What is Divination? All you need to know!Coven of the Goddess
Last Updated on December 18, 2017 by Coven of the Goddess
Divination is the ability to assess a person’s state of being and the state of energies that are involved in a person’s life in order to determine a likely turn of events. Divination is not fortune-telling. No one is capable of seeing the future for certain because there is no certain singular future. There exists only a range of possibilities—some of which are more likely to occur than others.
Divination is an important tool to include in any witch’s toolbox. Divination can help us to access our deepest inner wisdom and to make decisions about our given courses of action. Divination also allows for deep communion with the Goddess via our own soul. By asking our highest self to help light our way, we simultaneously move forward in our lives while honoring our intuition. As Shanddaramon says, divination is not fortune-telling because no one can predict the future. Rather, divination helps us to take a step back and look at our choices so that we might fully move forward as a co-creator of our future.
There are as many different forms of divination as there are aspects of the Craft. What has worked for me is to find the form that fits me best and to focus on learning and incorporating that form into my life, rather than trying to know everything about every form of divination.
Some divination is done instantly through the use of intuition; most forms of divination rely upon a tool that provides us with wisdom or symbols that we then interpret and apply to our own lives. Continued magickal practice and work with the chakras and the mind will sharpen our intuition—this class will focus on familiarizing ourselves with a number of different symbolic divinatory forms.
In most traditional uses of divination, the querent (or witch) poses a question to the spirit and uses the divination to “divine” an answer. However, I have found that the more I work with divination as a regular tool, I use divination on a daily basis to help guide my choices. Divination is valuable in either case.
Methods of Divination
In this class, we will spend time talking about and working with the following forms of divination:
- Altered states of consciousness (dreams, hypnosis, trance, drugs)
- Omens (serendipity, coincidence, luck, animal behavior, fortunes, tea leaves)
- Scrying (fire, water, clouds, smoke, glass)
- Oracles (tarot, medicine cards, runes, goddess/angel cards, astrology)
Altered States of Consciousness
When we are fully conscious, our minds work to control our thoughts, limiting our access to the deepest, most intuitive parts of ourselves. These parts, then, emerge through specific methods of altering our consciousness: dreams, hypnosis, trance, and even drugs.
While our consciousness is altered, we are able to tap into the part of ourselves that is generally suppressed. Working with this part of ourselves on a regular basis, we can more actively bring it forward into our day-to-day lives. Additionally, when we release the control of our conscious minds, images and insights emerge that can help us make decisions in our lives, giving us a form of divination right in the heart of each of us.
- Dream analysis
Is there such a thing as good luck? What about coincidence? Many spiritual traditions in addition to Wicca postulate that by paying attention to our world, we help to create our realities and that, indeed, there are no coincidences. One way to pay attention is to use omens to help us anticipate future courses of direction.
Simply put, an omen is an unusual occurrence that tells us to start paying attention. In the movie The Matrix, the characters are stuck in a false reality. When one of them experiences dé jà vu, the sensation of seeing something twice in rapid succession, the other characters know that this is an omen and that it predicts a flaw in the false reality.
Omens like serendipity, coincidence, luck, fortunes, tea leaf readings, animal behavior, and even the way the wind blows are similar clues for us in this reality. That experience that we are all familiar with of, “what a coincidence!” when looked at through the eyes of a witch, takes on a different light. We recognize that these “omens” are special messengers.
- Analyze omen
Scrying is an ancient tool used for thousands of years as a way to see into the future. In scrying, a person uses either a reflective or absorbing surface to stare into. The resulting images are then interpreted by the user. The infamous witches “crystal ball” is just one way to scry; so is the Wicked Witch’s mirror, mirror on the wall.
Scrying can be done with many different elemental methods:
- Air: clouds can be observed for patterns, shapes, or images.
- Fire: fire can be used to scry in several ways:
- Light a larger fire in a cauldron or fire pit and watch the flames dance to receive signs.
- Stare at a candle flame and allow your gaze to soften (“trance out”).
- Study the patterns that emerge in smoke as it rises.
- Water: a dark bowl can be filled with water and then gazed into. This is especially powerful magick on the night of the dark or full moon, when performed outside. *Earth: like fire, earth can also be used to scry in several ways:
- A large piece of obsidian can be used like a mirror to gaze into.
- A crystal or crystal ball can be used with the same effect.
The key to any successful scrying attempt is the softening of the gaze, or what I like to refer to as “trancing out.” As your gaze softens and you become absorbed in the images you see in the element, the images will come with more easy and rapidity.
- Fire scrying
- Water scrying
- Crystal ball scrying
The use of the oracle is my favorite way to divine and it is a method that I use quiet frequently. The dictionary defines an oracle as 1) a person [as a priestess of ancient Greece] through whom a deity is believed to speak and 2) an authoritative or wise expression or answer. We witches believe both of these things to be true, that deity speaks through the oracle and that it gives a wise expression or answer that helps us along our path.
Perhaps the most famous forms of oracles are the tarot and astrology. Both of these ancient methods have been used for centuries to help “predict” the future. Other oracle forms include the medicine cards, Goddess/angel oracle cards, and the runes.
The tarot (pronounced tare-oh) is a deck of 78 cards, 22 of which are face cards known as the Major Arcana. The remaining 56 cards, known as the Minor Arcana, are divided into four suits: wands, swords, cups, and pentacles (or disks), respectively. Within each suit there are four court cards: the knight (page), the princess, the queen, and the king. The minor arcana cards generally refer to everyday common energies, the court cards to people in our lives, and the major arcana cards deal with strong forces that are present.
There are as many different ways to work with tarot as there are versions of the tarot deck. The best way to start with tarot is to become familiar with the cards and their symbols. An easy way to do this is to draw one card at a time. Look for your own interpretations into its meanings. Read what you can about the card. Meditate on the card.
Tarot cards are generally used in a spread, the order of which is a significant part of the tarot reading. An easy spread is past, present, and future (three cards). Or, body, mind, spirit. Lay three cards out in order and then see what interpretation you can make from them.
Some people work with tarot cards reversed, meaning that they are upside down when they are revealed. This adds a whole other layer of complexity, and is unnecessary, especially for a beginning student of tarot.
Additional Tarot Information
The Meanings of Numbers
- Story of Creation: The one true essence comes into being
- Meaning: Beginning, purity
- Story of Creation: The one looks for itself and divides to create two opposites
- Meaning: Change, division, separation, partnership
- Story of Creation: The two creates life
- Meaning: Reunion, balance, birth, creation, short travel
- Story of Creation: A home is created for life to inhabit
- Meaning: Foundations, home, meetings, long travel
- Story of Creation: Humankind is created but greed creates sadness and loss
- Meaning: Cycles, loss, humanity
- Story of Creation: Humankind learns the lesson of loss and regain
- Meaning: Learning, insight, gain, expansion
- Story of Creation: Humankind learns about personal and spiritual love
- Meaning: Spirituality, mystery, luck, love, spirit, philosophy
- Story of Creation: Death and rebirth is created to ensure change and renewal
- Meaning: Achievements, infinity, cycle of birth/death, health
- Story of Creation: Creation and learning is accomplished
- Meaning: Completion, ending, resolution
- Story of Creation: A new direction in creation and learning begins
- Meaning: Commitment, a new start
The Four Tarot Suits
- Element: Air
- Associations: Thinking, communication, mental health, visualization, travel
- Element: Fire
- Associations: Outer emotions, relationships, life energy, emotional health, big change
- Element: Water
- Associations: Inner emotions, spirituality, alternative healing, subtle change
- Element: Earth
- Associations: Body/physical health, financial, business, growth, abundance
The Four Court Cards
- Associations: Young female; air energy or influence
- Associations: Young male; fire energy or influence
- Associations: Older female; water energy or influence
- Associations: Older male; earth energy or influence
The Major Arcana Cards
- Associations: Beginnings, journeys, new paths, surprise, adventure, not tied down
- Associations: Willpower, creativity, strength, awareness, messages
- Associations: Secret wisdom, intellect, art, creativity
- Associations: Love, beauty, sex, fertility, generosity, pleasure, attraction, passion, maternity
- Associations: Resistance, stability, knowledge, authority, dominion, war & aggression
5 High Priest
- Associations: Wisdom, authority, piety, balance
- Associations: Duality, purity, temptation, choices, love, unselfishness, balance
- Associations: Clairvoyance, perception, triumph, perseverance, direction, taking control
- Associations: Balance, fairness, precision, rigor
- Associations: Introspection, silence, meditation, experience, prudence, knowledge
10 Wheel of Fortune
- Associations: Flexibility, luck, transformation, karma
- Associations: Lust, thought over force, energy that overcomes obstacles, purity
12 Hanged Man
- Associations: Modesty, sacrifice, a different perspective
- Associations: Endings, renewal, transformation
- Associations: Creativity, reworking, combining, purification, inspiration, conciliation
- Associations: Temptation, vice, excess, trickster
- Associations: Overcoming old ways, old obstacles, radical change, destruction
- Associations: Sincerity, hope, discovering hidden wisdom, magic, mystery, guiding
- Associations: Gentleness, intuition, feminine qualities, crossroads, water, biological rites
- Associations: Strength, growth, masculine qualities, energy, light, order, protection, heat
- Associations: Patience, decisions, self reflection, reintegration, regeneration, cycles
- Associations: Wholeness, union, absolute truths
Runes are used in a very similar way to tarot. Each rune represents a letter of the Teutonic/Nordic/Germanic alphabet and each letter is associated with specific qualities. Like the tarot, runes are generally used in a spread.
It is believed that the runes came to the great father god of the Norse pantheon, Odin (or Wodan), while he was hung upside down over the great abyss.
- Tarot/rune spreads
- Oracle card decks
I think the most fun way to divine is using a pendulum. Pendulums can be used to answer yes and no questions, to indicate health problems or missing elements of your life, and to help make choices.
There are many theories about how and why pendulums work, but the one I like best is that the pendulum responds to the energy of our bodies, and like other tools of divination, it is therefore able to direct our energy toward the choice we are already inclined to make, but just need a gentle push in order to do so.
A pendulum is created by suspending a stone, crystal, piece of wood, or even a bead at the end of a chain or string. The swinging of the item on the end of the string is what leads the pendulum to divine the future.
- Create & use a pendulum