Actually, putting glasses on both eyes and the third eye has already been done by the now deceased music legend Prince, in which you’ll find him in images wearing the coolest purple-colored three-lensed sunglasses ever (and much praise goes to such a trendsetter and amazing artist)! Now of course, we would spin a few heads if we walked around like that, but the title is really tongue and cheek meaning you’re about to put a lens on not just your physical eyes, but your psychic insight as well, which is commonly associated with the third eye chakra located just above the brow and between the eyes.
Undoubtedly, since the beginning of human existence, it has been natural for humans to want to know what might happen in the future. Divination is the practice of predicting the future information or answer questions. For centuries, an array of divination practices have been used, and many methods of divining the future or answering questions of import are addressed through divinatory practices. The ancient Hebrews, Druids, Babylonians, Mesopotamians, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and myriad cultures from around the world have made use of one form of divination or another. Ancient methods of divination were sometimes as simple as gazing into a bowl of water or a blazing fire (scrying), to as gruesome as using animal entrails as means of discovery. (Thank goodness more modern forms of divination do not call for such macabre practices!)
From augury, which involves the interpretation of omens or signs, to methods like phrenology where the bumps on one’s skull were examined and interpreted for meaning, there have been both intriguing and downright bizarre means for discovering future events or receiving answers from the Higher Self or Divine! From cleromancy, which is the simple practice of casting lots, to some of the more complex forms of cartomancy, including the interpretation of playing cards, oracles, and Tarot, there are hundreds of methods for one to take a peek at what the future might bring!
Since there are so many types of divination, and to cover them all in the scope of this article would be impossible, so we will simply touch on the most common methods of divination in use today. The types of divination vary on the material one uses and the means in which you interpret the visions and/or messages. While many forms of divination have guidelines for interpretation, the diviner relies heavily on his own understanding of the symbols, patterns, shapes, or visions that appear during divinatory practices. Bear in mind that no form of divination is going to give you an impossible to change the outcome: The findings are never carved into a concrete slab and promised to happen exactly as predicted. Always remember that when it comes to divinatory practices, free will is a serious monkey wrench causing all sorts of chaos to occur when it is tossed into the mix! Instead, it is better to view divination as a means of looking at the near immediate and distant future which is subject to change as people and circumstances change based on human action and/or interference.
Is Divination Evil?
In truth, the answer to this question will vary depending on who you ask!
With the rise of Christianity so came the denigration of all forms of divination, as any form of the practice was unholy and not of God or that the practitioner was crossing boundaries by using powers that were God’s powers alone. But the use of divination did not die out, as it continued to be used by Gnostics and Neo-Platonists, despite how adamantly against divinatory practices the Church Fathers were at the time. In 314 BCE, The Council of Ancyra put a penance of five years on the act of consulting anyone who performed divination. Circa the 4th century BCE with the Synod of Laodicea, clerics at that time forbid those of the priesthood from getting involved in any magical practices, including the making of amulets for protection and they were not permitted to become a magician (Canon 36): Those who broke this rule received the severe punishment of excommunication from the Church. Of course, Canon 39 expresses the sentiment about pagans at the time, “It is not lawful to feast together with the heathen, and to be partakers of their godlessness.”
Worldly leaders like Constantius II, Emperor of Rome, the condemnation of divinatory practices went into full force as he went about applying a penalty of death for anyone who chose to practice the art; in fact, this particular emperor had a serious distaste for all pagans, magicians diviners, and astrologers, and so campaigned against them with great vigor, further denying them the right to worship in their temples, and taking away public tax subsidies … all out of fear that they might use the power of divination and magic to replace him as the Emperor! Some scholars cite the prejudicial treatment of pagans as the reason divination practices went primarily underground during the Dark Ages (dark indeed!) and, later, the basis for the inquisition. A later revival occurred during the nineteenth century, in terms of interest in various divinatory practices, and today the practice is considered ordinary by many, while it still frowned upon with those maintaining extremely conservative views. Some still equate the practice with demons and evil, even the use of Tarot and other oracles.
The Wiccan Witch and Views of Other Craft Practitioners
So where do these messages or visions come from anyway?
First, let’s nip the idea that the messages you receive are coming from some evil source because that simply is not the case. There’s nothing innately evil about divination as the practitioner defines the type of divination undertaken as well as the intent behind the act. Wiccan Witches, while minding the rede, “if it harms none,” proceed with divinatory practices with the latter principle in mind. Wiccan Witches and traditional witches who practice the craft with no religious affiliations do not view divinatory practices as evil or as an infringement of a power belonging solely to the Divine. In fact, Wiccans see the Divine within all things, including ourselves, so divination is merely a method of connecting with the Divine within and all around us. The word divination itself is rooted in the Latin word divinationem, meaning “prediction or the power to foresee,” but the word is more importantly rooted in the term divinare, meaning “to be inspired by god.”
Hardly screaming of evil influences, right?
Setting the Stage for a Positive Session
Before beginning a divinatory session it’s always a good idea for the practitioner to meditate and to connect with the Divine or Higher Self while asking for messages and information that will only serve the greatest good. The information you receive either stems from the Higher Self, your Spirit Guides, the Divine, or the Universe (whatever you call your higher power). To that end, any tools used in the practice are also cleansed, consecrated, blessed, charged, and sometimes, anointed if preferred. To cleanse the item is to free it from all negative influences and it is like leaving its energy positive or a blank slate.
To consecrate the item is to ask the Divine to make the item sanctified. To bless the item is to ask the Divine or Higher Power to bestow good luck and positivity on the divinatory tool(s). To charge the item is to use your will and intent to assign a specific function to the item in question, and finally, to anoint an item is also an act involving the use of your intentions to determine how the item works and for what purpose. Note: Periodically, it is always an excellent idea to cleanse, consecrate, bless, charge, and/or anoint your tools to maintain them; you can do this every three to six months or whenever you feel the need. Now, some practitioners like to align their divination practices with specific planetary influences or to perform them at precise hours on specific days: How specific you get is entirely up to you.
Setting the Mood
Establishing an atmosphere conducive to divinatory practices will do several things:
- It will help you relax your mind and get into the right mind set for the practice: This is established using various magickal correspondences aligned with the work at hand.
- It will heighten the level of seriousness and the intensity of your intentions before you begin your practice.
- It will help you in achieving a higher state of consciousness conducive to the working at hand.
- It will make you and/or the tools you are using more receptive to the energies, messages, signs, symbols, feelings etc., as you conduct the working.
Most Common Methods of Divination
Again, it is impossible to cover every possible form of divination in this brief article so here we will cover the basics. Just remember that this list is no way all-inclusive!
Apantomancy is a fancy term for divining by those things that appear to you: In particular, animals. The meeting with the animals in question is not entirely by chance but rather synchronistic, and pagans, Wiccans, and traditional witches often view animals as special messengers who can teach us things as well as offer us guidance during the times in our life when we need them. This practice includes the interpretation of the appearance of birds, mammals, aquatic life, amphibians, and reptiles.
Arithmancy or Arithmomancy are two fancy terms for numerology and the use of numbers to determine one’s life course, purposes, and destiny as well as the life lessons one is expected to master in this lifetime.
Genethlialogy and Horoscopy are two terms that point to the long-held practice of looking to the stars for divinatory meaning; it is, essentially, the practice of astrology and the study of the position of celestial bodies. The practice dates to the Mesopotamian era and perhaps even longer. The practice today involves mapping a chart based on one’s place of birth, time of birth, birthdate, and current location.
Bibliomancy is a means of using a book (often the bible, but other bodies of work can also be used and as such, the practice is then called stichomancy), to divine with; the diviner poses the question and the randomly chosen section is said to have relevance to the knowledge one seeks. If you happen to have a penchant for poetry, you can practice Rhapsodomancy which involves the random passage of poetry to serve as a divinatory outcome.
Cartomancy involves the use of cards like regular playing cards and the Tarot to divine the future and seek insight. With the Tarot, there are some general interpretations made popular by Edward A. Waite, who is one of the creators of the most popular deck the Rider-Waite deck of cards. The Tarot holds 78 cards, consisting of 56 minor arcana and 22 major arcana cards, all of which hold images. The major arcana depicts what is referred to as the “Journey of the Fool,” from the beginning of an “adventure,” to the point of “awakening or transformation,” all of which represents the heroic journey and the most common trials, tribulations, and triumphs all humankind experience in one way or another during their lives: Hence, the ease of universal application with the divination method.
is divination with the use of a pendulum: A chain or string with a weight suspended at the bottom of it. Answers include “yes” and “no” when the pendulum moves back and forth or left to right, but more complex systems have also been devised. Similar to this practice is Clidomancy, also known as Cleidomancy, involving the act of suspending a key from a string or chain, and Dactylomancy in which one would suspend a ring from chain to serve as the weighted object. One note, Radiesthesia also refers to the use of divining rods.
Crystallomancy, Crystalmancy, and the use of a Crystal Ball for the purposes of divining are known as scrying since you are gazing into the ball and using it as a focal point of concentration. The term scrying stems from descry, and Anglo-Saxon term meaning “to see.”
Rhabdomancy is a form of divining using wands or a stick; this is a predecessor to Radiesthesia in which the diviner uses divining rods for the purposes of shifts in energy, “yes” and “no” answers from the realm of spirit, to discover underground or secret water sources, crystals, precious stones, buried metal, and other objects. The use of divining rods is sometimes called water witching, divining, or doodlebugging.
I-Ching is touted as one of the oldest means of divination in the world: It is a book that is the acquired knowledge of generations collected over the span of three centuries, with the practice based on the premise that change occurs intentionally and that nothing happens randomly, but also in understanding the system of divination, based on hexagrams each with a special meaning attributed to it, that one can become the master of his destiny and not a victim of circumstance.
Oneiromancy is divination and gaining guidance through dream interpretation and the recognition of some dreams as being prophetic in nature. The oneiromancer must learn to interpret the symbols on his own based on his own understandings today, but in ancient times, priests and priestesses who were skilled in the art of interpretation were consulted for the purposes of dream message interpretation. Dream incubation is a practice of making dreams happen to answer specific questions or to address issues.
Chiromancy or chirosophy is the practice of looking at people’s hands and the lines on them to divine their future; in a similar vein, chirognomy involves the examination of the hand’s formation for interpretative purposes: Both types of divination are part of the larger category of palmistry, or more simply, palm reading. Astrological understandings are part and parcel of the practice.
Mediumship: In which a practitioner channels a Spirit and the Spirit, in turn, provides the practitioner with foreknowledge about events or answers questions accordingly.
Pyromancy or Pyroscopy are both terms defining the practice of performing the divinatory arts while fire and smoke gazing. Sometimes materials are tossed in the flames, like branches or laurel leaves, (associated with the god Apollo and the deity who delivers the gift of prophecy), to increase the likelihood of getting a message or answer. Spodomancy is a similar practice but involves the use of soot or fire cinders.
Runes (Rune Stones) – the use of special stones with cryptic alphabets on them, with each letter holding a divinatory meaning. There are different types of Runes one can use and today’s practitioners often make their own Runes stone set out of wood or stone.
Scrying: Mentioned in brief earlier, scrying is the practice of gazing into something to gain insight and to make future predictions. Mirrors, (usually with a black background), glass, crystal, water, fire, and other objects are used for the purposes of scrying.
Tasseography is the use of tea leaves to gain insight or to make predictions. The questioner or diviner makes a cup of tea, drinks, and then allows the leaves fall onto a saucer (or remain in the bottom of the cup depending on the system of preference), to then read the patterns in the tea leaves.
Again, there are thousands of divinatory methods, some of which are long outmoded, but many of which can still be used today with some modern adaptations to the practice. You should try a few types of divination to see which ones work best for you. It will allow you to discover the methods you like using the most as well as the methods proving most successful.