Divination-Related Disorders

I do divination readings for fun and profit at the local new age store, which is pretty awesome.  Divination, specifically the method of geomancy (which I may have brought up a few times), is my specialty, and is really what I consider to be my strongest occult skill.  I’ve been studying divination longer than and more than magic or conjuration, and find it an incredibly helpful skill in both my magical and mundane lives.  Besides, being able to do it at a store with actual people gives me opportunity to practice and get better at it, which is always appreciated.  Some of the insights I get, both in the method of geomancy and in how people work or ask queries, can be fascinating.

Recently, one lady came in and was really excited about getting a reading, and ended up having five readings done in a row (I usually get one or two readings per customer max, so this was new).  She was familiar with the basics of Tarot, but this was new to her and she was excited to get readings done.  In fact, she was so excited that she kept wanting to ask questions even though she didn’t have anything to ask, even after she asked me what other people tend to ask.  At this point, I kindly told her to cool it and take a break, to not ask questions if she has none to ask, since…well, it’s like ordering a meal at a restaurant when one isn’t hungry.  The storekeeper, Gwen, told me that some people are addicted to divination or the social interaction it provides, which to me is unfamiliar and weird.  Thinking about it and the role of divination in different cultures, I came up with two terms to describe different client-side divination-related disorders: divinaddiction and divinaversion.

Divinaddiction is the addiction or overdependence on the use or experience of divination.  This can manifest as a simple behavioral addiction, where one feels compelled to divine or seek divination for some reason or another.  This could be to the spiritual or esoteric rush one gets from having answers revealed by the gods or spirits, since the use of divination is often claimed to be an exchange of spiritual energy or force into one’s life.  However, it’s probably more likely to be caused by obsessing over some matter or other, or wanting everything to be perfectly timed and ordained by Divinity.  Though some cultures insist on everything being well-omened or well-timed according to divination, including such things as when to perform basic personal hygiene, in most cases this is an obsession with propriety when such a concept may not exist.  Some people just want to know thoroughly and completely how something will go, or want a “second opinion” as if that actually matters in divination.

Divinaversion, on the other hand, is much more like a phobia or anxiety about divination, where one is completely opposed or fearful of foreknowledge.  This is much like the opposite of divinaddiction; while divinaddiction is an unhealthy desire or use of divination, divinaversion is an unhealthy phobia or repugnance of divination.  This does not include religion-based aversion, such as precepts or injunctions against the use of divination, but is rather the fear of knowing what is going to happen.  Normally this is related to the whole “what if” fear, but with the added kick of having it confirmed through at least one method.  Such a fear can be caused by emotional involvement in a situation, a vague notion of wanting to keep things in life a surprise, or simply feeling that the knowledge gained through divination will be dangerous somehow.  Such divinaversion, when not racially- or religiously-motivated, is often found to be a cause of persecution for Gypsies/Roma, witches, or other minorities known for occult practices, since some people conflate “looking into the future” with “making things in the future be a certain way”, and negative or dangerous readings were conflated with curses or other maleficia.

Though I’ve phrased and described divinaddiction and divinaversion in terms of the client or querent to divination, the person approaching the diviner or seer, it can just as easily be the case that the seer himself has either.  While it’s extraordinarily rare for me, there are things I simply will not ask about due to their emotional context or importance (divinaversion).  Sometimes I might be too emotionally invested in something to do a divination myself, but I’ll get someone else to do a reading for me; this is a kind of weak divinaversion, a healthy kind where one shouldn’t do divination if one is (emotionally, spiritually, etc.) unfit to do so.  I haven’t had a case where I insist on doing divination again and again on a particular outcome (divinaddiction), but I know some people can get obsessive about things like that.  There are also cases like in working with a set of spirits where one has to do divination over and over and over again to get coherent answers from them; this is an expected and necessary part of the work, and isn’t divinaddiction because it attempts to cover all the bases thoroughly without being paranoid.

In either case, divinaddiction or divinaversion indicates an unhealthy perception on divination.  Divination is a tool to be used in planning or in determining how acceptable something is to other people or spirits.  Using divination too much indicates an obsession, preoccupation, or addiction to figuring something out that can’t be helped by repeated inquiries; it’s like refreshing the 7-day weather forecast you get every ten minutes.  Fearing divination indicates an irrational or wrong view of divination or one’s inability to use divination properly.  In the former case, the whole point of divination as a planning skill is misunderstood; in the latter, one’s investment or preconceived notions on a matter precludes any new information from helping out.

Don’t slip into either camp, guys, without a damn good reason.  Both divinaddiction and divinaversion involve getting hung up on what-ifs to unhealthy degrees, the former by trying to hash out all the possibilities and the latter by trying to keep them as far away as possible.  Although divinaversion is bad, being an example of willful ignorance and an unwillingness to take into account potentially negative situations, divinaddiction can be worse.  It’s like trying to live out the future without it already arriving or even having the chance of viability; in a sense, to live in dreams is to die in reality.  One has to live one’s life in the only place and time we have (here and now), and though divination can help us figure out what’s ahead or what we may have missed, it’s no substitute for life itself.

4 responses

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