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Author Topic: Divination in Hellenic Polytheism  (Read 6828 times)
Star
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« Topic Start: March 27, 2007, 10:26:37 am »

Randall mentioned in his initial post using "divination when needed" as a part of daily practice.  What sort of role should divination play?  When and in what contexts should it be used?  Are there methods of divination that would be preferred, from a Hellenic perspective, over other methods?
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« Reply #1: March 27, 2007, 12:27:47 pm »

Drawing upon early ADF practice, which in turn drew upon ancient practices (mostly Roman?), I think if there is a sacrifice made during the ritual, one should have a divination to see if the sacrifice is acceptable. 

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« Reply #2: March 27, 2007, 03:31:15 pm »

Randall mentioned in his initial post using "divination when needed" as a part of daily practice.  What sort of role should divination play?  When and in what contexts should it be used?  Are there methods of divination that would be preferred, from a Hellenic perspective, over other methods?

I think certain forms of divination practiced in the ancient world -- such as the various formal oracular setups -- aren't exactly practical in modern culture, not least for the distressing lack of pits with fumes of rotting monsters conveniently wafting above.   Smiley  However, I think that there are adaptations that can be made, such as divination-oriented trancework, perhaps, for situations in which oracles would have been consulted.  There's also some "low-magic" forms of divination, such as casting knucklebones, which is especially associated with Hermes.

I also think there's some value in using whatever form of divination the practitioner is most comfortable with -- Tarot, pendulum, tea leaf reading -- in situations where the ancients would have used divination.  Some of that might be not historically appropriate to the Hellenic world, but may make up for that in the accuracy of the actual information divined, if that makes sense.  Me, I suck at all divination methods beyond Tarot, and I'll spring for "*actual* accuracy" rather than "historical accuracy," if it will work better.  But then, I'm a Hermes follower, and he is nothing if not supremely adaptable.     
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« Reply #3: March 27, 2007, 07:09:06 pm »

Are there methods of divination that would be preferred, from a Hellenic perspective, over other methods?

Many of the most common (or at least commonly written about) methods of divination used by folks in ancient Greece really aren't practical or common today. This is an area we need to research and see what can be used directly. However, I also think that most modern methods of divination could be used by people already familiar with them, perhaps with some tinkering to make them fit a Hellenic wrldview a bit better.
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« Reply #4: March 28, 2007, 10:57:15 am »

However, I also think that most modern methods of divination could be used by people already familiar with them, perhaps with some tinkering to make them fit a Hellenic wrldview a bit better.

Yeah. Regardless of the actual method being used, if the underlying symbology isn't in synch, it's a problem. Fortunately, classical symbolism is already pretty deeply embedded in Western psyche, so it isn't a completely uphill battle...


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« Reply #5: March 28, 2007, 06:46:59 pm »

Fortunately, classical symbolism is already pretty deeply embedded in Western psyche, so it isn't a completely uphill battle...

This is a major advantage -- and with a little work one can bring it out so it is more obvious.
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« Reply #6: March 29, 2007, 10:18:38 am »

Many of the most common (or at least commonly written about) methods of divination used by folks in ancient Greece really aren't practical or common today. This is an area we need to research and see what can be used directly. However, I also think that most modern methods of divination could be used by people already familiar with them, perhaps with some tinkering to make them fit a Hellenic wrldview a bit better.

I've always been fond of the method of bird watching that's mentioned in Sophocles' Antigone.

I also suck at most methods of divination.

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« Reply #7: March 29, 2007, 03:57:52 pm »

I've always been fond of the method of bird watching that's mentioned in Sophocles' Antigone.

I like the oracles at Dodona: the priestesses interpreted the rustling of leaves, cooing doves and -- the clanging of bronze pots hung in the trees.

I imagine a progression of divine murmuring, whispering, and eventually shouting (will you listen, stupid mortal!)
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« Reply #8: April 11, 2007, 11:23:29 am »

Stock paragraph:  Things have been a bit quiet, so I thought I'd see if I could summarize what's been said in some of these threads.  I feel like in some places we kind of just let things trail off mid-thought, so I'm hoping this might help pick back up and get going again.

Divination.  What's been suggested so far:

1.  Somewhat traditional methods possibly workable in a modern context would be divination-oriented trancework (in place of oracular consultation), bird watching, and low-magic forms of divination like casting knucklebones.  However...

2.  ..."Divination" should perhaps take whatever form the practitioner is comfortable with or has some ability to work.  Actual accuracy may be more important than historical accuracy.  We may need to tinker slightly with them to make them fit in a Hellenic worldview, though.

Anything to add yet?

Questions:

1.  What sort of "tinkering" would we need to do, in a general sense, to make modern forms of divination fit into a Hellenic worldview?

2.  In what context is it appropriate/recommended to use divination at all, from a Hellenic POV?
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« Reply #9: April 29, 2007, 07:51:24 am »

Not sure how much this really adds to the discussion, but a couple of "pre-tinkered" things are out there, like Sannion's Homer oracle for three dice:

http://www.winterscapes.com/sannion/homer_oracle.htm

or the alphabet oracle...about which I can supply no info because I've forgotten where I read about it.  Phooey.
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« Reply #10: April 30, 2007, 11:49:37 pm »


1.  What sort of "tinkering" would we need to do, in a general sense, to make modern forms of divination fit into a Hellenic worldview?

2.  In what context is it appropriate/recommended to use divination at all, from a Hellenic POV?

I too am very curious about folks feelings on these two questions.  It seems to me that some examples of the Hellenic POV seems to very greatly from region to region.
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« Reply #11: May 02, 2007, 08:04:28 am »

I've gotten the impression over years of talking on message boards, that divination wasn't a major preoccupation for the general population. It was considered strange. Not sure if this is correct?
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« Reply #12: May 02, 2007, 08:05:34 am »

I've gotten the impression over years of talking on message boards, that divination wasn't a major preoccupation for the general population. It was considered strange. Not sure if this is correct?
That's the impression I have as well.
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« Reply #13: May 17, 2007, 08:54:07 pm »

I only worship the Greek Pantheon, and have always used various forms of divination. Most of course have nothing to do with the historical practices of my religion.

The way I've wiggled my way around this is before I use any form of divination I ask one of the gods (or goddesses), usually Apollo, to speak to me through the medium I happen to be using, usually my Tarot cards.

Other forms of divination I've used are pendelum work and an odd practice I've started using my playing cards, which until recently I used as my main Tarot deck. This idea struck me one night and I've been smitten with it ever since. I shuffle my cards, more to get a feel for them than anything else, then I pull my thumb across the top of the deck strewing them across my bed. As soon as they've settled, I set to sorting through them finding the ones that just belong together or those Apollo pushes me to. Once I've organized the ones that call to me I go back and find the cards meanings, I usually get a feel for what the situation is before I ever find out the cards meanings and occasionally I ask a question before I throw them.

I know it's not a traditional kind of divination, but it works for me.
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« Reply #14: May 18, 2007, 07:48:58 am »

I only worship the Greek Pantheon, and have always used various forms of divination. Most of course have nothing to do with the historical practices of my religion.


Mirockinstar, could you please use the quote/reply function?  It helps preserve the chan of posts in a topic, so we can see who is replying to each other.  Thank you,

EverFool
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