Where did your ancestors hail from? No matter the answer, if you go back far enough they practiced divination, or someone they respected did. Divination is part of our ancestral wisdom, and it has been practiced across cultures throughout time.
The root of the word comes from the Latin, divinare, which literally means "to be inspired by a god." People have always wanted answers, and seeking answers from the Universe either requires being naturally psychic or having some sort of tool to interface with the Universe and understand the messages.
Prayer is talking to the Divine. Meditation is listening to the Divine. Divination is getting answers to specific questions from the Divine.
There are countless tools to use for divination, and you have likely heard of many of them: Runes, I-Ching, reading tea leaves and palms, astrology, dowsing, numerology, nature oracles (like what does it mean when an owl flies across your path), reading the entrails of sacrificed animals, tossing pieces of bones, Tarot cards, and on and on and on.
Does divination work? Well, that's the million-dollar question, isn't it? If you are a staunch skeptic, then no, it probably won't work for you. But here's the thing -- that is about you, and not about divination. NOTHING will withstand the test of time over thousands of years and across all cultures unless there is a deep truth to it. My philosophy has always been that if something is only true to one culture, then it is not meaningful to the human experience (except maybe in that culture). BUT if a belief or practice is prevalent across cultures and withstands the test of time, then there is an elemental Truth - with a capital T - contained within it.
How does divination work? No one knows, but there are many things in the world that are unexplained but still valid. We only just began to uncover the importance of our invisible yet vital human microbiome in 2007. Even now science can name only a few of the constituents contained in a healing herbal plant. Thomas Edison was once asked what electricity is, and he is said to have answered something along the lines of, "I don't know, but it's there, so let's use it." Even now you are reading this on a computer while connected to the internet. If I asked you to explain to me what the internet is and how it works, well, we don't really stop to think about that, do we? It is an invisible force that delivers information. It works. We don't need to know how in order for it to be useful. Divination is much the same, but the key to meaningful divination is threefold: 1) Receptivity 2) Intention 3) Fluency in the chosen divination system. Those keys will have a blog post all their own in the future.
Are Tarot cards magical? Is a pendulum or tea leaves? No. A divination system is a tool to facilitate an interface. Think of it as a needle on a meter. The meter collects the information and does the work. The needle is merely an indicator. It doesn't matter if the needle is made of wood, gemstone or solid gold, the needle is showing what the meter is determining. In divination, YOU are the receiver and the processor. The tool you use to interface with the Universe is the indicator, and as long as you know and are comfortable with the system you are using, nearly any will work. That being said, some systems will give more complete information. For example, a pendulum is great for yes/no questions or helping to find something. But if you want insight into your relationship with your partner, you're going to need a more expansive system, like Tarot.
What do you think about divination? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences! :)