December 15th, 2004
|10:15 am - Divination = Sex?|
When we talk about Divination, we tend to look at it from a modern world-view. Neo-Pagans have their own theories regarding the way divination was used in the ancient world, but we forget that the development of magical thought has coloured our view of what divination was to the ancients.
Divination is something connected directly to the idea of stepping outside the boudaries of the normal social order. In particular in Greece this is the case, where diviners are associated with the outskirts of society, not with its mainstream.
In fact, divination could, potentially, be tied directly to sex. Plato tells us that Eros is the intermediary between the gods and men, and that divination belongs entirely to him.
Curiously, Plato also includes "the art of the priests concerning sacrifice and initiations, just like the incantations, prophecy in general, and magic goeteia."
I think that, really, we need to re-visit the connection of divination and sex, and seriously think about how the two events are similar, if in state of mind or in myth.
Current Mood: curious
Current Music: "Boat Drinks", -JB
I'm not sure I see modern diviners as within mainstream 21st century society.
I'd suggest that they're not exactly outside of it, either.
When's the last time you saw a fortune teller living in the slummiest part of town, or peddling on the street. . . I've actually never seen one on the street, and around this campus, that's saying a lot.
Psychics like the "pet psychic" or John Edwards have major TV shows. There's an astrology section in every major paper that I've ever read. There are psychics to the stars and to various presidents.
They have a commercial niche. Yeah, they may be charlatans, but there were a lot of those in the ancient world, too.
Then again, to counter my own argument, the goes and the diviners of the ancient world also catered to the upper class. . . That's where the money is.
When's the last time you saw a fortune teller living in the slummiest part of town, or peddling on the street. . .
Drive through the near East side of Columbus: You'll see several seedy looking homes with signs advertising Tarot, Angel guidance, etc. I've also seen such homes in poorer areas of Northeast Ohio, and none in the suburbs, either of Canton or Columbus. I'll grant you that the last time I saw fortune tellers peddling on the street was in Mexico City.
As a professor, I've raised eyebrows among several of my collegues when they caught me reading (not casting, following, or even claiming belief in) the horoscopes in Cleveland Scene. The fact that I actually practice divination (in private, not for pay, and never for students) is something I need to keep secret in my profession.
I still don't see it as mainstream.