Divine, Divinity, and Divination

excerpted from Rev. Katrina Wynne’s Ocean Unity Church sermon
Winter 2000

Originally posted on Rev. Katrina Wynne’s website: TarotCounseling.org

In this paper I’d like to explore the nature of “Divinity, The Divine, and Divination”.

These three concepts are intimately interwoven with spiritual wisdom, as well as superstitious taboo. My wish is to open our hearts and minds to the wisdom which we each carry inside and to help to unravel the mystery and confusion which limits our connection with Spirit.

It may help to start with the basic definition of each of these concepts –

– according to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary:

DIVINITY = noun
1. the quality or condition of being divine.
2. a divine being, a god, deity.
3. a divine power or quality; supreme virtue or excellence.
4. the study of religion, theology. The Divinity; God; the Lord.

DEITY = [from deus, god]
1. the state of being a god, divine nature, godhood.
2. a god
3. a goddess \ the Deity; God

QUESTIONS:

At this point I invite you to explore your personal understanding of Divinity, what is the God of your understanding?
What kind of divine power or quality does God possess?
Is God merciful, vengeful, loving, punishing, forgiving?
Does God create? destroy? heal? curse?
Is God present in your life? Where? When?
How are you aware of God’s presence? How is God aware of you?

I’m not sure if there are any right or wrong answers to these questions, but I do believe that our willingness to address our ideology and everyday assumptions about God will lead us to our deeper knowing and experience of divinity.

DIVINE = noun
1. a man skilled in divinity; a theologian
2. a clergyman

DIVINE = adj., [inspired, pertaining to a deity, from divus, a deity.]
1. of, relating to, or characteristic of God; as, a divine nature.
2. appropriated to God or celebrating his praise; holy; sacred; as, divine songs, divine worship.
3. godlike; heavenly; excellent in the highest degree; extraordinary.
“A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth (violate) not in judgment.” – Proverbs chapter16: verse10
4. devoted to God; religious; sacrosanct.
5. relating to divinity or theology.
6. very pleasing, attractive, etc. : a feminine intensive. [Colloq.]

QUESTIONS:
What is divine in your life? What is pleasing, attractive, holy, sacred?
How have you devoted your life to God?
Where does your devotion fall short?
Do the words from your mouth “transgresseth not in judgment”?
Are you aware of your own divine “godlike” nature?
Where is the god or goddess in you?

The DIVINE is the spirit of God all around us. It is the love we feel and share, the Sun shining upon the Earth, and the Earth with all her gifts, and curses, as experienced from the limited perspective of us poor pitiful two leggeds. One may ask how the deaths of so many people, as in recent earth changes in Columbia, could be the divine will of God? But, we would be wise to remember that acts of Nature and acts of God are synonymous.

There is a greater order, beauty and wisdom that does not comply with our unique wishes and prayers.

DIVINE = verb, [to foresee, prophetic.]
1. to prophesy, to foretell, to presage.
2. to surmise, to know by intuition.
3. to guess, to conjecture.

The synonyms for Divine are to . . .

DIVINE = synonyms

foretell (weather forecast), predict(stock market), prognosticate (doctor’s prognosis), augur (a prophet [a god, or speaks for God], or to prophesy).

We humans look to divining on a daily basis, whether it be the weather forecast on the local news station telling us “There are heavy winds and rain expected on Tuesday”, or picking up the paper to read our favorite stock market analysis or astrology column. People watch their favorite sports event praying God is on the side of their team, and perhaps making bets on the outcome of the game based on that assumption.

QUESTIONS:
What kind of divine knowledge or intuition do you utilize?
Do you hear, speak, see, dream, feel, sense, move like or are moved by divine impulses?
Are there divine people in your life?
How do they help or influence you?

DIVINATION = noun
1. the act of divining; the act or practice of trying to foretell future events or the unknown by occult means.
2. a prophecy; prediction; augury.
3. a successful guess, clever conjecture.

When exploring the meaning of the word divination in our modern culture we often fall back on the occult association of the word. It brings up images of fortune tellers predicting outcomes and prescribing actions to be taken by the querant. For some, this is a taboo topic and the subject is dropped immediately. But, as you can see, as in the example of the weather report, we involve ourselves daily in the practice of divination by the very nature of our curiosity about what tomorrow may bring and how to best prepare for it.

At the heart of divination is our desire to communicate with Divinity, with God. This often takes the form of prayer. Praying is our way of reaching out beyond ourselves to touch Spirit. Prayer may appear in the form of blessings for those we love, or thanking God for blessings we experience in life. Some prayers ask for help or forgiveness for ourselves and/or for others. We may take to prayer to influence people or events, a kind of wish to predict or divine.

There is a great deal of healing and support experienced with these prayers, as many can attest to. The POWER OF PRAYER has been written about extensively and has even been the subject of scientific research confirming its potency. And potent it is! It is the power of Divinity, God, that we are drawing upon. Priests, clergy, and other religious leaders are learned in the ways of prayer and ritual, implementing their skills in service to Spirit.

In recognizing the Power of Prayer, it is equally important to realize the responsibility therein. If I am praying for your well-being, it may be wise to first check with you to affirm that I understand what you need and that I have your consent to pray for you. I wouldn’t want to unconsciously sabotage your own prayers through my misunderstanding of your wishes. I may make an exception in the case of an emergency, using my best judgment.

Prayer can be a double edged sword, it cuts both ways, and, like playing with fire, someone or something can get burned. When you pray for someone, are you enforcing your will upon her or him, imposing your sense of right or wrong? Do you wish to change that person’s thinking, behavior, or point of view? In actuality, some of these prayers are difficult to distinguish from “curses” or “hexes”, and may have a negative effect on others where no harm was intended. Acknowledging this potential for harm through unconscious negative praying or wishes, does not cancel its power for good, which remains immense.

Many of us engage in negative prayer, knowingly or not, and my hope is that we can become more aware of it and use it wisely. “Like a magnet, prayer has both positive and negative poles. Like fire it can be used for either good or harm.” states Larry Dossey, M.D., Be Careful What You Pray For…

Most of the prayers we send are actually unconscious and may have unintended results . . . like the little curses we might make in an emotional moment such as “damn you”. Rupert Sheldrake believes that people often pray with reckless abandon, without giving sufficient thought to the nature of their prayers. Most of our inner thoughts as well as outer expressions could be seen as “unconscious prayer,” and all the damn yous” may have an effect. We are more likely to sabotage ourselves through repeated self defeating remarks such as “I can’t do this” or “I’m stupid”.

An example that was told to me recently by a client, and which I was given permission to share with you, was about her mother’s complaint that getting something nice or loving from her father was like “getting blood from a stone”. Her mother developed and eventually died from a type of cancer where she calcified from the inside out, literally turning to stone.

Dossey says “Negative prayers are woven into the fabric of everyday life. We launch them not as formal curses, but simply through the process of thinking negatively of another person.”, or of ourselves, I might add. He goes on to explain that people use prayer to manipulate and control others, frequently family members or loved ones, thinking that they are acting from compassion, for the person’s own good. He tells the story of a man whose mother had prayed for him to do something other than being a writer and he suffered 25 years as an unsuccessful writer until he confronted her and started protecting himself with his own prayers.

Some people go so far as to assume the will of God, leading to self-righteousness, to manipulative prayer, and even death “In the name of God” as in the Inquisition, witch hunts, and the Holocaust.

My favorite quote on the nature of God’s will is from a story about Abraham Lincoln included in Larry Dossey’s book.

“At a White House dinner, a churchman offered a benediction and closed with the pious affirmation: ‘The Lord is on our side.’

When President Lincoln did not respond to this sentiment, someone asked him, ‘Don’t you believe, Mr. President, that the Lord is always on the side of right?’

‘I am not concerned about that,’ was Lincoln’s answer, ‘for we know that the Lord is always on the side of right. My concern is that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.'”

Even the Lord and his prophets have employed negative prayers usually presumed to be the work of diabolical individuals, making it difficult to distinguish between curses and prayers in the Bible.

(2 Kings 2:23-24) prophet Elisha caused 42 children to be devoured by bears for making fun of his baldness

(Acts 13:11) apostle Paul struck a sorcerer blind

(Matthew 21:17, Mark 11:13-14, 20-22) Jesus blasted an apparently innocent fig tree for not bearing fruit

Upon hearing these quotes one must ask what is the difference between a prayer to harm others and the curse of a sorcerer?

We would benefit from examining our assumptions about divination and prayer and begin to view life beyond the polemic of holy or diabolical, bad or good, but rather to examine the spirit, the intentions, the level of awareness involved and the quality of empathy and compassion embued in what we experience.

Again, prayer, whether it be a conscious message, a negative wish, or an unconscious thought, has power. By our divine nature we are one with spirit communicating continually, networking with all aspects of life. We can choose to raise our awareness about our part in creation and take responsibility for our thoughts, words and deeds and thus tap into the power of positive living and loving prayer, all the while coming to terms with the negative or “shadow” side of God and our own nature.

In the spirit of balance I end with these Biblical quotes:

Isiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.”

And Ecclesiastes 11:14: “Good things and bad, life and death, poverty and wealth, come from the Lord.”

References:
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary
The Bible (various versions)
Be Careful What You Pray For …Larry Dossey, M.D.

Excerpted and summarized from Tarot, Magic and Transformation, a book in progress by Katrina Wynne, M.A. All rights reserved.

© 2000-2017 Katrina Wynne, all rights reserved. Nothing herein may be copied, reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in any media format without express written permission of the author.

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