Part two in the Magical Tools series
Divination – a word that literally means “inspired by a god” – is the art of unveiling possible outcomes. It’s a useful way of accessing intuitive guidance, to ask for possible solutions, or even to find out about past lives, dream interpretation, and more. You’re probably familiar with common divination techniques such as:
- Norse runes
- Ouija boards
- Scrying with a crystal ball or black mirror
But there are many more methods –the I Ching; the stars; Ogham staves; pendulums; palm reading; tea leaves; and altered states of consciousness through drumming, dance, hypnosis, trance states, and hallucinogenic materials, and a plethora of other things have all been used as divination tools. Do the tools have inherent power or are they merely symbols to focus the diviner’s energies? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.
A fun task for the creative soul is to invent your own techniques! This is particularly common for those on a shamanistic path: shamans have unique experiences and tools to go with them, as opposed to tools that are shared by those in a certain tradition. Here, I will give you some ideas on how to make your own divination tools. It’s not as difficult as you might think.
Create a Tarot Deck
Step into any metaphysical supply shop and you will see several different tarot decks by various artists. Their styles run the gamut from airy-fairy to dark and gothic. Some are based on mythology – ancient [Egyptian, Norse, etcetera] and modern [superheroes, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etcetera].
You can make your own tarot cards with cardstock or blank tarot cards made for the purpose. Use symbols and imagery that resonates with you. It’s unnecessary to create every single card. Some practitioners create only trumps, others will create only the cards that resonate with them.
Find inspiration for your own tarot deck at Aelectic Tarot.
Make a Rune Set
Make runes. Norse runes are perhaps the most common. If you are interested in this path, I suggest the book “Taking up the Runes” by Diana L. Paxson, which contains interpretations of the runes, rituals, and runic magic.
Runes are typically carved on wood or painted on stones, but you can use any material that resonates with you. Seashells, crystals, and clay are just a few of the possibilities.
Start the process on a Wednesday – Odin’s day – in honor of the “god of the runes.” Name each one and apply a bit of saliva or blood [easier if you’re a female].
Image from Pinterest
But if you are not interested in Norse energies, many other possibilities exist: Irish Ogham staves are just one option.
Image from spiritofold.com
But if these energies do not resonate with you, read on to the next idea.
Create Something New
Create your own divination system from scratch. The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few options:
- Invent your own rune-like symbols: use a process of sigilization or simple doodling, then paint, burn, or carve them onto a suitable surface. Egyptian hieroglyphs could be beautifully used in this manner. Including symbols for love and relationships, karmic influences, blockages, and connections are good ideas.
- Create a set of divination cards: once again, think about what kind of symbols and ideas you want the deck to contain, then sketch them out.
- If you like prayer beads, try turning them into a divination tool: ways to do this include using the beads like a pendulum or casting the beads onto a Shamanic Wheel [discussed below]. Casting your prayer beads works especially if your beads are open-ended [a strand of beads] instead of looped around [like a necklace].
- Create a set of “casting symbols.” I have a small collection of little totems I use for this purpose; it’s my favorite divination method. Collect small objects that have symbolic meaning for you. Examples could be a plastic bunny for passion, a gold star for luck, or a feather to represent the element of Air. Bless and consecrate your casting symbols and store them in an appropriate container on your altar.
With any collection you invent yourself, one of the great things about it is this: as your understanding grows and changes, so will your collection.
To give you an idea of the possibilities, here is what my casting symbol collection currently looks like:
- A small fossil: karmic influences
- Jade fragment: material wealth
- A chain with two spiders attached: connections
- A glass sphere with two gold people wrapped around it: love and relationships
- A quartz crystal carved into the likeness of a bull: Helpful spirits
- A plastic gem : Illusions
- Chaos cross: change and growth
- A tiny gold pipe: ancestors and ancient wisdom
- Glass fish: abundance
- Skull bead made of bone: obstacles
- An acorn: natural energies
- Blue lace agate, carnelian, unakite, and clear quartz: the Elemental energies of water, fire, earth and air
- A special chunk of quartz containing a pink stripe: magic and spirituality
- Rose quartz: peace and happiness
- A watch gear: goals and progress
When it comes to actually using casting symbols or invented runes, you may be asking yourself, “So how do you read them?”
Perhaps the easiest way is an idea from the wonderful book “In the Shadow of the Shaman” by Amber Wolfe: use a Shamanic Wheel. These are spreads that you cast the stones on. You can design your Wheel to represent the Elements, the Yggdrasil, the Qabalistic Tree of Life, or anything else that would be helpful to you.
One of my Wheels is in the shape of a pentagram with each corner devoted to a particular Element and everything associated with them. When I cast the symbols, I read them in relation to where they fell on the Wheel. For example, if “obstacles” fell in the area of Water, this could mean emotions are creating obstacles, because emotion is one of Water’s attributes.
As with Norse runes, when using casting symbols, you can use every object or just pull a few.
What is your favorite divination method? Tell us in the comments!
- How to Make Tarot Cards? (Guidelines) (asksuleenapsychic.wordpress.com)
- A Method to My Madness – 6 core principals driving my divination practice (cowriemoon.wordpress.com)
- Divination Tools for Healing (healing.answers.com)
- Tools of a Witch (justanotherwitch.wordpress.com)
- Throwing the Bones and Reading Other Natural Curios (readersandrootworkers.org)