Monday, July 27, 2009


THE SORCERER'S SECRETS went to print today.

To celebrate this important and final step in the publishing process, here is an excerpt from the chapter on Divination and Intelligence Gathering:


We live in the age of information. Some of the most successful businesses on the planet are concerned not with providing material goods and services to their customer, but information. Not only is the presentation of information big business, so too is the storing, sorting, converting, protecting, processing, transmitting and retrieving of information. The most advanced machines on the planet are dedicated to nothing more than the processing of information. Today’s armies are increasingly interested in the evolving field of Information Operations, which are dedicated to the methods of disabling or corrupting their enemies’ information systems. Given the overwhelming importance of information in the modern world, it only makes sense to begin our strategies with a discussion of the mantic arts: the magick of information.

Divination is the most commonly performed type of magick on the planet, and any of us who have ever read our horoscope in the newspaper, shaken a Magic 8 Ball, or predicted bad luck when a black cat crossed our path has engaged in it on one level or another. Thousands of psychics and readers are consulted every day, all over the world, by people from all walks of life, on topics ranging from lost loves to matters of state. It has been so since the beginning of human history. The Chinese have been using I-Ching since 1000 BC; making it one of the oldest types of divination on the planet. Babylonian Kings, Roman Generals and even a Pope have relied upon haruspices to read the livers of sacrificed animals before battle. The Bible mentions several examples of casting lots for readings that would indicate the will of God. Of course the Bible itself is a common tool for divination, as are the holy books of many other religions.

Ancient Greeks relied upon oracle priestesses, who would become mouthpieces for the Gods. Tibetans rely upon such oracles even today; without them the Dalai Lama may never have made it to India. Harriett Tubman, the hero of the Undergroud Railroad attributed her success to messages and visions from God as to what roads to take when leading slaves to freedom. [1]

Of course, occultists don’t only rely on divination for their information. Cunning sorcerers are adept at keeping their ears to the ground and gathering information in less magickal ways, as well. Marie Laveau, The Queen of New Orleans Voodoo, used information she overheard in her role as a hairdresser, to help her gain access and leverage in New Orleans society. The French sorceress and midwife, La Voisin, used information she gathered from her clients, to influence events in the court of Louis the XIV. Count Cagliostro did the same in the court of Louis the XVI, many years later. Reading body language, engaging in skilled eavesdropping, cold reading, and gathering information from well placed informants, may not be thought of as magick, but as you will see in the chapters ahead, success is made by the interaction of magickal and mundane methods, not magickal methods alone.

Before we can plan any of type magick to influence events, be it for money, love, power, or peace, we need to gain as much information as possible about the people and places involved, so that we can attempt to find the best ways to apply our art. Whether your information is gathered by mundane or magickal means doesn’t really matter, unless you are trying to impress a skeptic or appear on a television show. Most successful divioners take mundane information and use that to flesh out their divinations, which in turn are used to flesh out mundane knowledge. The less you separate your magickal activities from the rest of your actions, the more success you will have overall.

The exception to this rule is when you are giving a reading to client, especially professionally. Cold reading masquerading as divination is prestidigitation not sorcery. If someone is paying you for a psychic reading, make sure that you are giving them the real thing, not a cold reading or an educated guess. When reading for yourself however, information is information, whatever its source.


There is more to intelligence gathering than just gathering the information. Information must be evaluated properly, within the context of a given situation. Intelligence agencies, for instance, differentiate between Intel and Data. Intel is information that has been evaluated more for its relevancy to active situations than its accuracy. Data, on the other hand, is seen as particular units of verifiable information, regardless of its current application. Whenever we receive information from any source, be it rumors at work or a tarot reading, it is vital to evaluate it for its relevancy and accuracy. In serious situations several types of divination from different sources should be consulted in order to get a full picture. If an effort can be made to verify the information by non-magickal methods, than all the better.

Intelligence agencies classify their sources into different categories: human intelligence, open source intelligence, technical intelligence, signal intelligence, measurement and signature intelligence, financial intelligence, and so on. In the pages ahead, we will be learning how to classily the different methods of intelligence gathering available to sorcerers, and how each can support the other. It is a good idea to do this with all the sources of information in your life. What television shows do you watch? What newspapers do you read? What books? How are they slanted? Is there counter balance? It is all too easy to accept information that confirms your desires and beliefs, rather than challenges them, be it a good card reading or a partisan talk-radio show. We all gather information all the time; it’s how we assess it and use it that’s important.

The skilled sorcerer has the capacity to be a one-man intelligence agency. Obviously, many sources of information used by the CIA or NSA are not available to most of us reading this. Few of us have access to spy satellites and wire taps, but as practitioners of the occult we do have access to divination, which thankfully comes in many different packages. Just as the intelligence agencies use different types of intel to put together a clear picture, we must learn to use different types of divination to compliment and enhance each other.

The noted psychologist Julian Jaynes, in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, categorized divination into four categories: omens, augury, sortilege, and spontaneous divination. Sortilege is the kind most commonly used when offering readings. It includes: Tarot Cards, Playing Cards, Ifa, Runes, I-Ching, Mo Dice, Geomancy and any type of reading that involves the casting of any kinds of lots. Though most books focus on mastering one or more systems of sortilege, the successful Sorcerer will rely, not just on sortilege, but will incorporate all four types of divination into his or her intelligence gathering activities.

Let’s take a look at these four categories of divination, as well as two more advanced methods of magickal information gathering, in an attempt to put together a well rounded strategy that can be molded to fit any situation.

[1] She gained her psychic gifts after being hit on the head by a brick as a child.

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