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Last night I went for a walk. I went out to the Arboretum here at Ohio State, and just wandered around in the dark night, watching the cars go by and listening to myself. The Arboretum means a lot to me, and it has a special Magic. A labyrinth sits in the middle of the trees, with standing stones erected around the edges. Ever since my freshman year, I’ve enjoyed going to the Arboretum to relax. We did my first quasi-real group ritual there, I kissed my girlfriend the first time in the center of the labyrinth, and a huge red oak tree that I love to climb stands at the edge.

Walking through the Arboretum, I felt the presence of my Gods. They let me know that their ears were open, and that I could speak with them if I so chose.

For a half hour, our conversation became very intimate. I spoke of my life, and how I felt at the time. I asked questions and received some answers. I ended our conversation with a prayer.

I asked for the Gods to grant me guidance, wisdom, and vision, and to direct me towards right action when I faltered.

Then I thought about what I had just asked, and I realized I had no idea what “vision” meant, at least not as a virtue. As I write about it now, I hope to come up with a definition that works for me.

Webster defines vision in a remarkably useful way. 6 definitions are given:

 1) Something seen otherwise than by ordinary sight (as in a dream or trance)
 2) A vivid picture created by the imagination
 3) The act or power of imagination
 4) Unusual wisdom in forseeing what is going to happen
 5) The act or power of seeing: SIGHT
 6) Something seen

In this context, definitions 1, 3, and 4 best describe what is meant by “Vision”. Often, we in the ADF must deal with Realms that others cannot see. This Second Sight or Extra Sensory Perception or whatever you wish to call it shows its importance in our rituals. We deal with the Otherworld all the time, and communication with the Gods requires that we see Them when They appear. Often They do not appear in forms we would recognize, and by failing to recognize them, we may also fail to communicate.

Many examples exist of our ancestors using trance or dreams as a way to gather knowledge of the future, from cave paintings to historical essays to mythology such as the “Havamal”. These examples pair vision and wisdom: those who have foreknowledge (or can assume foreknowledge from known factors) are considered the wisest of persons.

A possibly more important definition is Webster’s fifth, however. It declares that “Vision” and “seeing” are synonymous. I find this an important point because it defines Vision as seeing all things and making a very educated guess from the factors. In effect, it describes being as proficient in Second Sight as you are in your first sight. A Druid might as well be blind in one world if he is in the other. In short, the virtue of Vision has as much to do with using your eyes (or another sense) as with your mind.

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