Diversity & Divination
For the ‘D’ prompts at the Pagan Blog Project, I decided to write about diversity in the pagan community, and also about divination. Since the Project is supposed to take two weeks, with the same letter for two weeks, and I am coming in late in the Project, I am combining both of my topics into one post.
I will probably write again about divination as a separate topic in the future because it can be such a lengthy one, but for the purposes of this post, I am going to limit the topic to what I have experience with or interest in rather than re-capping the many divinatory methods.
To start with, I wanted to write about diversity within the Pagan community. In my area, the word and concept of ‘diversity’ often gets met with the stink eye. There are all kinds of old hostilities in this area – from racial to class/economic, from political to parental, from educational to religious ones. When you make it known that such things do not matter to you, or that you recognize that such mindsets exists but that they’re not ones you subscribe to, it creates its own kind of tension in some circles.
I am most fortunate in the circles I run in refrain (for the most part) from getting mired down in such limiting world-views. The communities that I have chosen to surround myself are like-minded in that they value the different viewpoints and ideas that other people’s paradigms bring to the table. Though my personal views are my own, I can absolutely see how they’ve shifted over the years, from education and research, to simple exposure to a broader range of people, culture and ideas, and I am so grateful that they have. As my experiences have shaped me, so have they shaped my views – from everything to what religion I claim to how I raise my children, to what I believe is just and moral and Right ™.
Perhaps one of these groups I am most grateful for is my local Teaching Circle – the diverse group of Pagans that I meet with regularly to learn and discuss religious ideas and concepts with. I also belong to several other Pagan Communities that I met online and have met with in person over the years. Among my local communities, I have learned from traditional Wiccans, Eclectic Pagans with various flavors (secular, Celtic, Buddhist), Asatru and Druids. I’ve been a part of a couple of circle groups – some of which have fit and others that I look at now as a learning experience.
One thing that I haven’t encountered much in my personal experience has been the ‘more Pagan than thou’ attitude that many in the Pagan community have talked about. Oh, it exists – I know it does, and I’ve seen and felt hints of it here and there, but anytime I have come across it I quickly divorced myself from association with those people. The resulting community that I live in is peaceful, harmonious and diverse. I have created around myself the community that I wish to be a part of. This is true for many parts of my life. In my parenting and educational communities, my friendships – all are made up of people whose lives, styles, values, and world-views I respect, admire, agree with or aspire to manifest in my own life.
Two quotes that I thought were fitting on the topic of diversity are:
Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.
Before we can change direction, we have to question many of the assumptions underlying our current philosophy. Assumptions like bigger is better; you can’t stop progress; no speed is too fast; globalization is good. Then we have to replace them with some different assumptions: small is beautiful; roots and traditions are worth preserving; variety is the spice of life; the only work worth doing is meaningful work.
The next part of my ‘D’ prompt is ‘divination’. I’ll be honest – my favorite form of divination is the tarot. I have tried scrying, my pendulum doesn’t like me all that much and I am interested in palmistry and astrology, but the tarot feels like home.
I have something of a collection of cards. My best-loved deck is the Medieval Scapini Tarot by Luigi Scapini. It is based on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot with a similar style, but Scapini wasn’t familiar with the traditional symbolism of the Rider-Waite decks and so the cards do not fit that model. Reading them requires effort and familiarity with the deck that is hard to get from books.
I’ve been reading from this deck for years now, and as much as I would like to claim expert-level handling, I am not as familiar with the cards as I would like. I am currently going through Tarot for Yourself by Mary K. Greer with my Circle; we’re still working through the introduction and meditations on personal cards. I also found Learning the Tarot Online to be helpful, especially if you’re totally new to tarot.
I also have a couple of other decks – the Goddess Tarot comes to mind. I used to read from this deck quite a bit, but I started getting (for lack of a better term) ‘bitchy‘ readings from it. I tried cleansing it, but it still gives me attitude when I use it, so it’s pretty much been put in storage. I also have a couple of other decks that I have never used (I just liked the theme), and a couple of decks that I found at the local $1 store to craft with.
I haven’t closed the door on other divinatory methods, but I do feel like people generally have a talent in one or a few areas. I have a friend who is *amazing* with the pendulum. I have yet to see her pick one up that doesn’t respond to her. Another friend reads Oracle cards (which I am anxiously waiting for Amazon to deliver to me). I have an interest in tea leaves and have several books on palmistry (but I’m more interested in how the lines change over time – I’ve been taking readings on the kids for a while now… it’s neat to see things manifest and change!).
I’ve had fun with crafting; I made pendulum boards for myself and some of my Circle Sisters for Yule. We made pendulums during one class and scrying mirrors during another. Here’s one of the boards I made:
I have Looked into the future during rituals, and have occasionally read for others, but I primarily read for myself. I don;t always lay out full spreads; sometimes I pull a ‘card of the day’, or for the week to meditate on.
What are your preferred method(s) of divination? How often do you attempt to See into the future?