Often referred to by Westerners as ‘the bones’, Di Taola is an integral part of the divination process which is facilitated and mediated by the diviner. Divination is something that has and continues to happen all over the worldin just about every human culture that has ever existed. Something within us draws us to seek counsel with something or someone seemingly greater than ourselves: our ancestors; our grandmothers or great grandfathers; spirits of the land, animal, bird or fish spirits; dead sages and mystic masters or even our God.
The divination session or séance is that place in time and space wherein ‘those of the depths’ care to offer a word on the life-passage of the seeker who visits. In divination, the nature of ‘those of the depths’ is less important than what arises as a result of being invoked. How we choose to identify the source of the information will depend on the particular world-view we subscribe to. For an individual from a collectivist, ancestral culture the source of guidance is the ancestors. For an individualist from modern western culture the source of guidance might be synchronicity, the collective unconscious, a religious master, the holy guardian angel or the higher-self to name a few of the possibilities in current circulation). Whatever the source, what remains of prime importance is the quality, resonance and potency of what is received. If the diviner is worth their salt, we are assured by traditional diviners in Southern Africa to receive what the source/ancestors believe we need.
When we were training in divination, we were often reminded that:
“Whatever you may think, you did not choose to come for a divination of your own will.
You were brought here because it was deemed important by ‘those of the depths.’
You come to be told; not to receive answers to your questions.”
Ask as you please and there may or may not be a satisfactory rational answer.But that is not important, that is not the prime work that must happen in the séance.Traditionally the fall of the divination tablets are delivered to the seeker in poems. The poems are deeply rooted in the mysterious metaphorical depths of the cosmology to which they belong. To make rational sense of the poem, is to inevitably distort what is being said. Yet, in order to integrate the divination in everyday life, it is incumbent on the diviner to offer such rationalisation and translation of the poems.At the same time, the séance is a portal through which the spirit of the seeker can pass. Such commune, far beyond the mere rationalisations of information received, is where the real potency and transformative power of the divination séance lies. Potency is a quality that can less be described than felt. The seeker might be asked after a session how it was. What was it like? The answers are often frustratingly vagueand the final resort by way of description, if it went well, is to sum up by saying “it was potent”. In the early days of training, I would often leave a divination session feeling greatly more confused and filled with conflict than when I went in: