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Another weird epiphany-like thing about magic [Oct. 30th, 2005|08:41 am]
I've always found divination to be suspect. I mean, I'm a skeptic and the thought that laying out tarot cards, casting runes, or whatever, and assuming they reflected reality, was something that went beyond the level of magic that I'd accept.

Then I was reading that book again; the one where I found the exercise "I have no head" (or whatever it was called), the one that points out that all of your perceptions come from a point that has no definition and that you never directly perceive.

That book was talking about divination, and it gave a fascinating reason to use it. You don't use it to tell you what the future must be. You use it to develop your intuition.

You could lay out the tarot cards the exact same way for similar situations and get two different answers, and the reason for that is that it's not the cards telling you the answer, it's *you* telling you the answer.

Now, I'd long felt that divination methods were good as places to start working, methods to stir up your thoughts and get yourself pushing towards an answer. Now, I recognize that there's even a reason to use them, and trust in them... and crazily enough, the reason to trust in them is so you can test them to see if your intuition is leading you correctly, and if not, try to figure out why not. One thing is certain: if you practice divinitory methods, you'll get better... not at knowing the random effects that may make up the future, but in discerning the possibilities in the way we all can, and in listening to your instincts about where things are and where they seem to be headed.

[User Picture]From: supergee
2005-10-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
I got the no-head idea from On Having No Head, by D.E. Harding. Excellent book.
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[User Picture]From: wolfette
2005-10-30 05:26 pm (UTC)
I've been using Tarot since I was a youngster. I was taught that the cards (or the crystal or whatever) are only a focus for the knowledge that comes from within *you*.

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[User Picture]From: nsingman
2005-10-30 10:11 pm (UTC)
I'll stay a skeptic. If you practice and "get better," are you getting better at divination, or getting better at predicting based on experience? I'll maintain it's the latter, until I see any evidence of any sort, ever, that validates any mystical beliefs.

I'm still waiting. :-)
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From: kightp
2005-10-31 05:10 am (UTC)
That's pretty much what John's saying, though. Divination isn't about woo-woo mysticism, it's about getting to know - and trust - the inside of your own head.

Especially for those who are used to operating primarily from the logical/analytical side of the brain, training the intuitive can open up entire new ways of looking at the (normal, natural, non-mystical) world.
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[User Picture]From: nsingman
2005-10-31 11:25 am (UTC)
Fair enough. Perhaps the issue was my using a slightly different interpretation of the meaning of "intuition." If we use it in a purely rational, rather than mystical, sense, it simply means acquiring knowledge without a full understanding of the mechanism. That's very different from suggesting (as, to be fair, John certainly didn't) that there is no rational mechanism.

I still think the divination mumbo jumbo itself is silly, but I suppose that if your subjects believe in it, they may be more forthcoming with verbal and non-verbal cues than they otherwise might be, giving those black box mechanisms more data.
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From: kightp
2005-10-31 02:33 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see the disconnect - you're thinking in terms of people who readTarot, etc. for other people.

While I know a few people who do that (with decidedly mixed results) most of those I know who work with divination tools do it alone, for their own purposes. Call it guided navel-gazing, if you like. That's the sort of practice John's talking about, unless I'm very much mistaken.
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[User Picture]From: blackthornglade
2005-10-31 03:46 am (UTC)
:) Divining by tarot and similar methods gives the mind a focus. *grins*
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From: kightp
2005-10-31 05:23 am (UTC)
Exactly. It's not about reading the future, it's about reading your own responses, reactions and intuitions, and applying them to the situation at hand. That part of the brain is highly symbolic, and divination tools simply provide symbols and metaphors to wrap your thoughts around.

In that sense, it's a higher-level version of your old familiar coin-flip technique, one that takes you beyond the binary "yes/no, this/that" point and into more complex ways of looking at things.

(Those who've honed the skill to a high level often seem to be uncannily accurate when reading the cards, runes or whatever for other people. But what they're really doing is using their own trained and heightened senses of intuition and empathy to read the person and make suggestions that trigger "aha!" responses.)
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[User Picture]From: droops
2005-10-31 04:12 pm (UTC)
Developing intuition is accomplished many ways. I don't read Tarot and I doubt that I have much of the ability to do so, but I do recognize it's importance in helping to bring out the intuition in many.

Interesting epiphany. :)
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