All known peoples, throughout all recorded history have practiced some form of divination. Earth divination makes use of each of the four ancient elements. It does not attempt to foretell the future but rather seeks to track the subtle universal currents of cause and effect, the patterns that favour or hinder various activities. It is the origin of modern binary code and legend recounts that it was taught to the prophets of the Abrahamic religions by high-ranking angels. It even enjoyed special protection from the Inquisition. Earth divination forms the corner stone of many magical traditions, crossing continents and history.
The conventional wisdom of today quickly raises an eyebrow at every form of divination, viewing them as archaic practices of superstition and priding itself on having given up the unscientific traditions such as divination and magic and replacing them with supposedly more rational ways. As it is the basis of earth divination that underlies the very computer software programmes used in weather and market forecasting today, it may be worthwhile to reconsider our position in this regard.
What makes divination appear baffling to the majority of people who have been raised in scientific ways of thinking, is the way that divination systems are able to use supposedly random and chance events as sources of meaning. Many fail to see how the number and direction of birds in flight at a particular moment, the patterns found on our hands and faces, the order of cards in a thoroughly shuffled Tarot deck, or the figures made from randomly generated results, can possibly yield meaningful results and obtain accurate information.
The ancient Greek term Oionistic refers to divinatory arts of inquiry that use the faculty of human reasoning, such as earth divination. Many of these rational forms of divination have been compared with western scientific techniques. Earth diviners are considered specialists who move from the boundless to the bounded. They excel in insight, imagination and a developed intuition. While conducting a divination they construct usable knowledge through linking diverse domains of representational information and symbolism.
There are numerous other divination methods available, but this system’s simplicity, flexibility, and accuracy still make it one of the most practical and useful divination systems available.
Besides the many ancient Babylonian clay tablets bearing related markings, one of the earlier mentions of earth divination refers to Archimedes (278-212 BCE) who reputedly drew figures in the sand during the siege of Syracuse to determine the outcome of the situation. Leibniz (1646-1716 CE) who is widely considered the father of modern binary mathematics and algebra, drew a lot of inspiration from the I Ching; although a plant oracle it has the undeniable signature of earth divination; Sikidy, the earth divination system of Madagascar and the binary-based ‘logic machine’ of Raymond Lull, which was itself inspired by the practice of earth divination.
The mathematical basis of earth divination does appear out of place amongst western systems when considering that the ancient Greeks held 10 to be the most sacred of all numbers. The Ayin Sof of the Kabbalists emanates by 10 Sephiroth and modern western culture makes use of the same decimal notation. In ancient Egypt we find base 2 calculations used widely, this links it to the use of doubling in the counting systems of sub-Saharan Africa. Many African divination systems use the same basic symbols as earth divination and trade routes across the Sahara would have made cultural contact easy.
Earth divination has many different levels of application, from the most basic ‘Yes / No’ response to approaches that provide broad general answers, all the way through to subtle methods of analysis that make a reading as informative as any other method of divination in the world.
Although much of the subtlety in earth divination comes in the process of setting up and interpreting the charts, a greater part, though, comes from the inner structure of each of the sixteen figures. Each figure consists of four lines of dots, with either one or two dots in each line. The lines are traditionally called the head, neck, body, and feet of the figure, and they are assigned to the four elements of ancient magical philosophy: the head to fire, the neck to air, the body to water and the feet to earth. This elemental meaning is the key to understanding the figures and the ancient magical understanding of the world that underlies earth divination.
Central to that understanding is a vision of the four elements as the basic patterns of everything created. Fire, air, water and earth in this sense aren’t substances, which would solely represent aspects of the grossly material plane. They are universal principles, patterns through which a single substance manifests in turn. When modern science describes a universe made up of energies, gases, liquids and solids, they are using exactly the same idea, only in different words. The older magical philosophy is much more subtle than the new and it doesn’t limit its analysis to that of matter alone.
The validity of a system is not found in the system itself, but rather in its application. Many of the ancient techniques for expanding consciousness begin with divinatory methods designed to lead to deeper and more valuable levels of awareness. Every individual has the natural ability to divine, we usually call this ability intuition, and this does not refer to clairvoyance, psychism or telepathy.
In the holism of the environment certain patterns resonate within our intuitive of non-linear consciousness, which may be heightened to detect the levels of consciousness or any insight or revelation. The very nature of earth divination provides us with the opportunity to study ancient examples of techniques that have been developed over vast periods of time, in order to utilize the more simple perception of holism. This allows us a greater opportunity to grasp the subject, for the older systems do not have the massive lists of intellectual attributes typical to city based civilizations.
The magical teachings from around the world have always held that nothing in the universe is actually random – something that scientists working in cutting edge fields such as systems theory and chaos studies are finally beginning to realize. What we call chance events is the product of causes far too subtle or complex for the human mind to analyze easily. The entire universe is linked together by intricate patterns of cause and effect, some evident and others less so, and only the most obvious of them can be understood in a straightforward manner.
If one flips a coin to obtain a random heads or tails result, the outcome is said to be that of pure chance. However we also know that the outcome was actually determined by the force of the thumb flicking upward, the friction of skin and thumbnail, currents of air, gravitational pull, etc. If we could measure the force of every particle and force impinging on the coin during the flipping process, we would be able to predict whether it would be a heads or tails result.
The mathematician Laplace expanded on this concept considerably and proposed that if we could somehow know the position and force of every particle in the universe at any one given moment, and we were in possession of the required calculating power, we would then be able to predict everything that will ever happen. In other words, all the events described as “random” are actually pre-determined, with causes so subtle or hard to keep track of that we ignore their presence by referring to randomness or chance.
The great advantage of chance events is that they are less influenced by the more obvious currents of cause and effect, and thus offer clearer glimpses of the subtler patterns in the background. Some of these patterns may play a role in shaping events that haven’t yet happened, and this can provide insights into the future.
To someone who does not have any understanding of weather forecasting techniques, this sort of insight and related action may appear to be supernatural. A similar awareness central to most kinds of divination makes it possible for the practitioner to identify casual patterns and anticipate the possibilities of future events, thus allowing them to act appropriately and in ways that seem just as supernatural and unexplainable to those unfamiliar with such techniques.
Divination, like weather forecasting, is a very natural part of human behaviour; the process depends on ones sensitivity to natural changes, casual patterns and the flow of nature. The practice of divination helps build the qualities of sensitivity and attentiveness to Nature in its practitioners.
For more information or to experience an earth divination reading or consultation, contact Robin Hermesphilus.