Soothsayer or Master Craftsman?

The frequent on-line debates about whether the tarot cards have a distinct “personality” or whether they are in truth just inert pieces of printed cardboard bearing compelling pictures sometimes spill over into other “tools of the trade.” For instance,  scrying devices – such as magic mirrors and crystal balls – are often subjected to a focused infusion of “spirit” (intention, will, prana, etc.) through blessing, prayer, invocation, mantra or silent concentration as a way to charge them for their purpose. Other less esoteric measures are to place them under the light of the Full Moon or in running water (or even better, both) for charging ; all of these ministrations are part of the “mysticism” of the divinatory arts aimed at sensitizing the instruments and thereby boosting the seer’s psychic acumen. While the utility of these efforts is uncertain, it can’t hurt if it puts the diviner in a salutary frame of mind for the attempt.

There is a contingent among us that sees these mystical preparations as unnecessary. To them, the scrying device is merely a passive lens through which visions are presented to the scryer. The instrument itself neither absorbs nor radiates subtle energies, it is the diviner’s creative imagination that is responsible for the flow of symbolic images across the surface or in the depths of the chosen medium. If there is value in the benediction at all, it is in helping to induce the trance state that unleashes the imagination from its rational tether. These practitioners come to the art of divination as consummate craftsmen rather than shamanistic soothsayers.

I’m of two minds on the usefulness of these practices. The notion of  attuning one’s perception to the wavelength of the instrument’s output is not unknown in technology (although we are considering the inverse here). The more in sync the operator is with the transport mechanism, the better he or she is able to make sense of what it delivers. In divination, it might be argued that the diviner is actually putting him-or-herself “into the zone,” and not actually imparting any paranormal properties to the device. But there is a countervailing opinion that all matter is really vibratory energy and the persuasions of mentalism should be able to intervene at the subtle level to align the energetic currents in the direction most propitious for one’s divinatory objectives. That’s a lot of words for a very straightforward concept: “mind over matter.”

I’m more an analytical reader than an intuitive one, so putting myself in the semi-lucid state best suited for scrying is a challenge. But I also believe that the “magic” is in the reader and not in the implements, so ample doses of imagination and inspiration can bring me to the climax of the visionary experience before I get eyestrain or fall asleep. It only seems like self-hypnosis; call it “augmented suggestibility.”.

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