Divination & Statistical Significance

Hey guys. I’m venturing into divination, but I wondered if any of you could suggest a good methodology for me. The trouble is that I suffer from what I call the Curse of the Scientist. I automatically, both consciously and subconsciously, reject any finding that fails statistical significance.

In science, we generally set statistical significance at 1 in 20, i.e. 5% (p < 0.05). This is to say, any finding that had a greater than 5% probability of occurring by random chance is rejected; there’s a variety of reasons why we use this threshold, but I won’t get into that here.

So for example, if I was doing penny divination, I would need to flip the penny 6 times to achieve significance, as the chance of getting 6 heads or 6 tails by chance is 3.125%.

5 heads and a tail or 5 tails and a head would not meet this threshold. There are 14 permutations of this (HHHHHH, TTTTTT, THHHHH, HTHHHH, HHTHHH, HHHTHH, HHHHTH, HHHHHT, HTTTTT, THTTTT, TTHTTT, TTTHTT, TTTTHT, TTTTTH), and there are 2^6 = 64 total possible outcomes. That means that the probability of getting one of the ‘acceptable’ outcomes is 14/64 = 21.875%.

To be able to accept one “error run”, I’d need to flip 9 times. There would be 20 ‘acceptable’ outcomes (2*9+2) and 2^9 = 512 possible outcomes. As such, the probability of getting an ‘acceptable’ result by chance is 20/512 = 3.9%, which is below the maximum threshold of 5%.

Needless to say, it would be very hard for a spirit to push a coin towards either heads or tails consistently 8 out of 9 times in a trial. So, are there easier divination methods that still would fulfill the 5% statistical significance criterion?

Reminds me of time I was taking a stats class, and I took a deck of cards and was thinking like you - I’ll try to guess the color of every card (black or red) and see if i get enough right for it to be statistically significant.

I relax, meditate, and try my best to get into a trance state. I guessed first two, both wrong.

Third card - I buckle down and relax. Color pops into my head: Yellow.


Try again - this time it’s not a color. It’s a black GRID.

So I flip the card over, and it was a Jack. His vest was yellow with a black grid.

It was like my higher self was saying “you don’t need to go thu all 52 you dumb fuck. I’ll tell you right now.”

So the answer my good sir is anything will work.

Aside from experiences where the same cards were pulled three times in a row with multiple shuffles, my 2 cents worth are unless you have strong fateful currents at work, it’s like trying to predict the course of a leaf in a turbulent stream. The mean flow would confirm the big picture but unless specifics are also divined (like with the Opening of the Key operations), how it ended up there wouldn’t be understood.

Personally I’ve taken the view of statistical mechanics in addition to my analogy of turbulence. You have microstates and macrostates. How things evolve from there can be explained by a partition function. People use that in sociodynamics.

And then there’s the path integral of quantum mechanics, sum over histories.

In the end, I don’t think you can be statistically significant with divination because repeatability and falsifiability aren’t in place. The only significance is how the reading develops for a person and that is an issue of quality instead of quantity.

It’s a provocative question but it may be the wrong one. Some physical laws just do what they will do, and the spirits don’t have much to do about it. All the evocation in the world won’t make gravity reverse or make the lottery less random. And where “magick” is most successful, there are unique personal and spiritual connections. Kind of like asking “what makes a good coach.” A great coach can’t make the end zone closer, and what works for Coach A with Team B might not work for Coach C with Team D.