Recently I picked up a few new oracles to study. Being a triple Gemini, I never lack in new subject to learn. Patience, however, isn’t my best quality, and I always desire to assimilate new systems so i can practice them right away — which is difficult to do, considering the subject of my interest is new to me; like the Runes I’ve been recently investigating.
On the other hand, the cool thing about my Mercurial tendencies is that I am able to swiftly utilize previously acquired information to produce accelerated learning.
In any case, my intention with this article isn’t to tell you of the pros and cons of my natal chart, but to share a few techniques helpful when working with new systems.
As I already mentioned, I’m currently studying the Runes. Although I have a couple of books at home, I tend to rely primarily on the internet for information. And we all know how “reliable” the net can be, so I am forced to discriminate with all that I find on the subject. Not much fun.
I am also working with the Little Czech Oracle, produced by Baba Studio. This little gem packs quite an oracular punch, but since I do not Know Czech I do not understanding the LWB that came with the deck, and it’s hard for me to believe that the publisher will be investing time and money into translating it and making it into a book. So I am left trying to figure out on my own how to work the magic of this divination system.
Nevertheless, even if you are lucky enough to stumble upon a good source of information regarding a system you are attempting to grasp, there is still quite a gap between memorized meanings (which are no doubt a must), and utilizing these in a reading to produce an accurate, Spirit-led narrative that not only validates, but also transforms the querent. It’s one thing to have a decent vocabulary, and another to use it in meaningful, rich and engaging way.
Throughout the years of reading and being read by others, I realized that every good diviner posses a unique way of communicating spiritual messages eloquently. These individuals seem to have a special connection to the oracles they are using, and the way they are translating archetypal information to their clients.
In my own practice I learned that every oracle, be it the playing cards or Lenormand or Tarot, has its own way of sharing information. And not only that, but each oracular tool (i.e. my personal copy of the Game of Hope Lenormand, or my own set of Bones) has its own tone and accent. You might consider this idea strange, or even ridiculous, since I am giving such importance to the “voice” of inanimate objects; but no joke — a simple statement of “You will find a new job soon” is going to be expressed in a different dialect by my Crowley Thoth deck compared to how my vintage Rider-Waite-Smith will deliver this same line. And while my White Owl Lenormand usually takes a poetic approach, the Carta Mundi deck communicates within the “SpeakEasy” genre: saying it “like it is”!
So what are beneficial approaches to learning such linguistic nuances?
One approach that has been working well for me is what I call “reading backward”. What I mean by “reading backward” is instead of predicting upcoming events, I divine on a well-known to me occurence with a clear outcome. This way I don’t get stuck, self-doubting my work because I am not fluent enough in a given oracular system. Instead, I focus on the way my system tells me a story I already know. I think about: What kind of themes does it choose to describe the situation? Are there elaborate, fuzzy metaphors, or warm and lacy analogies? Or is it speaking in a painfully straightforward and direct voice that hits my being like an iron feast? By paying attention to such details I can analyze the way my intellect and psyche interpret the language of a specific oracle, letting me to calibrate my “spiritual tuner” appropriately.
Another useful exercise I’ve been employing to progress with a new divination system is to read along with other, trustworthy readers — while focusing on the same subject or theme. For instance, I regularly listen to the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Radio show, on which I have also been a guest in the past. The format of the show include two constant hosts, catherine yronwode and ConjureMan Ali, and a weekly guest from the AIRR collective. Callers, who signed up for a consultation prior to the show, phone-in to receive a free reading and rootwork advice. Their situation is stated by the show announcer, followed by their own description of their case. I do a short divination as the caller presents their situation; and after interpreting my own layout, I “compare notes” with the predictions of my esteemed colleagues on the show. This way I not only practice my divination skills in a controlled environment (i.e. not using my own clients as guinea pigs), but also learn the way my new oracle communicates.
Finally, I hope these two language-based ideas for divining with a new tool will be useful to you. I would love to hear about your own experiences as a novice, tackling a new oracle.
© 2012 Madame Nadia