Once upon a time, I wrote a little bit about how sometimes weird visuals and random “junk” in your head can actually be the gods trying to communicate with you, or push you into places you might not normally go. And after seeing Tess Dawson’s post called “Back Away From the Tarot Cards!” I wanted to elaborate on this a bit more.
In this post, Dawson discusses how practitioners of Natib Qadish should “think twice before bothering with Tarot cards and other prevalent Western European forms of divination”. According to her post, this is because “the deities of the culture are better able and more comfortable communicating in an oracle compatible with their cultural metaphors”.
I would like to contest this concept with the simple notion that “the gods use whatever language they have to to get our attention.”
Now, I want to start this off by saying that I do agree that knowing the symbolism of your religion and your particular god’s culture can be useful. Knowing what scarabs and ankhs and djed pillars mean can certainly help you to decipher visions and messages from Kemetic gods.
Except when it doesn’t.
Let’s take a look at this right here:
This is a vision given to me by Osiris sometime earlier this year. I was stressed and worried and he threw me in the river and showed me this, and apparently it’s the “answer” to whatever my problems are.
Let’s break this down- you’ve got the was, a symbol of Set and dominion over chaos. You’ve got double wings- often shown on heka statues. And… you’ve got someone that is standing authoritatively with colors that are commonly used in Egyptian art with their own meanings.
All of the symbolism in the world and I still don’t know what the hell this vision is trying to tell me (which is why we say that Osiris speaks in “wingdings”).
The point I’m trying to illustrate here is that if the gods want you to understand something, they will ensure that they use a language that you understand. Even though I know quite a bit about Egyptian symbolism, the gods know how to mask the point behind symbols- foreign (Kemetic in this case) or otherwise (modern, Western). This is further reinforced by the fact that many of us are called to specific deities before we even know a lick about that deity’s culture, religion, or symbolism.
When the gods are trying to communicate with us and they actually want us to get the point (sometimes gods are purposely vague for a variety of reasons), they will ensure that their messages are in a language that we get. This is easily seen by how Set communicates with me- he picks symbols that I understand. Symbols that come from someone who lives in modern Western culture, but also understands and works with Japanese culture as well. Both Set and Osiris use symbols that are unique to myself, and only myself. Using a symbol that is important to someone entirely different will mean nothing- because they are talking to me.
Dreams and visions and communication are all very personal. The language that the gods choose to speak to you in will be personal. To believe that you can’t utilize a divination device that is “foreign” to your religious culture seems folly. The gods will use whatever means they need to to get through to you, regardless of its point of origin. And if the system you’re using isn’t working for you, that’s not the fault of you or the system- it just means that you might benefit from experimenting with other methods.
And why wouldn’t they communicate in a variety of ways and languages? They want something from you- so it stands to reason that they would make sure that you understand what they mean. Otherwise, their offering plates could go empty for a while, or they have to invest more time and effort into getting what they want out of you. At that point, the only one “suffering” from you not getting the picture is them.
And if you don’t get it the first time, they’ll progressively “dumb it down” for you until you do. So maybe the ring of flour made no sense, so perhaps they’ll try a ring of salt. An SPN person might get that, but maybe you don’t, so instead they’ll send you a picture of a dead bolt, or an alarm system – all trying to warn you about protecting yourself. And if the pictures and dreams no longer make sense, they may just send another unwitting person to suddenly bring up the topic of “hey, you ever consider working on protection spells?”
Gods aren’t dumb and we shouldn’t underestimate their capacity to express concepts to us. They are gods after all. And they’ll use whatever language they need to get through to you.