Tyler Elwood posted some thoughts on divination and pattern recognition.
It’s not so much that the person has read my future but rather has shown me some existing patterns as well as other ones to be aware of. I’ve found the same to be true with Tarot readings and other forms of divination. What is being read are patterns of information and behavior and from that a person can get a good idea of what s/he needs to anticipate in the future.
I’ve done a lot of tarot readings at psychic fairs, and many of those readings are for people who have never had readings done for them. A common, and sometimes frustrated, observation by these querents is that I do not tell them much that they didn’t already know. But most of them observe that I put things that they did know into the context of a larger pattern or picture, which helped them determine a more appropriate course of action.
Tarot does not divine the future. I shows the present, and what is most probable to occur in the future if the current course is followed. This can sometimes throw new tarot readers off if the querent makes sudden decisions or changes their mind during the reading: the pattern shifts before you finish describing it, and that can in turn produce a disjointed or confused reading.
Tyler seems to be of a similar frame of thought:
The same applies to a Tarot reading. Someone does a reading for you and what it supplies you is an awareness of patterns of information. The cards don’t reveal the future but they show you what to look out for. Of course the only problem with this approach is that when you are looking at specific patterns you may not be aware of others. Pattern recognition helps you to be aware patterns, but it also acts as a filter so that you may only see those patterns. This is why although getting a divinatory reading can be helpful, sometimes it can be just as helpful to leave yourself open to experience to see what happens.
Tyler’s post stems from an astrology reading. Astrology is a curious case because we can see what influences are coming up far enough in advance to prepare for them, or at the very least if something big seems to be going on we can look at the astrological weather to see what’s going on. The problem with astrology is that it can be very vague, and how those influences impact you can vary widely.
But the real important issue for me is that connection between patterns and divination. My partner always says that she isn’t psychic, she just sees the bigger pattern and can tell where things are likely to go. And this is how I do readings, tarot, dice, or otherwise. It is recognizing how things fit together and then relate to the larger motion of the world that we find trends and patterns that guide us not in what will happen, but what we ultimately hope to have happen. If your outcome is not want you want, you need to look at what patterns are keeping you from that goal and change the expression of those patterns in your life and how they affect you.
I always felt this was why Apollo ruled both art and divination. Art and creativity depend largely on seeing new connections where others do not, and putting things together in new and unique ways. It is about recognizing a larger pattern that may not make sense to a lay person, but is apparent to the artist, and made manifest through his work. And this is the same process that divination undertakes, and why my prayers to Apollo address divination and creativity in terms of the ability to see new patterns as they emerge.