Copyright Anne-Marie Krone 1999
Divination is defined as the art or practice that seeks to discover
hidden knowledge. The word divination springs from the word to divine or
to discover or perceive intuitively. Part and parcel of performing
magick and doing so ethically is knowing when, where, with what and for
whom. We have studied some symbols and how they interrelate, but to
properly investigate the symbols and to answer the above questions we
need to understand divination.
There are many systems of divination. A short list is tarot, astrology,
crystallomancy (crystal balls), geomancy (poking holes in a box of earth
and combining the results into a set of symbols..I'll be explaining
geomancy fully in another lecture), pyromancy (using flame or smoke to
divine), dream interpretation, hydromancy (scrying with a liquid
reflective surface like water or ink), runes, tea leaves, palmistry, I
Ching and astral projective investigation. There are many, many more
forms, but what they all have in common is a set of symbols that the
diviner combines in a specific (often ritual) fashion and by "reading"
the relationships and order of the symbols to acquire hidden or esoteric
knowledge. Some sets of symbols are more detailed than others (tarot,
astrology, geomancy, I Ching) and some rely heavily on the reader's own
intuition and imagination (tea leaves, crystallomancy, hydro and
But how does it work? If you will recall, we discussed how the God and
Goddess are present in all things and all things are part of the God and
Goddess. This includes our minds. Your mind is part of the Divine Mind
of the God and the Goddess and under the proper circumstances you can
gain access to all of the Divine Mind. But this access must of necessity
be limited or as a human being you would be overwhelmed by the sheer
amount of information and not be able to find the specific info you
need. The conscious mind keeps us sane by filtering out most of the
imput of the Divine Mind (this is also why many tribal peoples regarded
insane people as holy people), divination works by selectively dipping
into the subconscious or dream consciousness (I dislike the word
subconscious..it implies that this state of consciousness is less than
normal consciousness when it is in fact incredibly more, so from now on I
will call it dream consciousness). And via the use of symbols
presenting our normal consciousness with the information we are seeking.
Let me give you an example. There is a online tarot reading service that
I like to goof around with. The layout is generated randomly by a
computer, and as such is not particularly applicable to me (but still
fun to do *grin*). A completely random spread is like casting a net into
the sea..you will get a fish and it just might be the fish you were
looking for...but more than likely it will not be. No, divination works
by cheating. Don't be aghast. Not conscious cheating (which will only
tell you what you want to hear), but by your dream consciousness
stacking the deck when you shuffle a tarot deck, or by causing your
hands to twitch when you use a divining rod or pendulum, or by
influencing the selection of runestones that fall, because your dream
consciousness already knows the answer. It just has to have a medium by
which to communicate with your consciousness ( a set of symbols), and
that's how divination works.
As a side note: all the scientific research into divination will never
find anything that they can prove works LOL..because they go to great
lengths to eliminate any conscious or unconscious cheating, thereby
reducing any results to purely random and ensuring that it doesn't work.
It would be like before you went to attempt to prove that your car
starts, you removed the battery.
So which system of divination to use? This is yet another thing that you
need to try several and see which works best for you, what feels most
comfortable. Obviously some systems are fairly easy to pick up, and
others require study and practice before you are familiar enough with
the symbols for it to work truly well (tarot and I ching are good
examples of these). I personally use tarot almost exclusively for
divination (it isn't always possible or practical to carry a deck around
all the time and do spreads, so I do practice more portable forms of
divination when I am "on the road"). And some forms of divination
require a lot of "equipment" (which you either have to purchase or make)
so that might influence your choice as well. Whatever system or systems
you finally decide on, it is important to practice often and become
thoroughly familiar with the symbols in it. Until you do, the results
while not entirely inaccurate won't be as specific as they will when you
are. A good way to determine/ practice your accuracy is to do
divination on things that you already know the answer to. Keep records
of these practice sessions in your Book of Shadows, and try to take note
of all factors like time of day, state of mind, background
noise/activity, physical position, moon phase, any helpful factors like
candles, incense or music. After a time you will be able to review your
records and see that for example you were most accurate when you were
playing an Enya CD, burning jasmine incense and doing the reading on a
full moon in the late evening wearing your purple feather hat (I kid you
not, that is when I am most accurate LOL). With this information, when
you seek truly unknown answers you can set the conditions to those most
favorable to you and be assured of obtaining a reliable answer.
So what kinds of things do you divine for? Beyond the run of the mill,
"what will my future hold?" (which will give you the most probable
extrapolation of how things will go based on the prevailing factors at
the very instance of the reading provided that no changes are made ).
Divination can be used to determine if using a spell would be correct
and for the best, or determining currents in your life, or helping you
to make decisions about jobs, people, places, money, health care, etc.
It can also be used to explore new symbols (or old for that matter) to
enhance your understanding of them. Like doing a tarot reading on the
properties of quartz, or using your crystal ball to enhance your
understanding of the Empress card. I will be giving a blow by blow on
several major divination systems in the next few lectures, but don't be
afraid to go out and buy a book on any that seem appealing to you. I
have been reading tarot for 15 years, but I still find new insights and
meanings every day. Tarot, astrology and I Ching books are widely
available in the New Age sections of bookstores (more available than
books on Wicca for that matter).
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