DIVINATION SYSTEMS Written by Nicole Yalsovac Additional sections contributed by Sean Michael Smith and Christine Breese, D.D. Ph.D.
Introduction Nichole Yalsovac Prophetic revelation, or Divination, dates back to the earliest known times of human existence. The oldest of all Chinese texts, the I Ching, is a divination system older than recorded history. James Legge says in his translation of I Ching: Book Of Changes (1996), “The desire to seek answers and to predict the future is as old as civilization itself.” Mankind has always had a desire to know what the future holds. Evidence shows that methods of divination, also known as fortune telling, were used by the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Babylonians and the Sumerians (who resided in what is now Iraq) as early as six‐thousand years ago. Divination was originally a device of royalty and has often been an essential part of religion and medicine. Significant leaders and royalty often employed priests, doctors, soothsayers and astrologers as advisers and consultants on what the future held. Every civilization has held a belief in at least some type of divination. The point of divination in the ancient world was to ascertain the will of the gods. In fact, divination is so called because it is assumed to be a gift of the divine, a gift from the gods. This gift of obtaining knowledge of the unknown uses a wide range of tools and an enormous variety of techniques, as we will see in this course. No matter which method is used, the most imperative aspect is the interpretation and presentation of what is seen. The general consensus is that divination falls into three categories: interpretation of natural phenomena, (known as augury and includes such things as water, flight of a bird, shape of a flame, cloud formations, etc.); interpretation of artificial phenomena (casting runes, reading dominoes, Tarot Cards, numerology); and direct communication with a deity via dreams, visions or trances. These interpretations may not only foretell the future, but can also be used in determining a person’s character and how it has been created by events of the past.
Review Of Literature (Exam questions are not drawn from the Review Of Literature section.) The Oriental Mystic Book Of Fortune Telling (1967), by Plutonius, is an interesting and funny little book published in India, which refers to itself as “an ideal party book,” because one can be the life of the party by telling everyone’s fortunes. It describes at least 20 ways to predict the future and determine a person’s character and includes many charts and illustrations throughout. It is fairly simply written with easy to follow instructions. The Prediction Book Of Divination (1984) is written by Jo Logan & Lindsay Hodson. Although this book only describes eight forms of divination, it goes into great detail and instructions, including the history, about each one. It includes charts, lists and illustrations. The authors often interject their humor along with their personal experiences and opinions. Modern Dowsing (1984), by Raymond C. Willey, is considered a handbook about how to dowse. There is very little history, and it consists mostly of techniques and applications. There are a few illustrations. The author speaks humorously about some of his personal experiences. It is a very comprehensive book. How Psychic Are You? (2002), by Julie Soskin, is a well done book covering 76 different techniques to help develop and increase the powers we are all born with. It touches on meditation, chakras, colors, auras, talismans and more, in addition to some of the Divination topics covered in this course. It has excellent graphics, photos and illustrations. It also contains several little tests to determine a person’s psychic abilities. The author is a medium, writer and teache