.)

Unlike most other tarot decks in my posession, this one crosses the line of being just a psychological tool for me. It comes straight from the primordial soup of collective unconscious, of mythos and ancient mysteries, of forces that elude language and thus elude judgement through the prism of black&white human morality. While I understand that it might seem blasphemous and seditious to some, it feels deep, dark and delicious to me.

Mary-El is a Crone of tarot - she doesn't shy away from strong imagery of Goddesses and Wild Womanhood, of menstrual blood mysteries. She's also not intimidated by phalluses and strong Masculinity, which is rather rare these days. She doesn't feel the need to depreciate Masculinity to strengthen the Feminine. She's definitely not the ethereal, delicate, dreamy type of woman but rather the firm, deeply grounded one, with moist soil under her fingernails, creased forehead and fiery heart.

What initially drew my attention to this deck ages ago was the Knight of Wands. When I saw the Black Panther, I knew I needed this imagery in my life no matter what. I've always felt a strong connection with the Felinae People, especially the Black Panther. She's been my guide, my teacher and my wild Self since I can remember.

And let me just say - I bet Carl Jung would be intrigued to see this imagery. With its Liber Novus-like aesthetics, it seems to be the tool for shadow work. This is precisely the kind of art that works with the shadow - dark, rich in symbolism that's sometimes difficult to stomach, raw and real to the bone. I'm delighted that it appeared in my life at this moment. It is a topic for another story, which I happened to tackle in My Year Ahead post in February.

Anyway, as I already somewhat mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are these stimuli - pieces of art, certain phenomena, smells, places, weather or vibe in the psychosphere - all these things that trigger specific altered states of consciousness, launching us on a journey within. It can be extremely helpful to pinpoint our personal triggers to be able to: a) be aware of the signs that indicate some shadow content is creeping up on us; b) use them to induce a desired state of mind "on demand". For me, Mary-El is certainly one of those triggers.

Since I got Mary-El on February 9th, I haven't touched any other tarot decks. Marie White must be a Soul from my tribe of people - her images are depictions of what I feel when I think of the archetypes of tarot. Her words from Landscapes of the Abyss set my heart on fire, she would probably understand me without words and vice versa. She knows. I doubted I'd ever experience this feeling with tarot, but here I am, in awe and forever grateful for this gift.

Of course, there's no such thing as a tarot deck for everyone and this one is no exception. I've seen people say that the companion book is gibberish, that the images are too edgy, unnecessarily confronting, that it's not a deck for everyday use because the messages that come through are too deep and hard to digest. Well, it all depends on why you do tarot in the first place. If it's for staying in the comfort zone, to feel special or to be enabled, then this deck is definitely not for you. But for me, this deck is exactly what tarot is about. Getting dirty and sweaty from the hard work. Cutting the bullshit and looking at things as they are. Seeing what I might not want to notice otherwise. That's my thing. And Mary-El is precisely designed for that.

To get the most out of it, you need to have some basic knowledge of mythology, kabbalah and western occult traditions, be able to interpret symbols, understand metaphors and - most importantly - have some degree of an understanding of the laws of nature and the world around you. Don't expect things to be handed to you freely, interpreted and explained for you. This deck will pull you through the Abyss and make you decide what kind of human you want to be on the other side. It will make you do the work, if you're willing to commit.

#TarotThursdayThree: 02/03/2017

#TarotThursdayThree: 02/03/2017

Yet another #TarotThursdayThree, guys! I know I missed most of it in February but hell, this week's questions are juicy and quite serendipitous for me personally, as some of this stuff has been on my mind as of late. Here we go!

1. What was it that initially sparked your interest with Tarot? 
I think I mentioned this a few times but I've never really been a tarot person. I read Elder Futhark since I was 15 years old and considered runes to be the divination tool for a very long time. You know, Futhark 4 life, screw other tools, they're lame and mainstream - not interested!
Something changed after I graduated from uni. Those five years of studying psychology were a time of withdrawal from any kind of spiritual practice, it was time of the Mind, of getting to know and understanding my Self and shedding some unnecessary beliefs, habits, ways of thinking that I picked up on my life path thus far (and gaining a whole new baggage of shit!). I was very much interested in spirituality, liminal experiences, transpersonal and jungian psychology, altered states of consciousnes and the like but it wasn't really the main focus of who I was at that time. If it wasn't for my thesis I've no idea who I'd be today. I was always curious to know how spiritual experiences actually affect our lives and whether or not they influence its quality, so I decided to research it. This research and the whole thesis opened my eyes and made me experience somewhat of a reawakening, coming back to roots, rediscovering my old Self - but this time in completely new ways. I'm not going to describe this shit in detail here because it would probably take (p)ages, but that's basically what sparked my interest with Tarot. I got intrigued and decided to just give it a shot.

2. Is it what you expected it to be and if not, in what ways were your expectations defied?
I didn't have high expectations. All I knew was that it was going to require a lot of studying and that I might not like it as much as runes. I also expected it to work similarly to runes when it comes to divination because I had no idea it could be different. But generally, I craved for something new and complex that I could just dive into and get lost in for months - that part didn't disappoint me! As for the rest, I had to learn that tarot is a completely different tool and I needed to find out what it feels like to me and what it's going to be useful for.

3. How do you primarily use Tarot? I.e. for divination, self-reflection, analysis, shadow work, ritual or something else?
All of the above. Rather than primary use, I'd say for me it's about the primary focus - Self. Growth, reflection, transgression, processing, gaining perspective, inspiration. "Knowing Thyself" is what all this is about for me. Divination (as in gaining insight by interpreting omens and signs, not fortune telling) is a technique used to get to know one's own symbology, which - when practiced and mastered - significantly helps with deciphering the contents of our subconscious (shadow work). As for self-reflection and analysis, it's mostly for solution oriented "operations" - dealing with problematic things that we're conscious of (unlike with the shadow work related stuff) and need a tool to help us come up with an answer, help us find direction or get inspired. Sure, in practice all of these are basically same shit - doing a spread or a single card analysis - but I find this kind of breakdown by function really useful in terms of meeting my (or someone else's) needs without having to spend too much time thinking about what it is that I'm dealing with.
My favorite has to be shadow work, even though it's not what I do most often - once or twice a year in condensed monthly (or shorter) sessions is enough for my personal taste. What I actually use tarot the most for is inspiration - daily or weekly portions of food for thought, something to meditate on. I really don't need much, little goes a long way for me. And I definitely don't use tarot every time I stumble on a hardship - I prefer to solve problems "on my own" to stay sharp. As useful of a tool as it is, it's sad to see people who are dependent on it. After all, it is just a tool and a tool is supposed to be used for something, not become that something in itself.

What's your thoughts on this, people? 

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