As the Executive Editor of Isis-Seshat journal, the quarterly publication of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis, I’ve decided that I want the Winter issue to focus on divination as the nexus of cultus, community, and culture. As the etymology of the word denotes, the purpose of divination is to reveal “the will of the Gods.” In our postmodern Western societies, of course, the concept has largely been divorced from its polytheistic impetus and has become co-opted by (or, if you prefer, degraded to) a secularist impulse for “fortune-telling,” largely for its entertainment value.
And so we have “generic” horoscopes in our newspapers and banal daytime TV programming (at least here in the U.S.) and websites punctuated by advertisements of “psychics” offering reassurance for the lovelorn and the financially destitute thanks to their amazingly spot-on predictions. (Earlier this morning, in fact, I received some spam email from Astrology.com with the LOL-inducing subject line of “What’s He *Really* Thinking?” Annoying heterosexist assumptions aside, such an email merits a ticket to the Trash folder because if I want to know what my partner is thinking, I have enough confidence in our relationship to know that if I were to ask a question I’d be met with an honest answer! Yeesh!)
But for polytheists, Pagans, witches, ceremonial magicians, shamanic practitioners, spirit workers, mediums, and other sensitive souls, divination is far from a laughing matter. For those of us who have devotional relationships with Gods, Goddesses, Ancestors, and other Holy Powers, divination is an integral component of two-way communications; whether we use the Thoth Tarot deck, a set of Elder Futhark runes, a black mirror for scrying, the traditional yarrow sticks of the I-Ching, or billowing plumes of incense smoke at a Deity’s shrine, to name but a few forms of divination, we seek to be informed on how to align ourselves in right relationship with the cosmos, its Divine Agents, and our own destinies (an alignment process the ancient Egyptians would have called living in Ma’at, or Divine Right Order).
How does incorporating divination methods enrich your spiritual practice? In what ways do you keep the lines of communication open between you and your Powers? Those are just some suggestions for essays I’d love to read about in Isis-Seshat.
I’ve attended public Pagan rituals where divination was included towards the conclusion to determine if the Deities honored were pleased or not with Their offerings or with the rite in general–and if not, what the prescriptions were to ensure favorable acceptance. That’s one example of how divination and community intersect. Another one is that professional diviners are as valued as resources in our communities today as they were, for example, in Classical Greece or 10th century C.E. Iceland: people who have cultivated solid reputations with their skills/signal clarity with the Gods are always in demand! Perhaps you yourself are a professional diviner–if so, consider sharing your experiences with Isis-Seshat’s readers. Or perhaps you’ve benefited from the counsel a professional diviner brought to you–did you meet just the right person at the right time to deliver the news you needed to help turn a distressing life situation around? Do tell!
Several forms of divination are wholly contexualized as spiritual technology within a specific culture’s mode of religious expression. For example, as regular readers of this blog will know, I am, among other things, an initiate in Ifá, which is both a religion and a very complex system of divination (as well as being the name of the Orisha Who rules that divination, and His name is also Ifá!) that arose centuries ago among the Yoruba people of what is now Nigeria. I will be sharing some of my experiences with the consultations/readings I’ve had with my Oluwo or Godfather, a highly skilled Babalawo or “Father of Secrets” in Ifá. If you participate in a very culturally prescribed form of divination, I’d love to hear from you!
So those are some ideas that merit exploring in this upcoming Winter issue of Isis-Seshat. However, I will also gladly accept any of the following:
- Reports of Winter Solstice (Northern Hemisphere) or Summer Solstice (Southern Hemisphere) group or solitary rituals
- Profiles of Deities especially adored at this time of year (Merry Mithrasmas, everybody!)
- Seasonal musings set in a context of spiritual development
- Share the Light: whether you’re happy about the Sun gaining strength after Winter Solstice (Northern Hemisphere) or celebrating the Sun at its zenith (Southern Hemisphere), in what ways do you honor our “Planetary King of the Gods”?
Again, those are just some suggestions. I know you’ve already got your Muses talking to you about what to write! So get on it, friend!
This Call for Submissions is open to all polytheists and theistic Pagans, irrespective of which cultural pantheon one’s honored Powers derive from–i.e., you don’t have to be a devotee of the Kemetic Neteru to contribute content to Isis-Seshat journal.
Here’s a laundry list of criteria for acceptable content:
- Essays, articles, poetry, meditations, electronic images of artwork that are yours, not someone else’s–you retain full copyright of your work.
- If your pieces have been previously published elsewhere, that’s okay–just say so (identify where and provide the copyright date).
- There is no word count limit. Previously published essays/articles have ranged from 1,000-4,000 words.
- Please use MLA style when citing references.
- The preferred format for written material is MS Word; kindly don’t send me PDFs.
- The preferred format for digital art is JPEG or .TIF; please ensure it’s a high-res file (minimum of 300 x 600 dpi).
The deadline is Friday, January 22, 2016, and the anticipated release date is Tuesday, February 2.
If you have any questions, please email me at hekua dot yansa at gmail dot com.
I look forward to hearing from you! Blessings in the name of Isis-Seshat, Goddess of Writing! May She always render you True of Voice!