The Three Bears


(Originally published at Gods & Radicals)

I receive messages from the Gods but I don’t think I’m particularly special in this; the Gods Who wish to talk to people do so to many people frequently. I have a natural affinity for hearing Gods which is like being able to sing or draw— something anyone can do a little, some people have a talent for, and anyone who wishes to improves with practice. The hard part is being able to interpret the God-sendings into coherent, action-oriented directives and using divinatory tools is one of the ways I use to make sense of the sendings. As well, divination allows me to ask specific questions and get directed answers. Since I am Diaspora Irish I use a traditional Irish divination tool, the Ogham.

DuirI spent some years doing professional divination with a set of Ogham cards that I had developed. I developed the design on the cards, that is, not the tree significator nor the traditional kennings although I did a little substitution for North American plants instead of a few British Isles ones that don’t grow here at all.
So there I was at a ‘Psychic’ show, doing readings with ‘Ancient Irish Tree Cards’ (in all the hundreds of readings I did professionally over the years only one person actually knew what ‘Ogham’ was) and the activities director of a local retirement home came by and asked me if I would come and do a little talk about Irishness at the home on Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m open to talking, but on the day of the presentation I drove up to the home and thought, ‘Whew!! This is a pretty upscale nursing home– I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this….’
Soldiering on (in solidarity) I was escorted into the library and given an easel

(I started with a recitation of an adaption of ‘Saint Patrick’s Breastplate’:

Here in this fateful hour,
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the wind with its swiftness along its path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the Earth with its starkness
All these I place
By the Gods’ almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness.

with large-sized copies of appropriate cards for each invocation).

After that I was talking about the imagery in the various pictures and told the story of why the wren is the king of birds.

One old geezer who had clearly spent a long long lifetime of never being opposed in anything nor ever spending a moment of his time in doubt of his essential self-worth decided that now was the ideal instant for him to step up to his favourite pastime of pestering:

“This is just MAKE-BELIEVE!” he said querulously.

“These are legends, yes” I responded, “But they explicate essential truths in a fantastical format.”

“Faugh!” he said, “Fairy tales!”

Bear child
Then I lost my Socialist temper (as the sparks fly upward) and countered,

“Look at the back-story of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, for example:
Goldilocks thinks of herself as a cut above the disadvantaged people living in a little cottage in the forest.

‘They are not like me’ she says, ‘They do not feel things the same way— they are just bears.’

So she feels quite comfortable eating their porridge, breaking their chairs, and using their beds. When the ‘bears’ come home and find her asleep, what is the essential truth, the moral of the story, that is the teaching lesson here?”

(Read more here.)

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Gods&Radicals is a site of Beautiful Resistance and a daily journal of Pagan anti-capitalist writing.
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