In “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Gem, Crystal & Metal Magic”, Scott Cunningham says that “Divination is a magical process that utilizes various tools to provide glimpses of the future.” To that I would add the phrase “from a certain point of view”. The glimpses we get from a practiced sense of intuition or from the use of oracles (Tarot, runes, palm lines, tea leaves…anything) are probabilities rooted in our current path and our current point of view. Like the example of Shrodinger’s cat , anything is theoretically possible and exists in a sort of out-there-somewhere state until actual observations are made bringing the 50-50 chance of a live cat or a dead cat into being (or the theoretically possible but highly improbable disappearing cat and zombie cat). Like Alice in the twilight movies, if choices and actions changes, her vision of the future changes to match the new path the person has taken and the new choice that the person has made.
Scott Cunningham has also written that “the feeling is the power.” From a shallow “poof” kind of magical understanding, this seems as ridiculous at the idea of magic at all. Now, shift point of view just a little bit, and think of our modern thoughts about human consciousness.
The strength of science is that it knows when it doesn’t know. Science’s lifeblood is the not-knowing that propels it to observe, experiment, theorize and to begin to know. With oracles, Tarot and magic, it is the same basic process. It is the not-knowing that propels us to learn, not through objectively measurable means perhaps, but rather to learn the intangible things which makes us better people and helps us to live better lives. Human consciousness, choice, intention, and perception are all very powerful things. Some would call them magical. When feelings impel us to act one way or another, they manifest a particular future and are magical indeed.
Warm up your imagination, and let’s try a little thought experiment. In your mind’s eye, imagine sitting in your favorite seat at home. What do you see from that favorite place to sit? Now, imagine getting up from your seat and standing on it. Now, what do you see from that higher up point of view? Now get down and lay flat on the floor. What do you see? Now, imagine walking from there to your kitchen and taking in the view.
What if you are hungry? Which of these viewpoints will lead you to what you most need to choose and do for you highest and best well-being? Lying on the living room floor, you may not have a “vision” or “prediction” of getting a sandwich, but the feeling of hunger prompts you to get up and go to the kitchen where a future sandwich comes into clearer predictive vision.
If you are already on your feet and headed to the kitchen, it’s easy for oracles to glimpse the sandwich in your future…the prediction seems accurate. If you are oohhhh so comfortable in your favorite recliner in front of the TV, then it takes a little more to get you up and headed toward the pantry, even if you are feeling a little peckish.
The mind-body connection is a powerful thing – science is starting to discover that in objective terms. So why not a mind – body – physical world – manifestation connection? Humans have lived in this universe much longer than we’ve had the language of science to describe and understand it. While science is the best method of learning stuff we’ve invented yet, it doesn’t mean the stuff science has learned didn’t exist under a different name way back when. The Higgs boson didn’t just spontaneously leap into existence under the auspices of the LHC…they’ve been there since the very beginning of the universe. We just didn’t have the mental construct for them yet. Gravity existed before Newton, we just used different words for it…like “fall” and “down”.
Knowledge, wisdom, fall, down, gravity, Higgs Boson, mass, matter, star and stuff are words that all co-exist in a contemporary understanding that is both modern and magical. So yes, divination is a magical process that glimpses the future…from a certain point of view. Tarot’s value is not wholly in those glimpses. Tarot’s value also lies in getting you to the point of view that makes the glimpse, the manifestation and the magic possible.
- RWS card images from the public domain via http://www.sacred-texts.com
- Magician card photo by Ronda Snow featuring “Black Cat Tarot” by Maria Kurara
- Cunningham, S. (1988). Cunningham’s encyclopedia of crystal, gem & metal magic. St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.: Llewellyn Publications.
- Cunningham, S. (1989). Wicca: A guide for the solitary practitioner. St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.: Llewellyn Publications.
Want to experience a Tarot reading from this point of view?