What is Divination

Dictionary definition: Divination

[div-uh-ney-shuh n]

Perception by intuition; instinctive foresight.

Human beings have always looked for the answers to life’s great mysteries.

Before the convenience of the abundance of oracle cards available to us today, people would look for meaning in whatever was around them. Some people would look to the clouds, the trees, or even dust to see what messages, patterns or symbols they could see.

The Chinese read patterns on tortoise shells, which evolved into the hexagrams of the I Ching.

Vikings consulted the runestones.

The Egyptians used fire, water, and oil scrying, dream interpretation, and oracles who spoke to the gods.

The Romans would look at the actions of birds and looked for omens in their behaviour as it was believed that the flight of birds gave an indication of the will of the gods.

There were also more unpleasant divination practices that involved inspecting the entrails of sacrificed animals…

In fact, there isn’t much that hasn’t been used for divination!

Here’s a list of the most common types of divination

  • Astrology: by celestial bodies
  • Augury: by the flight of birds, etc.
  • Bibliomancy: by opening books at a random page (frequently, but not always, religious texts)
  • Cartomancy: by cards (often tarot and oracle cards)
  • Cheiromancy/palmistry: by palms
  • Gastromancy: by crystal ball
  • Numerology: by numbers
  • Oneiromancy: by dreams
  • Osteomancy: by pieces of bones
  • Rhabdomancy: divination by rods
  • Runecasting/Runic divination: by runes
  • Scrying: by reflective objects

Some other forms of divination included the use of salt, dropping melted lead into water, the flame of a lamp, shells, smoke, mirrors, wood, even cakes and bread have been used!

Some of these methods have infiltrated popular culture as superstitions, one such example is using objects or animals that cross your path as a form of divination, today most people have heard of the superstition of a black cat crossing your path or of making a wish whilst breaking the ‘wish bone’ of a cooked chicken with their little finger.

During this course we will be focusing on using charms/trinkets and small objects as a form of Charm Casting.