Divination and Healing: Potent Vision, a scholarly collection of articles from the University of Arizona Press, examines a number of divinatory systems in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Divination is present, to some extent, in all cultures, ranging from well-known types like astrology, tarot and a variety of psychic activities, to those a bit more arcane, involving such diverse phenomenon as umbilical cords, comet tails, bouncing pearls, roosters, rats and cheese.
For the most part, social scientists have viewed these pursuits from a materialist perspective, seeing them as the illusionary byproducts of the human desire for control in a perilous and unpredictable world. However, in recent years, anthropologists have begun reassessing divinatory frameworks and the subjective meaning they have for participants, because of the growing recognition that many of these techniques actually work. >> continue