At the beginning of 2015, I performed divination by way of my caribou antler Elder Fuþark and The Hidden Path oracle my wife’s teacher was using for the same purpose. As this tumultuous year draws to a close, I reflect on the past twelvemonth and see how my divination relates to the year as I experienced and remember it.
The Hidden Path: Beltane (Fertility, Union, Bonding)
Rune: Ehwaz (couples, confirmation)
This marked the start to the first year I’ve spent married to my wife Hazel, and we started it off with what I recall as a highly enjoyable date night, during which I acquired a new Crane bag, and we went to see the Rob Marshall-helmed Stephen Sondheim musical, Into the Woods. In that way, both card and rune seem very straightforward, as they relate to coupling and union. However, this month was also one that dealt with the dissolution of relationships: That same night early in the month, a series of events began rapidly unspooling that involved the betrayal by and ending of a friendship with someone who had for a long while been a close friend and a spiritual sister, and as a separate but related catastrophe, the beginning of the disintegration of my brother’s marriage. These were both events that hurt myself and Hazel deeply, and have echoed throughout the remainder of the year.
The Hidden Path: Holly King (Decline, Loss, Dissipation)
Rune: Isa (slowing down, stillness)
At the end of the previous year we had already decided that we would be moving back to the Carolinas from Baltimore, MD, but as I had been out of work since the previous September, we weren’t sure how that was to be accomplished. We also were growing increasingly frustrated as to the scarcity of affordable housing in the area we wanted to be close to. Additionally, towards the end of this month I became aware that another friend, Cat, with whom I’d been estranged for some five years or so, but with whom I’d once been very close, who had in fact introduced me to Paganism almost a decade ago and helped me to recover from the termination of my previous marriage, was now dying of cancer with a prognosis of only a couple months.
The Hidden Path: The Great Rite (Perfect Union, Soul Mates, Divine Match)
Rune: Hagalaz (sudden change)
During a trip to North Carolina to celebrate the Vernal Equinox with the Misfit Sanctuary, we found our new house, which came very much as an answer to prayer to a panoply of Gods and saints, and was perfect in very nearly every way: a huge expanse of land on which to plant our new Protogrove, three spacious bedrooms, and excellent neighbors. (The one downside being its distance from very literally everything.) This also accelerated our plans for the upcoming move, which we looked on with hope to bring some peace to our rather troublous year.
The Hidden Path: Sacred Grotto (Gateway, Inner Direction, Mystical Vision)
Rune: Thurisaz (defense, warning, danger)
The betrayal that I spoke of in January (which was a contributing factor in our decision to Move), reached its culmination in my last direct interaction with that person (although some ramifications are still in the process of unfolding). We reached out to Druidic clergy to gain counsel on how best to deal with it; and also what steps to take to plant the new Protogrove. Meanwhile, I watched as my brother completed a year-long journey back to a revitalized Christianity, after spending half his life as an atheist or agnostic.
The Hidden Path: Oak King (Gain, Growth, Increase)
Rune: Ansuz (wisdom, words)
2nd May I invoked Gwydion fab Dôn in my last ritual as a member of CedarLight Grove, ADF. The next day we packed the moving truck, and the day after that we arrived at our new home and unpacked and after a nap and a meal, attended the Misfit full moon ritual. (That day also saw some damage to the undercarriage of my car, Prydwen, as she came off the dolly—the first of numerous injuries that became more apparently relevant later in the year.) The next week I submitted my Grove Survey for Raven’s Hollow Protogrove to ADF’s Grove Coordinating Committee.
The Hidden Path: Tree in Winter (Endurance, Preservation, Stability)
Rune: Tiwaz (victory, justice, sacrifice)
In June we began to become established in our new home, and sort out life in Lancaster, South Carolina. Though we both quite liked the house and the land, we both and Hazel especially found the distance extremely tedious and burdensome, and it led to more than one heated argument, with a sense of dissatisfaction with where we’d ended up but a reluctance to shun our blessings or to pick up and move again so soon (particularly with no resources to draw on or affordable prospective homes that met our needs closer to where we wanted to be), and we both strove to maintain patience and understanding. On the last day of the month, I received notice that the unemployment benefits on which we had thitherto been scraping by had been exhausted.
The Hidden Path: Yule/Winter Solstice (Rebirth, Renewal, Restoration)
Rune: Berkano (new growth, luck)
The Longest Night imposed on us by the previous month’s final sentence was broken by the rising sun of hope brought to us by friends and family, who showered help upon us, and inspired the founding of Cait Sidhe Designs. This turn of luck in our darkest hour so far foreshadowed the particularly applicable divination for the following month. . . .
The Hidden Path: Mabon (Harvest, Completion, Fulfillment)
Rune: Laguz (water, balance, hidden treasure, overwhelmedness)
Early in the month I received a message from a member of our local religious community I’d never particularly talked much to, and didn’t know very well. She asked if I was still looking for a job, and said that her company was hiring. I sent her manager my CV, which sparked a series of interviews—really my first serious bite since we’d been down south. Later in the month we attended Cat’s funeral—I’d visited her as she faded through March and April, and she passed in the middle of May, but her funeral was postponed till late August, and carried with it very much a fulfilling sense of the closing of a chapter.
The Hidden Path: Perfect Love & Perfect Trust (Trust, Loyalty, Fidelity)
Rune: Sowilo (light, guidance)
After a rigorous series of interviews and follow-up interviews, I started my new job after a full year of unemployment—only to have my car die on me after the first week. This latter would seem to be in direct contrast to both the former and the theme of this month’s reading, but the $3,500 price tag for a new engine was fronted by an unprecedented outpouring of generosity from our friends—who are in truth more like family. Around the same time I spoke on an Interfaith Panel and gave a workshop on ADF ritual at our local chapter of the Pagan Pride Project.
The Hidden Path: Tree in Fall (Decline, Shedding, Release)
Rune: Gebo (gift)
The gift spoken of here, I have no doubt, refers to the dedication of Raven’s Hollow Protogrove to the Morrígan at our inaugural Samhain ritual. As for the waning Tree—I have a feeling that may be to do both with the strained finances of that month, with the resources we poured into preparing for that rite, and with perpetuated Car Trouble: the heat shield on the catalytic converter cracked, causing an ungodly racket while driving, and a number of unusual things began happening while I was on the road, seemingly to drive me off it.
The Hidden Path: Oath (Truth, Trust, Integrity)
Rune: Fehu (wealth)
During November, we prepared for two things: our first Thanksgiving as a married couple and the first one Hazel had personally prepared, to celebrate what bounty we had been given (we also received notice from my previous job during this month that my retirement plan through that job was due to be paid out, though we’re still sorting the paperwork on that). The second thing was our upcoming Yule ritual, which was focused on sacrificial oaths to bind chaos.
The Hidden Path: Lughnasadh (Anticipation, Receptivity, Outcome)
Rune: Jera (year, harvest)
December was chaos. From dubious goings-on in my Carolinian and Maryland religious communities, to ongoing money shortages, to the increasing political hostilities in the nation and the world, our Yule ritual was deeply needed—though only partially successful. Shortly afterward, I was involved in two accidents in three days, which demolished my car, leaving me to anxiously wait on other people’s insurance to pay out before I can rectify my situation. After this latest in an eight-month period of continuous car problems, I was led to perform further divination, which revealed that I had been hexed by the same person who had been stirring up trouble towards the start of the year, and continued to do so for other people back home. That truly did set the tone for this whole year—one of loss, change, anxiety, and chaos, and leaves the world looming as over a cliff over 2016. I hope for better things in the coming year though, and am deeply eager to see what the next months will bring.