The Basics of Divination

Know Thyself

” I must first know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that which is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self would be ridiculous.”

(427?-347 B.C.)

When we hear the word “Divination” it usually conjures up a picture of the gypsy fortune-teller who will predict your future love interest, dream job or soon to be received wind-fall. In reality, divination can take on that form, but it can also serve as a highly effective tool in extending and solidifying your energetic and psychic connection to the world around you. Lest, it be believed to be a less than a reputable source for information remember that kings, queens, politicians, warriors, dictators, businessmen, corporate giants and many others who would be considered “too rational” to believe in such “stuff” have routinely consulted with those having oracular abilities. The horoscope scrolls placed strategically at cash register’s end weave their magick and often engage even the most resolute of skeptics – if for no other reason than curiosity.

In ancient times those who practiced the art were called oracles, soothsayers, shamans, sorcerers, mages, fortune-tellers and more. The art, itself, in recent years has moved from that of being shrouded in mystery to the forefront of magickal workings with books, workshops and training in abundance. The internet is abuzz with “plug in your question and receive an instant reading” sites which are frequented daily by those needing “to know”. I use the word “art” because in its most pure, undiluted and non-commercialized form, divination remains a skill, that even with a natural predisposition towards natural ability still requires practice, hard work, a substantial knowledge base of magickal systems and years of study to elevate its effect beyond “parlor tricks”.  So, what then are the mechanisms and guidelines for the serious student of Divination?

Expectations or Fate vs Free Will/Choice

Many who come to the diviner’s table accept whatever information is received as being the sealed deal. And, it is also those same who are often either disappointed when they do not meet the future lover with blonde hair and blue eyes or subconsciously manipulate their interactions and surroundings to fulfill the said prophecy. Neither scenario is good outcome, nor what the expectations should be. If we consider the information received as being simply that – “more information” this allows us greater option in how to exercise our free will and consequently how we will use that information. If approached in that manner, rather than allowing that information to narrow and limit our choice, giving excuse that Fate expects us to obey blindly, we open to the possibilities of making choice of a potential outcome based on the consequences of our will, not that of a diabolical Universal Plan. Take the information received in Divination and mull it over, meditate upon it and then act upon it in a way that is now fully informed by having pieces of a larger picture afforded you.

The Focus and Intent

We’ve talked of the importance of Intent upon any magickal working and the ultimate success or failure given the specificity of that intent. Divination uses this same important component to draw the information received into a concise form. In order to align yourself with energies that are able to align and resonate with the answers sought, the work of developing a state of focused and directed energy towards that goal is also required. Quieting oneself, visualizing that you are in alignment with the source of all knowledge and removing your conscious mind from the distractions around you opens the subconscious to retrieve what is needed. It is precisely this principle that accounts for those flashes of inspired though when least expected and when you are most relaxed and not actively trying.

A nice analogy is to use is the idea of your focus and intent as being the zip code that is added to that important bill payment. If left off, it will eventually be received at its destination, possibly late enough to incur a penalty for the lack of clarity. If added, that piece of mail will be promptly sorted and directed towards its destination on time and in support of future good credit when that all important purchase is made.

Developing the receptivity necessary for a clear stream of information can be cultivated through development of a regular meditation practice. This component, as stated in prior lessons, trains the mind to remain fixed, clear and precise in what its desires are. This is what also makes it an excellent tool to incorporate into your practice of learning to work with a divination tool. In the work of Divination a large portion of what is received will be filtered through your own understanding, so to minimize the internal interpretation (particularly if you are doing readings for others) you want to set aside a portion of your own consciousness and work from a state of consciousness that is receptive and open to pure communication devoid of internal commentary. Most importantly you also want to be able to actively turn off the extraneous noise and distractions that convolute the stream of flow and setting into a tangled mess of miscommunication.

Reading for Yourself

It is for this reason that doing a reading or Divinatory work for yourself can be a bit more challenging. You know what outcome you wish to occur (albeit often at a subconscious level, but it is there nonetheless). You know every weakness and strength that you overtly display. You already have more information about yourself than you would any client you are reading for. So, subjectivity in the reading and filtering the information will be colored with these known as well as those unknown biases. And, if you are anything like me I LOVE to play mind games with myself! So what to do?

Remember the act of focusing and getting the preconceptions of your mind out of the way? This is where dedicated practice (meditation) will help. And, having this pre-sorted information does play into the clearly formed query. Most importantly, rather than a detriment, the subconscious can be an ally, as long as the intent is clear and the focus strong. Remember, we carry within ourselves the solution and answer to every problem, query and situation and the storehouse of memories, past experiences including ways of coping that were both productive and negative are stored as well. We do already know the answer, ultimate the solution and the precise course of direction to be taken, that once received and processed through the Higher Self’s understanding is exactly what the action should be.

The process in reading for others is largely the same, with the exception that the focus and intent are directed towards connecting with their subconscious store-house or experiences through the information you are getting. As you relate to them the information received (it generally will make no sense to you and your work is not to restructure and interpret that information through your own understanding) it opens keys and connections within their own framework that can be processed and ultimately understood within their context of what is being asked.

*** As a side note. When I do tarot readings for others I do not ask what the question is. I have the client silently focus their intent and query into the energy of the deck I will be using and then begin the reading. My feeling is that I want to go into the reading in a state that is unprejudiced and unbiased to a specific answer as possible. Now, there have been times when I sensed that it was important for the client to state his/her query; largely because it enabled the person to open more fully. In those circumstances, the client would have shut down the energetic connection made and the information received would have been more consciously driven and manipulated to fit the situation. This is not necessarily the right approach for everyone, but I have found it to be most compatible with my way of receiving and processing the information received.

Please review the section below from our previous lessons:


The pathway to good INTENTion is paved by Meditation”

Meditation is a primary and essential part of magickal work. Training oneself to sit quietly, observe their thoughts or listen for inner guidance is a discipline that will spill over into your mundane as well as spiritual life. Meditation teaches you to relax and quiet your physical being as you still your mind. Setting aside time on a daily basis to engage in this discipline also teaches you how to focus and either expand or narrow your perception. These are the skills needed as we work magick, and in ritual to keep us anchored in the work in which we are engaging. The process of meditation is the creation of a firm base of self-awareness, heightened experience and union with the Higher Self and the Divine.

The act of meditation has been used for centuries as a tool for health restoration, spiritual endeavor behavior modification and self-awareness. A regular practice of daily meditation has been clinically proven to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, enhance the ability to maintain productive attention and contribute to the general well being of an individual. Despite all these obvious benefits, many people find it difficult to establish a regular and consistent meditation practice. For some, the stillness is perceived as boredom and feeling as though there is not enough “active” process. This can be overcome by using different foci in your meditations.

The focus of your meditation does not always need to be the same. This can change as you move through your work. You will want to use this quiet time for connecting with or gaining information from a Deity you may be working with; use it to enhance your visualization skills; de-stress after a stressful day; or as part of ritual or personal work to enhance the overall concentration and intensity. Be sure to record in your journal your intent, focus and results. This is best done as part of the meditation itself and immediately following your contemplative session. This record can prove to be quite useful as you make progress in all the varied aspects of your magickal training. And, in accord with the act of meditation, the impressions you record are often infused with greater clarity as you still the mind to outside distraction and open to a limitless source of serenity within.

The Question?

Opening yourself energetically to receive the information is more easily accomplished if you have sorted out beforehand and started the process of narrowing the focus towards what it is you wish to know. Formulating questions and queries that have fewer ambiguities in answer can pull out exactly what is needed to inform the final decision. A question such as “Will I be happy?” can have multiple outcomes and relate to multiple experiences and levels of daily life. Changing it to “Will I be happy working within the job I have been offered?” gives more information to draw upon and therefore more option at an answer that is relevant to that particular situation

Take a look below at some good starter questions that can be easily adapted to fit the specifics of your situation.

Be as specific as possible about what information you are seeking.
• Please give me insight into ….. (be precise)
• How can I move forward?
• What lies behind this situation?
• What can I learn from this?
• How is the past affecting the present?
• Please clarify this situation for me. (set out the situation first)
• Please show me how to resolve this situation. What is needed to heal this situation? Please reveal what is hidden from me in this situation.
• Please give me guidance as to whether I should .. (be precise)
• What would be a good course of action for me?
• What would be the result of this action? (specify action)
• What would be the result of embarking on this relationship?

Foundations of Practice
Meditation: Visualization Practice

In keeping with all that has been emphasized above our first Foundation of Practice for Lesson Ten is one of visualization. Focus, intent and contemplative consciousness are all required as you begin this exercise.

Next Week’s Post
The Tools for Divination 


About themagickalpen

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and also serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path. Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and theWestern Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice. A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers. Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition. As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work. Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally. She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented. She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience. Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 43-year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education. Robin's esoteric writings can be found on her blogs.
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