For many years now, I have spent the days after the winter holidays in meditation and following a practice which I read about for connecting with the year ahead through intuitive scrying of nature.
The practice is simple- every day, starting on December 26 and going for 12 days, until January 6th, I step outside in the early morning, collect my thoughts and energies, and look up to wherever my gaze is drawn. Whatever I see there is a glimpse into the energies of the month that I am scrying for that day- starting on December 26 to connect with January, the 27th for February, the 28th for March, and so on until the final day, January 6th, representing the next December.
I know many other people who practice this yearly ritual, some seeing it as predictive of specific events, blessings, and warnings for each month. To me, it is not so much a divination, as an augury, showing me what energies will be in play around me, and available within me, for whatever that month brings.
My yearly auguries have always brought relevant wisdom for the year ahead, often uncannily so, and sometimes moving into the more specific communication of divination, warning of illness, loss, good or bad fortune. And even when they are more open-ended and nebulous, they are full of good insights and wisdom which I draw on through the rest of the year and augment with readings of Tarot, mirror scrying, and dreaming as I work through each month’s influences.
Since I know many of you also follow animist, nature-based, and magickal spiritual traditions, I thought I’d share this practice with you and invite you to incorporate it into your winter celebrations, if you’re so inspired. In this post, I’ll outline the basics of how my Winter Augury works, and once the time comes to practice it, I’ll be posting each day’s visuals and my interpretations of them on our Instagram and Facebook pages. Watch for that starting December 26th, and if you practice with me and wish to share, post your auguries with the hashtag #alkemiaugury so we can all follow each other and share this practice.
So here, I will describe how I practice my Winter Augury, and I’ll also share some Spagyrics that I use to support this work. In my daily Instagram journal, I’ll also share Spagyrics that relate to the energies that come up each day, which I will then be using as the year circles by to help me invoke the qualities that came through.
My Winter Augury is really simple: early in the morning, before my mind gets busy with anything else, I go outside. As I step out, I shield my eyes and look down, glancing up just enough so I don’t run into things. I walk, letting my feet be drawn by currents of intuition and energy. Sometimes, this feels like a pull from my core that I “must” go in a particular direction. Other times, it’s almost as if I am stumbling down a hill and can’t stop, even though the ground is flat. It’s an intuitive, open walking that is hard to describe, but easy to feel once you have opened to the idea and taken a few steps into it.
Some days, I know exactly where I will end up before I even step out, as with the augury on January 5th, representing this November. As soon as I opened our front door, I smelled and tasted Rosemary and I was drawn to the center of our garden where a giant bush lives. Looking up, I saw its beautiful flowers and green leaves, and it reminded me that Rosemary is the herb of memory, and I knew that happy memories would be the energy for November.
This November was very much about memories, good and bad, and this theme came up in all my other November divinations, as well. When the bad ones started to rise, I called up good ones, and without even knowing of my practice, calls, messages and emails from friends and family were full of memories and old stories all month.
However I get to the place I am to read from, I can feel the energy put on brakes when I take that last step. I connect with the directions to see if I am facing the right way, and then I connect with the month I am scrying. Then I look up and open my eyes wide, taking in whatever is in that specific field of vision and nothing else. Impressions come in, sometimes very literal and other times more poetic. It’s an entirely intuitive process, connected to however else you work with scrying and reading, but also completely its own language.
Since this Augury is its own world of communication, it’s not necessary to know any other forms of divination to practice it. At the same time, if you do other mantic arts, let them inform you here, as well. For instance, I’ve had auguries that showed me fallen branches arrayed exactly like specific Wands cards in the Tarot, and so I included their meaning in my journal. I’ve also found connections to particular plants, as with our Rosemary, or the sacred Celtic trees of Holly, Hazel, and Alder in our yard, each of which has a divinatory meaning.
But I’ve had equally strong auguries that were much less circumspect, as with the year I opened my eyes to find that I was standing in a little creek that had formed in our yard, presaging the basement flood we had in the corresponding month, or the year I felt deeply into one of our trees and its strength and resilience, and later, after a big storm, that tree was the only one of its group left standing.
Some messages come through other senses, depending on your sensitivities and attention. Augury mornings with bird song have always meant a happy month, while barking dogs indicate the need to be watchful. Everything that comes in to the awareness is a communication from some other being to yours, and so I try to journal all of it along with my impression of how it all comes together in an overall meaning.
So, you only need to look, and listen, and be open to practice this Augury- no pendulum, Tarot deck, scrying mirror, runes, or knowledge of them needed. And although I am fortunate to have land to wander on for my readings, anyone in any space can do this practice, you just need a spot where you can glimpse some bit of Nature.
I know city dwellers who only have a sliver of sky view and use that, reading the weather, wind, clouds, rain, birds and the sky for their Augury. If you can keep your awareness inward and still walk safely, you could go to a nearby park for your reading, finding the plants and animals there for your messages. I think even a houseplant would work, and reading it would also get you better in touch with it, so feel free to try that if you’re called to.
Being who I am, I also rely on plants to open my intuitive sense during the Augury time, and later, to invoke, evoke, and balance the energies that are coming each month. I’ll share the monthly Spagyrics as their readings come up in the Instagram posts, but to start, here are a few things I will be working with on the 12 Winter Augury days to help my mind reach into the future and bring back wisdom.
Clary Sage: the name of this herb may come from its use to “clear the eye”, referring to literal and spiritual sight. It is a very Lunar herb, used for dreamwork and other forms of divination, and I find that it helps make the energies surrounding me to be more visible and take forms I can read. If you’ve ever stared at a cloud and then watched as it flowed into a clear shape you could recognize, then you have a sense of how Clary Sage can shift something formless into something coherent.
Vervain: the classic Celtic herb of all kinds of Magick, I find it has a doorway-opening quality that really connects to liminal times and the workings we do then. I use it around Samhain for this reason, as well as during Beltane, the counterpoint to Samhain and another veil-crossing time. During the Winter Auguries, I find Vervain helpful for making sense of the nebulous impressions that come through. It seems to help in taking all the imagery, sounds, colours, and symbology and turning them into communication and information.
Mayan Waterlily: this beautiful plant is associated with the temples where the Mayan Calendar was created, and its effects include distortions and changes in the experience of time. I find that it is a powerful plant for projecting your awareness into another time, and so I use it before the daily Winter Augury practice, to reach forward to the month I am scrying; and later, on the first day of each month, to reach back to the Augury’s communication and renew my connection to that month’s energies.
Tesseract: a Somalixir Formula built around the temporal travel of Mayan Waterlily, along with Syrian Rue for a more intense disconnect with local time and space, and Astrale, an herb that creates speed by slowing movement to its smoothest and most deliberate.
Blue Egyptian Waterlily: related to Mayan Waterlily and also in Tesseract. This lily works through the dream realm and related space, weaving influences and insights together from the deep, watery subconscious into the light of day and action. It’s especially helpful for bringing the augury’s insights out into manifestation throughout the next year.
Tibetan Rhodiola: if you want to approach the Augury more as a divination, and look for specific and concrete visions of what each month holds for you, this is the herb to open that window and show you the view. Warrior monks took Rhodiola to see the course of a battle in advance, and working with it as a scrying herb is like parting clouds and seeing scenes of what is to come.
Listen: not a scrying Somalixir specifically, but one built around Heimia, an entheogen that communicates through sound. Traditionally, the Mazatec use it to hear the voices of their ancestors, which you may also want to draw on for your Augury. I use it on Augury mornings that are windy, to listen to the messages on the air, carried across space and time for wise use. Listen also has Vervain and Mayan Waterlily, as well as Voacanga Seed, which I sometimes work with by itself.
Voacanga Seed: in Bwitii spirituality, Voacanga is used to connect with the ancestors in their own time and context, and it is an excellent ally for looking back over time to discover the patterns that your actions have laid down to lead you to your present. If you want to incorporate a year-end review into your look into the next year, this is a good support for that. It’s also excellent for showing any patterns that make up your reality, and how to break out of them if needed.
Bee Balm: maybe the opposite energy to Voacanga, Bee Balm regulates the flow of spiritual information and energy, so instead of showing you the whole overwhelming download, it gently eases you in to what you need to integrate. If you’re finding your auguries confusing or “too much” in any way, try adding a few drops of Bee Balm to whatever else you’re using, as well as using it as a support when you’re moving through the rest of the year.