When you hear the word 'divination', chances are that certain images-- will spring to mind: dark gypsy fortune-tellers, tea-leaves, and crystal balls; a scene in a movie when the Ace of Spades falls in a card game or a strange figure draws the Tarot trump Death; charlatans, ouija boards, and phony swamis; or, perhaps, witch doctors and medicine men chanting around a fire. If you look a little deeper, you might see another kind of image lurking in the background: dark magicians in graveyards seeking forbidden knowledge, conjuring demons and the spirits of the dead.

These images express attitudes - ridicule and fear - with a long history. For well over a thousand years, divination was a mortal sin and a capital crime in Western culture, a 'conversation with the devil' that was banished along with the old gods and the wise women. Divination is a central part of pagan culture and the pagan sense of a cosmos or 'living- world'. With the rise of the Church to political power in late antiquity, the old gods of this culture became devils and the living world became their work. With the rise of our modern 'scientific laws' of cause and effect, the devils in turn became superstitions, tales told by those considered to be marginal or uneducated such as women, lunatics, criminals, and savages. In spite of our inherited assumptions, divination is not a collection of superstitions. It is an outlawed way of knowing and speaking with a living world, a world ensouled and full of spirit." (1)

Every aspect of life and many of the things considered to have no life or soul have been used in telling the intent and flow of nature. To say there is no destiny is common among the artists or scientists of each divinatory method and all understand the part we have to play. In the world of 'seems to be' that focuses on material and 'real' causes that MUST be seen (what can be called the "Toilet Philosophy") there is more superstition and destiny type of ideologies. Astrology is a refined mathematical method that has been considered a science even during the proscriptions against divinatory methodology and the rulers often were engaged in doing that which they tried to stop others from doing. We have dealt with some general divinatory methods such as 'divining rods' in 'Science' and we will cover others as we move along. The art and talent of knowing yourself and your 'center' or soul is clearly something 'free' and beyond acceptance of interpreters or priests. It was necessary to stop this freedom in order to gain total power or as close to it as possible. This book has an Orisha practice that is used in supposedly Christian Santeria. Having studied the use of what they call 'El Coco' or the casting of coconut shells I made a point to look for it. To my surprise I saw a word that looked much like Ogham or Ogam, which are variations of Ogham. The word 'ogun' was part of the process in what I think was one of the earliest methods of divination outside personal judgement or intuition.

To center oneself in Bibliomancy is a good way of showing what an important flux or conduit our soul can be in taking all things into consideration rather than just what the eyes or ears perceive, and the mind or ego often insist is the only reality to recent western theology. 'The Book of Answers' gives a short description of the process we think will be helpful for learning to accept your soul does exist and wisdom doesn't always allow itself to be seen.

How to Use the Book of Answers

1. Hold the closed book in your hand, on your lap, or on a table.

2. Take 10 or 15 seconds to concentrate on your question. Questions should be phrased closed-end, E.G. 'Is the job I'm applying for the right one?' or 'Should I travel this weekend?'

3. While visualising or speaking your question (one question at a time). Place one hand palm down on the book's front cover and STROKE THE EDGE of the pages, back to front.

4. When you sense the time is right, open the book and there will be your answer.

5. Repeat the process for as many questions as you have." (2)

My recommendation is to ask only important questions and make sure you have no other questions in your mind at the time. In beginning to read a book it is good to do this and then record what you read and thought about the contextual idea expressed. When you have read the whole book turn back to what your first question was and see if you found the most important part for yourself at that point in time. This will test your effectiveness in centering yourself as well as attuning with the knowledge in the books you read.

Many methods of intuitive thought are forms of divination. The common way we judge people by body movement and language has been very popular in sales as long as salesmen or saleswomen have been on this earth. Many top corporations ask astrologers to give their input on important decisions once they've narrowed their choices and contemplated their options. It is never a bad thing to have one's mind open to other possibilities and opportunities. However, over-dependence and reliance on such things will turn the process into a fear-driven experience that has no freshness or attunement at all, and may lead to negative self-fulfillment. If you are doing Tarot readings for yourself or any one person it is said every two weeks is enough. Bibliomancy answers are different because Tarot integrates many aspects beyond your primary question.

1) The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Divination, by Stephen Karcher, Element Books, Shaftesbury, 1997, pg. 7.

2) The Book of Answers, by Carol Bolt, 1999, Hyperion, front of book with no page numbers.

Author of Diverse Druids and many other books
Columnist for The ES Press Magazine
Guest 'expert' for World-Mysteries.com

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