The Long Draw: A Method of Omen Analysis

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:

1. Journal

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.

2. Time

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.

3. Context

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.

5. Patience

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.


Máni Invocation

By: Mike Kaan

Hail Máni,
brother of Sunna,
counter of years!
May your soft silvery light
illuminate my way through darkness.
May your shifting face
remind me that change is constant.
Máni, I honor you!

An Introductory Prayer for Unknown Land Spirits

By: Mike Kaan

Hail, spirits of this land!
Spirits of green and red,
spirits hidden and unhidden,
I call to you!

I come before you seeking friendship and wisdom.
I come before you so that I may know you.

See me as I walk lightly among you,
and hear me as I say these prayers to you.

May your wisdom be revealed to me,
and may my presence disturb you not.

Spirits of this land,
I come with this gift to honor you.
May I fall into your favor.

Land spirits, accept my offering!

A Short Norse Morning Devotional (using the ADF Core Order of Ritual)

By: Mike Kaan

At first glance, the ADF Core Order of Ritual can seem daunting and, if one has seen some sample scripts, rather lengthy as well. That said, I love the structure, its power, and its ability to put me in touch with the cosmos and my Kindreds. I really wanted to do the ADF Core Order of Ritual on a daily basis, not only to invite that power into my life everyday upon rising, but to know the ADF Core Order of Ritual by heart. The following text is the result of that effort.

On average, this ritual lasts anywhere between 7-10 minutes. I’ve simplified portions of the ritual text while still including every step of the ADF Core Order of Ritual. Offerings are also simplified into a select few items that are manageable to restock, and easy to keep by my home shrine. The goal here was effectiveness and efficiency. It took me awhile to find the right balance, but I believe I’ve achieved my goal, which was to form a meaningful, daily practice. Now, I’m at a point where I can perform this ritual from memory (improvising when needed), while learning the ADF Core Order of Ritual in the process. This script is from a Wednesday ritual.

1. Initiating the Rite

[Three knells of a bell]

[Two Powers Meditation] (Here, I draw the waters and power of the Earth up through me, and then let the Sky power shine down through me. This acts as a grounding and centering, while also serving as a first step in connecting me to the cosmos.)

2. Purification

Say: “The waters of the earth flow within me.”
[Take a dab of water from the Well and touch it to forehead]

Say: “The light of the sky burns within me, cleansing me and making me whole.”
[Place hand safely over the flame to feel its warmth]

3. Honoring the Earth Mother

Say: “Hail Nerthus, Earth Mother! Be with me in my rite. Nerthus, accept my offering!”
[Make offering of oats]

4. Statement of Purpose

Say: “I have come to honor the Kindreds, with gifts to give and blessings to receive.”

5. (Re)Creating the Cosmos

Say: “And so it came to pass that Odin and his brothers slew the giant Ymir, and from the giant’s body they fashioned the world. From Ymir’s blood comes the Seas and waters surrounding me, from his skin the Land beneath me, and from his skull the Sky above me.”

Say: “Hail to the Fire, light of the heavens, shining Asgard. Sacred Fire burn within me!”

Say: “Hail to the Well, the Triple Well, deep beneath the earth. Sacred Well flow within me!”

Say: “Hail to Yggdrasil, the World Tree, whose roots and branches connect to all Nine Worlds. Sacred Tree grow within me!”

6. Opening the Gates

Say: “Hail Heimdall, guardian of Bifrost Bridge, be with me in my rite. Heimdall, accept my offering!”
[Make offering of ale]

Say: “Heimdall, aid me in opening the gates. May the Fire, Well, and Tree become a gate. Let the gates be open!”
[Make an opening motion with my hands]

7. Inviting the Three Kindreds

Say: “Hail Ancestors, Land Wights, Aesir, and Vanir! Be with me in my rite. Mighty Kindreds, accept my offering!”
[Make offering of ale]

8. Key Offerings

Say: “Hail Odin, All-Father! It is Wednesday, Odin’s Day, and I honor you. Grant me wisdom in all that I do, and inspiration in all that I create. Odin, accept my offering!”
[Making offering of wine]

9. Prayer of Sacrifice

Say: “Kindreds All, accept my offering!”
[Make offering of mead]

10. Omen

Say: “Odin, master of the runes, let the Kindreds speak to me. What blessing do I receive in return for my offerings?”
[Draw one rune to determine what the Kindred bless me with for the day]

11. Calling (asking) for the Blessing

Say: “Mighty Kindreds, may your blessing flow into this horn so that I may drink deeply of fair return.”

12. Hallowing the Blessings

Say: “Behold the Waters of life!”
[Visualize the blessings infusing the liquid in the horn, then drink]

13. Affirmation of the Blessing

Say: “The blessings of the Kindreds flow through my head, my heart, and my loins. Hail to the Kindreds!”

14. Working

(If I don’t have anything specific planned, I often use this section as a time to light a flame for those in need.)

15. Thanking the Beings

Say: “Odin, Aesir, Vanir, Land Wights, and Ancestors, thank you for your presence and blessings in this rite.”

16. Closing the Gate(s)

Say: “Heimdall, my work here is finished, now close the gates!”
[Make a closing motion with my hands]

Say: “Heimdall, I thank you for your presence and aid in my rite.”

17. Thanking the Earth Mother

Say: “Nerthus, Earth Mother, thank you for your presence and blessings in this rite.”

18. Closing the Rite

Say: “I go forth with the blessings of the Kindreds. This rite has ended!”

A Prayer to Thor for Protection from Severe Weather

By: Mike Kaan

Hail Thor,
wielder of the hammer Mjölnir,
slayer of giants and trolls,
defender of Midgard!

Storm clouds gather,
ill wights and giants
of the furious winds
threaten the land and its people.

I ask for your protection,
and ask that you defend my home and family
from these foes.

I give to you this offering
with the hope that you may aid us.

May your hammer strike true!

Thor, accept my offering!

A brief look at the runes of the Elder Futhark

By: Mike Kaan

These are my basic interpretations for each of the runes of the Elder Futhark. While these explanations may reveal the basic meanings of these symbols, at least according to my own research and experience, they only scratch the surface of the layers of wisdom that can be found in the runes. For deeper study, there are many wonderful books out there that expand on them. I would personally recommend Diana Paxson’s Taking Up the Runes as a great starting point.

As a personal aside, I would consider myself a fairly conservative interpreter of the runes. I feel that the best basis for them can be found in reliable sources, such as existing lore and the rune poems. As such, I attempt to adhere closely to these sources when it comes to explaining the meaning of each symbol.

Fehu: Fehu means cattle and signifies wealth, but it is a wealth that is best used when moving through the community generously. The rune cautions against hoarding wealth and cites the discord that can result.

Uruz: Uruz stands for aurochs, which was a species of horned cattle common to the ancient world. As such, it is a rune of primal strength and determination. The rune can also mean rain.

Thurisaz: Thurisaz represents the giants of the Norse tales and is a rune of chaos and unrest. It could also be interpreted as a rune of Thor, which would turn the symbol into one of protection against those same chaotic forces.

Ansuz: Ansuz is the rune of Odin, which makes it a rune of wisdom. In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem the symbol also represents the mouth, lending an additional meaning of wisdom through communication and messages.

Raido: Raido means ride and is a rune of travel. While the journey may be swift and joyful, the rune poem warns of the toll the journey will take on the horse. This suggests that one must take care of those who help us along the way.

Kenaz: Kenaz is the torch that illuminates the way through darkness to a warm hearth and good company. However, as the fire burns for warmth, it can also cause pain and may indicate illness.

Gebo: Gebo signifies the rune of gifts and generosity. The rune also represents the cycle of reciprocity and the right-relationship that results when maintained.

Wunjo: Wunjo denotes the rune of joy. It is a bliss that can spring from prosperity, overcoming anxiety and sadness.

Hagalaz: Hagalaz represents hail, making it a rune of destruction and painful transition. All is not for naught however, for the ice seed will melt, giving water and growth to the hardier crops that survived.

Naudhiz: Naudhiz means need, and is a rune of constraint, oppression, and hard work that goes unrewarded. This is a challenging symbol, but the rune also indicates that lessons could be learned from the experience.

Isa: Isa stands for ice, fair to look upon but dangerous to traverse. This is a rune whose message is one of caution in situations where a particular decision seems desirable, but could be perilous. On the other hand, Isa can suggest stability and calm.

Jera: Jera is the rune for year and the harvest. It is manifestation of the rewards for hard work, with prosperity and abundance that sustains the individual or the community.

Eihwaz: Eihwaz is the symbol for the yew tree and can mean strength that is drawn from the line of ancestors. Eihwaz is also interpreted as the rune of Yggdrasil, which implies connection to the cosmos.

Perthro: Perthro is the dice-cup, the vessel from which the lots are cast, and the rune of chance. Perthro can represent uncertainty in everything from light-hearted gaming to the vagaries of fate.

Elhaz: Elhaz is the rune of the elk and the sedge. The shape of the rune resembles that of the antlers of the elk and the thorn of the sedge, making this a symbol of protection.

Sowilo: Sowilo represents the sun, making it a rune of illumination, victory, and power. The rune can also mean guidance, as one can always depend on the course of the sun to lead them to the end of their journey.

Tiwaz: Tiwaz is Tyr’s rune and is a symbol of justice and truth, potentially at the cost of self-sacrifice. Tiwaz also has an aspect of guidance in that right-action will always set you on the correct path.

Berkano: Berkano is the rune for the birch tree, indicating feminine strength and resourcefulness. From this meaning, it can be a rune for nurturing, healing, and regeneration.

Ehwaz: Ehwaz means horse and expresses the relationship between the horse and the rider. It is a rune of partnership, with attention given to those who help us along our journey. Naturally, the symbol can also represent movement and travel.

Mannaz: Mannaz is the symbol for “man” or “human,” and emphasizes the interconnected nature of human relationships. Mannaz can show the spectrum of these relationships, from comfort in good company to the more negative aspects of the human condition.

Laguz: Laguz is the rune for lake, making this a symbol for water. As such, this is a rune of potential and change, perhaps with the suggestion for flexibility through various situations. It can also mean the unconscious mind and the hidden wealth that lies beneath the surface.

Ingwaz: Ingwaz is Freyr’s rune and takes on the domains of the Vanic god as a symbol of fertility, productivity, and abundance. The rune can also symbolize masculine strength and the transforming cycles of life.

Dagaz: Dagaz means day and is the rune of new beginnings. With the day also brings hope, and is a welcome rune when life has been difficult. Dagaz can also signify the present moment and a call to “seize the day.”

Othala: Othala is the rune of the home and encompasses everything that entails, from the physical homestead to familial relationships of blood and heart. Othala also symbolizes the connection to the ancestors, from genetic inheritance to physical property passed on through the family line.

A Norse Morning Prayer

By: Mike Kaan

Hail, Day!
Hail, sons of Day!
Hail, Sunna
and your golden rays!

You brighten my way
as I dwell in Midgard,
giving me hope and happiness,
O light of the world!

Hail, Earth Mother!
Hail, Ancestors!
Hail, Land wights,
Gods and Goddesses, hail!

Mighty Kindreds, I thank you for your blessings!
For the wisdom, courage, and abundance you bestow upon me,
I thank you!

Grant me victory this day, Mighty Kindreds,
a day won with virtue!

So be it!