Monthly Archives: February 2013

D is for Dice and Divination Part 2

Guess what time it is?

It’s time for Dice and Divination Part 2.  Last week I described an oracle called, “The Book of Doors” in detail. I would suggest reading that post before this one, because it will make more sense in the long run.

I first saw the “Book of Doors” in 2005 and promptly bought it. I was amazed as to how different it was to Tarot. As I taught myself the system, I noticed the readings I performed with the dice did more for me than the readings with the cards. I found the cards worked well for using as icons in rituals and giving imagery to others when I told stories.  I tried to learn how to interpret the meanings according to the system. It was very difficult to find a resonance with the concepts as they were stated in the book, but I still worked to figure it out.

A little later, the dice for the oracle was lost and never seen again. I went to the neighborhood Shinders to try and find an eight-sided dice to replace the lost one. They had a bunch of different colors to choose from and I got a few of them to try. I noticed the difference between the “feel” of each one as I used them.

I later discovered a store up in St Cloud, Minnesota called “Paddy’s Game Shop” and it was while I was looking in the store at their bin of dice that I figured out I could make a system based on multiple dice. How the idea came up in the first place, I couldn’t tell you.

The first system used sixteen dice. One set of eight was the “Earth” or “Ta” dice and the second set was the “Heaven” or “Pet” dice. The two sets were used to compare and contrast how the readings went based on the earthly connection and the connection to heaven. This was an emphasis taken from the original oracle but put to a higher place than the alchemy aspect in the oracle. The dice were either rolled one dice two times to place on the square or the whole set was rolled (or better yet cast) to place within each family. I no longer read the meanings based on what was listed in the book, but rather literally based on what I knew about each concept/deity. I would use this system until about 2010 and then another change would happen.

I decided to take the system further and allow more flexibility (or so I thought the end result would be). This systems could utilize up to sixty-dice and was meant to be set up to go back to the “Alchemy” aspect littered throughout the original oracle. Each of the eight families had the other families embedded within them. For example, in Earth there was an Earth in Earth, Water in Earth, Heaven in Earth, Fire in Earth, Sun in Earth, Moon in Earth, Wind in Earth, and Duat in Earth. This was done across all of the families.

As you can probably imagine, the possibilities for readings was endless. There was also an element of individual investment added to this system. Individuals could now have their own dice as a representative for themselves. Now, the types of readings could be endless. As I explored I found that although there was a potential for the system to go far,  there was a disconnection I couldn’t put my finger on until a little later in fall of 2012.

I found the disconnection was between my religious “work” and my divination. I was working divination too much as a tool for storytelling and explaining my path and studies rather than a function of self-reflection and assistance ( the oracle pings the top and I wasn’t pinging correctly). My path has been under close scrutiny for some time by myself and (UPG moment) at the level of the Neteru. I hit the point where I felt the need to sit down and figure out what I really wanted to do with everything. I decided it was time to start using divination as divination was supposed to be used and use other facets of my path for the studies and storytelling.

Before this point (to be honestly blunt), the underlying idea was, “I could make this elaborate system shiny and original” but it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t what I feel I needed and wanted from the oracle. It was overkill and didn’t connect with my own practices. I was reading as if it was a story but wasn’t making the connection of what it means outside of “here is some fun facts”. I changed the reading style to look at what attributes from my understanding (somewhat based on the oracle, but for the most part from personal experience and study). For example, rather than saying “This is Aset who is yada-yada-yada” it was “This is Aset, who is blank and this attribute is making itself known because of blank blankity-blank”. The latest system is still in process, but is fairly much complete at the lowest level for the time being.

The name of the last system is “Shen”. I named it based on the idea of encircling, eternity, and the idea of names as embodiments of the people.  I have included below the diagrams of the different levels and what is included in each level.

 

Levels to Shen

Levels to Shen

The breakout of the Families and their meanings

The breakout of the Families and their meanings

 

Strangers and very brief acquaintances only have access to the Sheut or “Shade” dice. If I know someone for a little longer, they can choose their own Sa and use that one, including rolling their dice on their own time and sending me numbers to do a reading. The level above that are the people whom I know well and they are able to use another eight dice that can either be literal (their associated elements) or “divination” meanings (the last listed part in the second diagrams).

The last level, or the “Ankh” level (which includes a person getting four more of their own dice as listed above) can only be achieved by a few factors: A) I have to trust the person, B) they must have taken the oath to get their Sa dice and have had it for at least three months and have had at least ten readings, and C) have an understanding of what it means to have the parts of their soul labeled/materialized.  I want to emphasize both the seriousness and the directness to the people interested. This includes a study guide (an in process project that will be done shortly as I have one person currently interested).  After the person hits the point of being able to get their other pieces, a ritual is done to sync them together.

I believe that when others use items that are representations of themselves, it should be taken seriously. If my system works, and I think it does, the person will be walking around with “keys” to their souls. It can be dangerous if not taken responsibly. Becoming Makhaut is not a requirement for the system to function, it just gives a depth.

I wanted to share with others one of the main systems of divination in my practice because the ability to choose and create my relationship to the world, myself, the divine, and others is very important to me. I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative. If someone would like to know more, I could do more detail, but I didn’t want to bore too many people all at once.

Until next time, cheers!

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Project Runarounds in the Dead of Winter

I know I said in my last post my Usekh was on hiatus, right?

I’m pretty sure that I said my Usekh was not going to be worked on.

The universe has had other ideas, and I’m working on the Usekh again.

Why, oh why does this happen to me? I haven’t been able to pinpoint a successful design, but yet the in-process bead-monster-of-a-thing was there in front of me, staring at me, and so I put three more hours in to it and I am trying  blueprint idea #6.

I came unto the idea this last weekend of making a sistrum for Paganicon because there will be a ritual to Het-Hert I’m going to participate in, and I’m due for making a sistrum, it seems. Unlike the Usekh, this project should only be a day-project at the most. I’ve begun the list of supplies I will need for it, and then this weekend, I will get cracking at it.

There’s also the post for PBP this week, the “Shen” Study Guide, the canvases, the necklaces, what I’m going to wear for the Paganicon Ball, and a few others I’ve repressed because there’s too much.

…..so many projects, so little time. At least when the weather outside is frightful, the crafting will be so delightful.

D is for Dice and Divination Part 1

My choice for “D” was a very, very easy one. “D” allows me to introduce an aspect of my practice or “craft” in development for the last six years: Dice and Divination. I decided to split the portion in to two parts, because I am a wordy person and there is a ton of information. I am also making the assumption that the system I’m using is not well-known.

The oracle is called “The Book of Doors: An Alchemical Oracle from Ancient Egypt” created by Athon Veggi and Alison Davidson. The set comes with a 246 page book, a 65 card deck, and a black eight-sided dice. In a nutshell, the oracle concepts/ideas have a foundation in Kemetic-Hermeticism and early alchemical thought processes. There are two main ways to use the oracle.

The first way is to shuffle the cards as is done with other Tarot and Oracle card decks. The cards have a very textured look and there is an emphasis on symbolism.  Examples as to what the art looks like can be seen here:  (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/book-of-doors/).

There is one 10-card layout listed in the book. The basic overview of the layout is the makeup of the world with Ra, Shu, Nut, and Geb. They can be read like Tarot, and there is a chapter in the book of which cards function with which Tarot major arcana card meanings. The system can also be used purely as an oracle using the cards meanings as listed at the end of each of their sections. I have the square below for your viewing pleasure.

The second way to work a reading is to roll the eight-sided dice twice to first find the column then the family. The locations of each concept/deity is chosen by the Pythagorean Theorem and basic numerology (numbers 1-8).

"Book of Doors" Grid

“Book of Doors” Grid

64 of the deities/concepts are split out between eight families based on different “elements”. The 65th is “Neter Neteru” (The all as one and is typically in use when one of the others appears more than once). Each family tied to  writing by Hermes Trismegistus (a Greek name for Tehuti) called the Emerald Tablet. I will apologize in advance as these sections are going to be repetitive and to the point (more like listing, than making a point, but oh well).

The first family is the “Tepi-Aui-Un” or “The Eight Primordials” and are based in the element of water. It consists of four frog headed gods and four snake-headed goddesses. This group is called the Ogdoad. The phrase from the Emerald Tablet used is, “What is below is as that which is above, and what is above is as that which is below”. The family includes Nu, Nut (or Nanut as I know Her), Hehu, Hehut, Kekiu, Kekiut, Kerh, and Kerhet.

The second family is called “Pet” the family of “Heaven”. It consists of some of the deities whose work greatly influenced the creation and maintenance of the Universe. The phrase used from the Emerald Tablet used  is, “It rises from Earth to Heaven and again descends into Earth, and it receives the strength of things above and below.” The family includes Kem-T (which is the black “chaos”), Shen-Ur (The “Circuit of Heaven”), Ra, Kheper-Ra, Sepdet (star form of Aset), Neith,  Seshet, and Ma’at.

The third family is “Aakhut” the family of Fire.  The family consists of deities who have a strong connection to the cosmology of Memphis. The process this family embodies is the use of fire to remove energy from matter. The phrase taken from the Emerald Tablet is, “Thou shall separate the Earth from the fire, the subtle from the dense”. The deities include Ptah, Bast, Sekhmet, Bes, Nefertmu, Het-Hert, Asthoreth, and Imhotep.

The fourth family is “Aah” and they are the family of the Moon.  The family consists of deities who influence the cosmology of Theban Mysteries. The phrase taken from the Emerald Tablet is, “The moon is its Mother”. Here I will give some props to the authors because they do point out the moon is gender-fluid in the Kemetic view (The closest goddess of the moon in my own practice is actually a hermaphrodite so take that people-who-say-the-moon-is-always-purely-female).  The deities include Amon (or Amon-Re as I know Him), Apet, Amsu (aka Min), Khnemu, Tehuti, Mut, Khons (trololololo cause he trolls me hard), and Kematef.

The fifth family “Ra”, and they are the family of the Sun. This family consists of members of the “Heliopolitan Ennead”. The phrase taken from the Emerald Tablet is, “The Sun is its Father.” The deities include Atum-Ra (the “Pharaoh-in-his-prime” Ra), Shu-Tefnut, Set, Nebthet, Aset, Geb-Nut-Shu, Heru, and Asar.

The sixth family is “Nef”, and they are the family of Wind. The family includes deities that are imperative for birth and rebirth. The Emerald Tablet phrase is, “The wind has carried it in its belly”. The deities include Meskhenet,  Renenet, Meh-Urt, Af-Neteru (the peeps of the Canopic Jars), Bennu (Phoenix), Serqet, Shai, and Mafdet (Queen of Swords, literally and figuratively).

The seventh family is “Ta” and they are the family of the Earth. The family consists of deities closely tied to the processes of Earth and the processes that shape Heaven within the earthly sphere. The phrase from Pet is repeated, “It rises from Earth to Heaven and again descends into Earth, and it receives the strength of things above and below.” Once again, props to the authors for pointing out a foundation of Earth (granted not the only one) is Geb, a god, not a goddess (take that the-earth-is-the-mother-of-all-and-you’re-not-doing-it-right). The deities are Geb, Sobek, Udjit, Nekhbet, Hapi, Akeru, Satet, and Aner-En-Rekh (the Alchemist persona in the oracle).

The eighth and last family is “Duat” and it is the family of (you can guess) the Duat. The family consists of the main deities and concepts to usher from death to rebirth.  The second part of the phrase from the Tepi-Aui-Un is repeated, “What is below is as that which is above”. The family consists of Seker, Apep, Anpu, Shesmu 42 (the 42 Assessors), Ammit, Amenta, Unu-T 4-5 (the period of the 4th to the 5th hour of night, the darkest and one ruled by Seker), and Pert-Em-Hru (Coming Forth by Day aka Ra is born at dawn).

The path I ran with and  developed before I changed the system was using the personification of the forces represented (each card in its own right) and mapping how those forces are figuratively (abstract ideas/ideals) and literally (deities knocking on your door).  I will touch more upon my developement when I started and  how it evolved in the next post (If I haven’t scared everyone off with the droning). I hope you enjoyed the oracle lesson. Until next time, cheers!

The crack of twilight before the dawn

I figured I may as well let people know I’m not dead yet (the blog has been for awhile, but not me). I am in deep preparation for my first post for the “Pagan Blog Project 2013”. I’m stoked and nervous all rolled in to one. The post will be about an aspect of my practice that is near and dear to my heart. I don’t want to give anything away so on to other topics.

Many of the grandiose plans I had to get my lazy bones moving on projects fell by the wayside because of trying to get a handle on a very stressful period on my rollercoaster of a life. Here is a breakdown on what I have scrapped, half-assed, and achieved success at.

Remembering ritual days and working on a good calender has been put on a backburner for the time being. I have found my sensibilities and active Netjeru are so fluid that if I catch a day, it’s meant to be. If I don’t catch the days or feasts, it wasn’t meant to happen yet. I have yet to get backlash from the Netjeru and until I do, I’m not going to stress the little details.

I was working on a usekh (the collars we all know and love) and had put over 60 hours in the blasted thing and in that time, scrapped and started over at least five times. It’s been put on hold for the sake of my sanity. I’m determined to finish it, but gods, it’s too much at once. I am still beading, but necklaces and other smaller experiments are being created. Along with this is a mixed media project including canvases and beads.

I have begun to paint again and am working on an eight-piece minimalist/hieroglyphic series chronicling the creation of the Universe based on my “interpretative” creation story. I will have photos of the paintings as they progress, but they are in the beginning stages, it’s not as interesting as I hope they will be later on.

I have begun to revisit my books and re-collect how and what I know along with digging deep to find what I want to know more about. I would like to think I have a wealth of knowledge, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. Given how much mis-information I am finding I learned, it’s going to be a long path. I’m looking forward to it.

I have created the candle-holder that is the symbol of me in the hearth my roommate and I have at our home. We have yet to fully consecrate but we are in steady preparation for the time it will be. You can see what it looks like below!

Hearth Candle

There is probably much more I am forgetting on my long list, but I needed to blow some steam off as I have been in spiritual-work-overdrive mode since I came home tonight. In that flurry, I had a hankering to revive the old-young blog before Friday and give people something to read. I would say I’m sorry if I bored you, but that’s just not true in my book. I always like to hear what others are working on, and I hope there are some souls out there who feel the same way and enjoyed my rambling. Until next time, cheers!