Ah, divination. The art of looking into the future, usually using a helper tool of some sort such as a bowl of water or a deck of cards (or else it could be describe as clairvoyance or precognition). There is a lot of debate surrounding whether divination is real or not, whether we can actually look into the future or not and whether it is okay to do or not from a spiritual perspective. For me, I believe it so even though I didn't always feel that way. I get fairly mixed reactions when I tell people that I am a diviner – well, the initial reaction is confusion but once I explain what a diviner is, that’s when I get the varied responses. Either it is from the “You believe in that stuff?” camp or the “You shouldn’t be doing that, it’s a sin for only God knows what the future hold” camp or “Can you read my palm/cards/natal chart/etc?” camp. Let me explain a little further these reactions:
Black Witch: "Tell me what you see"
Witch Olivia Haynes
“You believe in that stuff?” – Sayeth the person who believes in an invisible being that he or she cannot and has not touched, seen, heard, met nor can fully prove they exist, otherwise known as God. You believe in that stuff? That when your life is in absolute danger or peril, some invisible force is simply going to swoop down and save you? I believe in a God too but become over-logical or over-skeptical and even the very concept of divinity can seem like a bad case of widespread schizophrenia. But, hey, that doesn’t stop us from building houses of worship to our invisible friends whom we presume can hear us (though that become highly debatable when a catastrophe strikes), “holy” wars that look a lot like normal wars and debating about the few major differences between religions yet a lot of them run on the same lines of forgivness and selfless love. I am willing to explain that, yes I do believe in divination and just toss the idea back at them, you believe in a god? Why? Needless to say, the question“You believe in that stuff?” irritates me as you can see. Besides, that’s how I got started in divination, I was overly skeptical of it as well. But instead of asking stupid questions, I tried it for myself.
“That’s a Sin! Only God Knows!” – Times like these I’m happy I have a love for words. Let’s break down the word “Divination”, shall we? “Divi-“ in “Divination” means “Divine”, as in “God” or “holy figure”. “-nation” is simply an English grammatical suffix referring to the act of doing (if I’m remembering my suffixes right). In short, divination is simply an act where you’re reading from the divine. However, some consider it as opening your mind to the collective unconscious and retrieving the appropriate information of the situation. I consider both reasonings roughly one and the same, I feel that I am opening my mind towards the collective unconscious (which can also be seen as divinity) to get the proper situation about what’s going on, whether general or specific. Since I am not claiming that I am doing this with my own energy – since would make for super tiring and incorrect readings for I do not know all, thus better to connect to the universe anyways – and admitting to working with God, I would feel the “only god knows” reaction would be a fairly moot point because I’m well aware of that or I wouldn’t be working with the universe, now would I? There’s more I could go into this but I have been doing a good job obeying my self-imposed article limit so far and want to keep that up.
“Can you read my…?” – It’s a great question and one I don’t usually mind obliging to. I love doing divination and I’m pretty good at it. It’s fun, interesting and it’s good to get an overhead perspective (if the form of divination allows that as some don’t such as dowsing). I don’t mind doing divination but I do mind if you’re going to sit there an act like a complete idiot about it. What I mean is do things like ask moronic questions such as “Am I going to die?” To that I will respond, “Yes.” Mainly because unless you got a special immortality elixir you’re keeping a secret, you will one day die – but not soon enough if this is the highest level of intellect you have. Divination does require work, some methods more than others. Please don’t assume that I just so happen to be walking around with a heavy tarot deck in my bag or a deck of playing cards at the ready. I don’t have my computer on me wherever I go so I can’t do natal charts and I’m not a walking computer myself so just telling me your information will not work either if you don’t write it down with at least an email and a name accompanying it. I’m not being mystical by asking you for your name either, I merely want to know what to call you while talking to you or I could very well temporarily name you “moron” or “doofus” instead. Palmistry is probably the only form of divination I can honestly do on the go really because it doesn’t require me toting about anything but know that your reading may be short because I do like referring to my books so I don’t give an incorrect readout and if I’m out and about, chances are I am running an errand or just hanging out. I will sit and chat with people for hours but don’t expect anything excruciatingly detailed because I’m prolly thinking, “Man, I hope they won’t run out of cupcakes/subs/pizza. I’m hungry.” I have built genuine friendships from impromptu divination encounters but not when the person acts crazy or stupid so take it easy, okay?
“I’m going to test you.” – And you’ve already proven to me that you’re probably an idiot. I like doing readings but putting me under a microscope for your own joy makes me incredibly irritated. Not that I’m worry I’ll get it wrong but because the personality traits that usually accompany these people list fairly well under “jerk” status: arrogant, pretty cocky, terrible jokes and puns that sounds borrowed from SNL, most likely never had their own beliefs tested before, possibly mainstream to the core to the point most of their personal views stem from cable television and magazines with very few true life experiences to account for their own. I have met people myself that I did not exactly believe what they did or believed but I never did any jerk-moves because A) I know what it feels like B) if the person is honest about it, it will show by itself. But then again, I have met enough people and had enough experiences to determine whether someone is crazy, a total megalomaniac, real or wishing they were for whatever reason. Can’t say the same for the testers.
“You think you’re God. [Insert biblical quote here]” – Hoo boy, the God complex. I haven’t gotten this much but some of my other diviner friends have. You read cards and work with a god, all of a sudden people assume you think you are one. No, I don’t think that I am the alpha and omega or anything snazzy like that. I still have to go to school, argue with my teachers, work a normal job, pay normal bills and deal with fools I can’t smite constantly just like everyone else. Diviners shouldn’t think they are god because they’re not, they merely listen to what the universe has to say.
Divination, just like anything else, does take work to get down. I find it easy to do but I’ve been doing it for years and have a knack at it. This isn’t to say no one should try it, go for it if that’s what you want because if I never did, I wouldn’t have known how good I would have been at it. There’s the act of divination but also the ethics, which there are plenty of. Some ethics are very widely agreed upon, some not. My divinatory ethics may not match another’s, such as I don’t believe in making people pay for my readings but some other diviner may differ. It's a normal situation with anything remotely resembling public service, the ethics because regardless what you do, the ethics are what make or break what's happening. That means divination will be a category here because there is a lot to say for it. I won’t be posting any how-to’s however because that’s not what this column is for but I will be posting books, decks and more for The Arts: Samhain Edition. If you have any questions, remember to submit to Ask a Witch via email (email@example.com), the Ask a Witch Form, in the comments or even on Twitter (@thisblackwitch).
My Philly trip was wonderful! I visited a wonderful eatery that sold okonomiyaki, Yakitori Boys (they have karaoke too!) and I visited the Philly AIDS thrift shop! I'm sorry I couldn't find you, The Millenial Ooze but I did look! Next up is DC for the two Janelle Monae concerts on 9/13 and 9/14 at the 9:30 Club! I hope to see some of y'all there! After that is a trip to NYC on 9/18. In NYC? Come see me!