How do you know if it means something of not?

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I hope you know what is meaningful

A recent find.

A recent find.

I am always very curious about the idea of omens. The notion that spirit is sending us messages through our surroundings is as old as humanity. Yet how do we know what is meaningful and what is not? Recently, I have had a few conversations about how being open to everything as symbol or message is just crazy-making. Without context and boundaries every symbol can imply something, undo the previous one, or just feed the ego.

So how do we know which one to look for? In the podcast I did with Yoav Ben-Dov recently we talked about how in the context of a reading we might choose to “read” everything that happens as being a symbol.

I was in a session a while back that was interrupted by someone walking in to buy something from the shop. They felt they were cursed but weren’t sure if they believed it. I sold them what they were looking for and they left. I had just started back into the reading with my client when they came back in. The remembered that their Dad had  a charm for protection from curses and wondered if I had anything similar. I did and so sold them that also. They left looking much more at ease.

When I came back into the reading I realized that the client was going through the same issue the shopper was dealing with. A sense of something being off spiritually and a lack of faith in the tools they initially had been given to deal with it. So I asked them “Do you have faith in your ability to fix your life?” Their answer revealed that they did not. Something felt too big and hidden for them to overcome. After some discussion I asked them “What would you father have done about this?”  All of a sudden their face changed as they realized exactly what would get their life back on track.

When I am walking through life there are many things I could try to read as omens. I could look to the natural world and watch the movement of birds, snails, or squirrels. I could also draw from the variety of human generated symbols numbers on posts, phones, or houses, snippets of music, headlines on papers, or any of the myriad of things that make up the urban landscape. I don’t look to any of these though as they are too common. I read found playing cards.

Now I don’t mean I read what I find around my home or when playing “Go Fish” with my 7 year old. I read the cards that I find in public. This has a few advantages. First being that I don’t see them very often – maybe one a month. Second, I can read them using set meanings derived from my cartomantic practices – the meaning is clear and specific. Finally, when I find one it wakes me up and tells me to pay attention. By being somewhat rare I am able to take it as message from spirit without having to reexamine my relationship to the divine daily.

The great thing about finding cards is that I am able to have some rules around it to keep me from going too far from it.

  1. I only interpret one card.
  2. If I find more than one at the same time I take the one I saw first.
  3. If I find a whole deck facedown I just draw one.
  4. If there is a pile that I go by for a few days I stick with the first one.
  5. I keep it – good or bad.
  6. I keep the card out in my work area until a new find replaces it.
  7. I don’t ask anyone what it means. This is a personal symbol.

If you are going to open up to these ways of looking at life, having guidelines in place to help keep it sane can be really important.

How about you? Where do you see spirit speaking to you in the world?
Andrew Mc Gregor

P.S. Hat tip to Camelia Elias for triggering these thoughts. If you don’t know her work go and take a peek.

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“Seven of Clubs” image by Andrew McGregor used under Creative Commons License.

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