March 23, 2013

The Phoenician Bast Oracle

Posted in Creative Fire, Signs and Portents at 1:37 pm by

To get the burning question out of the way right up front: why the heck is this new divination system called “The Phoenician Bast Oracle”? Because that’s what it was called in my dream. In addition to the name, I had a brief glimpse of the tokens that showed the aegis, one of the other signs (I think the eye, although the memory is blurred now), and the purple-and-gold of the tokens’ backs. And then, after waking, there came the fierce, overpowering drive to make this image become. So here we are.

Interestingly, Bast is one of the Kemetic deities whose worship did spread to the Phoenicians. You can see here a photo of a neo-Assyrian aegis created in a Phoenician style. (I’ve seen this object in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it was my source image for drawing the aegis token, complete with Bast’s funny hat.) You can also read more about Bast and Sekhmet among the Phoenicians at the Electronic Pre-Publications page of the Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East dictionary project (which is plenty interesting in itself!). The fact that the backs of the tokens are purple is also a bit of synchronicity, considering that the famous “Tyrian purple” was a product of the Phoenician city of Tyre. (In the dream, the purple was pretty close to the first block on the Google images search, but the world of modern craft paints was not entirely cooperative.)

But despite these connections, which are all well and funky, I really have no idea why this oracle is specifically the Phoenician oracle.

Anyway, the oracle consists of five tokens: two udjat eyes, two lotuses, and one aegis of Bast. There are two ways to cast the oracle — one involves drawing a single token out of a bag, while the other casts all five tokens on the floor and derives meaning from which ones land face up. The former is a yes/no reading that’s very slightly more forthcoming than the Fedw, offering a few more shades of “yes, but,” “maybe,” “no, dammit,” and “I’m not talking to you.” The latter offers a brief statement of Bast’s thoughts on the querent’s question. This expanded version is not nearly as in-depth and detailed as the Wepwawet Stone Oracle, but it’s somewhat more flexible than the Fedw or the Wenut Oracle.

As I was poking about the internet to see what I could turn up on Phoenician systems of divination (not very much), I started reading about the use of knucklebones for games as well as for oracles, which made me think that it would be really cool to create a game that used these tokens. Which I did, but, alas, when I used the oracle to see what Bast thought about it, She rejected it. So there will be no playing of the Phoenician Bast Oracle game.

If anyone would like to help beta-test this new system, readings are currently free. Just email me at shefyt@firecat.net.

2 Comments »

  1. Tesha Kerr said,

    October 30, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I would like to try your beta-test, does one of the two free beta-test tell you which kemetic deity I should put in my shrine? Thank You

  2. Shefyt said,

    October 31, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Hi! Unfortunately, neither of those systems is really suited to that question. It’s too big and complicated, and probably better answered by time, prayer, and personal experience (or simply personal preference). Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

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