Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » Paranormal » Clairvoyance » Divination

Divination is generally defined as the practice of seeking knowledge about the future through supernatural means, as in a prophecy or prediction obtained through divine or occult inspiration. It may also be defined as the art of discovering secrets through paranormal means. Used in various ways throughout history, a diviner might receive his interpretations as to how someone should proceed in a matter by reading signs, events or omens, or through contact with a supernatural agency. Divination might be represented as a systematic method of organizing random or disjointed bits of information so that it provides insight into a problem that has been presented. If a distinction can be made between divination and fortune telling, divination might be viewed as having a more formal or ritualistic element, and often with a more social character, perhaps in a religious or spiritual context, whereas fortune telling is more of an everyday practice conducted for personal or financial purposes. Historically and contemporarily, methods of divination will vary according to culture or religion, often with practitioners of one type of divination viewing those of another as being evil. In biblical times, for example, diviners were considered evil by the Israelites in the Old Testament, and by Christians in the New Testament, while prophets were God's messengers. Psychologist Julian Jaynes divided divination into four categories: omens and omen texts; sortilege, in the form of casting lots, playing cards or board games; augury, which could take several forms, including dowsing; and spontaneous divination, in which the answer comes from whatever object the diviner happens to see or hear. In some cases, this may involve turning to a random page in a book, such as the Bible, or the New Age methods of feng shui. Although not mentioned by Jaynes, palmistry (palm reading) might be another. Today, divination is dismissed by the scientific community and other skeptics as superstition.



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