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Author Topic: Creating your own divinitory system  (Read 6021 times)
Dania
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« Topic Start: June 06, 2008, 07:58:13 pm »

Well this is something I experimented with. It didn't work out as planned (I found that the "Runes" I created are not suited well for Divination at all...but they'd work very well for invoking certain things and for meditation) but it was an interesting exercise. I've been toying with the idea of creating a Tarot deck, but I lack the experience OR free time to embark on such an endeavor.

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?
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« Reply #1: June 06, 2008, 10:28:59 pm »

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?

If I remember correctly, Ann (who used to be EMPIREONE here) created a Tarot deck based on her Terran Empire fiction that worked pretty well for her.  I created a Tarot deck for my Empire of Arn campaigns that actually worked as a tarot deck, although it wasn't really designed to be anything "real."

I also created a strange divination system based on a dream I had back in the 1990s.  You rolled 5 different colored 10-sided dice (0-9) on a chart of the astrological houses and randomly determined a rising sign. It was interesting, but did not work as well in practice as in my dream. LOL.
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« Reply #2: June 06, 2008, 10:42:45 pm »

Well this is something I experimented with. It didn't work out as planned (I found that the "Runes" I created are not suited well for Divination at all...but they'd work very well for invoking certain things and for meditation) but it was an interesting exercise. I've been toying with the idea of creating a Tarot deck, but I lack the experience OR free time to embark on such an endeavor.

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?

My quote deck, which I've talked about before. I do not have brain to do the full explanation today (or until at least tomorrow evening), but wanted to handwave and say "Yes, please bug me if I don't get back to this."
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« Reply #3: June 07, 2008, 08:19:31 am »

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?

In the Gwyddoniad, the main requirement of successfully completing the Vatic School is creating your own divinatory system. I created a Tarot spread - it's still under construction. :blush: Preston created something that reminds me of Rorschach pictures. It's pretty neat, really. You prick a finger and dribble blood onto a sheet of plain paper. When you feel you have enough, you fold the paper in half, press it flat, then open it back up and read the patterns you've made. For the intricate details, though, you'd have to ask him. Wink
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Dania
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« Reply #4: June 07, 2008, 10:13:33 am »

In the Gwyddoniad, the main requirement of successfully completing the Vatic School is creating your own divinatory system. I created a Tarot spread - it's still under construction. :blush: Preston created something that reminds me of Rorschach pictures. It's pretty neat, really. You prick a finger and dribble blood onto a sheet of plain paper. When you feel you have enough, you fold the paper in half, press it flat, then open it back up and read the patterns you've made. For the intricate details, though, you'd have to ask him. Wink

I had forgotten about the Tarot spread I created...that spread works phenomenally, IMO. I love it and am so glad I did it.
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« Reply #5: June 07, 2008, 01:10:49 pm »

I had forgotten about the Tarot spread I created...that spread works phenomenally, IMO. I love it and am so glad I did it.

I really need to find the time to work on mine. It just needs that one card sorted out and the positions explained. Just a couple hours' worth of work really.
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« Reply #6: June 07, 2008, 01:58:56 pm »

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?

I thought about that, but I never found the time to do so.
But I'm kind of ... customizing? a card set (it was very cheap, 7 Euro, very starter aimed). It's called the Wicca Oracle - the dance of life. But I really like the cards. And now - since the booklet that came with it, was very, very small, only a few words for each card meaning - I'm working it out for more in depth stuff and how the cards relate to each other.

I use it very often and I write the spreads down. Those little cards are amazingly direct for every day life stuff. Only somethings are not elaborated, f. ex. there are cards for the festivals. So of course they are time indicators, but what else? These are the things I try to figure out.
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« Reply #7: June 07, 2008, 09:53:16 pm »

Has anyone here ever tried something like this?

It's something I've toyed around with the idea of some.  It's my belief that we all have our own personal mythology: stories we tell ourselves, symbols that evoke memories/feelings/patterns of thought.  What I had started doing was listing the various symbols that meant something to me in a spiral bound notebook and then writing out a a short description of the meaning of each one, i.e. what that symbol meant to me.  I tried to be as archetypal as I could with the meanings so I had to look deeper than just a memory a symbol may have evoked. It has been my intent to eventually set these up as a some sort of deck.

I fully expect this process to take years as 1) I'm not to worried about it taking time and 2) I view it as an ongoing process rather than making a tool to be used.  At this point I think I have around ten symbols listed with at least a line or two for each one.

For another take on created oracular systems have you looked over Charles De Lint's Weirdin?  I've been on the mailing list for more information about them for close to ten years and have received nary a word.  After all this time I guess it would be safe to say that if I want a set I'll have to make them myself.
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« Reply #8: June 07, 2008, 10:31:02 pm »


For another take on created oracular systems have you looked over Charles De Lint's Weirdin?  I've been on the mailing list for more information about them for close to ten years and have received nary a word.  After all this time I guess it would be safe to say that if I want a set I'll have to make them myself.

Wow - I was just going to post about that. He used the Weirdin to determine how the book Moonheart played out. Very interesting approach to writing. I don't think he has done anything more with it though.
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« Reply #9: June 08, 2008, 02:18:04 pm »


I was just kicking around through some of my bookmarks and came across this page: Aeclectic Tarot.  That's the main page.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page there's a link to their forum in which there is a sub-board called Tarot Deck Creation.  I'm not linking to the forum deliberately as I'm not sure if it would be a faux pas or not.
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« Reply #10: June 08, 2008, 04:24:38 pm »

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?

Ok. Finally have a little bit of brain for this.

I have two self-created divination versions: one in regular use, and one in process of creation.

The quote deck has been in use for several years. It is made up of index cards (I'd like slightly heavier cardstock, but haven't found one I really like yet.) with quotes from books written on them. There's at least three layers of interpretation (and while other people who know the books or who just read the text will get some of them, no one who is not inside my brain will get all of the nuance.)

1) What the words of the quote say
2) What the quote means in the context of the book.
3) What that quote actually means to me, personally, on an emotional level. (Words as symbol, in other words.)

The quotes come from.. 15, 20 different books? (I'm about to do some revamping of the deck, and I'll count.) They hit everything from C.S. Lewis to Emma Bull to Lois McMaster Bujold (lots and lots of Bujold) to feminist SF, to other stuff. (I'm tempted to add at least one Greek quote and one Latin quote, too.)

As an example, there's a quote in there from Pamela Dean's _Tam Lin_ (one of my all time favorite books) where the following Shakespeare quote (from A Winter's Tale) appears:
"I would that there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest: for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting."

There's what the words mean. (More or less 'Youth can be troublesome').
There's what the character in the book mentions it for (she posts it as a sign above her bed to remind her to take her birth control).
And there's what that means in the context of the book (which I can't explain without spoiling the book, but it's significant both to her outlook on the world, and to what happens.)
And finally, there's what it means to me, which more or less translates to something like "Sense is not always the right course: some things are worth the struggle and the effort, even if that leads in unexpected directions."

Which is pretty good for one card.

I use them both separately, and in tandem with a Tarot deck (one quote card for each Tarot card, usually) which gives me usually some kind of insight on the overall focus. The quote deck tends to be a little snarky and pointed about things, especially if I'm doing my best to ignore something.

There's also a fascinating gestalt that happens sometimes: I'm in the middle of a magical working where we did divination for each knot in the knot magic on what that knot should focus on. The quote cards (7 cards) came from only 4 books, and in three of the four, the essential question of the book is about career/work/effort vs. identity, and what happens if you change your assumptions somewhere. (And the last one is _The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_, which hits some of those themes, as well). So, looking at where the quotes come from is also valuable.

I find it works really well. So do people I've used it for.

How I designed it was spending 6 months or so making note as I read things of what I wanted. (My requirement is that I need to know the book/source well enough that if it comes up, I can thumb to where it is pretty quickly without rereading the whole book, which makes the source material somewhat limited. Some of the stuff I know that well is not emminently quotable in short passages, either). Once I had a good pile - I wanted at least 75 quotes, and I think I'm up to 86 now - I waded through, and looked at what made sense: were there any total overlaps? Any I couldn't reliably identify?

I then started trying it out, and seeing how it worked - to which the answer was 'Very well, thanks!' and I just ran with it.

The one I'm working on is a stone divination deck: it's based on one a friend created. Mine works a little differently: part of why it's in progress is I had a very clear hit of how some of the stones related to people/archetypes (one, for example is the Pomegranate Woman, which is all about stages of life), and some to places or ideas or concepts, etc. but I'm now in the slow stage of finding stones that fit the things I know need to be in there. I expect it'll take another year or two, but it's a great excuse to browse in stone and bead stores.
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« Reply #11: June 08, 2008, 06:46:44 pm »

Ok. Finally have a little bit of brain for this.

I have two self-created divination versions: one in regular use, and one in process of creation.

I've always admired that quote deck of yours, or at least, ever since you mentioned it, and had inspiration to do something similar. I think I've already asked this, but may I "steal" this idea?

It's not going to get done very quickly, in any case--I only have about half of my books here in Texas, and the other half in Philly are the books where most of the quotes would probably be found.

And here's something interesting I'd like to play with: whereas you mentioned using the tarot in conjunction with your deck, I'd like to explore using the ogam with mine. I've always been more interested in word-based things, which is probably why the quote deck was so inspiring to me.
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« Reply #12: June 08, 2008, 06:54:40 pm »

It's my belief that we all have our own personal mythology: stories we tell ourselves, symbols that evoke memories/feelings/patterns of thought.  What I had started doing was listing the various symbols that meant something to me in a spiral bound notebook and then writing out a a short description of the meaning of each one, i.e. what that symbol meant to me.  I tried to be as archetypal as I could with the meanings so I had to look deeper than just a memory a symbol may have evoked. It has been my intent to eventually set these up as a some sort of deck.

I fully expect this process to take years as 1) I'm not to worried about it taking time and 2) I view it as an ongoing process rather than making a tool to be used.  At this point I think I have around ten symbols listed with at least a line or two for each one.

No surprises here, but I feel exactly the same way you do, regarding personal mythologies.  Wink

This sounds very interesting--particularly as I've had something like this going on in my head for nearly three years now. Several symbols have associations, stories, all kinds of things behind them for me, and though I've never really articulated them, or have only written down bits and pieces of how impo about them, they certainly color a lot of my interpretations in divination, both word and symbol-based.
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« Reply #13: June 08, 2008, 09:26:10 pm »

It's something I've toyed around with the idea of some.  It's my belief that we all have our own personal mythology: stories we tell ourselves, symbols that evoke memories/feelings/patterns of thought. 

I hear you.  I could probably write paragraphs about my avatar, for example, and my personal symbolism of it and the elements in it (gate, space set apart, place with courtyards, not to mention Princeton itself.)

Not *everything* is that symbolic for me.  But the stuff that is helps me unpack a lot of ideas.  I hadn't thought of using that for divination though.
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« Reply #14: June 08, 2008, 09:39:41 pm »

I've always admired that quote deck of yours, or at least, ever since you mentioned it, and had inspiration to do something similar. I think I've already asked this, but may I "steal" this idea?

Absolutely. And I'm always glad to discuss it via email.

Quote
And here's something interesting I'd like to play with: whereas you mentioned using the tarot in conjunction with your deck, I'd like to explore using the ogam with mine. I've always been more interested in word-based things, which is probably why the quote deck was so inspiring to me.

Makes sense. I've mostly done Tarot because it's the one most easily accessible to me (and the one people I'm working with tend to use), but there's no reason you can't run dual draws with other tools. (I got the idea from a rune and Tarot reading, for example.)

[edited to fix quotes]
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