The word itself is a void. It defines what I DON”T believe. I guess as an atheist, I get to decide what I DO believe. I believe in the randomness of numbers. I believe that the human mind has inherently evolved the ability to find order in chaos. Furthermore, this order that is formed from the chaos is of particular interest to that mind. What some would call divination, I am more likely to call interpretation. Sometimes two humans who have spent quite a bit of time with each other can interpret the randomness of life in the same manner, causing a belief in omens and other supernatural phenomena.
That is why the occult can scare and tantalize people. Sitting at a table across from a tarot card reader, is really an exercise for your mind to find the tidbits of interest from the plethora of information that is given you in a half hour’s time. Most humans don’t realize how much can be said in the span of thirty minutes, but because I regularly transcribe recordings of meetings, I am fully aware of the huge amount of information that can be passed in that short amount of time. A tarot card reader gives you a large amount of information, and your mind organizes the significant statements and forgets the insignificant ones. You’re scared to death because a complete stranger could give you such good advice about an issue that was never even discussed and a fear and belief in the occult perpetuates. The same could be said for bishop interviews.
My Favorite Methods for Gathering Randomness
The Magic 8 Ball: There is a website that walks you through a dissection of a Magic 8 Ball, which is fairly interesting, but the most important thing I learned from it was that the answers are not particularly even. The distribution of answers is as follows: Positive 50%, Negative 25% and Undecided 25%. I started asking questions in which the answer I want would have to be negative, just so that when I get the answer I want, I can really “believe” it. The importance of this is that I finally realize the answer I want, when before I asked the Magic 8 Ball, I may have been undecided.
Tarot Cards: The pre-assigned meanings attached to Tarot cards provide the human mind with enough room for interpretation of any human condition. I find that it is best just to shuffle up your own deck rather than see someone who reads them for you because that person may not give all the interpretations for the cards that are possible and your mind might need something else for the calming or deciding effect to take place.
The Movement of Birds: This is an old gypsy custom. Assigning meaning to the flight of birds and flocks has been a method of divination for longer than I know. The traditional meaning is birds to your right are “good” and birds to your left are “bad.” Birds that fly from your left to your right indicate a bad situation turning good and vice versa. The beauty of this method of gathering randomness is that flocks of birds rarely fly in sync. There are always a few stragglers left behind on the “good” side that the human mind can notice and find hope in. It’s more about being aware of what your mind notices than about the flight patterns of starlings on a spring morning.
MusicMatch’s Auto-DJ: Since music speaks to me louder than words, I have become particularly attached to this form of divination. MusicMatch is a shareware program that will read music from CD’s and store it in any form you wish on your computer’s hard drive. I have almost every piece of music that I own on my computer’s hard drive, now. The Auto-DJ feature will randomly choose music for me for a user-specified amount of time. I can narrow the choice by stipulating a genre or artist, but I like the joy of letting it choose for me almost completely randomly (sometimes I need to hear Sleigh Ride, even if it’s March, because, to me, it’s a song more about friends and fun than about Christmas). The interpretation comes when I assign meaning to particular songs. Many times, I have found that my mind really needed to hear a particular song or even just a particular line in the lyrics and ignored almost everything else that was chosen. The solace comes from hearing the order that the mind needs in the chaos of the Auto-DJ.
In closing, I want to clarify that I have no belief in the occult or supernatural occurrences. I have a strong and fanatical belief, however, in the ability of the mind to interpret meaning from seemingly meaningless things. I spoke before about how much can be said in a thirty-minute time frame, but there are times when our thoughts run faster in our heads than even speech could express. At these times, it helps to slow down, concentrate on random numbers and be aware of what our minds find significant in this randomness.