I’ve mentioned divination briefly in past blog posts as a useful tool for obtaining information from either daimons or deities, but didn’t get to go into it in much detail. Divination, depending on how it is performed, is considered by many to be an act of magic. There are other forms which rely more heavily upon a person’s psychic ability, but I’m not going to get into that sort in this post. Instead I am covering the religious and magical aspects of divination for practical purposes within a spiritual or esoteric tradition.
Divination as an act of magic can greatly help you with your magic, and guide it to where it’ll be the most effective. There are a number of different circumstances under which you would want to perform a divination. Here are a few examples:
- You are considering doing a magical operation that could have unforeseen consequences that might not be desired. This is especially for spellwork that isn’t minor, may have unknown or grey areas, or could possibly produce harm. If you’re feeling uncertain about doing a particular working, performing a divination in advance could save you a lot of hassle–and also potentially help you to point the spell in the right direction.
- You have an idea of a magical operation in mind, but not sure on the best approach. In this scenario the concern is less harm and more wanting the biggest bang for your buck.
- You’re wondering about the state of your relationship with a particular deity or daimon. You may feel like you’re being called to work with a deity, but aren’t sure if it’s for real or not. You may have an existing relationship that you feel uncertainty about, or perhaps you’re wondering if you need to do something you haven’t–or have done something you shouldn’t.
- You have a question to ask a god or daimon in general. It could be their opinion on an important matter, or want to check in about something. It could be as simple as what sort of offering they’d prefer.
- You are wondering about the status of a magical operation. Perhaps you made a request that doesn’t appear to be fulfilled yet or completely, and you want to know if something either went wrong or is just proceeding more slowly than expected.
So how does one go about performing a divination? Here are a few good examples, some of them better geared towards answering certain types of questions than others:
- Tarot. This is an excellent standby. Those who work well with imagery and symbology will work well with this method. It’s also among the most complex and can yield a richer answer than most forms of divination.
- Nordic runes. For those who are Asatru and/or honor the Norse gods, this is obviously your best bet.
- Ogham. Best known as the “Celtic runes”, this system of divination is fantastic for those who have a strong connection to the Celtic pantheons.
- Greek alphabet oracle. For those who are Hellenists, this is another runic system of divination which would appeal to those who are looking for something more traditionally Greek.
- Bibliomancy. Best done with a book of significance to your tradition, this method of divination relies on opening up a book randomly and pointing at a particular part of the page with your eyes closed or otherwise looking away. Whatever you read is the answer to your question.
Figuring out what method works best for you and learning how to do it can benefit your spiritual and/or magical practice a great deal. I also recommend learning more than one as different types can answer particular sorts of questions better than others.
In addition to learning a divination method, I highly recommend tying it in with some form of invocation or prayer. There are also many deities and daimons who specialize in divination and oracles. Reaching out to them prior to performing a divination can strengthen the reading and give it a boost. I personally am devoted to Apollo as his priestess, and do divination on the regular as part of my service to him.