“Co-divination” – Parallel Paths and Diminishing Returns

A common complaint of professional diviners is the persistent and occasionally aggressive client who asks the same question repeatedly, often without allowing the previous answer a decent chance to unfold, and expects a more agreeable outcome. The most annoying of these is the person who visits multiple readers with the same intent, and who isn’t shy about pointing out any glaring discrepancies in narrative detail. It may seem like they’re “testing” our competence, but more likely they’re just anxious and impatient (as well as addicted to fortune-telling). It also reminds me of the popular definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting a different result.”

During fifty years of practice I’ve rarely encountered this phenomenon. Of course, it’s always tempting to say “Sure, I’ll take your money. Here you go, have a nice day and see you next week,” but if we have even a shred of integrity this kind of “grasping at straws” just seems futile on their part and dishonest on ours. In my case, most clients have been “walk-ins” whom I never see or hear from again, so it hasn’t been a problem. But I did have one notable instance where I performed an email reading for a young woman in another country who had lost an important document while out-and-about. The first answer didn’t yield anything useful, so she asked again after processing it for a few days. I obliged with a different spread but we still came up empty so she came back to me once more. This time I changed gears and did a horary astrology reading but it didn’t produce any new revelations. Upon the fourth request I told her I couldn’t do anything more for her.

Which brings me to the point of this essay: the idea of “co-divination” or having more than one “arrow in the quiver” when multiple attempts at prediction are being sought by a client. It’s useful to cultivate several methods of prognostication, each of which can offer an alternate perspective on a situation. Personally, I’ve worked to master the Lenormand oracle and horary astrology as well as experimenting with geomancy and I Ching, all discrete disciplines in their own right, and also with what I call “mixed-media” techniques in which I blend the random selection aspects of dice, coins, dominoes and the “board-game-spinner” into my approach to the creation of unique tarot spreads.

But in most circumstances where I begin a client relationship with the tarot and have the need for a second level of insight, I will turn to horary astrology as one half of a perfect pair. Both rely on an “instant in time” for their predictive legitimacy; with tarot it’s the occasion of the shuffle-and-cut and with horary it’s the exact moment that the astrologer understands the question. I evolved along this dual path while working with missing-person cases in my geographic region when a series of tarot spreads created specifically for that purpose didn’t pan out. Horary steps in where tarot often fails in examining direction and location, making it a good choice when trying to find missing items of any kind.

As I see it, an impasse of diminishing returns will be the inevitable consequence of “going back to the well” whenever our sitters don’t like the answers they receive from the cards (which, if they had voices and attitudes, would almost certainly be snapping “I told you once, I’m not going to say it again”). Seeking other predictive angles from which to explore the matter will usually offer unique observations that can substantially expand the interpretive range of our readings and give the querent just a little more to go on. I can personally recommend horary astrology and Lenormand as effective options, but anything that alters the point-of-view even slightly will serve the same purpose as long as we’ve trained ourselves to recognize the signposts and navigate the map.

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