Oracles and Divination

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9780394748801: Oracles and Divination
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What does the future hold in store? What were the unexplained causes behind past disasters? What is the right conduct in a critical or precarious situation? All these are relevant questions in contemporary society and all have been the subject of divinatory enquiry from ancient times the world over. In nearly all cultures, specially gifted people are recognized as providing the necessary link with the world beyond ordinary human perception. Such people may transmit the utterances of the oracle, as with the Greek Pythia, or may "see" in clear images the answer to the question, as with a Tibetan possessing the faculty of tra. By understanding the way other cultures have dealt with these questions we can unlock the same potential within our own culture. In nine chapters, each on a different civilization, leading specialists in the early history of European and Asian civilizations describe divination practices from Iceland and Europe to Tibet and Japan, from the third millenium BC until the present day. Overlapping the fields of comparative religion, psychic research, and history, these studies show how an appeal to the so-called irrational can affect the decision of a prophet or statesman, and how such appeals stimulate scientific enquiry into the cycles of nature.

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