My Thoughts on Divination

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

The old models of sub conscious, ego, and id are tempting and embraced by many occultists, but due to my scientific training I know this is outdated.

Instead of the unconscious we should focus on our DNA. Both genetic and epigenetic factors. In essence that there are huge aspects of yourself you cannot control. Huge aspects of yourself programmed from your birth, and in the case of epigenetics: programmed by things like your parent’s diet.

This biological determinism has been estimated to make up 40-50% of individual human personality factors.

I also think that the DNA can be seen as a huge part of the True Will. My current definition of the True Will is to maximize your potential in harmony with your DNA. Though I am sure many would find this definition to be presumptuous.

I think that divination is a good way to communicate with your DNA. DNA has no consciousness, but it sure does shape yours. If you have good parameters for how you use divination, like never get a reading of something you are sure about. Know that the goal is to hear aspects of your self and your inner energy levels not to find the future.

Then divination will allow your imagination to fill in the gaps, your instinctual emotional responses will speak volumes to you about your apprehensions and desires. Apprehensions and desires that you were having a hard time seeing.

This is a purely therapeutic approach. Used by countless Jungian psychologists, including my own uncle, throughout the world.

My friend told me while I was giving him a tarot reading that it seems to him that this is like story telling. Indeed. Divination is like story telling, using a template, well known symbols.

There are few atheists or skeptics who would condemn someone for having personal insight from fictional literature. In fact, my understanding is that is the whole point of literature. To illuminate the human condition.

I think this is also the same kind of use that Christians find from their attempts to hear the voice of God through circumstances, etc.

  1. Hassan-I Sabbah says:

    Here’s something I learned from Dorothea Brande’s book, “Becoming A Writer.”

    Draw a circle with a cross on a piece of paper and use either a divining pendulum or a weight on the end of a piece of string. Imagine that the pendulum is rotating clockwise until it actually does. Now make the pendulum swing counter-clockwise, back and forth, and left to right. You will see that with enough concentration you can make it behave as you will it to behave.

    Now what does this say about divination via the pendulum? It certainly rules out the spirit model, and I’d say rules out the model of the subconscious as the medium for change according to will, for your will was carried out strictly by the conscious mind.

    But I am not willing to through the subconscious completely out the window. You yourself seem to agree in part with Jungian therapy, and I wonder what is your take on the collective unconscious. By what means do ancient myths and archetypes propagate through consciousness?

  2. mindcore says:

    My honest answer is I am still working on that. So please bear in mind that everything I write here will have to end with, but I am not really sure.

    I think Jung, and Freud where geniuses who took humanity forward in strides. But I believe we have made strides since then.

    For me the archetypes and ancient myths pass, at least in part, through meme theory. Meme theory is the idea that cultural units evolve and propagate by a process nearly identical to Darwinian evolution. So the thunder god meme, manifests as Thor for the Norse and Zeus for the Greeks, etc.

    But that does not explain why these memes are so sticky and so resilient, which is what I think is really interesting.

    I have a very open ended approach to all this stuff.

    I don’t suggest throwing the subconscious completely out the window either, but I think we should see that there are a lot of grey areas. We know that conscious processing on the brain works at many different levels and so does unconscious processing.

    One Zen master described the work of Zen to communicate between the autonomic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. The Zen approach does this through a conscious awareness of usually unconscious physiology, causing the Zen practitioner to become increasingly more and more aware of the unconscious aspects of their nervous system.

    Our emotional brain, the limbic system, could be easily dismissed as unconscious. But thats not true. When we are experiencing emotions we are conscious of them. But yet they are still not as conscious as the linguistic thoughts provided by certain parts of our neo-cortex.

    Reflexes can be said to be unconscious, but a certain amount of cortical processing feeds into them.

    This shows that the brain is far more complex than simply conscious and unconscious, and that there are grey areas in the grey matter (if you will permit me a pun).

    I that those of us who are into occultism would take our modern 21st century knowledge of mind and brain and add it to the early 20th century knowledge provided by Freud and Jung for a more complete picture.

    • Hassan-I Sabbah says:

      It seems that the question posed is this: if there is a subconscious, where is it located in the brain? Jung and Freud’s idea has its merits, but we are unable to coalesce early 20th century Psychological models with today’s Neurobiological model. It doesn’t seem to make sense to talk of a subconscious if we cannot determine which parts of the mind contain it, yet it doesn’t seem to make sense if we model our thought processes and behaviors without it. I think more research will answer this question in the future.

      You mention Memetics as a medium for the propagation of archetypes. I did some quick Google searches on this and got interested. I thoughts memes were strictly an Internet phenomena. I will have to read some more but I think the next step in our evolution is probably going to be the ability to select which mind viruses are allowed to reprogram our mind. People have been doing work in this with Chaos Magick and other techniques for a while. It’s probably the entire point of Magick itself. I’d like to see you post sometime on mind reprogramming since you seem to have the background to comment on that topic.

  3. mindcore says:

    With the whole mind brain thing, neuroscientists have all but given up on it. The term here that is somewhat useful (and it fits nicely with chaos science-and probably Chaos magick) is an emergent property.

    When birds fly together in formation and they make these beautiful patterns, that is an emergent property. The building of the hive by insects, who have no brains only ganglion which are small connections of nerve cells, are also examples of emergent properties. Most of the stuff we define as mind can be said to be emergent properties of the nervous system. But I don’t like that so many scientists use this as a cop out.

    I know what you mean about memetics being usually used to describe internet phenomena. Thats because it totally works as a model for that. But I think the real interesting stuff happens in thought.

    In the book Life Forces by Louis Stewart he describes magic as basically the idea that thoughts are alive. I read this when I was a kid, and as I have tried to harmonize my ideas about meme theory with what I know about the occult this keeps coming back to me. When you say it may be the point of Magick itself, we are definitely approaching a powerful point of conscilience for me, and this gives me great joy.

    Many skeptics assume people who are into the occult have a very Dungeons and Dragons view of the world where they believe in the worst of nonsense. Though I still consider myself a hardcore skeptic, talking to you gives me hope that the way I am looking at this stuff is a lot closer to the way many serious occult practitioners look at it than any skeptic really understood.

    Part of my goal with this blog is to increase the dialogue between atheists and skeptics and occultists. I am calling this “Universal Freethought.” I wish I could call the idea mine, but it turns out in the days of Crowley and Houdini, skeptics and occultists regularly ran in the same circles and stood together against the backwardness of society at large.

    I will definitely write a post on mind reprogramming. Thank you for this suggestion. This is definitely the central theme of my work.

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