Thinking About – Divination

ottercardThere was a time in my life when I drew a card every single day.

I drew the card to help me understand the flow of my day ahead – what was pulling in one direction, and maybe what was pushing toward another. At the time I was going through complete emotional turmoil, and this daily routine helped for quite a while. But then I found I was becoming more reliant on the reading, and also, maybe due to my psychological and emotional state at the time, I put too much onto the result each day. If my card was negative it would place me in an even worse mental state. I began to wonder if the mere act of drawing a card each day had such an effect on my own mood that it began to influence how I responded and acted during the day.

So I stopped.

I decided to take the power back and be in complete control of my day.

If there were rocky waters ahead I would deal with them when my ship inadvertently sailed into them. It worked for me. By accepting, and by not knowing, I found my life actually became easier. I lived in the moment.

Now, I know there will be regular card and rune readers who might be reading this thinking the cards do not tell us what will happen, they tell us what might happen if the current energies are followed unchanged. I know that. I guess I also knew that then, but I was, to be honest, too fragile to fight an already perceived enemy. I needed not to know. I guess I was going through a depression, and as anyone who either has depression, or who has been through it will know, logical thought doesn’t often make any difference.

So how do I feel about divination now?

I haven’t done it for a long time. I got stuck in the mind set where I told myself I’m going to do this, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I’ll meet the adversity if and when I encounter it, and I’ll adapt. I will be in control of my own ship and will take the responsibility if things go array.

But over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun to feel the pull to draw that card, to cast that Rune stone, or Ogham. I’m not sure why. Maybe I feel confident enough these days to know the truth behind the reading – that it really is simply an expression of things to be, if the current trend continues unchanged. My life has changed so much since those darker days. I just don’t think I was ready to truly understand what the cards were telling me. I was too squishy.

I’m not squishy any more.

So I plan to draw a card and a Rune every Monday, and see how it goes.

Today I drew the Otter card from the Wildwood Tarot, and the Rune Hagalaz. It might be a stormy week involving some real fun and games. As if I didn’t know that already, but thanks. What with the actual storms raging outside, and a house with a new puppy.., I think this could be quite an apt reading for the week.

Do you use divination?

Regularly, or just once in a while?

What do you believe it tells us?

19 responses to “Thinking About – Divination”

  1. A very interesting post, Dave. I have been there and back as well with divination cards. Now I wait for the tell tale sign, a feeling deep within that tells me something is brewing/changing in my life or in the world around me but I don’t know what. Then I do a full spread reading to focus that energy. And at times they tell me nothing. But there have been a few times that were so detailed and powerful that it blew my mind. Funny how the ‘power’ tells you when it’s time to look more closely.

  2. Hi Damh,
    You made a very poignant and interesting point about the fragility of the human psyche being able to separate the negative inferences of a divination from their emotions… I too found that when I was in a depressed state that my mind would focus so much more intently on the negative representation of the card.

    When I read, I accept that these cards may be indicating a series of emotions that will be the highlight of my day, week or month, and that they are a heads up, enabling me to prepare myself, to bolster the confidence, or batten down the hatches, so I can deal with what is going to be heading my way….

    We are all such unique individuals, and how we interpret information really is as diverse as we are!

    Blessings to you … give Cerri a big cuddle for me!! xx

  3. The problem with self divination, in fact divination in general is that once you know your fate, you automatically change it, your focus becomes that fate, especially if it’s a bad one. Even drawing a Rune for each day puts you in a certain mindset that you wouldn’t have had before hand.

    For instance, you wake up, draw a rune and it’s Hagalaz/Haegl, well that’s it then, according to that rune it’s going to be a bad day, full of traffic jams, red lights, dropped toast and other disruptions, apparently. Our subconscious plays a huge part in divination and whether we believe it or not, is responsible for most of the cards/sticks/stones we draw. If we wake up in a mood that isn’t going to attract good energies, we are more likely to draw negative runes, likewise, if we wake up all zippety doo daa, we’re more likely to draw, for instance, Wunjo/Wynn, they reflect YOU rather than what might happen to you, but therein lies the problem, because you have intentionally drawn that rune to divine the day, part of you then expects the day to go that way, and your subconscious, the little Odin inside, creates that.

    Another example, although extreme, lets say you could divine the time and manner of your death. You would naturally try to avoid it (unless it involves scantly clad maidens, barrels of mead and a Harley Davidson…), so you are then working against fate, the Norns, or whichever manifestation of fate you may believe in, do not accommodate change in those plans, but by that point, like any mortal creature with that knowledge, you’d become so obsessed with escaping that fate that you’d miss everything else important. That is the entire reason that Odin went seeking the Runes, to find a way to escape his fate at Ragnarok, deep down he knows he can’t, but he’s obsessed with it, so much so that he seems even now to be ignoring what’s happening on Middengeard.

    That being said it’s by no means a bad thing to draw a rune for each day, I have been doing that for about 15 years now, and I draw it for advice on how best to receive the day, I then take the rune as advice, rather than as absolute, and rather than allowing myself to believe that the rune reflects how my outside world will be, I realise that it is how I might be to the outside world. In that Hagalaz/Haegl could mean that I might appear cranky to people or that today is not a good day for new business deals or long distance travel as I could be causing disruption for myself. Wunjo/Wynn might also be telling me that I should perhaps see the rainy, windy, cold day spent with a grumpy person, as a beautiful lesson and that I should treat it with joy, knowing that in the end, it could be worse!

    Another idea is to draw one at the end of a day to see what you could learn from that day.

    Two pieces of advice I would give for anyone using the Runes however (and everyone hates me for this) is that: 1) the blank rune is nonsense, it was invented by Ralph Blum, chuck it away. And 2 ) Kenaz/Kaunaz in the Elder Futhark and Younger Futhork are NOT fire or torch, Cen in the Anglo-Saxon futhorc is a torch. Kenaz/Kaunaz is basically a plague that kills children, perhaps pox. If in doubt read the appropriate rune poem for your chosen Rune set (Elder Futhark = Old Norse, Younger Futhork = Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon, being the most complete uses the… you guessed it, Anglo-Saxon).

    The Runes though, have been one of the most enriching aspects of my spirituality, helping me grow in many ways, and while using them for Divination is great, using them for Galdor is even more potent.

  4. That was lovely! Thanks so much for that and it has really helped me to see things with a new perspective. I do the cards on occasion for for much the same reason as you, I stopped doing them but now I keep seeing them when I walk into my room and it is like they are nudging me 🙂 Have a great day and Blessed Be )O(

  5. l tried this the other day…after a break of probably 6 months…..l drew just one card from my titanias set….and it said your life is in the hands of the gods etc…etc…..O.K. Lord and Lady….l must just put my trust in you!!!!!

  6. Reading this post of yours reminds me a lot of myself 20 or 30 years ago when I was a younger soul….I was given a set of Barbara Walker Tarot cards & me & my friends used them (badly!) a lot. However these days I still have the pack on my bookcase as well as a set of runes, crystals, a Budha, tibetan bells, a singing bowl etc. etc. etc….Having also studies lots of psychology at both graduate, post grad. & research level I think much of what your post says rings very true with me.

    I tend to get very down for long chunks of time & when this happens nowadays, I steer away from cards etc. and hold onto my crystals, light a smudge stick & wave it around or go outside & stand with my horses quietly and listen to the outside, look at the birds & the sky and take deep breaths. This is what I do now and it works for me at this point in time.

    Thank you for your thoughts & ‘good luck’ with Oscar!

  7. When you are depressed already and trying to kid yourself along, yes the tiniest thing can tip you over. I have a few decks here but didn’t tend to use them regularly except at new years we have a tradition of getting them out and drawing a card from each deck. Lately I’ve started drawing one of each on mondays (oddly enough) but not in a divinatory way, just asking what lessons I might concentrate on this week, and with the animals, who will walk with me this week. I find it very peaceful.

  8. Yes, I am one of those who taps into the cards on a regular basis, and I do the Runes, and have some Oracle cards. I also do a lot of readings for people professionally and teach it. So, a one card is fine but it is when you lay the cards in a spread, and you can see where the card has fallen and understand their placments that you can see a complete pattern taking place, and the reader, my opinion, and the client work with each one, to understand where they are at, and why, and there is always advice given. It is where the cards are placed I think that makes it an exact reading. My readings last for an hour or more, and I never have knockbacks. The cards are always right. So I don’t consider that I dependant upon reading the cards, nor do I worry as I am a positive person and turn anything around for a positive outcome. I have for hundreds and hundreds of people over many years and it is a subject that fascinates me. Yes, I do other things, I am a healer, Hypnotherapist, Past Life Regressionist and have a background in teaching. I also am a published author. So I added the last to show you I am not biased , have a full life and have faith in the Ancients.

  9. I love the Wildwood Tarot, and your honest insights into your own journey. 🙂

    I tend to use divination mostly with/for others, but for myself, sometimes I’ll draw a card when I’m trying to pull my focus together on something/figure out a new approach to an old problem (or to adjust my own poor attitude about something, etc.)…not so much as a “What will happen?” kind of thing as a hint of guidance, a “What do I need to consider/know that I may have overlooked?”

    Been there with the squishy too…heck, sometimes am still there in the rare troubled moment. It’s good to know ourselves and where we honestly are before we seek answers elsewhere, and it sounds like you’re in a much better place at this time to incorporate divination into daily practice in that way. 🙂

    Good luck with the pup; have a 6-month-old one in our household and it’s been quite a ride already! 😉

  10. I’m a regular tarot/ oracle and geomancy user. I Usually do readings each day as part of my morning ritual. I am also an atheist or a quantum animist Druid (whichever way you want to look at it) and somewhat of a materialist so don’t technically “believe” what the cards are “telling” me so much as use them to look at parts of my personality through a different lens. For this I think they are massively helpful, but I can see why someone who was going through emotional issues would be wise to not use them. I think they should (like most tools) only be used when you’re in a good state of mind and can laugh at life. Personally I would never do a reading for someone else , I think the oracles are a personal thing that can only be used on yourself.

  11. I’ve been doing a 3-card reading almost every day for a couple of years now — both for insight and to deepen my relationship with the cards. (I say “almost” for the exact reasons you mention. When I’m feeling fragile, I skip a few days.) For me, a 3-card reading gives more of a mini-story, so it feels more like advice and less like a proclamation. I definitely agree with the commenter above that if I’m anxious or depressed, I tend to see only the negative sides of the cards.

    I generally think of the reading as being a picture of the energy or psychology of a situation, and not a map of the future. I’ve had professional readings done and the readers almost always made concrete statements about my future that didn’t work out (often despite my best efforts to make that outcome happen), and then looking back I could understand that what they had seen was actually a psychological or spiritual process that was about to unfold.

  12. Very interesting post, Damh! My original interest in Paganism actually came from my first set of tarot cards. Somewhere in my digging around to learn to better understand their symbolism, I found my spirituality.
    There have been times when I’ve pulled a card or two daily to anticipate what might be coming for the day. I think my disenchantment with it came from not much truly changing from day to day. I was a high school student at the time, so everyday was the same routine with little out-of-the-ordinary expected to happen. It felt like I was a bit paranoid or anxious, waiting for something TO happen.
    Now, I tend not to bother with them until I have a bigger spiritual question in mind, or something that’s truly troubling me that I wish to seek insight on. I do offer my services still to my friends, but for my personal use, divination has become a little less important.


  13. Oh my, I could go on forever about the topic of divination and emotional states 🙂 I will try to sum up though…

    I read cards and Astrological charts for others regularly. For myself, I tend not to do divination for the simple reason that I find it difficult to disconnect myself emotionally from the situation to properly interpret them. I also tend to refer close friends and family to other readers for the same reason. It’s tough to keep your own bias from slipping into the interpretations, so I remove the situation entirely by going to others for my divination needs. If I feel a need for personal spiritual guidance, I find meditation/journeying is much better for me and harder to misinterpret.

    As for others emotional states, as a reader, it took me many years to realize that the emotional state of those I’m reading for is a very important factor. Let’s face it, many people turn to divination at times of fear, doubt or desperation. These are very fragile and impressionable positions to be in. In my early days of reading for others, I often found myself being approached by people that were looking for someone or something else to take responsibility for the situations in their lives. They wanted someone to tell them what to do, partly because they didn’t know where to turn themselves, and partly so they could place the blame elsewhere if things went wrong. I learned very quickly to evaluate the emotional state of those I’m reading for upfront so I can make it very clear from the beginning what the reading is and how it works.

    You can usually tell by the kind of questions they ask what they are looking/hoping for. In those situations, I have to make it very clear that the readings are simply information to help THEM make better decisions about their lives, that nothing is fixed, and if there is personal work that needs to be done to change things that it’s up to them to do that work, and give them a big hug if they wish 🙂 It’s surprising how often this comes as a surprise to people. I always want to do readings that are in the best interest of the people I read for, and always ask this of spirit before starting, and I want to make sure they understand what they’re getting. From what I’ve seen over the years, it has made a world of difference for myself giving readings and for those that get readings from me 🙂

  14. Some very insightful comments. I would like to use divination more often than I do but unless I am in a quiet and thoughtful frame of mind with time to focus and gather my spirituality around me I don’t seem to get around to it. And these times seem to come so rarely these days. I thought retirement would bring plenty of ‘me time’ with it but it hasn’t. I seem to be pulled in every direction and whilst those directions are good ones in themselves it leaves me feeling spiritually barren and in need of ‘returning to the well’ to refocus myself on my chosen path. I empathise with those of you who have found depression such a burden. I too have experienced this and am going through a bad patch at the moment but am using my usual mantra – keep on going with your head down until you can lift it up again. I know it will pass soon. But I wouldn’t use my cards or runes at the moment because I feel too emotionally fragile and would probably just curl up and cry. When this passes I will once again try to use them – perhaps weekly as Damh has started to do and with a positive approach.
    Good fun with your pup Damh, we have two ‘grown up pups’ – still pups but just heavier and bigger – to me they are the greatest help in all times of trouble – they never seem to get tired of my down days and always make me laugh.
    Blessings all, Willow

  15. I use the cards very rarely, although I have a decent sized collection (I gather them for the art) – mainly when I am at a critical decision point, and almost always for spiritual matters, rather than day-to-day life choices. I generally hold to the school of thought that *FOR ME* they are a psychological tool, because that is what my experience has been – they can provide a very helpful mechanism for (re-)visualizing the situation and exploring the possible outcomes.

    On the few occasions when I have actually done true divination, it has always been to ascertain the will of my Gods on a specific matter and I have used the Homeric oracle from the Greek Magical Papyri – and I have always received VERY clear and unambiguous answers. 🙂

  16. What a practical post! The kind of get your hands dirty illustration of where certain practices can take you, and the growth that can result! Between what you wrote, and the other posters I feel as if I’ve had my morning hedge school lesson.

    I pull a daily ogham when I sit down at my desk each day at work. I’ve done this with runes and with ogham, and for me it was an exercise in magical literacy. I wanted to know the systems, I wanted to be a bard of at least four oghams, and I want to go on to add more. I pull it and remind myself of the name of the fid, the tree, color, and bird. Then I look for it in the shape of the day as it goes on. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it isn’t. And that’s fine. The more the information becomes memory resident, the more I see what’s written in the book of the earth all around me. Birds in the sky, lines in the sand, in the water. The shape of a tree. The planet is always talking. Most of the info is pretty simple stuff, what any friend would say to you. Some is important, like the time I knew I needed to go home RIGHT NOW and got there in time to rip my laptop out of a burglar’s hands. Some is just beautiful.

    I used to do a lot of readings, but your post made me realize that I haven’t sat down and pulled out any divination tool and done a full on reading for months now. I don’t know why but I’ll be thinking on that question as I go about my business today.

  17. Many of the thoughts people write about here head into the same direction and I can only second them. That tells me that in any case you have to be mentally strong to deal with messages that concern your inner spirituality, your future fate or whatever it is you ask of the divination tool in your use. I believe the reason for this is the fact that the cards (or whatever) do not really show a direct answer to your question. Only in the way you perceive them, they can tell you something about yourself (similar to what Herne pointed out…). And it all depends on your ability to reflect yourself, you may not even need an extern medium for that at all. But if you do it surely can be helpful, but also dangerous as it all depends on you. In times where we are feeling down we are much more insecure and thus also easier to manipulate… maybe that is why we should only use divination when we are able to jugde ourselves fairly, and that is always hard. Especially since it are mostly the times of suffer and despair where we need guidance…

    In these times I tend to ask my mentor what to do rather than asking the cards…I spare them for important decisions and also for special occasions like Samhain. But it is somehow always good to know that they wait for me in that special bookshelf in my livingroom. 🙂

    Thank you for this very interesting topic and also the personal insight.

  18. Great post. I resonate with it a lot. On the rare occasion that I pull a card for myself, I don’t really use it for divinatory purposes so much as exploratory purposes. “What do I need to know right now? What am I missing? How am I getting in my own way on this one?” etc. Sometimes the cards can be a great way to see what’s right in front of me but that I’m missing because I’m too close to it. For purely divinatory work, I tend to go more with dreams. Cards for me are more about understanding what’s going on beneath the surface. Thanks for writing this! 😀

  19. I have found that by looking I do not usually find. By living and worshiping in the moment, the Devine comes to me and if I am receptive, will find it, and usually quite simply but never too very subtle.
    Bright Blessings to you all, and may your new house wight Oscar share much joy with you and yours. )O(

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