Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Divination: Irish Oghams: my opinion

Because I am a diviner, I need to know many divination systems in order to do my work successfully. When my primary method gives murky or indefinite results, I often use an alternative method for gleaning more information. At other times, I switch my methods of divination to gain new insights. Therefore studying the Oghams fits in with my divination philosophy.
            When people ask questions that affect the direction of their lives, many diviners will use four different methods of divination to assist that person. Each method will either add to the original reading or contradict it. Since they offer different perspectives to the same question, these other readings are helpful to the client. If the other readings contradict the first one, then knowing that is helpful for the client. Using the Oghams would add fresh insights to the original reading.
Studying the Oghams enhances my practice by offering a new way to approach divination. The Irish had different insights on the process than either the Norse or Tarot readers. Each new way of how to answer a question gives me more of an understanding of divination itself. Developed as an alphabet, the Oghams are steeped in Irish culture. They were employed by the Druids in their various “languages” of gestures, mnemonics, and secret codes. Because of these multiple uses, the Oghams offer more shades of meanings for answers in divination.
With the Tree Ogham, there is a connection with the living plants. Using each few of this Ogham, the diviner can tap into the wisdom of that tree or shrub. This makes for a more profound reading since insights from this Ogham comes from living entities. Furthermore, it taps into areas of the unconscious that other divination methods miss.
            Moreover each few in the Tree Ogham has various kennings which give added shades of meaning to it. These kennings can pinpoint the precise meanings in a reading, and give depth to each meaning. Furthermore, the kennings offer alternative points of view. For “Tinne (Holly)” (second aicme, third few), the kennings include “one of three parts of a weapon,” and “o holly, little, sheltering one, thou door against the wind…” This gives a fuller sense of “Tinne” in a reading. For these reasons, the studying of the Oghams enriches my divination practice.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ethics for Magical People: Psychic Voyeurism (4 of 4): sources

Works Used:
Bennington, Alex, “Psychic Voyeurism,” American Witch Blog, 23 July 2012,

Britz, J.J., “Technology as a Threat to Privacy,” Simmons College Personal Site,, 1996

Chametzky, Marc, “Ethics of Divination: An Exploration of the Wiccan Rede as It Applies to Divination,” Ecclasia, 10 March, 2004,

Christians, Clifford, “Information Ethics in a Complicated Age,” University of Illinois, 1989,

De la Croix, Mariah, “Privacy & Protection from Psychic Voyeurs’ During Intimate Times,” Mariah’s Visions Blog, 23 January 2012,

Goldberg, Ian, Austin Hill, and Adam Shostak, “Trust, Ethics, and Privacy,” The Boston University Law Review, pgs 407 – 22, April 2001,

----, “Ethical Guidelines,” Remote Viewing Institute,

Taslin, Del, “Breaking Energetic Ties,” Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars Blog, 8 October 2012,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ethics for Magical People: Psychic Voyeurism (3 of 4)

In the second example, Jordan used Billy to spy on his ex-wife. He told Billy that he wanted to see how she was doing, but Billy knew that Kathy cut off contact with Jordan three years before. Then when Billy tries to peer in on her, she psychically punches him in the face. This sets Jordan off, who is now determined to get in touch with Kathy in order “to save her.” Through his actions, Billy aided a stalker, by encouraging Jordan to seek his ex-wife out. Moreover by spying on Kathy, he enabled Jordan to become psychically connected to her. In addition, Billy forced Kathy to be more vigilant in her physical and psychic defenses.

Simply because Billy can do remote (psychic) viewing, does not mean that he has to acquiesce to everyone’s request. Billy needs to establish boundaries for himself, so that he does not become psychically entangled with other people. The Remote Viewing Institute of Germany has a basic rule for their people to follow: “Put your nose out of things that do not concern you.” 

The Institute stresses “respect for others,” by focusing on the dignity of each person. This ethic is paramount in collecting data – the right to privacy and autonomy of each individual. The other thing that Billy may not perceive is that he has lost the trust of his friends. Because he gave in to their requests, they cannot be sure if he will not spy on them in the future. Since he so easily caved to their pleadings, his friends are unsure whether their secrets are safe from him.

By trying to please his friends, Billy violated their dignity as well. He enabled them to commit unethical acts, and rationalize what they did. Billy allowed his friends to become comfortable in violating another’s privacy for their trivial reasons.  

Most of all, Billy violated himself and his gift. He became a tool for others instead of a human being worthy of respect. By using his ability to please others, Billy debased himself by spying on non-consenting people. He must understand that he has the right to say “no,” and be uninformed about other people.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ethics for Magical People: Psychic Voyeurism (2 of 4)

In the case studies of Billy using his psychic powers to help his friends, he violated the basic human rights of the people he spied on. None of the subjects gave him permission to spy on them. His friends gave him no compelling reason to help them in their data collecting. When Billy did it out of a desire to please them, he committed serious ethical breaches. The foremost was denying his subjects their autonomy.

In the first example, Billy used his psychic powers to ease his friend’s concern about her brother. Alex, Michelle’s brother, has the mental capacity of a nine year old, though the physical age of a young adult. Because of his profound disabilities, their grandmother is Alex’s guardian. Like many people who have brain disabilities, Alex cannot give consent except in limited circumstances. His guardian is, legally, the only one who can.

However, Alex’s sister, Michelle wants information to assure herself that he was not in serious trouble. Their grandmother had called informing her that Alex was with the police. Upset, Michelle wanted Billy to “look in” on him. However, she had not obtained permission from the grandmother. Impatient to find out how serious the trouble was, Michelle was too distressed to wait for her grandmother to call back.

Does Michelle have a reason to collect data about Alex? By asking Billy, is she acting in the “best interests” of her brother and grandmother? The information that she did receive, Michelle did not relay to her grandmother. Therefore her impatience is not reason enough to rob Alex of his innate dignity. When they violated the trust of Alex and his guardian, Billy and Michelle denied them both their autonomy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ethics for Magical People: Psychic Voyeurism (1 of 4)

In the modern world of social media, it is easy to track people without them finding out. We often do this with relative ease and without any compunction. The problem of people tracking people is so prevalent that consumer agencies warn people of phishing scams to elicit private information or maliciously placing spyware on their computers.

Much like computer hackers and phishers, those who have magickal abilities, such as remote viewing or ESP, can follow a person with ease. Most people, with this ability, will use it in the guise of being helpful. Usually, they become the psychic version of “Life Alert tm,” watching over another person and notifying others of emergencies or accidents. These magickal people take it upon themselves to oversee the safety and well-being of another person. However, these well-meaning people often do not have permission to do this, and are thereby committing a breach of privacy.

People who collect and use personal data in their jobs, such as bank loan officers, grapple with the ethics of what should they collect, why, and how they use this information. People with remote viewing abilities need to know how data collectors resolve these dilemmas. Magickal people should be aware of how the right of access to information collides with the right to personal privacy.

An example of one of these dilemmas is the local supermarket that offers in exchange for your personal information, membership in their shoppers’ club. Members receive cheaper prices for their groceries. Should I give this supermarket my personal information for the ability to buy lower cost groceries? What will the store do with this information? Since their main objective is to make a profit, I see no reason to trust the supermarket to keep my personal information private. They could sell it to other marketers intent on selling me things. Therefore in this case, I choose not to give the grocery my information.

Writing for the Ecclasian Fellowship (a Neo-Pagan organization), Mark Chametzky discusses how the Wiccan Rede applies to data collection obtained by divination (which can apply to remote viewing). Chametzky states, “Don’t seek out information for which you do not have permission to obtain.” In other words, “Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Don’t investigate.” He emphasizes that invading another person’s privacy is a form of psychic dictatorship. At the expense of another person’s sovereignty, the remote viewer’s concerns are paramount. She becomes the final authority on what is important for the person whom she is spying on.

In U.S. law, there is a concept known as the “Expressed Will to Privacy.” If a person desires to keep a matter private, it stays private. Once a person gives their telephone number to a company, the data ceases to be private. Therefore, consumer protection agencies warn people about being tricked into giving out personal information to unethical companies.

In his paper, “Technology as a Threat to Privacy,” J.J. Britz of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), writes, “Privacy is an important right because it is a necessary condition for other rights such as freedom and personal autonomy. There is a relationship between privacy, freedom and human dignity. Respecting a person’s privacy is to acknowledge such a person’s right to freedom and to recognize that individual as an autonomous human being.”

Clifford Christians (Director, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois) gives the basis for Britz’s assertions. The 1948 Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations lays out the right to privacy. This U.N. document codifies the rights and dignity of every human being. Therefore any exception, to a privacy policy, that impinges on a person’s autonomy is suspect.

Many privacy violations revolve around the concept of “for your own good” or “on your behalf.” Goldberg, Hill, and Shostack in the “Boston University Law Review” points out that moral hazard come up between the data collector and the person, whom he fears will not consent to provide him the information that he wants. Desiring this particular data, the collector decides to act on his own. His reasoning is based on his perception of “in the best needs of the person.”  Instead of getting permission, the data collector becomes the overseer of the other person. The authors charge that most reasons for collection without permission are trivial.