Essential Principles, Practices and Panaceas, A – Z: Divination

divination haiku

Divination is the quest to understand more about the past, present, and future. In other words, Tarot readings are an attempt to understand ourselves better and discover how we might live better in the future. Theresa Francis-Cheung

Divination, usually described as esoteric practice concerned with foretelling the future, is actually a method by which you can shine a light into your unconscious and find answers to your most puzzling questions.

There are those who are suspicious of occult practices; ‘occult’, however, simply means ‘hidden’, ‘covered over’, ‘secret’. As such, divination practices enable you to uncover that which is concealed and is an excellent means of exploring your psyche. As Benebell Wen suggests:

Fear is dangerous, not the tarot. The tarot represents the spectrum of the human condition, the good, the evil, the light, and the dark. Do not fear the darker aspects of the human condition. Understand them. The tarot is a storybook about life, about the greatness of human accomplishment, and also the ugliness we are each capable of. 

I have used various means of divination over the years; when I was suspended in the shockwave of trauma I found comfort in the ancient wisdom held in the I-Ching and the Tarot in particular. So relevant was the insight and encouragement they provided, I continue my practice to this day and find it not only illuminating but also deeply satisfying. Whenever I feel unsure about a decision, or the direction I want to go in, a reading always brings clarity.

The I-Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, operates from the principle that everything in the universe is in a constant state of flux; it shows us how to look for the opportunities inherent in change and helps us to shed our fear and resistance in the face of uncertainty.

Jung said: Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. In other words, patterns of behaviour tend to repeat themselves until you address the cause of the behaviour. Jung himself utilised the power of the I-Ching with his patients as he believed that it reflects the hidden inner knowledge we all possess.

Trauma survivors often bury distressing memories deep in their psyches, I know I did, but long-term this can do more harm than good. I’m grateful that I had the desire and support I needed to overcome PTSD; I have no doubt that divination complemented my therapy.

An example of the guidance offered by the I-Ching can be found in a reading of mine from 2014, in which I asked the question: How do I best help myself?

The coins produced two hexagrams, transforming lines in the first emphasising the possibility of change. The first, 55: Abundance (Feng), urged me to do what I feel to be right, to share what I have with others, to rid myself of sorrow, melancholy and care, and to shed light on all shadows in order to eliminate them. The second, 16: Enthusiasm (Yu), counselled me to listen to my intuition, speak my truth (communicating it in such a way that other people understand it), to reimagine my situation, identify a purpose and act on it.

It could be argued that generic advice such as this is relevant to anybody in any situation; I wouldn’t disagree. What mattered to me at the time was that it was meaningful to my circumstances; it inspired and helped me to move forward.

In addition to regular I-Ching readings I’ve found the Tarot invaluable as an aid to self-discovery, healing and personal development. The cards of the Major Arcana describe the Everyman journey, from our beginning as The Fool, through life stages that encompass difficulties, seduction, frustration, grace, love, fear and growth, until we reach completion as symbolised by The World. This is a spiral journey, each culmination leading on to higher level paths as The Fool seeks greater enlightenment.

The more I use my divination tools, the stronger my intuition becomes, enabling me to have complete confidence and trust in the decisions I make. It occurs to me that practicing divination provides alternative perspectives on challenges, bypassing limited ego thinking and tapping into universal truths, ancient (essence) wisdom that is as necessary and pertinent today as it ever was.

If you would evolve your consciousness, take Sasha Graham’s advice:

Tarot is always whispering to you. Tarot weaves truth, stories, secrets, and tales. All you need to do is slow down and listen. 

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