Leaning into a Philosophy of Divination

Leaning into a Philosophy of Divination

Ursula K. Le Guin’s popular and beloved novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, is an amazing book for many reasons but what caught my imagination in a very personal way is a form of divination, called “Foretelling” in the novel, and the wisdom brought forth by Le Guin in the scenes and characters portraying this practice.

Read a full post on The Left Hand of Darkness here.

The foretelling takes place in the land of the Fastnesses: The land of the Foretellers and the tradition of the Handdarata. The Handdara is described as, “a religion without institution, without priests, without hierarchy, without vows, without creed: I am still unable to say whether it has a God or not. It is elusive. It is always somewhere else. Its only fixed manifestation is in the Fastnesses, retreats to which people may retire and spend the night or a lifetime”(54-55).

In rituals of intensely heightened sexual energy, nine Foretellers create a web of charged connectedness, then listen for an answer to the question they have been presented. It is an enormously expensive undertaking for both parties. Those who ask must pay a lot because those who are the Foretellers expend large amounts of their life force in the process.

The main recipient in the group listening ritual is the “weaver.” In an astoundingly profound passage, the weaver explains that for Foretellers, the nature of the question is extremely important. “The more qualified and limited the question, the more exact the answer… Vagueness breeds vagueness. And some questions of course are not answerable”(60).

What is Ritual and Why is it Important?

What is Ritual and Why is it Important?

Ritual is a time out of ordinary time. There are varying types of rituals, large group rituals, long intense rituals and then there are the small, everyday offerings that are also rituals, and these are the most common in this work. When I offer milk on my shrine for the grandmothers, I consider that a ritual. When I walk to the water and make an offering for a person in need, that is a ritual. When I pour water to the Earth, asking for conflict to be cleared and communication to be eased, that is a ritual. Ritual is so common to human experience that most of us don’t even notice how many we participate in within the span of one day. Do you call your children or your parents often and regularly? This too could be seen as a ritual: special time set aside just for them. Do you pray or say affirmations, engage in gratitude thinking? These too are rituals. Do you visit a place regularly to commune with nature? This too could be seen as a ritual.

A “Cheat Sheet” for Divining

A “Cheat Sheet” for Divining

Divination is essential for any medicine worker. We need to have a way to ask in to situations that need addressing and understand what to do to facilitate healing, clearing or effect change. Following is a simplified list of how to go about divination in general.The essential questions for divining are who, what, where, why, and when?These are the questions to direct any inquiry we enter into. It is also helpful to return to them when we feel overwhelmed by information that is coming in during a divination and are getting a bit lost in the deluge. Each medicine person is schooled in their own particular way to ask questions and receive answers. This is what I mean when I speak of divination and divining. If you have absolutely no training, begin to listen in your own way and take the the following as a broad guide.

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