The Spinster Aunt

This seems like a fairly good time of year to be talking about divination. What is it, why do we do it, and what's in it for us? Lots of people think it's a way of avoiding responsibility - if the future is preordained, we might as well go back to bed.

Of course, that's not it at all. Divination is the use of any one of several methods to obtain information which is not directly accessible to the conscious mind of the person asking the question. Whether you use cards, crystals, a pendulum, ink, lead, dice, the flight of birds or anything else, what you are really doing is opening your end of a channel to higher wisdom. I consider the "actual" source of that wisdom irrelevant and immaterial; it could be one's own subconscious, the collective unconscious, the Gods' will, telepathic insight, or a big computer buried in the Balkans. It's still additional information which is not as tainted by ego and intellect's limitations as most.

So what do we do with it? The same things we do with any other information; add it to what we already know and develop a synthesis that can help us do our decision-making. The easiest way to analyze the process is with a concrete (well, maybe Jell-O) example:

A young man has been between relationships for some time. He wants very much to link up with the great love of his life, but is not aware of anyone on the horizon. He is putting himself in a position to meet new people, presenting himself as attractively as he can, and generally taking care of business, but no results. He has to decide whether to take a work-related course at night or not. It will take a lot of time and there are not likely to be any women attending. His progressed horoscope is neutral. He gets his cards read. They say:


  1. Nothing at all about love, but a lot about skilled craftsman- ship and satisfaction through work. He decides to relax and wait for a better time, takes the course, and is rewarded with a modest promotion which enhances his satisfaction with his job.
  2. A lot about increasing social activities, leading to the start of a new romance, leading to great happiness and satisfaction after some difficulties are resolved. He does not take the course, and meets a really nice interesting lady at a party given by a friend (which he couldn't have attended had he taken the course).
  3. That he is overlooking sources of emotional gratification in his current situation. Given the information, he starts looking around and discovers that one of his quieter friends is a really thoughtful and insightful person who helps him learn to know himself better, and that a young cousin needs a mentor and this relationship gives him a lot of pleasure and fulfillment. He begins to feel much more ready for a good relationship, and much less impatient to have one start.

These examples illustrate the point made above; divination provides you with choices, and you take the consequences, no matter what the oracles say. Treat them with respect, not adoration or blind compliance, and may they always show you the truth.

Blessed Be,
The Spinster Aunt from RMPJ 12/86

Divination Bibliography

  • Butler, Bill. Dictionary of the Tarot. (Schocken Books, 1975).
  • Campbell, Joseph and Richard Roberts. Tarot Revelations. (Vernal Equinox Press, 1979).
  • Case, Paul Foster. The Tarot. (Maccy Publishing, 1947).
  • Cavendish, Richard. The Tarot. (Harper & Row, 1975).
  • Connelly, Eileen. Tarot - A New Handbook for the Apprentice. (Newcastle Publishing, 1979).
  • Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. (Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1984). The Egyptian (Golden Dawn) Tarot by The Master Therion.
  • Douglas, Alfred. The Tarot. (Taplinger Publishing, 1972).
  • Gettings, Fred. The Book of Tarot. (Triune Books, 1973).
  • Gray, Eden. A Complete Guide to the Tarot. (Bantam Books, 1970).
  • Gray, Eden. The Tarot Revealed. (Signet Books, 1960).
  • Greer, Mary K. Tarot for Yourself. (Newcastle Publishing, 1984).
  • Hargrave, Catherine Perry. A History of Playing Cards. (Dover Publishing, 1966).
  • Hutton, Alice. The Cards Can't Lie. (Hippocrene Books, 1983).
  • Kaplan, Stuart R. The Encyclopedia of Tarot. (U.S.Games Systems, 1978).
  • Konraad, Sandor. Classic Tarot Spreads. (Para Research, 1985).
  • Leland, Charles Godfrey. Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling. (University Books, 1962).
  • Nichols, Sallie. Jung and Tarot. (Samuel Weiser Inc. 1980). Good but lengthy examination of the Jungian aspects of the Tarot.
  • Noble, Vicki. Motherpeace. (Harper & Row, 1983).
  • Pollack, Rachel. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. Part I: The Major Arcana. (Aquarian Press, 1980). Excellent explanation of the Tarot, using the Rider Waite deck. Highly recommended.
  • Pollack, Rachel. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. Part II: The Minor Arcana and Readings. (Aquarian Press, 1980). Good explanations of various reading methods and extensions.
  • Roberts, Richard. Tarot and You. (Morgan and Morgan, 1975).
  • Walker, Barbara G. The Secrets of the Tarot. (Harper & Row, 1984). Examination of the origins and symbolism of the Tarot. Beautifully done.
  • Wang, Robert. The Qabalistic Tarot. (Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1983). Good reference for the Golden Dawn system of Tarot.
The I Ching
  • Chu, W.K. and W.E. Sherril. The Astrology of the I Ching. (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976.)
  • Chu, W.K. and W.E. Sherril. An Anthology of I Ching. (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977.)
  • Legge, James. I Ching, Book of Changes. (University Books, 1964).
  • Ni, Hua-Ching. Tao, The Subtle Universal Law and the Integral Way of Life. (Shrine of Eternal Breath of Tao, 1979).
  • Ni, Hua-Ching. The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth. (Shrine of Eternal Breath of Tao, 1983).
  • Pattee, Rowena. Moving With Change. (Arkana, 1986). Interesting approach to oriental divination. Cards also available.
  • Ponce, Charles. The Nature of the I Ching, Its Usage and Interpretation. (Award Books, 1970).
  • Trosper, Barry R. and Gin-Hua Leu. I Ching: The Illustrated Primer. (KGI Publications, 1986).
  • Walker, Barbara G. The I Ching of the Goddess. (Harper & Row, 1986).
  • Waltham, Clae. I Ching. (Ace Books, 1969). Adaptation of the work by James Legge.
  • Wilhelm, R. and C.G. Jung. The Secret of the Golden Flower. (Harcourt, Brace and World, 1931).
  • Blum, Ralph. The Book of Runes. (St. Martin's Press, 1982). Set comes with a set of runestones.
  • Osborn, Marijane and Stella Longland. Rune Games. (Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd. 1982).
  • Hope, Murray. The Way of Cartouche. (St. Martin's Press, 1985). Set comes with cards.

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