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Divination Advice From Computer Programmers

The other day I was reading Lifehacker and came upon this article, Solve Your Own Problems With the Rubber Duck Trick. I immediately clicked because I’m someone that values self- sufficiency. While this can sometimes be taken to unhealthy extremes, (I often have trouble asking for help, for example) I think striving to be in our own power as much as possible is important and valuable.

The “rubber duck trick” described in the article is a method used by computer programmers that helps them to work through their own problems by forcing them to ask better questions. The origin of the rubber duck debugging is unclear but essentially the practice involves stating a problem out loud (in this case to a rubber duck) and through this process the programmer is usually able to answer their own question because they were forced to think it through and put it into words as opposed to immediately deferring to outside authority.

What does this have to do with divination? Everything! Anyone who has been reading for a long time can tell you that one of the most important aspects of successful divination is learning to ask the right questions, as well as knowing when to ask a question at all. While I rarely divine for clients these days, when I did more regularly a big part of the process was often getting to the heart of what the person actually wanted to ask. A lot of times we seek divination when we’re unsure of ourselves or a situation but we often use that uncertainty as an excuse to give up our own power or to lose trust in our own innate wisdom and gut knowing, hoping the cards or other tool will just tell us what to do. While there’s nothing wrong with seeking guidance, by taking the time to articulate what it is we’re asking, forming a question, and stating it out loud, we are forced to examine and clarify our intentions for a reading.

The following steps taken from the article can be helpful when forming your question:

  1. Put your question into words – write it down or speak it out loud, don’t just think through it in your mind
  2. Add detail – clarify the situation you are asking about. Get specific.
  3. State your goal – be clear on what kind of guidance you’re looking for
  4. Share your research – in this case I see “research” as evidence that we have sought to answer the question or solve the issue on our own first
  5. Ask your question – at this point you might find that you have already answered your own question. If not, then you’re ready to go ahead and ask.

This process can also be helpful when putting a question before spirits or ancestors within the practice of mediumship. Interestingly, when I first decided the set up this site and blog, this post was one of the first ones I was inspired to write. The Monday morning after I set up the site, I sat down at my ancestor altar to share coffee with my ancestors (a practice I picked up from my friend Mallorie). I told them about my plans and how I wanted to have a place to share more of myself and practices. Soon afterwords on my walk to catch the train to work, I looked down to see this rubber duck in my path. I took it as a blessing and a sign I was on the right path. I picked her up and she lives on my desk now.

Header photo by Bence Balla-Schottner on Unsplash


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