Spiritual Tools: Divination

Divination is not a required skill; it isn’t something you need to do as a part of your spiritual path. (Similarly, you can do divination in a secular manner if you desire. Certainly my teen-years tarot work was in no way religious.) It can, however, be a useful and spiritually meaningful practice.

I’ve never been one to use divination as a means to tell the future–I have always felt that it can point to likelihoods and possibilities, which is rather similar but not quite the same (but then I feel that the future is rarely if ever set in stone).

In fact, I’ve probably most often used divinatory tools as a means of self-understanding. (Tarot in particular is very good for that.) Whether that qualifies as spiritual or not, it’s good information to have. Did a lot of that when I was younger, not so much these days. Maybe I’ve gotten less internally focused with age. Maybe I should pay more attention to the self than I do.

I’ve also used them for trying to figure out what is going on spiritually: taking an omen after a ritual (not part of my usual practice but I have done it), seeking clarification on an unclear message or impression and so forth. This is a quite traditional use of divination, and although I would not personally rely entirely on what the cards or runes or bones say, it’s good to take into account alongside one’s own intuition.

I am, I’ll admit, a bit biased toward tarot because I have been using the cards since I was twelve (and I am now in my fifties). They are wonderfully complex and the wide variety of decks now available make tarot a practically unlimited source of inspiration.

But tarot is not the only divinatory option. In fact, its very complexity may make it less well-suited for some purposes. I haven’t used it for omens, for example; I’m more likely in those cases to use something different–runes after a Norse ritual, perhaps Ogham if you honor Celtic gods. There are several different attested options with a Hellenic focus (the Olympian alphabet oracle, for example). You don’t have to use these methods only in their cultural contexts, but you may find that it strengthens your connection with that particular pantheon.

So, other possiblities? It may depend on what you are seeking. If you need a complex answer, a complex tool such as tarot may suit you–but tarot is not the only system equipped to deal with complexities, and you can certainly use runes or oracle stones to deal with multi-faceted issues as well although they are very good for simpler questions (a one-rune draw, for example). For yes-or-no questions, a pendulum may be ideal; for areas you are uncertain of, scrying may be a way to discover things you’ve never considered.

Not every tool will work for every person. Tarot works for me well, oracle stones or runes work for me well enough. However, my hand isn’t quite steady enough to use a pendulum reliably, and I’ve tried enough scrying to know that is just isn’t for me. You may need to try a few different systems before you find one that resonates with you.

Or you may need to devise your own.

Categories: divination

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