Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

What To Do When You Can’t Decide

When I feel uncertain about a decision or situation, I sometimes use a system of divination to gain clarity.

Divination is a means to gain insight into current and future events and to access hidden knowledge and inner resources.

The process of divination dates back thousands of years and is embedded in a variety of spiritual and cultural contexts.  The I-Ching (Yijing) is one of the most well known forms of divination.  But there are many others like the use of other sacred texts, mala beads, a mirror, or tarot cards.  Feng shui and numerology are also considered methods of divination.

In my tradition, many great spiritual masters rely upon divination to make important decisions.  They usually formulate a question and request a divination from another spiritual master.  One who has developed the ability to practice divination for the benefit of others through years of rigorous training, study, and specific spiritual practices.

Divination can be employed to ask questions about work, illness, financial issues, major decisions, relationships, love, family matters, spiritual practice, challenges and obstacles, and other events or situations.

The capacity for understanding and interpreting the results you receive can vary greatly depending on the training of the practitioner.  Understandably, when you do a divination for yourself, your own concepts and ego can get involved and may cloud the picture.

I haven’t used tarot or oracle cards as a form of divination, but I’ve had some interesting encounters with them in the last year.

For example, I came upon The Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards sitting on the counter at a bookstore.  The card that came up for me was White Tara, which, in this deck, symbolizes “sensitivity”.  The card read:

“You are becoming increasingly sensitive.  Avoid harsh relationships, environments, situations, and chemicals.”

This took me aback because it was exactly the message I needed to hear at the time.

Ironically, I didn’t understand the breadth of this card’s possible meanings until today when I listened to Doreen Virtue, the author of the deck, explain the card in this six-minute reading.

Then a few months ago, I again just happened to stumble upon The Faeries Oracle at a coffee shop.  The card I pulled again was so spot on, my jaw dropped.  This time, I felt deeply encouraged as I was entering into a short loving kindness retreat and the card I pulled depicted the Queen of Love.

Recently, a good friend gave me The Visions Oracle cards.  These are gorgeous paintings by Omra-Fochtman-Kubby.  Goddess, Hawaiian, oceanic and mermaid inspired artwork appear on one side; encouraging and inspiring advice is on the other.

I’ve approached the cards playfully by picking a card for the day or asking a question when I’m facing a challenge or a strong emotion, which seems to be happening a lot these days.  Interestingly, the same few cards seem to come up repeatedly.

divination cards

The Hawaiin Goddess Pele seems to be favoring me at the moment.  She says:


We all have a passion to express, personal gifts to give to the world.

What is yours?

Time to let it out and reclaim the “fire” within.

All your wisdom is ready to manifest into form.

Your own unique self expression.


The insights I’ve received from lightheartedly engaging these cards  – with their whimsical and magical images – have helped me access clarity, peace of mind, acceptance, and forgiveness.

I enjoy using these decks in a playful spirit.  And I have received meaningful encouragement from them.

However, as a Buddhist practitioner, when I have a serious question I consult either a divination master or use the Mo:  Tibetan Divination System.  This is where my strongest spiritual connection lies and thus where I feel I will receive the clearest wisdom.

divination cards

“The Tibetan divination system called MO has been relied upon for centuries to give insight into the future turns of events, undertakings, and relationships. It is a clear and simple method involving two rolls of a die to reveal one of the thirty-six possible outcomes described in the text. This MO, which obtains its power from Manjushri, was developed by the great master Jamgon Mipham from sacred texts expounded by the Buddha.”

Using this system, you are connecting with the wisdom aspect of Manjushri, the great bodhisattva of wisdom, who represents the innermost essence of your own mind.  Whenever I ask a significant question, I also spend some time in meditation and prayer.  Then I place my trust in Manjushri.

Asking the right question, is very important in the process of divination.  The wrong question will bring a confusing or incorrect answer.  It’s essential to take some time to formulate the right question.  A simple and direct question is best.

So many factors are involved with making a decision or understanding a situation.  Many of them are unseen and some operate on an unconscious level.  The process of divination has helped me access my intuitive perception and move in the most intelligent ways on more than one occasion.

Of course, there are many other ways to make decisions.  You could ask for feedback from an expert or a friend.  Some people make a list of pros and cons or brainstorm alternative actions.  Others create a list of priorities and choose number one on the list.  Mind-mapping is another tool that can reveal new ideas or options.

How do you approach decision making?  Have you ever used any form of divination?  Has it helped you?

If you enjoyed this article, please share the link with your friends.  Thanks for your support!  You can also connect with me on Google+ or the Always Well Within Facebook Page.  With love, Sandra


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  1. Hi Sandra,

    It’s almost 1am here as I dropped by your site before bed. But I just had to comment because it is an article on one of the topics closest to my heart, divination!! Thanks for the link also! Just saw it!! 😀

    Indeed asking the right question is one of the most important aspects of divination. If you know how to ask the right question you will be able to receive the right answer that will shed light on your situation. But this is easy and yet extremely difficult to do. Over the years that I have used the Yijing, I have tried and discarded many different questions until only a few have remained. These are the ones that I rely on most heavily.

    When it comes to formulation of questions, simplicity is best. Also, because of the complexity of a situation, I find that I need to ask a few different questions from a few different angles over different periods of time before I finally see the big picture. Only then will I know the best choices and actions to take.

    For important decisions I tend to blend logic and intuition. If necessary, I will turn to a few people for insights and advice just in case I miss a few ideas here and there. When I have narrowed down my choices about what I wish to do, then I use divination to decide the best course of action for my circumstances.

    When it comes to interpretation and application of my divination answers, I always ensure that it makes practical and logical sense. If it is not a sound course of action I would take when I rely on logic alone, I won’t consider acting in this manner. By blending logic and intuition I have come to make better choices.

    In fact, I was chatting with a good friend of mine whom I taught everything I knew about divination to. I was telling her that life with divination can be boring because you know how to act according to the Tao of any situation. Occasionally, if I want excitement, I just close a blind eye and not divine for a particular situation if it is not too important.

    Divination with the Yijing has certainly helped me and changed my life. Before I discovered the Yijing, I went through life blindly and made choices without an understanding of the bigger picture. Usually my choices were not in harmony with the Tao of the situation, but sometimes I was lucky.

    There are many forms of divination out there. But I believe that it is better to stick to one form because divination is easy to learn but difficult to master. Only when we have devoted the time and the effort to making whatever divination form our own will we be able to use it flexibly to gain deep insight into a situation. This is because there are so many meanings that can be attached to a particular card or hexagram or oracle. Only through practice and experience will we know which is best and how to apply the meaning in a given context.

    Finally, while it is true that ego and vested interest can blind me when I divine for myself. It is also true that only I know my situation best. And when it comes to divination, I have found that the more I understand a situation, the clearer my insights will be. So it is a fine line when I divine for myself, but one way to ensure I do not misinterpret my readings is to divine the situation from different angles. When the full picture forms, it becomes difficult to misinterpret it.

    Thank you for writing this lovely article and for giving me a chance to leave this super long comment before bed!! 😀

    Irving the Vizier

    • Irving,

      You’ve added so much knowledge to my article. I can’t thank you enough! Your advice about formulating the right question is very helpful. I know from my own experience this can be the tricky part and lead to getting a completely out of sync answer. I also appreciate the way you blend logic and intuition. That makes so much sense.

      I was also struck by the point of how many of your actions were not in harmony with the Tao before you learned divination. It’s interesting how often we are working against ourselves without really knowing.

      I appreciate your emphasis on training in one form of divination. This is so wise. You are so right that it takes time to deeply understand any form of divination. I know great masters study rigorously. It requires a certain level of spiritual maturity that takes time to evolve.

      It’s true, you know your situation best. As we evolve spiritually, it becomes far easier to look and understand from a clear space of mind. That’s a good tip about divining a situation from different angles. I like your conclusion that when the full picture forms, it’s difficult to misinterpret.

      I appreciate the depth of your training and insight. Thank you for adding so much valuable guidance to this article.

  2. Sandra,
    A perfect post for Halloween. Happy Halloween by the way!

    My preferred method of divination is the Tarot.

    I started reading the Tarot when I was just 11 years old. I’ve used them ever since. Every time my mother took me to Woolworth’s on South Broadway in Yonkers, NY where we lived, I begged her to buy me playing cards. When we received the first Lillian Vernon catalog by mail there was a miniature deck of Tarot for sale. I promised my mother I’d never complain about doing my chores again if she purchased them for me and she did. As soon as I got them I “knew” how to read them. I also knew “why” I’d been so drawn to playing cards too.

    I have purchased other decks of cards over the years (none by Doreen Virtue though) but, always revert to the tried and true – Tarot.

    I’ve never heard of the MO. I’m going to look into it. Thank you for sharing this info with us.

    • Angela,

      That’s an amazing attraction that you had as a child to tarot cards. I’m surprised that they were carried in the first Lillian Vernon catalog! How interesting. It’s fascinating that you “knew” how to read them as soon as you got them. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  3. Good topic, Sandra, and I love the images of fecundity.

    I must have tried everything at least a few times – ouija, tarot, viking runes, them yarrow sticks, flipping a coin, “book oracle” (stichomancy), prayer, lectio divina, walking labyrinth, and sessions with psychics. For the most part I got a lot of cryptic information open to many kinds of interpretation, but it was entertaining. I did get one highly significant reading given for free from an anonymous friend of a famous spiritual master. I wrote about that in my “Adventures in Woo-Woo” series:

    I wouldn’t deny the usefulness of divination methods for some, but I have no real trouble being decisive, even about hard, scary stuff. My problem has been more how to make better decisions, more effective choices, ones that better reflect and manifest my best intention and spirit. My method is stillness, followed by focus, and done repeatedly as practice. If one decision doesn’t work out, I try another. There are always paths appearing I didn’t see at first, and I’ve never run out of alternatives to attempt.

    • Mike,

      That’s an amazing story of the one highly accurate reading that you had that has lasted you 37 years. Thanks for sharing the link.

      It’s terrific that you don’t have trouble making decisions. This is an excellent method. You have a certain wisdom that you bring to the process that allows for the flexibility and the ability to see unlimited alternatives. That’s a special gift.

      • Sandra,
        Thanks for posting this article. I was interesting to read and learn a little more about divination.

        I have dabbled in several forms of divination over the years but in each case the results were open to interpretation. So I don’t rely on any form of divination. I’m an intuitive person who has never struggled with decision-making. And the reason I did not comment on this post earlier simply because what Mikey said above also goes for me.

        “My method is stillness, followed by focus, and done repeatedly as practice. If one decision doesn’t work out, I try another. There are always paths appearing I didn’t see at first, and I’ve never run out of alternatives to attempt.”

        • timethief,

          It’s an inspiration to see how your intuition serves you so well. I thank you for sharing this perspective and underlining Mike’s method. I think stillness goes a long way towards clarity.

  4. Sandra you suggest a lot of great divinations strategies. I simply ask myself what I would do and listen to the answer. Doing the exact opposite has worked time and time again:) lol

    I also use breath and water techniques. I breathe in and out til I fall asleep. Awaking 8 hours later usually renders a decision. And if not by sleep, then a hot shower will answer life’s pressing questions.

    If all else fails, the Vizier is always available for insight and counsel:)

    • Vishnu,

      You seem to be another one who has little trouble making decision. That’s wonderful. May I follow in your footsteps!

  5. I’m always fascinated by different methods and techniques from different cultures for solving problems. I think we seriously change our game when we add new techniques to our toolbox.

  6. J. D.

    That’s an excellent point!

  7. What a great post and information sharing piece this is.
    I did not know about MO and am interested to learn more. – Thank you for the links

    I use the Women’s Peace Round Deck of Tarot cards and am attempting to learn more all the time. They have been extremely helpful in keeping communications open and creating discussion with my children during some very hard times.

    This is the third piece of writing I have read about divination today…it must be in my cards

    • Patricia,

      Must be! In the cards, that is.

      Thanks for letting us know about the Women’s Peace Round Deck of Tarot cards. It’s fascinating to hear that they have been so helpful in keeping communications about for you during some very hard times. I’m very happy for that.

  8. Hi Sandra,

    This is an interesting topic. I loved using iChing many years ago and the cards you describe here are beautiful and meaningful because of their history and deep connections. Love that you picked the Queen of Love!

    Like Angela I want to check out the Mo too. I think these things are useful as you say to help us focus on the true questions, what we really want and get us concentrating on what’s right for us.

    These things are great tools to but I really believe we need to trust our intuition more. Deep in our hearts we know what’s right for us. We just need to find the strength of mind to follow that intuition.

    Thanks for getting me thinking and focusing as always. I love to come here for a bit of time out and to get in touch with my spiritual side which tends to get overlooked amidst the busy-ness of life:)

    x Annabel

    • Hi Annabel,

      I agree with you wholeheartedly that we need to trust our intuition more. Sometimes these tools can help us do that too. For me the Visions Oracle deck bring some inspiration into my life almost everyday, and I truly enjoy it for that purpose.

      It’s wonderful to see this other side of you, Annabel. I’m glad this isn’t all too woo-woo for you. I love your practical and whimsical sides and now I know about this other side too. Be well!

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