What do argonauts and augur nuts (divining enthusiasts) have in common? A willingness to explore the unknown, to expand the limits of the known world, and to take risks are qualities of these intrepid explorers.
Various implements, elements, fauna, and flora have been used for augury. Crystals, water, black cats, chicken entrails, flocks of geese, dreams, weather phenomena, and catastrophic events have all been interpreted as signs about the future. Love-struck maidens have plucked daisy petals to divine their true love's intentions. Medicine women have tossed sacred bones and stones to divine a person's health, fortune, or misfortune. Divining systems developed over the centuries, such as, the I Ching, Astrology, Tarot, Numerology, and Runes are still in use today. Anything and everything has been used and can be used for divination. Or not.
We don't have to use animal entrails. We don't have to perch on the rim of a volatile volcano and peer into the belly of fiery gases for glimpses into the future. We don't have to acquire a foot-long, twenty pound, pure quartz crystal dug out of bat guana in a cave in Peru under a full moon using a forked tree limb that an owl once sat on cut from a tree that was struck by lightening while six mosquitoes circled in a counter clockwise pattern around a ---well, you get the picture.
What we use is secondary. We don't have to use anything, but tools and implements can be useful, certainly, in diverse ways. What is Primary is our internal and external awareness. And before anyone splutters, "What about intention?" Intention is a given, always.
Divining tools engage us, help us focus, help us get out of our own way, but it's the quality of personal insight that is most valuable. Whether the tool is a rune, a tarot card, an I Ching oracle coin, or a garden variety stone, it is, like any other ideograph, merely a symbol of a concept or actual state to be interpreted through our own perceptual lens of needs, wants, expectations, and current levels of understanding. Divining is in the mind, not in the symbols.
Practically any form of divining tool can be bought or made. (Although, one would hope buying a box of "catastrophic events" would prove unsuccessful. If one has a relationship with Pandora, buyer beware! And creating catastrophic events would be counter-intuitive. )
An interesting divining tool set using weather phenomena pictures was artfully, thoughtfully created by Nan Moss and David Corbin, faculty members of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, in their original "CloudDancing: Wisdom From the Sky" Divinatory Card Set. The CloudDancing card set includes 100 stunning sky images of all imaginable weather conditions and a guide book for communing with the Cloud People and other Weather Spirits. CloudDancing's profoundly beautifulimagery helps move the diviner beyond his or her normal world view into a boundless other-world view conducive to transformational change.
The market abounds with Tarot cards of every imaginable size, content, and design. Some industrious personscreate their own Tarot sets using computer graphics or hand painting, etc. Books about Tarot are readily available. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tarot, 2nd Edition, by Arlene Tognetti and Lisa Lenard gets a thumbs up for a witty, user-friendly and knowledgeable presentation of Tarot.
Another excellent reference for tarot is "The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols" by Angeles Arrien. Arrien's book is written for both beginning or longtime students of Tarot and contains charts, spreads, and illustrations of the "Thoth Tarot Deck" by Aleister Crowley . I recommend the large deck for clarity of the striking symbols that are used in the cards.
Native American wisdom and spiritual teachings may be found in several card decks, including "The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards: Spiritual Teachings of the Sioux" cards by Chief Arch Fire Lame Deer and Helene Sarkis , "Vision Quest Tarot" cards by Gayan S. Winter and Jo Dose.
Runes, a system of pictographs representing forces and objects of nature, can be bought or made from various materials, as long as the pieces are consistent in shape and size. Years ago a carpenter humored me and cut into even slices a left-over piece of a large dowel too long to fit into a closet. Using waterproof markers, I created a functional Rune set that I've had for years. A good reference and interesting book to read is "Rune Power - The Secret Knowledge of the Wise Ones (Revealing the True Purpose)" by Kenneth Meadows.
Divination tools can be as simple or complex as one chooses. Rocks can be read. Flowers can be read. Sticks can be read. A meandering stream can be read. Anything can be read. Again, it's the mind, not the object.
Objects can be chosen or found. A divination set that I've accumulated over the years includes a silver ring, a nail, a rose quartz heart, an angel charm, a key, a lock, a chain, an amethyst ring, and a found nickel. Some interesting readings have come about with various combinations of those items.
Two objects, one for "yes" and one for "no", can be used for simple, quick readings. Or one object may have one side designated as "yes" and the other side as "no" for even more simplicity.
Anything and everything can be read in augury. And augurists can read with no thing at all.
We divine with the mind. What’s in your mind?
"Astronauts and Augur Nuts" is excerpted from an article written by Sue Jamieson in "The Wondering Mind" newsletter on her former website, Highland-Shamanism.com.