Predicting the Future, and Fortune Telling
Positive ways of working with the future.
There are clearly things that can be predicted: simple physical things, like “if I drop something, it will fall”, to emotional truths like “if I abuse my children, they will ultimately turn against me.”, to cosmic truths like “I’m going to die”.
Unconsciously, we pick up physical and emotional information all the time, and make predictions unconsciously that occasionally surface asleep as premonitions, or awake as intuitions. And sometimes we seem to end up knowing things that we appear to have no way of discovering.
Apart from that sort of thing, my experience is that the future is, to a large degree, up for grabs. We can shape the future if we desire to do so.
Given this belief, and I admit that it is an unjustifiable and possibly over-optimistic article of faith, it would seem that there wouldn’t be much to say about foretelling the future.
There are four scenarios about exploring the future: Doing it alone, doing it with an oracle, doing it with a psychic or fortune-teller, or doing it with a group of peers.
Working on the future alone, or with a group of peers, is sometimes referred to as a “Vision Quest”. In this scenario, the aim is to envision a momentous possibility, an inspired outcome, a future the creation of which would hold meaning, behind which all the energies of one’s psyche can unite.
Such a vision is unlikely to be realised in its original form. Things will go astray, life events will intervene, the rest of the universe will want to make its own contribution … other souls and spirits will be drawn into weaving their own threads in with ours. So be it. But such visions are powerful motivators, and if they truly stem from the heart, will include and involve the wider community in positive and inspiring ways.
Exploring the future with a psychic is quite a different thing. In this situation, another person’s pronouncements will have a profound effect on one’s own psyche, raising or diminishing one’s own expectations. When a consultation about the future is conducted in a highly ritualised and atmospheric style, a mode that communicates directly to our unconscious, such expectations can become potently self-fulfilling:- Our unconscious mind, convinced that a divine and immutable pronouncement has been made, will work overtime trying to please the deity of the future, and make the proclamations of the psychic come true.
If the psychic is a truly sensitive person, who can discern our innermost needs and desires, and who understands our own spiritual vision, and can see the potential of what we could achieve, if only we had the self-confidence and energy … then in predicting the future that we really, truly desire but don’t know we desire, we could be encouraged, affirmed and unconsciously inspired to make it happen.
Destructive ways of working with the Future.
Predicting the future with an oracle (I Ching, Tarot, random-page-in-a-book, tea leaves, etc.) is a different matter again. Oracles, like dreams, can throw up possibilities, make us aware of considerations we had overlooked, challenge decisions we have made, or affirm our outlook, positive or negative. But I truly don’t believe that an oracle can foretell the future.
There is a danger here, that if we attribute too much divine intervention to an oracular decree, then it can become self-fulfilling. We all have a deep-seated, mostly unconscious, need to please. The more rebellious our (conscious) disposition, the stronger this (unconscious) need to please will be. An expectation raised from a source that we believe to be an ultimate power will raise an unconscious response of the form “I really must make that happen”.
The more seriously we take the verdicts of an oracle, the stronger and more confining is the cage we build around ourselves – a cage which is at best built out of random and meaningless happenings, and at worst is built from the mischievous interventions of disincarnate spirts.
Finally, I’d like to return to the issue of consulting a psychic about the future, with or without the assistance of an oracle.
I often wonder why somebody feels the need to offer their services foretelling the future. I can see that if I was somebody who had very clear intuitive insight into the needs, aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, nightmares, hopes and fears of other people, that I might be tempted to offer guidance in the guise of “predictions of the future” as detailed above.
I’ve never met anybody (least of all myself) who has such insight. Maybe such people exist, Buddhists on the verge of enlightenment, Christians who have prayed themselves into saint-hood. But I’ve never met anyone who even comes close.
I’ve met plenty of psychics, fortune-tellers, magicians and interpreters of oracles, though. And it strikes me that they all have a particular weakness in common that leads them into this role: they have a desperate need to feel important in other people's lives.
What better way of gaining a sense of importance? To decree peoples’ futures in a stylised, ritualised system – a system which carries with it a great weight of authority through tradition, formality, the use of sacred and divine symbols – what better way to gain control over people and their unconscious processes?
What a self-aggrandising thing it must be to decree to people their future, and then watch them living it out, slaves to your own beliefs, prisoners in the cage that you have constructed for them.
To me, this is just another form of ritual abuse. Another way of separating people from their own sense of authority and self-determination, disguised as the highest principles of selfless, compassionate spirituality.
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