How not to demand answers.

A question was posed to me by a good friend of mine. He’s Catholic, so his religion does not condone the use of divination, and he asked me how I resist the temptation to turn to divination constantly for answers — which is a darn good question!

I think everyone comes to their own understanding of their boundaries with divination. I hardly ever use divination for myself, as the result of an agreement between me and my gods; but plenty of others consult it regularly for their own guidance. The thing I’ve noticed is that most people who use divination regularly aren’t looking for concrete answers. They aren’t asking questions like, “Will I get a job this month?” or “Should I invest my money in the stock market?” They’re asking things like, “Will this job be a good fit for me?” or “What changes do I need to make to achieve success?”

The prevailing opinion that I’ve encountered is that divination isn’t capable of providing concrete answers, so turning to divination for everything would be meaningless. Even fedw, which offers yes/no responses, doesn’t give definite answers — only a glimpse at what may be if all things remain as they are currently. The future is too malleable, under the influence of the consequences of our actions and those of others. What is the point of asking for constant reassurance if the answers could change soon anyway?

Divination is also not something that passively provides answers. Most diviners I know find that things get funky after a while. Maybe they start getting meaningless answers. Maybe there’s a reading that means “knock it off”. Either way — many say that it is nearly impossible to chain reading after reading without getting garbled answers.

In my own experience divination simply fails if I get too persistent, so perhaps my experience isn’t very informative here. How do you all resist the temptation to constantly seek divination for reassurance?

Episode 27: Divination

For a large portion of my life as a pagan, I considered myself utterly unable to engage in divination. I didn’t believe that I had the capability to memorize enough information, and certainly didn’t believe that anyone would want to get a reading from someone who was messing with the book in the middle of the whole thing. I’ve come quite a way since then; I am slowly learning Tarot, I am trained in Fedw divination, and I use my own personal dice oracle at times as well. Here’s a rundown of what my experiences have been with the divination tools I’m experienced with.

Tarot: My experience with Tarot was initially very lackluster. I got a deck for Christmas one year, which was what introduced me to paganism at all. I never did very well with it, though; the Minor Arcana were all pip cards and I was just a little too inexperienced to have the patience for that. Later I picked up a Rider-Waite deck, but just couldn’t comprehend the symbolism.  I am starting to understand it better, though it still doesn’t click at first glance.

I did stumble across a deck early on in my journeys, which was a work in progress. I bookmarked the page, and hoped that I would find the deck finished sooner, rather than later. I forgot about the deck for the most part, checking on it when I was reminded. It wasn’t until several years later that the deck was finished and published, and a year after that when I finally picked it up for myself. It is the only deck I have run across that feels quite right to me; and it is the only deck with which I have gotten consistently useful readings. I am speaking of the Shadowscapes Tarot, which I have been meaning to write about in more detail. I may yet do so – I love this deck and would love to tell everyone just how much I love it. 😉

Dice: My experience with divination by dice came as I was beginning to realize just how little luck I was having learning Tarot. I felt called to learn some way to divine, as a child of Wepwawet, so I worked out my own method, using four dice and a coin. I was not satisfied with the existing modalities, so I worked out my own system based loosely on Kemetic numbers, and interpreted intuitively. People seemed to love this. I ran a number of practice readings, asking people to ask questions about things that happened in the past, which I would then read about. I used this extensively as a member of the Pagan Student Union in my university. I haven’t read with dice in quite some time, to be honest, as it was something that only seemed to work for others.

Fedw: I was trained in Fedw divination in August 2008, at the year 16 Wep Ronpet Retreat. Fedw is the form of divination taught within the House of Netjer, using four sticks to convey messages directly from the Netjeru. I was actually quite terrible at Fedw initially. Fedw can be quite delicate to use, requiring deliberation and tact, as it is a direct questioning of the gods Themselves. In the beginning, I made the mistake of asking a lot of thick-headed questions and earned myself the irritation of the gods. I’ve gotten quite a lot better, but it seems I was determined to learn the hard way. I have now learned how to navigate Their requirements and haven’t had any trouble, but I was almost convinced that I just wasn’t meant to divine at all.

Where have I been?

Where have I been. Well, well, well.

If you’re reading this, you probably know I’m a member of Kemetic Orthodoxy and the House of Netjer, a child of Wepwawet and Sekhmet-Mut, beloved of Bast and Nut, at least if you read my little bio and/or the page describing this blog. Well, now in addition to all that, we can add “fedw” diviner, and Shemsu-Ankh of the House of Netjer. Yup, I got my butt to the House of Netjer’s annual Wep Ronpet retreat, and it was lovely. I learned a lot, both about Netjer and myself, and I really learned just why it was that I decided to stick with Kemetic Orthodoxy over any other Kemetic temple (or remaining solitary, for that matter): the community is big, and also awesome.

Why does this mean my blog has been silent? Well, over the summer, work got busy. Then, I had some personal crap come up. Then, I went to Retreat. Since then, I’ve been putting my head back together for blogging. Today’s as good a day as any to get back in the swing of things. Sorry for the unannounced hiatus, my friends!