By: Mike Kaan
Omens are meant to remembered and contemplated. They remind us of the dialogue the Kindreds have with us, whether as answers to difficult questions or revealing the blessings received in ritual. Some symbols rise to dominance in our lives, revealing themselves time and again over the course of many draws, while some fade away only to show themselves months later. “The Long Draw” is a way of tracking divination symbols that are drawn over a period of time, to see if patterns and themes emerge which may be useful in personal or group spiritual growth. This method is a way of looking at how certain divination symbols, and their subsequent meanings, influence and reflect our lives. Obviously, divination systems involving a set number of symbols (runes, ogham, tarot, etc.) and revealed by sortilege will work best for analysis.
Omen analysis requires several things to be effective:
This journal should contain the results of the draws you perform. Important additions to the entries would be the date of the draw, and what question was asked. If you feel so inclined, you may also include astronomical information if you think that is important to your draws.
I have found that a year’s worth of regular draws can be sufficient in revealing which symbols were most active, although if the celebrant does a daily draw then six months should be sufficient. High Day blessings may require a longer period of time to check emerging patterns, as they are only done 8 times a year. This may require 5 years or more to provide a clearer picture of recurring or non-recurring blessings. Personally, I perform a weekly devotional, with a blessing and advice oracle draw. These two draws would be great candidates for a year-long retrospective.
Divination draws are highly contextual, and their interpretation can be based solely on the question asked. As such, it is highly recommended that omen draws are used that apply to a single question. Using an example from the previous paragraph, my advice oracle uses the same question every week, which is: What advice do [the Kindreds] give to me for the coming week? The same could be said for my High Day ritual blessings, where the question is: What blessings do I receive in return for my offerings? This allows for clarity of meaning when looking at the results over a period of time.
4. Consistent symbology
Because different symbol systems have a wide variety of meaning, and are not always consistent with each other, it is also recommended that you use the same set of symbols for every draw during the period you wish to log. This may not be an issue in personal practice, but may be challenging if your grove rotates divination symbols in correlation with cultural focus during seasonal rites. In this case, the symbols can still be logged and compared against symbols of other cultures to see if trends emerge.
A year, even 6 months, can be a long time to wait for results, so a degree of patience is required for this method. That said, the outcome is well worth the wait for the information it can provide.
Once enough time has passed, getting the results is a rather simple affair. On a blank sheet of paper, make a list of all the symbols in the system you are using. Then, starting from the beginning date of your analysis period, place a mark next to each symbol that shows up. It may also be a good idea to make a note of how many times you’ve taken an omen, so that you may derive percentages for each symbol. This is an optional method, but it can be used if you feel that it would be helpful. Alternatively, you could also count your symbols as you go.
After tallying the symbols, you should have a good idea of which ones you have drawn the most. Let’s start with the top 3 symbols. You could read them in a couple of different ways. One possibility would be to look at the meaning of each symbol as it relates to the question asked, and see how it has applied to your life over the period you have chosen. Another way would be to take these top 3 symbols and analyze them just like any other reading, noting their interactions with each other, and the message these symbols relate as a whole.
I’ll use my own rune draws as an example of this system.
Analysis period: 2/24/2014 – 2/24/2015
Question: What advice do [the Kindreds] give to me for the coming week? (Note: The original question requests counsel for a specific time period, but for the purposes of analysis we can apply it to the whole year, since that is what we are seeking.)
Total omen draws for this query during the year: 48
1. Elhaz (pulled 10 times)
2. Gebo (9), Tiwaz (9)
3. Uruz (8), Thurisaz (8), Raido (8)
The most common rune I pulled all year was Elhaz, which is a rune of protection. To me, Elhaz came across as reassurance from the Kindreds. Last year, I had become a Dedicant Druid and was continuing to build my relationship with the Kindreds. Elhaz was their way of telling me that I am under their care. This leads to the second most common runes, which was Gebo and Tiwaz. Here the Kindreds advise me to continue engaging in *ghos-ti with them and with everyone I have a relationship with (Gebo). This will guide me on my path, leading me on an unerring course to right-action and victory (Tiwaz). Put in another way, right-relationship leads to right-action and vice versa.
The year brought challenges though. Here, Thurisaz is the chaos that was present in my life throughout the year, with strength (Uruz) as the means of overcoming it. Raido is a reminder that this is part of the journey and of life itself, but take care in not running the horse into the ground in my attempt to push through struggle. The horse is often a symbol of those who help us along the way, and good counsel indeed to make sure that I take care of them as well.
In my analysis, I did not have just 3 common runes, but 6. In the case of ties, I would recommend making them a part of the reading. They can only serve to enhance the message. Also, don’t feel limited to analyzing just the top 3 symbols. It can easily be extended to include more, and there is even some value in looking at symbols that were not pulled very often.
It is my hope that this method will help folks look at omens in a different way, one that addresses the long-term to help facilitate spiritual and personal growth.