‘The role of the shaman, is to be able to contact the other world, to be in touch with the forces which affect this world. The shaman goes into a trance whereby he or she is able to move between the worlds and to answer questions or seek help.’
– Martin Palmer, from Tao Te Ching
Divination and prediction
It is unfortunate that in our culture, divination has been ‘bastardised’ into being a tool for prediction. Because, divination in its true form was never meant to be used in this manner. The true purpose of divination is to see the meaning of our existence against the background of the infinite and the eternal. To touch into those realms beyond space and time. To get a sense, an intuition, of their presence below the surface, here, now. And to ‘see’ our surface existence anew from within this very real sensation of the infinite, the eternal. So, divination is a tool ‘to get perspective’ on our lives.
Prediction takes messages from that place beyond time and space, and interprets them in terms of ‘my’ gains and losses. ‘Calculating’ the implications for ‘my’ earthly existence. It takes an experience of the worlds beyond time, and makes it all about ‘what I will get’ out of my few years on earth. It is all about ‘me, myself and I.’ And it mostly focuses only on the materialistic dimension of my tiny life. Anyone who has truly experienced, even just a touch, of the worlds beyond our surface existence, knows the wonder, vastness and immensity of that experience. And is struck by how, when used for prediction, it slips away, disappears like mist before the sun. Psyche ‘evaporates’ in the face of abuse.
The world is our ‘raw material’
This is not to say that we should ignore, ‘detach from’ or renounce our worldly pressures, desires and experiences. The world of work, money, relationships and washing dishes is essential for soul. Our sincere and heartfelt involvement with these things is the very fuel for our connection to the sacred. The energies and tensions we experience because of hopes and fears regarding our material existence, is the energy that opens us to the sacred. That is, if we can skilfully connect and work with these ‘raw materials’ of soul.
But, we should always stay close to the core message of Percival’s search for the Holy Grail. His world was drying out, becoming increasingly barren. Which is symptomatic of a world that lacks the sacred. The only thing that could change this was to find ‘that most precious of all things’, the Holy Grail. And the key to finding it, was to ask at the decisive moment: ‘whom does the grail serve?’ Similarly, divination is from the divine. Like the Holy Grail, it opens our connection to the divine. It is a most precious thing. So we always have to ask, ‘whom does it serve?’ The true purpose of divination is to see through to the meaning of what is happening to us, in a way that opens us and our world to the sacred. To use divination in service of ego, is blasphemy.
The original purpose of divination was ‘to consult destiny.’π It is important to understand that destiny and fate are not the same thing. Fate is about final destinations and the inevitable. Destiny is about staying close, in every unfolding moment, to that journey soul longs for us to live. We do not automatically follow our destiny. In fact, many people do not live their destinies. Staying close to destiny demands hard work. Paradoxically, the soul’s true journey often demands that we take painful risks and go through many immense difficulties. Yet the sacrifice of opening skilfully to these challenges leave us energised and feeling vibrantly alive. The true path is not easy, but it is deeply satisfying, down to the very last cells of our being.
Every crisis, illness, ‘problem,’ difficult situation, ‘accident’ and other tribulations from our everyday world, is really the soul’s way of calling us towards, or holding us close to our destiny. And when we stay close to our path, when we ‘keep company’ with our true journey, we are often accompanied by what Jung called ‘synchronicities’. Especially when we first open to our path. Synchronicities are those strange, delightful and yet somehow meaningful ‘coincidences’ that happen to us and around us. We recognise them by the utter improbability of their occurence. They are not so much ‘to be interpreted’ as to be marvelled at. Like devious little companions on our path. They cultivate a sense of the beauty and ‘magic’ of following our destiny. Similarly, divination cultivates our opening to the presence of 'the other worlds' during every moment of our being in this world.
To explore why our culture often frowns at the idea of divination, see the articles Consensus culture and Consensus reality and the nature of love. If you wish to get a sense of what is meant by 'the other worlds', please see the article Unfathomable vastness of being. Along with all the other practices on this website, divination cultivates a perspective in us that is no less than 'seeing the world differently'.
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