Category: New Heathen Questions
I think the most frequently asked question that comes along in almost every Heathen forum is to “did I receive a sign from (fill in the blank?)” It’s the question that is the most difficult to answer. While historically, almost every religion has some sort of belief in signs from the other, it is very hard for a stranger to interpret if something is a sign and what that sign means.
Even in Christian culture, signs are often interpreted by those who receive it. Growing up, a local woman believed she had received a sign from God after the death of her husband when a cross appeared when her window cracked. She interpreted it as a sign her husband had gone to Heaven, and this was the interpretation that was accepted as truth in the community.
Heathenry tends to be more conservative than the evangelical community I grew up in when it comes to signs and messages from the other, and for good reason. In my experience, signs from the gods can become a contest when you get a group of modern pagans together. Spiritual competitiveness is a remnant of evangelical culture, where people want to see who can be the most emotionally moved by the spirit.
But that doesn’t answer the question – did you receive a sign from the gods? The only way I can answer this question is with a series of questions so that the person who thinks they might have received some sort of sign or portended from the divine can critically examine the experience and decide for themselves. I call it the MICE test.
Is the possible sign:
Meaningful? Is it about something that matters?
Interpretable? Do I have some idea of what this means?
Congruent with what I know about the being in question?
Extraordinary? Is this something that is outside of the mundane and every day?
This isn’t by any means a foolproof test, but it is a good place to start when it comes to making a critical examination of an experience. If you are still confused, concerned, or otherwise feel unsettled, talk it over with a trusted friend. I would advise you not to share it with anyone you don’t know well, because I find it lessens the impact if it really is some sort of divine experience.
At the end of the day, the only person who can decide if something is a communication from the divine is exactly that, because the message, if it is a message, is meant for you and not the populace as a whole.