Making sense of the symbolism of Seidh

As I just posted, I was involved in a Seidh ritual this week.  I thought it might be interesting to look at some of the material that I received during this ritual as a way of exploring the difficulty of interpreting symbolic and intuitively received material. A problem which can really plague occultists.

One issue that's been on my mind a lot recently is my career, so during the Seidh session I asked "How can I best progress forward in my career?" For background, I've been feeling fed up with my 'day job' for some time now, but I've felt very 'stuck' when it comes to finding something new. I want to change the direction of my career, but I've not thought of anything that really interests me: looking at available jobs doesn't excite me, I just don't seem to have any drive to get on with doing all of the sensible, practical, things which one would do if one were serious about getting a new job. So I thought I'd ask an oracle, and see if it could guide me, if not to a job, then to some insight as to how to more effectively go about the inner process of moving towards a new job.  What I was told was this (paraphrasing a little as I didn't write extensive notes at the time):

You are at the bottom of a deep well, neck deep in water. It is deep, the sides are sheer, there is no way to climb. You are looking up at the light at the top of the well.  You must turn around. Sink down and turn around, go in the opposite direction. Hold your breath. It isn't far. You will be surprised and find a lit area. There you will find treasure.

So… that all sounds very meaningful, certainly ripe with symbolism. The problem is… how to interpret it? Or rather, which interpretation to put on it? At least three interpretations suggested themselves to me immediately:

  • I feel deeply fed up, up to my neck in frustration with my job at the moment. Perhaps this vision was telling me to sink deeper into that feeling of frustration and that insight will come if I allow myself to sink further down into what I'm feeling, perhaps I need to visit the dark feelings in order to see my way clear (i.e. do nothing and allow negative feelings to build)
  • I've talked recently about feeling that my income is only just good enough for the lifestyle I want at the moment, so that I can't afford to take a job with a lower pay even if it would open up a new career path forward. Perhaps this vision was referring to this, that I've only just got my chin above water, but I need to go down in order to find a new path out and onward – i.e. accept a lower income, maybe even go into debt, in order to find a new path onwards. (i.e. take action and accept a lower paid job to get out of the current hole)
  • I don't like my current job, I feel frustrated and fed up with it and I want to get out – but perhaps this vision was saying don't try to get out, turn away from that and go deeper in to where you are, by embracing and going through your current job you will find a new opportunity, or a new direction (i.e. don't look to change career at all, but go deeper into this one until it produces a new opportunity)

And that's just three possibilities (each leading to a different, and contradictory, course of action) – I'm sure there are more. 'Sink down into it' is a really tricky piece of advice when you don't know what 'it' is.  Likewise, a few weeks ago I received an I-Ching reading on a similar question which also contained "change direction" as a central message, and when discussing this again it became clear that that's an annoying piece of advice when it's not clear what 'direction' it's referring to. The direction you want to be heading in? The direction you are currently heading in? The direction your mind is currently working in? The direction you feel you should be going in? Frequently these are different things to each other, and all can feel like 'your direction'.

So how to turn a variety of potential interpretations into a single real one? Well, this is what I do all the time when I'm reading the Tarot – every card has a whole set of possible meanings to it, and I have to figure out which of those possible meanings is most accurate and most useful in a particular spread at a particular time. I do this by 'feel' – one of the interpretations will 'feel' like it fits best with the other cards and with the question I'm considering. The trouble is, I'm lousy at doing this with questions about myself – I can't get enough distance on the question to get my intuition working correctly. So I have to work with other techniques. Like…

When heading home at the end of the evening, the Scarlet Girl and I got into a discussion about the meaning of this particular vision. Quite rapidly I got quite spikey, getting quite argumentative and trying to shoot down her ideas. I didn't want to accept what she was saying and was trying to point out the flaws in her ideas. This, I have learned, is a good sign that I'm in the presence of some insight. It's a funny thing, but if an idea is important, touches us on a deep level, we'll often try to defend ourselves against it, try to fight it off, not want to 'hear'. I noticed I was doing this, (I was being 'ego defensive') and with time I tried to stop fighting so hard and to listen a bit more.

She pointed out that I am very fixed on 'looking at the light' at the moment – trying to see the way out of the 'well' I feel I've gotten myself into. And, quite logically, she pointed out that in actual fact the chance of me taking any action about my job in the next couple of weeks is pretty unlikely. So, she said, perhaps it was simply suggesting I sink in to my current situation, I stop struggling (in a futile way) to get towards the light and just see what's around me. Sink down, experience things, and then… well, perhaps events will happen that will make my direction clear.

When I referred this back to my I-Ching reading I realised that the 'direction' I was going in, and which I was being told to change, was quite probably the direction of fretting. I was 'limping forward' in an uncomfortable way but not really getting anywhere. I was worrying, but not really taking action. I needed to stop trying to push forward at a time when I clearly wasn't really ready to make a move, as all I was doing was grinding the gears inside my mind and making myself uncomfortable.

Having accepted this as a probable interpretation I found that it made a difference. I felt calmer. I felt less prone to fret. I felt like I was okay with just allowing things to 'be' for a time, just allowing them to progress and seeing what emerged. I felt the vision had become a 'part of me' in some way – internally I felt different.  Which is a pretty good sign that my inner thoughts and feelings are in line with this interpretation – i.e. I've got it 'right' for now.

Whether this will lead to me seeing a new light, seeing a treasure, or indeed gaining access to the rather nice car in a later vision, remains to be seen. But for now I'll work with it, and try to be calm as my face drops beneath the dark well-water, then try to turn and swim on…

3 Responses to "Making sense of the symbolism of Seidh"

  1. Kellie says:

    Hi, guy. (Didn't see your name on the About page.)

    I've often wondered whether fretting does anything but slow me down as I try to change my life. I'm not sure if I'm trying to avoid fretting because I have arrived at an honest recognition that it doesn't help … or because fretting (and thinking about some of the changes I feel I should make) is uncomfortable.

    One thought: maybe we fret when we try to push ourselves in a direction that doesn't feel natural. We're working against the grain of our nature, and that will always give rise to resistance.

    Can I ask what your astrological sign is? If it's water, my guess would be that this advice is suggesting that you're denying your real nature. You're looking up at the sky (air sign) and classifying your true nature (water) as dark, underground, something confining, something life-threatening and uncomfortable, something to be escaped rather than accepted.

    Note: I'm a scorpio and you'll occasionally see my sign being likened to a deep dark well, so that might be influencing my thoughts here.

    Kellie from the USA
    (I found this blog when looking for an acct of why tarot actually works.)

    • Warlock says:

      Hi Kellie,

      Thanks for the kind comment – it's comments like these that make me feel guilty for not posting more often…. 🙂

      Well, you're certainly right about me being a water sign – Pisces all the way. Your interpretation is certainly interesting, and I've been thinking about what you've said. It certainly does have some resonance to it, although I do put 'be true to your true self' in the 'frustrating advice' category, along with things like 'Don't self sabotage' and 'Just be open to what you want'. They all create the response of "Well, of course I bloody would if I knew how to – who wouldn't?". It's advice that we'd naturally follow all the time if we could.

      A bit like "Push the right button at the right time" – my catch all advice when watching someone play a computer game.

      However, of course, that's just being snarkily dismissive – this kind of advice can help focus your attention on one particular aspect of life or self. It can cause you to more deeply engage with a particular part of a problem. I tend to associate water imagery with emotions (it turns up in dreams for me on a reasonably regular basis) but perhaps I should experiment with relating it to self, or my own nature (both my sun and moon sit in Pisces, so there's a lot going on there for me).

      As it happened, trying to sink deeper into my true self, and following the Scarlet Girl's advice above, have worked out to be quite similar. I've not been shooting off in any new directions over the past few weeks, but I have been doing a lot more introspection, self exploration and meditation. Currently I keep getting a 'something is about to happen' feeling which I seem completely unable to justify in practical terms… but it is probably the energy that's building up before action. So… for now I guess I just need to sink a little deeper….

  2. […] this model for years, but I don't do tarot personally. So, it was neat to see a tarot reader explain his experience, and see how well it matches that model: So how to turn a variety of potential interpretations into […]

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