The Elder Scrolls – Kynareth

Kynareth says: Use Nature’s gifts wisely.  Respect her power, and fear her fury.
Ten Commands, Nine Divines

As is apparent by the quote above, Kynareth is one of the Nine Divines, and while originally she was worshiped mainly in Cyrodiil, worship of her has spread and she is now included in both the Imperial and Breton pantheons.  Shrines to Kynareth can be found across Tamriel, mainly outside of settled cities which makes sense given her nature, although Whiterun in the province of Skyrim has a temple dedicated to her.

Kynareth is a goddess of the heavens, winds, elements, and unseen spirits of the air.  She is called “…the strongest of the Sky spirits” (Varieties of Faith in the Empire), and some also associate her with rain; this association is related to legends that state Kynareth was the first to agree with the plan to create the mortal plane and that she made the space for its creation in the void.  Some of these legends also note that rain was not present prior to the removal of Lorkhan’s divine spark;  whether this is true is subject for debate, although the sailors and travelers who claim her as patron certainly believe it to be so.

Kyne of the Nords and Khenarthi of the Khajiiti are said to be aspects of Kynareth, but as it is (mostly) followers of the Imperial pantheon who make this claim, I think it should be taken with a grain of salt.  After all, some people think Aphrodite and Venus are the same…and it’s my opinion that those people are silly.

Kynareth’s decree to man and mer (as transcribed at the top of this post) deals with the respect owed to Nature and to wild things, and I feel strongly that this is something many people forget.  While those who spend the bulk of their time subject to the elements and the whims of the natural world certainly keep Nature’s power in mind, many of us either do not have access to wild spaces or choose not to spend time in them.  And yet, even a dandelion growing through the crack of the pavement or a rainstorm beating against the windshield of one’s car demonstrate the wisdom of recognizing that Nature has its own agenda. In fact, I’d take it a step further: any situation where we are not in control can be used as a reminder that we do not have dominion over all and that, sometimes, the only thing to do is sit back and let things happen without trying to divert or stop them.

For those who wish to approach Kynareth and worship her, I would recommend cool water or incense as offerings that are appropriate and appeal to her nature.  She is most willing to assist in matters of fortune – the lucky kind, not the monetary.

The Elder Scrolls – Hircine

Huntsman, and Father of Manbeasts, Hircine is the Daedric Prince associated with the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game (not to be confused with the one in Orlais), and the Chase.  His plane of Oblivion is the Hunting Grounds, and those who are blessed (or cursed) with a were-form dwell on this plane after death.  Hircine is not mentioned in the early histories of Nirn, and some believe that this means he is not one of the original Daedric Princes.  However, he is the creator of lycanthropy, and as weres have existed in record since the Mythic Era, he is assumed to have existed long before.

Hircine’s passion is the Hunt, and he enjoys giving his prey a sporting chance.  This is evident in the story of the Bloodmoon Prophecy: every era, Hircine appears on Mundus to lead a Great Hunt, and his Hounds and quarry vary from era to era.  Each time this occurs, the quarry is given some way to escape death; in 3E 427, the Nerevarine was able to escape death by navigating a maze and killing the Hunter.  Of course, no one is certain as to whether the Nerevarine was meant to be Hound or Prey.  It is also said that every time the Blood Moon appears in the sky it signals that Hircine is hunting.

Hircine is one of those gods (again, I am not telling a Daedric Prince that they are not a god) that operates from a fluid moral perspective…in as much as I can claim to understand the moral framework of any divine being.  I’d describe him as harsh but fair; embodying the Hunt as he does means he is part of the endless cycle of life and death, and that his actions are in service to the Hunt itself.  Morality in the sense of the Hunt (again, as far as I understand it) means seeing it through to an end rather than leaving it unfinished and not flinching from what must be done regardless of what it is.  Then, too, I suspect that part of the joy of the Chase relates to having to be completely in the present – there is no planning, there is no history, there is only flow.

It is my belief that Hircine makes a good patron for hunters and athletes, but also for those who use their wiles outside traditional hunting activities.  I, for example, am neither a hunter nor an athlete, but have a love for the Chase just the same – for me, the Chase usually involves wit and guile rather than strength or speed.  I have no compunction about going in to get what I want most of the time but were I feeling tentative I think calling on Hircine for help makes sense.  I also think that it would be good to call on Hircine when overloaded with feeling or emotion that is focused on past action; he, I imagine, would be quite good at helping to pull oneself back to the present to focus on what is happening now.

(In retrospect, I wish I’d thought of calling on Hircine when I was trying to work past some old injuries that were following me around.  I ended up coming to a place of “They did the best they could, even if it didn’t meet my needs” through therapy rather than through him, but I wonder if it would’ve been beneficial.)

For those interested in worshiping Hircine outside of a Tamrielic perspective, I suggest offerings of hunted things.  One could go traditional and offer fur, or feathers, or game (meat, fowl, or fish), especially if obtained through hunting or fishing, but I also think objects obtained through non-traditional hunting would also be appropriate.  For example, I’ve long been looking for specific pieces of Stangl thistle-pattern pottery, and if I worshiped Hircine it would feel very appropriate to me to use one or more pieces on his shrine as either offering dishes or offerings.

ToST – Reading 4

The querent (person for whom the reading is done; one who seeks) for this reading wanted to know how successful a series of major changes would be.  I used the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight for this reading, with a random significator (card representing the querent) and the Do-Think-Feel-Have-Be spread.

 

Significator – Two of Chalices

Love, romance, candles, and wine.  There is nothing like it while it burns to light the darkness, fill the world with beauty, and heal all manner of ills.

DO – The High Priestess

The High Priestess is familiar with the life that goes unseen, beneath the floors and in the walls.  What others may demean, she values and protects.

THINK – Queen of Pentacles

Appreciation of creation and the ability to create are qualities tied to the earth, the moon, the sun, and the heavens.  Who says that physical things are mundane?

FEEL – Four of Swords

Everywhere, troubles of every sort surround and follow you.  There is only one sensible course of action.  Find a peaceful spot and give yourself over to it.  Rest and ground yourself.  Then, deal with all the problems.

HAVE – Temperance

Temperance stands gracefully in the arid landscape forever balancing the need for hope and the desire for blessings.  In her hands, there is nothing lost.

BE – Two of Swords

You’ve risen above the situation, or so you think.  Stubbornly, you hold what you know to be true.  Yet, by refusing to see anything else, are you missing what else might also be true?

 

Interpretation

Much as you try to hide it, you are a romantic at heart.  You believe in true love, in kindness and generosity of spirit, and that these things can not only help to overcome adversity, but that they make the world a better place.  You rarely let people see this side of you, however; you prefer to present yourself differently.  This need to be seen as handling things gets in your way, though – you know when you need help, or support, but you don’t ask for it and (mostly) others don’t offer because they can’t see beneath the surface.

As you move through this phase of transition and change, you need to remember that the surface of things isn’t always the best representation and that, often, things are not what they seem.  Looking beneath is a survival tactic, and you have a gift for it.  Let that gift help you, and remember that sometimes the best way to see what someone or something really is involves exposing your own true self.

Remember your passions, no matter how small they seem – what is important to you is important, and no one should tell you otherwise.  Keep this firmly in your mind as you move toward your goals.

When you feel overwhelmed and overwrought, take a moment to stop and breathe.  Then, make a list: what absolutely must be dealt with, and what is just window dressing?  Handle what must be handled right away, and leave other things to be dealt with once you’ve cared for yourself.

You have insight into how things work, and the will to set them in motion.  Don’t let fear make you stumble; count out what you have and look to what you wish to acquire, and make it so.  Have faith, and apply it, while remembering that you also have to put in the time and do the work.

If you keep these things in mind, if you take the time to look at what happens from all angles and open your mind up to the possibility of things you didn’t think were possible, it will be easier to get where you need to go.  Staying true to what you believe does not mean that other beliefs are not just as true for those who hold them, and trying to apply your own beliefs to others can be disastrous.  When you are aware that yours is not the only road, you’ll be better able to travel.

You can have what you want, if you’re aware of the price and actively choose to pay it.

 

Images of the Cards and the Spread

ToST - Two of Chalices

ToST – Two of Chalices

ToST - The High Priestess

ToST – The High Priestess

ToST - Queen of Pentacles

ToST – Queen of Pentacles

ToST - Four of Swords

ToST – Four of Swords

ToST - Temperance

ToST – Temperance

ToST - Two of Swords

ToST – Two of Swords

TosT - Spread for Reading 4

TosT – Spread for Reading 4

 

The Elder Scrolls – Hermaeus Mora

I find Hermaeus Mora, Prince of Knowledge and Memory, the most interesting of the Daedric Princes.  Known for scrying the tides of Fate and the past and present as read in the heavens, he calls himself “…The riddle unsolveable. The door unopenable. The book unreadable. The question unanswerable…” and has numerous epithets including The Golden Eye, Gardener of Men, and (my favorite) Old Antecedent.  The Nords, and the Skaal, call him Herma-Mora, and there are numerous tales of Ysgramor escaping his clutches…and I shall call him such in the rest of this post because it’s slightly shorter of a name.

Herma-Mora’s realm of Oblivion is called Apocrypha, and it is characterized by a constantly shifting landscape – stairways move, halls shift, and piles of books litter the walls and floor, sometimes making up buildings in their own right.   This makes sense; as Prince of Knowledge it stands to reason that he has quite a collection of reference material.  Aside from the Prince himself, Apocrypha is populated only by Seekers and Lurkers; these denizens of Apocrypha are not quite as unsettling as Herma-Mora himself, but they’re deadly enough in their own right.  Mortals only venture to Apocrypha through reading one of the seven Black Books, and then only at Herma-Mora’s whim.

Unlike most other Daedric Princes, Herma-Mora does not have a humanoid form; when he appears to mortals at all, he is seen as a mass of eyes, tentacles, and claws that form and reform, or as a purple vortex.  His “alignment” (can’t think of a better word) is also less tangible than that of other Princes – when one is dedicated purely to knowledge, there is only what is known and what is unknown…and all things are worth knowing and therefore worth pursuing.

This last bit appeals to me immensely, for what is worth chasing if not knowledge?

I don’t worship Herma-Mora myself, largely because I feel like I already have so many gods to worship…but there’s also a part of me so seduced by the idea of gathering hidden knowledge that I am fairly sure I could end up pitching myself headlong into something I’m not prepared for.  With knowledge comes transformation and change, as evidenced by Herma-Mora himself, and I am not ready for additional liminal work, and tracing of threads, and peering into shadows.  This doesn’t mean I might not petition him at some point, but I am nowhere near doing so now.

For those who would approach him, offer something from the deepest recesses of your mind, something you’ve never breathed aloud to any other being.  Such things please Herma-Mora immensely.

Gallipot

The vessel where I store myself is permeable;
I want to be able to get out, should the need arise.  Mostly, though,
I am content within earthenware walls,
With lid closed tightly above me, so I don’t leak out onto the floor.

I’ll percolate in here, or maybe ripen.
The air is moist; I breathe, and my skin is still and cool.
But under there all manner of things writhe and twist, weave and twine,
And ply their limbs along my bones.

This is not a process fit for public consumption.

When all mystics speak mystic (and they do),
It doesn’t matter if they hear you scream.  They’ve been down
This road before.  Even so, shifting on an elemental level
Is not the prettiest thing they’ve seen.

And for those who have not, or can not, or will not (it doesn’t matter which),
Logic overtakes the lack of reason needed
To fold oneself in tiny squares, to remove the parts that need
Analysis, and study them.

It is an exceedingly tight fit in this jar.

Lack of reason it is, but just the same there are reasons for this;
To become, I must inhabit the parts I most dislike.
I must know them inside-out, and so I turn myself that way.
I curl into a ball and wall myself up to be cut loose.

Within the mystibabble is something worth remembering:
That this is chosen, that we break ourselves to fix ourselves,
That our heads split open to be put back, over and over again,
That transformation is a violent, gory process.

And in the end, we’re something more.

Seasonal Impressions

In and through, over and over,
Grey lion chases fluffy lamb,
Or lamb runs after lion; the order does not matter
But for an elementary phrase.
The air is streaming.  Moisture gathers
In all my cracks and crevices, while wind
Does its best to keep it back.
I am turning inside-out.
Innards gleaming on the outside;
Change is coming.

Marrow aches; my mind is racing.
Pressures rise and fall to
Fill the evening sky with light.
What is tomorrow but another changeling day?
When all the dust is turned to ribbons,
When I am saturated with the sounds of greening,
Then comes this along the skyline:
A fading line of blue and green.
In twilight creeps the heart of all the being,
Sight unseen, but not unheard.

Time will prick behind my eyes,
And my own sap will start to rise.

Gyromancy

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was spin around in a circle until I fell over dizzy.  I’d go outdoors on a sunny day, find a spot in my yard, and spin and spin until I couldn’t stay standing and toppled over into the grass.

(I also used to roll down the hill in our front yard, but that’s a topic for another time.)

Anyway, the idea of doing such a thing now makes me nauseous – in addition to my equilibrium changing after I had my son, I also have benign positional vertigo (BPV) which means I sometimes get dizzy and fall over for no reason at all.  Spinning in a circle until I fall over is now off the table, as is going on any amusement ride that spins and watching any movie that uses shaky cam as a thing.  But, I was amused to discover that my childhood spinning actually had a use that I didn’t know about – divination.  I’m referring to gyromancy.

Gyromancy is the practice of divination by circles or rounds, and there are a couple of well-known methods:

  • A person, or a group of people, spin or dance in circles until they become dizzy enough to fall on the ground.  At that point, everything that is said by the ones on the ground is recorded, and then those recorded words are interpreted for potential meaning.
  • A person, or a group of people, stand within a circle that is bordered by letters or symbols.  At the appropriate time, the person or group walks around the inside of the circle repeatedly until they grow dizzy enough to fall on the ground.  At that point, the position of the people on the ground in relation to the letters/symbols is noted and interpreted for meaning.

Both of the methods above sometimes involved the person or group of people getting up once they fell and repeating their actions until they couldn’t stand again or, as reported in Occult Sciences: A Compendium of Transcendental Doctrine and Experiment: “…till he evolved an intelligible sentence, or till death or madness intervened.”

Ummm, yeah.

Another method, and one I hadn’t heard of before researching for this post, uses a nicked or marked coin – the coin is spun within a circle of letters, and words are spelt out by where the nick or mark lands when the coin falls over.  I think I like this method best as it doesn’t involve me spinning in circles and then spewing.  Although, that might be another method – spin the person and interpret meaning based on where the discharge lands?

(Okay, forget I suggested that.  EW.)

Since I started pondering gyromancy, I’ve had a picture in my head of someone practicing it at a day care facility, at random, based on spinning pre-schoolers.  I mean, they will spin on their own – why not make some use of it by giving them soft mats marked with letters to use as a base?  I don’t know how accurate it would be, but it might make for a good experiment provided that no one actually spun the children; the children would need to spin on their own, of course.

Clearly, I am getting silly.  Sillier than usual, anyway.

I don’t currently know anyone who practices gyromancy, much like I didn’t (and still don’t!) know anyone who practices tyromancy.  If you do either, I’d be really interested to know your how and your why, and whether you think harnessing the power of small children is worthwhile.  After all, a day when I learn something new is a good day!

Today is a good day.