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What is Divination?
Many moons ago ‘divination’ was primarily concerned with working with the gods, figuring out what the ‘divine’ wanted us mere mortals to do on Earth. These days though, divination is a practise to understand a kind of hidden knowledge. But rather than knowledge that the gods are hiding from us, it’s more like life lessons, personal development or gaining special insight into how to solve problems.
Divination is often linked with spirituality and the esoteric. Maybe because of the link with communing the gods. Even if you don’t have a religious practise, magickal practitioners can make use of divination as part of their overall magickal work.
If we remember that divination is about obtaining a kind of special insight, it doesn’t always have to mean “fortune telling” or “predicting the future”. With that in mind, it seems that learning divination is absolutely possible, rather than a talent someone is born with.
There are so many different methods of divination that span every culture imaginable. It wouldn’t be possible to list every method, but we can share the different kinds of divination we have experience of, the good and the bad. Take a look at some of the different methods of divination below and see which works best for you. Of course, to get really good at anything you’ll need to keep practising and perhaps think about getting a teacher for the more advanced forms of divination.
Cards for divination
Cartomancy is using cards for divination. Tarot cards, oracle cards, lenormand cards and even ordinary playing cards can all be used for divination. Many card divinors believe these days that the cards are giving an insight into personal development, but cards do have that weird knack of foretelling situations that might be blocking your path a little later down the road. But in the main, card divination is used as a tool for self-reflection and guidance. Using the cards for divination is really simple to learn. If you’re keen to get started we have articles on how to read lenormand and how tarot can help with personal development. You can’t go wrong with getting a deck of cards that resonate with you and just cracking on. Some card decks have more nuanced meanings that may be worth investing in a teacher, such as the Rider Waite Smith deck, but it’s not essential.
Runes for divination
We have a complicated relationship with runes, certainly the anglo-saxon runes, but there are other runes out there and many practitioners make their own runes based on symbols that mean something to them. The basics of using runes for divination is much like using cards. It’s less about fortune telling and more akin to a tool for guidance. So using runes to answer a question based upon your current situation. The meaning on the runes is interpreted like a story, depending on which way round they fall and whether they are symbol side up.
Reading Tea Leaves and Coffee Grounds for divination
Divination with tea leaves involves looking at the leaves or grounds in the bottom of the cup and spotting any images or shapes they make. It’s probably one of the easiest forms of divination to learn if you are comfortable with a “no one right way” approach. It is probably fair to describe leaf reading interpretations as personal to the reader. By this we mean, as long the reader has a system, and it works, then that is good enough.
One way to interpret the images or shapes is to use an agreed list of what the various images mean. There isn’t one agreed list, unlike with card divination. We have a method for reading tea leaves, or coffee grounds, that is connected to Lenormand card meanings. This means we look at the leaves for any images or shapes that resemble the 36 pictures on Lenormand cards.
Of course, you can make up a list of your own or even dare to read them entirely intuitively. This takes a bit more courage, but as long as you trust your intuition in the moment, you can spot the images or shapes and decide what they mean in the moment according to your intuition.
Try to look for three or four images, noting the order in which you see them. Then tell the story using the interpretations based on what you see.
Pendulum swinging for divination
A pendulum is another really simple form of divination. They are great for those quick Yes or No type answers to questions that need a quick solution. Holding the pendulum in one hand and allowing the weight to settle. A swing to the left and right could mean a No, a swing to the front and back could mean a Yes.
Pendulums can also be used with a divination board. You can create your own divination board, it just needs to have the areas of life that you’d typically be asking about. For example, some diviners use a board that has the alphabet on it and use the pendulum to watch which letters it swings towards.
Divination with a pendulum can also be used in tandem with a map. At the risk of looking like one of the Charmed Ones, it does work to swing a pendulum over a map or drawing of a map and ‘feel’ where the pendulum swings the most. Have a practise with a game of hide and seek, or try to locate something you have recently lost.
Mirror scrying for divination
Mirror scrying is done looking into a black, reflective surface rather than an actual mirror ‘Wicked Step Mother of Snow White’ style (most people will have a black reflective surface in their possession in the form of an iPad or TV that is switched off). To start practising, grab a notebook to keep a record of the things that happen after your scrying session.
Begin by looking quietly into the reflective surface. Stare onto the surface and notice any patterns, symbols or pictures in your mind’s eye. In doing this quiet practise, you’ll begin to see images or thoughts in your head. These are the things you’ll need to recall when the session is over. You’ll know it’s time to stop scrying when your body starts to get restless or aches.
Now note down the things that happened or the sensations you felt. Even if it’s not immediately obvious, there’s a good chance the answer to the question is in these thoughts or feelings somewhere!
The Major Clairs
We only recently posted about the major clairs but it’s worth repeating it here in summary. Clairvoyance means ‘clear seeing’ is one of the four ‘clairs’. It means that when messages arrive ‘clairvoyantly’, they appear as images or scenes in the mind. Clairaudience means ‘clear hearing’ and means that when messages arrive they are like a little voice or the conscience, gently speaking. Claircognizance means “clear knowing”. Which means the ability to know something without knowing why. Clairsentience means ‘clear feeling’. With this ‘clair’ messages come through as a feeling.
With practise most people can learn this method of divination and if you’re able to practise meditation safely, visualising when in a deep state of relaxation is when ‘baby clairs’ grow. Spend time, eyes closed, in quiet reflection. Ask your mind a question and wait for an answer to come in the form of a picture that might flash, a word you might hear or see in your mind’s eye..
Like with mirror scrying, just make sure you keep a good record by writing it down in a journal. Over several weeks or months, this record can begin to show how well these abilities are growing.
Astrology as a divination tool?
Now we’re not astrologers at Magenta School of Magick (not yet anyway. It’s on our L&D objectives!) so we’re probably going to start an all out riot by suggesting that astrology is another divination method that we can learn.
Now, it’s different to the forms of divination we’ve described above and astrology couldn’t be used in place of, say, tarot cards because it’s a lot harder to ask a “tarot type” question and look to astrology for the answers. (It’s harder because it takes a while to look through the chart data. But it’s not impossible)
But if we recall that divination is a practise to understand a kind of hidden knowledge. Knowledge to help with life lessons, personal development or gaining special insight into how to solve problems. We’re suggesting that astrology can be used for this too. For example natal astrology is looking at the moment of birth and extrapolating events or personality aspects from the chart’s data. Electional astrology is about planning the best time to do something using the chart’s data. We’d suggest horary astrology would be a suitable branch of astrology to divine insights, as answers in these charts are based on the moment the question is asked.
Learn to trust your intuition
With the exception of astrology, all these divination methods rely on intuition. Trusting intuition and knowing the differences between intuition and intellect is probably the most difficult aspect of learning divination as a tool to gain insight.
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