It is an awkward question both in terms of what it asks and the way it is asked as this is one of those occasions where Skellton’s book shows it’s age. The term “Fortune Telling” isn’t used all that much in conversation today; we’re more inclined to talk about Divination than perhaps intrude on subjects which may be perceived as culturally sensitive. Equally there is the issue of how services are portrayed. Tarot and Mediumship services have to, by law, come with the statement that they are “entertainment purposes only” and the term fortune telling implies a degree of certainty which the word divination does not.
Then there is the word Psychic itself. The disparity between its meaning and use can generate conflicting responses from the reader. Some may be inspired to think about hokey money grabbing backroom mediums shilling the recently bereaved whilst others will see the word as denoting some mysterious power which sets the wielder apart from the rest of humanity.
Regardless the question is what is it so I am going to start with a definition of Psychic abilities.
Definition Of Psychic
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary the word psychic means:
1 of or relating to the psyche : psychogenic
2 lying outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge : immaterial, moral, or spiritual in origin or force
3 sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces and influences : marked by extraordinary or mysterious sensitivity, perception, or understanding
It is definitions two and three which are particularly relevant to today’s post. Quite often the word is used in situations where an individual displays knowledge or insights which they could not have known through material means. The origin of this knowledge is often debated. Is it a higher spiritual force or some extension of the human brain, personally I am inclined towards the latter explanation.
In truth the word “psychic” is most often used when talking about abilities which come about through a developed and defined intuition. This is where a person is able to gain insight and knowledge through symbolism and sensation and come to knowledge and understandings which may appear miraculous and magical to others.
A Few Types of Psychic Abilities
abilities include, but are not limited to;
This is where a person may gather information from what they see, hear or sense/scent from the environment and people around them. Usually these “messages” are not perceptible to other people who do not have similarly developed abilities. These abilities are closely linked with mediumship (see below).
Astral (Lucid) Projection
The ability to travel in a dream/meditative state out of the self and to other locations. In some cases people who project themselves on the astral are reported as being seen by people conscious in real places however more often than not the place is an internal landscape where a small collective may meet in joint meditation.
This is the ability to consciously control and direct your own dreams in order to gain greater insight into their meaning. Dreaming occurs during sleep stage 5 known as REM (rapid eye movement) Sleep. This is the time when the brain is most active but the body is relaxed to the point of paralysation and the brain is most likely to offer insights that the waking mind is unable to due to the “background noise” of life.
Also referred to as forewarning, Precognition is the ability to know ahead of time that an event may take place, the most classic expression being when people know of the death of their loved one at the time of death or immediately after without being informed. Precognition may be as vague as knowing that ‘something’ will happen right through to a full understanding of what events will transpire.
Mediums use their psychic and intuitive abilities to communicate with non-physical spirit energy in order to gain insights into the past, present and future. Some mediums describe this energy as being spirits of the dead whilst others refer to spirit beings as being entities or expressions of energy in their own right without ever having had their own existence on a physical plane.
The purpose of Fortune Telling is to provide a prediction about a persons future or the outcome of a particular event. Most modern pagans and witches prefer the word “Divination” and this is the word I am going to use from here on out. Divination is, by definition, the practice of using signs, symbols and special powers to make predictions about the possible outcome of a situation.
Types of Tools
Divination by card is the most popular form of divination in modern times with the preferred type being Tarot. Each card is associated by name and image with a variety of different symbols which inform the readers intuitive interpretation of the cards draws. Other cards used for divination include playing cards, Lenormand and Oracle Cards (such as Angel, Dragon, Cats etc).
The casting of stones, sticks, bones and other curios has been used as a method of divination for thousands of years. One modern expression of this is the use of runes and other alphabet systems in the form of Grammatomancy. In this method each letter is associated with a particular piece of poetry or prose which gives the letter meaning and association. The most popular form of Grammatomancy is Norse Runes.
This method of divination involves entering meditative state whilst looking at or into a particularly medium. Most commonly scrying is done in black mirrors or in still water which is particularly dark however brighter surfaces such as knife blades and fire can also be used. The reader enters a state of higher awareness where they become aware of intuitive suggestions which appear within the medium as images, shapes and symbols.
Pendulums are a weighted object suspended from a cord or chain which will then swing in a particular direction or way in response to questions asked. In its most basic form divination by pendulum is best used for answering Yes/No questions however it is possible to use different charts and forms to deepen the amount of information that can be gleaned. Pendulum dowsing can also be used to trace both energy (such as spirit manifestations) and matter (such as water, precious metals, people and personal objections).
Intuition and Fortune Telling
We all have some degree of ‘psychic’ ability in the sense that we all have the innate ability to be intuitive. It’s how our ancestors knew to jump to escape that saber tooth tiger they hadn’t seen coming or that by doing certain combinations of action may result in fire. Intuition is more developed in some people than in others however it is one of those abilities which we are able to develop with practice and is particularly useful when using tools of divination. Whether casting runes, reading cards or tuning into an individual to read their palm the reader is working on an intuitive level informed by their developed sense of perception and knowledge of their chosen method of divination. The reader, be they Witch or not, takes the meaning and imagery associated with their tools and allows it to guide their intuition and perception to draw out their relevance and meaning to the question that has been asked.
Divination is a good skill to have but it isn’t necessary to be a world renowned tarot reader in order to be a Witch. Of all the possible tools and methods it is my belief that it is dowsing that stands the Witch is the best stead as it is able both to provide insight into matters which may concern the Witch be they of the present, future, energy or material.
In my opinion it is important for all Witches to spend time honing their intuition and other psychic skills and broadening their perception as this will improve their ability to effectively sense and utilise the magical forces. Other skills such as lucid dreaming, astral projection and (other) can also be developed over time and with dedication and whilst they are useful abilities they are not things which will appear over night(sic) nor through ‘fast track spells’. The majority, and I include myself in this number, must work on these abilities through dedicated practice.
Three Tips For Developing Your Intuition
1) Meditation and a quiet mind open to intuitive suggestion is key. Develop your meditative state through regular practice and breathing excercises and learn to trust those hunches and little niggles.
2) Be familiar with symbols and their meanings, both in a wider and personal context. This is particularly important in divination and this is something that can only be achieved through study. Research symbology and the symbolism of your chosen divination techniques. As you develop your knowledge also make notes on the associations you make with particular images and symbols.
3) To be aware of hunches and messages from beyond your self it is important to be living ‘in the moment’. The world is a busy environment and the level of input we face can inhibit our use of our abilities. Mindfulness and meditative techniques can be employed anywhere and at any time … with practice.
So in answer to the question all people have the potential to be psychic. Intuition and precognition are inherent to all of us but Witches in particular take the time to develop these abilities to further their craft. Witches also frequently used methods of divination which can provide insights and guidance as to the past, present and future but this is different from the stereotypical telling of fortunes as portrayed by Hollywood and relies on tools and symbols in conjunction with a developed sense of perception and intuition.