A Personal Definition
Divination can be defined as any means by which one can gain information that would normally not available to them. Most people are familiar with Astrology, Numerology, Tarot, Geomancy, Bibliomancy, Yijing and other methods of its practice, but there are more that involve tools, and some that do not. These systems group various types of information into discrete categories that are represented by objects, images or symbols. The manipulation or creation of these tools or images give the diviner information they and their ‘sitter’ need for their purposes.
I think of divination as “any magical operation that is designed or carried out to acquire otherwise inaccessible information.”
The information gained from divination can be used to help change one’s life in some way or to solve problems. Practicing this craft can help prevent anyone from falling into the type of confusion that blocks intuition and interferes with the ability to consciously act in accordance with our best interests.
Some people dismiss divination as a superstitious way to avoid accountability, which it certainly is not. There are times when we meditate or “sleep on it” to find solutions to problems. We also possess an ability that ancient Greek philosophers called anamnesis.
Anamnesis is a term Plato used for the gaining of knowledge by remembering; he believed that knowledge is inherent in the soul, but lost through the trauma of birth. In his view, the body and its senses are prone to mistaken perceptions, but this confusion can be overcome by remembering with the help of contemplation and reason.
Plotinus and the Neoplatonists expanded this view, and showed that true, universal knowledge came from the interaction of knowledge and insight, while Porphyry, and later, Macrobius further elaborated on it by calling it “psychic memory” or “memories of the world-soul”, which can be recalled and experienced by individual human beings.
This kind of “remembering” is not the same thing as what we call “memorization” today. Many theories about memory are being challenged by researchers who have found that recall doesn’t summon a past bit of knowledge or experience, it constructs a new experience of the past by bringing together necessary bits and pieces from storehouses of information, both personal and collective. Most memory systems consist of building catalogs of information by tagging them to faces, places and actions, but have nothing to do with access to deeper levels of consciousness, which is the source of most people’s difficulties.
Divination with specific tools does it differently; it encodes categories of information into symbols through which the “Psychic Memory” can speak. It’s a tool that supersedes the process of creating a new experience of previous fragments; the knowledge that is recovered by the diviner can pertain to the past, present or future, and if done right, the deepest aspects of the self.
How Do We Know What Is Real?
Notable scientists and philosophers such as Sheldrake, Jung and Bohm have developed views of human experience very different from the Newtonian one in which most of humanity is trained, which posits that all phenomena are the result of material causality. Physicists and biologists are beginning to understand that material causality may be a linguistic convenience. Some theoretical physicists are struggling with the concept of retrocausality; that a future effect can alter it’s present or past cause. Many Neuroscientists have begun to realize that the isolated self is little more than a convenient hallucination.
To paraphrase the author Jeremy Narby: “When photons hit the retina, they don’t go inside our brain, what actually happens is that information is transduced into electro-chemical information that is then decoded, classified and categorized in the visual cortex. And somehow, this information, which is deconstructed into color, movement and depth is reconstructed into an image that looks as if it’s outside my head, but it’s actually being concocted inside my brain. We don’t know how the brain creates a 3-D, color image inside the brain that looks like it’s outside. We don’t know how we see objective reality. That’s the mystery of consciousness.”
Divination and Synchronicity
Maybe the craft of divination allows us a glimpse into how the “universal truths” Dr. C.G. Jung called Archetypes “express” themselves in both the personal and collective unconscious, and work their way into recognizable forms that we see, hear and react to emotionally without recognizing that we’re experiencing something from an intangible, but not unknowable realm. Almost anything we experience in our modern world is a matter of psychic energy crossing the barrier between the collective unconscious and our shared or objective “reality.”
Maybe, when doing divination, we are grasping the “transgressive” movements of “psychic energy” that manifest as synchronicities (meaningful co-incidences) affecting the “material” world, or intuiting the conditions through which synchronicities manifest. Some may consider divination as the act of creating synchronicity. At the very least, the meeting of the diviner, sitter and the information shared between them implies a co-created event of meaningful coincidence.
Fate and Destiny
Fate can be defined as the outcome of events set in motion, and is a major concern for those involved in the craft of divination. Events can be set into motion by collective or personal actions, or by nature, or by other forces we aren’t usually aware of. Divination helps us gain insight into the behavior of all these forces.
The idea of Fate is a real problem for modern thinkers, because we are raised to believe it stands in opposition to (our modern obsession with) “free will.” There’s an entire industry dedicated to propagating the idea that whatever we desire can be manifested by wishing for it in a certain frame of mind, but most of what people have learned to desire can be had from one company or another, which ultimately becomes the source of it in some way. Almost all of that drivel is just propaganda from the marketing machine that drives consumer culture from one moneymaking fad to another.
There’s an old Latin saying “Fata volentum docunt, nolentum trahunt” which means, “Fate leads the willing and drags the unwilling.” The people who see fate as an enemy suffer the most from the unrelenting march of change, the only real constant in the universe.
Fate is not an outside, antagonistic force; providence and luck are forms of fate. Imagine stopping a hurried walk because of a bicyclist rushing about and seeing that the scant delay in crossing the street prevented an uncomfortable encounter with a drunk driver. We prefer to call an event like that luck, when not very long ago, most people would have called that the hand of fate.
Destiny is something different – the word is derived from the same root as destination. It is about where your life is headed. Often we really don’t know what our destiny might be, even if we understand it to be the result of the sum of our actions, and not simple changes we encounter along the way to our destination. But we know destiny when it touches us.
One might not recognize the touch of destiny because of being too busy attending to chains of cause and effect we’ve learned to accept. It’s a problem that almost all humans face. Learning how to make these chains lighter, or be rid of them altogether is an important task of divination; this is part of the job that true diviners take on.
Sometimes dealing with everyday necessities distances us from our sense of purpose and self-knowledge. Cultural and social currents often blind us to the subtle forces within us that, when given “voice”, can guide us toward satisfaction and fulfillment. One of the most powerful of these forces is called the Intuition.
The conscious mind, being driven by the ego is designed to resist the intrusion of unconscious content by nature, and consequently is at the root of most of the decisions that are against our best interests. Sometimes decisions made without careful consideration can bring results that trouble us for years. It’s not uncommon for people shape their lifestyles and desires in the image of the best interests of others. When they do, it’s likely that they’ll remain unfulfilled for decades after they abandon their dreams. This only happens because society works very hard to tell us that “they” know what our best interests are.
Inquiring minds discovered long ago that the connection with intuition can be strengthened by “spiritual practice”, such as yoga, meditation, ritual, breathwork and other means. They also understood that consciously deploying the intuition is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be sharpened by practice and training.
Divination aids in the cultivation of clarity while gathering both normal and extraordinary information about the self, others and the world at large. It helps one “cut through” both personal psychic interference and the interference induced by one’s circumstances, so that the intuition can do it’s job.
The cultivation of clarity induces a type of metasensory experience that brings about an understanding of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence. It gives us ways to guide our intuition onto a path of action and expression, rather than letting it rust like a tool in the rain.
The Role of Divination
Messages find you when you’re ready to receive them. They give voice to what has been called psychic energy, and they don’t always come through your senses for processing by thought and memory; they can bypass the conscious mind when you, others or your surrounding environment give them voice.
Proper divination can help one engineer the future; its effect can be profound, but many people who are dabbling in the art don’t realize that their own fortunes can be affected negatively by not honoring the art. When divining for another person the diviner is giving voice to the psychic energy of another human being, which requires that they create a safe and sacred space for them. Abusing this sacred connection is a crime of the worst sort that we are often taught to marginalize or ignore, an even worse crime.
Learning to work within this sacred space can bring profound experiences into your life. You’ll be able to navigate situations more easily, because you’ll learn how to move with the currents of synchronicity, rather than fighting against them. If pursued rationally and respectfully, it can shift your consciousness into a new reality.
This shift in focus is transformational and alchemical; it makes you aware of faculties and feelings through which you can experience greater fulfillment in everything you do. It is a key that unlocks the door to a hidden dimension of life; a dimension in which myths, magic and miracles are no less real than the ground under your feet or the clouds in the sky.