“Only sacred divination united with the gods truly gives a share in the divine life, participating in foreknowledge and divine thoughts, and truly makes us divine.” This was written by Iamblichus (c.250–c.330 CE), a Pagan philosopher and teacher of theurgy (the art of communicating with gods). He also tells us that the Pythagoreans — the ancient Pagan masters of magic and the Mysteries — considered divination (along with medicine and music) the highest among the sciences, for divination “alone is the means of interpreting the intentions of the gods.” Since ancient times, divination has been an important tool for seeking guidance from the gods, and most modern Pagans, Wiccans, and others who practice the old faiths are familiar with divination, and many practice some divinatory art, such as tarot, runes, I Ching, or scrying. However, we would like to understand divination as it was practiced by our Pagan predecessors.
That is what you will learn in this book, for there are several documented divinatory systems from the ancient Pagan world. While legends abound of pillars or stone tablets engraved with oracles or esoteric wisdom, in these cases they are true. We have the pillars or tablets! They are in museums (mostly), and you can see them with your own eyes. They have been dated and transcribed by expert archaeologists. You will learn to use them for practical divination. Indeed, this book will teach you two divination systems. The first is the Alphabet Oracle, which uses the ancient Greek alphabet much like the runes are used. The difference is that we have actual ancient stone tablets (dating from the early third century CE) that give the divinatory meanings of the letters. The second oracle is based on the Counsels of the Seven Sages, which were inscribed on tablets at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Although the original tablets do not survive (so far as we know), there are both written and inscribed copies, so we can be confident of the text. The Counsels are short, somewhat enigmatic, oracular statements from the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece. They beg to be used for divination, and I provide a means for doing so in the Oracle of the Seven Sages. In addition to the two divination systems, the book includes rituals, directions for making talismans, background information on ancient divination, relevant mythology, and esoteric lore.