Origins of Runes

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

Runes are letters of an ancient Germanic alphabet with each conveying a unique symbolic meaning. The word rune means “mystery” in Celtic and Germanic languages. Though sometimes associated with fortune-telling, most Runes practitioners realistically point out that the Runes were not designed to predict the future. By accessing ancient wisdom, Runes were designed to produce a greater awareness of the connection of all things, the nature of cause and effect, and the interactions between our personal lives and the rest of the world. Like any balanced archetype system, Runes represents an overview of human psychology, the physical world, and the universe.

Present day Rune casting involves asking a specific question, then interpreting the meanings of the symbols inscribed on a set of stones (sometimes sticks or cards). The techniques for selecting Rune stones are varied. A single stone can be chosen from a bag in answer to a question, or a number of stones (usually three or nine) can be laid out in a variety of patterns, similar to a Tarot spread, for interpretation. Or, a handful of stones can be drawn, then cast onto a special cloth, where unique meanings can be assigned to Runes in the face-up and face-down positions.

Choosing a method of Rune casting is largely a matter of personal taste. None of these methods, or others omitted here, should be considered more authentic than the rest, since there is no reliable record of precisely how Runes were cast for divination in ancient times. When using the Runes, listen to your own wisdom in selecting the appropriate technique.

There is historical research regarding the formation of the Runic alphabet, and the people who used it. The word ‘Runes’ refers to the unique symbolic mystery or idea behind each rune-stave—the inscribed shape or carving in wood, clay, or stone. Though considered by modern historians to have been savage in their excursions, the Vikings were in touch with the Earth and the cycles of nature. According to Nordic mythology, Odin, father of Thor, discovered and invented the Runes. Seeking divine knowledge, Odin hung upside down from a tree limb and was enlightened with the knowledge of the Runes.

Archeological evidence suggests that symbols found on early rock carvings throughout Northern Europe and Scandinavia during the second Bronze Age and early Iron Age led to the development of the rune-staves. The derivation of the Runes’ meanings, like the origins of the rune-staves themselves, remains mysterious. In Germania 10, Tacitus—the Roman politician, orator, historian, and author from the first century A.D.—describes a number of forms of divination, including ways of interpreting the flights and calls of birds. It was later surmised that the shapes of the rune-staves were derived from the patterns of bird flight. Also, Tacitus writes of omens being read in the snorts, whinnies, and neighs of pure white sacred horses kept by the public in sacred forests. The obvious link to these sacred horses is the nineteenth Rune, ehwaz, “the horse.”

There are a variety of theories about which alphabets the rune-staves were related to—including Greek, Latin, and North Italic alphabets. O.V. Friesen proposed the idea that near the Black Sea in the third century A.D., Goths invented rune-staves based on the cursive and capital letters of the Greek alphabet. Danish scholar L. F. Wimmer identified similarities between some rune-staves and Latin, and also concluded the creation of the rune-staves would have been in the third century A.D. However, these theories are questioned because the earliest inscriptions—from Norway and Denmark—can be dated to the second or third century A.D., which means their invention, distribution, and rise in popularity was already underway for quite some time by then.

The most widely held view of the rune-staves’ origin is that they derived from the North Italic scripts of Italy, which, like Latin, came from the early Etruscan alphabet. Both rune-staves and North Italic alphabets were written from left to right as well as right to left, but many of the rune-staves do not resemble North Italic in form. Some claim that the Germanic tribes of the alpine regions could have learned the North Italic alphabet as early as the fourth century B.C. The Futhark alphabet, as we call it today, evolved from this encounter and by the second century B.C. it was spreading northward. It appears likely that the Common Germanic Rune was created between the fourth century B.C. and the first century A.D.

Origins of Numerology

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

The art of Numerology has existed since the ancient discovery of mathematics. To this day, most cultures attach special meaning to certain numbers and their position in a sequence. As we have just seen, the Chinese I Ching describes the differences between even (earthly) and odd (heavenly) numbers. Numerology has also been used to correlate the significance of numbers to an alphabet, giving each letter a numerical value. A well-known example is the Hebrew alphabet of twenty-two characters—the same as the number of trump cards in the Tarot deck. Because of the applicability of numbers to alphabets, numerologists are able to use words or names, in addition to numbers, to reveal divinatory meaning.

There are three major forms of Numerology— Kabbalic, Chaldean and the Pythagorean. They can be used in any combination to produce a reading, but whatever system you prefer, I suggest using it consistently so as not to confuse yourself. The one you find that you are drawn to is good enough.

Kabbalic Numerology—which is often used to interpret names—originally derived from Hebrew mysticism, is an outgrowth of the Hebrew alphabet with its twenty-two vibrations. Later it was adapted for the Greek alphabet, then the Roman alphabet. Thirteenth century Kabbalists believed that the Old Testament was written in a secret code inspired by God. They used Numerology as a tool to decipher this code. It also happens that twenty-two-base Numerology adds a significant dimension to the interpretation of the twenty-two Trump cards of the Tarot deck.

Chaldean Numerology has closer ties to Astrology, having originated in Mesopotamia, which was also the birthplace of Western Astrology. It is also related to the Vedic system of India, as well as the Kabbalah. The basis of Chaldean Numerology is that each letter has a unique vibration and is assigned a number from 1 to 8 based on its energetic quality. The number 9 is kept separate from the other numbers—except when it appears as a from the other numbers—except when it appears as a sum of vibrations—because it is considered the most sacred number. In Chaldean Numerology, single digits reveal the outer nature of a person, while double digits describe inner qualities.

The third and most popular form of Numerology is the method developed by Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and metaphysician of the 6th century B.C. Pythagoras is famous for his formulation of the Pythagorean theorem, which calculates the hypotenuse of a right triangle, a basic construct of modern geometry. According to legend, Pythagoras was the founder of Numerology and practiced it to divine the fates of individuals, predict the events of certain locations, and use name changing as a means to alter destiny. In the Pythagorean system, numbers were assigned to letters in the Greek alphabet based on their position in the sequence. Pythagorean Numerology generally uses both the name and the date of birth, and then examines the relationships between them, much like the Chaldean method. The basic vibrations are 1 through 9, and the master vibrations are 11 and 22, which are never reduced to a single digit. In the 1800s, when scientific discoveries regarding magnetism, light, and electricity were progressing rapidly, the idea that energy patterns of vibrations corresponded to numbers became popular. Overall, the use of Numerology for self-knowledge and divination has continued to blossom with undying popularity.

Origins of Tarot

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

This system of divination now known as Tarot first became popular in card form in Europe during the early fifteenth century, assisted by the invention of the printing press. Early images of twenty of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards (Arcana means “secrets”) can be seen in an Italian deck of A.D. 1440. The Visconti family’s decks, forebears of Tarot decks in use today, appear to have been created as a recreational pastime for the nobility. Across five centuries, the structure of the modern deck of Tarot cards remains identical to the game decks enjoyed in the fifteenth century. The Marseilles family of decks, still in print today, is the oldest of the standard Tarot deck pattern.

Even though Tarot may have started as a card game, members of secret societies assigned mystical meanings to the cards, adding corresponding astrological, numerological and kabbalic symbols over time. There is no doubt that the images on modern Tarot cards have roots at least as old as Western civilization, going back as far as Egypt and maybe China. Because Tarot now incorporates a synthesis of Astrology, Numerology, the Jewish Kabbalah and harmonic theory, our Tarot scholar, Christine Payne-Towler, refers to Tarot as “the flash cards of the Western mysteries.”

The highly symbolic Tarot deck provided a way to secretly preserve ancient teachings and divination systems during a period when the Christian church was hell-bent on repressing such knowledge. The Church’s persecution of so-called heresies, which was sometimes represented in Tarot images, caused the esoteric information to be sheltered by small groups of like-minded people, by whom it was carefully preserved, and selectively shared in the guise of a card game.

Frenchman Antoine Court de Gébelin deserves much credit for the establishment of modern Tarot, including its use as a means of divination. In 1781 he announced that he had discovered the mythical teachings of Thoth, the Egyptian god who invented magic and writing, in the symbols on the Tarot deck. Jean-Baptiste Alliette, known as “Etteilla,” was the first to create a deck of thirty-two cards to be used specifically for divination in 1770.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Eliphas Lévi had expanded Court de Gébelin’s work by joining it with the Jewish mystical system, the Kabbalah, although he did not abandon Egyptian symbolism in his deck. Lévi’s work was key in fueling a Tarot revival. Lévi does not get as much credit as he deserves, largely due to the efforts of A.E. Waite, the English Tarot scholar of the early 1900s who translated Lévi’s works from French to English. Various members of England’s Order of the Golden Dawn went so far as to rearrange the order of the traditional Tarot deck, assigning some different astrological correspondences, as well as making other small changes. In order to establish its own reputation and influence, it was in the Golden Dawn’s interest to discount Lévi’s more traditional teachings, even to deny the validity of all Tarot knowledge that had come before. Waite’s translated texts included many notes encouraging the reader to dismiss Lévi’s ideas.

To a large degree, these efforts were successful. Today it is not uncommon to hear claims that Tarot originated in England, when in fact the French, Italians, and Spanish were using it over 100 years earlier than the English. Most decks in popular use today are derived from Waite’s ‘Rider-Waite’ deck—or the Book of Thoth Tarot, an even more creative deck designed by Aleister Crowley, who was also a member of the Golden Dawn society.

Origins of Astrology

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

Early Astrology was a marriage of astronomy and mythology. Several ancient cultures—including Mayan, Indian and Chinese—mastered astronomy to determine celestial events like solstices, equinoxes, moon cycles, seasons, and eclipses. They also used it to help interpret events or determine auspicious times for various activities. Astrological traditions from cultures other than our own have remained in continuous use since ancient times, including Vedic Astrology and the Mayan Calendar. Western Astrology as we know it is a descendant of Mesopotamian celestial observation and omen-reading that began around 2000 B.C.

According to archeological evidence, it is likely that there was a religious, as well as astronomical, significance to megalithic constructions such as Stonehenge and Easter Island built in various parts of the world from 4000 to 2000 B.C. Some historians assert that the mathematical sophistication of these early cultures was equal to that of Renaissance Europe, and that this knowledge was passed along to Mesopotamia around the same time as the development of star-based omen lore in 3000–2000 B.C.

There is little known about the practicing astrologers of these times, except that they also would have been astronomers, and that at least part of their divination practices involved interpreting patterns of events based on observable movements in the heavens.

In 538 B.C., Mesopotamia was conquered by the Persians, who contributed their greater mathematical sophistication to Mesopotamia’s astronomy. Humans were now able to calculate the paths of planets across the sky (or around the Earth, as was the understanding of the time), and develop horoscopes much like the ones we use today. The oldest natal horoscope ever found is dated April 29, 410 B.C.

Modern Astrology, including sun sign interpretation, was systematized by Ptolemy in his book Tetrabiblos during the second century A.D. Ptolemy synthesized much of the contemporary astrological thinking and arranged it into a consistent and unified body of work. Much of modern Western Astrology borrowed from Ptolemy’s work.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Astrology was condemned and suppressed by the Church. It didn’t find a widespread following again until eighth century Spain during the wars with the Arabs, who had continued to use Astrology. The Emperor Charlemagne hired an astrologer and took up studies on the subject. Astrology was used by the ruling class throughout the European Reformation (fourteenth to seventeenth centuries), and then fell into disfavor until the Theosophical movement revived interest in the United States during the 1880s. Ironically, it was during this period of neglect by the ruling classes that Astrology became almost respectable among the general public, and this trend of interest in and use of Astrology is still increasing today.

History of the I Ching

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

The I Ching is the oldest of all the classical divination systems. It is also one of the oldest books in the world. Its first interpretive text was composed around 1000 B.C. The I Ching’s actual discovery and much of its early history are the stuff of legends.

There are a number of myths surrounding the origins of the eight trigrams and the development of the I Ching divination system. In one tale, Fu Hsi, the first emperor of China (2852–2737 B.C.), is said to have observed a turtle emerging from the Yellow River. Knowing that true wisdom came from the direct and close observation of nature, he had a sudden realization of the significance of eight symbols he saw on the turtle’s back. He saw how the sets of three solid or broken lines, the trigrams, reflected the movement of energy in life on Earth.

A similar myth describes Fu Hsi’s contemplation of other patterns in nature, including animals, plants, meteorological phenomena, and even his own body. These myths describe how he identified the trigrams that arose from his understanding of the connection of all things, through the interplay of yin and yang.

There is evidence of early Chinese divination where tortoise shells were heated over a flame until they cracked, with the emerging patterns (presumably trigrams) being read. In some cases the shells were marked with their interpretations and stored for reference, and I have had the privilege of seeing a few of them preserved at the National Museum in Taiwan, China. Fu Hsi was the mythical First Emperor of China. He is reputed to be the inventor of writing, fish-ing and trapping, as well as the discoverer of the I Ching trigrams on the back of a turtle. He lived around 3000 B.C.

Another version also involving tortoise shells describes descendants of the “many Fu”—an ancient clan of female diviners—who read the shells of live turtles. According to the legend, they became the queens and royalty of the Shang Dynasty—which had been considered mythical until archeological evidence proving its existence was unearthed in 1899. Some say Lao Tzu, the enlightened forefather of Taoism and the author of the Tao Te Ching, was a descendent of this clan.

The Taoist/Confucian tradition posits that juxtaposing a set of the possible permutations of yin and yang with the elements of Chinese creation mythology produced the foundation of the I Ching. Pairing up the various combinations of yin (the literal ancient meaning of which is the shady north side of the hill) and yang (meaning the sunny south side of the hill) gives you four primary symbols. With the addition of another yin or yang line, the eight trigrams emerge.

The earliest composition of I Ching interpretations is attributed to King Wen. Toward the end of the Shang Dynasty, when the unjust emperor Zhou Wang imprisoned Wen, he reportedly used his confinement to meditate on the trigrams, pairing them up to produce sixty-four possible hexagrams. Each pair of trigrams took on a meaning specific to their combination. In what we might assume was an enlightened state of mind, King Wen assigned each of the sixty-four hexagrams a name, adding a few sentences to explain its meaning. It is said that his son, King Wu, added additional interpretative text, bringing the I Ching closer to its current form.

Confucius, who came a few hundred years later, was possibly the I Ching’s greatest patron, taking the interpretative texts to the next level with the addition of his extensive commentaries. Confucius was primarily interested in the I Ching as a manual for how to live a life of the highest virtue, as opposed to its usefulness as a divination system. According to his Analects (VII, xvi), Confucius, who lived to be an old man, is reputed to have said, “If some years were added to my life, I would devote fifty of them to the study of the oracle, and might then avoid committing great errors.”

Historical evidence substantiates the theory that the Book of Changes and its sixty-four hexagrams were part of an ancient oral tradition that predates recorded history in China. The basics of the I Ching text—the names of the hexagrams and their judgments—were likely composed in the eighth century B.C. However, the practice of using the hexagrams to refer to specific interpretations probably didn’t occur until the fifth century B.C. Between 475 and 221 B.C. (known as the Warring States period), the I Ching texts were consolidated into a book to make it easier to consult and share with others during that time of extreme upheaval. Shortly after, the I Ching was spared in the Ch’in Dynasty’s massive book burning because it was considered one of the five “Great Classics.”

The Book of Changes was canonized and studied intently by scholars during the Han Dynasty of 202 B.C.– A.D. 220. Between the third century B.C. and the turn of the millennium, significant additions, known as the ‘Wings’, were written regarding the individual lines in the hexagrams, and the meaning of the trigrams. These commentaries are generally attributed to Confucius, who lived around 500 B.C. More work was done, and the I Ching we use today is not substantially different from the 168 B.C. version. The main difference is that the hexagrams appear in a different order. The order in use today was first proposed around 100 B.C., but was not the standard until the third century A.D. Throughout what we know of Chinese history, the rulers of China, as well as the general public, used the I Ching as best they could before printing was available. It is woven into the fabric of this ancient culture and its influence has been fundamental to the Eastern world-view as a whole. It has only been in the last 150 years or so that Western culture was even exposed to basic Taoist concepts—such as German and English translations of the I Ching and Tao Te Ching. Carl Jung’s explanation of the I Ching’s psychological validity and value, and the widespread open-mindedness about all things spiritual during the 1960s, made using the I Ching a common experience in the Western world.

Nowadays, the most common method for casting the I Ching involves tossing three coins six times to create the six-line pattern, or hexagram. A traditional technique for deriving a hexagram, dating from about 500 B.C., involves a fairly complicated process of selecting and sorting fifty sticks, usually yarrow stalks. The best yarrow stalks for this were the ones that grew on Confucius’ grave, but the supply was limited! After the coins or stalks are tossed and sorted out, one looks up the interpretation in the sacred book.

Divination Verses in the Bible

Adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

Most of the organized Christian religions believe that the Bible prohibits the use of divination. However, there are numerous places in the Bible where God seems to be in favor of the esoteric arts. While it is by no means complete (you will not find passages referring to dream interpretation, channeling, or prophesy here), this list of New King James Version Bible passages proves that there are cases where God supports the use of divination.

Verses Condemning Divination

Exodus 22:18 You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

Leviticus 19:26 You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.

Leviticus 19:31 Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:27 A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.

Deuteronomy 18:10-11 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

Deuteronomy 18:14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.

Joshua 13:22 The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them.

1 Samuel 6:2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it to its place.”

1 Samuel 28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a seance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”

2 Kings 21:6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.

2 Chronicles 33:6 Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.

Isaiah 2:6 For You have forsaken your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners.

Isaiah 8:19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

Ezekiel 21:21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks at the liver.

Micah 3:6 Therefore you shall have night without vision, And you shall have darkness without divination; The sun shall go down on the prophets, And the day shall be dark for them.

Micah 3:7 So the seers shall be ashamed, And the diviners abashed; Indeed they shall all cover their lips; For there is no answer from God.

Micah 3:11 Her heads judge for a bribe, Her priests teach for pay, And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.”

Acts 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

Acts 13:6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus,

Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.

Acts 19:9 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Verses Supporting Divination

Genesis 44:4-5 4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5 Is not this the one from which my lord drinks, and with which he indeed practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.’”

Exodus 28:30 And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the Lord continually.

Leviticus 16:8 – 10 8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

Numbers 26:55 But the land shall be divided by lot; they shall inherit according to the names of the tribes of their fathers.

Numbers 26:56 According to the lot their inheritance shall be divided between the larger and the smaller.”

Numbers 27:21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him–all the congregation.

Deuteronomy 33:8 And of Levi he said: “Let Your Thummim and Your Urim be with Your holy one, Whom You tested at Massah, And with whom You contended at the waters of Meribah.”

Joshua 14:2 Their inheritance was by lot, as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.

Joshua 18:6 You shall therefore survey the land in seven parts and bring the survey here to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.

Joshua 18:8 Then the men arose to go away; and Joshua charged those who went to survey the land, saying, “Go, walk through the land, survey it, and come back to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shiloh.”

Joshua 18:10 Then Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord, and there Joshua divided the land to the children of Israel according to their divisions.

Judges 6:36-40 36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said–37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

1 Samuel 14:8-10 8 Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”

1 Samuel 14: 42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken.

1 Chronicles 24:31 These also cast lots just as their brothers the sons of Aaron did, in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the priests and Levites. The chief fathers did just as their younger brethren.

1 Chronicles 25:8 And they cast lots for their duty, the small as well as the great, the teacher with the student.

1 Chronicles 26:13-14 13And they cast lots for each gate, the small as well as the great, according to their father’s house. 14 The lot for the East Gate fell to Shelemiah. Then they cast lots for his son Zechariah, a wise counselor, and his lot came out for the North Gate.

Nehemiah 10:34 We cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God as it is written in the Law.

Nehemiah 11:1 Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities.

Psalms 22:18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord

Proverbs 18:18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease, And keeps the mighty apart.

Obadiah 1:11 In the day that you stood on the other side– In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, When foreigners entered his gates And cast lots for Jerusalem– Even you were as one of them.

Jonah 1:7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

Mark 15:24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

John 19:24 They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Acts 1:26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Divination in the Bible and the “Gift of Prophecy”

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

Most people whose religious faith relies on biblical scripture believe that divination of any kind is a sin condemned by God. Fundamentalists claim that astrologers and diviners are agents of the devil leading the weak to eternal damnation. They selectively quote the Bible to back up their condemnation of divination systems and intuitive powers. Fundamentalists ignore the fact that the Bible, also contains numerous verses that reveal their God approving the use of divination as a way to decipher His will and make enlightened decisions.

In the research for my book on divination, my editor and I reviewed everything the Old and New Testaments have to say about divination and psychic arts—including the divination technique known as “Urim and Thummim” that was actually mandated by God, as well as omen reading, channeling, psychics and prophecy. For review purpposes, we used the New King James version.

Prophets and Diviners

Religious condemnation of intuitive powers is especially ironic considering that the Bible itself is considered to have been merely transcribed by its human authors through what St. Paul referred to as “the gift of prophecy,” which was originally considered available to all who believed in orthodox doctrine. In fact, it is an article of faith in scripture’s authority that God spoke through prophets, who received His message using what we now call ‘channeling.’ The Bible describes such channeling in several places, including the following:

I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)

I have also spoken by the prophets, And have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets. (Hosea 12:10)

The prophets, therefore, are psychic mediums who received wisdom in the form of voices and visions from a higher power, which they then conveyed to others, sometimes to make a decision or offer advice. The prophets served as guardians of the people, and were important precisely because they could foresee coming dangers. Prophets were also known to interpret events that were happening in the present, providing insights into God’s reasons for creating certain conditions. Diviners and prophets were classed together. In Isaiah 3:2-3, for instance, diviners are ranked with judges, warriors and prophets as pillars of the state.

The mighty man and the man of war, The judge and the prophet, And the diviner and the elder; The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the skillful artisan, And the expert enchanter. (Isaiah 3:2-3)

The story of Moses is a classic example of a mystical experience in the Bible. Moses repeatedly ascended Mt. Sinai to communicate directly with God. Not only did he listen to God’s instructions, he also was able to ask questions of God in order to confirm His commands. Moses also used the Israelite’s Urim method of divination described below. It only makes sense that he would do so, because communicating with divinity is what the word “divination” means, what divination systems are meant to facilitate.

The High Priest’s Divination System

The reading of omens are used in the Bible when it comes to deciding all sorts of issues. The prophet Elisha directed King Joash to throw two arrows through the window in order to find out whether the king would be victorious or not (2 Kings 13:14-19). God used omens to signal Gideon’s victory over the Midianites. If the fleece of the sheep was wet and the ground was dry it was a sign of ensuing success (Judges 6:36-40). In 1 Samuel 14:9, Jonathan decides whether or not he should attack the Philistines by the words the Lord has them speak. There is nothing in the Bible disapproving of the reading of signs sent from God.

But the Israelites did not have to rely on external signs alone. They had a sacred divination system, known as Urim and Thummim, given to them by Jahweh (Esther 3: 21-28). Several verses of the Old Testament mention the use of this sacred tool. Today, the exact composition of the Urim and Thummim is not known, but most scholars believe there were two sacred stone dice, perhaps made of precious gems. They were stored in a pouch inside the high priest’s “breastplate of judgment,” which he wore whenever seeking divine guidance with regard to important issues or strategic decisions of state. However it worked exactly, the Bible does make it clear that God had granted the people this divination system, and that He controlled the answers it produced.

Abraham used Urim and Thummim, as did Aaron and the priests of Israel.

He shall stand before Eleazer the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation. (Numbers 27:21)

As noted, Moses used the Urim and Thummim. Joshua was named as his successor using this divination system (Numbers 27:21). After Joshua died, the Israelites used it to determine who would continue to lead them into victory over the Canaanites. (Judges 1:1) When David was considering whether or not to pursue the marauding Amalekites, the divination tool confirmed for him that it was advisable to do so (1 Samuel 30: 7-8). There are many more examples of the divinatory use of the Urim and Thummim, which can be easily looked up in any Bible concordance. In most cases, God explicitly tells the Israelites to use it to divine His will.

Since there are so many times in the Bible in which God provides answers to his followers through divination—either Urim and Thummim or the casting of lots (i.e. used in the New Testament to pick Matthias as the replacement for Judas)—we ask ourselves how divination came to be portrayed as just plain evil by fundamentalist religions and sects.

The biblical case against divination

Considering that God sanctioned and recommended divination in more passages than otherwise, it is a travesty that the organized western religions condemned divination systems. In spite of all the passages noted herein (and listed on Divination.com), it is incredible that Christian fundamentalists continue to cite the Bible as proof that God condemns diviners.

The most commonly quoted verse in the Bible that is used to assert that divination is a transgression against God’s will is Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

It’s important to note that the book of Deuteronomy, so preoccupied with “abominations,” contains countless laws that are in themselves abominable — laws that are no longer respected or practiced by anyone, let alone used as grounds for persecution. For instance, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.” (Deuteronomy 15:1) There would be countless people in a much better financial position if this law were in effect! Women might be interested to know that they are “an abomination to the Lord” if they wear men’s clothes (Deuteronomy 22:5). Also according to this law, any bride who is not a virgin on her wedding night shall be stoned to death on her father’s porch (Deuteronomy 22:21). Nice laws!

Over the centuries, churches, temples and mosques have always been extremely selective about which parts of their scriptures to cite, and which to ignore. But in this modern age we are free to look at ancient scriptures with fresh eyes. In doing so, we need to remember that the true value of scriptures does not lie in lists of ancient laws and “shalt-nots,” but in parables of virtue and timeless principles that are relevant to the cultivation of wisdom.

Based on a balanced look at the biblical record, it is safe to conclude that God intended us to use divination systems to better interpret our pathway to realization. In ancient times, only the high priest had the power of direct access. Fortunately today, all spiritually inclined people have access to even better divination systems—like the I Ching, Astrology and Tarot. We are now able to ‘go direct’ for guidance on our own, bypassing religious and political hierarchies altogether.

In the first century of the common era, as he was defining orthodox Christian beliefs, St. Paul labeled the ability to decipher the mind of God as “the Gift of Prophecy”—one of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to true believers. It was a form of channeling. Nowadays, thanks to universal access to authentic divination tools, everyone—Christian and non-Christian alike—who approaches the process with sincerity can derive the benefits, without being expected to channel (or speak in tongues :-). When it comes to communicating with the divine, the open minded are truly the chosen people.

Divination — a Popular Trend

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

Understanding how divination works

The time-honored ancient systems of divination were created by mystics to support self-knowledge and inspired decision-making. Nowadays they are coming out in a big way. According to an article about Tarot in The Trends Journal:

“The resurgence of the Tarot is not a fad, but part of a widespread new-millennium trend. Once available only in several traditional designs and found only in specialty mail-order catalogs and back-alley occult emporiums, Tarot has exploded into dozens of varieties and is now found prominently displayed at the checkout counters of the major bookstore chains.”

Astrology, Numerology, the I Ching, and Tarot are systems of divination that have been used by elite members of societies for thousands of years. But divination has never been as popular as it has become in our information age. As founder and CEO of one of the world’s most popular divination websites, Tarot.com, which had 10 million registered subscribers, I know this from personal experience.

Millions of satisfied customers are now using one of the various forms of divination—like real astrology (not just horoscopes), the Chinese I Ching or Tarot—to help make important personal and strategic decisions. And rather than using the older methods of cards or coins, they are often casting for insights and timeless advice using smart phones, computers and the Internet.

As tools for aligning oneself with one’s destiny, divination systems have an obvious appeal. The public’s growing interest creates a need to understand how they work, how they were designed, and how we can derive the most benefit from them.

As a businessman and intellectual, people have asked me “Do you really believe in this stuff?” Actually, to derive benefit from a divination experience, the only things you need believe in are your own common sense and your intuition (an art to be learned). Divination is an excellent way to stimulate your intuition in order to think outside the box about problems that logic can’t handle. If your beliefs prevent you from approaching divination with an open mind, it can’t work for you, because intuitive reception depends on being open. As for proof, either divination stimulates your intuition and creativity, or it doesn’t. Nobody is asking you to believe anything. Give it a sincere try. If it works for you, terrific, but you are not required to adopt any beliefs for it to do so. I have used these as tools my entire adult life for stimulating my intuition and helping me to be more creative in my decision-making, because they work for me. But no belief – only a bit of sincerity – is required for this benefit to be realized.

Beyond the fact that my experience has proven that they work for me, years of research and study fueled by a personal fascination have led me to a deeper understanding of underlying psychological principles that explain how divination systems work.

Finding the meaning in coincidence

The word coincidence describes an event in which two or more things come together in time. In common parlance, the term carries the connotation that although the event may seem and feel like it was arranged, in reality it was nothing more than an accident. People who use divination believe that nothing is purely accidental. We have learned from experience that coincidences are almost never meaningless. In fact, coincidences can serve as signs from above, if you know how to interpret them.

The human ability to notice and decipher the meaning of events in life is as old as society. Interpreting coincidental events and natural occurrences — the proverbial “signs and omens” of scriptures — is a well-documented historical fact, and it continues to this day in our remaining indigenous cultures. Our second type of divination is a divinely inspired invention that does not depend upon happenstance. A sacred ritual, it takes a more deliberate approach. A system of divination like Tarot or its more ancient cousin, the I Ching, involves the deliberate production of a coincidence, which can then be interpreted to further your understanding of what is going on.

Unlike the interpretation of signs and omens, the use of a divination system does not rely on psychic ability alone. Systems of divination have provided humanity with a more reliable way to decipher the will of the gods, because they include a body of knowledge to guide our interpretation. The inspired knowledge of astrological signs, I Ching hexagrams and Tarot archetypes was codified by ancient sages in order to satisfy our natural desire to make sense of human behavior and feeling patterns, and to help us develop better timing that is in sync with nature, and as a result make better decisions in the most important areas of our lives.

Through divination systems, we have been gifted with symbolic languages to interpret divine will. The symbols and archetypes that form the heart of all divination systems represent the dynamics of human life, including social and political interaction. Because it uses the language of archetypes, divination becomes more than a meditation technique. It can provide insights, timely advice and directions from the divine.

The question of how divination works has been taken up by a wide array of people, from philosophers to educators, psychologists to skeptics. Opinions have come from a broad spectrum of self-appointed experts — from new age gurus to religious fundamentalists. Some fundamentalists purport the “fallen angel” theory — that the devil possesses diviners in order to lead people away from God. Then there’s the order out of chaos theory promulgated by skeptics. We have such an urgent need to find order for ourselves in this chaotic world, that we are naively susceptible to inventing meaning in an oracle’s random patterns.

Despite the skepticism of the religious and scientific establishment, the perceived gap between the empirical and the mystical has been closing now for over a century. Major credit for bringing these two camps within hailing distance must go to the founder of depth psychology, Carl Jung, who has done more for the understanding of divination than any other scientist. As part of his psychology, Jung made it a point to study the world’s religions, mythologies, and divination systems, rather than simply shove them aside as irrational or irrelevant. His fascination with divination systems like the I Ching, Tarot and Astrology stemmed from his perception that each of them comprised a balanced and complete set of universal archetypes, and that they actually worked!

Universal archetypes

The way Jung saw archetypes was similar to Plato’s concept of Forms — the ideal forms that provide the templates for all of nature, including human beings. Jung took this concept, refined it, and applied it to his formulation of depth psychology. In essence, Jungian archetypes are the common landscape of attributes and psychological forces that human beings are shaped by.

Individuals manifest different qualities — or archetypes — in different proportions, but to some degree the energy or attitude of every archetype is contained within each of us. There is something reassuring in knowing that we all contain different combinations of the same stuff — the same instincts, desires, needs, impulses and fears. Viewed positively, this means we all share the same great potentials. Only the proportions of elements are distributed differently. We also have all the same problematic tendencies too — again in different proportions. Astrology, when properly understood, illustrates the universal nature of archetypes. Because of the tabloid “what’s your sign” treatment by popular media, most people don’t realize that according to real astrology, everyone has every one of the twelve signs somewhere in their chart — in different placements and proportions for different souls.

Archetypes represent qualities of consciousness or energy that inform human experiences, situations or roles. For instance, when we think of a Queen as an archetype, we are thinking not of an actual queen, but of feminine energy in a position of great influence. According to a Jungian understanding of archetypes, such queen energy is one element within every individual’s psyche, as is every other archetype. One of the Queen cards in Tarot, for instance, could be referring to a personal realm or social context — like a nurturing mother. Incidentally, it cannot be overemphasized that archetypes are metaphorical, not literal. One does not expect to become Queen of a monarchy because that card is drawn. Likewise, physical death is not the meaning of the Death card, as those who fear death could imagine.

For a divination system to be a useful tool for reflection, its set of archetypes needs to be balanced between light and shadow. Numerology, Astrology, Tarot, I Ching and Runes predate the age of marketing and they pass the test, instinctively reflecting a balanced range of human experience, including the darker tendencies of human experience. A collection of warm-fuzzy archetypes might make people feel good — and therefore sell better — but it will not serve as an accurate reflector of human conditions, or a good tool for decision-making.

The Synchronicity Principle

Like no scientist before or since, Carl Jung explored the territory connecting objective behavior with a person’s inner experience, including the spiritual dimension. He not only articulated the role of archetypes in the subconscious, dreams, and divination, he defined a second factor to explain how divination systems work, which he termed synchronicity. The function of synchronicity relies on timing, or discerning the relationship that two events have in time — which could include inner events, like ‘aha’ moments of insight, in sync with events that are happening outside of ones self. Because it explains how things are related in time, Synchronicity is central to explaining how a divination ritual can work.

What is the relationship between subjective experience and external event — such as the way the cards are picked or the coins land — at any given moment? In Jung’s essay entitled “Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle,” he contrasted the western mindset — influenced by early Greek philosophy with its focus on cause and effect — with the eastern perspective, which views details only as part of a whole.

This … involves a certain curious principle that I have termed ‘synchronicity,’ a concept that formulates a point of view diametrically opposed to that of causality. Since the latter is merely statistical truth and not absolute, it is a sort of working hypothesis of how events evolve one out of another, whereas synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers.

To Jung the eastern approach provided a more holistic viewpoint, reaching beyond the linear approach and tunnel vision of rational intellect by itself. Jung pointed to a power of discernment that can make sense of “the irrational functions of consciousness… sensation and intuition.”

Everyone has experienced amazing coincidences that turn out to carry profound meaning in their lives. This is synchronicity in action, one of three different kinds of synchronicity. The first type occurs when an individual has a thought at the same time that some related external event occurs within his or her field of perception. To the extent that our intuition is sharp, we can immediately sense the meaning. The second type occurs when an internal mental process corresponds to an event that happens concurrently, but at a distance. Finally, synchronicity also can occur when an internal thought relates to an external event that hasn’t happened yet, but where no causal relationship seems possible. These last two kinds of synchronicity cannot be known immediately, they can only be verified later. In Jung’s eyes, the occurrence of such meaningful coincidences points to an interconnected union of the material and conscious worlds. Events in our lives, especially emotionally charged ones, can also stimulate archetypes within us, which can then attract similar events that provide meaningful synchronicities.

With regard to divination systems, when you formulate a query for an oracle system, you are deliberately entering a state of receptivity for a response to the inquiry. Then, by picking cards, throwing coins, etc. you are injecting a seemingly random element into the equation, but a personal one that is activated by your energy — your choice of cards, tossing of coins, or rolling of the dice. Since nothing is completely random, to the extent that your personal intention is involved, the coincidental pattern that turns up is related to everything else that is happening at that moment. The archetype(s) that turn up are interpreted specifically in terms of what is in play for you personally at that moment.

The quality of a divination experience, therefore, reflects one’s intent as much as it dispenses practical wisdom. As a form of applied synchronicity, divination offers a system to produce meaningful insight experiences. It’s a spiritual practice for expanding awareness and personal transformation. As Jung put it, the I Ching interprets an “inner unconscious knowledge that corresponds to the state of consciousness at the moment.” What a gift … what an opportunity!

Jung was fascinated by the way the I Ching provided a systematic methodology for a deeper understanding of any human situation — not by analyzing its components, but by viewing individual elements in context, as part of a seamless cosmic whole. As he put it, “There is no need of any criteria which imposes conditions and restricts the wholeness of the natural process… In the I Ching, the coins fall just as happens to suit them.”

This is key to understanding Jung’s psychological worldview. The world is an interconnected web of the subjective and objective, with synchronicity providing a link between the two. Jung overlapped with the new quantum physics of the 20th century in his explanations of synchronicity and consciousness. He showed how quantum physics, which empirically demonstrates behaviors that can only be described as “paradoxical synchronicities,” contributes to understanding how divination systems work.

Science relies on reason, and logic is a good thing to be sure, but when we depend on logic alone to divine the workings of the universe — or even to manage a relationship — we fall short. Intuition is something other than reason, so it is no surprise that the role of intuition is grudgingly accepted in scientific circles. While logical analysis has played an obvious role in unraveling nature’s secrets, intuition has helped us make breakthrough discoveries far beyond the domain of rational processes. Fortunately, many prominent scientists and business leaders have recently rediscovered the ancient technologies for intuitive decision-making known as divination systems.

The Myth of Cause and Effect

When a person consults the I Ching, he or she generally tosses sticks or coins and records the way they land as a six-line pattern called a hexagram. Naturally, we ask, how can any sort of truth be divined from such seeming happenstance? Such moments are hardly random, however — an event in the external world triggers our inner knowledge, and the two realities merge within our working intellect.

Trust in synchronicity might seem to fly in the face of science — based on the ability to objectively measure and predict cause and effect — yet the synchronicity principle was validated by the basic discoveries of quantum physics. In the proof of their Uncertainty Principle in 1927, which still stands, Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger demonstrated that, in the realm of sub-atomic particles, the act of perception influences what is being perceived, and objective measurement is impossible.

Ultimately, it becomes clear that there is no such thing as scientific objectivity, only statistical probabilities. As Jung put it in his foreword to Wilhelm’s I Ching, “every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance, so much so that under natural circumstances a course of events absolutely conforming to specific laws is almost an exception.” So it happens that the answer to a long-unsolved quandary can just pop into our heads. So it happens that events oozing with connective portent can appear to have no causal relationship. But meaning arises and it is no accident. Exploring this mutual interplay between matter and mind is key to future pursuits of knowledge and understanding.

In terms of managing the practical affairs, looking for meaning in synchronistic events actually works better than striving to make predictions according to linear thinking or statistical probabilities. Wise ancient observers, who lacked our computational and record-keeping technologies, put their observations to work through the I Ching, Astrology, Tarot, Runes and Numerology. Using the magic of applied synchronicity within a rich set of traditional archetypes, they strove to understand and cooperate with the way events are destined to unfold, the way things go together in time.

Even though we can investigate and explore the realms of the mysterious — and even use mystical tools in our personal quest for wisdom — it is likely that they will never be “proven” in the scientific sense of the word. It helps to understand the interconnectedness of all things, the Synchronicity Principle and the power of archetypes, but the best proof is how well divination helps you make better decisions, have better relationships and less stress.

A Short History of Divination

Excerpted and adapted from the book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien

Human beings have always looked for the answers to life’s great mysteries. Why are we here? Who controls our destiny? How does life work? What does the future hold? There is archeological evidence that a need to know and deep spiritual seeking are universal human traits, and that some form of divination has been used since the earliest times, to support this quest.

Many cultures, including Chinese, Mayan, Mesopotamian and Indian, looked upwards to heavenly bodies— stars, planets, constellations, eclipses, and comets—not only to tell time and understand the seasons, but also for signs of portent or to decipher changes attributable to divine action. Others paid special attention to terrestrial omens such as animal migrations and weather patterns, as well as patterns of tossed sticks, bones, amulets, or rocks. African tribes have used bones in divination rituals for hundreds of thousands of years.

Chinese Taoists read patterns on tortoise shells, which evolved into the hexagrams of the I Ching. Vikings consulted the runestones. Ancient Roman shamans observed the entrails of slaughtered animals and grains that hens pecked at and formed messages (alectryomancy).

Other cultures have looked to inner space (such as the Australian aborigines with their dreamtime), or have used entheogenic plants for vision quests (such as the Mazatec Indians of Mexico who use Salvia divinorum for spiritual rituals and divination). There are also numerous passages in the Old Testament documenting Jahweh’s instructions for using a sacred set of dice called Urim and Thummim to make decisions in His name.

Even though various forms of divination have been used in all societies, the widespread use of sophisticated divination systems across all classes of people is a recent development. The spread of divination systems had depended on oral transmission, which in preliterate times was largely the exclusive domain of the rulers, chieftains, official soothsayers, priests, sages, prophets and shamans. Although belief in magic was practically universal up to and through the Middle Ages, including primitive divinatory practices of folk magic, knowledge of divination systems and what Tarot scholar Bob O’Neill calls learned magic, could not spread until the invention of printing.

The Chinese invented paper more than two thousand years ago, and by 1045 a printer named Bi Sheng had created the first primitive moveable type, which served to increase the production of reading material. His method was used to reproduce the oldest book of wisdom—the I Ching, which is also the world’s oldest and most venerated divination system. Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the Western printing press in the 1450s gave rise to printing of books in Europe, and the reproduction of card decks, including Tarot cards.

As literacy increased, more translations of ancient texts were made and knowledge of divination systems was able to spread over time. Today people around the world can experiment with all kinds of divination systems, including those from other cultures. There are five systems in particular that are rooted in history and are widely used throughout the world today: Astrology, Numerology, I Ching, Tarot and Runes. Because they have stood the test of time and each of them incorporates a sufficiently complex and balanced set of archetypes, I refer to these five as the world’s classical divination systems.

Given the distances the world’s classical divination systems have had to travel—through time and space—not to mention the intense persecution their practitioners endured in Western society for hundreds of years—it is a miracle that they are still with us. Even though divination systems arise from the collective unconscious, totalitarian governments and fundamentalist religions seem to consider the profound insights that divination can stimulate as some vague threat to a social order based on wealth, status and power. In their fearfulness, proponents of the status quo fail to realize that higher aspirations never threaten lower ones.

Authentic divination systems passed down by our ancestors are a special heritage. From a practical point of view, their ability to provide fresh perspective on the changes of our lives and world is to our collective advantage. They help us satisfy a primordial need to better understand life and our place in the Universe. Their usefulness has allowed Astrology, Numerology, the I Ching, Runes and Tarot not only to survive, but also to thrive in the face of all odds.