There are divination tools and methods that I use throughout the year, and then there are some that I feel drawn to based on the season and/or the deity I might be working with. The period of time directly before, during, and after Imbolc typically finds me working more closely with Brigid and thus always seems to compel me to make use of fire, water, and words in my divination efforts. As a goddess, Brigid is a bit of a jack of all trades which is probably one of the reasons I adore her. She’s a little bit of many things all rolled up into one, and despite lacking one singular focus she is quite powerful.
As the goddess of smithcraft and the forge, Brigid brings the element of fire into our lives. She is associated with this element in a metaphorical sense as well, as she provides the spark of Awen which inspires us to create. In this aspect, she was and still is worshipped and honored by bards, musicians, writers, and artists of every kind. Brigid is also a healer, and the waters of the wells sacred to her have been said to ease pain and heal or even cure illnesses and injuries. The arts of ceromancy and bibliomancy allow us to draw upon Brigid’s power and these sacred elements in order to gain guidance and clarity.
Ceromancy: Ceromancy is defined as divination using candle wax and water. In this type of divination, the fiery spark of inspiration manifest in the candle and the liminal element of water combine to provide compelling visual images. I have utilized ceromancy in two different ways. The easiest way requires candles and a bowl of water. I suggest using a variety of colored candles but truly you only need one candle to do this work. Colored candles tend to produce a more striking and clear image in my opinion and having multiple colors provides a nice contrast. You can even assign a color for different aspects of your reading, such as blue for past, white or yellow for present and green for future.
Light the candles and allow some time for the candles to melt. While the candles are burning, fill a medium-sized bowl with water. I personally find silver bowls to be the most effective, but any type of bowl will do. Once you have filled the bowl with water, take some time to reflect on your question and the information you are seeking. It can be helpful to put yourself in a slight meditative state by staring at a candle flame for a bit. When you are ready and when the candles have melted to provide enough wax, snuff out the candle(s) and gently pour the wax into the water.
Upon hitting the water, the wax will immediately harden and form images. Focusing on your question, look at the image in the water or pull the wax form out of the water and see what pictures or symbols come to mind. Ceromancy is very similar to tea leaf reading in this regard. As examples, in my past ceromancy efforts the wax has hardened to produce images of a dragon, a baby, a three columned palace/structure, and a heart. What ideas or concepts do the images bring to mind?
You can use a dream book to find the meaning behind the image or you can do research to see what each image has been commonly associated with throughout time. The challenge with using “generic” symbolic information is that we each have our own filters, so common symbols and images can mean different things to different people. Apples might mean health to one person, and wisdom to another. Therefore, I suggest that people keep their own journal of what common symbols bring to mind for them. This journal can then be referenced as part of the ceromancy reading.
Being as strongly connected to the element of water as I am, there is nothing more relaxing to me than taking a long, lazy bath. It’s no surprise then that my preferred mode of ceromancy is done as part of a ritual bath. With candles lit and flickering around the tub and the relaxation that the warm water brings, it is easy for me to more quickly enter a meditative state. Instead of pouring the wax into a bowl of water, I simply pour the wax onto the surface of my bath water. Having more surface area in which the wax can harden can, I find, result in clearer and more detailed images.
As much as I love ceromancy, sometimes I simply don’t have the time needed to undertake this divination and need a more immediate answer. Bibliomancy provides a perfect form of divination for these circumstances.
Bibliomancy: As a goddess of poetry and Awen, Brigid also inspires with words. I am a lifelong reader who often has stacks and piles of books I am reading near my bed (and several other stacks or piles of books waiting in the wings to be read), so it’s really no surprise that the art of bibliomancy is near and dear to my heart. Words can provide just as much prophetic inspiration as visual images. The great thing about bibliomancy is that it is quite easy to do and doesn’t require anything other than a book. Concentrating on your question, simply open to a random page in a book, place your finger somewhere on the page, and read. The words you find there are believed to be related to the question you are asking.
In some cases, you may need to reflect for a bit on what you have read. At other times, the words may be quite literal in their relation to the situation you are inquiring about. Any type of book can be used, but as you experiment with bibliomancy you might find that you are drawn to using certain books for certain types of readings or questions. When it comes to questions about relationships or a need for general insight and inspiration, I use poetry such as the works of Yeats. Conversely, I use spiritual or pagan tomes when my question is of a more magickal nature.
Brigid doesn’t require that we take ourselves too seriously. You can also use books of a less academic nature, as does one friend who uses books in the Harry Potter series as her bibliomancy go-tos. To cultivate a strong connection to Brigid, I suggest using the Carmina Gadelica. If you really want to be creative and/or you find music to be a powerful source of inspiration, you can adapt bibliomancy to use songs instead of books. If you have an MP3 player or similar music playing device, simply focus on your question, hit shuffle on your device, and see what song randomly plays. This song could be “read” via various factors such as the lyrics of the song, the genre of the music, and the tone and pace of the song. Sometimes the name of the band or artist can provide a clue.
Whichever method you use, be sure to thank Brigid for her presence and guidance. This can be done through a prayer or chant, through an offering such as butter or ale, or by simply speaking directly to Her. May Brigid’s fiery arrow of inspiration, gentle healing waters, and words of wisdom aid you in your divination.