For at least 1000 years, people have used divination to find ways to imagine themselves and situations. It it used to seek advice, help, and knowledge of fate to help individuals to connect with the transformative potential of the spirit. The world you meet through divination is full of imaginative forces with attributes, powers, desires and needs that are creating what we experience. Our souls ask us to recognize the events and emotions that weep through our lives – our loves and hates, crisis, confrontations, problems and challenges – as gifts of these forces, with lessons to teach and tolls to pay. Recognizing this, giving attention to these forces, is one of the great healing acts that divination has to offer us.

The Purposes of Divination

Another one of our presuppositions in that divination is supposed to reveal the “future.” This is not quite accurate. Divination was considered a human or light added to our normal intelligence. It was and first of all a way to see what is there, what spiritual forces are active in your present situation and how you can successfully interact with them. It is used to give you insight into what is behind a given problem or difficulty and what strategies you can use to deal with it, or to tell you if the “way,” the basic flow of energy, is open or closed. It can give you information about the way your fate or inner spirit is moving, locate you in a process of transformation. or give you ” signs of the time: that connect events in your soul with events in the world. The aim of divination is not to reveal an implicable future, but to place you in the process of that future, to connect you with the flow of life through its signs, symbols and helpful spirits.

These symbols propose themselves as a crossroad or meeting place with a world of creative energy, the dynamic forces underlying events. They are a way of contacting the hidden – called soul, spirit – in and through the events of your daily life. These symbols act as a link, an interchange or interface with the forces involved. The divination system that uses them acts as a kind of inner navigation, a “timeline” for creating awareness of spirit.

Divination and Fate

Any divinatory method implies a living world and posits itself as an active participant or double of creative process. This process mirrors the continual creation of what we call fate or destiny. It is a way of questioning and trying out the possible versions of fate.

The sign and symbols produced by the questioning do not control or actions, they simply suggest the field in which our lives are being played out and offer a description of potentials. This does not take away your freedom to act. It offers you the chance to interact creatively with these possibilities and help shape your experience rather than being its victim. Your awareness and choice are the seeds of things to come.

The Way & the Ways of Divining

Divination has been described as the most aboriginal and persistent of human acts, fundamental to religion, magic, myth, and the soul. It reflects the very deep need we feel for creative contact with spirit and our fate, something the cuts across cultural boundaries.

Learning to Listen

We live in a world whose voice we can no longer hear. When we describe what goes on around and within us, we come up with a picture of something inanimate that can be manipulated and is the same for all. This is the technological worldview, and it undoubtedly has brought us many things. But we have also lost something – the experience of a living world that responds to individual needs. For all the advantages that our science has brought us, we have lost the language through which the world can speak to us, the language of omens, symbols, and signs.

We cannot go back to living in the pretechnological world, But we can seek out something of that lost language and translate it into our own experience. The philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, writing at the beginning of the “enlightenment” that created modern science and destroyed the mythic world, said: “The science of those infinite spaces terrifies me.” We can reconstitute a language that lets those empty spaces speak once more.

Signs, Spirits, and Synchronicity

In the most traditional terms, omens imply the existence of spirits, forces outside our direct consciousness. In modern terms, they are complexes, autonomous parts of our soul that directly influence interior and exterior events. What we now see as chance, coincidence, or random selection is the instrument of these spirits.

Another traditional perspective sees omens, symbols, and signs as the self-display of the ongoing processes of nature. Perceiving and recognizing a significant pattern in one part through an omen lets you read how this pattern is affecting any other part, for each part reflects the organization of the whole. In this singe view, a single pattern connects spirit, nature, society and the individual, and it is the duty of the individual to conform to the pattern. Things that “normal” patterns indicate something that calls for redress. Omens indicate whether or not this is being done.

For many modern people, omens and signs are “superstition.” Because a sign is not logically or causally connected to the thing it pretends to describe, it is meaningless. The same is often said of dreams and fantasies: they are mere coincidence, only chance, or just your imagination. The language of signs, and omens describes something outside this perspective, a kind of meaning that has been called “synchronicity.” This is a modern equivalent of traditional views that hold that omens reveal spirits and hidden processes.

Synchronicity describes a particular charged quality of time through which an event in the outer world coincides meaningfully with an event in the inner world without a logical or casual connection to explain it. It indicates that a basic structure of our imagination has been activated. When this happens, it violates the “normal” laws of cause and effect and, in doing so, creates new meaning. The synchronistic occurrence is grounded in a psychological conflict, a concern that cannot be dealt with in normal ways. A symbolic event occurs that gives voice to the problem. It is a “little miracle” that offers a suggestion for action and a deepening of your understanding. It introduces a “non ordinary” world hidden behind the screen of “normal” appearances.

Seen from this perspective, omens open up the gate to a kind of language that we also see in dreams and fantasies, a language that puts things together in “impossible” ways. They come from a place you can influence but cannot control, something that behaves as if it were alive and aware. They reveal a hidden connection between the psyche and the space-time continum, a connection we become aware of in certain emotionally charged situations. Perceiving the connections leads you into a deepened creative thought that traditional cultures saw as the source of god, angels, and spirits, the spontaneous “self-display” of a living world.

Divining Methods

Although there are many ways to connect with the living world, seeking answers, wisdom, and guidance, I will only be writing about a few in this particular article.

Questioning the Tarot

Divining with the Tarot involves “reading” the cards in a specific situation. For mos modern day readers, this involves a combination of learning the acquired meanings, feeling the deep processes behind the movement of the symbols, “seeing” into the situation in terms of the images presented, and integrating all these things with the inquirere’s spontaneous sense of the images.

There are many spreads, traditional and modern, of varying degrees of complexity. The focus of most modern readers is on understanding the forces at work in the present situation in order to take creative and positive action.

Revealing the Magic of the Stars

For much of human history, the heavens above were the home of the Great Gods, the forces that control and shape the fate of nations. Sky-signs such as the movements of the planets and the stars revealed their actions, will and desires. By observing and understanding their significance, we might have a key to destiny and the way the cosmos is unfolding. This is the central motivation for what became astrologos, the knowledge or way of the stars.

Astrology appeared at the end of the third century BCE. However complex the system of interpretation became, the mythic base of astrology is the attraction of the sky. We tend to ignore this, for we are cut off from the heavens by a layer of ambient light, the light from our cities and electrical power sources, and by a mythological shift away from “transcendence,” the desire to “rise above” the mundane. For the people of the ancient world, it opened a divine realm.

Astrology is an unique blend of science, symbolism, magic, and fate. Today it flourishes as a subculture, providing many people with an insight into how their lives connect with the world of myths and symbols.

Dream Divination

Most traditional cultures have seen dreaming as communicating with other kinds of realities. Dreams can show us what forces are shaping our imagination, for what were called ghosts and spirits are also forces and memories beyond our immediate control that are at work within us. Dreams act as a hidden stage on which they can communicate with us, as do the various parts of our bodies. The dream-maker, a deep center in each of us, uses dreams to foreshadow coming events, both inner and outer, gifting us with messages and help us create strategies to deal with them.

Dreams do not speak our normal language. Dream images contradict themselves, relate seemingly unrelated things, and create impossible events. This constant taking apart and putting together generates symbolic energy. It moves us and can act as a system of internal guidance.


This article was created in reference with the book “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Divination”, authored by Stephen Karcher


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