Fate, Karma and Divination: Rivers Of Time
Doing any kind of divination is a form of literacy. When we read astrological charts we are deciphering maps that dynamically describe the quality of time. When we work with sortilege based methods we are applying similar skills of pattern recognition and modeling active narrative forms. There are many ways we can frame how this might work if we wished to pause and rationalize it to ourselves. There is As Above So Below etc. The macrocosm and the microcosm. We plainly see that in transits to a natal chart reflecting in parallel what is unfolding within a person’s life as well as taking place in multiple ways in the world at large. This also happens with scrutinizing randomized data, such as throwing down some materials and reading what they might represent for hypothesizing what is afoot or could transpire.
We might venture to imagine how Karma is sometimes conceptualized in the East. There are karmic bonds and debts of multiple strengths and tenacity. The three major categories are like three different rivers. One is of a gently flow which you might cross easily by wading through. If you were not careful some of your belongings might be carried off, but you will get to the other side no problem as long as you are not, say, incredibly inebriated or ill or out of sorts in some other way. You can drown in three inches of water and so on.
The second sort of river is a much stronger current and depth and width. If you are a good swimmer you can make it across with effort and some diligence but its going to take some intention, attention, focus and involvement. You’ll definitely have to do something about it to get out of or unravel such a karma.
The third is like a dangerous rushing rapid. There is almost no way you could safely cross without, perhaps a miracle, but by nature miracles are rather hard to come by. Normal magic might fall into the category of the second river on some spectrum. This rapid requires serious divine intervention which is beyond once in a lifetime, so in 99.9% of the cases this is simply your fate.
When we look at Hellenistic astrology and doctrines of fate and techniques like Zodiacal Releasing and so on we find that some major shifts are rather predestined. The life follows some sort of course of ups and downs and there are certain times when things activate and shifts occur. This is just the shape of the weavery. When we look to transits we find they are often more malleable. If we know a hard looking Pluto or Saturn transit is coming up for us we can plan out plutonian or saturnian activities for ourselves of our own choosing, such as fasts and initiatory trials, in advance and lessen the intensity of the transit in how hard it impacts our lives. Here we have the the third and second rivers. We might conceptualize the first river as the Moon in all her changeability (as she always interacts with a changed zodiac of planetary positions each cycle around) flowing around the ecliptic and playing the lunar music of our natal chart in a cyclical monthly rhythm.
Sortilege offers us another perspective beyond the map checking. It works on a more granular level. We can use it to model within these flows of karmic rivers many scenarios and see how they might play out based on how things stand at the very moment you pose the question. If the interplay of elements and planets and various other influences is animating the flow of time we experience then tossing down some cards at any given moment is quite sensitive to these influences and falls within the force of these flows and allows for a sneak peak into how things might play out from where everything currently stands.
Cartomancy’s popularity if not altogether dominance as an oracular tool of sortilege is rather natural and organic. Deriving from trade routes as games that might be played aboard merchant ships or stationed at trading posts along the way and moving with money and gambling and many other forms of exchange into popular culture then manufactured, given as gifts or sold, developing out of Egyptian and Arabic cultures through the mediaeval lens of humoral theory and seasonal phenomena interrelated with ideas of the body and the quality and activity of nature these cards were divided into the suits we know today and you can still walk into almost any store in the world and buy a pack cheaply: we have something acutely mercurial here, and it is Mercury who is the Messenger, the Trickster, the logical and analytical mind, ready and clever and neutral, poised to explore polarities, paradox, and unknown or arcane places to traffic about information. As cards seemed to assemble themselves naturally and manifest out of mercurial activity and so thoroughly establish themselves and embed themselves within the wider culture so completely, we have a unique and acute tool available to use to invoke Hermes at the drop of a dime and get a read out on what might be going on in our lives, if we are literate to what language the cards might be speaking in.
There are many such traditions and systems available to study, and you can certainly develop your own (Mercury doesn’t care) and as long as you are concerned primarily with results and getting a good read and dedicated to improving your craft you will end up with a way to speak and communicate with the oracle just as you would being able to converse with people by learning any language or dialect of the world in the context of your locality. Then there are many kinds of sortilege and sortilege systems to choose from, from full blown geomancy to tea leaves to candle wax. We might akin such practices being able to read the terrain of our karmic rivers, articulate their features, such as rocks and bends and currents and flora or fauna.
Then we come to scrying and mediumship practices. Necromancy, goetia, spiritualism, seance, ancestor practice, dreaming, journeying, gazing into stones or water or oil or fire, pendulums, Ouija boards, etc. etc. etc. Basically tapping into somehow and receiving insight and information from the beyond. When we incorporate such practices, and the kinds of information they provide us (especially in combination with the sortilege and map-referencing previously discussed) we begin to see the emergent outlook of reality as stories. There are many narratives taking place at once, changing and twisting and branching and superimposing as they flow. We might begin to see that yes you are bound absolutely to this one large river system, at least for this portion of your life, but within that there are many tributaries and jug handles you might pursue as alternate routes as they offer perhaps waters less rough or vegetation desired. In other sections of the river, or in other times of your life there is more or less opportunities to move from river to river or from story to story to seek certain outcomes.
In practice this might look like “The version of you who gets the promotion is in another story where you live by the water and are jogging every morning”. There needn’t always be a rational reason why one variation leads to a certain place, as we wouldn’t question why one branch of a river leads to one geography and another branch heads through entirely different terrain even if they begin at the same source and end up meeting the sea in the same delta. Elements of our lives seem to be fated, although our experience of our lives in detail, quality, essence and in embodiment appears to offer a variety of options throughout the landscape of manifestation.
All forms of divination may assist in guiding us through this engagement with time on the varied scopes, from phenomenological augury to classical cartomancy to time lord techniques to inviting spirits into our dream-space, each practices describing to us more about the unseen subtleties of our present, past and future’s from their various unique perspectives: traditional astrology the birds eye view, sortilege the field factors along the way, and mediumship modalities what other possible routes might exist.
And rivers themselves are living things, they change shape and location upon the land, they swell and flood or contract down to a trickle. What your cards say today is what was true as of today. Down the line you’ll want to check back in with the situation. as things move forward. If a spirit tells you wear red and you’ll fall in love, and you wear green all week and try to switch to red by the weekend the story might not be the same by then, you might need polkadots or even something other than a change in wardrobe at that point. This doesn’t mean total randomness and chaotic distribution at all times, but requires that you be a good listener, and literate of the signs.