Chapter 1 ORACLES Peer often deep within the pool of FecFrom the "Song of the Salmon-God" by W. P. Ryan The Waters of TimeLife has often been compared to a river, whose flowing water represents the flowing of our lives toward an ocean of Oneness and Bliss. Using an oracle we attempt to look beneath the surface of the water, the surface of our lives, to observe its undercurrents, its depths, its hidden secrets. There we may be lucky enough to find the salmon of wisdom who can show us the truth that time is not linear.It feels as if we are all walking a path that leads inexorably from the past to the future via the present, and yet mystical experience, the ancient wisdom traditions and now modern physics tell us that it only appears that way to our consciousness. The reality turns out to be far more extraordinary and wonderful -- although impossible to grasp fully with our minds. Every so often, though, we will get glimpses of the truth that at some level linear time does not exist. This may happen in meditation, in sleep, or in a near-death experience, or time may play "tricks" on us -- creating synchronistic experiences that amaze us with their impossibility or extreme unlikelihood in the normal course of events.It seems that this time-free state holds the seed-bed, the impulses and dynamics which guide our passage through the world of linear time.Oracles are devices which help us to gain access to this seed-bed deliberately and consciously. Through an oracle it is possible that we may get glimpses, insights, images, and ideas which will tell us about the dynamics, the "seeds," that lie behind events and experiences in our past, present, or future. BUT AN ORACLE CANNOT PREDICT A FUTURE EVENT. It can only point to possibilities and pitfalls, dynamics and options. It is all too easy to read an oracle and to take a word or idea given in its text as an omen or prediction. If you feel tempted to do this, please take some time to study this chapter before using the Animal Oracle. To use the Animal Cards effectively you need to know the difference between using an oracle and fortune-telling. Ralph Blum, discussing the oracular use of the runes, says that "they are not meant to be used for divination or fortune-telling. The disposition of the future is in God's hands, not ours. Rather, the Runes are a tool for assisting us to guide our lives in the present, for it is only in the present that our power can be exercised...They are a system of guidance and selfcounselling...'a compass for conduct.'"Exactly the same can be said for the Animal Oracle. We should use it to discover not what will happen in the future, but what influences or tendenciesmightexist in our lives that need encouraging, understanding, or changing. The oracle then becomes a way of encouraging personal responsibility for our lives, rather than a resignation to our supposed fate. Just as in sailing a boat, the more we know about the tides and the weather, the better we are able to sail, so in life, the more information we have on its influences and dynamics, the more we are able to react to it in the most responsible and effective way.The Bright KnowledgeDruidry recognizes that knowledge is neutral. It is how we use it that makes it good or bad, helpful or harmful. The Cauldron of Inspiration in Druidry provides both Bright Knowledge and Baleful Knowledge. It is our responsibility to use the knowledge we gain in creative, positive ways. This applies to all the knowledge we acquire -- including that which comes from the use of an oracle.Ovates, who are trainee Druids specializing in healing and working with the spirit of Time, in the past were also concerned with augury and divination. Augury is the making of predictions based on signs and omens, and many methods were used, including the interpretation of weather patterns, bird flight, and animal behavior, to preCarr-Gomm, Philip is the author of 'Druid Animal Oracle Working With the Sacred Animals of the Druid Tradition' with ISBN 9780671503000 and ISBN 0671503006.