“The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids. They ask questions and have a sense of wonder.” ~ Sylvia Earle
Asking questions is what our brains were born to do.
You can see this in little children, especially three-year-olds, who ask one question after another until it drives their parents crazy.
But along the way to adulthood, most people begin to ask fewer and fewer questions. I know in my life, this change had a lot to do with our educational system. Teachers were the ones who asked questions. We students were supposed to know the answers. This process got even worse when I went to college. If I asked a question, I might very well be viewed as naïve or ignorant, and I certainly didn’t want to make that impression on other people (even though it was probably true). I wanted to be seen as wise and sophisticated. As a result, my mind closed off more and more.
But once I became a feminist, everything was up for grabs. I realized that much of what I had learned was tainted by patriarchy and needed to be questioned. Critical thinking became my watchword. And open-mindedness.
My need for an open mind only increased when I was introduced to divination: a means for answering questions that makes active use of intuition. I couldn’t even craft a usable question unless I dropped my desire for a particular result from my oracle. Any assumptions that were part of my oracular question automatically skewed the outcome and kept me from delving into my inner wisdom. As I wrote in my last article, I also learned that my questions needed to be specific, directed at the particular situation I was facing, and the kind of information I was seeking.
But oracular questions often arrive as a vague feeling that something needs to change, or that something is wrong, or that I want to add something to my life. So, I created a list of 70 prompts—the questions below—to help me and my students come up with specific divination questions. Working with these prompts is a two-part process. First, you discover an area of your life you want to investigate. Second, you craft an oracular question about that part of your life.
For example, if I used the seventh prompt below (“What potential of yours still needs to be developed?”) I would say, “My marketing skills.” Then I would craft a divinatory question, like “How can I best develop my marketing skills, so I can sell my book The World is Your Oracle and get it out into the world?”
After using these prompts, if you would like feedback on an oracular question, please leave a comment with both the question and some background information about the situation you’re facing. I’d be happy to work with you on how to fine-tune it.
Without further ado, here are the 70 prompts to help you create your specific divinatory questions:
1. What decision(s) in your life do you need guidance about?
2. Where in your life do you need to listen to your intuition? Your inner guidance?
3. What is calling to you in your life?
4. Where do you feel stuck? Or helpless?
5. What is your true passion? Your heart’s desire? How can you awaken it? How can you take it into the world?
6. What needs to change in your life? What is the source of discontent in your life?
7. What potential of yours still needs to be developed?
8. What possibilities do you need to explore?
9. Where do you feel overextended?
10. What is it that you fear? What causes you anxiety?
11. What is no longer supporting you? Are there stories, rules, inhibitions, regrets, or expectations that no longer serve you? That keep you blocked? That undermine you?
12. What do you need to give yourself permission to do, to believe, to think, to feel?
13. Where in your life do you need to go beyond your comfort zone? Need to take a risk?
14. Which of your unique qualities do you need to activate in yourself?
15. Where are you confused in your life? What is unclear in your life?
16. Where do you feel psychologically numb or detached in your life? Where are you feeling closed off in your life? What can you do about it?
17. What would nurture your creativity?
18. What habits do you need to change? What patterns are keeping you locked into negative behaviors?
19. Where in your life do you need to refill your well? How?
20. Where do you need more self-care in your life?
21. What are your deepest desires?
22. What do you need to heal?
23. Where are you feeling impoverished in your life? Is there anything that doesn’t feel abundant?
24. Where in your life do you need to build confidence and personal power?
25. Where in your life do you need to set healthier boundaries or say “no”?
26. Where do you need more vitality in your life? Where do you need to awaken your fierce inner god/dess? What’s the new spark of inspiration that you need in your life?
27. What’s stressing you out?
28. What’s “out of whack” in your life?
29. Which relationship(s) is causing you stress?
30. Do you have compulsions you need to deal with?
31. What area of your life needs spiritual growth? What spiritual growth are you on the verge of?
32. Where do you feel unsettled in your life?
33. Where do you need grounding in your life?
34. What emotional situations in your life need healing?
35. Where in your life do you need to speak your truth?
36. What do you need to communicate? To whom?
37. Where do you need challenge in your life?
38. Where do you feel fragmented?
39. Where do you need balance in your life?
40. What silences you? What limits you?
41. Where do you need courage?
42. Where do you need persistence?
43. Where do you need patience?
44. Where do you need to free your spirit?
45. Where do you need ease in your life?
46. What needs renewal in your life?
47. What self-judgments do you need to get rid of or change? What do you need to accept about yourself?
48. What is it about yourself that you need to understand better?
49. What unconscious thoughts or feelings are motivating your actions? Views? Behaviors?
50. How are you sabotaging yourself? How can you change that?
51. Where are you feeling weak?
52. Where are you feeling disconnected?
53. How can you improve in order to be your best self right now?
54. Where do you need resilience in your life?
55. What difficulties are you experiencing?
56. What losses are you suffering from? What disappointments are you experiencing now?
57. Where in your life do you need to slow down and smell the flowers?
58. Where do you need relief in your life?
59. Which long-term strategies do you need to begin developing?
60. What do you need to move beyond in your life?
61. Where does your compassion need deepening?
62. Where do you need to get out of your head and into your heart?
63. Where in your life do you need to reclaim sensuality? Your instincts?
64. Where do you need rejuvenation?
65. Which past events do you need to disentangle yourself from?
66. Where do you need more support in your life?
67. What physical, emotional, or spiritual suffering holds you back from your best and brightest life?
68. Where in your life do you need solace?
69. Where do you need to surrender in your life?
70. Where do you need to connect more deeply with yourself?
Author: Nancy Vedder-Shults
Image: Flickr/Jem Yoshioka
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman