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editorials | poetry & writing | Feasts of Fire

I Just Want Some Answers!
When The Ace Of Wands Is Just A Stick On Fire
by Taliesin RavenHawk, Sibylline Priest

Peering into the inner workings of the invisible realm has long been the cornerstone of the Wise Ones. After all, the use of divination and oracles has been in practice since the earliest people realized there was a discernable pattern to life. One could predict the weather based on the direction of the coming wind, time the growth of plants and the cycles of menstruation by the phases of the moon, and generally foresee the events of natural phenomenon by observing the connections between the event and the subtle natural signs that preceded it. In the world of our ancestors, everything in nature was the expression of a Divine Force or Being that gave it form, sustained it throughout life, and helped to weave the threads of Fate that determined its purpose in the world. Because of the interrelatedness of natural phenomenon, our ancestors concluded that the spiritual world, inhabited by these Forces or Beings, must also be interrelated, and that if we could somehow make visible these unseen connections we could then also predict much greater and otherwise more obscure events by observing the inner workings of this world unfold. Our ancestors had already discovered that through sympathetic magick an image of a thing could bring one into contact with the spirit of the thing, and this was used by them to influence the outcome of events, or, to use more modern and magickal language, manifest their intentions. At some point, one of the shamans, or a group of shamans, recognized that this relationship was not one-directional; that this symbolic portal could be used by both human and spirit alike. Thus, if an image of an animal could magically call the spirit of the animal to you for a successful hunt, the same image could in turn be used by the spirit to call your attention to its presence in your life. It is here that we touch on the first forms of divination. The symbol could also be used to call the spirit of the animal into the shaman, allowing its wisdom and teachings to come through his or her body, the vessel. Here we see the beginning of oracles.

For modern people, especially those involved with Paganism and Nature-Oriented Spirituality, much of the same thinking still exists concerning the nature of oracles and divination, albeit refined by more intellectual metaphysical principles and the recent discoveries of the quantum world. Both the principles and discoveries have modified our general cosmic outlook, and it is not uncommon to hear a modern Pagan refer to the Universe as a vast and infinite Web of Life and possibilities. This Web, like any instrument with suspended strings, is vibrating; vibrating with intention. The intentions that vibrate the Web come from many sources. The most obvious source is us, especially when we work magick or perform ritual. Another source readily acknowledged is the Gods and/or spirits that, like our ancestors, we believe exist on a non-physical plane and are interrelated. It would follow then that we would use the same logic our ancestors did in order to come into contact with the Will of these beings: symbols. Whether the symbol takes the form of a “lucky” open parking spot or appears as the Sun card of the Tarot, we can be assured that today will be ripe with opportunity.

It is important to realize, though, that these methods of divination and oracular guidance were not, and are still not, infallible. Predicting the future and observing what cannot be seen by the eyes is, to say the least, a bit tricky. Even today, our “diviners of the weather, ” equipped with advanced predictive technology, do a notoriously poor job of letting us know what’s in store for tomorrow. However, oracles and divination give us something that the meteorologists have, unfortunately, forsaken: the knowledge that there is another consciousness with which we are interacting, with its own Will and direction, creating the proverbial “wrench in the machine” when we try to map it out by action-reaction based mathematics. The machines may give an exact line of movement for a weather front, but what about the meteorologist’s feeling about it? Does he or she just “know” that the front is going to take an unexpected turn in direction? Become stalled over the city? This, the realm of intuition (which is fundamental to divination and oracular guidance), opens us up to a whole realm of possibilities that math and science do not; not yet, at least. Just because this gives us more options, however, does not make the task any easier.

It is nearly ubiquitous in divination and oracular guidance that the meaning of the information received has to be interpreted. If a modern diviner were to draw the rune Feoh, meaning “cattle, ” in response to a question about his or her career, it more than likely represents an upcoming time of abundance, symbolized by the cattle, rather than that his or her office is going to be overrun by bovine beasts. Because of the multiple meanings of any one symbol, it is important to consider the information received from divination as simply a guide - one designed to open your mind and make you think, not lay out the answer for you in black and white. Although very specific and obvious pieces of information may come out of a reading, the Forces influencing the placement of the cards, the fall of the runes, etc., have much more in mind when we seek Their wisdom than just letting you know “the facts, ” like when Mr. or Ms. Right is going to come along. They want you to look at your beliefs about love, your intentions for having a lover, and whether or not you are just trying to put a band-aid over an old wound that for whatever reason you refuse to heal.

Going back to the quantum world for a moment, scientists are experimenting with non-linear time, and are discovering that our futures are not fixed. The choices we make today will set off an entire string of probabilities for what can manifest in our lives. Also, the more open we are to multiple possibilities, the more likely they are to take root - especially the ones we focus on. So, divination gives one the ability to look at how the possibilities are unfolding and to be open to better choices and ways of thinking.

As a part-time professional psychic, I am intimately aware of the fact that what my Tarot cards are telling me, what my guides are communicating, and what the client wants to know are often mutually exclusive. People come to me wanting to know just about everything, but for this particular example I'm going to say my client is a man who is trying to sell his house. Before I predict when and how the house will sell - if I predict anything - I'll ask, “Do you believe you can sell your house? Can you see the ‘sold’ sign in front? Are you really attached to this particular home?” This lets me know if he even has the “quantum possibility” of selling his house coming into manifestation, or if he’s subconsciously eliminating the possibilities in the first place. Most of the time, this kind of information is presented in the cards, which I use primarily as a psychological tool to investigate the patterns forming in a person’s consciousness, but it can also be helpful to acknowledge these thoughts and beliefs out loud. It makes one think! This alone begins to change the patterns. In the case above, I would also instruct him on how to perform a house blessing in order to align his thoughts with successfully selling a good home, as well as saturating the space with energy that makes anyone who comes to look at the place feel safe and comfortable.

Working magick or performing ritual - the other half of divination and oracular guidance - is often forgotten. If divination and oracular guidance are designed to make one think about patterns of thought in order to reveal what one is brining into his or her life and what choices could influence those possibilities, then it goes without saying that we should work to change or enhance those patterns in order to take the guidance we've been given and put it to good use. This doesn't have to be elaborate or complex either. I often sit in front of the spread when I give a reading to myself and meditate on the card that represents what I would like to enhance. One could also use a candle - however you best feel connected to the intent.

Eventually, one comes to realize that all of life is an expression of these Forces, and that the events of one’s daily life are often times rich with meaning and purpose. These events are often called signs, omens, etc., by those who pay attention to them. Recognizing them comes naturally to people who live magickal and/or spiritual lifestyles, as they realize that their thoughts are reflected in their environment. This makes one ask a lot of questions, which gives rise to many possibilities, which then gives the person the freedom to choose which “super string” he or she is going to pull. Divination, oracles, signs, and omens are not the portents of a fixed fate, but a glimpse into the possibilities of where you could go, and how you might get there. You can’t predict the future without changing it, so make the changes in the full knowledge that we are, indeed, both the Weavers and the Web.

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