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Oracles are Wingdings

Wingdings – Happy Birthday by ~MidnightSurprise

Alternative title: The Nature of a Trance
Alternative title #2: Trancework Will Make You Its Bitch

I recently read a post by Tess Dawson about Cradling Oracles. In this post, she suggests a number of actions to be taken when working with oracles, visions and dreams. Above all, the message seems to be that in order to be able to experience the “kiss of inspiration” that an oracle brings, you must be clean and gentle.

After reading the post, I mulled over how it is I interact with oracles and visions and I came to the following conclusion: I don’t really think that oracles, visions and dreams are something you cradle. They cradle you (to put it nicely or poetically).

To be more accurate, they drown you and suck you in. You feel the wave of the vision rushing towards you, and before you can even think to run away you’re dragging in under the tide. They take you and claim you as their own.They hit you like a tidal wave and take the breath out of you. Once you finally finish and are able to resurface to get a gasp of air into your lungs, you’ll find that they burn like fire because you’ve succumbed to the water for so long, you forget what air feels like.

And once you’ve finally got some of your sense back to you, you’ll be left wallowing or basking in the feeling of the whole thing, dumbstruck and wondering what the hell you just experienced.

In short, visions are not something you control. While its true that some vision work will allow you minor control (starting or stopping the vision, rewinding the vision, possibly the ability to move around in the vision space), you shouldn’t go into them expecting to control them – if you’ve even got enough of your wits about you to even consider control once you’ve fallen into the oracular crack pit. So much of vision work involves a loss of control, and many of the methods behind seeking out visions (or receiving them) involves you not really being yourself or overly present anymore. The whole point is to let your brain go so that you can take visions in.

It is quite literally like falling into an ocean and hoping that you can get what you need out of the ocean before you run out of breath.

Hell, in Japanese tradition, oracles are so taxing and consuming that you need a second person present to question the person channeling the kami in particular. It’s taxing to take this amount of information into your brain all at once. And considering that the imagery is often very traumatic or mind blowing, it can leave you feeling spent for days after the fact.

Not to mention that many visions and oracles are in another language. I call Osiris Mr. Wingdings for a reason- he speaks in visions and symbols. He speaks in a language that I can’t read- and most visions are the same way. You fall in, receive a host of symbols and gestures and hope to the gods you can piece it all together once you’re done. It’s not clear cut, and there is a lot of room for interpretation.

And unlike interpreting runes or tarot cards, reading animal entrails, or interpreting the flight patterns of birds- all of which are forms of interpreting omens, one does not usually consciously interpret an oracle (or get a choice in experiencing an oracular session or vision). Oracles and visions are direct communication with the spirit world and are not something one can control and observe from a safe distance. The word “oracle” comes from the Latin verb ōrāre, “to speak,” and refers to a person in an altered state delivering cryptic prophecy, often “possessed with the voice” of a God. When one is delivering an oracle, the God or spirit has seized the individual and is forcing the message through that person, whether they’re ready for it or not, whether they understand it or not.

Or to put it succinctly, reading omens are like having a god sit in front of you and tell you XYZ. Delivering an oracle or experiencing a vision or trance is like having the deity barf those ideas onto your head and down your windpipe.

And this really does follow along the lines of another idea I’ve been mulling over lately. You see, when it comes to Pagandom or polytheism at large, it seems that everyone thinks in two categories. You’ve got people who are laypeople and people who are priests or clergy. But I feel like this discussion about oracles and vision questers and astral travelers really hits home for me that there is a third category of people that we need to discuss.

These are the people who mingle in between priesthood and laity. They are the folks who are close to the gods because they’re sat and talked with them, been drowned by them, and been led on crack-infested adventures via visions and dreams. To use a Kemetic metaphor, I would expect these people to be the ones whom people would consult for assistance with problems and remedies. They weren’t the purified priests who spent their days in front of kar shrines and offering tables. These were the people who lived on the edge of town, and in between day to day tasks, they would get led off into no-man’s land by various spirits.

By modern terms, these folks might considered shamans, mediums, or something similar. I know that most people who fall into this category classify it as “woo folks”.

But these people are the people who live in the mire that is visions and oracles. They speak and breath in oracular visions and dreams of crack laden donkeys. These are the folks who pay the price to get the visions – not necessarily out of choice, but because sometimes your head is broken open.

These people don’t cradle an oracle. We know that cleansing and purifying before a vision questing session is a futile effort because we know that getting to the meat of such a beast is a dirty job. Perhaps the method for a priest is different when attaining these things, but to speak in such absolutes as the OP did (in my opinion) gives this unrecognized third category no credit to the work that it does (and has done in the past).

Interacting with the spirit world is messy business. Even if you start out clean, you’re going to end up dirty. And in my experience, you don’t hold onto anything in the process of watching a vision, you get laid out barren by the entities at hand who are showing you these things. You’re reduced to a passive watcher who has no choice to be take note of the images playing across your vision.

If anything, I think that the advice to be given to folks who deal in oracular visions isn’t that you should “cradle” the vision- oh no. That’s about as effective as cradling a cactus. The vision is its own living entity and much like a god, it doesn’t need cradling. Instead, I offer this as an alternative:

Cradle yourself.

Learn to take care of yourself, because gods know that this line of work is going to do its damndest to chew you up and spit you out. Instead of worrying about the oracle’s needs- consider your own. Build up your own network of entities and people that can assist you so that when the next batch of visions and prophecies beat you upside the head, you have the means to come back from it alive and not in a million pieces.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work, Rambles

 

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The Gods Use Whatever Language They Have To

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.

 

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Devo Magix: Vision Questing

Alternate title: How to Crack Out

Disclaimer: I have no clue if vision questing is the right term to use. I’m not taking this term from any other culture- it’s something I came up with to try and describe what I do when I literally go out looking for visions. If there is a better term for this sort of thing, please let me know so I can use what is considered “standard” terminology.

As I’m sure many of my readers have heard by now – I have a proverbial IV of crack flowing in my veins. I’ve received visions and weird ass images in my brain for many many years now. Sometimes, these visions just come to me. However, over the years I have learned a thing or two about chasing visions down. I wanted to discuss some methods about how I track down visions, which I lovingly refer to as crack. While I initially used these methods to obtain visions, it is possible to use these methods to access the astral, the gods, or a host of other things. So be aware that it can be a mixed bag of what you could get when you dip your toes into the crack filled lake that is the UnSeen.

Please be advised that these methods will not be suitable for everyone. Please use your discretion when trying these methods and I am not responsible if you hurt yourself from using my ideas.

When I started seeking visions, I found that I needed the right mixture of tired and awake to get anywhere. If you’re too exhausted, you’ll fall asleep. If you’re too awake, you’ll likely be too excited or alert to actually get anywhere. In my experience, you need to be passively alert to get the best results.

But Devo, how on earth do I do that? That doesn’t sound possible.

Believe it or not, you’ve likely hit this place of passive alertness before and not even realized it. Ever found yourself daydreaming while staring at the wall? That’s a good example of it. How about having a cat nap- where you’re not really asleep, but not really awake? That’s another good example. Often times we hit this state without even realizing it. And that’s part of the trick- realizing you’re in this state without breaking the state. When I first started, I’d often get into a good rhythm, and then go “oh my god! I’m actually doing it!” and promptly lose it because I became too alert and broke the trance I was in. Learning how to get there and stay conscious enough to remember what you see is key.

With the methods listed below, I recommend that you start by letting your brain wander. Just let it go wander off somewhere. The more still you can make your brain, the easier it’ll be for you to retrieve things. However, if you sit there the whole time telling yourself “I must relax. I must relax,” you’ll end up being too tense to actually, you know… relax. So let your mind go where it wants to. The more you practice, the easier it’ll be to let your mind roam. The better your mind is at roaming, the more likely it is to return with a nice batch of crack for you to look at. You can also try asking a deity for assistance when doing this, if that’s your thing.

So, what are some common methods I use to get into this state?

Driving.
Yes, seriously. Driving. This isn’t recommended for everyone, but I find that driving at 70 miles an hour is very zen like and relaxing. I’m just focusing on the road and my brain sorta goes into auto-pilot. I’m alert enough because I’m making sure I’m not going to kill anyone. However, I’m relaxed because the vibrations of the car and the pattern of the dotted line on the road just relax me somehow. Some of my first visions came from this method and I wasn’t even trying to get them.

Puzzles, Coloring/Painting/Drawing, Cleaning/Doing Chores.
Once again, all of these are things that keep me slightly mentally active- but are mind numbing enough that I can sometimes hear or see things.

Hiking or Going For a Walk.
Many times when I go for walks in quiet places, I will find that my mind starts to wander- and gets lost out in crack-ville. Certain locations and times of the year work better than others. I find that being comfortable while I walk is important if I want to get anywhere. If it’s too sunny, cold, hot, etc. it won’t work.

Listening to Music.
Sometimes, I can listen to music and get caught up in the sound and the movement of the music that I retrieve images or visions. Different types of music will give me different results. Quiet, lulling music will likely make me fall asleep. Active music tends to give me more successful results.

Sex.
Seriously. Yes. After the fact, I am usually quite relaxed and can sometimes get into a semi-lucid state where I can see stuff.

Dancing.
For those who have talked to me about vision questing- this is more or less my “signature method.” Dancing is by far the best method I have found to obtain visions. However, this method is the most physically taxing – to the point that there was a 2 year period where I couldn’t do it because it was too demanding on my body. Generally, my process in regards to dancing is fairly simple: I dance until I can’t dance anymore. Once I can’t dance anymore, I will lay down and wait to see if things come to me. If they do- great. If not, I will attempt to get up and dance some more, basically repeating the process until something comes to me. If I’m really trying to push myself, I will combine the dancing and sexing bits to try and push my limits further. I find that dancing in a dark room works best- as my eyes will have little to focus on, and I’ll be forced to focus on the music and movement. I also find that having my music super loud helps to drown out any mental noise that could distract me (I also have a habit of cranking up my music when driving for the same reasons).

I tried these and it’s not working? What now?

There are a few things I can say when the methods above don’t work:

  • These aren’t the methods for you- try to find something that works best for you. Active meditation/cracking isn’t for everyone.
  • Keep trying- it can take multiple attempts (and years for some) to get good at it. Not every attempt will bear fruit. There have been times where I have danced for over an hour and not successfully received anything.
  • Perhaps this isn’t your skill set. Not everyone is hardwired to receive visions or crack out. There is nothing wrong with this. Where you should draw the line for ‘having tried enough and this isn’t for me’ vs. ‘need to keep trying to develop the skill’ will be different for everyone.

I tried some of the methods above and I think I accidentally stumbled onto the astral. What do I do?

Technically, we all access the astral to some extent every day. We dream in the astral. If you talk to gods, you likely do that astrally to an extent. Some argue that we live in one of the layers of the astral. When it comes to things of this nature, I’ve found that visions usually come of one of two varieties (or a combination of both):

  • Images that you can’t control- like watching a movie. No amount of will on your part will allow you to influence what you’re seeing. These are visions.
  • Images that you can control or interact with- just like in your waking life. For this particular tutorial, we will call this accessing the astral.

Sometimes, an experience will start as the first- a movie you’re watching, and will end up as the second- a world or situation you can manipulate or influence.

So what happens when you end up in the second category? That largely depends on what type of situation you find yourself in. Before you being seeking visions, I recommend that you read up on what types of things you could potentially come in contact with- as it is possible to attempt to get the first selection above, but accidentally get stuck with the second (see useful links at the bottom).

If you do happen to stumble into a situation that is more than just watching a movie- your first step is to assess what exactly is going on. Are you around people you know (such as deities) or not? Do they appear friendly? Do they even realize you’re there? If you find that you are not being noticed, or that you can simply observe without conflict- do exactly that. Watch what is going on and stay quiet until you can leave or are excused. However, it is possible to blip onto the astral into a dangerous situation.

If you find yourself in a dangerous situation you have a few options:

You can cut bait and leave right then and there. Pull yourself out of the meditation/trance/etc. Ground yourself. Possibly cleanse and ward yourself up for safety (I usually do this by eating something and taking a shower). The downside to this is that you could potentially leave a part of you in that area of the astral that may or may not have it’s ass handed to it now and/or stolen (this is not common, but can happen).

Or you can fight. Fighting ability will depend highly on the realm you are in. In many cases, the sky is the limit. Anything you can think up- you can do. Don’t be scared to push the limits of logic to come up with a means to kick butt. In many cases, you can create and manifest weaponry and magix out of thin air to get the job done. With any luck, the person/entity picking on you will realize you are not worth their time and leave. At which point you can come out of the vision/trance that you are in and follow up with grounding and cleansing as mentioned above, if you feel you need it.

If you stumble into the astral once, be aware that it can happen again. If you manage to get there once, I would recommend learning more about protective measures on the astral before attempting to crack out again- just in case.

On the by and large, vision questing can be a very interesting and useful practice. It’s a good means to get insight to situations, ideas for stories or art projects, and its a good way to communicate with the gods/spirits around us. Even before I began interacting with the astral, I loved to look for visions- just for the aesthetics alone. If you do try any of the methods above, let me know how they work for you!

Good luck cracking out!

This post has been edited from its original form. I made an error in using the acronym ADD as an adjective, which is offensive to anyone who is diagnosed with or has ADD. I apologize for this oversight and have changed the verbiage above to remove the offensive sentence/wording.

Relevant Links:

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Astral, Devo Magix Series

 

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