Divining Our Lives Into The Future

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I met Malidoma Some eight years ago. A patient of mine recommended I go and see him. Because I knew my patient had discerning taste, I decided to just go ahead and book what is called a divination.

Knocking on this stranger’s hotel room door after racing downtown on my bike for the appointed time didn’t seem as peculiar as you’d think. I somehow trusted this was a meeting with a wise person and the fact that I’d gotten the last spot after a late cancellation all made it seem meant to be.

When the door opened and I was shown where to sit and how to participate in the divination, Malidoma didn’t seem to be paying much attention to me. I wondered, was he annoyed or just focused?

Then the storytelling started.

I found it hard to breathe. What he was saying had me halfway between tears and the joy of laughter. Even though I came with little expectation, something big was happening. Places in me were being recognized and a palpable relief was coming over me. Somebody knows, I thought. Somebody remembers.

Was Malidoma able to know me with such precision that I could be reminded of things I’d long forgotten about myself?

As he went on, telling me things I think I had last thought of when I was young, like three or four years old, and things I hoped about my future, that I had never admitted to anyone, I received a tenderness and seeing that had the effect of suddenly snapping me back into myself, as though an all-encompassing plebiscite of the soul was underway.

Perhaps you know these disenfranchised aspects of yourself? Maybe they show up in the millions of times you tell yourself how much you’d love to do this thing, yet never do it. Or it comes as a deep knowing about who you are, yet every time you’ve gone about being that person, you’ve feared it was unwelcome, offensive, or just downright ineffective.

Being a multi-faceted dreamer, I’ve often discredited plans I’ve had for myself, saying, “Oh, you can’t do everything, you’ll never get things off the ground unless you focus on one thing only.” Or, “You can’t do that or go there, because it will break with what you’re here to do.”

Whatever the chatter, you have yours too, but despite all the so called “discipline” I was attempting in my life to “do life the way you should”, here was a very unorthodox plan spelling out before me, one that could have been no others’—a perfect fit for me. Our personal edits are often wrong.

I left the hotel room buzzing and feeling good. I rode my bike home and carried on with my day and my life and never forgot that forty five minutes I spent with him. Even though I didn’t think about it very often, phrases spoken that day would sometimes come to mind when I needed to make a big decision or follow an instinct. It served as an anchor.

Fast forward seven years later, having read Malidoma’s three books, discovering the extent of his learning, both Indigenous and Western (he has two PhD’s and few Masters degrees, plus has survived the death-defying initiation rituals of his home tribe) a note enters my inbox. “Malidoma is offering to teach divination—apply for the one year study.”
“What?!” I say out loud. “How could a Westerner possibly learn to do that?” To me divination was likely one of the highest arts of this tribe. I was baffled yet drawn.

Fast forward another year and where am I? Sitting in front of Malidoma, this time with sixteen other so called “inclined” people, the decision to leap, once again, completely made on instinct, and yet I’m sitting there privately wondering how the hell this is going to fit into what I already do.

So this is actually a long-winded testimonial to say, if you ever have the opportunity to sit with Malidoma and receive a divination, I highly recommend it. Since that fledgling day, knocking on this stranger’s door, I have come to understand that divination boldly and lovingly knits us back into communion with all the aspects of ourselves and why we’ve come to this place. Childhood dreams? Not to be discredited. Strange urges to start a new career, change locations, retreat from the world to heal? They might just be the very things you are to do. And besides the personal, divination brings us back into relationship with all the axes of creation; animal, nature, mineral, water, fire, and earth, plus the wise direction of forces we don’t have words for in our post-colonialist cultures. And was it Malidoma who so eloquently seemed to know everything I had forgotten but needed about myself? Or was it someone else?

You’re invited to find out. Reach me in person or on Skype and we can see what can be divined into your life and future.