Poets of the Spiritual & Macabre: Bibliomancy, Tarot & Other Literary Divination

“Duirway to the Mysteries” (c) Steven Blaine Adams

On Saturday, October 31, 2015 Life Force Arts Center will host our first annual Dead Poets Halloween Party. Pantheon asked some of the presenters their thoughts on the connection of divination and poetry, and why they chose the Poets that they represent. Please join us at our Dead Poets Halloween Party for 2017 on November 4

Lorraine Moretti, AKA Lolo, Gypsy Beatnik Priestess of Poetry, on Poetry Divination

Writing poetry is a magical practice and poems are its manifestation. Word-thoughts float among the universe throughout all time and space waiting to be structured into meanings and messages.

A poetry divination that utilizes the spirit-language of the great poets of the past tells us what we need or want to know. There are several ways to do divination with poetry. One way is to cut up lines of poems, put them in a box, and then randomly choose cut up lines of poetry and put them together. The querent in this way actually created their own poem that answered their question.
In another form of divination with poetry, bibliomancy, the querent asks a question and then opens a book to a random page. Point, and the place you point to on the page is the answer to your question.

I personally have done this type of divination using The Poet Tarot from Two Sylvia Press. Here was my message from five poets: (They work well together!)

Words after speech, reach
light beyond sun and words
throats of the night flower
do not stand still/go to the highest hill
of the soul of the woman I am.

I thank the poets for this very personal poetic gift and will study and learn from it, and wrap myself up in its beauty!

Errol McLendon, on channeling Edgar Allan Poe and reading Tarot

Edgar Allan Poe drew his inspiration from a truly tortured soul. His life was shrouded in mystery and darkness. When channeling him, I believe every word he reads has an emotional effect on him, because they communions with his demons.

I read with Kay Steventon’s Spiral Tarot and have exclusively for nine years. Its artwork spans the ages since life and time is a spiral and we can connect with the universal feelings and insights of past generations – particularly at this time of year when the veil is so thin.

I do not predict the future. I believe the cards tell you where you are going based on the decisions you have made. I never have a “future” card, only a “potential outcome” card. I believe if you don’t like the direction that the cards indicate you are headed, you have the power to change that direction, and the cards are very clear in telling you how.

I have done Tarot reading for 25 years and continue to do it because I honestly believe it can give you guidance in designing the future you desire.

I believe poetry, like any creative process, is a physical expression of the soul of the artist. People don’t just sit down and link words together (or slap paint on a canvas, or just memorize lines and get on stage). In each case they are tearing off a piece of themselves and leaving it behind to connect to other souls.

Bea Westrate on Tolkien, Mythology and The Hero’s Journey

Why do I like Tolkien and Lord of the Rings? Tolkien was thoroughly versed in mythologies and languages from several northern European countries. They were his inspiration in writing Lord of the Rings (LOTR). Tolkien translated his knowledge into an epic story, and included the countries, their histories, and languages. Vows and prophecies were treated very seriously in various cultures and mythologies, including those Tolkien drew LOTR from.

It was Aragorn’s responsibility to know his destiny and act in accordance with it….Many died trying to navigate that journey. Everyone who participated in that journey changed, including the dead. Just as Gandalf changed when he encountered death and rebirth, they were different people after the journey than when it began. In a sense, the living participants died and came back to life. It takes courage and strength to face death. Aragorn proved his courage in battle and in facing death.

Aragorn’s journey in LOTR reflects the hero’s journey that Joseph Campbell wrote about. The stages are shown on About Education (http://adulted.about.com/od/theherosjourney/a/hjresurrectionandreturn.htm)

  • The ordinary world (example: life as Aragorn knew it)
  • The call to adventure (a situation from which the hero receives some information that acts as a call to head off into the unknown)
  • Refusing that call (the hero refuses to heed the call)
  • Meeting with the mentor (supernatural aid in the form of guides and magical helpers; examples include Elrond and Gandalf)
  • Crossing the threshold to the ‘special world’ (where the person actually into the adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown, dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known; examples include Council of Elrond in Rivendell, journey through Moria, journey through the Paths of the Dead)
    Tests, allies, and enemies (examples: war, Paths of the Dead, Gondor, Sauron and Saruman, and more)
  • Approaching the innermost cave (the hero passes into a place with new threshold guardians and tests. He or she approaches the place where the object of the quest is hidden and where he or she will encounter supreme wonder and terror)
  • The ordeal (the most critical moment where the hero faces his greatest fear)
  • The reward (the hero cheated death and obtained the much sought after prize; example: the ghosts help free Belfalas from Gondor’s enemies, which helped Aragorn and his company reach Minas Tirith in the nick of time)
  • The road back (will the hero stay there or return to the ordinary world; the challenge here includes whether or not the hero undergoes transformation; Aragorn passes these tests)
  • The resurrection (The hero must be cleansed from the journey before returning to the ordinary world. The trick for the writer is to show how the hero’s behavior has changed, to demonstrate that the hero has been through a resurrection.During the resurrection, death and darkness are encountered one more time before being conquered for good [Aragorn participates in the final battle before Mordor’s entrance. Sauron is defeated once and for all.] Danger is usually on the broadest scale of the entire story and the threat is to the entire world, not just the hero. Aragorn goes from tribal leader to confident king of Gondor, having proven himself up to the challenge)
  • Return with elixir (the heroreturns to the ordinary world with the elixir, a great treasure or a new understanding to share).

Tolkien successfully brought these and many other aspects of the Hero’s Journey together in his epic story.

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