Let’s face it. As Pagans, we pay attention to little things more than most folk. Some say it’s superstition, some set their watches by it.
I fall somewhere in between.
The last few weeks have been full of strange would-be portents. But they are all so contradictory that any attempt to assign meaning would stretch the limits of logic to a breaking point and would leave my willingness to suspend disbelief shaking its head saying, “Naw, now that’s enough.”
The first goes like this.
A couple weeks ago, just before the weather snapped, I found a dead male Bluebird on my porch. It had not been mauled and seemed fairly uninjured. You know, aside from being dead. No one else in my family saw it, just me. I had to point it out to each of them.
To a soothsayer, this is a sure sign of doom. Bluebirds represent happiness and there’s a dead one at m’front door.
No sooner did I get the poor thing buried as the Cardinals showed up.
They come in pairs, male and female. Multiple pairs. The hes come closer than shes do and the hes watch me while the shes hunt and peck about. They come when I’m having morning coffee on the porch, when I’m feeding chickens out back, when I’m grabbing the mail, when I’m sorting recycling.
Some might see this psychopompic totem as the harbinger of death. Some might point out that it’s winter and I offered some Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and suet knowing the weather was getting bad.
I admit that I will remain a shade nervous until my husband comes home safely on Friday. But I worry when he travels with or without the birds.
The second story goes like this.
We put out our land warden on Saturday. A cute little dude with Othala (ancestral land) on one leg, Fehu (abundance) on the other, and Ansuz invisibly all over. He has chibi eyes that follow you–this is adorable and yet creepy as shit.
The morning after celebrating Imbolc, I looked out the window to see the poor guy sprawled out on the ground. I could choose to take this as a bad sign, or I could admit that I just didn’t dig the post hole deep enough.
If you read my last post, you’ll understand the significance of the post and the hole in this ceremony. That I didn’t dig deep enough is far more meaningful then that the scarecrow fell over. And that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax.
I re-, um, -erected the land warden and went about my business. Then Monday, he was still up, but had shifted so that he was looking straight down. I laughed at him and said, “When we asked you to watch over the land we didn’t mean you had to stare at it!” I grabbed a little ground stake and leveled him up. He’s neen fine since.
Paired with last night’s dream, some folks might worry. I dreamed that my chickens were wandering the neighborhood and when I called them home they came but my dogs went to birding and it got ugly. Especially when one of the doggies I had to put down last summer bounced onto the scene. (That’s when the dream became lucid, “Heeey, you can’t be here! Therefore I’m dreaming.”) But I dream that dream a lot. I reckon it’s a PTSD thing. Ain’t never amounted to much more than me checking the fencing a little better than usual.
What if I told you that along with the Cardinals, I saw an unseasonably active snake? The sun had come out for a day or so et voilà. He was prolly hungry and had his eye on a bird!
How’s this? That dream roused me enough to realize I was cold; so I put on a sweatshirt and went back to bed. This morning when I woke up, I realized I had put a sweatshirt on backward, the hood hanging at my chest.
And then there’s the hand tingling. (Which I am chalking up to my bath water being too hot at that moment.)
Omens can mean anything, depending on the interpreter. Just this weekend I had a conversation with the Kindred member who had heard a story for which I had a different perspective. (Don’t you love when that happens? You tell a story and someone in the room says, “Yeah I heard that story from so-n-so. But I heard it with an alternate ending!”) In my last post I told you about how it seems every Imbolc I am with someone new. A couple years ago, my husband and I celebrated with another couple. (There was a group ritual on the weekend but on the actual holiday we went to this couple’s house.) During ritual, a number of fire-related things happened; it was Brigid’s day after all! One incident involving a candle which decided to burn at both ends. Having broken frith with us, the other person tells the story in a very ominous light. Boogada boogada. Knowing what I know now? A candle burning at both ends seems to indicate nothing more than duplicitousness. Or a wick gone awry.
This is not to say I do not pay attention to or give credence to omens. It is just to say that I am not going to simply throw up my hands, scream “Mercury retrograde,” and hide from all the birds and Butzemann.
I am going to do my work, clean my house, feed my family, perform my devotions, and probably check all the fixtures and hardware as I go along. Maybe burn some mugwort and put a blue bottle in a tree.
As ever, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Waes thu hael!