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Divination is the practice of ascertaining information by supernatural means. If a distinction is to be made with fortune-telling, divination has a formal or ritual and often social character, usually in a religious context; while fortune-telling is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Divination is often dismissed by skeptics as being mere superstition. However, advocates say there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of divination. Divination is a universal cultural phenomenon which anthropologists have observed as being present in virtually all religions and cultures in all ages up to the present day.

Scientific research and methods have made it possible to predict future events with some success, e.g., eclipses, weather forecasts and volcanic eruptions. However, this is not divination. Strictly speaking, divination assumes the influence of some supernatural force or fate, whereas scientific predictions are made from an essentially mechanical, impersonal world-view and rely on empirical laws of nature. So, as an operational definition, divination would be all methods of prognostication that have not been shown to be effective using scientific research.

Beyond mere explanations for anecdoctal evidence, there are some serious theories of how divination might work. One such theory is rooted in the nature of the unconscious mind, a theory which has some empirical scientific basis. Based on this theory, divination is the process by which messages from the unconscious mind are decoded. The belief in a supernatural agency or occult force as the source of these messages is what distinguishes this theory from a scientific explanation.

Julian Jaynes categorized divination according to the following types:

One of the most popular methods of divination is astrology, typically categorized as Vedic, Western, and Chinese.

Many methods of divination exist:

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