This is the most informative conference description I have ever read. It so clearly defines the practice of divination and the host of questions which attend it. See what you think.
SEEING WITH DIFFERENT EYES’A CONFERENCE ON COSMOLOGY & DIVINATION - University of Kent, CanterburyApril 28th-30th, 2006
Keynote speakers: Gregory Shaw (Stonehill College, Mass.), Peter Struck (University of Pennsylvania), Barbara Tedlock (SUNY, Buffalo)
This conference will explore the nature and implications of the visionary knowledge which arises through divinatory practices, the ‘inner sight’ which is evoked through the use of metaphor and symbol in a ritual or therapeutic context, or in everyday life. Questions of knowledge and realisation will be raised in relation to astrology and other forms of divination. Is divinatory insight best understood as a psychological process, an altered state of consciousness, or a spiritual connection with higher beings? Is it necessarily ‘esoteric’, comparable to the initiation rituals of the ancient mystery traditions, or is it available to anyone at any time? What is the role of training and expertise in divination? In the reading of an omen or interpretation of a symbol, how do imagination and technique work together to bring hidden knowledge to the surface? Does a symbolic perception artificially impose meaning on an otherwise meaningless world, or help to create a more coherent cosmos? Does divination allow a glimpse into deeper levels of existence, or simply distort our rational minds with delusion, projection and fantasy? In short, what can we learn from both historical sources and contemporary practice about the nature and ground of ‘truth’ in divination, its value and philosophical implications? What is being revealed, and through what agency? Papers on any aspect of these questions (30 mins) are invited from both researchers and practitioners in fields including (but not limited to) ancient history, anthropology, astrology, classics, divination, philosophy, psychology, religious studies and theology.