Yes, I believe in extraordinarily empathic people who might be able to read me like a book and make observations or ask me questions that lead to new insights. But, no, I don’t believe that psychics or fortunetellers have special abilities to mediate “the beyond” for me. I wouldn’t pay $60 for a reading. My answers are not “in the cards.”
On the other hand, tools like Tarot cards, horoscopes, I Ching, runes, palmistry, or pulling random Bible verses can be fun and useful for making you think about a situation in a new way, or reminding you of something you once knew, or — maybe dangerously — reinforcing what you already “know” or believe. You’re having a conversation with yourself, stimulated by interesting cultural texts and the richness of your own perceptions and experiences.
Creativity is about juxtaposition, seeing connections, kicking your brain out of the rut it can’t even see into a different space or a different gear. By using unusual tools, you don’t necessarily discover “what was meant to be” but open another path of reflection and understanding. There is a lot of randomness involved: You pick up a magazine in the doctor’s office or you find a hawk feather on your walking path and a chain reaction suddenly gives you just the idea or answer you were looking for. Maybe it’s “serendipity”; maybe it’s “synchronicity”; or maybe it’s just what happens all the time.
The healthiest ecosystem is the one with the most biodiversity — lots of relationships develop, lots of random challenges occur, lots of resiliency is built up to recover from damage (e.g.,lightning strikes). By the same token, I think that a brain equipped with a great diversity of thoughts, emotions, and sensations has the best opportunity for breakthrough problem-solving or deeper understanding of the mysterious. Stuck in a quandry? Go read the Bible, lay out your Tarot cards, or visit an art museum — pour some new thoughts into an open mind and look what happens.
I’m stringing together these first thoughts as I’m revising one of my own systems for reflection. More on that later…