Shamanism and its Discontents II: Divination

Shamanism and its Discontents II: Divination
Cleo Kearns & Joshua Ramey

December 4 & 11, Saturday, 12-3 PM EDT
(See time zone converter if you’re in a different location to make sure you get the time right.)

Although disparaged by moderns as somehow ‘primitive’ or at least deeply mystified, divination is an ancient practice in human cultures, and it is even now widely observed in popular culture and a major resource for indigenous peoples, for understanding world literature, and for many therapeutic modalities. In this seminar, we will consider some classic paradigms of divination, their philosophical and metaphysical bases, their relationships to sacrifice and to the state, and their liberating potentials. We will look at the parodic but powerful form of divination in neoliberal and speculative finance capitalism and then consider its current practice in shamanism, prophecy, and astrology. Throw the change, break out the cards, and join us!


Cleo Kearns works in the fields of continental philosophy, anthropology and religion.  She is the author of two books T. S. Eliot and Indic Traditions (Cambridge UP, 2008) and The Virgin Mary, Monotheism and Sacrifice (Cambridge UP, 2018).  Her current research is on theory of religious sacrifice from Durkheim to Lacan and on contemporary global shamanism.  She teaches classes on shamanism, comparative religion, literature and philosophy both online and onsite and is currently a Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College.

Joshua Ramey is a writer, educator, and shamanic practitioner based in Philadelphia.  He is the author of The Hermetic Deleuze:  Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal and Politics of Divination:  Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency.  Since earning his Doctorate in Philosophy from Villanova University in 2006, he has held positions at Grinnell College, Haverford College, and Rowan University.  He is currently devoting his time and energy to writing in and teaching for counter-institutional initiatives like Incite Seminars.  Support his work at  Learn more about his shamanic work at

Background Reading (Optional)

  • The I Ching, or Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes
  • Total I Ching: Myths for Change, Stephen Karcher
  • The I Ching, or Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes
  • Total I Ching: Myths for Change, Stephen Karcher
  • Divination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Classical Antiquity, Peter Struck
  • The Moment of Astrology, Gregory Cornelius
  • Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals, Luisah Teish
  • Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, Anonymous
  • Divination: Perspectives for a New Millenium, Patrick Curry
  • The Politics of Divination, Joshua Ramey
  • “Why Divination?” Pascal Boyer ( Current Anthropology: U of Chicago Press, 2020)
  • “Inquiry as Divination,” Maggie MacLure ( Qualitative Inquiry : Sage Publishing, 2020)
  • The Moment of Astrology, Gregory Cornelius

Seminar Cost

  • $90 – Member Ticket for Incite Seminars Patreon Supporters at any level
  • $135 – Non-Member (True Cost) Ticket
  • $270 – Generous Supporter Ticket
  • $45 – Student/Contingent Scholar/Activist Ticket
  • Solidarity pay-what-you-can tickets are also available for those who cannot afford any of the above tiers. Please email us.


Please register by buying a ticket at our Eventbrite page. We are committed to making all our offerings accessible to those who are eager to learn, regardless of financial means. If you have any questions or concerns, please email

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