Have you ever heard a snippet of a random conversation from passers-by and caught a few words that seem relevant to your life? Have you ever come across something while lost in thought and said to yourself, that’s a sign? You are onto something when this happens — in fact, you are practicing what I like to call “passive divination.” You are tapping into your intuition using your senses, and the more you stay aware of it, the better you’ll get. So let’s talk about it!
Ok, let’s start at the beginning. What is divination? The Merriam-Webster definition defines it two ways:
- “The art or practice that seeks to forsee or foretell future events of discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers”
- “Unusual insight / intuitive perception”
While the practices we’ll talk about are in the first definition, our purposes are defined by the second. Although many people think divination exclusively refers to telling the future, the type of practical everyday magic we are discussing here is intended to help you reflect on the present. Some of the insights you gain might be relevant to your future, and may help you make informed future decisions, but ultimately our goal here is to gain insight on your current situation. So don’t be afraid of what you might perceive! It is just a reflection of your internal state presented back to you in a symbolic way.
So how does passive divination work? This divination method does not require tarot cards, runes, pendulums, or any other materials besides yourself and your senses. Passive divination is a form of everyday magic that anyone can practice throughout any day. I call it passive because you are not setting aside time for it as a stand-alone ritual; you are just going about your life with a mind open to intuitive moments. It is best done while walking, as this will allow you to be fully immersed in a moving slideshow of experiences. You can start off your walk by asking a question, or by simply leaving your mind open to whatever unfolds before you. Look around you and become aware of what you feel, hear, and see. What symbols do your observations bring to mind, and what do these symbols mean? If possible, write down what you notice as you go. A few things to look out for:
- Overheard conversations. The keywords you come across can be especially meaningful here because they lack context, allowing you to create your own. For example, all I heard of a recent passing-by chat was, “The tower!” I had been going through the collapse of a crumbling relationship for quite some time when I heard this, and it immediately brought to mind the Tower tarot card, which represents the destruction of something that never had a strong foundation in the first place. It gave me reassurance that what was ending was meant to end to make way for new beginnings.
- Symbols. What do you see that is a symbol? For example, I was walking around feeling all slouchy and hopeless one day and I all but bumped into a giant statue of the sun — a big goofy brass one with a huge smiling face. It shocked me out of my stupor so I took it as a “sign” that there were still rays of light to be found in my life. Sure enough, my circumstances improved shortly after I saw this and I decided to focus on a more positive approach. If you feel like something is a symbol but don’t know what it stands for, it’s okay to look it up, but remember that the most important meaning is what it means to you. Your first instinct is likely correct — after all, this is about tapping into your intuition!
- Nature. Taking a hike or a walk in nature is a great way to open up your mind to new thoughts and associations. For example, I recently took a walk by the ocean and looked up to see a super majestic hawk? Or falcon? Anyway it was a huge awesome bird and it was hovering in the sky beneath the moon. Or at least it appeared to be hovering as it was really flying against the strong wind currents. It seemed to be balancing with grace between the sea and sky despite the chaos in the air. There was a calmness surrounding that sight that I was able to internalize and carry with me through the chaos in my own life. So pay attention to animal behavior, cloud shapes, land formations, plants, etc. and keep your mind open to the first thing that comes to mind from what you see. You might surprise yourself with what you learn!
- Random words and numbers. The license plate in front of you, the newspaper you walk over on the ground, a phrase you walk by on a storefront… perhaps you were meant to see these things. Mull them over and see if they answer any questions you’ve been stuck on, or if they offer any insight into your life. You might look at a clock and see the same time frequently, so pay attention to what you are doing at that time — it could be a sign that you are on the right path.
- Feelings. Do you ever cycle through emotions while on a walk? The act of walking, moving, stimulating blood flow through your body also helps activate the thoughts in your minds. Pay attention to what comes up — even if your emotions seem random or out of place, they might reflect something you need to give more attention to.
Remember to jot your observations down and reflect back on them to get the most out of this passive divination exercise! You’ll be surprised at how mundane everyday moments are transformed into impactful, insightful realizations about your life. The more you practice this, the more your intuition will grow! Always remember that while cards and crystal balls are lots of fun, all you truly need to live a magical life is an open mind. Listen to yourself and you will be in awe of what you learn.