A Personal Definition
Divination is a practice common to every human culture on Earth. It is the art of answering questions, or of gaining knowledge about people, places and things that one would otherwise have no “normal” means of access to.
I think of divination as “any magical operation designed to acquire otherwise inaccessible information.”
Most common methods of divination manipulate objects, images or symbols that embody discrete categories or qualities of things within which objects, ideas and so on are grouped by the similarities in their natures. These various objects (or images or symbols, if you prefer) are assembled by formula or cast at random into patterns that tell a story – the story through which the diviner can give the sitter the answers they need to their question.
The information gained from divination in often used to help change one’s life in some way, or to find ways to solve problems that work, despite their seeming disconnectedness. In modern times, it can really help bypass the negative or unproductive thinking that stands between our conscious actions and our best interests.
Some people dismiss divination as a superstitious way to avoid accountability, which it certainly is not. There are times when we know we need to meditate or “sleep on it” to find solutions to problems – this human instinct is probably the origin of what 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, mind and senses often disconnect from one another because of secondary thoughts about its perceptions. This can cause confusion, but It was also believed that this confusion could be overcome by “remembering” through the processes of contemplation and reason.
Plotinus and the Neoplatonists expanded this view, and showed that (in their world) 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 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 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 where most of the difficulties that humans face are born and do their work.
Divination handles the art of remembering differently. It decodes patterns of individual objects, symbols or images to give this “Psychic Memory” the opportunity to speak. It’s a tool that supersedes the process of creating a new experience of previous fragments. When a good diviner is asked a question, knowledge is retrieved from places and situations unconnected to the sitter in space or time (but not in thought) at the moment of divination. It ‘s an art that decodes the psychic memory.
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 materialist one in which most of humanity is trained. Materialism believes that all phenomena are the result of linear causality. Physicists and biologists are beginning to understand that material causality may be nothing more than a linguistic convenience, and not a law of nature.
Some theoretical physicists are struggling with the concept of retrocausality; that a future event can pass information into present or past cause, and therefore exist “before” it. In other words, certain events in the future are always doing the results of certain actions.
Many Neuroscientists have begun to realize that the isolated biochemical self in time or space 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 may help us see 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 “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. Maybe this art is a shortcut to intuiting the entanglements or conditions through which synchronicities manifest and release the “Butterfly Effect” to take form.
These days, it’s so easy to posit a reasonable scientific theory as to how these phenomena take place. But it’s just as easy to use it as resource to get things done.
To summarize, the meeting of the diviner, sitter and the information shared between them implies a co-created event of meaningful coincidence in itself. A good divination meeting or session is a synchronicity that injects a little “controlled chaos” into the life of the diviner, the sitter and maybe the collective. And its something that they all need.
Fate and Destiny
Fate can be defined as the inevitable 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 bought easily given the proper credit rating. It’s like the future profit needs of the marketing machine 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. 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, but we almost always know destiny when it touches us.
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. 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, 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 some people to shape their lifestyles in support of the best interests of other people with whom they have no connection. When they do, it’s likely that they’ll abandon their dreams and seek fulfillment anywhere it is promised to them. 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, breath work and other means. They also understood that consciously deploying the intuition is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be sharpened by training and practice.
Divination aids in the cultivation of your dialogue with intuition. It helps one “cut through” or “bypass” both personal psychic interference and the interference induced by one’s circumstances. It helps you to quickly gain clarity about things, without carrying opinion and meaningless speculation to the table, so that the intuition can do it’s job.
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 both.
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 and less resistant reality.
This shift in focus is can make 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.