Lesson 3) The Here and the Now

Professor Ornitier reached the divination lounge ahead of the students, carrying a stack of envelopes.  He quickly tossed them on the desk before flicking his wand.  The candles around the lounge lit up instantly and he turned back to the envelopes.  Levitating them into the air, he waited for the students to be seated before he distributed them, evenly.  One envelope per student with an additional carryover for himself.

...And for my next trick I will ask each of you to not open the envelope until you are told. They are not anything special, just normal envelopes, but they will be a point of interest later in the lesson. Now, formalities aside, I welcome you to Lesson Three! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your most recent assignments. Some students provided wonderfully detailed accounts of past lives and events of retrocognition. I was most impressed. This week, our focus will be the here and now, or as here and now as we can get, that is.

I See a Little Silhouette of a Man….
Our focus for today is methods of clairvoyance which deal with the present, the now, or events which are set to occur within the immediate future. Now, when I say ‘immediate future’, that could means minutes or hours from now, possibly even within the month or the year. It does not mean five years from now, as we will be discussing the extreme future during our fourth lesson. So, now that our time frames are set, let us look at the methods for our focus today: remote viewing and extrasensory perception (ESP).

                                              

In comparison to the methods of clairvoyance we studied last week, and despite the fact that many do not associate seeing the present with divinatory abilities, remote viewing is what many tend to think of when we ask for a seer to ‘see’ our future. Typically, we seek the services of a seer to help us with a current situation, such as where we left a treasured item or if our luck in the immediate time period will change. What we are actually asking the seer to do is to tell us what is happening in a place that is out of our own field of vision, be it around the corner, a town away, or happening in another country. Remote viewing concerns the seer detailing an event or occurrence that is happening within the same time period, just in another location out of our physical reach. Of utmost importance is the fact that without the skill of remote vision, the seer would not have any way of knowing exactly what is happening in the other location, meaning remote viewing could be the only plausible explanation. Similar to retrocognition and past life regression, remote viewing is only achievable when a seer enters a meditative state, some may even call it catatonic. Often during a remote viewing session the seer will have a blank look upon their face and their eyes will seem to be staring into space. Of course, we cannot see the Inner Eye at work!

So what exactly is happening within the seer? Well, a seer practicing remote viewing would have been asked a question and in order to give the answer sought by the questioner, the seer must concentrate upon that question -- hence the blank face and non-seeing eyes. This is an outward symptom of the level of concentration it takes -- most seers need to completely remove all surrounding distractions and block them out. Let us use the example of Professor Anne’s pet tarantula, Antônio. Just yesterday Professor Anne came to me in such a state as her dear Antônio had escaped his habitat and was missing from her office.

After searching high and low, with no Antônio to be found, she sought me out and requested my assistance, knowing of my particular skill set.  Joining me in my office, Professor Anne informed me of what happened. Beginning my remote viewing, I sat comfortably on the couch in my office and concentrated on dear little Antônio, searching the castle for him, casting around until I found him. Within the viewing I followed Antônio as he ventured through the castle, down hallways, and through classrooms until he finally settled in a small crevice above the entrance to the Hufflepuff common rooms. I advised Professor Anne of my vision and we quickly made our way to the Hufflepuff common room where, as I had remotely viewed, Antônio was safe and sound within the small crevice, munching on a tasty bug!

Theory of Remotivity
Now, on to the theory. Remote viewing was first acknowledged by Muggle-born researchers Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff in 1970. With funding from the Muggle university, Stanford, and the MACUSA, Targ and Puthoff set out to distinguish the various forms of clairvoyance and parapsychology. During the years that followed, Targ and Puthoff’s research was used by various military organisations to study the occurrences of clairvoyance and psychic ability within members of the Muggle military, a strange study itself, as this proved very little apart from the fact that psychic ability tends to feature in magical bloodlines. While it can be present in Muggle-borns, there just weren’t very many people of a magical persuasion involved in the project, and it was found rather conclusively -- though some would argue unnecessarily -- that Muggles are not capable of achieving this. It did have one benefit, though. By proving unequivocally that Muggles were unable to be clairvoyant; it vanished the doubt of naysayers, and proved it to be a bonafide magical ability.

Following the study of Targ and Puthoff, many clairvoyants began to share their abilities.  The American witch Rosemary Guiley became a spokeswoman for the clairvoyants within magical society and wrote many books on the subject, saying that the ability to remote view could be best described as “seeing remote or hidden objects clairvoyantly with the Inner Eye, or in alleged out-of-body travel,” perfectly illustrated by my experience remotely viewing the hairy little Antônio.

Today, remote viewers can forge a living even amongst Muggles by helping those with lost items find their belongings. Alternatively, some remote viewers have decided to focus on  viewing what is happening at the time, or quite close to the present time, in another location. Take, for example, the remote viewer and wizard, E.M. Nicolay. Nicolay has taken to the Muggle technology of the interwebby to share his remote viewing sessions and predict a number of events which he believes will occur within the immediate future and in the long term. Some of Nicolay’s predictions include rather distressing information for the Muggle world, while other more light-hearted predictions include the recent winner of the Muggle Quidditch World Championship.

Strangely, Nicolay has one message for both magical and Muggle society with regards to what he has seen in his remote viewing sessions and that message is “The more we let go of fear, the better our outcome.” I ask that you make of that what you will.

Do You See?
Let us move on to extrasensory perception, known by the acronym ESP. Different to remote viewing, ESP refers to the ability of what we may know as our sixth sense. As we know, all humans have five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Some individuals, myself included, are blessed with a sixth sense, the ability known as ESP. The simplest definition of this ability is that it allows the individual to sense with their mind, be it a feeling of unrest within individuals, an event about to occur, or possibly what card will be turned next during a game of bridge or Muggle poker. Essentially, it is the ability to gain information with something other than your five senses. Though you might have already guessed, this “sixth sense” is actually no more than the Inner Eye, the intuition we spoke of starting in Year Two and the tarot. It is a manifestation of the ability of a seer and our magic in general, though channeled to do a number of different things.

Strangely, out of all the divinatory phenomena that Muggles have latched onto, ESP seems to be a particular favorite. Many like to test their supposed ESP ability by using what are known as Zener cards, a simple set of 25 cards which features five different groups of cards displaying circles, wavy lines, squares, crosses, and stars. In turn, a card is drawn and the individual being tested must say what image they believe is displayed on the card. If they are correct, a point is scored. This is repeated 25 times and the final score denotes if the individual has the ability of ESP or not. For example, an individual who scores one correct image per five cards (a success rate of 20%), is determined to not have the ability of ESP whilst an individual who scores a success rate of 60% or more could be exhibiting ESP.


Zener Cards

Sadly, this is only wishful thinking on their part -- and one or two occasions of mischievous witches and wizards playing deplorable tricks to skew the results. Muggles are no more in possession of extrasensory perception than they are of the true nature of any divinatory ability. While yes, there have been many renowned or successful Muggle palmists or fortune tellers, this is simply due to them memorizing some meanings and attempting to apply them, or in some cases, just being very observant and clever. While they may be able to discern the basics of a head line, they cannot truly see the future.

You may be wondering, how, or when, ESP could be useful, based on the above examples. I should explain, extrasensory perception is not just good foreseeing the backs of cards -- though this certainly proves useful in the monthly staff poker games -- but becomes useful in such a broad amount of situations that it would be impossible to list them all here. As mentioned earlier, ESP may present as a feeling. Rather than dismiss those feelings, those of us who are in tune with our Inner Eye, especially those in tune with their ESP ability, will recognise the feeling for what it is and act upon it. History is full of events where people acted upon their feelings and were present for wonderful, momentous occasions (though the opposite can be true as well).  I can tell by the looks on many of your faces that you know exactly what I am talking about. That little voice, or the butterflies in your stomach, that say “Don’t travel into Hogsmeade this weekend, stay in the common room instead,” or “Owl your mother; she has news,” or even something as simple as “I have a bad feeling about this…”

A notable example can be found in the life of Seamus O’Conner, a wizard from Dublin, who experienced such a feeling a few years back. He was on his way to attempt to gain his Apparation licence when he heeded a strange voice in his head. There was something that told him: “Not today, Seamus, you are required elsewhere.” He did not attend his Apparation test, instead venturing to his local Quidditch pitch for a session or two on the broom. Upon arrival at the Quidditch pitch, he came across a Seeker, injured during a training exercise. Seamus immediately began emergency treatment and assisted player to the nearest healer’s office. Upon arrival, Seamus was surprised to discover that the Seeker he had assisted was none other that Ardagh Donaghue, legendary Seeker for the National Irish Quidditch Team. In this case, Seamus’ ability offered him the chance to help a fellow wizard (as well as get one heck of an autograph).

Putting It All Together
Now, I ask each of you to pick up those plain old envelopes that I gave you at the beginning of your lesson. I would like to finish off our lesson with a show of both extrasensory perception and remote viewing at work. Now, ask yourself a question regarding a missing item or person, perhaps an event and record that question on the back of that card. Do not let me see it! If you are concerned that I can see through the paper, feel free to put in the envelope to obscure your writing. We need to test my ability to ‘see’ it without the use of my traditional senses. There, is everyone ready?
I shall ask for a volunteer. Splendid, thank you, Mr. Parker! Ah, you wish to know where your younger brother has hidden your Pride of Portree Quidditch jersey? That is a simple one, though I daresay you’re not getting it back any time soon! Don’t fear, it is safe from harm. Your jersey is currently hidden in your baby brother’s toy chest, stuffed underneath his hippogriff plush toy. You’ll have to liberate it the next time you visit.

Now, I’m afraid we must end the formal lesson there. I’m sure as Fifth Years you all have much to do. O.W.L.s may be far off, but I don’t have to be blessed with the Inner Eye to know that you ought to be studying! However, if you would like your question answered, or your lost item found, please feel free to stay after and speak with me so I can assist you.

Oh, just a moment! Miss Walker of Slytherin house, before you leave... Where are you? Oh, there you are! Next Saturday, you simply must attend the second session of afternoon tea at Madame Puddifoot’s. Keep an eye out for the gentleman with the clear blue eyes.

Until next lesson,
Professor Alex Ornitier

Original lesson written by Professor Octavia Proctor
Additional portions written by Professor Venita Wessex
Image credits here, here, here, and here

Have you ever had such vivid dreams that they still feel real when you wake? Can you speak to those who have passed? If so, Year Five of Divination will excite and explain the finer details. This year, we are focusing on clairvoyance and true dreaming, two fascinating subjects with endless possibilities...
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