Of all the cultural materials received from habdvarsha, this oracle, Nod’s Way, or Hidden Dragon, is unique. This is the central artifact of dvarsh culture, an ancient wisdom book that is at once a divination tool and a guide for living. It is the basis for the dvarsh calendar, and contains tracks of an unexplained, eldritch numerology still to be decyphered. As a companion to the novels of the cycle, Nod’s Way is a divination game, a dice oracle for play and meditation.
The oracle is consulted using special dice: two identical octahedrons (D8s) featuring four moon phases and four star symbols, and a single cube (D6) with images on only two sides. The basic response to a cast of the dice is determined by the combination of symbols showing on the two octahedrons. Together these reflect one of thirty-six possible auspices with each cast. If the cube shows a blank side it has no bearing, but if it shows one of its two symbols, a ring and a bar, it indicates an additional element to consider.
The dvarsh have a formal method of consultation that involves three casts of the dice for each issue on which comment is sought. The first cast is for comment on the issue as it manifests in the world, in other words, as it seems. The second cast is for comment on deep strata, that which is fundamental to the issue but not necessarily apparent. The third cast is for comment on inherent possibilities. This is the method of dedicated students of Nod’s Way, but that is not to say that all dvarsh are so formal in their usage. There is no single “right” way to explore this work, and each person taking up the dice is free to find her or his own approach to the oracle. Dvarsh tradition tends not to be rigid in these things. Rather than command an orthodoxy, the dvarsh invite seekers to follow the past or devise rituals of their own. The key is that a chosen approach should include play and respect.
Dvarsh tradition assigns authorship of the oracle to Nod, a mysterious entity who dwelt among them seventeen millennia ago. The book is Nod’s Way because it embodies the teachings of this figure, which center on life practice that Nod called Hidden Dragon. The phrase Hidden Dragon in the present context represents the very best potential within each of us and the situations we inhabit.
A new edition of Nod’s Way, or Hidden Dragon is in development. Check back for breaking information on form, format and release date.
Stikmanz Note: Nod’s Way, the ancient oracle of the dvarsh, comes as close to being a work of my whole self as anything I have ever produced. As an expressive project, it draws upon skills I developed as an author, a poet, an illustrator, a designer, a spiritual seeker, a political thinker, and a clown. I have taken to referring to the totality of it—visual and verbal—as the best poem I have ever made. A somewhat idiosyncratic synthesis of Taoism, Sufism and politics of social responsibility, it is also a celebration of chance and a game for role-playing one’s actual life.
For my own part, the flexible potential of Nod’s Way is one of its most exciting aspects. Designed as a game, a guide and a puzzle unique in the hands of each seeker, one must ultimately make the game one’s own to discover its magic. The best thing, the crucial thing, the one absolutely essential thing about the work is that it is fun. A toy for pilgrims of the mind and heart, no journey toward mystery should be without a copy.
Copyright © 2017 Robert Stikmanz (unless otherwise noted)