The Omen Quest
The Omen Quest is based on the folk traditions of Scotland and other Celtic countries and is described and detailed in some of Tom Cowan's books on shamanism and Celtic shamanism. To the Celts, the places that were betwixt and between were doorways into the unseen world and the careful observer could tap into the magic of such places and receive information. Omens are observations of the everyday world around you. The positioning of a tree branch or the reflection of the sun on a puddle, suddenly take on new significance.
To do the omen quest, form a question that you would like answered. This is not the time for yes or no questions, something more complicated. The Summer Solstice is the time when our planting and planning of Imbolc, Ostara, and Beltane should becoming manifest. Once you have your question, go outside. Being in a natural place is always better, but there's no reason not to do it in a city. Spirit is everywhere. When your outside, find a betwixt and between place. Betwixt and Between is a border where you are neither in one place or another. Here are some examples:
- The Solstice - We are on the border of the growing light and the growing dark time of the year.
- Dawn/Dusk - The border of day and night - more importantly, not day or night.
- In A Doorway - neither in the house nor out of the house
- With Clothes On But No Shoes - neither dressed nor undressed
- In A Gate - neither in nor out
- On The Curb - neither in the street nor on the sidewalk
- In The Shadow Of A Tree - not beneath the tree but under the tree
- Shadows Of Any Kind - in the sun, not in the sun
- Edge Of The Water/In The Surf - neither on land nor in the water
Find your betwixt and between place. The more betwixt and between, the better. Take some deep breaths and ground and center. The reports in folklore ask you to "say your prayers and charms." So call on the help of the powers that are important to you, spirit guides, guardian angels, Gods, Goddesses, ancestors etc...
Think of your question. With that in mind turn to the East, close your eyes and ask - Where am I? Wait with your eyes closed until you feel a signal or an urge to open them. What is the first thing you see/experience? This is your omen. Now, the omens are simple every day things like:
- oak tree
- bird flying
- bird flying south
- sound of a hammer banging
- golden glow on the horizon
- woman in red dress approaching
Write down your first impressions with appropriate adjectives:
- dying oak tree
- knobby oak tree
- young oak tree
- oak tree with two trunks
If you write down an omen that sounds like: yellow 1954 Volkswagen beetle with flat tire. Crying woman with bleached blond hair sitting inside. Child on skateboard passing car on sidewalk heading S-SW on boulevard as hot dog man shouts, "Get 'em while their hot!" You missed it. Probably only one of those things is the first thing you saw. So keep that in mind. Write it down and move into the other three directions doing the same.
Turn to the South, close your eyes and ask - What is my strength?
Turn to the West, close your eyes and ask - Where am I going?
Turn to the North, close your eyes and ask - What is my power?
These are questions about your main question, what is my power in this situation/problem/change of life? Thank the powers and guardians you asked to help you.
Now is the time to interpret your omens. Some will be obvious to you. Remember, these were given to you and were chosen, because you would be able to know what they mean. So if you see lavender waving in the breeze, don't grab every herb lore book to find out what lavender means, what does it mean to you? Some will not be so obvious. I was once given an omen of a young oak waving in the breeze for my strength. To interpret it, I did a meditation and saw myself becoming the young oak. By shape-shifting into the oak, I saw the world through its eyes and its relationship to the rest of the forest. I realized that the message it was trying to give me was about living in community. My strength was community. Some other things may be confusing because you can't tell what you're seeing. I spotted a rock at the base of a tree as an omen. I went closer to the rock and it had painted on it "Believe". So, I think the omen in this case was not the rock, but the message "believe". Tom Cowan gives the example of the "golden glow." On further investigation, it turned out to be the sun reflecting on a yellow pool cover. Based on the person he was questing for and their discussions, they decided the omen had to do with the golden glow and not a pool cover. So, think on your omens. Journal and meditate on them. In the end, they will give you answers.
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