The classic definition of divination is to foretell the future. Fortune telling, augury, and prophecy are often used interchangeably with the word divination. However, foretelling the future is but one aspect of divination. Many use divination to uncover past events, as well as those of the present. In that case, divination is not used to foretell the future, but rather, to gain insight into the past or present. This is known as forth telling. For example, in the New Testament, Jesus encountered a woman at the well and said to her “the man you are now with is not your husband.” He was not foretelling events, but rather, declaring what was true in the present.
Some forms of divination rely on a tool such as cards, runes, tea leaves and dice, while other forms are an interpretation of body parts or other natural objects such as palmistry, animal behavior, and cloud formations. Yet another type of divination is a direct knowing outside of any tool or natural observation, including dream interpretation, channeling, and clairaudience.
How Does Divination Work?
Humans have practiced divination for thousands of years. The word divination shares the same root as the word divine, so most people have assumed that the information received through divination comes from a divine source—God, Goddess, Great Spirit, etc. Divination was often used by oracles, prophets, shamans, and religious leaders who were trained to discern and interpret omens, symbols, and messages. In many respects, the diviner served as a bridge between the Divine and everyday folks.
For some civilizations, though, divination was a normal part of living for all people. In the early Christian tradition, some people were said to have the “gift of prophecy” and delivered messages from God. However, adherents of this religion believed there were two sources for “supernatural” information: God and the devil. Therefore, it was possible for some individuals to manifest “counterfeit” psychic gifts that were demonic in nature. In fact, fortunetelling was often forbidden in the Judeo-Christian belief system, despite the fact that there are numerous accounts of divination performed by “heroes of the faith”.
There are several theories about how divination works, but the foundation for all of the following theories is a belief in an ordered Universe—and that there is no such thing as accidents or coincidences:
•Divine Source – This is rather straightforward: it is belief that information received through divination comes straight from a Divine Source…a spiritual Intelligence. Those who believe in an evil counterpart to the Divine, such as a devil or demons, believe that information can come from that source, as well. •Synchronicity – Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) coined the term synchronicity to explain that coinciding events have meaning. A student of symbol and myth, as well as the divination method of Tarot, Jung believed that nothing was random, and everything happens for a reason. When consulting a divinatory tool, the individual will receive a message pertinent to his or her concerns and questions. •Collective Unconscious – Jung also believed in a collective unconscious, which is a vast database where information about every person, object, and event is stored. This collective unconscious could be accessed through archetypal recognition, hypnosis, dreaming, and divination. •Higher Self – Some believe that the subconscious exerts an energetic force that affects divination tools. Our “Higher Self” or “spirit” already knows the information that is sought, as well as what’s best for us. By using divination, we tap into this “Higher Self”, bypassing the conscious, rational mind. •Macrocosm/Microcosm – Ancient civilizations believed that everything was connected through patterns of energy and universal laws. Divination was seen as a microcosm that reflected larger patterns of energy—the macrocosm. Modern man often assumed that these beliefs and practices were mere primitive superstitions. However, with the advent of scientific discoveries such as the theory of relativity, chaos theory, quantum physics, etc. many are realizing that science is now confirming these ancient metaphysical beliefs and practices. •Intuition – Believed to be a part of the brain, intuition is a “6th sense” whereby information is directly perceived by means outside of the five senses. That is, a “knowing” not based on rational understanding or the “facts”. Many believe that human intuition is in a state of evolution, especially as civilizations become more complex. We no longer need the daily “flight or fight” survival instinct that our ancestors once did, but rather, a “higher” form of knowing and understanding outside the realm of ego. In metaphysics, there is an esoteric belief in a “readiness wave”. The readiness wave is a signal emitted from the frontal cortex of the brain into the surrounding area of the thinker. These signals relate to thought and experience, before the actual occurrence of those thoughts or experiences. •Psychic Gifts – Whether manifested through the human body (DNA/natural ability) or as a “supernatural” gift (bestowed by a divine source), some believe that certain individuals are born psychic and others are not. •Akashic Record – With divination methods such as clairvoyance, dream interpretation, and channeling, there is a belief in a cosmic library where every conversation and event on the earth plane is recorded in “life books”. When an individual is attuned to the Holy Spirit, universal consciousness, and the “other side”, he or she is able to read these books, known as the Akashic Record. Information from these books travel on light waves and are received by the diviner. Some believe that the Akashic Record is the same thing as Jung’s collective unconscious.
How is it that a prophecy often comes to pass? I believe that, in most cases, the diviner is reading the present energy surrounding a situation or person. Because most people are resistant to change, living their lives in the well-worn grooves of familiarity and habit, that which is discerned in the present comes to pass in the future. It’s easier to determine outcomes than one might think: examining an individual’s past and present if often a good determinant of where they’re headed simply because of inertia. If the driver of a car never turns the steering wheel, she’ll continue along the same trajectory that she’s been traveling. Simply put, if you want to know where someone is heading, look at where they’ve been.
However, those who decide to exercise their free will with conscious choice can change the direction of their life. Your past does not equal your future, even if that’s the case for most people. Thus, messages received through divination are not set in stone but, rather, are fluid in nature.
It is my belief that everyone can access their intuitive abilities, and use divination to understand their past, present, and future. When we practice divination with the intent of seeking guidance for self-growth and understanding, we exercise our 6th chakra, also known as the brow chakra or third eye.
A term that is often associated with divination is “reading”. An intuitive or psychic reading is given by a diviner to the querent (the one seeking advice or insight). Thus, a diviner is often called a “reader”. However, seeking answers for oneself is also called “reading”, since information is being received and interpreted.
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