All known peoples on earth have practised some form of divination. It has had a critical role in the classical world, ancient Egypt and the Middle East, in the Americas, India, Tibet, Mongolia, Japan, China, Korea and Africa (Loewe and Blacker 1981; Peek 1991).
Over the years, many so-called inductive or rational forms of divination have been compared with Western scientific techniques.
- psychological tests, eg Rorschachs
- diagnostic procedure
- sociopsy— comparable to biopsy
They suggest that in Orisha ceremonies, certain distinguishing drum rhythms and oriki chants are used to attract particular energies, create certain moods, and evoke certain responses.
This alternative way draws its knowledge from “women’s ways of knowing,” from intuitive thought, from dreams, from nature, from the deep recesses of the human psyche. This way of knowing is performative in nature, rich in symbol, ritual, and metaphor, evoking responses that lie deep within the human psyche. For many, it all started with divination as a
sacred compass locating self. For others it started with the rhythm of the drums, the lure of the dance, the transforming experience of symbolic interaction with an unseen, unknown, other dimension of power, the ritualistic replenishing of the primal life force ashe, or the awesome realization that “Words uttered in a particular sequence, rhythm, and tone can bring a rock to ‘action,’ cause rain to fall, or heal a sick person a hundred miles away” (Teish 1988, 62)