As some of you may know, my background is both academic and spiritual, for lack of a better word. My great, great grandmother was a healer. And I spent my twenties training with shamans in Bolivia, Peru and the UK. My work is in the healing arts and the oracular, or divinatory arts. My healing work involves tracking illness in the body - and by illness, I mean any mental, emotional and physical imbalance - and seeking to restore health and vitality through non-invasive methods. And my oracular work involves seeking direct revelation from the other-than-human world to help support folks in gaining more insight into, essentially, who they are and why they are here.
When I’m not in my practice, I’m researching or writing about it. It’s a never-ending apprenticeship to gnosis - knowledge of the mysteries.
Today I would like to share a chapter on women’s seership and prophecy from my dissertation The Bee Cult in Greek Myth and Ancient History. If we are to normalise the non-invasive healing arts, and non-dogmatic spiritual teachings, I personally think that we need to begin at a very grounded, accessible entry point. I hope to contribute to the scholarship on the peoples of the ancient world who practiced these ways before they were institutionalised and reserved for the special few. My dissertation was an attempt at this venture - to further our understanding in the west of our spiritual heritage and recover the knowledge of our predecessors.
I feel it is just as important to have access to sources on these ways as it is to have a direct experience of them. And so, every season, I get together with two women who are also trained in the oracular arts, and we offer remote oracular work to folks all over the world. We have been running these virtual ceremonies for about three years now. And what began as rather experimental has turned into a regular practice that we offer at the turn of each season. Querents send in three questions, which we divide between the three of us. On the night of the ceremony, an assistant will have a list of the questions and, one by one, we are posed them as we enter into an altered state and listen for prophecy, seership, and guidance from the gods, or the invisible realm. Our answers are recorded, and then sent out to the querents. The answers are never literal, never a simple “yes” or “no”; for in the way that we work, it is believed that life is much more interesting than that - than right or wrong, black or white. There are many shades of possibility. It is not fortunetelling. The answers arrive in image, in metaphor, and it is these visions that we offer back to the querent - not as a be-all-end-all, but as a seed of possibility that blooms with time if it is our wish and our will to tend it.
And so as we near the Spring Equinox and the next round of our oracular work, I feel a pull to share this chapter on where these teachings come from. Prophecy is often associated with the male sages who became prophets within the Abrahamic religions. This may be because all Abrahamic religions have their origin in a revelation from a prophet carrying a message delivered by a divine being. But back before spiritual experience was institutionalised, every community in the ancient world had oracles. They assisted the community in problem-solving, spirit-driven guidance and overall healing. And so this piece is intended to contribute more scholarship on these practices in the pre-Christian world in Europe.
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