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What Is Divination?

Since this site is all about divination I should probably start by defining the term. What exactly does it mean? This simple question turns out not to have a simple answer.


When asked to define divination people usually start by saying something about "seeing the future". However that three word definition contains two mistakes!

Divination does not necessarily mean 'seeing'. It's possible to obtain information in a large variety of ways. Divination where you literally 'see' something is technically known as clairvoyance. Where you use a reflective surface such as a crystal ball for visualisation this is called scrying. However there are many other non-visual ways of obtaining information, everything from a vague feeling to clairaudience and automatic writing.

Nor does divination necessarily mean information about the future. It's often used to find information about the present, for example to discover what's happening elsewhere in the world via Remote viewing or to ascertain the feelings of another person.

So let's try to improve on that initial three word definition. How about:

"Divination is the process of knowing the unknown"

That's better but still flawed. If I don't know something I can look it up in a book or on the internet; clearly that's not divination. We usually use the word divination to refer to finding out information that we can't get via 'normal' means. So let's try:

"Divination is the process of obtaining information which is not available by normal means"

That's also a bit of a cop out - we haven't defined 'normal'. We could go further and talk about current scientific models etc. Personally I think that final definition is a good compromise between accuracy and utility.