What is Divination?

First lets look at what divination means (taken from http://www.m-w.com):
Main Entry: noun. Etymology: Middle English divinacioun, from Latin divination-, divinatio, from divinare Date: 14th century
1 : the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers
2 : unusual insight : intuitive perception - di·vi·na·to·ry /d&-'vi-n&-"tOr-E, d&-'vI-n&-, 'di-v&-n&-, -"tor-/ adjective

The definition I use is: a technique performed with a number of different tools to discover hidden knowledge and make contact with the Divine. It is a valuable tool in magickal workings because it can help you see different aspects of a problem before you decide on the appropriate spell to use, as well as offering insight as to when to perform the spell and which elements to include in its creation.

Divination is perhaps used even more often as a guide or focus when dealing with everyday problems. It can be a way to help you see all sides of an issue, problem or decision.  It is also a way to help you focus your true feelings or motivations. Most of us know deep down what we really need to do, divination just helps us stand back and take a look at that from another point of view. For example, if I'm truly undecided about an issue, I'll flip a coin. Yes/no is what the coins shows me, and usually in that moment I realize my true feelings (if the coin says yes, and I realize I don't want to then information is revealed), or at the least, a decision is made and I can move on.

Divination helps us to learn about possible outcomes, not hard and fast absolute futures. If things continue as they are at the moment of the reading, the results you find are what are likely to happen. Should you not like what you learn, changing your course of action or making new decisions can set up a whole new set of circumstances and therefore a whole new set of outcomes. Remember this: Divination does not reveal a set future -- merely likely outcomes based on the current situation. (This is an aspect that frequently gets lost in the hype of fortune-tellers promising guaranteed futures revealed.)

Reading the future is not the only aspect of divination, contacting the Divine is far more important. When we open our minds to the messages found within the symbols, we are actually opening our mind to the quiet words of the God/dess and his/her wisdom. With it we find answers and guidance beyond our usual vision.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Doing a Reading for Someone Else

How well do you know this person and what are your deep feelings about them? If you know someone is asking about a question you already have an opinion on, you need to be very careful that you read only what is there to find, and not shade it to follow your own advice on the topic. If you are harboring some negative feelings about this person, perhaps you need to put off the reading to a better date or altogether.
Are you feeling ill, out of sorts, tired? Please refuse to do a reading until you can do the person justice.
Are you in a place that is conductive to doing the reading? It usually works best if you can arrange to not be disturbed so the person can get the greatest benefit from the reading,
What is the other person's reason for asking for a reading? If you've met a friend at the mall and they want you to "perform" for some other friends, ask yourself why you need to impress others, and how good a friend do you have who wants to 'show you off.' Do you really what to turn your gift into a sideshow act?

A Note of Caution
If the reading is turning out to be negative, try to find a way to pass on the information in a kind and thoughtful way. Stress that this is only one possible outcome, and more may present themselves as time passes and different choices are made. Stress that they have the choice of changing things. Take time at the end to discuss any questions the person may have.
If you're having a reading done for you, please know that if you feel frightened or uneasy at any time during a reading, it's time to find a new reader. If a diviner should try to push you into a course of action that goes against your beliefs, if s/he is charging exorbitant prices, or is hurrying you along, look elsewhere. Divination should not be threatening or oppressive.

Ethics In Divination
Most diviners have a strong sense of responsibility about what they are doing. To do a reading for someone that leaves them upset would be inconsiderate at best and criminal at worst. We are (most of us) aware that when you choose to tell someone the possible outcome of an important question we are putting powerful forces into effect. If they take drastic actions based on our words, we share the responsibility for the outcome of such actions (to some degree).

Charging For Your Services
Many do, and many do not. Nearly every diviner has an opinion, and there are a lot of strong feelings about this subject. Many people say that to charge for a reading can only bring trouble to the diviner. The argument is that charging money for this service is abusing a spiritual gift, and things of the spirit are not to be sullied by material matters. For them, divining is a kind of community service. There are those who say that to charge a fair fee for a service rendered brings no harm to anyone. Truly, in western culture there is a great deal of truth in the saying, "you get what you pay for." I know of several diviners who tell me that the clients that come to them and pay for a reading seem to take it a great deal more seriously than the people who get them for free. But the key is the phrase "a fair fee." There are many diviners charging large amounts of money, which to my mind is an abuse of a gift.

Personally I don't charge for my services. That is partly because I don't consider myself a professional, and my talent goes primarily in service of friends and family. If you are in a situation where using your gift brings needed income into the family, then by all means go for it. If you find that people in your area simply do not value freebies, then charge them. If you find that well meaning friends are taking advantage and bringing round dozens of people for free readings, maybe charging for the service would make them think of your time as a little more valuable and make them more considerate. But if you choose not to charge, you are in good company.

Here are several articles and collected information relating to Divination - techniques, methods, and histories. Explore at your leisure and enjoy the journey!
~ Maat

Divination Techniques:
Casting Stones
Coin Divination
Ouiji Boards
Playing Cards
Tea Leaves

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