A Short History on Divination

By

Michael Wallace

The History of Divination in the Western Culture has a major pivot points that lies between the Ancient and Modern world. This is the period where the transition from the Old to the New religions occurred, and where Science took over from the New Religion when it grew old. This makes the transition between the Pagan World to the Christian World, through to the changes from the Renaissance to the Industrial revolution are all pivotal periods.

Here we look at this process of changing consciousness at the emergence of Christianity as a major social force, and to see where we are with Divination today, in the Post Industrial Revolution period.


The Death of the Sibyl

Remember way back to when the Roman centurions cast lots for the clothes of Jesus? Well, the "lots" were the casting of Dice, and whatever the numbers they threw have echoed down in one form or another down the ages, even to this very day.

Regardless of whether you believe in what Christianity has become, or has been, the facts are simple: The religion has changed the world. However, there were many influences that formed and created what we now know as Christianity. The religion is really a mix up of Christ's notions., Saint Paul's liturgy, and a whole lot of external pagan influences. In fact, when we look at the Dogma of the Catholic Church, a surprising truth is that there is not a single dogma that comes from what Jesus actually said.

The most telling feature of the religion as a spiritual force comes from the belief of the people in it's priests. Tell me: Would you go to a priest for spiritual advice?

In the Ancient World, if you had a serious question you didn't go to a counselor, social worker or a priest, you went to a Sibyl. The Sibyl was the prophetess, the often out-cast mad one who was taken in by some shrine because her nature was half divine, half human. This was almost always a woman, often she was half mad and invariably, she was unsuited to the society of the day.

According to Greek and Roman mythology, the Sybil were women bestowed with prophetic powers by some god. (Apollo, Hermes, etc.) The Sibyl; often lived in a cave or near a stream and usually prophesied in a frenzied trance. Language was rarely direct, and often spoken in Greek hexameters or whatever the poetry of the district might be, and this is what would be written down by the local minder, or priest.

There was always someone, usually a priest, who collected the utterance (Or soothsaying) and interpreted it. Of course, some things never change, and you were charged for the privilege. In the modern world the closest we come is the Prophetic Trance of the Tibetan Lamas. This is still practiced today, and is a fascinating insight into how things may have been done in the old world. In the Tibetan tradition, a Lama will appear to have gone mad to the untrained observer. He stamps and rants and utters unintelligible sounds, but this is a divine oracle at work. It all means something significant to the one "reading" the Lama's actions.

Perhaps the MOST important soothsayers in the Ancient World were the Oracles and the Etruscan Haurispices (The readers of signs, lightning strikes, etc.) but there were many others down to the lowly entrail readers who read the liver of a sacrificed goat, or bull.

In Rome, the Priests of Attis were also important, because they read the Ancient Sibylline Books in times of trial or confusion. But not ALL readers of signs were trained in the arts. In fact, in Rome the official priests of the city were normal citizens with normal
lives. They simply bought or were given a title that required certain ceremonial task to be performed. However, there was a common thread between all. Professional Priest or Lay Priest Patrician, all were required to initiate animal sacrifice in order to either appease or know the will of the Gods.

And here, specifically, is where the upcoming Christian Tradition found a ready market for converts. In the simplest and most basic of terms, if you were a farmer who HAD to give livestock for religious and ceremonial purposes, wouldn't you prefer a religion which saved your livestock, thus your cash flow?

If you look at the core of the Christian tradition, it is where you partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. Instead of killing an animal, you CEREMONIALLY took a life. You kept the chook and got more eggs, or kept the lamb and sold it at market. Jesus SPECIFICALLY targeted the removal of animal sacrifice from the agenda of worship at the Last Supper.

The Coming of the Christians

With the advent of Christianity, these ancient practices were slowly removed from common usage. It was to be many years before the Catholic Priests completely took over as the ritual of "Utterance" … which is what we now call the weekly sermon! Do you think we may have lost something here?

This removal of the Oracles was an enforced thing at the outset. After the 6th Century ALAL options shut down, however. Prior to this point conversion was a matter of choice.

Initially the conversion to Christianity was a practical move for many. The tribal people all around Rome were getting heartily sick of the old ways that in effect meant you were taxed on your livestock. Many wholeheartedly embraced Christianity because it meant no more killing of your best bull, or other valuable livestock to the Gods. Christianity was also an ECONOMICAL choice!

Change comes slowly, and invariably with great difficulty. When it comes to humanity, the Ebb and Flow of change usually comes in a tide of Blood. The leaders of Christianity used every means at their disposal to bring the pagans into the embrace of Christ. The new Christian religions opposed animal sacrifice, and saw the Oracular practice of "utterance" to be the Devils work. This directly contradicted the core of Pagan belief, so many joined to save their livestock, but kept practicing the old ways. As a form of
protest, early Christians took the face of the Goat headed God, Pan and created this as the image of Satan. However, the Sybil's had become puppets in the hands of priests, who used the powers of the Oracles to get paid and to manipulate the popular view. Regardless of the truth, by the end of the First Century Christian Priests and Sibyls were locked in a battle to the death. It was a bloody and vicious power struggle between the old and the new.

The Clash of the New

This clash of Christianity with the old ways caused a huge swell of opposition and discontent all through the known world, and a very brutal mindset began to be developed. In simple terms, Christians viewed that they were fighting Satan (who was hard at
work in the hearts of man) while the common folk saw their old ways being invaded by a new set of priests hungry for power. Rome was, of course, initially Pagan. As a response by the year 300 AD the Emperor Diocletian began the Christian purges. Christians were considered troublemakers and were brutally rooted out and executed. This process occurred because of a number of factors, and none were without a reasonable rational.

REASONS FOR PERSECUTION:
ONE: Christians formed Communist Societies outside towns
TWO: Ritual Cannibalism practiced in the Mass
THREE: Thieves and brigands given safety in Christian groups
FOUR: Terrorist activity based on Christian Activists

The First Cause for persecution is that Christians formed into collectives outside of towns. Christians were a self sufficient bunch, willing to live apart from society (which was considered evil for the most part) but to the Roman leaders this was a problem,
a festering pot of revolution. (And it was!)

Secondly, the Christians ritually drank human blood and human flesh. Romans detested Cannibalism and considered the idea of even ritual cannibalism to be disgusting. In our current society, it would be like a large group of people ritually pretending to have sex with children. This put public opinion in the cities against the Christians. The paradox of this is that the entire Christian ritual was designed to act to END sacrifice. Historically,
Animal Sacrifice was a substitute for human sacrifice. In particular, the practice of the old Matriarchal religions had been King Sacrifice, where the King dies for the sins of the people.

Sound familiar?

Further: Imagine how a farmer felt when a perfectly good bull gets carted away by a priest who says "Jove wants a bull today" A perfectly good bull getting killed for the sake of some Galli (Priest of Attis) being initiated? You can understand how farmers were more than happy for the Gods to be placated and appeased with bread and wine. SO many country folk liked Christianity,

The Third and MAIN motivating force behind the Christian persecutions was the fact that these collectives took in everyone who asked for help.

These people really DID take in and help the poor and unfortunate, which often happened to include thieves and brigands running from the Law. The problems arose when, as an example, a thief running from Roman Centurions ran into a Christian village for help. The Romans went in, and naturally enough wanted the thief handed over.

But the Christians would not do this. As a result, the soldiers would take 4 or more people from the village saying they would be handed over once the thief was surrendered, or they would die if not.

The good Christians who were taken KNEW they would be taken for the blood sport of the Coliseum, but they would allow the centurions to take themselves away in order to protect a thief who had just arrived. Why? Jesus had told them to take in the lowly, the poor and the sinners. Roman authority just wanted to get a thief, and ended up with stubborn martyrs who WANTED to die for God. It ALL spelt trouble.

But imagine if you were this thief! These strange Christians, who didn't know you from a bar of soap, were willing to DIE for you? Maybe there was more to it? To get to stay in this "safe house" you had to put up with a few rules, or at least appear to, but it was a good deal. What THIS meant was that the lower end of society gravitated to the Christian encampments. This of course attracted more and more attention from the Roman authorities.

The Forth reason for the persecution was what would be called terrorism in today's terms. Christians hated the Empire and the Pagan truths it stood for. It was Satan incarnate, many believed. A group of radical Christians actively sought to help God "end the world" a little more quickly by burning down towns. The great fire of Rome was started, it is believed, by Christians seeking to hasten Armageddon.

Doesn't this sound familiar? Religious zealots are destroying buildings and innocent lives because of the "Great Satan" called America … America is responding with force to control things.

Then the turn-a-round occurred. The soon to be Emperor Constantine recognized this powerful tide of change at work, and rather fight Christianity like Diocletian, he embraced it and took it to heart. Politically, Constantine noted that throughout the
tribes and governments Christians were often in powerful positions. In the secular cities whole societies of Christians had quietly worked their way into power, and were now a very significant and influential group. By embracing Christianity, Constantine got the necessary political edge that eventually won him an Empire.

The End of the Old

The cost of Constantine winning was high. With Empire behind them, the zeal of the Christians in attacking the old teachings grew and grew. By the years 600AD it was forbidden to attend any of the old religious sites, and many of the sanctuaries were
either closed down, or converted to Christian churches. Most specifically the Sibyls and Oracles were banned, and now it was the turn for the Old Ways to be hidden, to go underground.

But there had been ample warning of the upcoming changing of the tide. In 44BC Julius Caesar sat down with trusted and great Haurispices. They had spoken to the Sibyl's, and all had voiced the words of Change. As the Constellation of Pisces took ascendancy,
the signs in the heavens all spoke of Change.

It was decided at that time that a new calendar would be struck to both reform the calendar (A confused state of affairs where winter celebrations were being held in Summer, and vice versa) yet also to mark the start of the great change. But who then was to know that a fellow called Jesus (who would be born in April of 4BC) or that his teaching would become the glue that would hold together the Roman Empire in the new cycle?

Well, someone did, because three Hauispices turned up at his birth. You would come to know them as "The Three Wise Men". So, the Mark of Destiny and Prophecy is all over the

From the Early Christian to the Industrial Society

From the Ascendancy of Christianity to the Industrial Age there was a period of apparent inactivity called "the Dark Ages". Truth is, a lot was happening under the surface of Western Society, and a great deal of knowledge from the old world had been transferred
to the North of Africa where it was fostered under the care of the new Moslem Religion.

When this religion began to stagnate in the early 12th century, which coincided with the start of the Inquisitions in the West, much of the knowledge moved off to Ireland and other distant locations. Books like the "Book of Kells" were part of this process. Much of this is noted in the dialogue "From Jesus to the Magna Carta" which you can read online at www.pythagorus.org.uk. The defeat of the Pagan Teachings in the 6th Century meant an end to the Pythoness at Delphi but also it ended the "World Bank" that was built into all the ancient Shrines. Few realise the shake up this caused, because ALL world leaders used to "Bank" at the various Oracles. They were safe havens for gold and currency.

This was now gone, and as much as the closing of the Oracles was a political move, it was also a money grab. The net effect, however, was to destabilize currency and trade throughout the Empire and beyond. This, more than any other ruling or military
defeat from Rome, was the real cause of the Dark Ages.

Now trade could only be based on transfer of money or barter. There were no more "writs" or Letters of Credit other than those provided by the Pope or his Bishops. Thus the ONLY people who traded successfully were those favoured by the church.

If you had a mindset that favoured anything other than the church, you got nowhere. It is like trying to work at McDonalds while saying you prefer Burger King. Can you imagine arguing with a person who has a sword in their hand? Likewise, the act of Divination was found to be a PAGAN thing, thus not desired. However, there was ONE form of Divination that WAS allowed.

This was divination with NUMBER. Why was this allowed? Because Pythagoras who was a founding father of many Church principles also taught that God could be discovered in NUMBER.

Thus we find the connecting line between the Ancient Pagan world and the Early Christian World was Pythagoras and the Ancient Greek Philosophers that followed him. We do not have enough pages in this book to go over all the effects of the Pythagoreans
on Christian Society, but the main principle that WAS fostered was the Mystic Centre of Learning. This was eventually to become the Christian Monastery.

The Monasteries were centres devoted to learning and the arts, and these became the central figures in holding knowledge and wisdom throughout the Dark Ages. If you had a question about crops, religion, marriage… You went to some specialist Monk in some Monastery. Medicine, Trade, Agriculture, Religion … All were subjects taught in Monasteries.

Also, the Monastery became a "Holding House" for many things. These in effect became banks for the common people where a farmers excess of wheat that year was credited towards butter and milk in the following year.

Out of this practice, a unique brand of Warrior Monks came into being during the 11th century, the Knights Templar. This group grew to become all powerful in the next 2 centuries, and became the Bankers of Europe. They were finally broken up by the Pope
on the basis of Heretical Practices on Friday the 13th.

People now decry this act, but it did trigger change. The Knights Templar were devoted to many arcane and mystic rituals that were not connected to Christian thought. The knights had conquered the Holy Lands and in doing so grabbed much of the old
wisdom from where it lay dormant within the Muslim faith, and slowly transformed it into a new and vital teaching.

When this group was crushed (in what was effectively the start of the Inquisitions) the surviving members moved to Scotland and Ireland and took the arcane knowledge with them … Places out of sight and mind to the broader Catholic community.

Here the practice of Divination continued, and finally during the Renaissance the long cold Winter of isolation came to an end. The Ancient practices and knowledge were brought to light once more, and thus became part of the mainstream of society.
Then the INDUSTRIAL AGE came upon us.

Science and the Industrial Society

The Industrial Age was in effect the ascendancy of SCIENCE as the New religion. All the old beliefs and superstitious were swept aside in a new psychological and spiritual cleansing of Western Culture. The old ways were ridiculed. Questions such as "How
many Angels can dance on the head of a pin" were seen as the abstract rationalism they were, and the practical mentality of self sufficiency and progress became the hallmark of the age.

Religious Groups were persecuted, and moved to the "new World" of America, while in Europe progress was marked by the incredible explosion of factories across the landscape.

More than this, there was MONEY for all who took part. Allegiance to the Pope meant little in the new order. Science provided the answers, not the priest. If you wanted to keep believing the Earth was flat, you were laughed at. But prediction was still important! The London Times reported as front page news in December of 1798 how eminent scientists and philosophers did not know how Man would survive the incredible increase in stress
generated by the Industrial changes going on all around.

Women fainted in the streets when the first Top Hat was worn, and the Academy of Science convened to discuss whether they should close their doors, because it was believed that everything that could be invented had been accomplished. After all, there
was steam power … What else could there be?

In the heyday of change, the Industrial society ridiculed notions of Divination.
You MADE your future. A mysterious and invisible God did not have a hand in
these things, it was up to YOU to succeed and get ahead. And yet in every city and town there was someone reading fortunes and predicting the future. Despite, or perhaps because of, all the changes going on around, people still believed that Omens and
Portents could give them the edge as far as knowing what was around the corner.

In particular, DICE were used.

Specifically, Dice were used by the Gypsy fortune tellers, and by the Early 1800's a new craze spread all over Europe and finally to the America's called BUNCO. Bunco is still being played in lounge rooms across America and few of the good Christian Ladies will realize that their harmless social Dice game has its base in Gypsy Divination.

Despite all the changes, Divination, and specifically Divination with DICE somehow managed to survive all the Dark Ages and Science could collectively muster to throw against it. There MUST be a reason for the longevity of Dice Divination, and there is. The reason is simply that it WORKS.

Now in the Post Industrial Society, where leisure is the premium product, people are once more wondering what lies ahead for them. What DOES the future hold? This is the reason why we brought out Divinity Dice series, so you can become your OWN Oracle, and see for yourself.

*Article Extracted from "Pythagorean Patterns" which is the last book of the "Divinity Dice" series by Michael Wallace.

 

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