Divination  

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"Astrologers and fortune-tellers, who practise palmistry and calculate nativities, guess at things past by the motion of a sieve, and show undimmed truth in a looking-glass or in a cup of water, are publicly tolerated; such people are, indeed, not without their use; they predict to men they'll make their fortune, to girls they shall marry their sweethearts, console those children whose fathers are too long dying, and calm the restlessness of young women married to old men; in a word, they deceive, but not at a very high rate, those who wish to be deceived."--The Characters of Jean de La Bruyère (1688) by Jean de La Bruyère

 17th century representation of the 'third eye' connection to the 'higher worlds' by alchemist Robert Fludd.   Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica by Robert Fludd
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17th century representation of the 'third eye' connection to the 'higher worlds' by alchemist Robert Fludd.
Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica by Robert Fludd

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Divination (from Latin divinare, 'to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to prophesy') is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual. Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency.

Divination can be seen as a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. If a distinction is to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a more formal or ritualistic element and often contains a more social character, usually in a religious context, as seen in traditional African medicine. Fortune-telling, on the other hand, is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Particular divination methods vary by culture and religion.

Divination has long been criticized. In the modern era, it has been dismissed by the scientific community and skeptics as being superstition; experiments do not support the idea that divination techniques can actually predict the future more reliably or precisely than would be possible without it. In antiquity it was attacked by philosophers such as the Academic skeptic Cicero in De Divinatione and the Pyrrhonist Sextus Empiricus in Against the Astrologers. The satirist, Lucian, devoted a witty essay to Alexander the false prophet.

Seer

  1. Agent noun of see; one who sees something; an eyewitness.
  2. Someone who foretells the future; a clairvoyant, prophet, soothsayer or diviner.
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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Divination" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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