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Author Topic: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?  (Read 1938 times)

stagsforest

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Hello! This is my very first post so thank you for allowing me to speak to you here.

I'm very much into the academic studies of neo-paganism communities and practices. I myself do not consider myself Neo-Pagan (yet? still trying to figure that out!) but I do have a few Pagan friends kindly helping me understand them.

I heard something very interesting yesterday when I was with my friends. One of them told me that one of their friends, also Pagan, told them to steer clear of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. (I've been reading tarot for years so he wanted to clarify with me). I have actually never heard of this rule, and it seems to rule throughout part of the Pagan community in Miami, FL (where I live). I have also spoken with other Pagans and there is a general consensus that the Ouija Board is not to be used as a method of divination, and to have the Board used even with experienced practitioners guiding the session is a controversial topic. Many of these Pagans are Cuban, and growing up I was always told never to mess with the Ouija under any circumstances.

My question is: are there methods of divination that are generally accepted in your communities? And - my real question - are there methods of divination that you notice are held at arm's length by a community? What is fascinating about this, for me, from both an academic and spiritual/personal perspective, is that the nature-based faiths call for the individual truth and for the faith life to accept and be accepted by the practitioner, and, yet, there seem to be trends in communities where some things are just not done.

So, thoughts? Please let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything. Thank you for your answers and have a wonderful evening!

NiDara

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2014, 02:31:20 am »
Quote from: stagsforest;142505
Hello! This is my very first post so thank you for allowing me to speak to you here.

I'm very much into the academic studies of neo-paganism communities and practices. I myself do not consider myself Neo-Pagan (yet? still trying to figure that out!) but I do have a few Pagan friends kindly helping me understand them.

I heard something very interesting yesterday when I was with my friends. One of them told me that one of their friends, also Pagan, told them to steer clear of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. (I've been reading tarot for years so he wanted to clarify with me). I have actually never heard of this rule, and it seems to rule throughout part of the Pagan community in Miami, FL (where I live). I have also spoken with other Pagans and there is a general consensus that the Ouija Board is not to be used as a method of divination, and to have the Board used even with experienced practitioners guiding the session is a controversial topic. Many of these Pagans are Cuban, and growing up I was always told never to mess with the Ouija under any circumstances.

My question is: are there methods of divination that are generally accepted in your communities? And - my real question - are there methods of divination that you notice are held at arm's length by a community? What is fascinating about this, for me, from both an academic and spiritual/personal perspective, is that the nature-based faiths call for the individual truth and for the faith life to accept and be accepted by the practitioner, and, yet, there seem to be trends in communities where some things are just not done.

So, thoughts? Please let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything. Thank you for your answers and have a wonderful evening!

 
Many Neopagans all over the world use tarot cards for divination, not to mention other forms. As a matter of fact, many tarot decks published today are Rider-Waite clones. Mind you, there's also the Thoth deck and Tarot de Marseilles. Did they mention why it should be avoided? (Also, I have a relative that also lives in Florida, and she owns a copy of the Witches' Tarot, which is most definitely another version of the Rider-Waite deck. She loves it and hasn't had any issues with it. Just a matter of perspective.)

I think Ouija boards are typically viewed as some instrument of evil, but it's just like any divination tool. It has to be used with care and some common sense. Some religions think you should be able to look inwardly for information, but others think that should be left to a higher power and not be the realm of mere mortals. I suppose it's a matter of tradition, and certain viewpoints remain unchanged and unchallenged.

I have never heard the rule your friend told you. I'd say, do what you think is right in your heart and mind. Look at as many perspectives on Paganism as possible, beyond that of your local community.

Other members might be able to offer you more academic opinions on this, as I am just speaking from my experience. Good luck!

RandallS

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2014, 07:59:56 am »
Quote from: stagsforest;142505
I heard something very interesting yesterday when I was with my friends. One of them told me that one of their friends, also Pagan, told them to steer clear of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. (I've been reading tarot for years so he wanted to clarify with me). I have actually never heard of this rule, and it seems to rule throughout part of the Pagan community in Miami, FL (where I live).

Other than the fact that some people do not like the Rider-Waite illos, there's nothing really wrong with the deck from a generic "Pagan" view, although I suspect some individual Pagan religions might object to it. It's also possible that some "Pagan 101" book popular in the area says not to use it (probably because the author does not like it). When Silver Ravenwolf's Wicca 101 books became popular years ago her statement that one should not cast magic when the moon was void of course become "common Pagan knowledge" even though before Ravenwolf's books this rule had never been common amongst Wiccans (let alone all witches or all magicians).

Quote
I have also spoken with other Pagans and there is a general consensus that the Ouija Board is not to be used as a method of divination, and to have the Board used even with experienced practitioners guiding the session is a controversial topic.
This is a common belief probably fueled by stories of people who used a Ouija board as a game and had problems. The Ouija board, used intelligently is no more dangerous than any other method where one invites spirits to use one's body or even to commicate with spirits in other ways. If one does not take precautions to limit the type of spirits that one invites, bad things can happen.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 08:51:32 am by RandallS »
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Redfaery

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2014, 08:15:58 am »
Quote from: stagsforest;142505
Hello! This is my very first post so thank you for allowing me to speak to you here.

I'm very much into the academic studies of neo-paganism communities and practices. I myself do not consider myself Neo-Pagan (yet? still trying to figure that out!) but I do have a few Pagan friends kindly helping me understand them.

I heard something very interesting yesterday when I was with my friends. One of them told me that one of their friends, also Pagan, told them to steer clear of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. (I've been reading tarot for years so he wanted to clarify with me). I have actually never heard of this rule, and it seems to rule throughout part of the Pagan community in Miami, FL (where I live). I have also spoken with other Pagans and there is a general consensus that the Ouija Board is not to be used as a method of divination, and to have the Board used even with experienced practitioners guiding the session is a controversial topic. Many of these Pagans are Cuban, and growing up I was always told never to mess with the Ouija under any circumstances.

My question is: are there methods of divination that are generally accepted in your communities? And - my real question - are there methods of divination that you notice are held at arm's length by a community? What is fascinating about this, for me, from both an academic and spiritual/personal perspective, is that the nature-based faiths call for the individual truth and for the faith life to accept and be accepted by the practitioner, and, yet, there seem to be trends in communities where some things are just not done.

So, thoughts? Please let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything. Thank you for your answers and have a wonderful evening!

 
I'm a solitary, and the cauldron IS my community, so....

but that said, I would recommend that you not use runes unless you want to stir up someone from the Norse pantheon. I thought I could get away with it, but I attracted Loki's attention. He was my favorite in the pantheon as a child when I was really into mythology, so I can see why he in particular felt he had a claim on me. That, and I posted here rather foolishly saying that they Norse gods had shown no interest in me...

But it's all good! Loki has since been very helpful with the runes, and that seems to be what he was after. He even takes the fact that my cats knock all the stuff off his shrine in good humor. It amuses him. He likes them, I think, because they're such troublemakers.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Allaya

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2014, 08:30:17 am »
Quote from: RandallS;142525
When Silver Ravenwolf's Wicca 101 books because popular years ago he statement that one should not cast magic when the moon was void of course become "common Pagan knowledge" even though before Ravenwolf's books this rule had never been common amongst Wiccans (let alone all witches or all magicians).


To riff on this, I will add that there is no consistency in defining what void-of-course actually means. For example, the 'modern' definition used (including by Silver Ravenwolf) bears only a passing resemblance to the definition laid down by Lilly in his 17th century treatise Christian Astrology. I think the concept goes back to
Dorotheus of Sidon (1st century CE).
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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2014, 08:44:14 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;142528
...I would recommend that you not use runes unless you want to stir up someone from the Norse pantheon. I thought I could get away with it, but I attracted Loki's attention. He was my favorite in the pantheon as a child when I was really into mythology, so I can see why he in particular felt he had a claim on me. That, and I posted here rather foolishly saying that they Norse gods had shown no interest in me...

 
I'll take an opposite view here and point out that the runes themselves are just letters of an alphabet. The Scandic peoples, when introduced to the Latin alphabet, thought it was super-mega mysterious and magical and would use it for spellworkings when you needed an extra kick...Because Novelty*. As such, I don't think either set of characters has any specific or inherent deity associations other than what you personally put into it yourself.

But, you know, opinions and stuff.


*No, I do not have a specific citation since this was conveyed to me by my Norwegian husband as something taught in school.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

dragonfaerie

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2014, 10:41:39 am »
Quote from: stagsforest;142505

I think this is a great example of several things:

1. The annoying tendency of people to assume that what they do is (or should be) a universal standard.

2. The annoying tendency of people to assume that those who seem more knowledgeable on a topic are preaching gospel truth.

3. The annoying tendency of people to view divination as a waste-of-time parlor game and then get all freaked out when "stuff comes true".

Everyone has their own personal preferences and opinions, but a lot of teachers, elders, and authors will pass them down to newbies as gospel truth, often without clarification, and often they'll become angry when a student does ask for clarification.

Why? Because they don't know why. That's why the nuns would send my husband to the office in elementary Catholic school, for asking rational questions about Jesus and the Easter Bunny, or who Adam and Eve's sons married. They don't know how to answer because they never asked questions themselves. Questioning is bad. Shut up and repeat what you're told.

But then again, there are a lot of people out there who don't want to question. They're happy to be told how to do it "right" and patted on the head when they accomplish that. If elders are never questioned, they expect that complacency among the community.

Finally... the Ouija specifically is marketed as a toy, and always has been. I think it can become a tool for divination if you want to try to use it that way. If you want to talk to spirits, I don't think that's going to happen unless one of the users is a medium of some sort. I messed with one in my "misspent youth", and not much of anything happened. Much of the "don't mess with it" hysteria is due to the satanic panic of the 80s, as the things have been around for over a hundred years commercially, and much longer before that.

Karen
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 05:38:39 am by SunflowerP »

beith

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2014, 11:21:00 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;142528

but that said, I would recommend that you not use runes unless you want to stir up someone from the Norse pantheon. I thought I could get away with it, but I attracted Loki's attention. He was my favorite in the pantheon as a child when I was really into mythology, so I can see why he in particular felt he had a claim on me. That, and I posted here rather foolishly saying that they Norse gods had shown no interest in me...

 
I think this is a case of your mileage may vary.  This is your personal experience and may not apply across the board.  For example, I use ogham for divination and I haven't attracted anyone from the Irish Celtic pantheon, nor do I feel a very strong connection to that pantheon (as I thought I would, given my love for other aspects of the culture).  I'm much more drawn to the Kemetic gods/goddesses.  But then again, I'm not the god-bothered/godphone type, so again YMMV.

Other cultures used runes too, for example the Anglo-Saxons.

I'll also second Allaya's response, when it comes down to it, runes are just a writing system.  It's what we do with them and how we use them (for example, for divination) that provides their energy.

Redfaery

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2014, 12:36:45 pm »
Quote from: beith;142544
I think this is a case of your mileage may vary.  This is your personal experience and may not apply across the board.  For example, I use ogham for divination and I haven't attracted anyone from the Irish Celtic pantheon, nor do I feel a very strong connection to that pantheon (as I thought I would, given my love for other aspects of the culture).  I'm much more drawn to the Kemetic gods/goddesses.  But then again, I'm not the god-bothered/godphone type, so again YMMV.

Other cultures used runes too, for example the Anglo-Saxons.

I'll also second Allaya's response, when it comes down to it, runes are just a writing system.  It's what we do with them and how we use them (for example, for divination) that provides their energy.


Thank you for correcting me. You're right, I was being overly general. However, I believe the Anglo-Saxons used runes because of Viking influence, and that influence included an influx of Viking settlers. The Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, and the Vikings were all pretty connected culturally and politically.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

beith

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2014, 01:58:56 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;142546
Thank you for correcting me. You're right, I was being overly general. However, I believe the Anglo-Saxons used runes because of Viking influence, and that influence included an influx of Viking settlers. The Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, and the Vikings were all pretty connected culturally and politically.

 
Yes, I think the Anglo-Saxon runes were a variant of the runes used by other Germanic peoples.  I don't know if it was directly a result of Viking influence...I believe runes were also used in the continental area from which the Anglo-Saxons originated?  However, they were still a distinct people that held a religion before the Viking conquests, although again I think there is very little evidence of what that looked like.

I still thinks it's fair to say that runes are not specific to only Norse culture and religious practice, but I could very well be mistaken.  Anglo-Saxon was just one example, I think runes were used in the general area of present-day Germany as well.  But again, I'm certainly no expert.

yennork

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2014, 02:49:22 pm »
Quote from: Allaya;142531
I'll take an opposite view here and point out that the runes themselves are just letters of an alphabet. The Scandic peoples, when introduced to the Latin alphabet, thought it was super-mega mysterious and magical and would use it for spellworkings when you needed an extra kick...Because Novelty*. As such, I don't think either set of characters has any specific or inherent deity associations other than what you personally put into it yourself.

But, you know, opinions and stuff.


*No, I do not have a specific citation since this was conveyed to me by my Norwegian husband as something taught in school.


Or perhaps not so very super-mega mysterious as super-mega-useful.;)

Still, there is not anything magical in runes, or christians wouldn't have used them, wich they certainly did.

I'm certainly not denying the runes were used in magic, and when they became obsolete they seemed mystical to peple used to Latin letters.
Never mind what should be or what might be or what ought to be. It\'s what things are that\'s important.

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2014, 08:20:20 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;142546
Thank you for correcting me. You're right, I was being overly general. However, I believe the Anglo-Saxons used runes because of Viking influence, and that influence included an influx of Viking settlers. The Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, and the Vikings were all pretty connected culturally and politically.

 
Well, technically not Vikings, since the Anglo-Saxon runes date back to the 5th century, and the term 'Viking' refers specifically to Norse culture of the Viking Age, which didn't open until late in the 8th century (and which is more associated with the Younger Futhark).

To expand a bit on Beith's points:
Both the A-S Futhorc and the Younger Futhark are derived from the Elder Futhark, the former as an expanded form, and the latter a reduced form. Locations in which Elder Futhark inscriptions have been found are widely distributed across continental Europe and Scandinavia; A-S Futhorc inscriptions are found not just in England but on the northwestern coastal areas of the continent (pretty much where the peoples collectively called Anglo-Saxons came from); Younger Futhark inscriptions are found predominately in Scandinavia, with non-Scandinavian locations being specifically Viking Age settlements.

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beith

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2014, 11:22:05 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;142602

Both the A-S Futhorc and the Younger Futhark are derived from the Elder Futhark, the former as an expanded form, and the latter a reduced form. Locations in which Elder Futhark inscriptions have been found are widely distributed across continental Europe and Scandinavia; A-S Futhorc inscriptions are found not just in England but on the northwestern coastal areas of the continent (pretty much where the peoples collectively called Anglo-Saxons came from); Younger Futhark inscriptions are found predominately in Scandinavia, with non-Scandinavian locations being specifically Viking Age settlements.

 
Thanks for this info, Sunflower! I had a passing one week intense interest in Anglo-Saxon runes a couple years ago...clearly not much of what I learned was retained, so I appreciated this read.

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2014, 01:06:23 pm »
Quote from: beith;142605
Thanks for this info, Sunflower! I had a passing one week intense interest in Anglo-Saxon runes a couple years ago...clearly not much of what I learned was retained, so I appreciated this read.

 
Thank y'all for your answers... I'm really fascinated by the knowledge I've learned here and thankful for everyone's kindness.

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Re: Types of Divination Either Accepted or Avoided by Communities?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2014, 01:15:05 pm »
Quote from: Amber Seal;142515
Many Neopagans all over the world use tarot cards for divination, not to mention other forms. As a matter of fact, many tarot decks published today are Rider-Waite clones. Mind you, there's also the Thoth deck and Tarot de Marseilles. Did they mention why it should be avoided? (Also, I have a relative that also lives in Florida, and she owns a copy of the Witches' Tarot, which is most definitely another version of the Rider-Waite deck. She loves it and hasn't had any issues with it. Just a matter of perspective.)

I think Ouija boards are typically viewed as some instrument of evil, but it's just like any divination tool. It has to be used with care and some common sense. Some religions think you should be able to look inwardly for information, but others think that should be left to a higher power and not be the realm of mere mortals. I suppose it's a matter of tradition, and certain viewpoints remain unchanged and unchallenged.

I have never heard the rule your friend told you. I'd say, do what you think is right in your heart and mind. Look at as many perspectives on Paganism as possible, beyond that of your local community.

Other members might be able to offer you more academic opinions on this, as I am just speaking from my experience. Good luck!

 

There was no mention as to why the Rider-Waite should be avoided; it's a bit ironic since many tarot decks are copies of the Rider-Waite. There are VERY few decks, in my experience, that incorporate the Rider-Waite in a creative way that allows the deck to be its own creation, and not be a copy. Perhaps certain members of the community may be wary of Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn, so they might have steered clear of divinations coming from the Crowley line. (I wonder if those people also steer clear of the poetry of William Butler Yeats and Fernando Pessoa, considering they were both well-connected with Crowley and the esoteric!)

Like many others have mentioned in this thread, perhaps the Ouija has, unfortunately, developed a bad name due to the unfavorable experiences that unprepared practitioners have garnered from an unprotected, un-serious session with the Ouija. What is interesting, and this is from personal experience growing up in a Cuban household, is that many Latino Pagans absolutely REFUSE to use the Ouija board, no matter what. People get very nervous with the mention of an Ouija board and I remember times where people have walked out when a guest had decided to surprise a party with an Ouija board.

I will make sure to get every single perspective that I can, but I just found the community perspectives here in Miami interesting. Thank you for your beautifully written answer!

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