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The Dictionary of Omens


Contents

  1. Introduction: Omens in Divination
  2. How to Use The Omen Dictionary
  3. How Omens Work
  4. Real Thing, or Fluke?
  5. Keeping Tabs
  6. Sources

The Dictionary of Omens
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Introduction: Omens in Divination

Omen, noun - "an occurrence or phenomenon believed to portend a future event." ("Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary", 2003. http://www.webster.com.)
With all the talk about tarot, runes, dreams, and I-Ching, it leaves you wondering about one of the greatest forms of divination in history that's left out of a LOT of books: the study of omens. Also dubbed "signs and portents", the method of omen reading isn't convenient like the tarot; you can't use omens when you want to. Omens are phenomena that will happen at a moment's notice, and their messages are strong, even if they're subtle. However, when an omen comes for you, it will tell you things that even a solid tarot reading won't bother to say. This dictionary will serve you as an aid in recognizing omens when they cross your path.

How to Use the Omen Dictionary

The Omen Dictionary is comprised into two major sections: two parts discussing how omen-reading is done, and part III is a listing of omens, symbols, events, and other phenomena from around the world.
Omens and portents are derived from mythology, energy-reading, and symbolism. Now, this may raise a bit of controversy: how can omens be reliable, if one symbol means different things to many different cultures? The answer is discussed in
How Omens Work. But, each dictionary entry is loaded with the symbolic meanings and mythology from different cultures around the world, for the fullest amount of meanings possible. Also, some entries include any omens that were famous in history.
The first two sections are about how omen-reading is done. A note to both novice and practiced diviners: before running off toward the entries, it is essential that you read the sections Introduction: Omens in Divination and How to Use the Omen Dictionary, so that you may have a full understanding of effective omen-reading, how to tell the real thing from a fluke or hype, and going further from immediate meanings to long-term pattern observation.
The Dictionary has, of course, a listing of omens, symbols, and meanings from around the world. The list is ever growing, as different things occur, and new information is discovered. Each entry is arranged thusly: Name, Origin, Meaning, Mythology, Pictures, and Additional Reading. Not all entries contain all of these contents.
Finally, there is a listing of Sources for reading and observation. This list is also never complete. And, let it be known that mere reading of knowledge is not a sure-fire guide to omens, that, just because something is on the tube or on paper doesn't mean it contains hardcore facts. Learning must come from the realm of experience, and this guide will hopefully assist the reader in such pursuits.

How Omens Work

Omens are creatures of chaos. They appear when the Universe wants them to, at highly unpredictable intervals. When an omen occurs, its warning or message may take place immediately, or its warned event may occur years into the future. They have different meanings depending upon your cultural upbringing, or where you live. Thankfully, omens can be followed up with additional divination; tarot, I Ching, scrying, runes, etc. Extra divination on an omen is also highly recommended to flesh out the meanings at hand.
An omen works for you if you are aware, mentally and or psychically. Omens can be blatant, but are most often subtle. The subtle ones are the easiest to miss, and to catch one requires exercise on the reader's part.
All you have to do is increase your awareness of the world around you. A strong aura is a great help to being aware of your surroundings and picking up relevant energy signatures. Begin by taking walks, on a nice, comfy, sunny day. As you walk, pay close attention to your surroundings: each bud, leaf, twig, and branch of a tree, every strand of debris in a bird's nest, every single blade of grass, each droplet of liquid on the ground, etc. The focus here are individualities (a blade of grass), as opposed to the mass (a field of grass). This will slowly rewire your psychology to paying attention to the details. Do this for several days.
Next, take a walk on an uncomfortable day with high temperatures, strong winds, a storm, etc. (But be careful you don't get hurt!). On days like these, it's harder to concentrate and focus on anything for too long. Exercise your focus and awareness on details once again, until the time comes where your awareness is so strong you can see strands of hair, specks of dandruff on the head of a running woman in a crowded mall being hounded by the cops while standing on your head with an ice cream headache. :)
Even if you aren't psychic, these exercises will increase your awareness, and make it easier to see omens. It's not a garuntee, but it improves your chances a great deal.
On a side note - don't look for omens. You won't find many; as mentioned before, if the Universe wants you to know something, you will know when the time is right.
If you find an omen, you can gauge its meaning by reading its energy (for more info, see
Real Thing, or Fluke?), thinking about any event that could lead up to a warning, and any other factor you could possibly deduce. Omen-reading requires a great deal of examination. Let's say you're walking along, and a bird drops dead in front of you. This is a grave omen of impending doom, and happens rarely. Think of any significant actions you have performed that may lead to impending doom. Ask yourself questions like, "Did I remember to turn off the stove?", "Should I call the neighbors to make sure the kids are okay?", "Would it be better if I walked in a well-lit area?", or "Have I murdered anybody lately?" (j/k). If you are aware of a cause that may lead to a future event, take whatever actions necessary to prevent a bad outcome, or ensure a good one. If you cannot think of a cause, step into a safe area, and scry about it. Sidelining into safety can prevent dangerous situations while you scry about an omen. When you scry, search for answers to questions such as, "Was that omen genuine?", "What did it mean?", "How can I prevent / ensure the event?", etc. I personally like to use tarot cards to flesh out an omen sighting, to gain a complete understanding of what's to come, and what to do about it.

Real Thing, or Fluke?

A thin line separates omens and superstition, and the line is damned blurry. Some strange occurences aren't always omens, and can very likely be freak acts of nature, or nothing at all. For example: the hooting of a screech owl warns of a death in the future... so, if you live alone in the desert, you're going to die, er, several hundred times. :\
To distinguish whether an event is an omen of a fluke, the first thing to do is reach out psychically and determine if there is an energy signature to the omen. For some omens, this must be done very quickly. When you reach out, abandon all your hopes and fears, and make yourself a blank slate. Feel the event. Is there an air of negativity around it? Positive energy? Is there a presence of entropy, of danger? Checking for energy signatures is of key importance when it comes to omen-reading. Most omens carry warning energy signatures. If it doesn't have any energy ascribed to it, then it's not an omen. Pay attention to energy signatures, energy spikes from around you, scan your surroundings, and scry about the omen if you're unsure.
There is also the situation where an omen occurs, you move on, and nothing happened. This boils down to one of three factors:
1) You ensured the event was to happen, and didn't realize it / it didn't happen to you / it won't happen yet.
2) It wasn't a real omen.
3) You prevented an event from happening to you, with or without knowing.
Environment is also a major factor when it comes to omens. The heron symbolizes good fortune of sorts, and if you live in a bayou, by a lake, or cross rivers every day, then you're probably going to see herons every day. This doesn't mean that water-rich lands are gold mines of good fortune. Also, living in a desert doesn't mean you're going to die 30,000 times from screech owl hooting. Omens are not causes of events, but warnings of things to come. Again, this leads back to reading energy signatures and scrying for meanings.
Omens may change from season to season, and locale to locale. If you live on the North Pole, you won't be getting any eagle omens; likewise, if you live in Mexico, you won't be seeing any polar bear omens, either. Omens are stronger and more frequent along ley lines, entropy lines, nodes, energy centers, and entropy centers. Animals, plants, and phenomena are different in the winter than in the summer. These are all factors in knowing if an omen is genuine, and also what to look out for.

Keeping Tabs

It is generally a VERY good idea to record each and every omen you find! When you see an omen, it appears to most diviners and mages as an individual event. This is often UNTRUE. Like a pebble that sends ripples through a pond, omens are manifestations of energetic ripples through time and space, pointing fingers at possibilities. Omens are almost ALWAYS interconnected to other omens, magical workings, and divinations.
When you record every omen you find, look back through them. Look for relationships between omens, things in common, and look at the conflicts. This is called looking for patterns. A pattern of omens developing means that a major or very significant event (good or bad) may occur.
Here is an example of a pattern: On Day 1x, Bob sees a black road. On day 2x, Bob starts talking about how much he likes his job while he's washing some dishes, and they all crash to the floor and shatter. On day 3x, a black dog wanders into Bob's lawn and stays there all day, perhaps watching him or just hanging around. Bob tries to shoo it off, but it never leaves. He has to call animal control to get rid of it. On day 4x, Bob gets ready to go to work. Bob can't find his car keys for 2 hours, and has to call in late. Then, Bob starts his car - but it breaks down! He calls all of his friends, who are unavailable. He rifles through his house for change, and takes the bus to his job. When he arrives, he gets right to work, attempting to avoid the stern confrontation between himself and his boss. Suddenly, armed robbers bust in, steal all of the money in the store, and murder everybody - including Bob.
Well, this is a more dire version of a pattern. Most patterns DO NOT turn out like this, but this is an example. The black road, the black dog, the destruction of dishes while talking about work, and all of the hassles on day 4 were warnings; they were ALL connected, they all enhanced the importance of each others' meanings.
So, when looking for a pattern, look for:

  1. Commonalities with omens.
  2. Relationships between omens.
  3. Conflicts between omens.
  4. What you were thinking or talking about when the omen happened.
  5. How closely together in time the omens occured.

It is advised that you use a notebook to make an omens journal. You CAN use electronic media to record, but such a medium is quite unstable and files can be misplaced or lost.
I find this to be a good set up for journal entry organization:

  1. Full date AND time
  2. The weather
  3. The location
  4. The nature of the omen
  5. Corresponding events to the omen (i.e., type of conversation engaged when it happened, actions being taken as it occured, etc.)
  6. Additional divinations done on the omen
  7. Your thoughts regarding the omen and any other information you know, perhaps pictures
  8. The outcome of the omen

If you have any questions, comments, or experiences you would like to share with me concerning omens, go ahead and drop me a line! :)

Source

Most of this comes from my own workings, experiences, and from the experiences of other mages. The entries come from the same source, but I have added additional information from books and such for extra background help.

Books
Biedermann, Hans. Dictionary of Symbolism. Trans. James Hulbert. New York: Meridian, 1989.

Electronic Sources
Brown, Geoff, Eric Jaffe, Allison Protas, and Jamie Smith. "Dictionary of Symbolism". Online. University of Michigan Science Fantasy and Fiction Website. 1997.
http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html/

Dictionary of Omens

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