May 29, 2017
Abacomancy, geloscopy, haruspicy, cleromancy, floriography...It might all sound like a foreign language, but it’s actually just the tip of the iceberg that is the wonderful world of divination.
Cultures all over the world have practiced divination for centuries. While often considered to be ‘fortune-telling’, divination is much more multifold and complex. In essence, divination is a means of gaining subconscious insight into a present challenge or situation. This insight might then affect the way you see your future path laid out, or the actions you take, hence the connection to prophesy and fortune-telling.
There are almost countless kinds of divination techniques. You’re probably wondering what the opening methods mean, so we’ll happily enlighten you. Abacomancy = interpretation of patterns in dust; geloscopy = divination through laughter; haruspicy = studying omens in animal entrails; cleromancy = casting of lots (e.g. rolling dice) and floriography = the hidden language of flowers. And that’s just a few! It would take scrolls and scrolls to go through them all, so we’ll share some of the methods that we favour here at Dragonspace.
Historically, runes were an ancient writing system, used before the adoption of the Latin alphabet. But these jagged symbols were also believed to hold magical properties. The 24 runes most commonly used in rune casting and rune magic are collectively known as the Elder Futhark, with each rune symbol having a specific meaning or association. For example, the ‘Fehu’ rune is the rune of wealth and fulfilment, while the ‘Algiz’ is the rune of protection and opportunity. We’d recommend the Rune Site for full rune meanings.
Rune casting is the act of drawing small stones etched with rune symbols from a bag and placing the ones you draw in a specific pattern on a surface. The positions/points within the pattern represent states such as the past, the future, present challenges and outcomes - much like a tarot spread. The symbolic meaning behind the rune that lands on each position helps you gain insight into challenges or important decisions you might be facing in your life, and possible paths of action. Like all divination, the key to casting runes is in your intention and personal connection to the practice. Choose runes that feel right for you - be it the colour, size or texture - and work on forging a familiarity between the stones and your hands.
Helping customers choose a pendulum is one of our favourite tasks here at Dragonspace. These gemstone beauties are gorgeous, so people often flock to one because they love that particular crystal, or an elegant shape caught their eye. However, just like buying a car, it's a good idea to test a pendulum to see if it’s truly the right fit for you...though intuition can also work!
Pendulums can be used in a few ways, but we recommend customers hold the pendulum by the tip of its chain over the centre of your open palm and wait for it to start moving. It will - trust us! Strong movements indicate a strong connection, whereas a pendulum that weakly wobbles probably isn’t the right fit - though might be for a different customer.
Pendulums work by ‘programming’ the tool to move in one direction to indicate a positive response, and another to indicate a negative response. Once the pendulum is programmed, you can then use the tool to help you answer questions, from personal ones (‘do I want to change my job?’) to more specific ones (some people believe that holding a pendulum over a map can help you find lost things).
Browse our pendulum collection here - (even if you can't test them, one might jump out at you from the screen).
The heady aroma of our incense collection is a big part of the sensory experience of Dragonspace - you can smell it as soon as you walk in the door! Jasmine, patchouli, green tea, cedar, ‘Dragon’s blood'...the scents are varied and personal. Most people buy incense for its aroma, but patterns in incense smoke can also be used for divinatory purpose.
Called ‘libranomacy’ or ‘libanomancy’, divining through incense smoke is most effective when using loose incense or resin cast on burning coals. This allows you to interpret the ‘pops’ and ‘crackles’ the incense makes whilst burning. But the direction of the smoke from a burning stick or cone of incense can also be interpreted. For example, if the smoke moves away from you, it suggests a negative outcome; if it moves towards you, it suggests a positive one; if the smoke clusters, it suggests profit and triumph; if it’s fragmented, it suggests loss or defeat. In Ancient Babylonian times, incense divination was used during times of war or conflict to determine fates of enemies and battle. These days, it can be used in much the same way as rune casting, pendulum magic or tarot and oracle readings - to help you figure out personal matters and conundrums.
And of course, there are the ever-popular tarot and oracle cards, which we wrote about previously in a post here.
May 01, 2017 1 Comment
Today is a day for raging bonfires and promising summer pastures, flower garlands and bright ribbons. Today is May 1st, halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Today is what many of you will know as ‘Beltane’, the Celtic fire festival of fertility and high spring.
The Celtic year is traditionally split into two halves - the dark and the light. Samhain (celebrated at the end of October/beginning of November, and associated with the modern-day Halloween) heralds the beginning of the ‘dark’ part of the year. Beltane, celebrated now, heralds the ‘light’. There were many colourful rites and rituals the Celts undertook at Beltane; a number of which still persist today. Let’s take a look at some of the old and new ways of celebrating this sacred seasonal festival.
Traditionally, the Celts would build large bonfires on the eve of Beltane and drive the tribal livestock through the fire for purification and increased fertility. Leaping across the fire was said to bring good luck - for young people, finding a lover; for travellers, a safe journey; for the ill, a quick recovery.
While safety and animal welfare concerns might make this tradition less prevalent, fire is still a corner-store of modern day Beltane festivities. Revellers still build roaring bonfires to dance and sit around. Ashes from the fires can be rubbed on the skin, and food cooked in the fire’s embers is said to take on its purification powers. Even if you don’t have the ability to build a bonfire, simple candle rituals and burning sacred herbs can be a good way to pay your respects to the shifting seasons this Beltane.
Spiritual deities make up a large part of Beltane lore. The May Queen is a common figure - also known as the Spring Goddess, Flora or the May Bride, she is the female manifestation of growth and renewal. Stories have her marrying The Oak King (the Green Man, Jack-in-the-Green) at Beltane, uniting the earth with the sky, and the masculine with the feminine. Cernunnos is also an important Beltane character. Sometimes considered one and the same as the Green Man, Cernunnos is the horned god, the god of the green, and the king of fertility and vegetation.
While these figures aren’t worshipped as commonly today, their energies are still felt at Beltane. The festival is a common time for handfasting and marriage ceremonies, when young couples join just like the May Queen and the Oak King do. ‘Going a may-ing’ still describes the practice of lovers going off together, to flirt and otherwise bond. This is also a time for worshipping fertility deities across many spiritual belief systems, from Artemis (Greek) to Bacchus (Roman) to Xochiquetzal (Aztec).
Flower Giving and Planting
Being the festival that celebrates high spring and impending summer, Beltane has always been awash with floral decor, greenery and garlands. On Beltane eve, villagers would go and gather budding greens from the forest to decorate their homes, doorsteps and barns. They would wear flowers in their hair and upon their wrists, and secretly gift friends (or those in need of healing) with bouquets and flower baskets.
Gifting flower baskets or making flower garlands is an easy and enjoyable way to celebrate Beltane now. Families with children might also like to plant flowers, vegetables or other plants in the garden together at Beltane in a form of modern ritual. Popular flowers and trees for Beltane include: primrose, daffodils, tulips, rowan, and hawthorn.
Although Beltane is traditionally the fire festival, May waters also held mystical power. Rolling in dew on May Day eve or morning, or getting one’s hair wet in the rain, was practised for health, luck and beauty. Holy wells were often visited and given offerings for good fortune and vitality, and the first water drawn from any common well on Beltane morning was said to be especially potent.
In the absence of rain or dew for your Beltane celebration you might choose to visit a local water body (pond, lake, spring or other) and provide your own offering of flowers, ribbons or coins. Beltane morning is also a favoured time for scrying in sacred waters.
However you chose to celebrate Beltane, this will surely be a time of brightness and greenery, sowing seeds and good intentions, and looking forward to a beautiful summer. We wish you good health, fertility and fortune in this time of light!
If you’ve liked reading about Beltane, you might be interested in our Celtic giftware collection, or our woodland series for some lovely nature-themed decor! You can find further reading about Celtic ritual and nature healing in the following book titles, too: