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A New Look at Divination
by Link

When we think of divination, we often think of tarot, runes, or other ancient and cryptique mystical techniques.  While these methods have long stood the test of time, we can make use of many common objects which surround us every day.  A variety of magical "tools" for divination might be simpler than you think.

Most divination merely assigns a special meaning to a random event.  When we flip a coin, we assign meanings for heads or tails.  A similar random event happens when we shuffle cards, where each card has been assigned a special meaning.  But if we look around us, we may discover other ordinary parts of life that also have a type of randomness which we can interpret.

Nature is full of randomness.  As we seek answers to our questions, can we notice the sounds or sights around us?  As we ask our question about the future, did a bird fly by to the west?  The south?  What color was it?  How many birds were there?  Does that big cloud overhead look like a certain shape?  While natural things like birds or clouds can seem meaningful, we can also interpret human-made things like street names, words printed on a piece of litter, radio songs, or any household item within our surroundings at the time.

If we can gaze into a crystal ball, can we also meditatively scry into a common household device like a blank TV screen to seek images?  You can gaze into just about anything:  melted swirls atop a pizza, a bowl of spaghetti, a cube of ice!  Want an answer to your question?  Sleep on it, then try to interpret patterns and shapes within your own scraggly head of hair the next morning.  Try asking your question, then fast-forward your VCR for a few moments.  Try to interpret the first sentence, sound or scene.  You can use just about anything that feels right, for you and for the moment.  You are limited only by your own imagination!

Candles can also be used in a variety of new divinatory ways.  What shapes does the remaining wax leave behind when the candle burns out?  Want to use candles in a new way?  Take a blank piece of paper and wave it over your candle flame, close enough to leave black soot marks, but not close enough to ignite.  Interpret these sooty shapes and designs the same way you would a cloud in the sky.  Do you see a tree?  Perhaps a bunny rabbit?  What do these shapes and symbols mean to you?

Here's a few ideas to construct your own simple divinatory tools.  If tarot is too complex, take ordinary playing cards (or even blank index cards) and write the words you wish to use: health, learning, money, love, career - what ever you wish to include!  If you don't really understand how to read runes, try making tiles printed with similar words.  Use old Scrabble tiles if need be.  If you like pendulums, what object tied to your string or chain would best fit your question?  For career matters use an object related to your job; for financial matters use a coin.  For domestic matters try a house key, a wedding ring or whatever item you feel is best linked to your question.

Try leaving a piece of bread out in your yard or special outdoor place.  Assign meaning to what will happen if the bread is gone, or still there the next morning.  Reach randomly into a household junk drawer; did you pull out a hammer?  A pack of matches?  Or maybe a tube of glue which you use to fix things?  What solutions do these items represent for you?  Remember that divination is an art, not an exact science.  Like ink-blots, divination is open to interpretation, and many people will each see it a bit differently.

How does divination work?  If you believe that all things in nature are woven together in some way, then this is true for your divinatory tools as well.  See your tools (and more importantly, you yourself) as being truly linked to all things in all places, past, present and future!  Since you are part of it all, nothing is beyond your reach.

Be aware that not every event you encounter in life will hold a divine message.  If we tried to find meaning in every cloud or piece of litter, we'd go bonkers!  Trust your feelings on which events hold a message and which are merely random parts of life.  Obviously, if you approach divination as a sacred event, done at special times, in a ritual fashion, then you will know when it occurs.  And since you are in control of your own destiny, you can decide which things, if any, you wish to change.  Divination is not carved in stone.  It is merely like asking a wise old friend for advice.  You can then decide for yourself how to act and shape the course of your own life. 

You may find that the most effective divination tools are not the physical toys designed to bring messages from "out there somewhere."  Your own insight, intuition, forethought, instincts and opinions are more "divine" than any deck of cards.  By looking within, and trusting what you find, you may decide that you need divination's friendly advice less often than you think!

Sources: Divination workshops, Trish Telesco, 1996 and Ted Andrews, 1994.  "Art of Divination,"  S. Cunningham, Crossing Press.  "World Atlas of Divination,"  J. Mathews, Bulfinch Press.     

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