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Animal Divination


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#1 CelticGypsy

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 02:29 PM

The observation of animals has long been a source of divination. The Celts may well have bred certain animals for sacred rather than culinary purposes, as is hinted at in Julius Caesar's list of taboo animals : " Hare, fowl, and geese they think it unlawful to eat, but rear them for pleasure and amusement " Why would he write this ? The hare brings the sun back out of the ground by leapin in March, the time of easter or of the Spring Equinox. Hare-coursing with greyhounds may have ancient divinatory antecedents. The hare was sacred to the goddess Andraste of the Iceni, of whom Boudicca sought an augury by loosing a hare from her garment and distinguishing the outcome for the battle by its manner of flight. The goose is quick to react to strangers and has long been kept as an agressive guardian of boundaries. A goose appears on the frieze overlooking the skull-shrine at the Gaulish sanctuary of Entremont and the remains of geese have been found interred with warriors. One may surmise that the honking of geese in migratory flight may have contributed to its being seen as a threshold/boundary animal which pointed the way between worlds. Chickens' eggs may have been used in Druidic divination, as may the manner in which they scratched for grain. Look at the this from historical perception, only the cockerel appears as companion bird of Mercury in Romano-British reliefs, as well as appearing on Celtic coins. Despite Caesar's comment that the Celts did not eat these 3 animals, their remains do turn up in archaeological sites, of the period, especially the bones of fowl. Divining is sort of like gambling, in that any created thing may be used to divine by or gamble upon.

Regards,
Gypsy

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#2 Guest_MissTree_*

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 03:13 PM

Nice thread CG! This reminded me of Walter, the goose my sister & her ex had on their property for years. Walter was better than their dogs at guarding against "intruders." The dogs fell in love with any stranger that offered to pet them. Walter would have none of that. The best that visitors could hope for was that Walter wouldn't see them before they reached the front door. *laughing*


(edited to correct a statement: Most of the dogs were like that. The big hound, Remington hated all men, so he was the exception to that.)

Edited by MissTree, 19 May 2011 - 03:15 PM.

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#3 LdyShalott

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:34 PM

The hare brings the sun back out of the ground by leapin in March, the time of easter or of the Spring Equinox. Hare-coursing with greyhounds may have ancient divinatory antecedents. The hare was sacred to the goddess Andraste of the Iceni, of whom Boudicca sought an augury by loosing a hare from her garment and distinguishing the outcome for the battle by its manner of flight.
Regards,
Gypsy



Not divination, but this reminds me of the stories of Jisdu, the Trickster. A cunning rabbit in folklore of the Cherokee. He stole otters coat and got his tail pulled off by bear..

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You are a tiny little soul carrying around a corpse.-- Epictetus
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#4 Abraxia Thalgus

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:45 PM

Not divination, but I know someone who has a website dedicated to totem animals from around the world. She writes about them and does the most amazing artwork. http://wildspeak.com/


As for divination, I'd love to learn more about using animal bones for this. I'm thinking about collecting chicken bones the next time we have one. Just wondering which bones should be kept?

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...you need a lot of courage in this life, to make some of the choices you have to make. That's natural. I mean, you can't sit back like an amoeba and just regenerate yourself. You've got to be an exciting, dynamic human being, and there are choices you're going to make that's going to cause you some difficulty, and if it requires some courage on your part, then do it. - Charles Perkins, Arunta Elder, 1998

#5 LdyShalott

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 01:55 AM

Not divination, but I know someone who has a website dedicated to totem animals from around the world. She writes about them and does the most amazing artwork. http://wildspeak.com/


Awesome art work.. thanks for the link

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Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.  T.P.

In order to understand the living.. you have to commune with the dead..
You are a tiny little soul carrying around a corpse.-- Epictetus
All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move.

 


#6 Abraxia Thalgus

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 05:56 AM

She is a seriously gifted artist :)
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...you need a lot of courage in this life, to make some of the choices you have to make. That's natural. I mean, you can't sit back like an amoeba and just regenerate yourself. You've got to be an exciting, dynamic human being, and there are choices you're going to make that's going to cause you some difficulty, and if it requires some courage on your part, then do it. - Charles Perkins, Arunta Elder, 1998

#7 sapphire109

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:02 PM

A shamanic lady came to on of our awareness classes once to introduce us to totem animals. There's on permenant one that remain with us throughout our whole lives, and other animal totems come and go, offering us different medicine at different parts of our lives. This resonates quite strongly with me, I've dreamt alot about snakes recently, so if I look this up it means snake totem conveys shedding a skin, lettng go of old to offer change (relevant to me at moment). I'm very open to working with animal totems, if they don't appear in street normally they appear in dreams or I get the urge to draw an animal. I love animals so I find it a very fufilling use of divination :)

Jade

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#8 sapphire109

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:05 PM

Not divination, but I know someone who has a website dedicated to totem animals from around the world. She writes about them and does the most amazing artwork. http://wildspeak.com/



I just looked up ravenari's art there it's beautiful :)

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#9 Gramayr

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:35 PM

Excellent link, thanks for posting - have bookmarked it.
:beerchug:

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#10 8people

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:04 PM

The hare was sacred to the goddess Andraste of the Iceni, of whom Boudicca sought an augury by loosing a hare from her garment and distinguishing the outcome for the battle by its manner of flight.


There is no evidence that the hare is sacred to Andraste and is a creation of the new age movement in attributing animals to all the deities they come across. Andraste was the god of Victory and the method of divining using a hare was used all over the country, with left and right being predetermined directions for positive and negative outcomes.

Boudicca released a hare from her dress and it ran in the direction indicating a favourable outcome for the Iceni, she then shouted a thanks to Andraste for granting victory on this day as a preemptive claim that the battle was won, a strong statement for both her own warriors and the invaders.

There are NO further links of the hare to Andraste than the presumption drawn from the tale. Other deities that had ties to animals had inscriptions of them attributed and Andraste had none such that has been discovered.

... Might be a pet peeve of mine... :whistling:

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#11 Jevne

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:12 PM

There is no evidence that the hare is sacred to Andraste and is a creation of the new age movement in attributing animals to all the deities they come across. Andraste was the god of Victory and the method of divining using a hare was used all over the country, with left and right being predetermined directions for positive and negative outcomes.

Boudicca released a hare from her dress and it ran in the direction indicating a favourable outcome for the Iceni, she then shouted a thanks to Andraste for granting victory on this day as a preemptive claim that the battle was won, a strong statement for both her own warriors and the invaders.

There are NO further links of the hare to Andraste than the presumption drawn from the tale. Other deities that had ties to animals had inscriptions of them attributed and Andraste had none such that has been discovered.

... Might be a pet peeve of mine... :whistling:


Thank you for clarifying the point. Does working with or using a particular animal necessarily indicate that it is "sacred"? Sacred is a pretty strong word with implications beyond the everyday, so when using animals for divination (birds, for example) are we identifying them as sacred simply by engaging them in this manner? Mmmm . . . that is something to ponder for a bit.

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#12 8people

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:27 PM

Generally sacred has religious overtones, but can also apply to a situation where veneration and dedication are worthy (For some the state of pregnancy or motherhood is considered sacred, for example).

If a hare is considered particularly useful as a divinationary tool then they may be treated with great kindness, respect and spoilt to appease them - either to influence the outcome as positive or to ensure that there are greater rates of accuracy. I would not, however, say that the animal was sacred, simply respected greatly and attributed with powers beyond human ability (Funnily enough rabbits and hares are good at predicting epileptic fits along with some dogs and are able to give sufficient warning to a sufferer to get themselves in a safe position)

I think if the view was that gods spoke through a particular animal it would be another matter, and then it often involves elaborate sacrifice of a multitude of that animal to get a complete 'sentence' especially with smaller creatures. (Think the massive mummifications of cats, or the slaughter of specially raised bulls)

I have an affinity for certain creatures, and used them for divination, decoration and companionship, I find them creatures of great beauty and fascination, but that does not make them sacred, just that there is a personal importance and understanding that makes them ideal to work with in aspect to the craft and workings that is not attached to my religious faith.

The britons and people of the island have always had a relatively limited palette when it comes to meats compared to the continent, as the quality of arable land and limited import of working animals enforced a different sort of diet. One that I imagine many invaders and merchants would find unusual. Even now many brits can be finicky about what they eat depending on what it was when alive.

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#13 Gramayr

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 11:29 PM

Interesting, I didn't know that about rabbits and epilepsy. Dogs on the other hand can also sense cancer in a person. There have been cases where a pet dog has pawed it's owner in a particular place (leg, side etc) which has then been found to be cancerous.
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#14 Georgia

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:45 PM

Ah now this is a subject that is currently very fascinating to me since I am becoming quite shamanic in my outlook on nature, and most certainly within the subject of animal divination.

Personally speaking, to me, all creatures are sacred. Even the nasty stingy creepy ones that I cannot stand. This is not though any religious conviction, but simply because they all have their place and with out one we lose part of the balance of nature. Although I do still swat wasps when they get to close. I don't buy into the harm none philosophy especially when it's a case of swat or be stung lol.

Anyway I am just starting to learn about divining from nature. Like all forms of divination it is all very trial and error at first, and it does take time and practice. Having said that on the occasions where I do get it right it is very rewarding too.

Whilst out seeing some local pagans me and my boyfriend met up with a visiting shaman. She gave him his first totem, a badger. They had never met before so it surprised me how on the button she was.

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#15 Blue Spider

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 12:37 AM

I use animals as one of my main sources of divination practices. Not so much the bones, etc. Although finding them (I prefer to think of them as being gifts) certainly is an omen, I don't read entrails, etc. It is the essence of animals that come into play. Whether I use cards (oracle or my own made), throwers (I'm a bit traditional and thus do not feel comfortable using the term runes except in the truest sense of the word) with pictures drawn on (my own) or if I see animals in nature.

As far as "totems" or "power animals", many traditions have many thoughts on the numbers that each person has. I believe that each person has a very strong connection which I prefer to call my totem animal (although totem is sometimes considered a physical item representing the animal) and a few others that are strong players that stay with and guide you. Other animals may come and go, being "helpers" for certain times they are needed in your life.

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#16 Guest_Elfyd_*

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 02:28 AM

Generally sacred has religious overtones, but can also apply to a situation where veneration and dedication are worthy (For some the state of pregnancy or motherhood is considered sacred, for example).

If a hare is considered particularly useful as a divinationary tool then they may be treated with great kindness, respect and spoilt to appease them - either to influence the outcome as positive or to ensure that there are greater rates of accuracy. I would not, however, say that the animal was sacred, simply respected greatly and attributed with powers beyond human ability (Funnily enough rabbits and hares are good at predicting epileptic fits along with some dogs and are able to give sufficient warning to a sufferer to get themselves in a safe position)

I think if the view was that gods spoke through a particular animal it would be another matter, and then it often involves elaborate sacrifice of a multitude of that animal to get a complete 'sentence' especially with smaller creatures. (Think the massive mummifications of cats, or the slaughter of specially raised bulls)

I have an affinity for certain creatures, and used them for divination, decoration and companionship, I find them creatures of great beauty and fascination, but that does not make them sacred, just that there is a personal importance and understanding that makes them ideal to work with in aspect to the craft and workings that is not attached to my religious faith.

The britons and people of the island have always had a relatively limited palette when it comes to meats compared to the continent, as the quality of arable land and limited import of working animals enforced a different sort of diet. One that I imagine many invaders and merchants would find unusual. Even now many brits can be finicky about what they eat depending on what it was when alive.


**************************************
8's,
I am always enriched by your contributions, this is no exception. I do think that your thoughts on Brits dietary favours should be moderated in these times though, they are very adventuresome when away from the Isles, even within when the English attempt to eat haggis!
FFFF
Elf



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#17 CelticGypsy

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 02:33 PM

Thank you for clarifying the point. Does working with or using a particular animal necessarily indicate that it is "sacred"? Sacred is a pretty strong word with implications beyond the everyday, so when using animals for divination (birds, for example) are we identifying them as sacred simply by engaging them in this manner? Mmmm . . . that is something to ponder for a bit.



Yes " sacred " is a very strong word, in all it's implications. I believe that because the animal housed a spirit of it's own, is why authors tend to use this word to back up the ownership of their thought process. I fully appreciate 8's comment as to clarify that in her intellectual stand regarding the word " sacred " attached to the hare, and this episode regarding Boudica and the Victory Goddess. Yet could there be another word used to resonate with the this application ? Sacrosanct could be used, as it holds value or importance, and leads the reader not to tie it to old thinking ingrained as following a xtian belief, or neo-pagan... just my thoughts only. I'm still pondering this, as I've got a few old reference books pre-dating the neo pagan movement, and the authors also ascribe the word " sacred ". :thinking: :blink: I sure didn't intentionally mean to ruffle anybody's feathers with my original post, ( lol ) with the choice of such a word. lol !

Regards,
Gypsy

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" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#18 CelticGypsy

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 02:40 PM

**************************************
8's,
I am always enriched by your contributions, this is no exception. I do think that your thoughts on Brits dietary favours should be moderated in these times though, they are very adventuresome when away from the Isles, even within when the English attempt to eat haggis!
FFFF
Elf




Haggis, is not on my list as favorite food consumption, Sir Elf. I still have nightmares about my attempt to ingest such a rare Scottish cuisine. Did not bode well for the Guppy.

Regards,
Gypsy

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" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#19 8people

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 03:00 PM

No rufflage here :)

Some of the ideals about the Hare being sacred to Andraste were under the assumption that hares are not all that common in england so they must have actively gone out to find a hare, keep it well and prepare it to be used as a methods of divination.

Iron Age britain however had LOADS of hares and they're still relatively common in the country, it would have been more of a case of send the kids out bunnying to keep them occupied in the afternoon and have something to use in the morning.

Information on iron age deities is very limited within the UK as most were superimposed with roman gods or melded with similar ones of nearby territories. Then there are the sites that attibute other animals to iron age deities which use modern correspondence without knowledge of the fauna of the country at that particular era (I have seen hippos and lions mentioned in regard to "sacred animals to iron age britons" my question is more where the hell did they find a hippo pre-roman invasion?!)

True in regards to english getting more adventurous, not I said most, not all ;) My grandfather on my mothers side has eaten pretty much everything from crocodile and wallaby to pigeon and rabbit. A lit of english will avoid eating things like rabbit, horse and guinea pig as they're seen as 'pets' instead of food and it's easier to think back home to where a particular horse/bunny/guinea is being loved and cuddled and thinking you could be ordering someones' pet or a creature that never got loved :no:

City folk seem to be worse for it, I've had the joy of the conversation that went something along
"... Right but you know where milk comes from?"
"A cow, duh."
"Uh-huh, and where does beef come from?"
*blank look* "Um, an animal?"

A friend bought some chickens so the kids learnt where eggs came from and he asked his daughter about chicken (the meat) the response was her rolling her eyes
"Don't be stupid, Dad, just because it's the same word doesn't mean it's the same thing"
What I would give to see the penny drop for that one...

There seems to be an unusual separation in perception of meat as food and animal as a creature. From speaking to American friends it seems similar there if the cut name and the animal do not match up they don't always ask questions. I'm just glad shops are starting to put the diagrams of where on the animal a cut is from again, they were taken down years ago as they were 'distressing for children and sensitive adults' I'm sorry, but if I can't identify where on an animal this food came from I'd probably rather not eat it! :lol:

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#20 winter night

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 03:35 PM

I must admit Haggis is nice, but black pudding is yummy!

Just wondering too about the old ground hog - he still gets pulled out every year to try and see his shadow doesnt he? :chakrahearts:

edited to add: and if cows stand on top of it hill it won't rain anytime soon. :wickedwitch:

Edited by winter night, 30 June 2011 - 03:37 PM.

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