In ancient Greece, kledonomancy was a form of divination in which a person would ask a question of the gods and then cover their ears, leave the agora, and listen for an answer among people’s common street chatter. The term describing this form of divination derives from the Greek word κληδών or kledon loosely meaning word omen or sound omen.
Since moving to within a stone’s throw of the geographic center of the country, I have had three oracles rise from the nooks and crannies of the city to answer my questions. My prayers to the gods were drenched in questions about the things weighing on me. Each oracle has emerged when something heavy was on my heart, threatening to derail my Work and crush my spirit.
I received an oracle in 2016 in the women’s restroom of a local theater company. I received another in 2017 at a local Target while in the grocery section. Still another in the early part of this year came while I was standing at the bus stop minding my own business, on my way home after work.
Each oracle was a woman over 50 years of age. Each a woman with strong spiritual conviction. Each spoke directly to me and told me exactly what I needed to know. Their messages seem so simple now, but they were anything but that. They spoke directly to my heart and fortified my spirit at times when I needed it.
The first set my broken heart so that it could mend before hopelessness could set in like a cancer. The second gave me courage to tell the Truth, regardless of who is listening and regardless of who wants to hear it. The third gave me strength to take a much needed step toward my calling in this life.
Usually kledonomancy yields an assortment of loosely related words carefully gathered from stray conversations by a hopeful querent. I feel blessed to have received direct answers to my questions (one of which I didn’t even know I had). Hail the gods and wise words well woven!
In the wee hours of a day in late March, I caught a glimpse of a horse, a spear, and a beautiful bronze shield. In an instant, I was in a woman’s presence standing in a temple that was partially open to rich, green fields. The woman’s red robes caught my eye. She smiled warm and strong, her glistening spear held firm in her right hand. I knew she was Macha. I stared in awe, whispered “Your Majesty”, and took a knee. She appreciated the show of respect and reverence. Smiling broadly she took my hand and tugged upward for me to stand. Once I was on my feet again, she kissed my right cheek and gave me welcome in Gaelic. Her words were unclear at first because I don’t speak her language. She observed my confusion and switched to English.
Her words poured over me along with images of spears and horses, warriors at the ready, and Macha herself on horseback. She was battle-ready, laughing and riding free. She told me to be courageous, to stand bravely no matter the enemy at the gate or the fear deep in my heart. She demanded that I fully and boldly express myself in the world and in every way that matters to me because so-called “Others” living unapologetically is a vital aspect of Resistance as we work for change in the world.
I tearfully accepted her guidance and then she was gone.
For the last several months, a good friend and I have been meeting via video chat as often as we can to discuss Morpheus Ravenna’s The Book of the Great Queen: The Many Faces of the Morrigan from Ancient Legends to Modern Devotions chapter by chapter. The book is robust, offering page after page of deeply satisfying food for thought and insightful guidance for devotional practice. This Friday night while I was sitting on the couch watching television, Macha inspired me. A supply of words rushed to my busy hands to be typed out. On Monday night, the eve of the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, I finished a small prayer for courage in her name.
May the prayer honor Macha and bring at least some small measure of blessing to her devotees. In these brightening (in terms of season) but still difficult and dangerous times (in terms of institutionalized oppression and dehumanizing political moves) we need her blessing of courage more than ever.
Personal Morrigan Shrine/Altar
Along with a glass of blood red wine and the light of my bright red Morrigan candle, I give these words of supplication:
Mighty Mother, hardened by horse hooves striking,
With striving muscle, shout thunder across the Plain.
With unrelenting strength, foal and finish.
Sovereign Queen, heartened by ripe crops yielding,
With cleaving claíomh, reap the high harvest of heads.
With blood-sorcery, doom the treacherous.
Woman in birthing strife!
Raven of the raids!
Greatness of wealth!
Courage we call up from the fertile land,
Hallowed and harnessed by womb and wound.
Great Macha, we pray you grant us favor!
“Macha Curses the Men of Ulster”, Illustration by Stephen Reid (1904). Image from Wikipedia.