Development of your intuition as part of your spiritual growth is something stressed by many different spiritual paths. In most of the Pagan systems it is frequently linked to specific practices such as dowsing, healing, and divination rather than thought of as a skill on its own. Many Pagans I have met tend to think of it purely as a spiritual skill rather than something that involves the integrated use of all the five physical senses, mental faculties, and psychospiritual abilities. Unless people are aware of this then intuition works erratically and cannot be relied on for useful information.
In the last century the use of psychology in training and learning has suggested that the best way to learn and develop many skills is through experimentation and non-serious gameplay. This has crossed over into covens and magickal training groups as the “bridging techniques” mentioned in my article “ Yuletide Coven Games “. Enhancing the senses in this way is the psychic equivalent of the famous Bruce Lee quote "Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.
The idea encapsulated in this quote is that by cycling unconscious skills though the conscious mind, and re-integrating them you can fine-tune, understand, and enhance them. It also means that many times you can access the source of the intuitive feeling and discover its source. A good example of this happened a few years ago when we were having our house remodelled and I was standing talking to Linda, my wife, in the kitchen when I suddenly ‘sensed’ something wrong. I concentrated on each of my senses in turn and became aware of a faint hissing sound in the direction of the ceiling. I quickly realised that the sound was actually coming from the bathroom on the floor above which shared the water supply, and that suggested some sort of leak. So we called the plumber who arrived within minutes, literally as the water was starting to drip through the light fittings.
It turned out that one of the pipe connectors had failed, causing a small leak. If I hadn’t subconsciously heard the sound of the leak, and been able to access which sense had picked up the change in environment, the first we would have known about the leak is when water started coming through the ceiling. The sound of the leak stood out because I was familiar with all the other sounds in my home. This is the same situation for many professions where reliance on instinct/intuition plays a significant part such as in the military, police, or fire service. In both of these jobs the people are highly trained, and their environmental awareness is a key part of their job. This combination means that minute changes in the environment can be detected in the same way as I sensed the leak. A subtle noise, change in pressure, or something out of place in the environment can trigger an intuitive feeling about what is going on, or about to happen.
In the past few weeks at the Portsmouth Shinobikai Ninjutsu Dojo where I train we have been looking at ‘tuning in’ to a situation or opponent using peripheral vision, mirroring stance and distance, and avoiding being seen by staying in a/their blind spot. Even the new students start to develop a sense of when to move, or what is coming next after a few minutes of working with a partner as they pick up on the subtle cues and micromovements that precede a change in direction, or an attack. Then we change partners and do the same exercise with someone new, which helps refine the skills we are learning even more. To make this part of everyday life it was suggested that we use this level of awareness consciously in crowded areas such as busy supermarkets to evade being run into with a shopping trolley, and to avoid running in to anyone else by lack of awareness. This exercise has a profound effect, enhancing sensory-based intuition to the point where you move and flow with the other shoppers as part of your automatic alertness.
This awareness of minimal cues becomes a ‘springboard’ for the development of the psychic and spiritual levels of awareness. Frequently we miss these more subtle aspects of intuition because we are not sensitive enough for them to reach our conscious mind. This is what training the senses to pick up subtleties helps us to do. This can be enhanced by meditation, particularly the systems that help you to notice your thoughts without attachment or trying to influence them.
This is the point at which doing readings for others can be of great help. Focusing on the system -, be it Runes, Tarot, or lines in the hand - gives the conscious mind something to do while the subconscious picks up small physical cues from the client interspersed with foretastes of potential futures, or situations of importance to the client from the mental and spiritual planes. These latter fragments can be startlingly accurate, but are frequently ascribed to the tools themselves giving the information which can be a barrier to further personal development. When the intuitive faculty is fully integrated the results for the person can be an enhanced sense of purpose and their place in the world.
But however good a person’s intuition becomes it is still a “wild talent”, subject to misinterpretation and mistakes. Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of the martial art of Aikido was highly intuitive, to the point of being able to avoid bullets according to several sources. Although he was still a nightmare to go on a journey with according to many of the same sources. At the slightest sense of danger he, and anyone with him, would have to change their mode of transport and even the route to where they were going, or return home. There was little or no evidence that these precautions actually saved anyone, but because his intuitions had frequently served him well he tended to over-rely on them. Since he was held in wide regard in Japanese society by the time he started to do this he could get away with these actions, but I doubt anyone else could.
So, as you develop your intuition make sure you stay grounded on the physical plane to take full advantage of the ‘edge’ it can bring you, and use it in a balanced manner. In the next article we will look at the way you can become more psychic, but also how if you are not careful some people and corporations will try to use your sensitivity to their own ends.