Thursday, March 6, 2014

DIVINATION - Overview

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 pyromancy).

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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