As I prepare to lead my first workshops on dreaming and divination, it’s occurred to me that there is a lot of confusion and general lack of information about what divination is and the value it provides.
To start with, I have often said that I don’t believe in using divination to focus on the future. Nor, of course, do I approve of oracles who use it to gain power and undue influence over vulnerable clients.
Rather, at its best, divination is a method through which we can detect what is going on in other realms of “reality” that are not visible to us. In our culture, as a rule, we rely on our senses to tell us what is and what is not so. If it can’t be seen, heard, tasted, felt or smelled then, it is often assumed, it probably doesn’t exist.
The problem with this empirical worldview is that there are an abundance of forces that cannot be physically sensed or measured by the body but that, nevertheless, have a tremendous influence on our lives. Gravity and magnetism are two of the most obvious. We know things fall down, we know a north pole is attracted to a south pole – but can we see the influential forces? Smell them? Hear them? No, we can only see their effects on the world around us.
Similarly, there are energies around us – emotional, spiritual, metaphysical, energetic – that cannot be reliably witnessed by the body. BUT which absolutely show their impact on the world around us.
When we practice divination – and dream work – we are inviting those forces to show themselves to us through a medium. Whether that medium is cards, dreams, bones, shells, runes, coins, fire, or any of the infinite media that humans have used over millenia is not important. What IS important is that we can learn to read these forces through the effect they have on our physical surroundings.
And by being able to read them and measure them, we can use them to live more powerful and integrated lives. Just as mastery of gravity and magnetism has allowed us to live more powerfully in the physical world – so divination can allow us to live a more energetically sound, emotionally grounded and spiritually connected existence.