Opening to Divination
Circle round thrice As the witch’s pouch Is held tight.
The cauldron is filled With water and moonlight.
Gaze up towards Lady Moon And call forth your desire.
The herbs in the bag of art Throw now into the heat Of the blazing fire.
Gaze into that Which holds the key Reflecting back the Treasure of answer to me.
Herb and water Iron and flame The truth revealed The heart’s desire thusly named.
No Samhain celebration would be complete without some curiosity and action taken to peer into what “may be”. To that end, divination is the space of opening to being receptive enough to ask the query and receive the answer. Today’s post sets the stage for that work…
When we hear the word “Divination” it usually conjures up a picture of the gypsy fortune-teller who will predict your future love interest, dream job or soon to be received wind-fall. In reality, divination can take on that form, but it can also serve as a highly effective tool in extending and solidifying your energetic and psychic connection to the world around you. Lest, it be believed to be a less than a reputable source for information remember that kings, queens, politicians, warriors, dictators, businessmen, corporate giants and many others who would be considered “too rational” to believe in such “stuff” have routinely consulted with those having oracular abilities. The horoscope scrolls placed strategically at cash register’s end weave their magick and often engage even the most resolute of skeptics – if for no other reason than curiosity.
In ancient times those who practiced the art were called oracles, soothsayers, shamans, sorcerers, mages, fortune-tellers and more. The art, itself, in recent years has moved from that of being shrouded in mystery to the forefront of magickal workings with books, workshops and training in abundance. The internet is abuzz with “plug in your question and receive an instant reading” sites which are frequented daily by those needing “to know”. I use the word “art” because in its most pure, undiluted and non-commercialized form, divination remains a skill, that even with a natural predisposition towards natural ability still requires practice, hard work, a substantial knowledge base of magickal systems and years of study to elevate its effect beyond “parlor tricks”. So, what then are the mechanisms and guidelines for the serious student of Divination?
Expectations or Fate vs Free Will/Choice
Many who come to the diviner’s table accept whatever information is received as being the sealed deal. And, it is also those same who are often either disappointed when they do not meet the future lover with blonde hair and blue eyes or subconsciously manipulate their interactions and surroundings to fulfill the said prophecy. Neither scenario is good outcome, nor what the expectations should be. If we consider the information received as being simply that – “more information” this allows us greater option in how to exercise our free will and consequently how we will use that information. If approached in that manner, rather than allowing that information to narrow and limit our choice, giving excuse that Fate expects us to obey blindly, we open to the possibilities of making choice of a potential outcome based on the consequences of our will, not that of a diabolical Universal Plan. Take the information received in Divination and mull it over, meditate upon it and then act upon it in a way that is now fully informed by having pieces of a larger picture afforded you.
The Focus and Intent
We’ve talked of the importance of Intent upon any magickal working and the ultimate success or failure given the specificity of that intent. Divination uses this same important component to draw the information received into a concise form. In order to align yourself with energies that are able to align and resonate with the answers sought, the work of developing a state of focused and directed energy towards that goal is also required. Quieting oneself, visualizing that you are in alignment with the source of all knowledge and removing your conscious mind from the distractions around you opens the subconscious to retrieve what is needed. It is precisely this principle that accounts for those flashes of inspired though when least expected and when you are most relaxed and not actively trying.
A nice analogy is to use is the idea of your focus and intent as being the zip code that is added to that important bill payment. If left off, it will eventually be received at its destination, possibly late enough to incur a penalty for the lack of clarity. If added, that piece of mail will be promptly sorted and directed towards its destination on time and in support of future good credit when that all important purchase is made.
Developing the receptivity necessary for a clear stream of information can be cultivated through development of a regular meditation practice. This component, as stated in prior lessons, trains the mind to remain fixed, clear and precise in what its desires are. This is what also makes it an excellent tool to incorporate into your practice of learning to work with a divination tool. In the work of Divination a large portion of what is received will be filtered through your own understanding, so to minimize the internal interpretation (particularly if you are doing readings for others) you want to set aside a portion of your own consciousness and work from a state of consciousness that is receptive and open to pure communication devoid of internal commentary. Most importantly you also want to be able to actively turn off the extraneous noise and distractions that convolute the stream of flow and setting into a tangled mess of miscommunication.
Reading for Yourself
It is for this reason that doing a reading or Divinatory work for yourself can be a bit more challenging. You know what outcome you wish to occur (albeit often at a subconscious level, but it is there nonetheless). You know every weakness and strength that you overtly display. You already have more information about yourself than you would any client you are reading for. So, subjectivity in the reading and filtering the information will be colored with these known as well as those unknown biases. And, if you are anything like me I LOVE to play mind games with myself! So what to do?
Remember the act of focusing and getting the preconceptions of your mind out of the way? This is where dedicated practice (meditation) will help. And, having this pre-sorted information does play into the clearly formed query. Most importantly, rather than a detriment, the subconscious can be an ally, as long as the intent is clear and the focus strong. Remember, we carry within ourselves the solution and answer to every problem, query and situation and the storehouse of memories, past experiences including ways of coping that were both productive and negative are stored as well. We do already know the answer, ultimate the solution and the precise course of direction to be taken, that once received and processed through the Higher Self’s understanding is exactly what the action should be.
The process in reading for others is largely the same, with the exception that the focus and intent are directed towards connecting with their subconscious store-house or experiences through the information you are getting. As you relate to them the information received (it generally will make no sense to you and your work is not to restructure and interpret that information through your own understanding) it opens keys and connections within their own framework that can be processed and ultimately understood within their context of what is being asked.
*** As a side note. When I do tarot readings for others I do not ask what the question is. I have the client silently focus their intent and query into the energy of the deck I will be using and then begin the reading. My feeling is that I want to go into the reading in a state that is unprejudiced and unbiased to a specific answer as possible. Now, there have been times when I sensed that it was important for the client to state his/her query; largely because it enabled the person to open more fully. In those circumstances, the client would have shut down the energetic connection made and the information received would have been more consciously driven and manipulated to fit the situation. This is not necessarily the right approach for everyone, but I have found it to be most compatible with my way of receiving and processing the information received.
Some Common Tools of Divination
Below you will find a listing of the most commonly used tools for oracular work. Take some time to explore the various options and go with what feels right to you. Be aware that sometimes what you feel is absolutely the right option may lead you to something you have more interest and ultimately more engagement in and are better at using. I started with runes, moved to a brief stint with the Oghams and finally settled on the Tarot as my primary tool.
The irony is that at the very beginning of my search into the options, the Tarot was something I had the least interest in and just did not feel anything calling me to its use. With that being said, the experience of trial and error has however, offered opportunities to incorporate some of those tools in ritual or when the Tarot is just not the right source, I have other options I am familiar with that give the information I need in the form I need it. As with everything on this Path, you change, your spiritual nature changes and evolves and so do the tools, interests and those things that enhance and enrich your experience:
- Crystal Gazing
- Candle or Fire Gazing
- Water Scrying
- Mirror Gazing
- I Ching
- Celtic Oghams
Read more about these Tools here:
The Tools for Divination
Tomorrow’s post: A Special Tarot Spread The Gift of My Ancestor
Revisit Divination in These 30-Days of Samhain 2021 Posts:
The Witch’s Year Tarot Spread
Divination for Samhain
Read more about Divination and Spell Work here:
Divination and Spell Work