I had an experience that was remarkable in a number of ways. It’s about the pagan community, trying a different kind of prayer, and trusting an omen. But, it’s a bit of a long story.
I have all-day classes that run on Monday and Tuesday, in addition to Tuesday evening classes. The all-day classes are ongoing classes that I’ve taken over from a colleague.
That means that, in the near future, I have to get to know a new group every Monday and hold their attention through the end of Tuesday, and then go teach my regular Tuesday evening classes. It might not be a big deal to you, but it’s exhausting for me and I never get a chance to catch up in the course of the week.
And then this Monday, I got thrown a curve-ball. I had a difficult first experience, with some students wanting to talk too much and others almost not voluntarily talking at all. I stressed that it wasn’t going well and that I was bombing. (Teaching, at least the way I do it, is performing with an academic component to it.)
I knew what I needed to do: As the teacher, I needed to pipe up more, cut off the one person who wanted to monopolize the conversation, draw out the ones who were not speaking. But I didn’t trust myself to do it. Everything I imagined saying felt… wrong, or harsh, or off-putting.
When I was finished, I told myself I’d brainstorm the things I did to build more of a group-feeling and try again anew on Tuesday.
Then, I drove to the local druid meet-up. (Or however you want to translation Druidenstammtisch — this part all happened in German). There, perhaps emboldened by a different omen suggesting I be open to change, or maybe just unwilling to be out of control twice in one day, I resolved to show up and talk more than is typical for me.
I even had questions, so I fired away as soon as I saw even the slightest socially acceptable opening: “How limited do you think the gods are and — on a related note — do you think the gods can hear you if you don’t pray out loud.”
A great conversation followed teaching me that maybe I should ask more questions (but that means, being spiritually active enough to find things I want to learn more about).
Even more, someone said that “even if you don’t see how the gods can fix whatever problem you’re looking at, they can maybe put an idea in your head or arrange an introduction.”
Thinking of the problems I’d had in the morning, I resolved to give it a try.
I got up early enough on Tuesday that I had an hour to myself before work. Then, I took some of my wife’s white wine (I didn’t have any red of my own left) to use as an offering and I prayed to Mercury and Apollo, asking for the knowledge of what needed to be said, and a gilded tongue to say it without offense, respectively.
Having prayed, I drew an omen asking for wisdom from both of the gods as I approached the rest of my day.
This is what I drew:
And this is what I read in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom:
This card reversed means a determination to make something from dreams. This does not mean rejecting fantasies, but rather doing something with them.
I took that to mean that I had to trust my gut instinct. When I hit the situation where I knew something needed to be said, I needed to trust that I’d have the gilded tongue and the wisdom of what to say.
I resolved to do it.
The classes on Tuesday went great. Partly that was because I knew that I needed to do more introductions and group-building exercises with the group. But it’s also because I found myself ready to cut speakers off, ready to provoke people to speak more than they were comfortable doing.
The prayer was answered. Surprisingly effectively.
An interesting addendum
So, if you’re familiar with Tarot (or, more familiar than I am), you might be surprised at the text I included. Not until I was writing this up did I realize that I’d read — and taken some measure of strength — from the text assigned to the Seven of Cups.
Now, I don’t know what to think about that, except that the shining ones got their message through, regardless.