Archive for 25 January 2021

Road Ogham

Looking for a sign? (It’s true you’re more likely to see one that way.)

Don’t believe in signs? (You may still encounter them anyway. Whether you notice is another matter.)

We’re constantly encountering markers and indicators of our surroundings. What I’m here calling “road ogham” can offer a parallel, an approximation of how to work with signs, if I let it.

Consider: I meet with signs when I’m on a journey, and whether or not I notice them, they can give me information about my path, my particular location at the moment, the surroundings, where I might beneficially place my attention, and much more.

At least at first, there’s nothing mysterious or magical about them. Look and I’ll see them; look somewhere else and I won’t.

For much of my journey there may be no particular signs — the challenge then is to notice what I can observe and sense as I go. In such situations, what I attend to may well carry as much meaning as any sign: the weather, the time of day, the landscape, the road conditions, the vehicle I’m traveling in, my attitude and attention.

Sometimes the sign may mirror what the road itself is doing — the sign is clear, and accords with the path. Let me travel by night, though, and suddenly that same sign may turn out to be vital to safe passage. It signifies what’s to come if I keep going — what I can no longer see without the sign.

Sometimes my sight may be blurred — to the left the car windshield has streaks of pine-pitch I haven’t totally cleaned off — and other things may claim more of my attention at the outset. Here a dramatic winter sky dominates my visual field.

But with attention and familiarity from traveling the path previously, I notice the small sign that others may be nearby or crossing my path, or stopped in the middle of it, over a crest I can’t see beyond.

Sometimes the sign has no language attached to it — it comes solely in images or pictures.

But other times I receive a sign that alerts me to a change and also conveys a sense of how to proceed — in this case, more slowly. In some way it activates the language centers — in addition to image, I hear or understand something in words as well.

Learning how to drive means learning to take signs into account. While learning to “read” our lives and landscapes isn’t exactly parallel, we still undergo an apprenticeship.

What I gain from that apprenticeship accords with what I bring to my learning. It starts where I am right now, and I build on it.

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Posted 25 January 2021 by adruidway in Druidry, ogham, sign, spiritual practice

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