The Inherited Art of Divination - It's in the Blood!
‘’To divine is to imagine rightly. The whole secret of the art of divination consists in the education of the imagination which must be disciplined with a view to it’s being put to some rational work. Let us restore this art and cultivate it with discretion, instead of leaving it to the powers of simple people or to the cunning of those who exploit human weakness.’’
Oswald Wirth. 1889.
I found myself tallying up the years that I have been teaching spiritual studies and it must be 15 to 16 years. How the time has rushed by and all the people that have come and gone. I was recalling some of my more memorable groups, made so by the characters I was privileged to meet and to subsequently facilitate their journey for a while. My thoughts of these encounters prompted this blog.
I have asked students the question "how did you get into this particular field of interest?"
The usual answer is that they want to ‘help’ people (never a good idea!) or they felt a compulsion to drop by the College. Another classic answer is that they are aware of a presence around them. You can see the consternation etched on their face as the individual is seriously hoping that said presence is angelic!
Every now and again I am told that the talent runs in the family and they are exploring a natural ability. It is to this end that I tell my story.
I am a Price and yes the Prices come from Wales; Tredeger to be exact. My father’s family were Welsh coal miners in the Monmouthshire area before they pitched up to work the seams in South Yorkshire.
According to my Dad, the Welsh Prices were just like many other Welsh mining families. There were all kinds of little customs, like the men not washing their back in case it made the skin soft. Nearly everyone grew their own vegetables, had chickens in the yard and in this family there was even a pit pony. My great grandmother took in itinerant workers from other parts of the country charging them bed and board which no doubt helped to pay for a few extras.
Life was indeed hard in those days. There was no welfare state so if you needed Parish assistance you then had to do something in return which could be laying roads or picking sugar beet.
My great grandmother, Lizzie, had a talent for reading tea leaves
Lizzie was very respected for her art and regularly saw people in the parlour. This sounds grand but the parlour was a small room which was very tidy but generally uninhabited for most of the time.
My Dad was often sent on an errand to buy a quarter of Mazzawatee tea, preferred because it had larger leaves which made them easier to form patterns and symbols. He knew a client was due and no other tea could do the job! In return for Lizzie’s services a visitor would give a pat of butter, a gill of milk, bread or sugar, occasionally money but more often the deal was struck on a barter basis as fair exchange meant no robbery.
It was all a bit of a ritual
A special teapot and china cups were used. The brew was made a few minutes prior to the client’s arrival so it would be well ‘mashed.’ Then the two of them would sit and drink tea and chat about the state of the world. By this time my Dad would have been shooed from the room but it is in his memory that most callers would have come with the age old classic queries about life and death, love and marriage, peace and war and of course the family. Everyone needed to be well; everyone needed to be married; everyone needed to be in work. You can begin to see that a psychic of any description would be a valuable member of the community. Life was an uncertainty and to be forearmed against adversity was a useful weapon.
It is worth noting that people like Lizzie would not have been familiar with some of the philosophies and practices that we have today. She would not have a clue what a Chakra is nor would she have seen the point of meditation or any other of the affectations that come with modern spirituality.
Community is all important
However, she would have been interested in what was going on in her community; she would have been very aware of the challenges that people faced. I doubt that she read the leaves to ‘help’ people but rather to offer insights so that an answer could be found. Community is all important, if you support one person then you have supported all the rest. Resources remained intact and anxiety was kept to a minimum resulting in an informed, happy and healthy environment.
A keeper of secrets
Lizzie would have been a diplomat, a keeper of secrets, a wise woman. She would have had an open heart and ears to the blood and guts of life. Her spirituality would have been the well-being of others, nothing fancy, psychological or evangelical, just down to earth stuff.
I think in this respect not much has changed. A good psychic knows life. I have found, particularly with Tarot readers, their lives have been very physical, very challenging, almost as if they embody all the archetypes at once.
Readers are on the frontline
Hopefully the reader's life experience will have trained them sufficiently to endure the stories of the journey of the human in all its richness, from the tragic to the sublime.
One can be as academic as one likes but the rub is that an understanding of life itself, which can’t be found in books but must be lived, is paramount to the expert reader. Imagination and inspiration also help things along, but that is a whole new blog!
Thank you Lizzie
So I thank you Lizzie for the gift you have given me. I am often awestruck by the life path I find myself on and feel extremely privileged. Many times I have felt you with me and had an overwhelming sense of others too.
The flow of consciousness and the passing on of a baton. From the old springs the new. The seer's place in society and in the community is as required now as it ever was.
What baton do you carry from your family line and how does it pay forward?