week 3: divination, omancy, & calvino

I liked reading Velma Love’s paper Ifa Divination as Sacred Compass for Reading Self and World. The title implies that divination, in addition to being a way to exploring the unknown and perhaps getting in touch with the oracle is also a way of exploring the self. I think its a compelling notion to be able to explore one’s self through an entity that exists outside of our physical day to day reality. These aren’t even close to being the same thing but I’ve been thinking about the idea of getting to know a self through exploration of the ephemerality of the digital environment that surrounds a self. The point is I think its noteworthy to talk about divination in this way as opposed to focusing on its rationality or technicality. Barabara Tedlock’s paper touches on this ~ there isn’t a lot of scholarship which investigates divinatory practices as both procedural and intuitive, often on is focused on while the other is brushed off as not worth analyzing. I think this is what Tedlock is getting at although I’m still unsure of what she means by “practical mastery”.

I am also hanging on to this notion of divination from within or what bell hooks would refer to as being able to “draw up powers from the deep”. It seems important to recognize Ifa divination or to look at any kind of divination as a means for navigating the world around the self through the self.

Finally, the Calvino reading was fun. It was a good primer for tarot as a guide for story telling and constructing narrative.