Methods of Divination

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There are many different methods of divination that you may choose to use in your magical practice. Some people opt to try many different types, but you may find that you’re more gifted in one method than others. Take a look at some of the different types of divination methods, and see which works best for you and your abilities. And remember, just like with any other skill set, practice makes perfect!

Tarot Cards and Readings

Tarot Cards and Candle
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To people unfamiliar with divination, it may seem that someone who reads Tarot cards is “predicting the future.” However, most Tarot card readers will tell you that the cards simply offer a guideline, and the reader is simply interpreting the probable outcome based upon the forces presently at work. Think of Tarot as a tool for self-awareness and reflection, rather than "fortune telling." Here are some of the basics to get you started on reading and using Tarot cards in your divinatory practice.

The Celtic Ogham

Ogham Staves
Patti Wigington

Named for Ogma or Ogmos, the Celtic god of eloquence and literacy, the Ogham alphabet has become known as a tool of divination for many Pagans and Wiccans who follow a Celtic based path. Learn how to make and use your own set for divination.

The Norse Runes

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Long ago, according to the epic sagas of the Norse people, Odin created the Runes as a gift to mankind. These symbols, sacred and holy, were originally carved into stone. Over the centuries, they evolved into a collection of sixteen letters, each with a metaphorical and divinatory meaning. Learn how to make your own set of Runes, and how to read what they say.

Reading Tea Leaves

Reading tea leaves
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There are numerous methods of divination that people have used since time began. One of the most iconic is the notion of reading tea leaves, also called tasseography or tasseomancy. This divination method isn’t quite as ancient as some of the other popular and well-known systems, and appears to have begun around the 17th century. 

Pendulum Divination

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A pendulum is one of the simplest and easiest forms of divination. It's a simple matter of Yes/No questions being asked and answered. Although you can purchase pendulums commercially, ranging from about $15 - $60, it's not hard to make one of your own. Typically, most people use a crystal or stone, but you can use any object that's got a bit of weight to it. There are several different ways you can use a pendulum for divination — you'd be surprised what you can learn with "yes" and "no" answers. The trick is to learn to ask the right questions. 

Osteomancy - Reading the Bones

Chinese Oracle Bone

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The use of bones for divination, sometimes called osteomancy, has been performed by cultures the world over for thousands of years. While there are a number of different methods, the purpose is typically the same: to foretell the future utilizing the messages displayed in the bones.

Lithomancy: Divination with Stones

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Lithomancy is the practice of performing divination by reading stones. In some cultures, the casting of stones was believed to be fairly common, a bit like checking one's daily horoscope in the morning paper. However, because our ancient ancestors didn’t leave us a lot of information about how to read the stones, many of the specific aspects of the practice have been lost forever. Here's one of the methods you can use for stone divination.

Full Moon Water Scrying

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Are you one of those people who feels more sensitive and alert during the time of the full moon? Channel that energy into something useful, and try this simple yet effective water scrying divination rite.


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Many Pagan spiritual traditions incorporate the practice of numerology. The basic principles of numerology hold that numbers have a great deal of spiritual and magical significance. Some numbers are more potent and powerful than others, and combinations of numbers can be developed for magical use. In addition to magical correspondences, numbers also tie into planetary significance.

Automatic Writing

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One of the most popular ways to get messages from the spirit world is the use of automatic writing. This is, quite simply, a method in which the writer holds a pen or pencil, and allows messages to flow through them without any conscious thought or effort. Some people believe that the messages are channeled from the spirit world. Many mediums have claimed to generate message from famous deceased persons—historical figures, authors, and even composers. As with any form of psychic divination, the more you practice automatic writing, the more you’ll come to understand the messages you’re receiving from the other side.

Develop Your Psychic Abilities

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Spend any time at all in the Pagan or Wiccan communities, and you're bound to meet individuals who have some fairly pronounced psychic abilities. However, many people believe that everyone has some degree of latent psychic abilities. In some people, these abilities tend to manifest in a more obvious manner. In others, it just sits under the surface, waiting to be tapped into. Here are some tips on developing your own psychic gifts and divinatory abilities.

What is Intuition?

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Intuition is the ability to just *know* things without being told. Many intuitives make excellent Tarot card readers, because this skill gives them an advantage when reading cards for a client. This is sometimes referred to as clairsentience. Of all the psychic abilities, intuition may well be the most common.

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Wigington, Patti. "Methods of Divination." Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, Wigington, Patti. (2020, August 28). Methods of Divination. Retrieved from Wigington, Patti. "Methods of Divination." Learn Religions. (accessed May 29, 2023).