Review: “The World Is Your Oracle: Divinatory Practices for Tapping Your Inner Wisdom and Getting the Answers You Need”, by Nancy Vedder-Shults

Reviewed by Carolyn Boyd

Nancy Vedder-Shults’s The World Is Your Oracle is a beautiful, insightful, and compassionate guide to “divination” — listening to the sacred voice within to bring into consciousness the wisdom your soul already possesses. Our modern world teaches us to ignore the tremendous understanding and knowledge we all have about ourselves and each other and about how we should live our lives. So, Nancy teaches us how to first bring our minds into a state that allows us to access all that is inside us, then to use various techniques to experience and interpret messages expressed in the soul’s language of symbols.

The heart of the book is instructional. First she explains how to prepare yourself to receive your answer by defining your question clearly, preparing your space, setting your intentions and asking for guidance, and grounding and centering. Then she offers step-by-step instructions on 40 different means of divination. Finally, she invites you to interpret what you have experienced. The divination techniques are divided into visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, or body-focused, methods and the reader is encouraged to determine which is most resonant for them, or try them all. The techniques range from ancient standbys, like dowsing and drumming, to more contemporary ones like balloon diagrams. Most need little or no special equipment, and some only use actions you do every day, like walking.

The goal, however, is not to make the reader into a divinatory expert, but rather to bring the joys and wisdom of divination into our daily lives. The book shows us a different way of being by making “the world our oracle” and trusting the answers we receive so that we may create happy, fulfilled, purposeful lives. When you hold and read the book, it is as if Nancy’s cheerful, enthusiastic personality is sitting with you and you are welcomed into her bright and spirit-filled realm. The book itself is beautiful, with illustrations by her daughter, Linnea Vedder, that add a layer of expression beyond words about each technique. Nancy’s language is delightfully poetic, with techniques given names like “Whispers of Flame” for fire or “Light Illumines the Water” for candles in a warm bath.

One fascinating aspect of the book is that Nancy relates the latest scientific information that confirms both the overall concept of divination and individual techniques and shows how they can be most effective. Understanding how various actions affect our mind’s ability to draw out what our brains already know in “aha” moments helps us to make the most of our divination and relates our practice to the growing fields of neuroscience and psychology.

I am someone who is fairly “mystical experience immune,” but as soon as I picked up this book I immediately began to receive answers in encounters with two species of hawks and a wild turkey, a gift of just the enchanted herb I needed as a gift, and a stone that said “believe” left right in my path. I am now sitting in the middle of a lightning storm which is an oracle about the book’s enlightenment if there ever was one. The World Is Your Oracle is chockfull of valuable ideas and insights, but also a gateway to the mysteries that are all around us everyday.

Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee Boyd is a New Englander who writes fiction, poetry, essays, reviews, and memoirs celebrating the spirituality and creativity in women’s everyday lives. Over the past three decades, she has published in women’s and feminist literary, art, and spirituality magazines, both in print and online. You may read her occasional musings and published writings at her blog, Goddess in a Teapot. When she isn't writing, she grows herbs and native flowers, raises a family, and props up her constantly falling-down Victorian house.
Carolyn Lee Boyd