Skryclad: Clothed In Visions

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Divining The Lines

This post started as notes in preparation for a talk I was planning for the seers group in my tradition. I decided to share it with some modifications to make it more broadly applicable. The following points are offered to encourage mindfulness and dialogue regarding the ethics and best practices for divination, oracular work, and allied disciplines. They do not cover all possible situations and differences in applications or doctrines, so change and adapt what is here to match your needs. I think that it is important for your sake and the sake of those lives that you touch to be clear on your ethical guidelines if you offer readings or oracular sessions of any kind. If you do not agree with any or all of these suggestions, I hope you will work to create your own or consider these a template that you can adjust.

1.   Ethics & Morals

Whatever system of ethics and morals you use in other contexts of your life should also be applied in doing readings and offering guidance. Bring your inner compass for right and wrong into play before beginning. Doing divination and/or oracular work is an act of service for both the people to whom it is provided and whatever spirits or divine beings sponsor the work. As a starting point, consider the nature of the social contract involved in both the giving and the receiving of a reading or a consultation. 

2.   Are You Fit To Provide The Guidance?

Before doing divination or seers’ work of any kind, check in with yourself. Do you have the emotional, physical, and spiritual energy to proceed?  If illness, exhaustion, life circumstances, or other matter have worn you down, you may not be able to offer your best. Is the nature of the question or the guidance that is being sought pushing your buttons or triggering you in some way? It may be better to refer the person to someone else if your own emotions, memories, or judgments cloud the reading. Additionally, doing too many readings in a short span of time or doing ones whose content and themes are particularly draining can damage your capacity as a reader or oracle. Allow recovery and rebalancing time for yourself.

3.   Rules Of Confidentiality Must Be Followed

There is a great deal of personal information that is exposed by this work in both the questions and the answers. People often reveal private details of their lives, details which should be kept in confidence. Often readings will involve other people in the querent’s life so the information that you provide may speak of them. The confidentiality and privacy needs of those that are not present but mentioned in a session also matter. If the session has multiple attendees, as in a group channelling, mediumship, oracular ritual, or such, try to impress upon those present the need for confidentiality. If you distrust the ability of some of those present to maintain confidentiality, you may need to modify what you are doing, end the session, or follow-up privately. Depending on the situation, if there is certain danger to others or the person asking the question, you may have to consider whether confidentiality is the highest good or not.

4.   People Looking For Guidance Are Often Vulnerable

Many, possibly the majority of people coming to you for guidance are doing so because they are confused, uncertain, under pressure, and so on. It is crucial that you offer compassion, remain present and listen carefully, and foster a sense of serenity. As you listen to their questions and concerns, allow your rational mind and instincts to sort through what is real, what is imagined, and what is skewed. Even if they are fully sincere and forthright, the stress of their circumstances will introduce some distortions to their account. Strive to give answers to the questions they cannot fully form.

There is a danger that some people will become dependent upon readings and consultations. If you did your job well, and gave them relief and useful guidance they may wish to continue to rely upon you. Addiction to getting readings and divination is a real thing. Consider setting firm boundaries on how often they are allowed to seek you out. Also be wary if they keep returning after a reasonable gap in sessions with the same question. 

5.   Ask For Higher Guidance

Part of the work is science, part of it is art, but deep insight often comes from the unseen if it is asked for.  Seek your Higher Self, the other person’s Higher Self, and your concept of the Divine in offering guidance. If you work with spirits or other entities, commune with them as well. Be sensitive and aware of their belief system and include it in the work if it is practical to do so. In the end you are accountable for the guidance you offer, regardless of the complexities of the sources of that information. 

6.   Know The Limits Of Your Knowledge 

What you know or don’t know about the world can have a powerful impact on the validity and utility of the guidance you offer. How well you can interpret and relay your conclusions and summaries to the querent will depend as much, if not more, on your knowledge of the content material as your spiritual skills. For example, unless you are a health care professional, you may not have the language or the understanding to give good advice even if your divinatory skills are working well on a health related question. Make it clear whether or not you have formal training in the fields discussed during a reading. Also make it clear when you make a statement if you are using divination or if it is a professional opinion if you are qualified to give one.

Sometimes the most important counsel you will give is a referral to a professional in a field in line with the needs of the state of affairs.  

7.   Be True To What You See In A Reading

It is valuable to communicate the full range of gentle and harsh forces at play in a consultation.  Don’t sugar-coat and don’t scare people when doing a reading lest you become entangled in their choices by providing them with skewed information. Honesty also means admitting when you aren’t getting anything useful or need to take some time to process what you are seeing. There are many levels to each reading so different readers will focus on different things in accordance with their training and personalities. You are only responsible for seeing and expressing your truth as clearly and fully as you are able.

8.   A Tool For Empowerment

Each session reveals opportunities for growth and the exercise of free will. Try to empower people to seek their personal best and best possible outcomes.  Encourage people to talk and to think out loud during a reading so that they take an active role in exploring the possibilities and problem solving. There are many possible futures and the goal is ever to make it possible for the querent to choose between the available options. The goal is for the querent to feel that they have the power to make their own choices.

9.   A Commitment To Self-Improvement As A Seer

In addition to a commitment to learn more and to strive for a better command of your preferred methods of divination, work towards understanding other methods as well. Study is good, but regular practice of your skills is necessary to maintain or improve the quality of your efforts. Self-care is also a part of self-improvement. 

10.   Context Specific Rules And Choices.

Depending upon whether or not you are a solo practitioner, part of an organization, or a business, you may need to create or adopt rules and guidelines specific to your context. For example, I won’t do readings for people under 18 without verified parental consent. There may be regulations or policies associated with your geographical location or your organizational affiliation. If there are fees for services provided there should also be guidelines on what is fair and appropriate. If you are working as a part of a collective in service to a community or to members of an organization, there may be differences in how you work in-house rather than the general public. As you can see there are many other considerations beyond the points discussed here.

It is my hope that these points will stimulate further explorations of your approach and principles for not only divinatory work, but other facets of your magickal and spiritual praxis.

 

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Ivo Domínguez, Jr. is a visionary, and a practitioner of a variety of esoteric disciplines who has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978. He serves as one of the Elders of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan syncretic tradition that draws inspiration from Astrology, Qabala, the Western Magickal Tradition and the folk religions of Europe. He is the author of Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development, Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, Casting Sacred Space: The Core Of All Magickal Work; Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine; Beneath the Skins with other books in the pipeline as well.
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