The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Divination – Stephen Karcher


Opening the Heart Space


Here is a meditation exercise to open this space. You can use it before any divinatory procedure.


Sit relaxed and straight, feet on the floor, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and naturally, take the stream of the in-flowing breath all the way down into the bowl of your pelvis and release it gently. Let yourself relax. Let thoughts, worries, and tensions slide away. Let the breath open a place inside you, on the level of your heart, where you and feel and see what is usually hidden. Keep breathing, easily and deeply, letting energy flow into this place. Sense the connection between this place in yourself and everything around you. This is your circle. You can call on anything that appears here to help you.


Now imagine there is an open door in front of you, and old stone door marked with cryptic signs. As you cross the threshold you find yourself on a stairway leading down, into a shadow world that has, in many ways, been taboo in the West since late antiquity. Here we find symbols, floating and changing, mysterious images like those in dreams that speak to us by calling up nets of associations, memories and feelings. We catch glimpses of strange masked faces, at once timeless and threateningly intimate. We see the glimmer of phosphorescent lights and feel sudden dim illuminations. Underneath and around us we sense the great flow of the stream of life as it mysteriously nourishes and gives meaning to all things.


Here in this space imagine you see a vessel, lying on its side, unused. Take the vessel, stand it upright in the center of the space. Feel it expand to include the entire space. It marks off a sacred space where you can interact with the symbols.


Whatever is of concern to you, the knots and difficulties of your life, whatever you want to “see into” can be put into the vessel to be “cooked”. The watching eyes of the spirits appear at the edge of our awareness, standing all around us. By putting something into the Bessel, valuing it as a symbol, you empower the imagination. It is this creative attention, acting out, playing with, imitating the symbols – turning and rolling them in your heart – that lets the spirits play a constructive part in your life.


Now return again. Say farewell to the circle of spirits. They will be here whenever you want to return. Go back through the door onto the stairs. Though the door closes behind you, it will open again whenever you approach it. Climb the stairs and return to the place where you are sitting. See and greet the things around you.