Divination Addiction: The Cards Won’t Tell You When You’ve Had Enough

As I previously linked, good-old Polyphanes wrote a post Divination-Related Disorders and I mentioned in my linkage that I rarely do multiple readings for people in a short period. I will generally refuse a reading more than once a month. One reason is a month is rarely enough time for people to make a meaningful change and thus the outcome won’t be too varied. Another reason is divination gives people a sense of power, they know (or think they know) what is coming, and this makes them feel better. Sure being confident is good, but it should stem from something other than fortune telling.

A month or two back Jackie and I talked about divination on Occult Spectrum, and we chatted about the issue of divination addiction, and very briefly about what it’s okay to read on. Specifically I’ve had people try to use me as a private detective about their partner, if he is cheating, and more than once. We also touched on how divinations tend to verge on counselling sessions, and not everyone can handle what comes up in them. There I’m lucky, I used to be in social work, so I have some training and experience when that stuff comes up. That being said, the Cosmos listens, and likes to test. Though posting this now, the events in question came up the week after the show.

I considered changing details of this story to protect the innocent, but frankly if I did that it wouldn’t have the same impact, and people don’t know my client list, so I’m comfortable talking about this knowing the pieces can’t be put together.

I’ve had a repeat client for about ten months. She’s gotten close to my once a month limit, but never broken it. We’ve looked into and talked about her pregnancy, her now newborn baby, job and finance prospects for her husband, marriage troubles, moving concerns, and such. She’s been a good client, she asks important and thought out questions, and she follows the advice I lay out for her, with a critical and questioning take. Then she requested a divination last week, and I declined.

It read something to the effect of “My husband hit me, and I’m not sure where our relationship stands.” I ended up writing her a letter on why I couldn’t do the reading for her. First off, divination gives you a sense of power, and security, but this isn’t always a good thing. People sometimes get caught up in divinations and knowing, and not in acting which is what they need to do, this is one of those situations. I know there are probably few times in someone’s life where that security of divination would be more desired, but also few times when it could be more damaging. Divination should guide action, not paralyze choice.

Second, this wasn’t a matter of divination and knowledge; it was a matter of safety. I explained to her that I used to be in social work (so I didn’t seem to be a fortune teller overstepping my area of knowledge) and frankly that it was a safety issue more than anything. I’ll save the bore of stats (and me searching for notes) but it is exceedingly rare for a partner to only be physically abusive once. After that first step is taken they almost never turn back. So I told her that I didn’t feel her priority was divination, her priority was safety, and that meant taking her child and finding somewhere safe to go. Friends, family, a woman’s shelter, but before she contemplates her relationship with her husband she had to get herself out of his reach.

It was surprisingly difficult to write, I wanted to help, I wanted to look at her path and see what I could suggest, but I knew deep down that all of that was sidetracking for the importance of her safety. As readers of the flows of fate we have to accept where our understanding and limits are, we have to know what we can and shouldn’t talk on, and understand there are times when divination and knowledge (and the reliance on them) is more harmful than the answers they would give.

When it comes to physical harm, I think we’ve reached that limit. If someone attacks you it’s more important to get to safety than divine why or what to do or if it will all work out. If someone threatens you it’s more important to contact the authorities than divine if they will or how to avoid it. If your health gets really bad it’s more important to see a doctor than divine the underlying causes. Divination can come after, but get out of dodge first.

I’m not saying divination as a process can’t see these things, or is useless here, but the consequences are too important to just rely on divination, and that compulsion to rely on divination –especially during such a crisis– will only be strengthened. He hits you, and you wonder if it will work out, if you get a reading that says stay then the next time he hits you you might not ask, or you wait longer, or you get to the point where you don’t know if you should run without checking in with some form of divination. It can paralyze.

Divination lets us glimpse the flux and flow of fate, but as readers and recipients it is coloured, and like anything it is neither good nor bad, but a reliance upon something in the wrong situation is dangerous. I wrote this discussing in terms of reading for others, but it applies just as much to when we read for ourselves.

Know thyself, and know when you should act not divine.


5 Responses to Divination Addiction: The Cards Won’t Tell You When You’ve Had Enough

  1. This makes me think of the Simile of the Arrow (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.063.than.htm)

    Back when I did more pro readings, it was almost always about these sticky relationship questions. Thankfully I never had an abuse question, but I’m familiar with people wanting to ask again and again about the same issue in a short time. I ask them if a very significant change has happened since the last reading, and then judge from there whether it’s worth it.

  2. Sunfell says:

    Excellent, insightful post. I no longer do divination, but I have seen people go totally apeshit with it. Properly used, it’s a freeze-frame, a snapshot of your life currents at the moment it was done, and a series of carefully spaced readings (one a quarter, maximum) can show a macro-pattern upon revisiting. A good reader can use the hints given in that frame to analyze patterns and prognosticate from there. But it’s a snapshot only. Relying on frequent divination turns the querent into a person who can only drive backwards, using the rear-view mirror to steer by. Which, if you think about it, is a very dangerous situation to be in, as it creates tunnel vision and backwards thought.

    A healthy person or practitioner should be able to trust the signs they on the fly- to ‘ping’ the Current, and trust their reaction to what they get back. While this might put some less-than-scrupulous readers out of business, it also serves to create healthier relationships with Divinity in all its forms.

  3. Good for you! It is the easiest thing in the world to make people dependant on readings for the sake of permanent income, and sadly there are so many charlatans out there that do. The consequences for those in need is devastating. You’ve warmed the cockles of my heart with your honour, well done you!

  4. Jason says:

    I think you did the absolute best thing. I hope the woman will be alright. It’s also true, after all, that you can’t help someone unless they want (or acknowledge the need of) help.

    My partner is in social work, and had to help a woman in a (physically) abusive relationship who admitted the need to get away — but continues in this abusive relationship despite “knowing better.” It was hard on him to watch this continue over time despite his efforts to help her.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

  5. True Chaote says:

    “Know thyself, and know when you should act not divine.”


    I’m guilty of divining for inconsequential stuff, sometimes even asking the cards for what I should have for breakfast (Wands is for Bagels, Cups if for Coffee, duh!)

    I think one can reach a point, where the cards just stop giving any meaningful information. So yes, once a month is right.

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