Bone Divination for 2012

Sarangerel (1963-2006, in honor of her life: Hurai!) was a practitioner of Mongolian-Buryat shamanism who formed an impressive bridge between western students, such as Bay Area teacher and healer Daniel Foor, and the surviving Mongolian-Buryat shamans. These shamans had survived the Communist purge of religious practitioners, and were re-membering and reviving as many of the old ways as they could. They trained Sarangerel, and she became a spokesperson for their new organization, a role she held tirelessly until her sudden and surprising death.

In her book Riding Windhorses Sarangerel offers a beginning look at the practice of Fortune Telling with Shagai, or sheep knuckles. (p. 139) The shagai are the exact same four knuckle bones found in another popular game/divination system known as astragali, played all over the ancient world. Fascinating article about this, click here, really! And another one!


When rolled, the shagai fall into one of four different possible positions:
horse (most lucky): on the narrow side, not the more pronounced "S" shape
sheep: (also lucky): wide side, hump-like formation up
camel: (unlucky): on narrow side, pronounced "S" shape
goat: (unlucky): on the wide side, hump-like formation down

On Jan 1, I sat down with my shagai and performed a divination for various questions.

What is the general message for the world this year?
1 horse, 2 sheep, 1 goat: Hereg yawdal saadgui
"Business or other affairs will have no difficulty." We have one of the most auspicious positions, the horse, which represents strong life force; 2 sheep, which represent peace and sustenance; and 1 goat, which can represent obstacles and confusion. Many different cultures are facing turmoil and upheaval right now, as common human obstacles rear their ugly heads: greed, fear, violence. But this divination indicated that general desire for greater peace, positive change, and sustainability was likely in 2012. A shared commitment to patience and forward thinking will avert capricious or unintentional disaster. Danger can be averted with friendliness. Surprise those who criticize you with grateful thanks. Defer the discomfort and see if you can't just get past the sting of ego without having to wreak it upon anyone. Be peace and watch peace grow around you.

What is the message for Earth Herself this year?
1 horse, 1 camel, 2 goats: Esen mend udaam jargana
"Health will improve slowly." We have one lone horse carrying forth the vision of sustainability and ecological concern. It is a powerful horse, but it is slowed in its progress by stubborn obstacles in the form of the goats. The Earth is carrying a great burden for the sake of our selfish comfort, as might be inferred by the camel. We need to remember that if we overburden the camel and try to traverse the desert, we will all die of thirst. In order to survive the desert (which I read as our need to heal and conserve the waters of the planet), we must guard the waters carefully. I see water conservation as key movement of 2012.

What is the message for the US this year?
4 goats: Busadiin yag ujigtai
"Slowest omen." Have you ever watched a goat comb through a lawn or hillside? They munch their way along, meandering in a manner that only appears methodical to the keenest observer. They will decide, without warning, that you are an intruder and head-butt you. Sometimes they head-butt you even when they are happy. It's just how they are. Unlike the steady and speedy horse, the reliable camel, the docile sheep, the goat is kind of a wild card. It can indicate obstacles, as we saw previously in this reading, and also unpredictable results. We can all see the ways in which our country, government, public welfare systems, and economy are teetering, weak, and in some cases are on the verge of crashing irrevocably. Well, this reading indicates that this may happen, and may not be a bad thing. It is certainly the most circuitous route to creating change (4 horses instead might encourage direct, solutions-oriented thinking, respectful dialogue, things settled quickly and to the best outcome of all) and no doubt we will be dealing with the fallout from having to learn these things the hard way for a long time. On the other hand, lessons learned the hard way often stick better.

But that said, since we know difficult changes are coming, and we can see the writing on the wall, we can each choose to engage our own buyan, or positive energy generated by practicing good deeds and acts of reverence for the benefit of our nation's growth and global improvement. By dedicating ourselves to individually being the change, we each become filled with windhorse (strong spirit and life force, similar to Ashe`, Prana, or Qi). That individual and collective windhorse can still power positive progress, even in the face of obstacles and uncertainty. Wait, watch, pray, gather windhorse, and follow what feels like peace in your heart even when your mind would lead you toward violence or harshness as the solution.

If you are interested in more info on Bone Divination, or any divination, really, check out Cat Yronwode's excellent site Readers And Rootworkers for more info and links.