As we enter the path of Wicca, Paganism, or adopt a new divination system, we enter a new world of exploration, and of shiny objects and alluring collections of really neat things. Garb, cloaks, fantastic objects, athames, wands, and so much more. We can be lead to believe that we need the perfect cloak, the ideal chalice, and all the other accoutrements available. I once quipped (and have never lived down) that this is the shopping religion. The same was true, I might add, of mainstream religions. When I was a Christian, I spent a great deal of meager salary on the perfect leather-bound Bible with gold-edge pages in exactly the right translation. Then I accumulated more translations and commentaries. None of these things deepened my walk with Deity; study, communication, fellowship, and prayer did that. The same is true of the Pagan path. It is our actions and connections that bring us closer to Spirit. Deborah Blake writes about this online and in her book, Witchcraft on a Shoestring. She presents practical and frugal ways to practice our Craft along with ways to be authentic and magical.
I once heard Ted Andrews speak and he said that nature is speaking to us all the time and that we need to turn our minds and our ears to hear a new language. I think the same is true with objects. The objects we have in our lives accumulate meaning and symbolism that mean something to us personally. We can read that meaning and let the objects talk to us, help us solve or problems, or lead us to new insights. This idea was further verified when a friend on Facebook, Morewenna, posted a picture of her Magpie Oracle.
Her posting spurred a lot of conversation and discussion and I realized I could do this too. I would name mine Tchotchke Oracle for several reasons. Tchotcke is fun to say, my father used to pepper his talk with Yiddish phrases picked up from people he met in his gregarious ways, and I grew up in an area rich in Jewish lore, customs, and humor. One woman told me her fiance defined the word tchotchke as “cute little things” and he referred to his balls as tchotchkes.
Kristen Madden in her book, Magick, Mystery, and Medicine has an activity she calls a junk walk. Go outdoors and with your spiritual mind notice things for your junk bag. Ask permission to take it with you, and then add it to your bag. This bag and the contents can guide you and the nature spirits will talk with you through the contents.
I went around my house cleaning out draws, crannies, and other hidden places for little things to put in my oracle. These things reflect my eccentric interests, hobbies, spiritual path and family life. There are charms, shells, buttons, and all sorts of items. I am proud of the fact that I didn’t have to buy a things, not even the bag. It is large. Plastic, manufactured, useful, and not useful were all part of the oracle. I did a little ceremony in front of my altar to welcome the wisdom of the oracle into my life.
I’ve used it in several ways. I had the members of a shamanic class I was leading put together their own oracle bag. We were exploring a particular question so each of us drew objects from our own bag and talked about what it said in relationship to the question. Since the amalgam of our insights were not clear, we drew a map to represent the question since it was centered on a place. We then closed our eyes and tossed (gently) our objects onto the picture. I then drummed and we journeyed to the place and explored our question. Our journeys and the objects intertwined and overlapped, giving us all deeper insights into the complex question we were exploring.
I’ve drawn objects at random moments when I’ve needed a lift, at a time of reflection, or just fooling around. I have laid out objects in a pattern used for Tarot so each object serves a role or poses a question. I then read the objects in relationship to their position and then as a collective message. Sometimes the oracle speaks clearly, sometimes eloquently, sometimes mysteriously, and at other times, just kicks my butt. I’ve used it in tandem with Tarot, my divination tool of choice to augment a reading.
Others, such as Carrie Paris , have developed oracles according to other systems such as Lenormand. On her website, she provides a free sheet that you can download. You then place your charms, objects, and tchotckes and read it in relationship to whatever you are exploring.
This time of year is one of two where the veil between the worlds are the thinnest. The messages and omens from the other realms are more easily accessed. It is a time of ancestors, death, harvest, waning times, and preparation for hibernation (retreat). Every time is a good time to reach out, this may be an easier time.
Wishing you an open heart, ears to hear, and eyes to see. May the Spirits speak their love and blessings to you!