You’ve probably heard of Tarot cards, pendulums, runes and words like “cartomancy” or “cleromancy” used in witchy circles. But why do witches use these divinatory techniques? Which techniques are best for beginners? When should you consult a professional? We’ll explore these questions and more over the next few months. Drop a comment here, on Instagram or on Facebook with any questions you have about divination, and I might make it a topic for a future post!
What Divination is NOT
The dictionary tells us that divination is all about fortune-telling. But as a professional diviner, I can tell you: No, it’s not!
You won’t find me predicting winning lottery numbers, telling you how many kids you’ll have, or when (or if) you’ll meet the “love of your life.” You won’t find me in a dark corner somewhere with a headscarf, gazing into a crystal ball. Professional readers are just as likely to be working with you from the comfort of their dining room while dressed in sweatpants. (Even before the pandemic began, at least in my case!)
What Divination IS
Divination is a mirror of self-reflection. It is an empowerment practice, showing us clues to our perceptions, blind spots, and energies, while also guiding us forward. The most powerful divination sessions result in clarity around challenging situations with an understanding of how best you can move forward.
Divination allows us to connect to Spirit, to Source–however you define that–and sometimes directly connect with specific spirits. Divination gives us a way to communicate with energy sources that have knowledge we don’t consciously have. (In my experience, it’s usually knowledge we already do have but don’t want to face!)
You can use almost anything as a divinatory tool, as long as you have a solid understanding of the system behind it.
The Future is Not Set in Stone
As much as I’d like to say that we can know exactly what will happen in the future, the truth is: We can’t.
When you work with divinatory tools, you are tapping into the energetic world to get insight and input on a situation. When looking to the future, I describe it as looking at multitude of paths you can take. Based on how a situation has unfolded in the past gives us clues as to what is likely to happen in the future. But nothing is ever guaranteed. There are entirely too many factors and variables at play. Not to mention that time and space are not nearly as linear as we think they are, which means the spirit world operates on a different timescale than the physical world.
Divination Tools & Systems
Regardless of the divination tool being used, they all have a few things in common. Each tool is part of a symbology system. Once you understand the symbols and system, you can begin divining. A few common divination systems are cartomancy (using cards, such as Tarot, oracle or Lenormand), bibliomancy (randomly selecting a passage in a book, historically with the Bible), runes (a set of letters from old Germanic alphabets, most often the Elder Futhark), and dowsing with a pendulum (especially great for yes/no questions).
How to Get the Most Out of a Divination Session
Whether you are going to a professional reader, working with a friend or simply reading for yourself, here are a few tips on how to make your session productive:
- DO keep an open mind. Sometimes Spirit gives us answers that aren’t immediately clear. Allow the message to come through, whatever it is (and especially if you don’t want to hear it!).
- DO ask open-ended questions. I learned early on as a professional Tarot reader that the key to a successful reading is crafting the questions properly. Instead of asking yes/no questions, try asking what the energies are around a situation. For instance, try reframing “Will I get the job?” to “What are the energies around me getting this job?” Another common question is “Should I leave my relationship?” This can be reframed as: “What are the energies around me leaving this relationship?” and/or “What are the energies around me staying in this relationship?” The answers will help you decide the course of action you want to take.
- DO ask for more clarity. If you don’t understand the message, feel free to pull more cards. Or maybe pull out your pendulum. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the end of a session, whether for myself or for someone else, and my desk is covered in a multitude of different card decks, my crystal ball, a few trinkets from my cleromancy set and who knows what else. Each divinatory tool you use has a different personality and suggestions for your potential ways forward, and sometimes, it can be helpful to get a few different views.
- DO speak up. If you are reading for yourself or getting a reading from someone else, use your voice. Tell the cards or the person reading for you that the message doesn’t make sense. Conversation with the cards or tools can help you better understand the situation. As a professional reader, I really appreciate getting real-time input from my clients on the messages that are coming through. Hearing how you relate to different symbols can help me further decode your message and translate it into a way that you can better understand and use.
- DON’T be afraid to get a second opinion. In the same way that different tools have different interpretations on the subject, so do different readers. A good professional reader will let you know when the question at hand is out of their wheelhouse. For instance, I don’t touch health readings. I’m not great at understanding the messages. But I love working with clients who are bettering their lives after severe or childhood trauma.
About the Author: Angie Knight-Reiter (she/her) is a queer soul coach, Tarot reader and metaphysical educator. As a psychic witch, she is well-known for bringing hard-hitting truth bombs to her students and clients while cheerleading them on to their best. With an emphasis on honest assessment, radical compassion and unconditional support, along with a hefty dose of pragmatism, she helps clients understand their story and how to change it, so they can live their most authentic, empowered lives. Book your session at angieKR.com.