Personally I have been much helped by an astrologer who charted out the various forces in my personality and circumstances. As I came to her after my 30’s, she did not tell me anything new. However, she did help me see these various forces and balance them in my life. A psychic who read my aura when I was 19 had a similar guiding function (though I refused his offer to chart my future – I prefer guiding my own course, even though is general prophecy that it would be hard and there would be many twists and turns has turned out correct). I also dabbled in tarot cards at that time. It was very useful to develop a sense of how symbolism works – and can be used to develop self knowledge and insight into other people’s characters.
All in all – for me these things are temporary. To some extent they are even diversions. I did not linger in any of them – my most persistent effort was regular I-ching readings, but those never gave me anything specific to go on. General insight was never a shortcoming of mine, so I did not really need the I-ching for that.
The TS has long ago stopped advising people to do any of these things. Yet theosophists have insisted on doing them. 😉
Reasons? Well none of these things can replace wisdom itself as a guide. That is: through practical lifestyle changes and developing self-knowledge, tolerance and other virtues. Those who have wisdom hardly need any of this. Which means that all attempts at divination are in the long run futile. Or that’s what the rational mind says.
But in the meantime life is pretty confusing. Our world changes so fast that the way I make my living hardly existed 10 years ago and the details change by the month. This is of course due to the fact that my living is made online: designing websites and getting advertisement income off webpublishing. This field is very new and dynamic.
But life is not just confusing for me. My parents came out of college with the comfortable illusion that what they had trained to be, would define their careers. This was true for neither of them – but their generation could still believe it. When I was in teachers college students often asked themselves and each other: do you see yourself teaching in 10 years time? Even then I answered: no. I could not see that as a future (little did I know I would have to quit teaching much earlier than that).
My point? This world is way too complicated. Individuals have to thread their way through social changes that no one person can keep track of. The economy has just suffered a major hit and at the same time the public has become aware of fundamental problems with our energy use. Both problems were a long time coming, but most people could comfortably ignore them until recently.
This isn’t abstract. It goes to fundamental issues of how people go about their daily lives (by car or by public transportation), which professions students should train for, which skills will be found useful in 10, 20, 30 years time. There is no way to tell a student today whether the skills they are learning today will get them a job in 20 years time. Technology, law and medicine are traditional safe havens – however technology specialists are loosing their jobs in The Netherlands right now.
In such a confusing world it should be no surprise that people turn to traditional divination methods to figure out where to go and what to do with their lives. That is without even touching upon the traditional subject of advice: relationship advice.
To some extent of course these area’s have been taken over by psychologists. They can tell us our talents and academic skills right now. What they can’t do is chart our fundamental motives, nor the circumstances we will find ourselves in 10 or 20 years from now. Learning potential is also very difficult to measure. A good astrologer (that is: one who goes beyond the starsign of one’s birth) CAN look at all that.
What does all this have to do with spiritual development? Well – spirituality does not take place in a vacuum. Theosophists, Buddhists, Yoga practitioners – we are all human beings living in this world. We are in fact more likely to feel the weight of this issue – as we are generally more highly educated than average.
Some of you may be surprised at that statement, but it’s a fact: Alternative spirituality, whether in the shape of Wicca, Buddhism or Theosophy is largely (though not exclusively) an area for educated women and men.
The instability of our world also affects well educated people most. A carpenter is likely to remain a carpenter. Whether he keeps his job is partly up to the fates, but the most that can be expected is that he becomes the manager of a carpentry business. Educated people on the other hand can go into the field they were educated for (still usually a wide variety of possible jobs) or even venture outside it. Each career step has to be weighed. Can I learn more in this job? Does this workplace fit my personal style of working?
One has to keep on learning. But this is also very confusing. Should I develop my technical skills as a blog manager? (Should I learn PHP more?) Should I develop into more of a designer, installing photoshop on my pc and experimenting with it’s options? Should I apply for a job as webeditor, honing my skills as a writer? Those are merely the tip of the iceburg of potential career options for me personally.
Each educated professional has a similar list of options. Notice that only the first has the vaguest connection to my formal education (As math teacher I also had some IT training).
Harder to get a grip on is personal development. For each professional it is a valid question: am I hampered from moving to the next level in my career for reasons of professional training or because my personality gets in the way? If it’s the latter, can I do anything about that or should I move to a field that fits my personality better? This is the type of question a good astrologer or alternative therapist can help with.
Once these methods have proven their practical usefulness, we can’t help but adapt our world view to this fact. If astrology works, there has to be some connection between the stars and my personal life. If aura-reading works, parapsychology must be based on truth. There just might be a soul – despite what most neurologists think. There just might be life after death. There just might be more between heaven and earth…
And that makes it likely for many interested in personal development to become interested in spirituality.
So – what’s the place of divination in spiritual development? It’s often the starting point of a search for spiritual answers to life questions.