Wednesday, April 04, 2007

...To Divine is Divine

...As part of the April A-Z blog challenge on all things mystical, here's the letter D...

This could have been any doctor’s waiting room, or perhaps a medium-rent attorney’s office. There was no incense, palmist maps, or Tarot cards anywhere. Glory let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. --Excerpt from VISIONS

One of the themes of VISIONS is that neither of the primary psychic characters starts off with a positive view of their powers. Divination, crystal balls, Tarot...they consider such techniques parlor tricks, either to be openly mocked or rejected as vastly undesirable. Ironic, considering they both are able to divine future events.

What is divination? How is it done? Divination is the prediction of future events through a variety of means. Reading cards, swinging a pendulum, touch psychometry (clairsentience), scrying (looking in a crystal ball, mirror, or water for images)...these are just a few of dozens of methods by which people have claimed to be able to predict the future--or to see current events occuring in another location.

Some fear such "occult" practices, claiming those who succeed do so through the influence of spirits or demons. Most merely scoff, declaring such powers impossible and dubbing those who say otherwise frauds. But those who believe--both the doers and the receivers--have other theories to offer.

One possible explanation is that the subconscious has stores of knowledge that can be passed to the conscious. Divination simply contacts that "higher self" and requests the information. Science has also done work on mathematical probability--that is, the ability to predict outcomes or solve problems with specific algorithms. Divination techniques like numerology and the I-Ching use numbers to foretell probability.

As science has many mysteries in the galaxy left to explore, I think it entirely possible that mystical powers are nothing more than a fact science has not explained yet. I've experienced things that make no sense otherwise. How else can my toddler speak out loud what I am thinking, or know the moment a family member leaves the house no matter where she is?

Volcanoes were once thought to be angry gods (still are, in some cultures.) Then science came along and told us what they truly were. If you went back in time and lit a cherry bomb in a primitive culture, you'd be declared a wizard. Here and now, it's a science any school-aged kid can master. Same holds true, I suspect, with magic and psychic power.

Sure, charlatans exist. But many with hit-and-miss records are simply honing their talent. No one expects a ballplayer to hit a home run every time, after all. Diviners (soothsayers, fortune tellers, etc) shouldn't have to, either.

What do you think? Have you used any methods to "divine" the future? Do you believe it can be done?