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Welcome to the business and personal website of me, Jan Burch - aka Jan4insight - owner & practitioner of Geo-Glow Consulting. Call me a “Renaissance woman” > My business aims to be your go-to source for holistic energy work and intuitive readings. My creative side makes (and sells!) gorgeous one-of-a-kind handcrafts and fabulously colorful print-on-demand gifts and more. Here at my site, you can find me on the Web, order a reading, learn more about my energy work services, and check in with my occasional musings. Legal stuff: This site uses cookies, and some posts may contain affiliate links. Thank you very much.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Scapulimancy: Where Divination Comes From

Clearly, since logic tells us there is no known relationship between the patterns of cracks and future events, it is possible that scapulimancy persists simply as a harmless cultural tradition. ... In the case of the Naskapi hunters of the Labrador peninsula, however, there is more going on than meets the eye.

In the 1950s, an anthropologist named Omar Khayyam Moor described Naskapi scapulimancy not as a simple cultural idiosyncrasy, but as an essential mechanism related to the long-term success of Naskapi populations. The problem, Moore explains, is not necessarily in predicting the specific spot where caribou can be found, but rather in making sure that enough variability is introduced into hunting plans so that success comes neither too rarely nor too often. In the long run, adding variability or an element of randomness is the key to success. Imagine a scenario in which a hunter had a run of bad luck. Each day this hunter might venture out thinking he knows where the caribou herds will be found based on previous experience. Repeatedly taking that route, however, can quickly lead to the animals' being sensitized to the hunter's strategy, leading the hunt to eventually fail.

~ Tony Hunt and Carl Lipo, The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the mystery of Easter Island


Jan Says:
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That was an intriguing passage from a fascinating book about the Easter Island statues. It grabbed me on both the prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies and their shamans (okay, I've been there - past lives) and on the utility of randomness. I've long been a fan of randomness - it is, after all, where patterns we see in the natural world (such as star constellations) come from - and seeing it put to practical use in these archetypal human conditions (the hunter-gatherer-shaman communities) gave me an "ah ha!" moment that was quite delicious.
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The book passage goes on to say that, while randomizing our actions can help us survive and succeed, for us humans it's a really difficult thing to do. That's why we have random numbers tables. It's why we sometimes toss a coin when trying to make a decision. For the hunter-gatherers, who apparently hadn't invented coins yet, the randomization came from cracks in an animal bone heated over a fire. Of course, the common assumption is that the hunter-gatherers didn't "know" what they were doing and just primitively thought that the cracks "predicted" where the caribou would be.
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But what if the hunter-gatherers weren't that dense? I tend to think they knew more than we give them credit for - but then, I was there lifetimes ago, so maybe I'm biased. Looking at my own work in divination over this lifetime, it strikes me how many times I've had a reading client say to me, "I need direction." Yes! that's what divination is all about - it's not so much "predicting" the future (although a good reader can tap into the timestream in ways that are uncanny) as granting a direction to help us stop floundering. My readings over the years show again and again, that there are times to sit with the confusion, and times to pick a direction and go for it. Our little human minds have a hard time doing this with clarity, but with the great gifts that divination can give us - even if it's "just" random - we can find an opening to take us out of the maze and get back on our path.


If you're at place where you find yourself longing for some direction in life, you need one of my readings. Just go to my Order a Reading page, and see how easy it can be!

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