When we think of witches, aside from the images of women riding brooms and wearing pointy hats, the first image many of us have is a woman reading tarot cards or telling someone’s fortune with a crystal ball. While divination is often associated with telling the future, in my experience it rather provides insights into present situations. Readings could offer possibilities of the future, but they are generally contingent on decisions made in the present.
I love divination exactly for that reason. If I’m dealing with an issue or question that I want a little more perspective on, I’ll turn to my tarot or oracle cards. Since I’m not very experienced with divination, I’ll usually only do readings for myself, but sometimes I’ll pull out my cards at parties and give free readings for other people to practice.
When doing divination, I generally stick to tarot or oracle cards, but I have dabbled in a few different types and I’ve found that each form of divination has it’s own pros and cons and might fit better for different situations.
1. Tarot Cards
As mentioned before, tarot cards are my primary tool for divination. I have a small collection of different decks, but despite their different looks, all decks share the same general meanings. Tarot cards are probably the easiest to find sources and learning tools on, but they are still challenging. The meaning of the cards is all about the symbolism used, and it takes time to learn each card’s meaning based on the image – especially if you’re using a deck with minimalist or challenging artwork.
I find the most challenging part of tarot reading is learning how to read the cards together in a spread, but if you take the time to practice, they’re definitely worth it! If you’re interested in starting out with tarot, I’d highly suggest getting a beginner deck like the Rider Waite deck because most learning tools will reference that deck and its symbolism over others.
2. Oracle Cards
Oracle cards are similar to tarot in that they read by imagery and symbolism, but unlike tarot, every oracle deck is unique in its imagery and meaning. One of the biggest benefits I’ve found with oracle cards is that the decks are generally smaller and it’s easier to memorize the meanings.
Every deck of oracle cards comes with a companion book that describes the meanings and symbolism used in each card, which really helps to learn them. I have a beautiful Halloween oracle deck that is a favorite at my family’s Halloween parties and is my personal favorite because the artwork is so beautiful.
Runes are always referenced as an ancient form of divination, but I haven’t found reliable sources corroborating the meanings as having ancient origins. The symbols themselves are evidently ancient, as most runes are derived from the Norse Elder Futhark alphabet. The meanings of each rune come from what deities or symbols the rune is associated with, but because all a reader has to go off is the rune itself, memorizing all of the meanings is difficult and takes a lot of practice.
As with any divination, learning how to read the runes together in a spread is the most important and more difficult part. If you’re interested in Runes, make sure you pick a set that includes a companion booklet and practice, practice, practice. These need some memorization to get the meanings down, then you can use your intuition to derive a full reading from the stones you pull. I do love using runes, but they’re one of the more difficult forms of divination that I’ve tried.
4. Tea Leaves
Tea leaves are another type of divination that’s based on symbolism, but it’s a lot more subjective to the reader’s interpretation. If you’re doing a reading for yourself, you can drink a cup of tea with a small amount of leaves in the cup and meditate on your question or situation. Once you’re done drinking, look at the leaves and residue left in the cup to find shapes and symbols that will give you a reading. If you’re doing a reading for another person, you can do the same thing or just have a conversation with them while you both drink your tea.
It can take a lot of practice to effectively identify the symbols that appear in the tea leaves, but the leaves can be read a little more intuitively than other forms of divination might allow. That being said, there are plenty of sources on tea leaf reading that offer lists of common symbols and their typical meanings when they show up in the cup.
This type of divination is one that I haven’t quite gotten down yet, but I enjoy it because of the subjectivity. The symbols can be based on the wider understanding that you’d get from a tea leaf dictionary, or in personal associations.
For me, palm reading is on par with Astrology in that there are set hand shapes, lines, and characteristics that have a set association with different personalities or life events. It’s not very intuitive and is based heavily on memorizing the what each line, mound, or other characteristics mean and reading them together as they appear on someone’s hand. I find palmistry very interesting, and it’s always fun to see how accurate you can get to defining someone’s personality based on their hands.
This is another type of divination that I need a lot more practice in, but I enjoy doing it for the challenge of memorizing each element’s meaning and creating a greater profile and potential future from a person’s hand.
Obviously, there are many many other types of divination out there, and I’d love to get into many more. What is your go-to type of divination, and how do you overcome its challenges?