Inventive Divination

Now that’s a mouthful.

I could also phrase it as “Creative Intuition.” Or “Intuitive Creation.”

I toyed with “Psychic Field Notes.”

Labels are both useful and restrictive. Sometimes they’re also misleading by fault of either the labeler or interpreter. Pesky perception is the root of many misunderstandings, but we’d never create anything without it.

As the Misfit Documents editor at Queen Mob’s Teahouse (RIP) I published works that didn’t neatly fit into any one category. Or they fit into multiple categories. Or they did fit into a category, but generally weren’t accepted by that category’s gatekeepers.

That’s not quite what I’m trying to get at here.

Divining, whether it be from random books or symbols, animals or thoughts can be used to develop and create any kind of work, whether it fits neatly into a category or not.

Divination is traditionally thought of as being a way to prophesize, i.e. predict the future or answer questions. Bibliomancy, dream interpretation and tarot readings are some of my favorite divination techniques. Other include tea reading, gazing into a crystal ball, I Ching, Ouija board, palm reading, runes and hundreds more.

Whether one believes in divination as a way to receive “real” or “true” prophetic information is immaterial. My focus here is on creative work, both written and visual. The prophecy is what you take from the information you receive and what you create with it.

Here’s quick example.

I curate an online Bibliomancy Oracle. Sometimes I use it to generate next text.

The first prophecy is:

I take the word “forget” and “trivial” and write:

Forget a trivial

The next prophecy:

I take the word “years” make it “year” and “lost”

Forget a trivial year lost

Now the next:

From the title I take the word “gem”

Forget a trivial year lost like a gem

And finally:

Ben Berman again! Strange, but this happens sometimes. As of this writing there are over 3900 possible prophecies at the Bibliomancy Oracle. I add to it regularly. Anyhow, I take “scraps” and end up with the sentence:

Forget a trivial year — lost like a gem among scraps.

I could keep going using the oracle, or simply use this line as a trigger to scribble away.

If you got the same prophecies, you’d probably hone in on different words and your line would be completely different.

You don’t have to use the prophecies in linear order, the last prophecy could be what you use for the beginning or whatever order you deem best. After you’re finished generating new text from prophecies, add and edit away. Some of the lines I get are really strange. Sometimes I love that strangeness and other times I don’t feel like it’s working. Focus on the editing at another time, this is solely about creation.

A page from my (mostly) daily journal where I spend very little time on editing:

A page from my (mostly) daily journal where I do very little editing.

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Reb Livingston

Mixed media artist. Writer. Former Misfit Document editor and poetry publisher.