- Paul Lawrence
How to Practice Divination as a Shaman
When you think about the word divination, what comes to mind?
Throwing the bones? Reading the entrails of animals? Interpreting the flight of the birds? Seeing the future?
If things like this came to mind, you’d be right. Possibly your next thought would be that it’s a load of hogwash…smoke and mirrors created by inscrutable witch doctors, fortune tellers, and psychics.
You would possibly be right again, depending on your perspective. After all, everyone’s truth is different.
However, I want to open your mind a little to the concept of divination.
What is Divination?
The practice of divination is central to Shamanic practice and essential to understanding if you're a Shamanist, someone who believes in the ways of the Shaman. A shaman uses divination on a daily basis when performing healing practices. There are various ways of using divination as a healing tool.
Divination and Shamanism
As I’ve said, divination is central to the way of the Shaman. In fact, it can be said that it's something that a Shaman applies throughout his or her daily practice.
If I had to come up with a word that goes hand in hand with divination, it would be Intuition. Divination is all about using your intuition.
However, in a world where people want definitive yes or no answers, a Shaman needs to remain in their integrity and not mislead people.
“Why?” you ask. “Isn’t that the purpose of consulting a Shaman, to get answers?” Yes, for most it is, but what we fail to remember is that the future is always open.
I’m always very careful of someone who says they can tell the future. Those people who give you definitive answers about your future, for example, “you will meet the man of your dreams next month,” or “Your work colleague will try to curse you, so you must do this and this and this…”
These kinds of closed statements can be problematic, as they create expectation, can mislead you, and most importantly of all, cut out the freedom of choice. One thing must be remembered. The future is always open, and you shape it through your choices.
What a true and honest Healer does is present possibilities to you that may come about, but they're subject to your choices. Reality is not fixed. There are countless streams of opportunities and possibilities that can be tapped into.
What divination does is present these to you in a way that allows you to take control of your future and craft the outcomes that you want.
There’s that word again. Yes, intention. When performing divination, it's essential for the Shaman to have a clear and untainted intention. Whatever comes out of the process should be for the highest good.
You may remember the four ‘I’s’. What are they? Intention, Imagination, Integrity, and Intuition. We’ve already established that Intuition is key to the process of divination. We also know that the right intention must be set.
What about imagination? Well, the Shaman needs to imagine the person as being whole and healed. This is one of the basic concepts of shamanic healing. It’s the acceptance of a truth that exists in the future and the present, so that healing may take place.
And integrity? That goes without saying.
Divination is about interpreting the flow of energy. Energy flow is reliable and if one can tap into the vibrations of a particular energy, it will be possible to see in which direction that energy is flowing.
Everything is vibrating, particle and wave, they vibrate at a certain frequency. The skill a Shaman needs is to be able to intuit the frequency of those vibrations and foresee a set of possible outcomes.
An example is someone who has a dream or vision of themselves standing by the grave of a loved one. And then a few months later, that loved one passes away. They were not sick or old; their passing was a freak accident.
Now we immediately jump to supernatural explanations: “It’s a vision from the Devil…or God,” or “The angels speak to her...”
What if I said that it was none of these things? It was simply science.
The brain is the most amazing computer in the known universe, I think we can agree on that. What if the vibrations of the person who passes away were already heading in that direction? Events were in motion that would lead to the freak accident. Even the energy vibrations of people around her were pushing things in that direction.
We're living in a massive, complex web of cause and effect, and what if the brain was able to pick up those vibrations and translate them into a vision or dream that makes sense to the person?
I’m just saying…you don’t have to believe it.
“Tools?” you say, “what’s the need for tools. Surely this happens in the mind. Tools are just a show."
Yes, sometimes visions and dreams can seem to come true, but remember, they're only possibilities. You must be very careful when voicing them, because this adds a lot of power to the energy vibrations that are already in motion, and makes the outcome more difficult to change.
That is why any vision or dream must be seen purely as one of many possible outcomes.
Any healer needs tools in order to conduct effective divination. Some examples of tools could be the bones, entrails of animals, and patterns in nature. Others are tarot books and cards, runes, and so on. Every culture has its own divination tools.
Now I’m not saying you should go and slaughter a cow and try to read its entrails. That would be in poor taste these days. However, reading patterns in nature, although it requires great skill and experience, is a very valid form of divination. Watching insects and how they behave is a form of divination. Many cultures tap into the power of insects and bugs' spiritual meanings for a message.
Most of us won't be able to do it, because we've lost that close and complex relationship with nature. The one where we truly believe in the assigned meanings of natural events or phenomena.
Many traditional healers use bones, combined with other objects such as dice, and maybe coins, and so on. These aren't just random objects that when thrown, present some supernatural vision to the healer.
These items have very clear meanings. The way they lie has very clear meanings; how are they positioned in relation to one another? Are they lying in the north, east, south, or west; what is the significance of a particular item in this quadrant?
The meanings and associations go on and on and are often specific to the healer and the culture in which they learn and develop.
It's widely understood, by the world, that this is the way in which divination tools work. Take runes or tarot cards, for instance. Each one is imbued with a very clear meaning and interpretation that represent the human condition.
It's practical, but many ask, “how does the interpretation lead to the voicing of specific outcomes for a patient or truth seeker?”
Well, to put it plainly, it's up to the healer. Yes, I said it, the healer will determine ultimately what the signs mean.
“Bogus!” you shout, so it's all staged. Well…yes and no. A healer can interpret the signs in many ways according to their experience, knowledge, bias, and so on. But this is where the four ‘I’s’ come in.
Intention, Imagination, Intuition, and integrity.
The intention must be pure – to see the person as healed.
The imagination must be open but realistic to the person that seeks healing. Be open to energetic vibrations.
The intuition must be trusted and relied upon to show the possibilities. The computer in your head aligns with the energy vibrations.
The integrity must be solid – honesty, love, and blessings…not purely a financial transaction.
These things aren't emphasized by most people who seek to explain and understand divination. But they are, essentially, the key.
They're not emphasized because they're not understood. They're not tangible. Our understanding of the universe, of the matrix in which we live, and the complex interactions of cause and effect, are very poor. We all sprout things like “Oh it’s the butterfly effect” and so on, but do we actually understand what that means?
It means that we're all so intricately connected, to one another, to our environments, not only on a physical basis but on a spiritual and energetic basis.
Just as particle vibrates and we can perceive that through seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and tasting it, so does energy vibrate. The senses are used to perceive our intuition and imagination. And we must trust our intuition and imagination without doubt or compromise.
Divination tools are used for the healer to see patterns. How those patterns are interpreted is another thing, but if the intention is pure, the integrity is there, the intuition is trusted and the imagination is realistic, those patterns will present real possibilities.
Another important tool used by the healer is questioning. Divination is an open process and the healer needs to obtain as much information as possible about the client so they can use their intuition to its fullest.
Also, and this is interesting, a Shaman may rearrange the patterns that the tools present. Once when I had a rune reading, the practitioner looked at a particular rune that was lying in the casting and promptly said that it didn’t belong there and took it out.
When I asked about this affecting the authenticity of the process, I was told that the rune didn't bring any good to the situation and had no meaning in the possibilities shown. Intuition told them it didn’t need to be there.
One must trust the process. That's why seeing a Shaman or healer is a hazardous business. Similar to used car salesmen, there is your fair share of dodgy shamans!
You may say that this is all a bit airy-fairy and hard to believe. That’s fine, you're free to believe whatever you want to. However, the practice of divination is ancient and still provides clarity for many people today.
It must be remembered, that it's not about the healer. It's not about the tools, or even the so-called spirits that may be claimed to be guiding the tools. It's about the individual. We all have our own truths, and if a process leads to healing, then it's authentic.
One thing an honest healer with integrity will never do is present a closed outcome to you. This is bad practice and disempowers an individual.
True Shamanism is about empowering a person, presenting them with opportunities and possibilities, and guiding them to make the right choices. This is why you will always go back to what the healer said months or years later and say “Yes, you were right!” …provided they were honest and conducted their practice with integrity.
Divination is a practice that must be underpinned by love, patience, blessings, and the pure intention to heal.
You might like some of these divination tools to use in your own practice as a healer or shaman.
Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game of Zen - A 79-deck of tarot plus a guidebook on how to use and read the major and minor arcana cards. This deck is used by healers to guide clients through the process of here and now while using tarot for inner work.
TGS Gems Amethyst Runes Stone Set - This set includes 24 stones with carvings of the different runes plus one blank stone. The stones are kept in a beautiful velvet pouch and an instruction booklet is included.
Star Pendulum Wooden Dowsing Board - This dowsing board can be used together with your favorite pendulum as a divination tool.
Jovivi Natural Aquamarine Healing Crystal Pendulum - Made with natural materials and including a copper insert for improved accuracy and sensitivity when dowsing for healing purposes.
Astrological Divination Dice - Includes 5 sets of 12-sided astrological dice and a flannel bag for storing your dice safely when not being used.
This post was originally published on October 13th, 2021, and updated on June 27th, 2022.
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