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Divination: Navigating the Magical Art

Divination is an incredible part of witchcraft that is shrouded in a lot of mystery and interpretation. It can be used to peer beyond the veil, and can even be used to offer insight, self-reflection, foresight, and guidance.

Today we’re going to talk about various methods of divination, the history behind them, and some beginner-based activities that you can try to help you start familiarizing yourself with this ancient art.

The History Behind the Art of Divination

Divination has a rich and diverse history, as do many aspects of witchcraft and spirituality. Many cultures have their own versions and practices. Noteworthy ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Mesopotamians, practiced divination as a means to interpret the will of the gods and foresee the future.

Their methods varied widely, from the use of oracles and seers, who interpreted omens and dreams, to more structured systems like the casting of runes in Norse tradition and the use of augury and astrology in Rome and Greece. These practices were deeply integrated into the social and religious fabric of these societies, often playing a crucial role in decision-making processes, from personal guidance to matters of state.

Over time, while some forms of divination were suppressed or fell out of favor due to religious or scientific changes, many have persisted and evolved, finding new expressions in modern spiritual practices. Today, divination continues to be a significant aspect of many spiritual paths.

Various Divination Practices

Divination is a blanket term that describes various techniques and tools to gain insight into questions or situations. Here are a handful of ways one can practice the art of divination.

Divinatory Methods

  1. Tarot Reading: Utilizing a deck of cards that show the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, Tarot readings involve interpreting the cards drawn in relation to each other and the question or situation at hand. Each card has symbolic imagery and a standard meaning, which can vary depending on its position and the cards around it.
  2. Astrology: This ancient practice is based on the belief that the positions of stars, planets, and other celestial bodies at the time of one’s birth influence their personality and fate. Astrology involves creating a natal chart to provide insights into an individual’s character, relationships, career, and future prospects.
  3. Runecasting: Runes are an ancient alphabet used in Germanic and Norse cultures, with each character/symbol holding specific meanings. In rune casting, runes are typically cast onto a cloth or drawn from a bag, and their positions and orientations are interpreted to answer questions or provide guidance.
  4. Palmistry: This practice involves reading the various lines, like the heart line, head line, lifeline, and features on the palm. Each part of the hand is believed to offer insights into different parts of the individual’s life, character, and future.
  5. I Ching (Yi Jing): Also known as the Book of Changes, the I Ching is one of the oldest Chinese divination texts. Divination with the I Ching involves asking a question and then generating one of 64 hexagrams, traditionally through coin tossing or yarrow stalk manipulation, to receive guidance.
  6. Numerology: This divination method is based on the belief that numbers have mystical significance. Numerology interprets the numerical value of things like names and birth dates to make predictions about an individual’s destiny, personality traits, and life events.
  7. Pendulum Dowsing: In this practice, a pendulum, a weighted object suspended on a string or chain, is held steady, and questions are asked. The direction of the pendulum’s swing is interpreted as a response – different movements (back and forth, circular, etc.) signify different answers, like yes, no, or uncertain.
  8. Ogham Staves: Used primarily in Celtic divination, Ogham staves are pieces of wood or bone inscribed with characters from the Ogham alphabet. Similar to runes, these are cast or drawn to form patterns, with each character holding specific meanings and insights.
  9. Tea Leaf Reading (Tasseography): After drinking a cup of loose-leaf tea, the leaves left at the bottom of the cup are interpreted based on their shapes and positions. This method is used to predict future events or gain insights into one’s life.
  10. Bone Casting: An ancient form of divination found in many cultures, it involves throwing bones (along with shells, stones, nuts, and other small objects) and interpreting how they fall. The position, distance, and relationship between the objects are analyzed to provide insights and answers.
  11. Scrying: Scrying is a popular and well-known form of divination that involves gazing into a medium to receive intuitive insights or visions. Traditionally, scrying has been associated with gazing into crystal balls, but it is so much more than just that.

Methods of Scrying

  1. Crystal Ball Scrying: The classic image of a seer gazing into a crystal ball is more than just a stereotype. Crystal balls are believed to facilitate a clear connection with the intuitive mind. As a beginner, start by gazing into the ball in a dimly lit room, allowing your eyes to relax and your mind to open to whatever images or impressions appear.
  2. Water Scrying: This method of divination involves filling a bowl or vessel of sorts with water and gazing upon its surface. The reflective and fluid nature of water can help stimulate psychic vision. Some people prefer to add a few drops of ink to the water to aid concentration.
  3. Fire Scrying: Another popular form of divination, gazing into the flames of a fire or even a candle can be a mesmerizing experience. The ever-changing nature of fire helps to trance-induce and open the mind to otherworldly insights.
  4. Mirror Scrying: Also known as catoptromancy, this involves using a reflective surface, typically a black mirror. The key is to gaze into the mirror without focusing on your reflection, letting your vision soften to invite psychic impressions.

Mirror Scrying: Creating a Black Mirror

Creating a black mirror for scrying is a fascinating and rewarding project. A black mirror, also known as a magic mirror, is a powerful tool used for divination and can be made quite easily at home. Here are the steps to create your own black mirror for scrying:

Materials Needed

  • A picture frame with glass; choose a size that you’re comfortable holding or placing on a stand
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush or sponge brush
  • Newspaper or drop cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth
  • Optional: Sandpaper

Steps to Create Your Black Mirror

  1. Disassemble the Picture Frame: Carefully take apart the picture frame and remove the glass. Set the frame aside.
  2. Clean the Glass: Use rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth to thoroughly clean one side of the glass. This will be the side you’ll paint. Ensuring it’s free of fingerprints and dust is crucial for a smooth finish.
  3. Prepare Your Workspace: Lay out a newspaper or a drop cloth to protect your workspace.
  4. Paint the Glass: Apply a thin, even coat of black paint to the cleaned side of the glass. Use a paintbrush or sponge brush to avoid brush marks.
  5. Apply Additional Coats: Apply 2-3 more coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat to prevent peeling and chipping.
  6. Check for Transparency: After the final coat has dried, hold the glass up to the light to check for missed spots or thin areas. If necessary, apply additional coats.
  7. Reassemble the Frame: Once the paint is completely dry and you’re satisfied with the coverage, place the glass back into the frame with the painted side facing the back of the frame.
  8. Optional – Distress the Frame: If you prefer an antique or aged look, you can lightly sand the edges and details of the frame for a distressed appearance.
  9. Consecrate Your Mirror: Before using your black mirror for scrying, you will want to consecrate it. This can be done by cleansing it with incense, anointing it with a protective oil, or performing a blessing ritual according to your personal or spiritual practices. Some witches will even draw protective sigils on the back of the mirror.
  10. Using Your Black Mirror: To use the black mirror, sit in a dimly lit room and gaze into it. Allow your eyes to relax and your mind to be open to the visions or insights that may come.
  11. Write It Down: Keep a journal or Book of Shadows to document your visions or insights or an art pad to draw what you see for later interpretation.

Creating a black mirror is not only a crafty endeavor but also a deeply personal one. The process of making and blessing the mirror imbues it with your energy, making it a powerful tool for your divination practices.

Beginner-Friendly Divination Activities

  1. Daily Tarot Card Pull: Start each day by pulling a single tarot card to gain insight or focus for the day. This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the deck. I encourage you to keep a journal to record your daily cards and any insights or events related to them.
  2. Moon Phase Journaling: Track the phases of the moon, noting how you feel emotionally and physically during each phase. Aligning with the lunar cycle, take note of your feelings, dreams, and experiences. Contemplate any patterns or changes you notice and how they correlate.
  3. Pendulum Yes/No Questions: Use a pendulum (or create one by attaching a weight to a string) for simple yes/no questions. Define which pendulum swings mean ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘maybe’. Practice with questions to which you already know the answer to get a feel for how your pendulum responds.
  4. Fire Gazing Meditation: Light a candle and simply gaze into the flame for a few minutes each day. Observe the thoughts and feelings that arise without judgment.
  5. Astrology Birth Chart Exploration: Create your astrology birth chart online using your birth date, time, and location.
  6. Runecasting with Homemade Runes: Create your own set of runes using stones, wood chips, or clay. Inscribe each with a symbol from the Elder Futhark rune system. Start by drawing one rune daily and learning its meaning. As you become more comfortable, try more complex rune spreads and record your readings.
  7. Tea Leaf Reading Basics: Brew a cup of loose-leaf tea (read about how to make your own loose leaf tea) and drink it, leaving a very small amount of liquid in the cup. Swirl the remaining tea and leaves, then invert the cup onto a saucer. Observe the patterns formed by the leaves and consult a tasseography guide for interpretation.
  8. Numerology Personal Number Calculations: Calculate your life path number and other significant numerology numbers using your birth date. Study the meanings of these numbers and reflect on how they manifest in your life.

Conclusion

Scrying and divination are gateways to understanding the deeper, often hidden layers of reality and our own subconscious minds. As with any magical practice, patience, persistence, and an open heart and mind are key to developing proficiency. Begin with simple techniques and allow your intuition to guide you further into the mystical realms. Remember, the journey into divination is as personal as it is profound—a path to self-discovery and wisdom.