Friday, April 29, 2016

Pondering Prediction

The following is excerpted from the 2nd edition of the Muzoracle Handbook, "The Harmonic Engine: Mythopoetics of Muzoracle", which will be published Midsummer 2016. 

We all have the ability to predict the future to some degree: if the sky is full of black clouds, for example, we might predict rain. Beyond that, we’ve all experienced hunch: the phone rings and we know who it is before we answer, or we’re filled with an unreasonable certainty that something’s going to happen and then it does. These “hunches” can be written off as the brain quickly calculating probabilities and then jumping to conclusions, but if we are observant we recognize a momentary shift in perception at a level much deeper than that. It’s more like a shift in being. For a moment, the line between past and future goes slack; the knots that hold it taut loosen. A similar thing occurs with déjà vu. For the psychics among us, the past/future line is flexible more often and for longer periods. The boundaries between the psychic and others may be less concrete, as might be the usual divisions between the living and the dead. Occasional hunches, a developed intuition, psychic ability: it’s a matter of degree.
Intuitions, gut feelings, aha! moments: these occur within us at a level deeper than that of our ordinary experience. As soon as the magic passes, however, we can’t help but begin to process these moments in an ordinary way. This can be problematic when we base our advice to others on those intuitions. Example: say we have an insight regarding another person’s behavior: we see an underlying fear manifesting as aggression. That insight might engender compassion for them, and a compassionate response from us. It also, however, might trigger judgement in us at some unseen level, and we end up unknowingly mixing our compassion and insight with our opinions and conclusions. With all the best intentions, we wipe our drama on them—in the name of "help." The psychics we consult are only human, too: no matter how profound their insights, they can’t automatically be trusted to give it to us clean. 
"Know thyself": Excavation from the
San Gregorio convent in Rome.
So how do we proceed? Skip oracles altogether? Perhaps. Throw intuition out the window, pretend it doesn’t exist? Become fundamentalist materialists, vigorously thumping our bibles of empirical data? Hopefully not. The same dictum holds true when navigating oracles and intuition as when undertaking any inner work worth its salt: know thyself. Observe yourself, detachedly and ruthlessly. Learn to see your unconscious mechanisms in action, learn what runs you; learn to discern one part within from another, the higher from the lower. Learn what it means to be present. Learn silence, and so listening: a good part of “psychic” is simply being quiet enough to hear. 

And when do we know ourselves enough? When are we silent enough? When are we prepared enough? Quite possibly never. What we can be, though, is humble. Wherever we fall on the spectrum of self-awareness or psychic ability, we can be assured that we don’t know it all: we can remain in question. Each of us is such a complex combination of beliefs, ideas, feelings, histories, hopes, fears, subterfuge… whether we’re reading or being read for, it is best to maintain between reader and querent a sense of creative conspiracy. The glimpses and hints and metaphoric possibilities that they see, that you see—what from them can you together make that is useful? Sometimes circumstances are playing out in a way that is clear, and it is not possible to change them. We can, however, always redefine our relationship to those circumstances, and an oracle can shine light on the possibilities. Whatever the aims of a Muzoracle casting or reading of any sort, empowerment and choice for the querent should be foremost.