I was playing around on Etymonline this morning, and ran across something interesting.
While English uses a single word for the concept “know,” many languages use two or more verbs to cover the same concept. So when you say “I know” in French or German or Latin, the word you choose says something about *how* you know what you know.
For instance, Old English had two words: witan (to know something because you’ve seen it, or have personal experience of it), and cnawan (to have a
perception or understanding of something).
In Latin, the words are cognoscere (to become acquainted with) and scire (to know, to see).
All this because I wanted to share with you a simple but powerful divinatory technique I’ve seen my dear friend the amazing Mrs. Drinkwalter uses on occasion. I’m not sure whether she thought it up herself, or got it from someone else. Quite possibly lots of folks have thought it up on their own; it’s just the sort of thing that makes you thump your head and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Mrs. Drinkwalter works it with runes, but really you could use anything. Possibly even partially-sucked jello shots … it’s just that good.
It’s based on the principles “To know, to dare, to will, and to keep silent,” which Eliphas Lévi writes of in The Key of the Mysteries: “To undertake, one must know; to accomplish, one must will; to will really, one must dare; and in order to gather in peace the fruits of one’s audacity, one must keep silent.”
I use cards (no surprise) or a home-made set of weirden for this spread. If it’s cards, I shuffle them, and as I separate them into halves, but before I bridge them, I tap each half of the deck, one on top of the other, right side onto the left, and left side onto the right, to form a crossroads. As I do this, I say Evn’s adaptation of a piece out of Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft:Hermes, Lord of the Crossroads In Thy Name, I take up the Cards. From a word to a word, let me be led to a word. From a sign to another sign. .
Then I fan the cards out and pick four – one for each of To Know, To Dare, To Will and To Keep Silent. Here’s how I interpret them:
To Know: an important aspect; sometimes one that’s hidden from me, and sometimes an aspect that I’m not giving enough attention to.
To Dare: something that I need to do in a mundane, roll-up-my-sleeves kind of way.
To Will: something that I need to act upon magically.
To Keep Silent: something that I need to avoid doing.
This is my preferred method of divination before any magical working, because it’s quick and thorough. Just the thing!