Thursday, 25 August 2016

True Intuition, Divination and Final Participation

Divination enables us to become aware of the subtle psychic and spiritual forces that are at work in the background of our lives, determining the events that arise. Contemporary divinatory systems [e.g. Astrology, Tarot, Runes, the I Ching] are by no means atavistic throwbacks to an age long since surpassed, but are underpinned by a new and subtle understanding of the subtle energies that are active behind the scenes of our conscious knowing...

Nevertheless, divination does need to be approached in a different way from how it was approached in antiquity, because although it may reveal to us the spiritual and archetypal condition that lie behind a given situation, our relationship to these factors cannot be the same as that of people in antiquity...

We fail to realize our true human potential to the extent that we do not act freely... If, therefore, we practice divination, we do not do so to submit ourselves to the will of the gods, but rather to gain greater insight into our situation in order to come to a freely chosen decision as to how best to act. 

From pp 180-1 of The Future of the Ancient World, by Jeremy Naydler, 2009.


Throughout my life, and including my younger days, long before I was a Christian, I intermittently tried various divinatory practices. In my mid-twenties I bought Jung's book about the I Ching and tried to use it with coins; later I tried using runes drawn from a bag, and Tarot cards. I never persisted long with any of these things and never reached any conclusion about them - indeed, it was the lack of any validating intuitive feedback which made me give up so easily.

It now seems to me that I was self-blocked from getting attached, or addicted, to divination on the basis that I was trying to use it for the wrong reasons and with the wrong underlying motivation. For me these were technologies of power and/ or evidence of underlying 'atavistic yearnings' (yearning for the past un-conscious and immersive participation in reality, characteristic of childhood and hunter gatherer states).

Rudolf Steiner provides some clarification of this in his repeated cautions and strictures against the deployment of altered states of consciousness as technologies of clairvoyance - his insistence that the modern and future mystic should be alert, awake and purposive: that the modern clairvoyant (as a general rule, although there are exceptions) would work-from the 'consciousness soul'; and not therefore from 'passive' experiences and states such as dreams, dreamlike trances, sedating or hallucinatory drugs; not characterised by visions, hallucinations, speaking in tongues or similar signs; and we should eschew automatic writing, Ouija boards, unaware channelling and so forth.

(Probably - ultimately - excluding therefore the likes of astrology, the I Ching, runes and Tarot - excluding them, that is, as routine or focal spiritual practices - although presumably these could be acceptable and valuable as occassional, educational and remedial practices.)  

As a generalisation I believe Steiner was correct and making an important point - that the destined spiritual future is not one that incorporates technologies of divination; but that regards them as at most temporary expedients: ways of moving to the next step, means to an end.

What we ought to be aiming-at is simply to know - but to know from the basis of our alert, awake, purposive real selves (our souls).

This is true intuition - not the act of 'looking within', but the act of locating, then living-from our real selves.