One of my most frequent recommendations is “when in doubt, do divination.”
How does divination work? The name points us in the right direction – from the divine. Some believe Gods and spirits manipulate the sortilege to put the appropriate cards, runes, or other symbols in front of us. Some believe the sortilege is random, but Gods and spirits direct our attention to the proper meaning of them. And others believe the divination systems allow our subconscious to unlock things we already know but otherwise can’t recognize.
I tend to think it’s all of the above, but ultimately, I don’t know. What I do know is that the information I get through divination is of great help. Tarot cards can’t tell me what I should do, but they can tell me what things will be like if I take a certain course of action. Then it’s up to me to decide if that’s what I want, or if I want a different outcome. Different outcomes require different actions.
One of the most frequent ways I use divination is to confirm and clarify messages from Gods and spirits.
My religion is based on the direct, first-hand experience of the Gods. I speak to Them and They speak to me. But many times They don’t use words – They speak in concepts, impressions, and images. Even when They use words, they’re almost never audible. Over the years I’ve learned to recognize the voice of Cernunnos and the voice of the Morrigan. But Djehuty? Not so much.
And when what I hear is critically important or personally sensitive, I want to make absolutely sure I get it right. If I’m going to deliver messages for the Morrigan (and I have, on numerous occasions) I want to be sure I’m relaying Her words and not my own. Divination provides confirmation. When it involves the Morrigan, the confirmation usually says “of course that’s what I said – now go do it.”
Finding a reader – a diviner – is easy. These days it seems like half the people on Twitter offer readings of one sort or another. Some post menus of their services and rates. A couple weeks ago I saw a bunch of small roadside signs in my neighborhood that said “Psychic: $10 Readings.”
Maybe these readers are good.
Maybe they aren’t.
Finding a good reader can be a challenge.
Know what you need
Another way I often express this recommendation is “find a good polytheist diviner.”
In my experience, most public Tarot readers operate from either a Christian perspective or a pantheist (or occasionally, panentheist) perspective. If you ask them to confirm a message from the Morrigan, they’re like to understand that as a message from “God” or “the Universe” or “your higher self.” Those aren’t the same things by a different name – they’re very different things.
Find a reader who shares your polytheist perspective – someone who understand that the Morrigan is not Brighid or Isis or Gaia by another name. Even if you’re looking for guidance about something that doesn’t directly involve a God, it’s better if you work with someone who sees the world in the same way you do – someone who speaks your language.
The best general readers can answer a question from any perspective, even if they operate from a different perspective. If you already work with someone who’s been helpful in the past, they may be able to help with this as well. But if they can’t give you the answers you need, don’t stick with them just because you like them.
If you’re going to seek out a new reader anyway, you might as well find someone who sees the Gods and the world the same way you do.
The bad news is that there is no directory of polytheist diviners. The good news is that social media makes asking around really easy.
I recommend asking people privately rather than posting a request for recommendations on Facebook. Do that and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with suggestions, most of whom are general readers, not polytheist diviners.
Most – though not all – polytheist priests and devotees practice some form of divination. Some of them read professionally. Some will read for people they know but not for strangers – others will read for strangers but not for those they know. If they don’t read themselves, they almost certainly have a reader they use when they need one.
I read for myself and my close co-religionists. I read for others on occasion, but it’s not a primary activity for me – and sometimes a situation just isn’t right for me. I have a couple readers I usually recommend when asked. They have their own sources. Those sources have more sources.
It shouldn’t take more than two or three messages to find someone who can do what you need.
If someone I know and trust recommends a reader to me, I’m automatically going to trust them more than someone I’ve interacted with on Twitter once or twice. But I’m not the trusting type – I still have questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you book a reading. How long have you been doing this? What tradition do you follow? What Gods do you work for/with? What divination systems do you use? What are your rates and terms? How do you handle follow-up questions?
Ask enough questions to get comfortable that this is someone who 1) will understand your question, 2) can answer your question, and 3) you’re comfortable doing business with.
Do not ask for a free “sample” reading. Some readers will offer this. Most won’t. I won’t. If you want professional services you should expect to pay for them.
Try out readers in advance
As with so many things in life, the time to prepare is before you have a need. If Odin is yelling at you and you can’t quite figure out what He wants, it’s best to already have someone in your contact list who’s skilled at interpreting Odin-speak.
Don’t wait till you have an urgent need. When you have a small need, seek out someone. See how they do – and see how well you do with them. And while building a strong relationship with a single reader can be helpful, so is building a good relationship with several different readers. You never know when your favorite diviner will be unavailable. And some diviners are naturally better with some matters than with others.
Read for yourself
All this becomes really simple if you can read for yourself.
Some people feel like they can’t read for themselves because they’re too close to the matter to be objective. But the older I get, the more I’ve learned to “know thyself” and the more comfortable I am reading for myself. Honestly, I think I do a better job reading for myself than I do reading for others, because I’m not worried about delivering upsetting messages. I need to learn to be more ruthless when I read for others.
Still, there are times when either I can’t get a clear answer, or the matter is so important I want to be absolutely sure I’ve got it right. That’s when I contact one of handful of readers I’ve used in the past.
Keep good records
In the words of football coach Bill Parcells, you are what your record says you are. And so is every reader and diviner in the world.
Whether you read for yourself or pay someone to read for you, keep good records. What did the reader tell you, and how did that work out?
And also, did you pay attention, or did you ignore a warning and rush off to attack the Persians at Thermopylae?
Some readers are better than others. Some readers are better with certain kinds of matters than with others. And some readers never get past reciting vague lines from the little white book. Learn who you can trust and who you can’t.
When in doubt, do divination
Regardless of how divination works, it is truly a gift from the Gods. It lets us see the path in front of us more clearly. It provides objective confirmation of messages that are very subjective in nature. Other times it tells us “no, that’s not what I meant.”
It’s best to learn to divine for yourself. But for those times when you can’t, or when you just need a second opinion, develop a list of people you trust to divine for you.
May your readings be clear and your omens be true.