Learning divination

Learning divination with tools like Lenormand cards by Magenta School of Magick

Photo by Magenta

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.

Learning divination

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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Spells under a minute: Quick Study

Cast a spell to learn a new skill by Magenta School of Magick

Photo by Magenta

Want to learn simple spell casting? Here’s a quick spell to help you get to grips with learning a new skill.

All our correspondences, the days of the week that work best for certain kinds of magick and how we use the moon and planets are all included on our Casting Spells page.

We’ve also included a version of this spell with incantations here as a download.

If you have questions about this just reach out and ask. We’re happy to assist!

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Guided Meditation: Reframing failure

Photo by Magenta

The feelings associated with having failed at something are not exactly pleasant, but it can be a valuable experience to have not succeeded at the first attempt. Considering failure as a feedback mechanism or a learning experience is a useful way to reframe failure. Instead of only focusing on how we have failed, instead focus on what can be learned for the next time we try to draw valuable insights from this.

Here we have some pointers on how to meditate, plus some of our other guided meditations available.

Meditation practice can produce unwanted effects in people who might be more sensitive. We encourage anyone who is unsure about practising meditative techniques to seek appropriate professional support before experimenting with meditation.

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what is magick? the practise of humanistic magick

Maslow's heirachy of needs provides a framework for humanistic magick by Magenta School of Magick

Photo by Jemma

What is magick? 

Magick has been around for literally as long as people have been. Lots of cultures and belief systems use “magick” as a central theme. Over time these have changed, morphed, been appropriated from elsewhere or shared openly. But what is magick, exactly?

Magick is beautiful, mysterious, and it is anything it wants to be, it is anything you want it to be. For us, magick is “the philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes”. Don’t worry, we’ll unpack that later. 

Usually with magickal traditions there’s a kind of philosophy, some sort of central belief holding the whole thing together. 

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn based their magickal ideas on things like Freemasonry, Theosophy and Hermetica. They also nicked ideas from other cultures and other religions, as was the way of the white man for many a century gone by. 

Thelema, another magickal tradition, created by Aleister Crowley, is based on the idea of “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, which is basically suggesting people ought to find, and then work towards, their destiny and not be bothered by mundane nonsense.

Wicca is probably best known as a magickal religion. There’s a lot of branches of Wicca, all with slightly different views, but they often share one key idea that magick is an external force, possibly coming from nature or from deities.

Magick doesn’t have to be religious to have a philosophy

There are loads of different kinds of magick, as we point out in this article, and there are certainly plenty of approaches to practising magick that are not religious. 

Our approach to magick is not religious at all. It is very much influenced by the works of two key Humanistic theorists, namely Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, plus some of Carl Jung’s ideas thrown into the mix. Then it’s all shook up in a bag along with astrology. We think our magick is like nobody else’s and we call it Humanistic Magick. 

Humanistic magick is a different kind of magick

Plenty of those turn-of-the-twentieth-century practitioners were paving the way for an esoteric revival. The magick created by the Golden Dawn and by Crowley focuses on the life-journey of the practitioner and how (occasionally) external help by way of gods and spirits, can enlighten us and show us our path. Perhaps the magickal community is now ready to embrace something more?

Humanistic magick looks inwards as well as outwards

Unlike Thelema, we’re not suggesting magick should only be used for seeking out one’s soul purpose in life. Magick can totally be used to pull mundane things towards us, like money and opportunity. 

In fact humanistic magick recognises that people will always have to have their basic needs met first before they can develop and grow into compassionate, thoughtful, and forgiving people. Remember when we said for us magick is “the philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes”? Well this is what the “philosophy” bit means for our definition of magick.

The “intended change” part is when, as people, we recognise our own personal development needs and do something about it. Wanting to change comes from within, not from outside of ourselves. But we all get in our own way when it comes to change.

Finally the “art” of magick might come from asking a deity for help, but for us it comes from the stars, from astrology. 

Humanistic magick as a philosophy and astral magick as art

The magickal art we practise comes from using phases of the moon, what star sign the moon is in and in working with the characteristics of the planets and other key tenets found in astrology. Naturally we blend our philosophy with art when we cast spells. For example, we use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as an overlay for how we choose colours in magick and our spells will focus on Maslow’s hierarchy as a framework. Our spells will be meeting one of these needs somewhere!

A philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes

Magick is hard to define, and it is so mysterious. Even our definition needs to say that some unseen stuff is happening, some stuff is going on that we simply can’t explain. That’s why magick is so beautiful and (let’s be honest) so damn cool. 

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All Hallows Eve

Photos by Magenta

What is Samhain?

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Samhain is the Wiccan festival celebrated at the end of October. It is the final fire festival of the year. It is also a time to celebrate the ending of life both in the natural environment, as trees and flowers lose their colour, and the lives of those who have passed on.

It is a good time of year to pay respects to ancestors or friends and family members who have died. It is seen as a celebration of the darkness, which is eventually broken by Yule as the light returns.

What is Beltane?

For those in the Southern hemisphere, the end of October is the second fire festival of the year. As October means springtime in the South, this means the end of October is a celebration of the arrival of summer, and the fullness of life. The flowers have returned as have the leaves on the trees. It is a good time of the year to see the bright colours of nature and feel the growing warmth of the sun. 

The Sun in Scorpio

It is worth noticing that at this point in the year, Samhain (or Beltane) is celebrated while the Sun travels through Scorpio. The fact that death, decay and, of course, renewal are all part of a continuous wheel is symbolised by Scorpio. Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, the planet of transformation. As one thing ends, another is beginning which of course is what both Samhain and Beltane symbolise.

Choose how to celebrate

These festivals are traditionally ‘fire festivals’ so we can mark the time of year through lighting a candle or fire in the hearth or enjoying a barbeque or firepit outdoors. This fire festival could be an opportunity to celebrate life.

If the beginning of life is being celebrated with Beltane, a festival of light and fertility, there is plenty of magick to be had to inject some passion or to attract a lover to you.

For those observing Samhain at this time of year, this is a point in the year when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. It’s a time for communing with our ancestors and the recently departed.

With the Sun travelling through Pluto ruling Scorpio at this time of year, why not take the opportunity to do an Endings and New Beginnings tarot spread for yourself. This will allow a really detailed look at the issues that are closing and what should be the focus for a new start.

Whatever you choose to do, and how you choose to celebrate, pause to admire the gift that is life.

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Guided Meditation: Leaning into Challenges

A challenge of a blocked path can be overcome if we lean into it by Magenta School of Magick

Photo by Magenta

Leaning into a difficult situation such as a problem at work or the end of a relationship can feel counterintuitive. Afterall, it doesn’t feel very nice! Sometimes we can prefer to avoid facing these challenges to avoid these feelings of discomfort. But it is only by walking through the discomfort that we come out the other side of it better prepared for the next challenge.

Here we have some pointers on how to meditate, plus some of our other guided meditations available.

Meditation practice can produce unwanted effects in people who might be more sensitive. We encourage anyone who is unsure about practising meditative techniques to seek appropriate professional support before experimenting with meditation.

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Endings and New Beginnings Tarot Spread

tarot can help provide guidance by Magenta School of Magick

Tarot deck shown is the Rider Waite Smith published by US Games. Photo by Magenta

Samhain (or Beltane) Tarot Spread

Tarot is such a fabulous tool, and as we approach Halloween, what perfect way to look at what parts of our lives are ending in order to make way for something new. 

This is our version of an Endings and New Beginnings tarot card spread. Everyone has their own way of reading the cards. For us, the cards themselves aren’t “good” or “bad”, it’s where the cards fall in the spread that gives a clue as to whether the card’s shadow-side should be interpreted. We explain that in two of the following positions, the card should be read as the ‘block’ or ‘shadow’ side. Everything else should be read with loving kindness, after all the cards have totally got your back!

The spread

The cards are laid out like a cup (or inverted triangle) shape. A row of four cards across the top, then three underneath that row, then a row of two cards beneath that until finally at the bottom there’s one card in a row by itself.

How to read the Endings and New Beginnings spread

What is ending

Card number 1 – This is the issue coming to an end for you. This card is a summary of the main issue that is ending. It could be a summary of an event, your feelings, a difficult situation or it could summarise a main theme of a series of events that have happened recently.

Lesson and advice

Card number 2 – This is the biggest lesson from the issue that is ending. This card describes the lesson that you’re learning from the experience. 

Card number 3 –  What will help you as you learn this lesson.  This card is an action card, or an advice card. It invites you to bring your awareness to the message as a positive instruction to help you learn this lesson with love. 

Try to connect card number 2 and card number 3 because together they tell the story. If card number 2 is the main lesson, card number 3 is what will help you to learn so that you can fully release this issue that is closing.  

New Beginnings

Card number 4 – What are you attracting? This card represents anything that you are pulling towards you as you go forward. This card might be connected to the lesson you are learning in card number 2.  

Card number 5 – What is holding you back? This card represents anything that you are repelling or anything that is blocking you as you go forward. This card might be connected to the action you’re supposed to take from card number 3. 

Card number 6 – What to look out for. This card represents the twist in the tale. It might be something that drags you backwards, back to repeating the same cycles. Card 6 connects to card 3 by way of a warning and is intended to be read as the shadow side of the card. 

Where to begin

Any major arcana cards in this row should indicate this is the area of life where new cycles and new beginnings will be most noticeable. Notice if any of the preceding cards are connected with cards 7, 8 or 9. Do they tell a story that prepares you for a new start, in any of these life areas?

Card number 7 – Relationships with others. This is a card for new beginnings that involve the external influences in the world. This could be friendships, family or a loving relationship. 

Card number 8 – Career, money and work. This card shows the start of things in relation to work, your education (if you are in full-time education) or any projects you are working on. It also includes the home. 

Card number 9 – Relationship with yourself. This card is all about a new start for yourself. It could be about your wellbeing or your self confidence. 

Card number 10 – The biggest lesson to learn in this next phase This card represents the one thing you should be open to learning as you go forward into this new phase.

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Spells under a minute: Passions arise

Photo by Magenta

Want to learn simple spell casting? Here’s a quick spell to bring back the passion, either in a relationship of passion for a hobby.

All our correspondences, the days of the week that work best for certain kinds of magick and how we use the moon and planets are all included on our Casting Spells page.

We’ve also included a version of this spell with incantations here as a download.

If you have questions about this just reach out and ask. We’re happy to assist!

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Guided Meditation: Accepting imperfection

accepting imperfection by Magenta School of Magick

Art by Jemma

Many of us want to achieve perfection in our lives. This might come in the form of the perfect school, job, car, partner, social life and everything else in between. If we reach perfection, oftentimes we believe this will finally make us happier, or give us a sense of acceptance by others. This can come at the cost of burnout, feelings of anxiousness and stress. By allowing a sense of ‘good enough’ to satisfy us, we can learn to enjoy being in the moment and allow gratitude for where we are today creep in.

Filled with affirmations aimed at helping to celebrating how far we’ve come, to learn that setbacks are part of a process and that we’re probably holding ourselves to impossible standards anyway!

Here we have some pointers on how to meditate, plus some of our other guided meditations available.

Meditation practice can produce unwanted effects in people who might be more sensitive. We encourage anyone who is unsure about practising meditative techniques to seek appropriate professional support before experimenting with meditation.

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Using planetary seals in magick

Timing magick using astrology is about knowing where the planets are and when by Magenta School of Magick

Photo by Magenta

Magickal seals are a kind of diagram or picture that can be used in a magickal context.

Many magickal seals were documented in ancient grimoires. They can be scribed onto an object such as a talisman (or other magickal object) in order to imbue that object with the power associated with the seal. Sometimes seals are drawn as part of a magickal ritual, perhaps to call upon a deity or other spirit.

So planetary seals, like magickal seals, are a kind of diagram as well…but in order to understand what planetary seals are, and their origin, we have to explain a little bit about planetary (magic) squares.

What are planetary squares? 

Planetary squares come from maths, but in maths they are called “magic squares”. Ancient scholars from China to Europe used these magic squares for maths and what struck these scholars was that when all the numbers in the rows, columns and the diagonals were added together, they all added up to the same amount. Hence their magicness.

It was Arabic scholars who first attributed the first 7 magic mathematical squares to the 7 known planets (known at the time) and started using them as part of this talismanic, seal magick. 

These magic – or planetary – squares of numbers can be used to create seals and sigils in and of themselves as this article explains. But planetary seals, as diagrams designed to imbue the power of the planet, do exist. 

Planetary seals

Each of the 7 known planets have their own seal, but because the outer planets were not known in the middle ages when these seals were created, the outer planets don’t have a planetary square or a planetary seal. 

The seal is drawn using the planet’s personal magic square. This means, for example, The Seal of the Sun was originally created using the magic square of the Sun. The Seal of the Moon was originally created using the magic square of the Moon and so on.

It was thought at one time that the seals were orginally drawn by ensuring a line cut across each number, ensuring every number in the magic square was used in the diagram’s creation. Although when people have tested this, it doesn’t look like every single number is used in all the seals, but it is true in some cases. 

Planetary seal of the Sun

When this seal (drawn properly, unlike our dodgy Google Docs version!) is placed on its magick square, The Seal of The Sun does indeed overlap every number of the magic square of The Sun.

Planetary seal of the Sun by Magenta Schhol of Magick

Planetary seal of Mercury

When drawn using its magick square, The Seal of Mercury does overlap every number of the magic square of Mercury.

Planetary seal of Mercury by Magenta School of Magick

Planetary seal of Venus

When placed on or drawn using its magick square, The Seal of Venus misses out twelve of the numbers. These are 3, 5, 7, 15, 19, 21, 33, 35, 36, 43, 44, and 47

Planetary seal of Venus by Magenta School of Magick

Planetary seal of the Moon

When drawn using its magick square, The Seal of The Moon does overlap every number of the magic square of The Moon.

Planetary seal of the Moon by Magenta School of Magick

Planetary seal of Mars

When placed on or drawn using its magick square, The Seal of Mars misses out numbers 1, 5 and 21.

Planetary seal of Mars by Magenta School of Magick

Planetary seal of Jupiter

When placed on its magick square, The Seal of Jupiter does overlap every number of the magic square of Jupiter

Planetary seal of Jupiter by Magenta School of Magick

Planetary seal of Saturn

When placed on its magick square, The Seal of Saturn does overlap every number of the magic square of Saturn 

Planetary seal of Saturn by Magenta School of Magick

Using planetary seals in magick

Calling on the power of the appropriate planet is something we do a lot here at Magenta School of Magick. Using planetary seals is a great way to capture the essence of the planet when working with physical objects. 

Before getting started though, it’s worth spending a little bit of time understanding the characteristics of the planets before working out which one would suit the magick the most. We have some high level pointers on each planet’s relative characteristics on our Casting Spells page.

After that the rest is easy. The seal is already created, all that needs to happen is for it to be copied onto a talisman, drawn onto your object (such as a candle or piece of paper) or even drawn in chalk on the floor and objects of focus placed onto the seal. 

Timing the magick

To ensure the magick is as impactful as possible, cast a chart for the best time to cast your spell using the planetary seal based on factors such as ensuring the planet is travelling along in a suitable star sign, that the magick is being worked at least in the hour of the planet (if not the hour and the day) and that you’ve factored in whatever the Moon is doing. 

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