Divination and Magic
February 27, 2012 14 Comments
At this point in my life, I’m single. My last significant relationship ended in June 2010, and though I’ve had a few flings and brief boyfriends here and there, and though I’ve toyed around with hookup- and dating-service websites briefly, I’ve largely been single since. Don’t go feeling pity for me: it’s a nice life, and its simplicity and lack of drama don’t leave too much to be desired. Plus, it’s cheaper (dating is expensive in this place). My being single doesn’t exclude the possibility of hooking up, either, so that freedom’s also nice.
That said, it’s kinda getting boring now, and it likely will be for a while yet. Back in 2010, after I graduated but before I started paying off my college loans, I did a few divination readings about my future with respect to two things: my capability to pay off my college loans and my love life or the lack thereof. The good news is that I’d be perfectly capable, able, and willing to finish paying off my college loans by the end of 2012 (nine months left!). The not-exactly-pleasing-but-not-bad-either news is that I also wouldn’t be in a signficant relationship before then. So far, that divination reading’s been holding up, and other recent divinations have yielded the same answer: no relationship until at least the beginning of 2013.
Now, this is what divination says, but divination is a curious thing in the hands of a magician. Other people who only practice divination are able to see what can happen; magicians who can use divination can see what will happen and affect what can happen according to their will. They’re like two sides of a coin, and are both helpful in attaining one’s desire. Consider life to be like a river, and we’re a bunch of people walking, wading, or swimming through it. Parts of the river are shallow and calm, others deep or rocky or turbulent. Good things like fresh fish, fruit that fell off orchards, or even gold coins flow down the river, and a lot of people want these things. Some people are content to stay wherever they tend to be without much moving, while others walk or swim back and forth to try and get what they hope is their next big find. With divination, one can figure out where that next big find will be and position themselves accordingly to either grab it all the easier or pass it by. With magic, one can change the currents and eddies of the river ever so slightly to get things to drift in ways helpful to them. Using both can be a powerful technique.
However, this model doesn’t allow for fate (using whatever definition or worldview you choose) and things that can’t be fixed using magical or mundane means. Some things simply can’t be changed: someone with a terminal illness might live a little longer using magic, but they will still die of that same disease. As I mentioned earlier, I’m getting bored of being single, and I was starting to count the days until the next New Year when I realized that magic might be able to help me out. I did a reading about whether I could perform a magical operation to obtain and maintain a significant romantic relationship before the end of 2012. The answer was technically affirmative: I would be able to do such a thing. However, the reading was so completely unfavorable to the endeavor that it may as well have been a negative response. Even if it worked, it wouldn’t have lasted and would have fallen apart anyway in a catastrophic collapse. Better to wait, then, it would seem.
A better analogy about divination and magic relates it to the field of medicine. Divination is to magic like how prognosis is to treatment. Given a situation or symptoms, a doctor can look at a patient and figure out what’s going on in the patient’s system and what will likely happen without treatment or with a variety of treatments. The doctor can then go on to prescribe medicine, operations, exercise, or other treatments to achieve a particular outcome to affect the prognosis, assuming the prognosis allows for treatment to affect the trajectory of predicted events. In the same way, a magician can use divination to figure out what’s going on, what’s happened, and what may happen in a particular situation; using magic, the magician can try to affect the situation using metaphysical treatments to achieve a particular outcome, assuming the divination readings show that such an operation can work.
Using divination for any significant magical operation is as important as weighing different treatments in a prognosis of a medical condition. You might think that the theory of some operation is sound, and you might think you have the backing of all the heavenly host, but there is the chance that (a) there are outside influences and external circumstances that you’re not taking account of (b) the very Almighty is going to put the smackdown on you with an apocalyptic “no” (c) you’re just dead wrong in your theory or understanding of the situation. Even doctors figure out indications and contraindications alongside or even before figuring out possible things that could help or hurt the patient. Conjuring a love-focused goetic demon to get you laid this weekend, when you’re already slated for getting bed-confining flu in two days’ time and when you accidentally use a spirit of Saturn instead of Venus, won’t end well.