Zoomancy

Tarot cards pack a lot of meaning and symbolism into some rather small spaces, and these are drawn from a wide variety of sources...but do take note of the Falcon in the 9 of Pentacles, third from left: animals undeniably play very important roles in and among all the Astrology, Alchemy, Kabbalah, Mythology, Color Theory...
Tarot cards pack a lot of meaning and symbolism into some rather small spaces, and this is all drawn from a wide variety of sources…but do take note of the Falcon in the 9 of Pentacles, third card from the left: animals undeniably play very important roles in and among all the Astrology, Alchemy, Kabbalah, Mythology, Color Theory…

I write a lot in this space about different forms of divination: Tarot (a form of cartomancy, which is divination performed by using and reading cards), Astrology (arguably a subset of astromancy: that’s divination by observing the stars), Runes (a form of grammatomancy, which is divination by using the letters of an alphabet), crystal divination (crystallomancy), palm reading (chiromancy), communication with the dead (necromancy), divination performed by observing smoke (capnomancy) or clouds (nephomancy)…

In all this time, though, and throughout all of these posts, even though I also like to write a lot about animals and the concept of the Spirit Animal, it’s never before occurred to me until now to connect the two things — animals and divination — directly.  Until last night…

So to set the stage for this a bit, I should first explain that this past weekend, I uprooted myself from Los Angeles in particular (my home for the last 4.5 years) and from California in general (where I lived for 24 years straight) in order to return to New York State, which is where I spent most of the first half of my life before heading west to CA.  I made this move with mixed feelings, and some bittersweet nostalgia for those people and places I’ve come to really love out toward the Pacific.  One thing I was excited about, however, in making this move back toward the regions where the younger me grew toward adulthood, was the chance to be in a less-settled, less-populated place, where I could be more readily and more fully immersed in nature, and surrounded by an abundance of animals.  In the last few years, as I grew exponentially more spiritual and more metaphysically-minded in LA, I’ve found that the precepts of shamanism — very much including a reverence for animal life and the natural world — have really resonated for me.  But as I said above, while I’ve loved divination and I’ve loved the animal realms, I’d never thought much about combining them directly.  Sure, animals do figure into many major forms of divination as symbols — think about how many creatures populate the symbol-sets of, say, Astrology or Tarot — but I hadn’t consciously considered that my observations of animals, and of their appearances in my life in both literal and symbolic guises on a daily basis, could be viewed as yet another form of divination…

I took this shot about a month ago while visiting here, but imagine this scene taking place more toward dusk, with a colony of Bats performing a dizzying Cirque du Soleil routine just above, and you'll maybe have some sense of what I witnessed last night...
I took this shot about a month ago while visiting here, but imagine this scene taking place more toward dusk, with a colony of Bats performing a dizzying Cirque du Soleil routine just above, and you’ll maybe have some sense of what I witnessed last night…

Last night, though, I was taking my first evening stroll around my new neighborhood, and was feeling absolute delight to see how much the surroundings here are just teeming with wildlife: in my one foray around the local area, I was treated to sightings of Robins, Rabbits, an aquatic rodent that may or may not have been a very wet Beaver, a large gray Heron, a huge Dragonfly, a pulsing tapestry of glowing, eldritch Fireflies, and at one point, a large and very friendly-looking Deer ambled out of the woods while a host of large, agile Bats put on an aerial sky-show just above us in the fading light.

As I looked on in wonder, grinning like a fool, it dawned on me that instead of taking such moments as instances of some vague approval from the Universe that I could smile at and then walk away from, I might instead approach them more as a form of direct divination.  That is, I now believe that any and all animal sightings I experience are occasions of Existence itself displaying symbols rife with meaning for me, exactly like I’d pulled a Tarot card or looked at a chart showing astrological transits.  The only difference would be that with Tarot or Astrology, I have to make the conscious effort to actively perform the divination, while with the animal appearances, the Universe takes it upon Itself to flash these omens and portents at me…

Interestingly, in a burst of real synchronicity, in the very instant in which I resolved to myself to dig much deeper and much more purposefully from now on into this idea of practicing active “zoomancy” (= divination performed via deriving meaning from the appearances of animals)…one of the daredevil Bats swooped down from the sky from directly behind me to cut a swath straight ahead of me and on into what looked to me to be my own actual future pathway.  The Bats then escorted me all the way to the foot of my new cul-de-sac (they halted there, I have to assume due to the comparative abundance of artificial street and house lighting in and around the circle).  As I walked the last few strides up to the house, though, thinking about how I need to write much more from now on about this subject, I noticed that there was a single star twinkling away right above my new home.  A quick check of one of my phone apps told me that this star was Spica…which is believed to be one of the single most fortunate and positive stars in all the sky…

Therefore, expect more from your resident zoomancer here in the days and weeks to come!  Also: requests for posts on the symbolic and divinatory meanings of specific animals will be cheerfully accepted and contemplated!

Every type of animal is unique -- consider what sets the Giraffe apart from its mammalian fellows, for example.  We can distill tremendous meaning from our sightings of various creatures in our travels through the world...
Every type of animal is unique — consider what sets the Giraffe apart from its mammalian fellows, for example. We can distill tremendous meaning from our sightings of various creatures in our travels through the world…

7 comments

  1. I actually do a lot of this via my blog. It’s an integral part of working with animals as guides and helpers. Linking yourself into the pattern of the animals around you and discerning meaning I think is probably the oldest form of divination. JMO.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Eurekasprings! Until very, very recently, I’ve been completely on board with the notion of the Spirit Animal…but I’d been approaching the concept as if such Guides require affirmative and intentional activity on the parts of we, the Guided, to really get busy on our behalfs. My new epiphany, though, is that for those who are listening for it, the Guidance can rain down almost constantly, and this even without any conscious requests being lodged. To put it another way, when I’ve wanted to know things in the past, I would do things like draw Tarot cards or scatter Runes or look at my astrological charts…now, however, I’m suddenly convinced that the Universe is flashing similar symbols at me in the forms of animals whether I’ve been asking questions or not. It feels like a small but definite distinction…

      • It’s a huge topic. The more a person gets in tune with nature’s cycle the more the messages come across. The wind, the water, the clouds, a bird can tell a lot and bring you in deeper into the connection of knowing. I do think that having specific animals that act as guides can provide a conduit to that deeper and wider understanding. Hope all that makes sense!

      • It absolutely makes sense, and I do agree with everything you said here. I learned a lot about this kind of thing first-hand earlier this year when I made a pilgrimage to Peru, and was lucky enough to get to go on a retreat with a shaman and his apprentices. It was actually the plant-world that they seemed to focus on even more than animals or weather or other natural features of the land (bodies of water, stones, soil, etc.), but the basic concept was there. I’ve been increasingly into this stuff since I got back home…

    • Oh, thanks for the reminder about her! I used to read her blog a bit when I was more regularly hanging out at the Aeclectic Tarot boards — she was a regular there at the time — but I kind of forgot to keep tabs on her posts as I drifted away from that site a bit. I appreciate the memory-jog!

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