I just finished reading a book called "Living the Magical Life: An Oracular Adventure" by Suzi Gablik. It's one of those "one woman's spiritual journey" books, yet I was excited to read it based on its promised content... oracle work, embracing daily synchronicities, becoming suddenly drawn to and close to a specific deity (in her case, the Black Madonna.)
Unfortunately, the book didn't have the depth I was hoping for. The middle-aged author builds an altar to the Black Madonna and visits her statues in foreign places but does not detail any very noteworthy interactions with her as a deity - and almost ignores her entirely for the last half of the book. She uses I-Ching and bibliomancy which, although certainly valid forms of divination, are not what I'd consider "oracular". The book is a disjointed account of her doubts and affirmations regarding whether life is meaningfully synchronistic, interconnected and guided by outside forces or simply random. She describes years of following divination and omens which tell her to hold out hope for a specific romantic relationship, despite all outward evidence that this particular person was entirely disinterested. The book ends with the romantic interest rebuffing her once and for all and the author ends saying that the outcome does not nullify her experiences. Basically, "Who knows why things happen the way they do? This is my story, take it or leave it."
It brings up the whole question of whether or not the gods/spirits/PTB would be intentionally misleading or even blatantly lie in order to further our spiritual development. The author doesn't tackle this issue, having decided on a tenuous position of blind faith, and certainly seemed to think she emerged a stronger person. But still, I wonder. Certainly the gods themselves are ineffable and may mislead for reasons we can't comprehend at the time, but I like to think that divination in general is about revealing patterns. Was she then not reading a reality pattern but the pattern of her own psyche, which wasn't ready to give up no matter what her divinations revealed? I think that's why I have a hard time reading tarot for myself -- especially when I'm really emotionally invested. I feel like I'm reading what I want. Which is *a* truth, but not the truth I'm usually aiming for.
But this book about synchronicities actually seemed to be, well, synchronistic. It made me stop and take note of omens that have been appearing in my own life. Oddly, it even referenced a couple very specific things -- including redwood trees, a topic which I just read an entire book about and which seems to keep coming up, and a book by C.S. Lewis that a friend just gave me to borrow. Even in the ways the book was lacking and irritating me reminded me of my own shortcomings and what I want to strive for in my spiritual practice.
So, time not entirely wasted. Now I just need to figure out why the trees are trying to get my attention. Maybe I should just ask them?