The HPedia: Divination

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Divination is a way of discovering meaning through special ritual methods.  Such methods include tarot cards, runes, ogham sticks, omens read in natural events, and so on.

Mirriam-Webster‘s definition doesn’t quite capture the significance in Contemporary Paganism:

the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers

In contrast to fortune-telling, most Contemporary Pagans seem to lay the emphasis not on seeing the future but on seeing potentialities, paths one may take toward the future.  Many also emphasize learning something about the will of deities or spirits via such methods.

From a naturalistic standpoint, any kind of literal fortune-telling or communication with deities seems unlikely, but divination remains a powerful tool for lateral thinking.  Divination, which often involves rich symbolism and associative thinking, can be an effective way to stimulate the creative imagination.

An exploration of naturalistic omenry can be found in the article Symbols in the sky.

Check out other entries in our HPedia.

2 Comments on “The HPedia: Divination

  1. I’m a tarot reader, and I have tag-lined my practice as “Intuitive tarot readings for personal development” – the translation being that I use my intuition and my knowledge of the symbolism within the cards to help my client access their subconscious and thus discover the knowledge they were unaware that they already had. I don’t consider myself to be psychic, nor am I reading the literal future; I often find myself smiling and explaining to my client that “It’s like dreaming with your eyes open!”

  2. I’ve not much experience with divination, but I have used the ‘Druid Animal Oracle’ by Philip Carr-Gomm. He makes it VERY clear in the guidebook that divination is not about telling the future, but getting a different perspective on the present. I tend to see it like a guided version of the Rorshach test, you have a general interpretation of what the cards mean, but then it’s up to you to see how/if they have meaning for you at the time. I like your idea of divination as a tool for lateral thinking.

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