Divination is the school of magic which specialises in information gathering. Common applications include predicting the future ("Fortune telling"), scrying (essentially remote viewing) and finding things, often by methods such as dowsing. Remote viewing by personal projection (typically astral projection is not typically considered divination (any more than it would be divination to teleport yourself somewhere and then evesdrop on whatever was going on).
Techniques vary - in correct usage, anthing with "-mancy" on the end, is a form of divination (from the Greek manteia - "prophecy") - and there are many, many of these based on everything from watching the sky for omens, staring into a fire, casting lots or seeing which pieces of grain a chicken eats. Astrology and similar things are also considered forms of divination. Historically this was a mainstay of magical practice.
In the Abrahamic religions, divination magic (especially that related to telling the future) is classed as forbidden (assuming the position that any magic would be permissable), despite it not being obviously black magic. This prohibition may or may not include the sortes sanctorum, depending on who you ask. Other religions permit or even encourage divination. Indeed the word divination comes from a Roman concept which revolved directly around seeking divine inspiration and insight, either into the will of the gods or their understanding of the future - which would make it a branch of theurgy1.
Some fRPGs may also add remote communications to the school of divination, presumably on the assumption that if each school also encompasses its own spells with reversed effects, a school which specialises in gathering information at distance should also be able to distribute it.
Game and Story Use
- Popular in games and, if based on historical precendent, should be a big part of the magical repertoire. Much less popular with GMs as it can be hard to adjudicate.