Divination as defined by common belief is generally associated with witches huddled over packs of tarot cards or tossing rune stones into the air over pentagram marked cloths. There is certainly a place for this - what I would term formal divination - in the life of most witches but the working of formal tools is only a part of the divinatory guidance assisting in the life of a witch.
For those of us choosing to listen, the Universe has messages to give. Our lives are filled with signposts pointing us in the right direction. The world of the mundane has easily as much relevance as that of the spiritual and a witch who chooses to ignore it does so to her own disadvantage. I’d like to focus today on some of the less formal day to day forms of divination and to explore what they can and do mean to those who choose to seek them out.
Perhaps the most important element of informal divination is repetition. If something happens once it may have no significance but if you find it happening again and again it may well have a message for you. Look for a word or phrase that keeps coming to your attention. It might be a line in a book, a chance conversation, a snippet of television… The source is irrelevant but the repetition in your life may well suggest a personal significance. A witch will look out for these instances of repetition and consider/meditate upon the message it has to give.
Messages can come from the most unlikely sources. A chance encounter with a stranger can offer invaluable advice. Listen for the words that may be spoken lightly but can be interpreted for personal meaning. Even overheard conversations between others can yield necessary insight into your own life. Sometimes such insight may be inspired by something as simple as an overheard song lyric in a shop. A witch listens and takes what she can from everything around her.
The significance involved in repetition is often confused with coincidence but in many cases it is a personal choice whether to take a coincidence at face value or to look beyond for a significance. I’ll give you a personal example – in the village where I currently live, next to where I get the bus, is a telephone post numbered exactly the date of my birth 14-09-78. Such a coincidence could happen to anybody, the choice is mine whether or not to see it as indicative of a deeper meaning. A sceptic may see little or no relevance but such a coincidence could well be a heads up that I am on the right path at this stage of my life. A good dose of scepticism is healthy, it would be silly to see everything in life as holding a hidden message but it can be equally short sighted not to consider that we can learn things of value about ourselves and our path by looking out for what the Universe has to tell us.
Numbers often have a significance of their own (and I’m not talking Numerology which to be honest I have very little faith in). If the same number occurs regularly in your life it may be worth taking a closer look. A friend of mine cancelled a house move at the last moment as the house number kept recurring in her life with distinctly negative connotations. Such an example is not necessarily hard and fast evidence that something terrible would have happened if she had chosen to move into that particular house but by acknowledging her own interpretation of the negative association she chose to move into a different house where indeed she has been very happy. She allowed her intuition to influence her decision. Like I say it isn’t evidence but then again this isn’t science.
Patterns are all around us in the natural world. Divination by cloud pattern is a popular way to identify images but pretty much anything can be used by the open minded seeker. Shapes in soil or leaves, the reflection of light on water, even the silhouette of shadows can be used to identify recognizable images which help to point an individual on their path. I’m not a fan of text book divination and looking for specific portents or omens but I will admit that I use cloud patterns regularly in my own work. I can usually detect whether to expect peace or trouble in the day ahead with a bit of cloud concentration in the morning. There’s nothing like seeing a great big fire breathing dragon in the morning clouds to know the boss will be on the warpath that day!
When discerning the path ahead it is crucial not only to look for signs in the world around you but the world within you as well. Obviously the dream world (which I’ll touch upon in more detail in a future post) is a rich source of symbolism and imagery. Recurring dreams can be an indication not just of possible future events but to your own psyche and subconscious mind. I pay quite a lot of attention to signs from my sub conscious mind. The images behind my closed eye lids (another widely accepted form of divination) help me to pinpoint my current focus and understand what might be blocking my thoughts and preventing me from moving forwards. I also look quite carefully at what I doodle when I’m distracted. Often I will find myself drawing the same shape over and over again and some of these doodles, particularly those that bear a close resemblance to individual runes, can be very useful in helping me understand my attitude to a situation.
It is important to understand the relevance that informal divination can play in your life. These messages are not a foretelling of a prescribed future but more of a nudge to direct your life in a certain direction. A witch takes control of her life and listening to the subtleties of the world around her is just one of her many tools for doing so. The power within this, as with everything, lies not in the signs themselves but in the ability of the individual to perceive, recognise and utilise those signs to achieve their individual ends.
Image http://www.deviantart.com/art/Signpost-71999355 (FalseNames)
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