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CelticGypsy

Animal Divination

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Actually, one could make a runic set, and then add bones representing the harder aspects to divine (specific people, specific situations) to the set making it a runic bone divination set specific to one's family and/or situation. One could even have bones that are directed at each throw to be a specific thing/person. 

Edited by Michele

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I really like your thought process here, Michele.  The most important part would be the programming.  The correspondences and connections would have to be specific and consistently used, so as to avoid communication issues or misinterpretations, but it could work.  I like the idea of a bone representing the same person or aspect each time.  If I were using different types of bones together, however, I would worry about getting confused, though.  Now, is that a piece of grandma or is that a cow bone?

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Lol - I know... one would have to be able to consistently recognize each bone by sight. Whereas tiime and experience would probably fix that, as a starter set (especially for someone like me who is not experienced in divination) each bone could be marked. One could even just put a name and/or word on it. It wouldn't look as nice, but it would serve its purpose. I thought of using runes to write the word, but then you'd be getting into larger size bones than I'd want to carry around, lol. Consistency in interpretation and same use of bone would be the key here, as you said. I like the idea of bird bones as birds have height and can therefore "see far", but I'd add a bear bone and a wolf bone due to my personal inclinations. I have a bird buried in the backyard that is more than ready to be dug up (assuming there's anything left to dig up, lol). I also have some bear bones, coyote claws, wolf teeth, and a few other odds and sods that may be useful...

 

M

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This is perhaps a little off the original topic, but what do y'all think about sighting unusual animals? Not just rare, but animals that absolutely should not be present, as in not in this state at all, or not at this time of year ever, or otherwise in violation, flagrantly, of their well-known habits; how does one interpret that?

 

I'm asking because I just last week saw my first-ever hummingbird, and it is a sort that is supposed to be on the other side of the country or in Mexico. There aren't any other hummingbirds around here nor have there been in fifty years at least. This one flew up out of my front hedge toward my favorite window, peered in at me, and effed off into whatever subspace it came from, as in it flew around a holly leaf and didn't come out the other side... I looked. So okay, some poor bird is seriously lost, but that's also the sort of thing I pay attention to. I just don't know what to make of it, beyond the OMG a real live hummingbird wow glee bliss reaction. It is a male humming bird of the kind once associated with a god. I just can't get this out of my head, like the memory keeps randomly transfixing me. It's really hard to remember divinatory associations while I'm all suffused with eerie awe. Help?

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I can't say for sure what this could mean, but it sounds like a great experience. Humming birds are amazing to watch. Global climate changes are causing some strange migrations, mind you all birds can represent messages from the spirits or gods, so there is that. Like many on the other thread about everything being a sign, I would look at what it means to you. It obviously effected you beyond the ordinary, so I would say there is very likely a reason that you saw it when you did. 

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Thank you Solanaceae, it has had an effect upon me. I am aware that ranges are shifting, but this bird was several frost zones ahead of its food plants. Maybe you are right that this is simply a sign of hummingbirds to come. Certainly nothing to sneeze at! It's the out of place animal aspect that is grabbing my attention. I know that I have read of divinatory meanings assigned to animals spotted out of season, or out of their known habitat, even for animals who have their winter coat in summer. I do not remember where I read of this, or what the specifics are. It's all kind of on the tip of my tongue.

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The would be amazing if it means they are soon to arrive there! Such amazing animals I'm so happy you got to see one in person. My garden buzzes with them often and it's such a unique animal

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I was looking up more information on these magnificent birds today, and now I know that their call is a rasping "Drrrrrrrrp." It would be neat to have a bunch of little greeny brown guys derping around in my garden.

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This is perhaps a little off the original topic, but what do y'all think about sighting unusual animals? Not just rare, but animals that absolutely should not be present, as in not in this state at all, or not at this time of year ever, or otherwise in violation, flagrantly, of their well-known habits; how does one interpret that?

 

I'm asking because I just last week saw my first-ever hummingbird, and it is a sort that is supposed to be on the other side of the country or in Mexico. There aren't any other hummingbirds around here nor have there been in fifty years at least. This one flew up out of my front hedge toward my favorite window, peered in at me, and effed off into whatever subspace it came from, as in it flew around a holly leaf and didn't come out the other side... I looked. So okay, some poor bird is seriously lost, but that's also the sort of thing I pay attention to. I just don't know what to make of it, beyond the OMG a real live hummingbird wow glee bliss reaction. It is a male humming bird of the kind once associated with a god. I just can't get this out of my head, like the memory keeps randomly transfixing me. It's really hard to remember divinatory associations while I'm all suffused with eerie awe. Help?

Hello Christine,

 

I don't know where you are located, but I'm up in Northern MN and I have had an unusual Hummingbird at my feeders this year.  A female oddly different than the other females. I know this is off topic but I thought it polite to reply. How fun for you to see such a wonderful bird about your domain.

 

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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I live in Virginia at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, CelticGypsy. We get a lot of migrating birds, mainly waterfowl, which is a big reason why I always look at flutterers. Your garden sounds very beautiful.

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I have a warm spot in my heart for red birds, like finches and cardinals. In Michigan, the red cardinal is very prevalent and I always feel cheered when I see them. The only time in my life I saw a black cardinal, native to SW, was last summer. In less than a week I was slapped with home insurance company demand to reroof the house. There were no leaks, but the roof was 20 years old. The black bird hung around until the very day the roofing was completed, then Poof! Gone.

 

Now, here's the weird part. I went to the bank to see about a repair loan. Instead I discovered a discrepancy in my favor. The bank confirmed it. It was just enough to cover the roofing costs, and have a nice dinner to celebrate. I am still amazed.

 

I have a domestic cats tooth, a sharks tooth from Arizona, and a (certified) T.Rex dinosaur tooth from Oklahoma, and one raccoon (?) vertebra I found in my garden. Does anyone have suggestions how I can use these?

Edited by Zombee

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Christine, your post first struck me with the statement that they have not been there in at least fifty years. This year my area has been home to bald eagles. Not that they are unheard of, just not seen with in a hundred mile or so. They where last recorded in these parts fifty four years ago. This year there are three.

 

I'm not sure if its what you where looking for, but it comes to mind that an animal oracle from distant parts can mean its influence is from an unexpected source, out of season from a hidden, distant, or lost source, or with the return of an animal the source is from a different time. The different time is from the two time coexisting through its presences or vice versa. The out of season I think comes from stories of animals traveling to hidden realms for the winter. I have no clue where the lore on distant parts being unexpected comes in, just the way I always heard it.

 

Off the top of my head hummingbirds them selves gave a few readings. Luck, fortune, freedom, hidden intentions, and passion, for a start. Then enlightenment, or the drinking in of divine wisdom. Being blinded by passionate or wild pursuits. Arguments getting blown out of proportion. Tenacity or greed to ones own ruin. Or, being blinded by an emotional situation.

 

No mater how you read it they are an enjoyable little critter to watch. I also wanted to mention that I haven't been in those parts in years but when I last was, there was plenty a hummingbird could make food of.

Edited by PapaGheny

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Thanks Papa Gheny, that's a lot to mull over. Believe it or not, I still haven't tracked down the reference I was looking for, and I'm beginning to suspect that it's either in something I lost or some book I have since lost respect for.

 

Come on back to Norfolk any time. I asked my Grandmother, who first moved into this neighborhood in the 1950s, whether she had ever seen hummingbirds in the neighborhood, and she hadn't, nor had anybody else I know who grew up here. I have a bunch of guesses about the reason for that, not very interesting ones though.

Edited by Christine

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Christine, I suspect I'll make my way back down to those parts at some point. I have some folk scattered down through there.

 

I for one would take your Grandmother's word for it on the hummingbirds. I looked at a few wildlife maps and they say there should be three species there. But, I know I've never seen one on that side of the Shenandoah. I hear Virginia Beach gets them, but by my figuring it seems like coastal spill over from North Carolina they get them pretty good down there. When you first posted they should have been fighting for territory and fanning out. With some luck the population has grown. If they made it that far up the bay it could be as you said “a sign of hummingbirds to come. Certainly nothing to sneeze at!”  It's a good thing to my eye as they could pick up the slack with pollination while the bees are getting back on there feet.

 

If I were you I'd play the odds and hang a feed next April.

 

CelticGypsy, I find animal divination a great topic. I'm currently rearranging and glancing over my notes on the subject and hope to contribute more to the conversation as I find the time.

 

As I don't like responding on a topic without addressing it, I'll give my general take on it. I find two primary forms animal divination.

 

Direct - when one seeks an answer to a specified question. Such as reading bones and innards, or consulting an animal spirit or oracle.

 

Or

 

Passive – reading communication from the behavior, features, or appearance, of an animal. Like an animal making a sound under unexpected conditions, seeing an animal with particular markings, or crossing paths with an animal.

 

I enjoy both, but passive most often. Given that I like a divination that comes to me instead of waiting for me to think something's up. Both are tied heavily to folklore and cultural experience. However, both also cross culture by have their roots in watching and learning the nature of the animals. To me this makes it one of the many voices by which the world and often beyond can speak to us directly.

 

That's the way I tend to see it anyway.

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Blue jays are back in my area. They've been missing for 5 autums due to disease, but this year their migration is back! it's good to be hearing their unforgettable raw calling again...not so much at dawn.

Edited by Zombee

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I'm finely getting back to this.

 

I noticed some talk about chickens above. Including the very amusing comment “You have to think, what information would you trust a chicken to bring you from the other side?”. Truthfully as funny as it is I figure it's also a good question to ask yourself. Along with “Why would you ask a chicken?”

 

So, the first thing I figure I might ask a chicken is were to plant a garden. If there is one thing any chicken should know its were the worms are. Over say a week one could place a chicken in different parts of the yard and watch were they get to scratching and pecking most often. If they keep returning to the same spot it's like that the soil in that area is teaming with life.

 

A less logical question for them might be about planting and preparing for winter. It's said that when a chicken molts from the front first, the end of winter will be harder than the rest. If the back end first the beginning will be the harder part of the season. Evenly and it will be rather consistent. I should note here that I have also heard this with the front and back reversed, I say it this way because I find it more reliable. Also, this says nothing to the severity of the winter just its rhythm. Other critters seem to know better on that score.

 

Then there is puny of cultural traditions and mythos I would think on. As I learned it, the chicken has most commonly been seen as a death bird. There dose seem to be a lot of available arguments for this. Particularly in cultures with beliefs of an underworld spirit domain or return to Earth mythos. In these traditions I find the chicken to bridge the earthly realm and the spirit realm. In this way it can be seen as a conduit or ever attractive medium between the realms. So, one is often not asking the chicken but rather asking a spirit directly through the chicken or inhabiting it. At least that's how I have grown to understand it.

 

Since reading bones was the main point brought up I thought I would give some of my take on that. I have learned it that, it's not just that it a chicken's bones that makes them useful in divination. I have seen some valid means of building tools or devices out of their bones to communicate somethings with spirits. These are often in the forms of charms, chimes, mobiles, or dosing devices, that often act as a temporary housing for a spirit or spirits. Heads, feet, and feathers are often used as well.

 

With casting bones I learned it a bit different. In stead its a spirit bound and under the control of the caster that dose the talking. The method of cultivation of the bones I learned and seems to me most effective is extremely involved. I wont be going into the details here in a public area, as some might call them easily misunderstood, possibly dangerous, and if not done correctly cruel.

I will say that it involves the raising and slaughter of chickens, and it would like to be difficult if you don't already do so. It takes place over the course of a few months, and starts with a live chicken and ends with a bag of precious bones. I should point out that I have never preformed this on my own, I've never seen the need really. I learned it from a Witch I have great respect for and acted as a second in the rituals. After, I never knew the bones to give her an incorrect reading.

 

All this is not to say this is the right way, or there are not other methods. This is just a blush of what I have see to be affective.

Edited by PapaGheny

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Well, I know this is not divination- but it certainly is animals behaving oddly on the part of the spirit world. My grandmother was into birds. Her favorite was the cardinal. She even had little statues of them sitting around.

 

MY mother/ her daughter has lived in the same residence for almost 30 years. In all the years I lived there I never saw a single cardinal- not one. My mom says she had seen maybe one a year and not every year.

 

Starting a couple weeks after my grandmother died there were droves of cardinals all over my mother's yard. Not only were there cardinals but they were WEIRD cardinals. A few at a time would sit outside my mother's bedroom window and thump and peck at the window. Sometimes if mom was in the kitchen they would come to the kitchen window. She said eventually, when she would go to leave the house they would be hanging out on her car. Now Im no cardinal expert, but when I have seen them I haven't seen them hang out like that. Usually they are in a hurry to be somewhere. She did not have any bird feeders or such either. Being a fundy Christian she was reluctant to even talk about this- because of course that kind of thing isn't possible. But after a certain point she could not deny something weird was going on. When she finally told me about it it had been going on for over a month. When we discussed, and I said I thought that somehow or another grandma had to have sent those birds. It made her very happy and she accepted that was likely the case. As soon as she acknowledged it the phenomena died down dramatically, now she just sees one now and again. More than before, but nothing like it was.

 

--------

I love the bone divination portion of this thread!:)

Edited by Oroboros

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I had a cardinal that attacked my window every day for a month or so before my uncle died, and then it disappeared. I tried debunking why it was doing it - was it a reflection? I covered the window so it wouldn't glare and it kept happening. Did it have a nest nearby? Nowhere to be seen. Was it trying to get in? No holes that I could see. A week before my uncle died, its partner joined it in bashing its face against my window. When he passed, it stopped abruptly.

 

I brushed it off until my grandmother mentioned that a cardinal doing that, in my family, signifies bad luck and told me a similar story that happened to her when she was younger. I've since heard of a few beliefs following the idea that cardinals are symbols revolving around death in some way. 

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That's very interesting RS. I did not know there was that type of lore associated with them. I don't think I ever even researched if they were generally known to have significance, because they had significance to us. But now I will.:)

 

The incident your describing sounds quite disturbing.

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Oroboros, Many types of birds are considered messengers of the spirit world in quite a lot of folklore. I'm not sure if cardinals specificity are one of them, off the top of my head. They are often associated with winter and tend to be striking in there appearance that would make them prime candidates for it. I do know they are worked with in protective, strength, and acceptance, spells and related to the cycle of life and death. They have also been seen as a guide when one feels lost geographically, emotionally, or spirituality.

I think the are definitely worth researching there is rather abundant folklore.

 

Regardless if they where messengers that's a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

 

Ravenshaw, I have heard a few ill omen on the cardinal. For instance native folklore tells us to see a cardinal flying down word can mean separation or loss. If flying up word reunion and good fortune.

Growing up I also always heard they where related to blood on the snow, and selected who died in the hunt. That came with the superstition that to have a blood spot on your cloths would attract a cardinal and lead to bad luck or a short life. But, I don't know where that came from it was just something folk said.

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I have recently have been frequented by a peregrine falcon. These are an uncommon but not all together unusual birds here. Just recently they made the threatened and endangered list, but are still seen around now and then.

 

The first encounter was typical working on a relatively isolated hilly piece of land about 20 mile out of town. It was simply sitting on a pine branch about 6 or 8 foot up, looking at me. Not that strange, if it was a hawk I would have taken less notice.

 

A few days later I was having a cigarette in the driveway on the same land watching a snowstorm building quickly. From above and to the east the falcon nearly hit me seeming to loose some control coming into the wind break of the house. It landed not more than 4 feet from me in a flower bed barren in winter. We looked at each other a moment. It was just long enough to notice that ruffled feathers on its left wing I spotted on our last meeting was a slight injury. Possibly a scrap from a tree branch. Then it took out grabbing a black-capped chickadee from a near by holly and disappeared into the bluster.

This was a striking encounter. That night I gave offering and Spellwork to favor the falcon.

 

The third was a sunny day just before noon and I was sitting on my porch having a cup of coffee. A falcon landed on an old maple about 10 foot off the porch at eye level to me. I quickly noticed it had the same wing injury. This got my attention because I currently am living in the middle of town. The distance and injury making it an unlikely coincidence.

 

This is what some of the lore I have tells me about falcons.

 

The falcon relates with elemental wind, water, and sometimes lightning.

 

They are related in action to lightning.

 

Like many birds of pray it is often thought of as a direct messenger of the sky.

 

It is often a symbol of nobility, speed, precision, the hunter/arrow/bullet, looking ahead, lightning,

absolutes.

 

In divination it often refers to looking forward to a single point in time. This often comes down to a crossroad often never to be returned to, but that could bear great reward.

 

In deciphering the falcon one can also add feelings of majesty, awe and terror. As well as companionship and a connection between ones self and nature or the sky.

 

However, most of this come from local lore and passed conversations with mentors and Witches. My library is quite lacking in falcon lore. Particularly fundamentals and root folklore. If anyone knows and good resource for this, knows any lore on falcons they would like to share, or wants to take a crack at interpreting the signs, I would be glad to hear about it.

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Horses on the hill have been hollering on and off all day. The neighbor's dog is crying and calling hunt loud enough that I can hear it through the trees. So, I'm think'n he is not getting out of the hospital this time.

 

This one is old and common. Around here the baying of the dog morning someone they are close to before they die is most widespread. I find its mostly the Amish that still take note to the crying mare foretelling a local death. These seem to have made their way in to the area with the German settlers. However, my research has come a crossed it back as far as old Greek writings. As I learn more I figure it will show up much earlier.

 

If anyone knows other areas where these ones are still common it would be interesting to here about it.

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I love haggis, especially when it's deep fried in batter and served with chips. Or just plain served with neeps and tatties smile.gif

Yes, Yes, Yes!

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One explanation of spirit animals and totems that I like is that an animal totem is like a ambassador or representative of that species in general,  and an animal spirit is the individual spirit of one animal from a species.  In my upbringing, a spirit animal is a different relationship than that had with an animal totem.  The relationship with an animal spirit is much more personal, as this animals spirit and your own are connected in a strong way.  Just like we are all human beings there can be a generalization made about all human beings that we share similiar characteristics.  But each of us is and individual human and will display different qualities than our other fellow humans.  So imagine for instance a deer:  a deer animal totem may impart qualities of gentleness, grace, wisdom etc.  Where as lets say one individual deer that is one of your animal spirits may be much more cunning than other deer, or he may be a particularily foolhardy deer, when compared to his fellow graceful companions, etc.  THe point is the animal spirit is more like a close friend.  He/she knows you in and out, and you know it.

 

A relationship with an animal spirit is gained with actual contact either in life or death with the spirit of the animal in some way.  Whereas an animal totem can be gained with no such contact.

 

I am saying animal spirit, and not spirit animal here because I do not believe in the new age conception of "spirit animals".  While im sure in many cases animal spirit is the same thing as a spirit animal, Spirit animal to me imparts the connotation that it is you or representative of your own personality, for instance:  My spirit animal is the Tiger because I am strong and beautiful and mystical etc.  To me that is  just personification and description of something.  Its just a way to understand yourself better.  Which is fine.  Or my spirit animal is the eagle because I see things coming with clear vision, and etc.   

 

But i disagree that an animal you have never even seen in real life can be your "spirit animal".  it may have significance to you and something to teach you, but that may be it.

 

Like why is everyones spirit animal either an eagle bear condor tiger etc.  What about squirrels mice, pigeons etc?  May not sound cool to have your spirit animal be a mouse but it might be closer to the truth.  Otherwise we would have 5 billion eagles and tigers in the underworld and none of the other millions of species on earth (lol).

 

I do believe your spirit and an animal spirit can merge, in this world or the dreamworld, and share conciousness, expecially if you have a close relationship with that animal spirit.

 

Shamans use animal spirits to work in the underworld, working in many ways, to affect the animal spirits of others in helpful or harmful ways, to divine information about the future, etc.   The gifts of the animal often become gifts in the underworld.  For instance if vulture is an animal spirit for you, you might be able to take his form in trance, dream, or visits to the underworld, and could gain the capacity of flight through the underworld, dreamspace etc.

 

So an animal totem, animal spirit, and spirit animal, really refer to 3 different things and I think its important to draw the distinction.

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To add to this, i think a potent addition to just spellcraft is to do the spellcraft, but then back it up with shamanic work in the underworld with animal spirits.   So if the goal is to find a lost object, you might do your spell for divining the objects location, and then in your dreams or trance meet up with your animal spirit(s) and fly to find that location!

 

BTW  i consider true shamanism and witchcraft to be two different names for the same thing.  Power gained directly from traffic with nature and its spirits.  

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