Occult Roots of Gaming

I’m a gamer. I’ve been a gamer all my life, way longer than I’ve been a conspiracy nut or a wannabe-philosopher. By gamer I mean I play computer and video games, and also table-top roleplaying games, card games and board games. When I “woke up”, actually before I “woke up” this moral crisis in me was born. What is the point in playing games? Is it just for fun, is it harmful distraction from more important matters, a healthy form of escapism or not? I’ve learned many things from games, and they have nurtured my imagination, but possible in some ways also limited it. I still haven’t resolved the dilemma of whether or not gaming has been a beneficial or a harmful thing for me. And I’m not gonna do it here either. Instead I’ll focus on the older aspect of gaming; board games, RPGs and card games.

I’ll get one beneficial aspect of these kinds of games out of the way first; they’re a social activity, which is especially in 2014 a very nice thing. You actually have to gather together with a group of other flesh and blood people and interact with them. Nowadays many of our interactions happen online, be it online gaming or discussing conspiracies and spiritual issues on forums, or even reading/writing this blog. That’s a nice thing. In case you are not aware, there is a fairly big board game market of various types of games around, many of them more fun and more strategic than Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders. The board game market has the rare problem that we are inundated with so many good games we don’t have time to play all of them.

But there’s also an occult aspect to gaming, since most games use dice or cards. Both of them have their origins in divination, I believe. They’ve certainly been used for divination. I don’t know by whom, when or where they were invented. I think divination is a positive thing, and not evil satanic occult. They’re ancient technology used for understanding the synchro-mystic nature of reality.

The various card games are vulgarized descendants of the Tarot, which was bastardized into the common deck of cards used in poker and countless other game. The common deck can also be used for divination in much the same way as the Tarot can. Nowadays there are countless card games, and board games that use their unique decks. Most players probably are not aware of this occult origin of the games. They just do it for fun.

Many board games, and most table-top roleplaying games use dice. Some of them use cards, some games don’t use either method to measure outcome. There’s even some games that use the Tarot deck for this purpose. Dice have their roots in cleromancy, which is means casting some sort of items into the air and then calculating their results as they fall. Casting of bones is one such fairly well-known practice. Possible someone figured they could use this method of divination without killing animals and thought of making dice, although in ancient times some dice were made from bones, I think. The Chinese I-ching uses casting of three coins, which is basically another form of using dice. There is also the two crescent moon-shaped wooden blocks called jiaobei that are used even today in Chinese cultures. There’s just something joyful in rolling dice and hoping to get that critical hit.

The most well-known roleplaying game in the world is Dungeons and Dragons (although not one of my favourites). As the name implies, the most traditional form of D&D entails a party of adventurers delving into caves and dungeons to face monsters and eventually a dragon. This sounds shamanic. Venturing into the underworld, within the earth to face all sorts of weird beings, and dragons. This also true for many computer roleplaying games like World of Warcraft and Skyrim. Although the aspect of killing those beings for loot and experience points doesn’t sound so shamanic. Maybe I’m wrong, since I’m not a shaman. Yet there’s something archetypal to going on quests like these.

Roleplaying is also a kind of ritual the players share together, usually once a week. There are certain rules we obey, but also we want stretch the boundaries of possibility and imagination. It’s not a religious ritual, but a ritual nonetheless.

There are these mystical and occult aspects to gaming that most gamers probably don’t consider. I think it’s fascinating. Can’t think of anything to add, so keep those dice rolling.

 

Links:

Cleromancy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleromancy

Jiaobei: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiaobei

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