12 Ways to Cast with Your Heart

Are you familiar with the song the Twelve Days of Christmas? After hearing it on the radio I started wondering what the meaning was behind the lyrics. As it turns out there are several theories with most pointing to an underground Catholic catechism song for Catholics to learn the tenets of their faith. I can see that, but the romantic in me prefers the research coming out of the University of Massachusetts where professor Edward Phinney insists on it being a wedding song.

“If you think of all the things being presented, you realize they’re all gifts from a lover to a woman. Some of them are rather impossible to give, like eight maids a milking and nine ladies dancing. All those ladies and dancing and pipers and drums imply this is a wedding.”

Phinney also explains that a number of the birds in the song represent fertility symbols while the other gifts can be seen as offerings to a woman by her true love.

This being the season of giving I thought the Twelve Days of Christmas would make for a fun casting sheet—one that sparks the heart of the true love while uncovering twelve hidden messages embedded in a holiday song.

Here’s how it works:

There are twelve positions that follow the lyrics in the Twelve Days of Christmas and assigned to each position is a question that connects us with our heart while exploring the symbolic meaning in each verse. I recommend that you ask one question at a time and then randomly select and assign three Magpie Oracle charms for each position. Lenormand cards and tarot work too. You can also cast your charms over the sheet and note wherever they land as being your message starting with…


Magpie Oracle 12 days casting sheet


A Partridge in a Pear Tree:  Partridges are known for being protective and territorial. The male is very fertile, as their large number of offspring would indicate. This line in the song points to the promise of safekeeping in the fruitful and fertile home (pear tree).

  • How can you best protect what you love?


Two Turtle Doves:  Doves mate for life and have long been symbols of love, peace and devotion.

  • What is the peace you are devoting your heart to?


Three French Hens:  Home is implied here with the new bride (or hen) being brought into the flock.

  • Home is where the heart is. How are you filling your home with love?


Four Calling Birds:  Originally colling birds, with colling meaning black and standing for black birds, this points to the very intelligent and talkative Colly bird that is always communicating.

  • How can you best communicate your love?


Five Golden Rings:  Rings represent a promise or agreement.

  • What is your heart agreeing to?


Six Geese a Laying:  Geese are attentive to the flock and have been known to remain with an injured goose until it is well rather than leave it behind to migrate.

  • What is your heart standing watch over and giving attention to?


Seven Swans a Swimming:  The swan is a symbol of grace, beauty and elegance and known for long lasting bonds and memory.

  • What do your most beautiful memories say about you?


Eight Maids a Milking:  “In the 18th century, when a maiden was asked to “go a-milking” it had one of two meanings.  Either it was a proposal of marriage; or, it was a rather risqué invitation for intimacy.”

  • How can you best prepare your heart for love?


Nine Ladies Dancing:  The Catholic belief points to this verse as being the fruits of the Spirit while others feel it symbolizes both fertility dance and the nine months of pregnancy that follow said fertility dance.

  • What is your heart gestating?


Ten Lords a Leaping:  Another dance that hints at fertility, the leaping lords—also known as rulers of the dance, danced for the purpose of a successful crop as well as war. “The Roman god of vegetation and war was Mars.  The Roman priests of their Salii ritual would leap as high as they could in the air in hopes of inducing the corn to grow. It was believed that the height of their leap would be the height of the corn.”

  • How is your heart ruling your steps?


Eleven Pipers Piping:  The bagpipe carries the voice of clans. Be it a battle cry, song of mourning, or celebration, the bagpipe communicates the voice of kinfolk.

  • What generational signal of love is your heart broadcasting?


Twelve Drummers Drumming:  In the streets of old England, town watchmen known as waits, played drums that announced the coming of news, events and the time.

  • What love message are you communicating to your community?


Magpie Oracle keywords can be found here.