I’ve been doing divination since I was sixteen and wanted to get one more year out of trick-or-treating. I bought a 95 cent paperback on palmistry and dressed as a gypsy, and read palms in exchange for the candy. I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I to discover it worked. So I checked out tarot, and astrology, and all sorts of stuff. The “Occult Explosion” was going on, and there was a lot of material around. There was also a lot of humbug going around as well, but that’s true of any period.

I still remember when I was four or five having a clear “déja vu” experience. I tried to explain it to my parents, but they insisted it was impossible. I probably only remember it because it’s a pretty powerful moment for a kid when you discover that your parents aren’t infallible. Apparently that’s about the time I asked one of my uncle’s girlfriends (on the first date) if they were getting married. THAT is not proof of my having been psychic. That’s the kind of thing that people use to make it look like they are psychic, but they only remember because they later did get married. Yes, I believe in psychic phenomena, yes, I think humans are psychic, including me. But no, I don’t think I’m particularly psychic. That is, I think, one of my greatest advantages. I can help other people who aren’t psychically gifted learn to use what talents they have to do what they need to do, because I had to do that myself. What was most unusual about me was and is my open mind.

At this point I read cards, cast runes, do palmistry (with a melding of western, eastern, vedic, and modern graphoanalysis techniques), and try just about any new form of divination I hear about. I interpret handwriting and dreams, and dowse. I study what the various techniques have in common and develop new systems when I don’t have any “standard” divinatory tools around. I really prefer teaching other people to read for themselves, and rarely read for myself as I feel that the real reason to do divination is to gather information not readily available through other sources- so that you can use that information to decide what choices to make, just as you would any other source of information available. As with any source of information, you have to take into account the source- and the filters. As a friend once said about spirit guides: “Your aunt isn’t any smarter just because she’s dead.” Also, a soothsayer learns to be aware of the personal filters (biases), and how those effect the information given.

Note the term “Sooth- sayer”. Sooth means truth. It’s important to tell the truth, especially in divination. A soothsayer learns to always be honest about what she gets or doesn’t get. One form of reading is called “psychometry”. Everything that’s alive generates energy, and it’s possible to pick up traces of residual energy on things that have been in contact with a person for long enough. Practicing psychometry is a great beginners exercise, because you need to learn say what you see, and let the client tell you what the images mean. You can’t learn that if you don’t honestly practice expressing those “meaningless” images and phrases without judging them.

I’d rather teach people methods to learn how to be more in control of their lives than to simply give them information. Nothing ever takes the responsibility for the decisions you make away from you, no matter what the source of your information, or how good or bad it is. But it’s easier to make good decisions with good information.

Whether it’s predicting the weather, interpreting subtle body movements, or symptoms in order to make a medical diagnosis, we all read the world around us and make decisions based on the patterns we’ve learned. Divination is another way of collecting information.

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