I, like many others, have a lifelong love of divination so when my good friend Paul Frederick called to ask if I would fancy ‘test driving’ Tykhe dice; a divination system of dice symbols (something I had not used since a Witchlet) and a cosmic casting board he had been working on, my interest was more than piqued.
Here’s what Paul says of the dice: “’I live and work in Avebury, Wiltshire as an artist. Tykhe dice was inspired by my constant contact with the Stones, the ceremonies and the Pagan communities that both live or visit here. Why and how I thought of it remains a mystery to me. However, I do know I based it on a life time’s involvement with Cleromancy divination in many forms. Just something easier to start with than Tarot I had intended but it has proved to be far more versatile and far reaching than that.’”
A little checking out was required; Mythology remains an extremely pervasive source of names with in our culture. Having built a number of garden shrines for people over the years to various Gods and Goddesses; I was intrigued as to why I had very little knowledge of Tykhe. I was however aware of Tykhe being ‘old’ Greek for, providence and fortune. Originating from the word ‘tynchano’ meaning: made to happen, my apologies went out to the Goddess Tykhe for my embarrassing lack of firsthand knowledge.
Putting my impatience for the Tykhe set to arrive to good use — it had to travel 170 miles by post — I did a little digging into Her name. It soon became clear that the cult of Tykhe, in her many forms, had been widely worshipped throughout the Greek world. This worship continuing long after the rise and domination of the Roman Empire gaining a much wider following as, Tykhe/Fortuna. This acceptance became clear as She touched on most aspects of people’s lives throughout the Roman Empire. Continuing right up to and beyond Rome’s adoption of Christianity, Her shrine is still in the Emperor’s palace of Constantinople.
Sadly from that time to this Her power and influence have been much diminished. Her position of supreme Goddess, governing the direction and fate of human kind, became reduced to games of chance and carnival attractions such as ‘The Wheel of Fortune’.
Not surprisingly however, even in this low estate, Tykhe remains deep rooted in psyche of man. Her continuing existence is based on a concept that intrigued and inspired the ancient Greek poets and philosophers as well as people today. From Sophocles’ “God’s dice always have a lucky roll” and “the dice of Zeus fall ever lucky”, to Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon’s famous “iacta alea est” (the die is cast), the influence of Tykhe and dice have been constantly paired.
Lord Byron’s lines “Whose game was Empires and whose stakes where thrones, Whose table earth, Whose dice were human bones” is one of countless examples where Tykhe still enthrals the human mind… and the dice with her. Even today association still surfaces from the mouths and pens of poets, writers, great thinkers and politicians.
Tykhe Dice – three millennia in the making
The ‘set’ uses three dice, each with a recognisable symbol on each face and these symbols representing 18 aspects of life. There is a long tradition of divination dice from which these symbols are based. A fourth dice was born from our collaboration, and adds another variable; this brings into the reading that with remains hidden or veiled from us. The dice is named, ‘The Hooded Man’, its symbol appears on each face; it is then the decision of the caster whether it should be cast or not! The symbol it casts is not of importance, more where it lands in relationship to the other dice symbols.
Tykhe dice are cast upon the Tykhe casting board, which is laid out to represent the solar system and cosmos; the firmament a conduit to the collective unconscious. The board itself is divided into two halves that represent our masculine and feminine influences, illustrated as Sun (male) and Moon (Female) sides of the board. Our influences are a mix of these energies which lie within us all in a dynamic state of movement.
In Tykhe dice we do not see these energies as gender specific, rather by rejecting these associated cultural biases we can shift the paradigm; we see these as pure energies continually pulsing between contraction and expansion assisting both seeing and operating at the spiritual level. In addition we have the ancient planets, metals, elements and the twelve zodiacal signs which contain their sphere of influence. The zodiac is arranged unconventionally, as male or female, to align with the board.
The Tykhe board itself echoes a Mandala style interpretation of the universe and unfolds from four quarters, to a casting area of 29cm x 29cm, the diameter of the casting circle measures 12.4 diameters of the dice, corresponding to the number of Moon cycles each year. This became apparent only after the board was made, a surprising coincidence…perhaps?
Casting on the Tykhe casting board originates from the centre, which is known as, HO or ‘self’ and radiates out to the inner and outer circles or zones described as: ‘Heliocentric’ H1, H2, and HC respectively.
Tykhe dice is the culmination of three years work and many readings have been carried out both in face to face situations and online.
More information and handmade sets, which start at £22 or $40 and include an introductory book and shipping to the UK/US respectively, available from http://www.tykhedice.com